How to Start a Blog
Lesson 1 – Find Your Niche
In This Lesson, You Will Learn:
- Why finding your niche is so important
- How to choose your blog topic (niche)
- How to research your topic’s popularity
- How to use keyword research tools
- How to analyze and choose the best keywords for your blog
Before you start your blogging lesson #1
To make sure you get the most out of this training course, make sure you read the Before You Start Guide on the How To Start a Blog page.
I recommend you bookmark (add to favorites) each lesson in your browser as they can be quite lengthy. It will make it quick and easy to resume your training where you left off.
Full Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item or service, I sometimes receive a small commission. I only recommend products that I have used myself and the small commission I receive, helps fund the ongoing development of new lessons for all my readers.
The Key To Success
Every successful blogger I’ve ever met or spoken to have one thing in common – they have all addressed the 5 success factors your blog site MUST have to be successful. If you’re serious about blogging, then you must address ALL of them – but don’t worry, when you reach the end of this blogging course, you will have mastered all of these (and then some!) and be up and running with your own high traffic blog site.
1 - PassionChoose a topic that you are passionate about and love doing
2 - Great ContentLots of high quality content will keep your readers (and Google) coming back for more
3 - High TrafficSearch Engine Optimization and marketing strategies
4 - Value ProductsOffer products and services that add value to your readers and align with your topic
5 - SubscribersOwn Your Customer! Build your list of subscribers through email marketing
What Will I Blog About?
This is the number one questions all new bloggers ask. What you should really be asking yourself first is “Why do I want to start a blog?” Do you want to help people, share stories, and life experiences, tell people about your awesome recipes, or perhaps make a little extra money on the side, better still, make a full time living as a professional blogger?
You must understand the “Why” before you can answer the “What” (I’ll get to the “How” and “When” a biter later for you impatient ones :))
So hopefully this helps you identify why you want to be a blogger – now you have to figure out what you’re going to blog about.
Find Your Passion
Before I created MyBlogCoach.com, I probably spent the best part of a month soul searching what my next blog site would be about. In the end it was really easy – I just picked a topic that I loved doing and was actually doing every day, but didn’t realize it. Helping people with online blogs, marketing, search engine advice etc. It’s a topic I know REALLY well and have been doing for the last 15 years (and love doing!). My point here is, pick something you love or your passionate about – it makes blogging sooo much easier when you passionate about what your writing and your audience will notice it too!
After all, as a blogger, you’re going to be writing a LOT! It had better be a topic you love, or you will run out of steam and interest very quickly (something I can vouch for – but that’s a story for another time!)
Make it Unique to YOU
This is YOUR blog, done YOUR way. Do some research and see what others are doing, how they are doing it and then think about how you can make it better by using your experiences and knowledge and maybe even presenting it in a different way – a better way.
My angle on this site was to make a complete beginners guide – all in one place. When I first started blogging, there was a lot of great information available on the internet, but I had to go to so many different sites to learn different bits and pieces – it was a really frustrating experience. I think I can do it better, by making a simple guide with ALL the information you need in one place and presented in an easy to follow, good looking training course format.
So don’t be scared off by other sites or competition – just look at what they do, and then do it your way and make it better!
Blog Coach Says:
It’s YOUR BLOG – do it YOUR WAY
Popular Blog Topics and Ideas
There is an endless number of sub-topics under this category you can blog about – pregnancy, babies, raising kids, dealing with teenagers, the challenges, the highs, the lows, the list goes on and on.
There is also an endless array of products and books you can sell in this category too! This can be quite a profitable topic!
Product ReviewsProduct review sites and blogs are hugely popular these days – I should know, I have created about 10 product review sites for an array of products and services over the years. They can be very profitable – if done right and you can write detailed and honest (very important) product reviews. If you decide that a product review site is for you, then make sure you research your product category well and pick a category that you have sound knowledge in.
Travel BlogTravel blogs are HUGE! I know so many people who started out with a simple travel blog to document and share their travel adventures and ended up making a living travelling the world – completely funded by their blog!
Hobbies and InterestsThis is a great way to connect with other people who share the same interests as you. You can end up with quite a fan club of regular readers. Once your list of followers grows big enough, you can also turn your site into a community forum, allowing your readers to connect with each other and share their stories and tips. You can cover almost any hobby or interest such as knitting, sport fishing, geocaching, carpentry, painting or whatever your interest is.
Many of the original bloggers chose technology as their focus, and what a great decision that was. There’s a huge interest in technology and technology issues today. After all, more and more people have cell phones, personal computers, and MP3 players, and everyone has problems using them!
