One of the questions I’m often asked by readers, is how to pick a niche to blog about.
What is a blog niche?
A blog niche is a carefully selected topic area that you’ll be focusing your blog content around. In simpler terms, picking a niche to blog about is really just another way of answering the question, how do you decide what to blog about?
And this is a pretty important question to answer as you’re very early on in the process of starting your blog… because it could ultimately be the deciding factor that determines the future success (or failure) of your blog.
While some bloggers simply write about whatever pops into their minds, that’s not a great strategy for long-term success. Especially if you want your blog to eventually generate income and become something more than just an online diary with a small handful of readers tuning in for your musings.
Instead, you need to pick a blog niche—a clear topic area that you’re going to focus all of your content on, in order to establish what your readers should expect from you.
How to Pick a Niche to Blog About (8 Profitable Blog Niche Examples) in 2020
- How narrow (or broad) should your blog niche be?
- How to brainstorm ideas for your blog niche
- 9 Key questions to answer when picking a niche to blog about
- 4 Smart ways to validate your blog niche (before you launch)
- What makes for a successful blog niche? 8 profitable niche blog examples
- How will you pick your niche to blog about?
Once you’re ready to test your blog niche and start the process of actually building your blog—head over to my ultimate guide to starting a blog.
Want to Start Your Blog (the Right Way)?
Check out my ultimate guide 5 Steps How to Start a Blog (on the Side).
Now, let's dive in to my guide on how to pick a niche to blog about!
When you’re choosing a niche to blog about, you want to pick a topic area that you can write about weekly or even daily for years to come.
That means that a very narrow niche, like “Marvel Avengers iPhone Cases,” probably isn’t going to work well in the long run.
It might be great at first as you're not competing against a high volume of sellers, but you’ll probably struggle to find enough design inspiration, customers and you may even get bored just creating the same types of designs over the months (and years) to come.
With a subject matter like this example, you’d be better off broadening your blog niche to include “movie and television-related iPhone cases.” Within this broader niche, you can still include all of the Marvel cases you want, but you’re also giving yourself permission to expand into got many other closely related titles.
Of course, it’s definitely possible to go too broad with a blog niche.
According to recent blogging statistics, there'll be an estimated 31.7 million bloggers by the end of 2020. That makes picking a clear blog niche more important than ever.
That means if your blog covers a massive topic like “health” or “business,” then you’re going to really struggle in building a focused audience and carving out your own readers.
Instead, you’ll want to narrow down to something much more focused—maybe instead of “health,” you can pick a blog niche like “living with diabetes” or “losing weight through nutrition.”
Instead of “business” as a broad topic, you could focus your blog niche specifically on “starting a side business” or “how to make money online” where your content can have more clearly defined guardrails that keep you on-message for what your audience will come to expect.
Now that we've got a sense of how to pick a niche to blog about without going too narrow or too broad, let's brainstorm some ideas.
Some bloggers know what they want to write about immediately. They want to start a blog based on a fiery passion, or one that ties in with an existing business venture.
Other brand new bloggers don’t have a clue yet (and that's ok)!
They're still learning what a blog really is, and all they know is that they want to blog about something.
If that sounds like you, or if you already have a niche or two in mind—but want some more possibilities, here are a few great ways to brainstorm blog niche ideas.
1. Write Down a List of All the Things You’re Interested In
What do you love to do or to talk about?
Jot down all the things you’re most interested in, whether or not you think it would make a good blog niche. We’re just thinking about all of the possibilities at this stage.
It’s fine if some of your niche ideas feel very general and others weigh in as more specific. No ideas are bad ideas at this stage.
Your list might look something like this:
- Small businesses
- Game of Thrones
- Traveling (especially in Europe)
- Quentin Tarantino movies
Once you're looking at your list, you’ll probably find that some of your ideas would make better blog niche topics than others.
