Not sure how to choose a topic for your blog in 2021? Ask yourself these 15 questions to know what blogging niche is right for you and right for this year‘s consumers.
So, you want to start a blog. Maybe you’ve always enjoyed writing, and blogging seems like a great way to bring in a side income. You’re not wrong! Blogging can be a fun and relatively easy way to express yourself, share your story, and make some extra cash along the way.
But in 2021, it’s not enough to choose a cutesy title and share your random musings with the world. We all remember 2009, when suddenly your sister-in-law, your mom, and all of your friends had blogspot pages, spruced up with scrapbook-style templates from The Cutest Blog on the Block. And some major early bloggers did make it big with general slice of life content! But as the internet grows more crowded and more sophisticated, you’ll need to want to put more thought and planning into your blog topic and title before you get started.
Why? Because the right niche will help connect your blog with readers and will help those readers become customers!
So how do you choose a blog topic?
And that’s why I’m here to help. Spend a little time reading through and carefully answering the following questions, and you’ll go a long way toward understanding how to choose a blog topic that’s right for you.
Choose a blog topic you’re passionate about
If you had a whole day to yourself with all of your responsibilities fulfilled, what would you do with your time?
The laundry is done, meals for the week are prepped, the house is clean, the dog is walked, you’re all caught up at work, and you’ve already exercised and showered. What would you do with the rest of that mythical day?
One of the ways that I knew homesteading was the right blogging niche for me was that I was always searching for free time to garden and experiment with old-fashioned cooking techniques.
What subjects do you speak enthusiastically and at least somewhat knowledgeably about?
Before you get too intimidated here, know that I’m NOT asking what you’re an expert in. One of the most effective blogging techniques is to present yourself as an enthusiast who is sharing what they learn along the way.
If there’s a topic you can’t help but bring up in conversations, you’ll probably enjoy blogging about it too.
What subjects do your friends come to you with questions about?
Again, you don’t need to be an expert! But if your friends always ask you for money advice, maybe you could blog on personal finance. If they’re always using your recipes, maybe food blogging is for you. Are you the one who always knows about the best local hikes or festivals or restaurants, maybe you’ve found your niche!
Even if you don’t feel especially confident, friends perceiving you as a source of information on a specific topic is a pretty good sign that you’re knowledgeable enough to blog about it.
What topics do you research often?
Look at your recent google search history and Pinterest search history to get an idea of what you often have questions about. What books have you purchased or checked out from the library in the past year? Which podcasts do you listen to? What websites and blogs do you frequent?
Pay attention to themes in what you’re always learning more about.
What types of products do you buy more often than the average person?
Now this is where your Amazon purchase and search histories can come in handy. Take a look at types of items you buy that the average person might not. If you can define your buying niche, chances are that a focused blog will bring in buyers in that same niche.
Since I’m always buying organic pest control products, kitchen appliances and utensils, and do-it-yourself gear, homesteading’s a good blogging fit for me!
Once you find a niche, make sure you mean it
Is this a topic or activity I’m consistently interested in and committed to?
Be brutally honest with yourself here. Choose a blog topic that has consistently held your interest for a long time. And if it’s hobby, activity, or lifestyle related, make sure it’s already well-integrated in your life.
Why? Because it’s hard to upend your life AND start a blog at the same time. Some bloggers can do it, but I’m not one of them.
When I first started blogging, I planned to write about clean eating and overhauling my health. Now, those are topics I care about, but I struggled to keep momentum with blogging and overhauling my diet and lifestyle at the same time. I also struggled with creating recipes, because it was a whole new way of cooking for me.
When I switched my focus to homesteading broadly, it was an enormous relief, because old-fashioned skills, homestyle cooking, and gardening were already a major part of my life.
What makes my take on this topic unique?
As I mentioned before, it’s harder to get eyes on your blog in 2021 than it was in 2009. No matter your niche, you’ll be competing with other blogs and websites for attention, so it’s important to find a way to set yourself apart.
And sometimes the thing that sets you apart can be a specific obstacle that you’re overcoming in relation to that niche.
For years, I thought that homesteading was a distant dream because I lived in an apartment. It was a real aha moment when I realized that other people had the same problem and wanted to overcome it (see more on this below). There are a lot of homesteading blogs out there, and there are quite a few urban homesteading blogs. I’m unique in writing specifically to apartment homesteaders, though, and that focus provides clarity in how I structure my blog.
Can I come up with 52 blog posts within this specific niche?
Now, grab a piece of paper, and brainstorm! Write down as many blog post ideas as you can think of.
If you struggle to come up with posts, ask yourself what you’d like to learn about your topic. Make a bullet point list of the answers you come up with, and consider each point a potential post.
