Bloggers without an existing business typically fall into two broad camps.
The passion-driven bloggers love writing about their favourite topic.
(You’ll probably find them talking about it to anyone who’ll listen, too.)
They may have started blogging simply to share their enthusiasm, though they’ll often be interested in monetizing their blog too.
The profit-driven bloggers love making money online – and that’s their main focus.
They may not be all that interested in their blog’s topic, but they’ve got a clear strategy and they’re keen to start making money, or growing their revenue, as quickly as possible.
Here’s why I think both camps have something important to offer:
Not All Passions Will Make Money
Let’s say you’re really passionate about an obscure ’90s TV show. While a blog could be a fantastic way to meet fellow fans and share your enthusiasm, it’s probably not going to be an easy way to make money.
Sure, you may make some through running ads, or using affiliate links to the show’s DVDs / memorabilia … but realistically, this isn’t going to be anything near to a full-time income.
A good test of whether your interests will make for a monetizable blog is whether or not there’s a reasonably large market for that topic. If there are books, magazines, other large blogs or products related to it, that’s a good sign!
… But Profit-Driven Blogs May Be Doomed
If you start a blog purely with profit in mind, especially if it’s your first “pro” blog, you may find yourself giving up after a few weeks or months.
You’ll probably find it takes a while to get your blog to a point where it’s even making a few dollars a week. This means blogging away for months while trying to build up an audience, which is really tough to stick with if you’re not actually at all interested in your blog’s topic.
Your blog posts may also come across as rather bland and derivative, as it can be tough to keep coming up with good ideas when you’ve chosen a topic for its money-making potential.
The Solution? Blend Profit and Passion
When choosing a niche, then, your best bet is to look for a good mix of both profit and passion … and I recommend starting with passion.
Make a list of all the topics that interest you. Think about:
- Your hobbies – clubs you belong to, magazines you subscribe to, etc
- What you enjoyed studying at university or in school
- The jobs or volunteering work you’ve done and enjoyed
- The books and blogs you already read
Next, think about which of these topics are most likely to have the potential to make money. For instance, let’s say you’ve drawn up a list that looks like this:
Hobbies: hiking, knitting
University: ancient history
Jobs: didn’t enjoy any of them
Books/blogs: personal development, entrepreneurship
The topic that stands out here to me as not being a good one is ancient history. While I’m sure you could monetise a blog about classical civilisations (perhaps with affiliate links to textbooks, etc), it’s probably going to be a struggle.
Hiking or knitting could both make great topics, as both are hobbies that involve quite a bit of equipment – and readers who are enthusiastic about a hobby will often be open to buying new products (which you can link to as an affiliate). Both could also work well for selling a digital product, perhaps a book of knitting patterns or a book of interesting hikes.
Personal development could work well, if you’ve got an interesting angle (e.g. aiming at a particular audience like stay-at-home parents). Entrepreneurship is of course a hot topic online, but unless you really have some experience and expertise, avoid starting a “make money online” blog.
Ultimately, you need to choose a niche that genuinely excites you, and one that you can imagine blogging about for years to come.
If you’re looking to make money blogging, then obviously you’ll want to consider whether you’ll be able to easily monetise it … but if you start by focusing on profit, not passion, you’ll find it harder to succeed.
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