You may even find there’s one potential blog niche in particular that stands out for you—put a star next to that one to come back to soon. Side note: If you're ready to start generating content ideas and begin writing, check out this list of the 155+ Best Blog Post Ideas You Can Write About Today.
2. Think About the Blogs, Magazines and Books You Read
What blogs do you read avidly? Which magazines do you subscribe to? How about (non-fiction) books you've read recently?
You may have a wide range of different interests, or you might find that all your reading focuses on one general area (i.e. “personal development”) that could help you move toward a particular blog niche to focus your brainstorming around.
Write down the topics or titles of all of the blogs, magazines and books you read—then see if they bring up any clear ideas for your blog’s niche.
3. List Your Past Jobs, Hobbies, and Experiences
What jobs have you done during your life? Write them down (even if they seem mundane).
What about your hobbies? Perhaps you love miniature wargaming, or you’re a keen gardener. Maybe you play an instrument, or you’re on several amateur sports teams. Write these all down.
While you might not want to start writing blog posts about your actual job, you might find that there are elements of your jobs or hobbies that you do want to blog about, or a core thread that ties several elements of your life together.
Maybe you’re a designer in an ad agency, you play in an orchestra, and you enjoy sketching and painting—thus it could make sense for you to choose a blog niche focused on creativity.
4. List Significant Things You’ve Accomplished
Many successful blogs teach people how to do something.
From Digital Photography School teaching people how to take better photos... to Mr. Money Mustache teaching people how to save up a stash of money so they can retire early (both of which we'll talk about in the profitable blog niche examples below).
What significant accomplishments have you had? Perhaps you’ve:
- Lost weight and kept it off
- Got out of debt
- Run a marathon
- Remained married for 30 years
All of these are accomplishments that other people would love to have—and you could blog about how you achieved them.
5. Run Through a List of Perennially Popular Topics
If you’re still stuck searching for blog niche ideas, here’s a list that isn’t likely to go out of style anytime soon:
- Personal finance: including issues like debt, increasing income, reducing expenses, investing
- Health and wellness: which covers a huge range of areas, like weight loss, mental health, alternative therapies
- Parenting: including parenting at different stages: babies, toddlers, school kids, teens, adult kids, plus different parenting methods
- Self-improvement: which could be targeted at different age groups (e.g. college students, mid-life professionals, retirees) or at different philosophies or styles
- Building websites: this could incorporate your technical skills into writing about topics like how to make a website, what the best website builders are and more
While it’s not ideal to pick a niche to blog about simply for the sake of market demand, you may find something on that list jumps out as a topic to explore blogging about and eventually make your way into a more concerted niche over time (as you learn the nuances of the space).
By now, you should have at least a loose idea in mind for a niche to blog about–or perhaps a few different ideas for niches you could see yourself testing out.
Now, how do you know if your niche will actually translate into a successful blog that can attract readers?
Answer these questions right now in order to fully evaluate your potential blog niche.
If you hit a “no” on any of these—then it’s time to head back to the drawing board and find a new niche to blog about.
Question #1. Are You Interested Enough in This Blog Niche?
Yes, it’s tempting to blog about niche that you think will be lucrative—like “credit cards” or “weight loss”—mere opportunities that you see popping up in ads all the time.
The problem with this approach, is that in addition to facing stiff competition, your interest will likely diminish over time.
You might plan to hire authors to write for you—but even so, you’ll need to grow the blog yourself (or invest a lot of your cash into it) until it becomes profitable.
Don’t pick a niche just because you think it’ll make money for your blog.
Choose a niche you’re genuinely interested in. Something you’d enjoy writing about day after day for years to come.
While you may think your personal level of interest is relatively unimportant... compared with other factors, it’s actually so crucial that it’s the first test on this list. I couldn't be more serious about the importance of only choosing to blog about topics you find interesting.
If you’re not genuinely interested in a niche, then there’s no point trying to blog about it—you won’t have the enthusiasm you need to carry it through the ups and downs in the years to come.
Question #2. Do You Know Enough About This Blog Niche?
