I want you to pick a niche and have a basic blog online before you go to sleep tonight.  There is no reason to keep eating cold fish sticks just because you’re indecisive.

To help you to pick a topic for your site, I spent many many hours thinking of all kinds of different online business that I think could be successful.  Click here to see my niche site ideas list and it will open in a new tab.  Take a look at it and then come back to this page to continue once you’ve picked a topic.

But before we get your site online, we need to bust a few common myths so you feel comfortable with your choice…

General principles to guide you in selecting a niche for your site

Do not waste any time thinking of what kind of website can be successful.  What you really need to be asking is how you can be helpful.  If you can be helpful, you can get traffic.  And traffic = money.

What have you researched?  Take a minute and think about the things you’ve Googled over the last few months.  Forget about the searches you did that returned the answer for you immediately.  Focus on the searches you did that required multiple searches or hunting through different websites to find the answers.  Think about times in your life where you researched and researched a particular topic before making a big purchase, learning a hobby, etc.  Wouldn’t you have been happy if someone had done all the legwork for you and presented the information in a simple and helpful website?  That’s what you need to do to earn money.

What do people ask for your advice about?  You should already have a few ideas, but let’s take this one step further.  If a friend called you and asked for advice, what would the friend be asking about?   For example, it could be someone asking what bow to buy if they know you like archery, or parenting advice from a struggling mom, or advice on clothing for the evening, or how to run a marathon, or what computer to buy, or how to decorate a home, or whatever else.

EVERYONE has something they are good at.  Sometimes those skills are obvious (like if you are crazy about running marathons), and sometimes those skills have more to do with your personality or lifestyle.  You don’t have to have a hobby to be knowledgeable enough on a topic to give advice.

What would YOU like to learn? The last exercise I’d like you to think through as you pick your topic is what you’d like to learn.  When I started my first blog, it was photography.  I had just purchased a new camera and wanted to learn all about it.  Because I was interested in the topic, it motivated me to learn about it and share the tips I learned from others as I learned the hobby.  Remember, you don’t need to be an expert.  All you need to do is learn about something and share what you’re learning as you go.

How do I know if the topic/niche I’ve selected will make money?

I have never seen a website with traffic that can’t make money.  If you have website traffic, you can make money.

Still, that isn’t to say that some ideas aren’t better than others.  And it certainly isn’t to say that getting traffic is easy or that this is some kind of “sure bet.”  It isn’t.  Creating a successful online business takes work, but I can promise you that the prize is well worth it.

Can you give me some examples?

I was only an average photographer when I created ImprovePhotography.com and last year it earned half a million dollars.

Jerry Alonzy, a retired handyman, makes over $120,000 per year on a site that shows people how to make common home repairs.

Andrew Youderian created a site about trolling motors (for fishermen) and another about CB radios and now grosses over $1 million per year.

Lain Ehmann earns six figures with her scrapbooking blog.

I could go on, and on, and on, and on, and on….

Are there any topics that are BAD ideas?

Yes, there are.  A few months ago I received an email from someone who wanted to sell her website.  She had a significant amount of website traffic (about 100,000 pageviews per month), and was earning about $4,000 per month from the site.  I was watering at the mouth when I heard the numbers because I was very eager to buy the site.

As soon as I went to the site, however, I immediately lost all interest in the deal.  Why?  The site was a couponing website.  The author of the blog scoured the ads from all major stores each morning and published a blog post with the best deals of the day.  The blog was popular, but whoever bought the site would have to spend hours a day producing an article that would be worthless within 24 hours.  That’s a treadmill I don’t want to get on.

So there isn’t anything wrong with the coupon niche, but there IS something wrong with the way that site helped people–it was unsustainable.  So I think any topic can work as long as you think it through.

Another point is this: Nearly everyone at this stage says, “Well, I’m interested in how to make money online, so I’ll do a blog about that!”  You’re welcome to do that, but since just about every blogger has the same thought, this niche is ridiculously crowded and competitive for traffic.  I’m not saying it can’t work, but it is tough.  I am VERY glad that I didn’t choose this niche as my first site or my main site.

What if there is already a site exactly like what I want to make?

No problem at all.  Just because there are other clothing stores in your city doesn’t mean a new clothing store will fail.  When I first started my photography blog, there were already HUNDREDS of other websites online with photography information.

Some people will prefer your website because they like the way you write or speak.  Some people will prefer your website because they happened upon it first.  Some people will prefer your website because it was recommended by a friend.  Etc.  It’s a big world out there.  Do not worry about other websites competing with you.

Let’s move on.

In the next step of this tutorial I’m going to walk you through the most exciting part of this whole process–setting up your WordPress site. So focus all your attention on the little green button again and let’s launch your home on the web in 10 minutes or less.

Step 2: Get Your WordPress Site

 

Comments

  1. As a 37 year old mother of 4, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge and experience with something that millions of married couples or just couples have gone through or will go through. My husband and I have defied the odds and are still continuing to heal and learn how to make our relationship work…So, I would have to be very vulnerable and open with my life and faith if I were to blog about this. What do you think?

    1. There are people that make this type of blog work, where they write about themselves and their experiences. But it’s hard to do and be successful unless you make the blog more about that topic than about yourself. Does that make sense?

      So rather than a blog about Courtney’s marriage you could make a blog or niche site about how to build successful marriages. That topic could do really well. I hope that helps. If you’re interested in this take a look at Niche Site School where we can guide you through this process of picking a great niche and building a successful site.

  2. Jim, love your ideas & I’m finally getting started. Just wanted to chime in about a potential stumbling block I encountered; trademarks! I registered a domain name then later found the pluralized version federally trademarked. Yikes! Since our subject matter is incredibly close, I’ve opted to proceed with another name instead of risking legal issues down the road. Thanks for the awesome tips!

  3. Just finished step one. Your style of
    writing is so simple to understand that
    anyone can create a successful blog that
    brings in income.

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