If you can come up with 52 posts, you’ve got an entire year’s worth of content – 2021 planned out in one step!
Consider your target audience
Who is your ideal reader and customer?
This might seem like an odd or limiting question – after all, why would you want to limit your audience? But the truth is that your blog can’t be for everyone, and it inevitably won’t be. You’ll have a much easier time writing posts and developing products if you know precisely who you’re writing for.
So, as you choose a blog topic, get specific about who you’re writing to. What is your ideal readers’ age, gender, family status, income level, and housing situation?
Don’t be surprised if your target reader looks a lot like you.
My ideal reader is a 20-30 something single woman with no children. She’s probably college educated and makes $25000-$50000/year, but she can’t afford a house with a yard right now. She either rents an apartment or owns a condo, but she dreams of owning land big enough for chickens, bees, an orchard, and a huge vegetable garden. She might have roommates. My ideal reader is basically myself.
What are your ideal readers’ problems?
Want to make money as a blogger? Solve a problem for your reader.
Spend some extra time on this question, because it’s the crux of what you’ll be writing about. People spend money when they think spending will solve their problems. So what obstacles are your readers facing in relation to your niche topic? How can your blog posts, products and services solve their problems? Figuring this out should be your number one priority.
For me, the fundamental problem that my ideal reader faces is feeling like she can’t homestead because she’s not being able to afford land. She might think she doesn’t have the kitchen space, equipment, or garden required for old-fashioned living. I solve that problem through blog posts, ebooks, and online courses that teach homesteading skills that work in an apartment setting.
Decide how you can earn money within that niche
Before we jump into talking about making that $$$, here’s an essential reminder: you’ll never gain your readers’ trust if you’re only in it for the money.
And if you never gain your readers’ trust, they’re unlikely to actually give you their money anyway.
So prioritize the previous section over this one. Ask yourself again and again – who is your target audience? What problems are you solving for them? Sometimes you can help them solve their problems by selling things to them, but make sure the solutions you offer are real ones. Give them quality content and services.
What kinds of affiliate products fit in with this niche?
Affiliate programs pay you a percentage of sales whenever a person purchases an item you’ve linked to.
Once you’ve signed up for an affiliate program, you can link to a product within your posts and receive a percentage of the sales any time a reader follows the link and makes a purchase.
Above all, focus on linking to products that solve your ideal reader’s problems. If your focus is on meeting your reader’s needs, your blog content will remain natural.
What kinds of brands do I associate with this topic?
Are there brands that you love and would like to work with someday? Would their products help solve your ideal reader’s problems?
If so, carefully consider the types of posts and other content you can create that would naturally involve promoting those brands
Alternatively, many bloggers, myself included, prefer to use a more general advertising program, like Google Adsense. This program shows ads to readers based on their recent search history. Since the ads are already tailored to their interests, they’re more likely to generate a profit. Programs like Google Adsense offer you payment based on your blog’s general traffic.
Do I have an ethical multi-level marketing brand I’d like to partner with?
Some highly profitable lifestyle bloggers bring in money through multilevel marketing programs like Doterra or Beauty Counter. As you gain the trust of your readers, they’ll be more likely to buy through you. They’ll also be more likely to work under you if they decide to sell the product themselves. Keep in mind, though, that MLMs leave a bad taste in some readers’ mouths, and that many MLMs are predatory. Only participate in a multi-level program if you believe whole-heartedly in the product and feel completely comfortable with the profit structure.
If you already participate in this sort of program or are interested in joining one, consider carefully how your blog topic could relate to it. Are there ways you could incorporate the products into your posts in natural ways that don’t feel spammy?
Do I have a physical product of my own I could sell?
If you answer no to this question, no problem! Not everyone needs to sell a physical product. But if you have a physical product you love to create, your blog can be a great way to promote it.
Brainstorm some ways to naturally discuss your merchandise in blog posts. Are there blog post topics that lend themselves to product promotion? What problems does your merchandise solve for your reader?
Could I sell my expertise on this topic directly, through ebooks, courses, or mentorships?
Again, don’t be scared off by the idea of yourself as an expert! If there’s a topic you love enough to blog about it, then I guarantee you’re capable of writing short ebooks or teaching others directly through courses and one-on-one memberships.
Courses and mentorships in particular are one of the biggest money-makers in the blogging world. They involve a large amount of work up front, but can then provide a constant source of easy income going forward.
As you commit to a blogging niche, I recommend also choosing a subtopic you’d like to create an ebook, course, or mentorship within a year. That might seem premature, but you can then tailor your blogging work throughout that time to make creating your first big seller more easily. The research, photography, outlining, and writing you do for your posts can be adapted and expanded upon into a more in-depth digital product for sale.
Recap: How to choose a blog topic in 2021
Now that you know how to choose