If you’re going to build a successful blog, you need to be able to write blog posts that readers will find helpful—not content full of inaccuracies or misguided assumptions.
You don’t want to have to spend hours upon hours researching every line of your blog posts, and if you've done your homework to answer how much does it cost to blog, you probably won’t have the budget to hire expert writers to help you with all of your writing endeavors.
You want to choose a topic that you know a reasonable amount about. At least enough to hold a conversation on the subject.
Readers will also expect that you have at least some degree of experience (ideally expertise) within your blog niche. After all, would you want to learn cooking tips from someone who struggles to boil an egg, or blog SEO strategies from someone whose website never ranked above page 10 on Google?
In most blog niches, you won’t need formal qualifications. Readers will be perfectly happy to hear your “weight loss on a budget” advice as long as it's based on your own hard-won personal experience. Most people won’t expect you to be a certified health professional, personal trainer or financial expert for that matter.
In certain blog niches though, readers will expect a degree of educational or professional qualifications.
If you’re starting a blog that covers legal matters or tax advice—readers will expect you to be trained as a lawyer or accountant.
Question #3. Is there a Paying Audience for This Blog Niche?
So you’ve got a niche you’re interested in and know a lot about... let's say an obscure cartoon that you loved as a kid.
Before you launch a fan blog devoted to the cartoon though, it’s important to take a step back and ask a crucial question—is there a paying audience for this niche?
For a blog niche to work (assuming you plan to make money at some point), you need an audience of people who’ll potentially spend money on products or services related to that niche—whether you create those yourself or not.
To establish whether or not a paying audience exists for your blog niche in question, ask yourself:
- Are there any books or magazines relating to this niche? Use a bit of common sense here: if there’s a self-published book with zero reviews and zero visibility on Amazon, then it’s probably not a sign that there’s a large paying audience out there. You're hoping to evaluate whether or not others are already earning revenue in this space.
- Are there products (or services) aimed at this audience? Let’s say you’re considering the blog niche—new parents of twins, which is based on your own experience. There are definitely products aimed at parents of twins (plus the vast majority of products aimed at any parents could work too). The existence of lots of products is (a) a sign that there’s a paying audience out there and (b) a source of potential advertising or affiliate income or you.
- Are companies advertising products relating to your keywords? For instance, if the niche you’re considering is “organic gardening,” then you can type that into Google, plus other related phrases such as “gardening tools” and “organic pesticides.” Do any ads appear? If you can’t find ads for any (or many) of your keywords, then you might find this is a tricky topic to monetize.
If your answers to these questions still sound promising, then let's keep moving ahead.
Question #4. How Many People Are Searching in Your Blog Niche?
If you haven’t already come up with any keywords, now’s the time to learn how to do keyword research.
What would people search for to find the type of content you’re going to write about (or the type of products you’re going to sell)? This is where blogging tools like one of my favorite free keyword planners, Twinword Ideas come in to play.
Once you’ve got some keywords in mind, it’s also important to check how popular those keywords actually are.
Use Twinword Ideas to not only check monthly search volume for the keywords you'll be blogging about, but get suggestions on other popular terms related to your niche.
Make sure you’re targeting your own country plus any other large countries that are relevant. For instance, if you’re in Australia but you’re planning to sell digital products that could be bought by a worldwide audience, you’ll want to also target the US and UK so you can see the combined level of searches from other English-speaking countries.
Any good keyword research tool will also suggest tons of other related keywords that you can evaluate. If some of them get way more searches than the keywords you’d previously thought of, you might want to shift your blog post ideas over to incorporate those higher priority opportunities first.
What’s a safe number of monthly searches to constitute a good blog niche?
If most of your keywords only get 100 people searching for them each month, you’re going to struggle to build a profitable blog.
But if you can combine all your top 10-20 keywords and get a total of 100,000 - 1,000,000 monthly searches… then you’re definitely on to something.
