Choosing a niche often involves diving into the confusing and frustrating world of keyword research, but there are actually simpler ways of doing it.
Before we begin, since you’re reading this post, I’ll assume that:
- You’re looking to start an online business but aren’t sure what niche you should be in
- You already have a blog, but you’re worried that you’re not in the right niche
- You have a blog but you don’t know if your niche has sufficient profit potential
- You have a blog niche in mind (or maybe it’s in progress already) but you’re worried that it may be too broad
If any of this sounds like you, then read on to find out how to solve those issues.
This article will break down niche selection for you and make it easy for you to see the way forward without getting stuck in the tangled weeds of never-ending keyword research, self-doubt, and indecision.
You’ll be guided through the process of choosing and evaluating the profitable blogging niches, and you’ll also get a simple, specific test that you can run on each niche to make the selection process quicker and easier for you.
Redefining The Niche
Most bloggers talk about ‘choosing a niche’ or ‘niche selection’ when referring to the decision of what the topic of their blog is going to be.
They have the idea that if you hit upon the right topic and use the perfect keywords in some magical combination, Google will fall in love with you and send you tons of visitors…
But that never works because you’re leaving too much to chance and luck.
Also, it is not laser-focused on your true goal: To build an online business that actually makes money. Traffic that has no purpose is just a waste of time.
If you want to generate business, you must forget all about the traditional idea of ‘niche selection’ and think of it in terms of markets and products instead. This is what is called Product/Market Fit.
To make sure that we’re on the same page here, let’s define a few more terms.
A market is basically just a group of people who are actively seeking a solution to a desire or problem that they have. They have a want or a need and are searching for a solution for it, and that’s the thing that defines them as a group.
Oh, and they also have the willingness and ability to PAY for that solution.
A product is the delivery mechanism for the solution that this market is searching for.
This could be a physical product, a service, or an information product, but whatever it is, it’s a delivery mechanism for the particular ‘transformation’ that will move the user from their current reality into the new one that they desire.
This is the outward presentation of that product or service. The offer includes the features, benefits, price, guarantee, bonuses (if any), and so on.
So what we’re searching for here isn’t just a niche in the sense of ‘what am I going to blog about?’ We’re actually searching for a market – a group of people who are seeking a specific outcome.
And then, we want to find an offer that fits them directly. In order for us to arrive at that fit, we have to ask a couple of questions:
- What are you able to deliver?
- Is there a hungry market to deliver it to?
Diving into these two questions further, ask yourself ‘What makes a good market?’
There are the usual ‘hot’ markets online such as the weight loss, dating, and make money online markets, but think about why those markets are so hot.
The answer to that lies in the three factors below.
The 3 Factors of a “Good” Market Are:
1. A group of people who have a common problem or desire that can be fulfilled
2. That group must be actively looking for a solution to that problem or desire
3. They must have the willingness and ability to pay for the solution
Now, Let’s Dive Further Into These Three Factors:
1. A group of people who have a common problem or desire that can be fulfilled.
A good market is aligned with the delivery of a transformation.
But be careful that the transformation you’re looking to deliver can actually be fulfilled because if it’s just an interest without a real goal to it, that will make your life as a marketer a lot harder.
Markets like sports news, politics, celebrity gossip and other news-oriented niches are examples of markets that don’t have a clear transformation.
While people may be extremely interested in whatever subjects are being covered by the news, they aren’t necessarily going to do anything about it, are they?
So it does not align with any kind of solution which means that these markets typically have to rely on banner ads in order to make any real money.
And honestly, that sucks.
But, lucky for you, there are tons of markets that align with transformations including:
- Making Money
- Dog Training
These are just examples, but there are tons of them. The point here is that there are actually solutions to be had.
For instance, take the dating niche – at one end you have no partner, and at the other end you find love.
Or take the ‘make money’ niche – it’s a clear, direct and measurable outcome from having no money to having money.
As long as the outcome is clear, you won’t go wrong.
In addition to choosing a market that aligns with a transformation (and something can be done about it), the people in that market also need to be aware of it, and they need to be actively looking for the solution. If you’re in the business of convincing people, get out now.
It’s always going to be much harder if you have to convince people that they have a particular problem before you can solve it for them.
In fact, this can be borderline shady sometimes. It’s important to make sure that the outcome or solution being delivered is clear to them.
They must want it.
While they may not know exactly how to get it, they know what it looks like and they definitely want it.
2. That group must be actively looking for a solution to their problem or desire.
If there aren’t people looking for a solution, then there isn’t a market.
But what are the indicators that a market has people who are actively searching for a solution?
- Paid Ads:
If you see product providers willing to pay to reach those people who have problems, then there’s clearly a market and money is flowing.
- Competing Offers:
If there isn’t any competition in the market you intend to go into, run away. The presence of competitors is a good sign. It means there’s money to be made in that market.
