The best way to pick a niche for your blog

Today we take a look at the absolute best way to pick a nice for your blog and what really matters to start growing traffic and building an audience online and how two 8 year old girls will tell you everything you ever needed to know about how to build an audience online.

For years I’ve struggled with the answer to a question that a ton of beginners struggle with. In fact I’d say I still struggle to this day with the right answer to this question. And that question is:

If content is king – what the hell should my website be about?

Content is king – and content creators are the kingmakers

Make no mistake about it – content is king. Creating good quality, engaging and valuable content and lots of it is the best way to build your website traffic and audience on a long term basis. The single reason why Google became the powerhouse that it is today was because it did (and still does) a better job at getting people to the content that best answered their search query quickly. If all the content that exists on the internet today were to suddenly go ‘poof’ and disappear from existence, Googles Search business would be in serious trouble. It would in fact cease to exist as we know it today. It wouldn’t be long either before all those cool self driving cars and scary AI robots go bye bye either – as they’re still primarily funded from the profits of Googles search advertising business – which accounts for over 90% of it’s revenue.

It’s sometimes easy to forget just how important content creators are to the success of most of the worlds biggest Internet businesses. 

But it’s this reliance on content creators by these huge Internet juggernauts that makes the Internet such a wonderful place. It’s why in 2016 there are still huge opportunities for anyone who wants to make a living online doing something they love rather than sitting in a ‘safe’, boring cubicle for the next 40 years crunching numbers for the man. Right now there are 8 year olds on Youtube making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month doing what they love – baking cakes.

Drop everything and just create some fucking content

Here’s the thing. If you’re just getting started with this whole making money online thing – you’re in for one hell of a ride. In the main, it’s a cesspool of bullshit and snakeoil salesmen promising to sell you the secrets to success. You’ll hear about SEO strategies, the importance of backlinks, private blog networks, link juice, keyword density, keyword research, commercial intent, social media strategy, dark hat, white hat, grey hat and god knows how many other things that makes the whole thing so daunting and overwhelming for beginners who often spend thousands on courses, ebooks, webinars without actually ever creating anything.

In the beginning – none of this crap matters – it just gets in the way of the one thing you should be doing – creating kick ass content.

You think those 8 year olds making baking videos know the first thing about Internet Marketing – of course they fucking don’t – they’re 8! They been too busy having fun baking and making videos and sharing it with the world. As long as you’re creating kick ass content, the best minds on the planet in Google, Youtube, Facebook et al. are doing their jobs to tune their algorithms to make sure they can find it and put it in front of their audience. Some of the largest and most visited websites in the world have never spent a single minute worrying about their backlink profile or their bounce rate. Kickass content naturally takes care of 95% of everything you’ll need to worry about from an SEO perspective. And that right there is a a wonderful thing – as it means your biggest barrier to success isn’t someone or something else – it’s you – and your ability to create kick ass content.

Taking action

As a recovering victim of information overload and analysis paralysis I’ve listened to enough podcasts and read enough success stories to know that those who succeed generally are the ones who aren’t sitting around listening to podcasts and reading about the success stories of others – they’re too busy getting out there and creating their own success. So the irony of all ironies after listening to all those podcasts, reading all those blogs and buying all those ebooks – is to do none of that. Just fucking start taking action and creating content.

Worry about everything else later when creating content is ingrained in your very being. 

So back to that question we all struggle with – what content should I create?

Do NOT start with market or niche research

Whether you’re a seasoned online entrepreneur or just getting started you’ll hear the world and it’s mother tell you about how important it is to do market research.

You’ll hear lots of stuff like this:

“Find market niches where competition is low but traffic is high”

“Don’t go after the big niches because they’re dominated by big players with huge sites and you’ll never be able to compete”

“Target very specific niches or sub niches where no one else is creating content”

And it all sounds logical and makes fucking sense right? WRONG! Trust me – I’ve done it – time and time again.

Why Market Research is the absolute worst thing you can start with

Contrary to the generally accepted wisdom I truly believe that spending a lot of time up front trying to find markets and niches that exhibit desirable low competition, high traffic characteristics is a complete waste of time. Why? It often leads to people making decisions about creating for markets that they don’t give a fuck about. And that will mean that if you’re like most normal human beings you won’t be able to sustain the kind of momentum or interest in your chosen market for the time you’ll need to succeed in said market. I’ve followed all the guides on how to do this “the right way” And yes, generally it can work – for a while – until you ultimately get bored and disinterested because you picked your chosen market with your head and not your heart. Some people exhibit Teutonic, robotic qualities that let them do this on an ongoing basis and succeed – but I don’t think most people are wired that way and that’s why I think it’s the wrong way to start.

The process also sucks the fun out of creating content. Again, did our 8 year old Youtube bakers spend time studying whether there was demand for baking videos before they started? Did they evaluate the commercial intent of their potential audience? Did they take a look at the fuckton of existing baking videos that existed on Youtube already and say nah – let’s make some videos about how to tie our shoelaces instead – nope – no way. They just got on with doing what they loved. And that’s the real secret that two 8 year olds have taught us – DO WHAT YOU LOVE.

Do what you love

There are many who insist you shouldn’t follow your heart. That doing what you love is pointless if you can’t make money from it. For a long time I subscribed to that philosophy too. It seems grounded in sense and logic. I would argue that the evidence from listening to literally hundreds of episodes of podcasts like MixergyThe Tim Ferris Show and The James Altucher Show is that quite different. Many times you’ll find that entrepreneurs almost stumbled into success by first creating something they were very genuinely interested in where the potential for making money might not have even been the driving force for doing it to start with. Quite often it’s a passion for even the most obscure niche or market that leads people to finding a way of making it work financially.

It’s also way more likely that you’ll stick with it if you have a genuine interest in what it is your creating content about. Building an audience takes a lot of time. You need to keep turning up – writing those blog posts, creating those videos and doing everything else that you need to build your audience.

Validating if doing what you love can work

If we boil it down even further, here’s the best way of knowing if doing what you love can work. Take a seat with a blank A4 piece of paper and a glass of water. Now starting writing blog post titles. How many can you write? If you’re struggling after 5 titles forget it. You shouldn’t have any trouble getting to 20-30 post titles in a few minutes. If you’re really passionate about something then 50-75 should be easily attained.

Sometimes doing what you know is a good fallback

If you’re still struggling to find something you love then don’t fear – all is not lost. Everyone – absolutely everyone has something they know better than the person next to them. If you spent 10 years work in a corporate procurement department you might not think that your experience is a viable market to tackle. And you would probably be wrong. One mans junk is another mans treasure. Your detailed knowledge of how a corporate procurement department is like gold dust to small businesses who pitch for work with large corporate customers. There’s probably a metric ton of stuff you could tell those small businesses about how to effectively sell to large corporates that some businesses would take your arm off if you were to create a product or service around this.

So if you can’t find something you love – start with something you know.

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