Question #5. Is This Niche Likely to Be Around for Years to Come?
While some blogs do manage to succeed while focusing on ephemeral trends, it takes time to build a popular blog.
You don’t want to end up starting again from scratch after six months, so aim to pick a blog niche that’s going to be around for years to come.
Building a whole blog around something that’s designed to be short-lived (like the 2020 Olympics) is unlikely to be worth your time. Similarly, building a blog around something that might vanish soon isn’t a great plan either. This is often the case with new social networks or with company initiatives: look at what happened to Google Authorship, for instance.
Make sure you’re building your body of work around a blog niche that’s going to last, or that you can pivot to take into account changes in your niche over time.
A good sign that a blog niche is going to stick around, is if it’s already been around for a while!
Anything that’s only come onto the scene in the last year or so, is best avoided as the niche topic for an entire blog.
If a new trend nicely rolls up into the greater niche you want to cover though, that's a great opportunity to get in early on creating content on the subject.
Question #6. Is There a Moderate Amount of Competition (or More) in Your Blog Niche?
You might think that a good niche shouldn’t have too much competition—but the opposite is true.
If there’s no competition out there, or if the competition seems surprisingly lacking or amateur, then that could indicate that your niche just isn’t one that works well for a blog.
Other bloggers aren’t just your competition—they can also be your collaborators.
You’ll want to be able to guest post on larger blogs, for instance, and you might want to host webinars to invite bigger names in your niche to collaborate on growing your combined audiences.
Of course, if there’s tons of competition, that makes it important to distinguish your blog from all the others out there—by finding an angle or audience that isn’t as widely targeted.
Question #7. Is the Topic Trending Upward on Google Trends?
Simply type in your keyword and you can see whether it’s becoming more or less popular over time.
It’s best to avoid a topic that’s becoming steadily less popular (unless you have good reason to believe it’s about to capture people’s interest again).
If interest in a niche is static, that’s probably fine… but the ideal scenario is a niche that's trending upward on Google Trends.
You can also compare search terms here, so if you’re deliberating between two blog niches, you may find it helpful to look at their relative popularity.
If the graph looks fairly flat for the past year, check the past five years (select the date ranges from the dropdown menu)—you might find that it’s been slowly declining in popularity.
Question #8. Would You Be Happy to Be Associated With This Blog Niche?
Although you could potentially blog under a pseudonym, it’s not generally a good idea to opt for a niche that you’d not want people to associate you with.
This could be because the blog niche is embarrassing in some way (let’s face it, not many of us would want to be known as the “bed-wetting blogger”) or it could be because it isn’t a good fit for another brand that you’ve already established—and you don’t want to upset your existing audience.
It could even be because you don’t want to be pigeonholed in a particular way (i.e. as a “mommy blogger”).
While you don’t necessarily need to announce your blog to everyone you know, it’s definitely an advantage to feel confident and happy sharing it with friends, family and people you already know online—this can really help increase your traffic in the early days.
So, think twice about a blog niche that you don’t feel comfortable having your name associated with.
Question #9. Does Your Niche Suit Evergreen Content?
Blog content can be divided into two broad categories: “evergreen” and “news.”
Evergreen content remains relevant for years to come, though it'll need to be updated over time.
News content might be highly interesting for a short period of time, but quickly fades as other events transpire.
Instead of having to constantly publish new content to attract readers, your evergreen content can work hard at bringing people to your blog.
If your niche is going to rely on lots of fresh content to be published on a regular basis, think hard about whether you can do it justice.
Most news-focused blogs have a team of writers working for them, so they can keep up with the latest news and developments.
So you’ve chosen a niche to blog about that you’re confident will give you a good chance of (eventually) monetizing the site.
There are plenty of other blogs, books, magazines and products related to it… and it’s something you’re genuinely interested in.
But will you actually enjoy blogging about it?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could validate your blog niche before going through all the effort of making a website for it?
Well, you can.
