I’ve been on the internet for nearly as long as I can remember. Even before WiFi was a thing, we had a dial up connection leading to the family computer (who else remembers the iconic setup noise, or shouting at family for using the phone?). There was a time before the internet, but I’m struggling to take myself back to then.
Whichever way you look at it, the internet has changed. A lot. In some ways, this hasn’t always led to positive changes. I think, overall, though, for the average person like you and me, it’s led to some marvellous new ways of living. We can order next day delivery with the snap of our fingers. Takeaways are now only a few inputs away, and usually arrive within the hour.
That’s not the only way that life has changed. The world has become so much more connected than before. Gone are the days of parents drilling into their children the ideas of Stranger Danger – how many of us regularly communicate with friends online? What about people that we’ve never met, but have connected with through shared interests via social media?
There are so many benefits to being online, but we’ve covered that – in my guide to why you should be blogging that I wrote earlier this year. Today, we’re thinking about how to make that important first move and actually get started.
Finding a niche
It’s really important that you find a niche. Your niche is what you’ll be writing about on your blog. If it’s too broad, or you’re writing about too much variety, no one will ever find your small slab of the internet. That’s not because they’re not interested, it’s because the almighty algorithms of Google won’t like it.
Search engines would rather show you something that’s got a lot of similar content, since it ‘ranks’ better in Google searches. When writers include lots of similar content on their blog, and pick specific keywords that are related to their posts, Google will like this too. This is what is called ‘Search Engine Optimisation’, or SEO, as you’re optimising your website for it to be found more easily on Google. If you start writing about lots of different pieces of content, without a good focus on keywords in each post, it’s not going to come up very easily in Google searches.
Let’s take an example from my blog to look at. This post that you’re reading is all about choosing your blogging niche, so obviously ‘niche’ is going to be the keyword here. You’ll notice that I’ve included that word in the title and every heading, and it’s also all throughout the body of this post. Google, therefore, is going to take kindly to that, and (hopefully) try its best to promote my work.
Exploring a niche
With all of that being said about finding a niche, you need to be careful that you don’t let it totally control your work. When I first started writing, I wanted to make my website about all things media. It was going to cover my interests in film, TV and video games; basically an IGN lookalike. I really enjoyed all of that writing that I did early on.
But times change. I lost my interest in that sector of the web. During Lockdown, I went through a bit of a renaissance with writing, and rediscovered my love of it through three major interests: productivity, personal development and education. Enough content for variety, but similar enough so that my work would do well in the Google algorithms.
Or, at least, well enough. But the important thing is that I enjoyed what I was writing, lost the love of it, and then rediscovered it by shifting my niche. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and write about something new.
Loving a niche
Don’t follow the money. I know that its allure can be strong, and picking a niche that you think will rank well could help you to monetise your blog a lot more easily, so it is very tempting.
Please, for the love of God, don’t be tempted. If you pick something to write about because you’ve seen success stories from others in the community, you could well write something good. Even something great. But will you enjoy it?
Life is remarkably short. If you spend your time choosing to do things that you don’t particularly enjoy, isn’t that just such a waste of time, effort and energy? And what if you do find success and then feel obliged to continue writing about something that you hate?
Not a great recipe for success.
Did I miss anything? What are your tips for discovering, exploring, and learning to love a niche?
While you’re here, you might also like…
Why not follow me on social media?