So many aspiring bloggers struggle with it.
You have a desire to someday make a living off of your blog, but you still want to blog about something that you love. Should you just choose to blog about something that you think will make you money, or something that you love? Is it even possible to do both at the same time?
This comes down to the age old question that so many of us struggle with. Can you actually make money doing something that you love?
The answer is yes!
It is totally possible to do. In fact, there’s a simple structure that you can follow to discover topics that you love, that will still be able to make you money in the long run.
Here is that process.
Brainstorm and Determine Your Blogging Style
1. Start with some ideas brainstorm a list of ideas that you would LOVE to write about.
Many people have a hard time with this. Especially for those that don’t really like to write in the first place. It’s a shame that so many get stuck here.
But you still want a profitable blog, right?
So you have to push on! For most people, this starts with a question of who you are. I call this “knowing yourself.”
One of the biggest roadblocks for people in this stage is they think that in order to blog about something, you have to be an expert at it. WRONG!
Some of the best blogs in the world have been journals of people writing about something that they love, from an amateur perspective. So don’t think with these typical confines. Just make a list of things that you love and things that interest you. Here is what my list looks like.
- Building Furniture
- Managing Finances/investing
- Entrepreneurship (duh!)
- Music (Namely guitar and piano)
- Creative writing
Once you have a list of your basic interests (Make it as long as possible! The longer the better) it’s time to figure out your style. This is going to help you turn your interests into actual blog topics.
For instance, music is one of my interests, but teaching guitar is an actual blog topic.
DIY furniture is one of my interests, but a journey to mastering woodworking is a blog topic.
Here’s how to come to these conclusions.
Learn Your Style
To help guide your blog topics of things that you’d love to write about ask yourself these questions:
- Do you like to teach?
- Do you like to organize?
- Do you like to disrupt?
- Do you like to nurture?
- Are you naturally curious?
- Do you like to keep people informed?
- Do you find something to be really messed up?
- Have you had a really hard time with anything?
- Do you like to optimize?
For me I like to teach, because I like to help people not run into the same problems that I’ve run into before. I also like to optimize, and help people be more efficient at what they do.
This means I will naturally lean toward blogs that focus more on teaching better ways to do something.
In all, I see different blog styles being:
Teaching and Tutorials – Blogs that focus on teaching readers how to do something better. Can consist of tutorials, case studies, journals etc.
Journals – Blogs that follow your journey to doing something. This could be a travel blog, parenting blog, or even learning how to cook. Just apply this style to one of your interests.
Story blog (fiction or non-fiction) – Many people blog as a creative expression, and use their site as a platform to tell stories.
Opinion/essay blogs (current events, parenting) – These blogs focus on getting relevant opinions out into the world in an interesting fashion.
News blogs – Blogs that focus on covering news in a certain niche. For instance if I started a music blog, I could cover the latest news about the industry, or even get as granular to covering specific news about a specific instrument.
Research and Reports – These blogs mainly focus on doing extensive research into your topic and presenting your findings in an easy to read and understand manner.
Case Studies – This is a more active (and fun) approach because you act as a guinea pig to accomplish a goal within your blog topic. You can also interview other people and write case studies on them.
Review Blogs – These blogs focus on review products, services and experiences based around your topic.
Now once you apply these blog styles to your passions, you will start to come up with different blog topics that are interesting for you to write about. Obviously some will make more sense than others! 😉
2. Now brainstorm a list of ideas that you think would be profitable.
Many people have things that they would like to write about, but don’t think that they’d be profitable.
So what you should do at this point, is make a list of 3-4 blog ideas that you think would be profitable.
These may intersect with your ideas for what you’d love to write about, and it they do that’s great! But they don’t always, which is why some of you will need to push your mind to think of some blog ideas that you think would make money.
A starting point for a lot of people is seeing blogs that already seem successful and thinking “I could do that too.” But a few other ways to identify niches are to reflect on your experiences on the internet, and see where money was being made. Just through your typical online browsing activity, ask yourself where do you see money being made? It’s all around you!
Usually answers will be along the lines of:
- You see lots of ecommerce stores in that industry
- You see lots of courses released on this topic
- You would buy a product related to it
- You see a lot of ads targeting specific products
You can take your ideas from this part of the process, and go back to the blog styles list above and think of types of blogs that would make sense around different subjects.
Real Life Examples:
Right now as I scroll through my Facebook feed I’m seeing multiple ads. The great thing about these ads, is most of them are retargeted, so you’ll see ads from sites you’ve been visiting lately, which will naturally show you ads of things you’re interested in. This will be different for everyone!