Here’s how to validate the niche you want to blog about—before spending hours launching your website.
Test #1. Come Up With At Least 50 Ideas for Blog Posts in Your Niche
Set aside an hour for yourself either in an empty room at home or in a quiet local coffee shop—and pick up a notebook & pen.
Write down as many blog post ideas as you can. You’re aiming for at least 50 ideas.
It doesn’t matter if some of those ideas seem a bit generic, or if you’ve seen them done elsewhere before... just try to get as long of a list as you can.
If you get bored half way through this exercise, or if you run out of ideas well before you make it to 50, then that’s a sign that this blog niche might not be the right choice for you. Because if your blog begins to get traction, you'll eventually be writing a hell of a lot more than just 50 articles.
Test #2. Write a Couple of Guest Posts in Your Blog Niche
Once you’ve organized a list of ideas, choose a couple that you’d love to write about, and find blogs that would be interested in hosting an article from you—covering those topics as guest posts for their already existing readership.
As a lower-barrier option, you can set up a free Medium account or take to LinkedIn and write your test guest posts there to see how people in your network respond.
This is a great way to test out whether you enjoy writing about your blog niche—and it can also allow you to get some real-life feedback from readers about your content.
If you find it tricky to write these early guest posts, if you don’t really enjoy it... or if the feedback is surprisingly negative from the audience you get in front of, then it might be a good sign to rethink the niche you blog about.
Test #3. Start a Facebook Page (or Group) About Your Blog Niche
Another free, and straightforward, way to test out your niche is to create a Facebook page (or group).
You'll want to give this page or group the same name as your intended future blog, so you can use it as your blog’s eventual Facebook page if you do go ahead with this niche.
This page or group is a great destination to share interesting links, ask questions and share tips relating to your niche. If you can attract a decent number of fans or group members to come and interact with you here, you'll also find a continual source of new content ideas.
If you enjoy posting there and you start to build a bit of traction (with some likes, comments and shares), then that's a good sign you’ll probably enjoy running a blog and managing a community within this niche.
Test #4. Draft Five Sample Blog Posts Related to Your Niche
See if you can write five sample articles related to your niche—they don’t have to be perfect and you don't need to publish them anywhere (for now), but you should at least complete the task of challenging yourself to create a few pieces of content you can stand behind & feel comfortable publishing within the niche you're considering blogging about. For example, my series of articles about web hosting for bloggers is a test into a new blog niche (hosting). It includes pieces like:
- My roundup of the 10 best web hosting plans for bloggers
- The 8 best cheap web hosting plans for 2020
- 8 monthly billed hosting plans (to pay month-to-month)
Early signs suggest this new blog niche test is starting to return some positive results for my business—so we'll see how this coming year goes!
If five sample blog posts feels like too many, or if you’re bored after writing just one article in this niche, then it's worth reconsidering whether you’d really want to pick a niche to blog about where you have difficult churning out content that excites you.
Of course, if you do decide to go ahead and launch a blog in this niche, you’ve now got an awesome head start.
You’ll have a ton of content ideas written down to fuel your editorial calendar, plus a handful of drafted articles ready to edit and publish.
Here are eight (real) profitable niche blog examples to show you it's possible to generate an audience and business in many different industries.
Each of these niche blogs cover different topics in unique ways.
This'll give you an idea of the wide range of potential niches you can successfully blog about.
Example #1. Digital Photography School (Niche: Photography)
This huge blog, founded and run by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger fame, covers a wide range of material related to digital photography, with posts ranging from beginner-friendly to more advanced tutorials on everything from gear to photo editing and more.
The “digital” element distinguishes it from analog photography (and from things like the history of photography). The “school” element means there’s a very practical, “how to” focus within the blog’s content. DPS is an awesome example of how to pick a niche to blog about when you want to turn a real passion into a profitable outlet.
Example #2. ScaryMommy (Niche: Parenting)
This massive, multi-author blog takes on all sorts of topics related to parenting–which is, of course a very wide niche.
