Choosing a niche is an essential step in starting a blog. If you intend to make money with your blog in the future, then you need to take your time and do a niche research before registering your domain name.
What is a niche?
A niche is a tiny segment of a market that occupies a particular area of demand and where the advertising efforts focus on a small group of very targeted consumers.
The procedure of finding market segments that are small but potentially profitable is called niche marketing, or micro-marketing.
Niche marketing differs from other online marketing strategies because allows you to engage in an area with a particularly low competition or no competition at all.
We can state about niche marketing that is the only qualified system of fueling the gaping holes in a specific market by targeting the unfulfilled needs of customers, needs that are overlooked by marketers from the upper segments of the market.
How to choose a niche
If you don't choose your niche right, not only that you won't know what to write about, but you will also be unable to find a way of monetizing your blog.
There are many good and bad niches, and there are certain things that can indicate if a niche is profitable or not.
Below are my criteria for finding a profitable niche:
Choose a niche you are passionate about
Starting a blog about something you like, it's going to be a very big advantage in the long-term.
Besides the fact that you already know about that topic, it's going to be way easier to write about something you enjoy than a subject you have no interest for.
I've tested this when I tried to start a few review sites in niches that I was not passionate about.
I didn't know anything about those niches, and I had to go through an extensive learning process before writing every post.
But the worst part was that I was not enjoying at all to write about those subjects.
Do you know that feeling when you have to wake up at 6:00 AM in the winter (when there's an intense cold outside) to go to a job that you hate (and you also hate your boss, your colleagues and everything that has to do with your work)?
That's how I felt every time when I had to write a new post (OK, I might have exaggerated a bit).
Anyway, that was not an enjoyable experience, and I ended up failing to create enough content for those sites to become successful.
So, if you can create a blog in a niche you love, then do it.
Think about what are your hobbies, what you currently do and what you'd like to do, then go through the other steps of selecting the niche.
If the niche passes the other niche selection criteria, then congratulations, you just found the right niche for you.
Determine the audience size
If you choose an extremely specific niche, then it's very likely that there's not enough interest for that niche.
Having a highly-targeted audience is not bad, but having an audience which is too small, it's not good (except maybe if you are in a very expensive niche and you can earn a high commission per each sale).
If your blog is built around a very specific niche, then you might have problems in driving enough traffic to your site.
Even if there should be less SEO competition for valuable keywords, if not enough people are interested in that topic, it will still be hard for your site to receive enough traffic.
Another obstacle of the very targeted market segments is that you cannot scale up your business.
If your site is already the first which appear in Google's search results for the primary keywords, but your traffic is still coming in a low volume, then your niche is probably too specific.
Unfortunately, you can't do too much to correct this at this level.
Even though there are also other channels you can try, like paid traffic or the social networks, it will still probably not going to be enough traffic to take your business to another level.
Example: A blog in a very specific niche, like a blog entirely about Kokia Cookei, which is an endangered plant species.
How many people do you think are interested in Kokia Cookei?
There might be some, but probably not enough for your blog to receive a decent amount of traffic.
Determine if you can monetize your blog
If you want to make money with your blog, you have to choose a niche that can be monetized.
While you can almost make money with a blog in any niche in a way or another, it's going to be hard to make money with a blog in some niches.
Example: A blog about Facebook's smilies.
A lot of people might be interested in Facebook's smilies, but I don't think people would spend money on a product related to this topic, especially if you intend to monetize your blog by promoting affiliate products.
There are always other ways of monetizing your blog, for example Google Adsense, but if the advertiser's bids are low for the keywords in your niche, your earnings per click will also be extremely low.
You can also make money with a blog by selling advertising space, selling promoted posts, offering coaching services, selling your own courses or services, etc.
However, because your blog is about "Facebook smileys," your possibilities would be truly limited and will be almost impossible to find a way of earning money with your blog.
If you can't find a way to monetize your blog, that's not a good niche.
Determine Customer's spending power
Let's assume you already found a niche that you are passionate about, there are enough people interested in that topic, and there are ways to monetize blog's traffic.
Ok, the chosen niche passes the other criteria, but are there enough people interested in spending money in this niche?
It's not easy to answer this question, but there are a few things that can help you determine your audience's spending power.
Will you monetize your blog by promoting affiliate products, your own products, by displaying Google Adsense ads, or anything else?
Monetizing your blog by promoting your product or affiliate products is more lucrative than monetizing your site with Google Adsense.
However, there are also niches with high earnings per click, because the advertisers bid more for the keywords in these niches. So, you can have more than decent profits only with Google Adsense if your blog is in one of these niches.