Here are some examples for me:
I’m being targeted by a landing page building software. There are many different routes I could take with this one, but I’ll go with the teaching and tutorials angle. This one would also walk the line of being a review blog as well, but as I mentioned, the lines sometimes get blurred and it’s up to you what your blog’s primary focus will be.
Blog: How to use the latest software to build your online business
Lead Magnet: How to make your business 5X more effective with the latest tools
Monetization model: Sign up for the affiliate programs of all different types of software in my niche and teach free video tutorials to push people to sign up for the service through my affiliate link. This would also build me an email list in the online business niche, where I could promote a multitude of other affiliate products and courses that I like.
I’m being targeted by bootcamps that teach you different coding languages.
For this type of blog I could start a journal where I learn different coding languages and blog to my followers about shortcuts they could implement to learn faster. These types of blogs are evergreen because you pretty much serve as a guinea pig to test things out, then give your readers the low down. Pivotal does this in many aspects, especially when I was first starting out. Here’s what I came up with:
Blog: Watch me learn to code, Journal blog that covers my journey to learning different coding languages.
Lead magnet: Save 25 hours learning (insert coding language here) with my shortcut cheat sheet
Monetization: Create and sell beginners guides in my unique teaching style to learning different coding languages. I could also promote books and coding bootcamps that I like as an affiliate.
I’m being targeted to hire freelancers. I could start a case study blog that tests the best freelancers and ranks them. If I built an email list around this I could feature Freelancers to my list and charge them a fee for getting new business.
I could also create or promote products on how to outsource tasks to maximize your productivity, and I would have plenty of case studies and examples since my blog would follow this format anyway.
I could also sell a rolodex of my best freelancers
Blog: Freelancers Reviewed, case study blog
Lead Magnet: List of my 5 best freelancers that increased my productivity by 5X
Monetization: Feature affiliated freelancers to newsletter for a fee, release/promote affiliate products that show you strategies to outsource tasks in your business/life.
Now that you have some ideas down, it’s time for you to do some research so you can validate or invalidate them.
Research and Validate
Now we need to find the money, or make sure the revenue potential is there. This is the most vital part, since all we’ve got so far is ideas. Even if you’ve gone through the exercise above where I came up with ideas for profitable blogs, it’s still important to walk through this to determine which option is the best for you.
To do this, we’re going to do some research on a few sites, that will show you if people are making money, and how much in the niches you’re considering to enter.
But stop right there!
Most average people would see this as competition, and they’d think it was impossible to enter the niche. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
In reality, seeing people already releasing products and making money is one of the best signs that you could make money in that niche as well. Instead of viewing other people as competition, it’s more realistic to view them as potential partners. In reality, most bloggers, and many business owners in the same niche end up working together to grow online.
With that in mind, here’s how you can discover whether or not there is money being made in your niche!
Search for keywords in your niche on Amazon. If there are plenty of physical products it can be a good sign, because you can promote these and generate commissions from them.
But as a blogger we know that most of the money for us is in courses. Formatting, teaching and delivering information is the primary value we deliver to the world, and something that is still needed no matter how many bloggers come onto the scene.
So you will want to specifically search the Amazon books and Kindle section to see what kinds of things are being written about, how much they are selling for, and how many people are reviewing them. Here’s how to do that.
Say I took an idea from my list of what I’d love to write about and wanted to start a blog about DIY furniture building.
Put in a keyword related to your niche in the Amazon search bar
Now keep note of how many search results there are, and how many reviews the products are receiving.
By reading the reviews you will also uncover a treasure trove full of topics that you could write about in the niche. Especially in the critical reviews.
Keep note of the books and ebooks that are listed here and use the following numbers are your benchmark.
If there are 20+ books on your topic with at least 5 having 50+ reviews that means that this topic gets a thumbs up on the Amazon front.
This means that this topic is popular on Amazon, and is the first step to proving that there is a market and money to be made behind your blog topic. Remember that you can write your own ebooks on Amazon, and you can promote other people’s ebooks there for a commission.
Note: Some people blog with the intention of selling physical products and some point, which is fine. Do that same exercise on Amazon just for your product’s niche.
The next stop on our validation list is my old friend Clickbank.
Clickbank is the internet’s longest lasting affiliate marketplace for information products. Many people still use it, although it was probably at its peak in around 2008.
The key here is you can discover information products in your niche, and Clickbank actually tells you how well they are selling.
Here’s how to find that out.
Go to Clickbank and search for your blog topic’s keyword in the Affiliate Marketplace
Now sort your results by “Gravity.” On Clickbank gravity is a somewhat complicated score that they have that pretty much tells you whether or not people are making sales on that product currently. It only takes into account sales made on a certain product within the last few months.