It’s distinguished by its style and tone though. Articles are written in the first person, in a laid back way that often references pop culture—so it has a much more personal and relatable feel than many other sites in the parenting space that come off as very professorial.
Example #3. IttyBiz (Niche: Small Business Marketing)
IttyBiz takes what could be a huge niche (building and growing a business).
It focuses this niche by concentrating solely on very small businesses, often one person, or perhaps one person plus an assistant or two. This blog niche has a lot of growth potential in the years to come as more and more people around the world take to running their own solo businesses.
Example #4. Moz (Niche: Search Engine Optimization)
While SEO is a relatively large topic for bloggers, it’s a narrow enough niche to make for an insanely popular, focused blog that monetizes readers through their tools.
It'd be hard to find an SEO professional who hasn’t heard of Moz. It’s a huge, popular blog, founded by Rand Fishkin in 2009. This is a great example of how to pick a niche to blog about, with the ultimate goal of building a greater business beyond just content creation down the line.
Example #5. The Green Mama (Niche: Eco-Friendly Parenting)
This is a great example of a blog that successfully combines two large niches to find a focus and an audience.
The Green Mama brings together “parenting” and “eco-friendly” in a single blog niche that’s targeted at a specific reader demographic—parents who care about doing their best for the environment as well as for their kids.
Example #6. Mr. Money Mustache (Niche: Personal Finance)
Proof that blogs can grow large despite (or even because of) rather idiosyncratic naming decisions, Mr Money Mustache is a well-known blog in the Financial Independence, Retire Early niche.
With long, intermittent posts and a strong voice, this blog covers some similar ground to other personal finance blogs, but with a core philosophy and explicit style that's weaved in throughout absolutely everything on the site. This blogger made a very pointed decision when it came to his decision on how to pick a niche to blog about within the crowded personal finance space—one that's created a lasting brand for him to reap the rewards from for years to come.
Example #7. Copyblogger (Niche: Copywriting)
Copyblogger’s focus has always been on online copywriting, with mostly short, focused posts aimed at an audience of bright copywriters and marketers.
With a reputation for quality, plus a growing suite of products, Copyblogger has carved out a great niche within the "writing about writing" world.
Example #8. Zen Habits (Niche: Personal Development)
Leo Babauta’s simple yet elegant Zen Habits blog, has been going strong for more than a decade.
With a clear, uncluttered, ad-free site, Leo’s approach to blogging, as well as his focus on the intersection of mindfulness and personal development, has won him many engaged fans.
Every blogger needs to pick a niche to blog about… and it’s important not to simply pick a niche at random (or even because you think it’s going to make you a lot of money).
If you want to build a successful business and drive real traffic to your blog, you'll need a profitable niche that you’re happy to stick with for a long time to come.
Here's your 3-step blog niche checklist to hit the ground running with. Make sure that you:
- Brainstorm plenty of ideas for blog niches before you get too attached to one. Don’t assume that your first idea is your best! There might be a better possibility that you haven’t even thought of yet.
- Run through the list of niche tests in this guide to make sure your chosen blog niche is likely to have a good chance of success. If you discover that it’s not going to be a good one for making money from your blog, it's time to rethink your choice of blog niche (if you plan to eventually monetize your blog).
- Validate your blog niche before you commit to it. Come up with ideas, write guest posts, start a Facebook page and finally—publish a few articles on your blog to see how early readers react before you go all in on investing in this particular blog niche.
Do this, and you’ll be setting yourself up for success right from the start with your blog.
You'll not only avoid potentially throwing away lots of time, energy and even money into a blog niche that’s never going to work—but you'll also learn a great deal about what readers truly care about in the niche you choose to blog on.
If you're ready to test out your blog niche and get moving, then head over to my ultimate guide to starting a blog.
Want to Start Your Blog (the Right Way)?
Check out my ultimate guide 5 Steps How to Start a Blog (on the Side).