To make an idea if a niche is going to be profitable with Google Adsense, you can look at the advertiser's suggested bid for Google Adwords. You can do that for free using Google Keyword Planner.
In the screenshot above, the suggested bid price is displayed in my local currency, but yours should be in your currency.
Remember that that's only an estimation of the price that an advertiser will have to pay for a click on a particular keyword and that's not what you'll earn as a Google Adwords publisher.
Google will also keep a cut of that, and your Adsense earnings will be calculated also based on different algorithms.
This task will be simpler if you intend to monetize your blog by promoting physical products because you can just search for the products you want to promote on sites like Amazon or eBay and based on the number of ratings, you can tell if people buy that product.
Determine the competition level
Let's start with a bad example of a niche to start in.
Bad Example: A blog which is focused on weight loss in general.
Weight loss is a very broad niche. In fact, the weight loss is not even a niche, but an entire market.
Instead of building your blog around a topic so general, you can choose a more specific branch of weight loss.
Good Example: How to lose weight after pregnancy.
A bit of competition is good because it's an indicator that there is enough interest for that niche.
A very high level of competition will make it harder for you to stand out from the crowd and get in front of your competitors, especially if you'll rely heavily on SEO and traffic from the search engines.
Unless you are an SEO specialist, the level of competition is definitely something you should take into consideration.
Even if you intend to use paid traffic to drive traffic to your site, a high competition level means that you'll have to bid more per click to outrank the competition.
The easiest way to determine the level of competition in a particular niche is simply to use Google search.
Make a list of your primary keywords you want to rank for and then search them one by one in Google.
I don't have a rule of thumb for the maximum number of websites that Google should return for a keyword so I'd consider that as a good term, but I'd say what is under 1 million, it's approachable.
If Google displays many results for every keyword, that means there's a lot of competition.
In this case, you can dig deeper into the market for choosing a more specific niche, or you can redo your keyword research and select longer keywords to target.
If the competition just seems to be too big, you should probably pick another niche.
Is your niche solving a problem?
The best niches are usually the ones that solve problems.
While sports or hobbies can also be good if are approached from the right angle, it's clear that people will spend a bunch of money to find a solution to one of their problems.
Why do you think that industries like weight loss, health and wealth are so profitable?
The answer is simply because these are designed to solve people's problems.
Would you spend money on a software that would reduce your daily work to half? So, instead of working eight hours daily, you would now work only four hours per day because of this software.
I'm sure you would, and so would I.
Why would I work eight hours per day when there's this software that can <em>solve my problem</em> and cut my working time in half?
If your blog is in a niche that solves a problem, then this is another strong sign that you found a good topic.
Choose an evergreen niche
While following trends can earn you fast money, I always like to create sites in the niches considered evergreen.
What is an evergreen niche?
The evergreen niches are the market segments where there is a continuing demand for products.
There are also very good seasonal niches, but starting your blog (if possible) in an evergreen niche will give you additional benefits in the long-term.
The most popular three evergreen markets are:
People will always need a good health, they will always need money and they will always be interested in relationships.
These markets can be divided into smaller market segments.
For example, we can divide health in "fitness", "weight loss", "running", "diabetes", "acne", "depression", "anxiety", "nutrition", etc.
We can divide wealthtoi "make money online", "personal development", "motivation", "spirituality", "life coaching", etc.
We can divide relationships in "dating", "divorce", "get your ex back", etc.
Each of the above segments can also be split into smaller niches: weight loss for women, make money online with affiliate marketing, how to find girls to date, etc.
There are a lot of very specific niches that you can find.
How to determine if a niche is evergreen
If a niche is a part of one of the markets mentioned above, then it's an evergreen niche. If a niche doesn't depend on trends, doesn't have a limited lifespan, is not dependent on a specific season, weather, time of the year, etc., then it's an evergreen niche.
Bad Example: A blog focused on the Pokémon Go app.
Remember the madness when the Pokémon Go app was first released?
People have shown a high level of interest at first, but the interest did not last more than a few months.
Trends are great to follow if you build a tiny niche site and if you want to follow a path for some quick money. However, trends are only temporary and people rapidly lose their interest.
If you build your entire blog around a trend, when that trend is gone, people will also lose interest in your blog.
There isn't a general rule on how to choose a niche for your site, but there are specific details that can indicate if a niche is profitable or not.
Start your niche research based on your hobbies, skills, and things you like to do.
Once you have an idea about what could be a niche for you, see if that passes the niche selected criteria listed in this post.