The need to write a blog is often a compelling one, but especially when you’re just starting out, the exact theme of your blog might elude you. When I started my first blog in 2012, I had no idea what I wanted to write about. But to get the ball rolling, I registered my site and just started writing – which is often the best way to start. But having random content is not going to get you very far, so let me guide you on how to find your niche and stick to it.
I have spoken about the din on the internet many times before and that it is important to distinguish yourself from the rest.
Worldwide, there are more than 50 blog posts published PER SECOND. That is more than 4 MILLION POSTS PER DAY. source
There are somewhere between 150 MILLION AND 200 MILLION REGISTERED BLOGS – it is not certain how many of these are active.
There 50,000 NEW WEBSITES ADDED DAILY on WordPress alone, which accounts for about 1/4 of sites worldwide.
Most new blogs are ABANDONED WITHIN THE FIRST 2 MONTHS.
These stats are not meant to discourage you from blogging, but they do give you a clear idea of the information overwhelm out there. So how then do you distinguish yourself?
Let’s first look at BLOGGING CATEGORY.
To find your category, look at
what you’re good at
what you’re passionate about
what you can commit to
Here’s a list of the most popular blog categories (2013):
So let’s say your chosen category is food. You’re a good cook, you know a lot about cooking, you love to experiment with new dishes and you cook every day. Done. But in the approximately 200 million blogs out there, chances are there are at least 10 million other food blogs. And if you look at platforms like Pinterest with Food & Drink being the most popular category, it’s probably even more than that. So what is going to make YOUR food blog stand out? This is where your niche comes in.
To find your blogging niche
Sometimes this might be a natural progression for you. In my case, I was an interior designer and I am really passionate about DIY and trends. So those became my niches (and yes, you can have more than 1 – more on that later!)
But if it is not so apparent for you, go to trusty Google AdWords and type in your chosen category under the search for new keywords tab.
Based on that keyword search, AdWords will give you a long list of search terms and stats associated with it. From there, you start defining your search term. If you search healthy food, then you can see all the search terms and numbers associated with that. Ideally you want something that has a high search volume but low competition.
You can see that healthy food has high volume and low competition and there are a number of keywords associated that you can use to build content with.
If you add family into the mix, then the competition picks up, but then dinner ideas pops up and seriously, who doesn’t need dinner ideas? The search volume is still too high though – you want less than 10,000 searches.
So with a few more tries, I found dinner recipe ideas. 1-10k searches a month, with low competition. PERFECT!
Finding your niche is a bit of trail and error but if you do the research, you will be able to find something that sets you apart. Having a niche category however, is still not enough to build a successful blog.
Here are 4 other factors to consider:
1. High Quality Content
This may seem obvious, but readers will only come to you if you can add value in some way. Whether it’s by giving them a tasty recipe, or making their lives easier with your downloadable shopping list. Your content should be of such high quality that your readers will want to come back again and again to read what you have to share. Here’s a post on crafting a great blog post.
Be careful of filler content. Useless lists and purely promotional posts are not only worthless in terms of SEO, they will also hurt your readership.
2. Post length
The average post on this blog is 450 words. The average blog post of the biggest blogs in the world, are 1,000 words. And according to trend forecasters, that number is growing with 1,500 words being what will get you to rank on Google in 2016 and beyond. I feel that it depends greatly on your blog. Homeology is a visual blog and with a picture saying a thousand words, I have focused on beautiful images to bring my message across instead of long posts. This post however being a more technical one, has 1101 words. So it really does depend on your topic.
Having massive amounts of text doesn’t only look a bit dull, it is also more difficult to read and to keep the reader’s attention. Remember, blogging is not a book. People expect to learn something, get a new insight and find relevant information within a post. So give them a break between ideas with a beautiful image or a graphic of some sort. Images have to be clear and high res – I work on a 600px width on my site – and always make sure that you credit and link to the source. Finding images is really as simple as typing in a search term on Google. And here is a PRO tip: if the image that you want to use is not high res, then click on the search by image link. This will take you to a new search page where you can specify small, medium or large images.
If you do your own photography, then make sure your pictures are in focus, beautifully styled and well-lit.
A blog is a personal thing. It’s not necessarily a place where you tell stories about your kids and personal life (unless that’s your niche!) but it should convey personal experience and insights. That is what makes your blog yours: you personal style and voice. That is something that is developed over time, but I find the best way to go about it is to write like you speak. Don’t throw in floral language and irritating adjectives – readers can see through that. Be personal, personable and authentic and your blog will be a success.
Blogging is a lifestyle and a passion – so make sure that you are truly passionate about what you want to blog about. It’s the only way to have a really inspired and successful blog.