Step 4: Research your niche
An important step in defining a good niche is to make sure it is exclusive. Spend some time Googling other blogs in your area of interest. If there are none, or very few, it may mean that there’s not enough interest in your topic.
If you find, however, that your topic is crowded, you have two options:
• Find a new niche within the niche. For example, instead of a generic cooking blog, you could do a blog with recipes for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and call it: jointventurecooking.com
• You could have a site that is devoted to help people to flatten their stomach and call it: nomorebigtummy.com, or flattummyforever.com.
The key to creating a solid niche is high interest, creativity, and some good solid business research.
Now that you have your niche, people will start showing up en masse to read your blog.
Sorry, not so fast.
It takes more than defining your niche to grow your site’s traffic. It takes daily hard work to build a community of followers.
Step 5. Identify problems in your niche and offer solutions.
The best way to keep people coming back to you frequently is becoming a resource that they can count on to help them solve their problems.
Blogs with the most loyal following are blogs that solve problems:
• Crafting blogs may solve a problem for people who are not creative and need help.
• Cooking blogs may solve a problem for those who are always looking for new and different cooking ideas.
- Fitness blogs solve a problem of being overweight.
Once you’ve chosen your niche, list the problems faced by people in your niche. You should know what they are because you are in the niche yourself.
If it’s a problem for you, chances are other people struggle with the same thing too.
Your purpose for your blog just became clear: help your target market solving their problems.
Dov Gordon from The Alchemist Entrepreneur explains that there are two things that attract people’s interest:
“A problem I have and don’t want, and a result/change I want and don’t have.”
Step 6. Is there any competition? And if yes, how are they doing?
One of the ploys that some bloggers get pulled into when choosing a topic is to go for the most popular topic with no regard for the competition they could face in that market.
Chances are that if you have identified a niche that you think is “hot”, there are many other bloggers who think the same way.
Why would you want to enter into a battle before even starting a new blog? You do not have to go for the topic that everyone is searching for. In fact, sometimes it is the less popular topics that have little or no competition that are the best earners.
A good friend of mine gave me this advice multiple times:
“It is better to become a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.”
If you already made the error and selected a niche with lots of competition, you can remedy the problem by identifying what the competition is neglecting. Find that gap and fill it.
Step 7: Plan your content
One of the key characteristics of a successful blog is the ability to continually come up with fresh content on their topic for long periods of time.
Conversely, one of the things that kill many blogs is when their authors run out of things to write about.
You can answer the question of whether there is enough content in two ways:
• Do YOU have enough content within YOU as an author? This comes back to the question we asked above about your interests and energy for the topic.
• Do you have access to many other sources of content and inspiration?
here are many web-based tools around these days that can help you in coming up with content. Check places like Google News, Topix, Yahoo! News, Bloglines, Technorati, Alltop and Blog Pulse.
Start with a list of 50-100 article ideas in your niche gleaned from your own thoughts, and from the other sources listed above.
Your goal is to always be paying attention to what people in your niche are asking, saying and reporting. You need to monitor your niche market daily. A good place to get informed is in the comments section of your competing blogs.
With article ideas listed, it’s time to set up an editorial calendar, at least 1-3 months ahead with topics for your posts. Even if you move articles around, it gives you a structure to work within and helps prevent throwing posts together at the last minute.
Step 8. Are there income streams from your topic?
If you are interested in earning an income from blogging you should investigate to see if the topic you’ve chosen has any obvious potential income streams.
There are many ways you can earn money from a blog; however, not every topic is going to be suitable for every potential income stream.
For example, contextual ad programs like AdSense work really well for some topics but hardly earn anything from others. Similarly some blogs do well with affiliate programs (the key is to find affiliate programs that match your topic closely) and others are better suited to impression based ads (thosewith high traffic levels)
Now, you’re ready
If you’ve worked through these eight steps, it’s time for you to begin designing your blog, establishing your online brand, and writing!
If you have any question, or need clarification in some issues, please place it in the comments section.