If you see magazines on the topic, you have a good market. Magazines can’t stay in business if there’s no money flowing, especially those with paid ads in them.
- Keyword Search Volume:
Don’t get too focused on this. There isn’t some magic threshold in the search volume that makes a difference between failure and success. Just look for decent search volume.
- Social Groups and Active Communities:
Again, no fancy thresholds or specific numbers that you can use to make concrete judgments.
All you need to do here is surf the internet and look at the various factors described above so that you can get a good idea of how active any of the markets you’re interested in are.
When you see active communities, lots of people asking questions, magazines, decent search volumes, competing product providers, paid ads and so on, all these factors come together to give you a sense of what’s happening.
3. They must have the willingness and ability to pay for the solution.
Are the people able to pay for what you’re offering?
This isn’t about people being cheap, or anything like that. What we’re talking about here are logistical issues.
For example, say you’re targeting kids, the obvious logistical problem here is that it’s the parents who make the purchasing decisions.
This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid this market, it just means that you need to have a plan for something like that. In other markets, such as medical, there may be legal concerns.
Another issue is if your target market is found primarily in third world countries, you may have a problem with their inability to access credit cards. Such are the things you have to confront before choosing your niche.
As for the willingness to pay for your product, generally speaking, if you make your offer good enough, the people in your target market will want to buy it.
You just have to figure out how to make the solution you provide for their problem valuable enough that it motivates them to spend money on it.
But that is a marketing problem.
With regards to the market in general, all you need to do is to look for indicators of money flowing. As previously stated, look for competing products, make sure they are selling, and find out if the market has a proven record when it comes to making purchases.
I recommend that you stay away from those markets that are against spending money such as markets that are defined by frugality.
A lot of bloggers build their blogs around doing stuff cheaply, and then they wonder why they are finding it so hard to monetize their blog. Hello?
It’s because you went and attracted an audience whose main goal is to not spend any money, why would they make an exception for you?
So, What Markets Can You Actually Serve?
Now that you know of a market that’s hungry for what you’re offering looks like, it’s time to dive into the 5 lists for profits – the questions that will help you to determine if you can actually be of value to that market.
Just because you found a hungry market doesn’t mean that you’re equipped to serve them.
So now we’re going to look at what exactly you can provide people with.
What do you have the ability to help your audience with? This is something that only you can answer. Use the five questions below to help you brainstorm opportunities.
The 5 Lists for Picking a Profitable Niche
1. What Topics are you Passionate About?
Make a list of all the topics that you love or are interested in. Passion isn’t the most important factor, but I am a big advocate of making money while doing what you love.
It just makes life a lot more fulfilling. But it doesn’t mean that if you’re not passionate about something then you shouldn’t include it here.
There’s actually nowhere in the pairing of Product/Market Fit that is concerned about how thrilled you are with any market so if you don’t mind doing something that bores you, by all means, add it to the list.
2. What Would You be Motivated to Learn Really Well?
Make a list of those things that you would be highly motivated to learn well.
What this means is that it’s a potential market that you’re willing to become an expert in, even if you aren’t one currently.
3. What are you really good at?
Make a list of the things that you’re good at, even if you aren’t passionate about them.
Think about the skills you have, what you’re currently doing for a living, or the things that people routinely ask you to help them with.
I’m willing to bet that everyone reading this post is good at something whether you love it or not.
4. What Markets do you Believe Might be Good Ones?
Make a list of the markets that you believe may be good markets, and ones that you know someone in your social circle who is good at it.
Sometimes you may see a potential market but you don’t think that you have the ability, or personally, to serve them.
But the thing is, you probably know someone who does.
There’s always a possibility of devising partnerships with them so that they are the ‘experts’ while you take care of the ‘Internet’ stuff, so list those markets anyway.
5. Which Markets Clearly Have People who are Buying?
Make a list of those markets where you see people buying. Consider your own life and experience. List those areas where you’ve seen that people buy stuff and are demonstrating demand.
Your Next Steps
Now that you have your five lists, you have a lot more clarity on the ideal niche for you.
You know what the transformation that you hope to provide looks like, and you know what kind of transformations you are equipped to provide. All that’s left is to put it all together and make a choice based on all the information that you’ve gathered.
Don’t overthink this. You’ve arrived at the market you wish to begin with.
I’ve often found that the first option that you’re instinctively drawn to is usually the right one for you, and even if it’s not, don’t worry, it’s not set in stone and you can always change your niche later if you want to.
Just remember the important points: Think of your niche as a Product/Market Fit. Define your niche based on ‘who’ and ‘what they want’ instead of simply making a choice based on what you want to blog about.
Doing this will keep your focus on the transformation that you’re hoping to serve and help you pick the perfect niche for you.
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Updated: Originally published June 19th 2018