Specialized newsYou can offer a customized service for your busy readers by aggregating all the news from around the web on a particular topic, with quick tidbits, summaries and links to similar stories. This works well for both serious and not so serious topics.
Identify a High Traffic Niche
So now you know you know why you want to create a blog and you should be starting to get an idea of what your going to blog about. Before you go too much further with your great idea, it’s time to do a little bit of research and analysis to find out if anyone else is also interested in your blog topic, and how to identify a high traffic niche!
What is a Niche?
You’re going to hear this term a lot in the coming months, so let me give you a quick overview of what a niche is and why choosing a niche market will become so important to you and your blog.
The official definition of a niche is “a recess in a wall for holding a statue” – sounds a bit odd, I know, but if you think if in terms of business and marketing, it refers to a situation where there is a gap in the market created by a demand from consumers looking for a very specific product or service, where there are not many companies providing that service. The key here is to find one of these niches that aligns to your area of expertise.
From a blogging perspective, this will help you identify a market where there is a high consumer demand for a specific product or service, which has very low competition (meaning your blog will rank easily in google for this niche, which in turn, means you will get more traffic to your site).
So think of a niche as a ‘gap’ in a market segment that aligns with your specific knowledge and expertise in that area or market.
How to Find Your Niche?
Finding your niche is all about identifying your strengths, expertise and passion – what are you good at? What really makes you tic? If you’re not sure what you area of expertise is, then focus on your passions – what do you really enjoy that is worthy of sharing with others? Remember, you can learn a new skill and become an expert in any given topic, but you can’t learn passion – you like, what you like, if you know what I mean.
Time for Some Keyword Research
Understanding and using keywords correctly is fundamental to the success of any website. Using well researched keywords will drive traffic to your blog (for free!). The more thorough the research, the more traffic you will see. When done right, using the right keywords (along with some Search Engine Optimization techniques, which I’ll cover in Lesson 8 – The SEO Blueprint) can launch your blog site well ahead of your competitors.
What are Keywords?
Keywords are search phrases and words that people type into a search engine, such as Google, to find to a list of websites that match the words they are looking for. Some keywords and phrases are searched for thousands of times a day, while others only a handful of searches. The real trick is finding highly searched for keywords than have low competition from other blog owners who are also targeting those keywords.
Why “Keywords” are so Important
Choosing keywords for your blog (and each blog post), it is very important and this is where you need to take your time and do the research properly. I see bloggers skip past this step all the time in a rush to get their next great article published and even though it may be a great article, it fails to get any significant traffic from the search engines. I can’t emphasis enough, just how important this step is – so I’m going to say it again in big bold words 🙂
Blog Coach Says:
Keyword research is FUNDAMENTAL to a successful blog
Keyword Analysis Tools
When it comes to doing the keyword research for your blog, you’re going to need to use one or more keyword analysis tools to help you. The good news is there are some good free tools available which you can use and of course there are some paid tools you can sign up for too.
I’ve tried most of them, and the ones I use on a daily basis are:
- Google Trends (Free)
- Jaaxy Pro ($19/mo, free trial available)
- Wealthy Affiliate Keyword Tool (I’m a member of Wealth Affiliate, but you can get a free account)
- Longtail Pro ($25/mo, but you can get one month free for $1 – then cancel)
There are a few other popular keyword tools (which do a whole lot more than just keyword analysis, but they start getting a bit more pricey)
You can also use the Google Keyword Planner – it’s free, but I’ve found the results are more related to paid advertising campaigns, rather than organic search results – use it by all means, but it would be worth checking your results with one of the other tools.
If you’re on a budget then here’s a trick you can use – just sign up for either Jaaxy, LongtailPro or MOZ and use their free (or $1 for Longtail pro) trial period to do your keyword research and then cancel your account before the 30 days is up. This will get you up and running, but ultimately, you’re going to need these tools in the the long run (I use Jaaxy or LongtailPro for my keyword analysis for every blog post I write – BEFORE I write it).
Personally, I like Jaaxy the best and it’s also the cheapest of the paid options. It’s simple, quick and very easy to use.
Analyze Demand and Competition
Almost time to get your hand dirty! But if you can, stay with me just a little bit longer. The training video below runs for just over 16 minutes and will walk you through how use a keyword analysis tool to research keywords for your topic and there’s also some cool tips on how to find products you can sell on your blog too.
Lesson 1 Complete!
Before proceeding to the next lesson:
- Choose your blog topic (niche)
- Start using one of the keyword tools
- Research your topic and keywords
- Watch the keyword analysis training video