The higher the gravity, the more sales are being made currently. The lower the gravity, the fewer sales are being made. It’s not a one to one ratio (ex. for every point 1 person has made a sale) it’s just a scoreboard. But don’t worry, I’m about to tell you how to interpret it.
Now use these numbers as your benchmark for Clickbank. I like to use a rule of 20’s here.
As long as the average commission per product is at least $20 and the gravity is 20+ these are likely solid and worthwhile products to promote. But of course, the higher the better.
Now as long as at least 3 products fit this bill, I’d say it’s worth looking into. But the other thing that you’ll want to look at is the amount of loosely related products that a woodworking audience would still be interested in, their gravity and Avg. $ a sale.
For instance there are products the directly address the woodworking crowd, but things like building birdhouses, playhouses other DIY stuff etc. would also interest the crowd, and could be promoted to them.
So I would look for at least 3 products that closely fit the bill for specific products, and 10+ loosely related products.
Remember, that you can promote these products to generate revenue, but you can also create your own products. This is a great indicator that people are buying courses in your niche, and it even shows you how much they are paying for them.
Udemy isn’t the best place to sell a course for many reasons (mainly because the only way people by courses there is if they discount them to almost nothing,) and they definitely are lopsided more toward tech/online niches. But it can still be used as a great indicator to find out how much demand people have for your blog topic idea.
To do this, go to Udemy and search for your topic.
Now you’ll want to click on the most popular courses, and see how many people are enrolled in them.
I won’t give you solid numbers to gauge your niche based off of udemy, because like I said, it is a generally lopsided marketplace.
So here is how you should score Udemy.
As long as there are at least a few (3-5) courses with a couple hundred students, give this blog topic a thumbs up for Udemy.
Remember that you can create your own courses here (great for exposure, not so much for revenue) and you can promote other people’s courses as well.
Many times the best money in blogging is being made outside of the networks like Clickbank, Amazon, etc. You have people that have large brands that don’t have to rely on any of these networks, because those networks do cut into your profits. Most $1M+ earners from their blog that I know, don’t even use these networks, because they don’t have to anymore.
It is very possible to partner up with these people at some point, but to look for some more indicators on whether or not your chosen niche would be worthwhile, we need to get a grip on where these people are!
To do that, we can search for these people.
Depending on your niche landscape, you may be able to find an abundance of different products, or hardly any at all! For instance in the online business niche I could name 10 huge brands right off of the top of my head, without even having to search.
Searching Google the old fashioned way can make it very confusing because it will bring a large mixture of results. For this niches where it’s a lot harder to identify, like woodworking, we’ll start off with a great search engine called Blog Search Engine. This tools searches the internet just for blogs, which makes it way easier to sort through!
Just type in your niche topic to the search engine:
Now you just have to go through the results one by one to see blogs in your space. Click on each, and browse around their websites.
You will immediately start to see ways that these bloggers are monetizing, and you will be able to make educated guesses to how well they’re doing by looking at the following things:
- How professional their site and graphic design is
- Look for any numbers that they have published, such as email subscribers, Facebook followers, Twitter followers etc.
- Look at any products that they are selling. How much are they charging?
This step will be up to your opinion. Based off of the blogs that you are looking at, do you think you could create something cool and make money in the space?
I can say that for my wood working example this section has good blogs and products, but nothing that I see standing out.
The second way to use Good Ol’ Google for this.
Search google for the following queries, with the quotation marks and plus signs just as you see them below.
“your keyword” + “course”
“your keyword” + “ebook”
“your keyword” + “product launch”
“your keyword” + “product launch”
“your keyword” + “income report”
In order to see where the larger earners are in a given niche you may have to search for a more broad niche. For instance, instead of Woodworking, I had to search for “DIY,” “renovation,” “home building,” and “furniture blueprints.”
If you can find more than a few blogs that seem to be doing well, give it a thumbs up for this section.
Now it’s time to move on the the last step.
Prioritize and Grade
Now look at what you’ve got. By now you will have gone through each of your niche ideas and got a very balanced view of the landscape.
As far as your passions and revenue potential, which ones are the best?
Which ones are the worst?
You will most likely find that a few of your interests are pretty close on the profit potential scale, in which case it’s best to choose the one that interests you the most.
You’re much more likely to work harder, and create a bigger success on blogs that interest you more! Just look at this post! I could have easily written a 500 word post, but I’m passionate about this topic, so I just naturally wrote a 3000+ word guide which will help my readers much more, and get me better results in the long run.
And that’s all it takes!
Do you have any questions? If so, I’m happy to answer them in the comments!
Categorised in: Lessons