NB. Searcher intent can be a little ambiguous for this general topic – if you already have an existing blog and are instead looking for ideas for articles to write within your existing niche – then see this other post we did. This post covers how to come up with a niche for a blog website to begin with.
What if you really want to build a blog or niche website to make some extra money but have no ideas for what subject to base your website around?
You are struggling to come up with ideas, or the ideas you do have are too competitive and already taken by big authoritative sites you won’t be able to compete with. What can you do in this scenario?
This article is designed to help people stuck for an idea for their niche websites go through a process to get all their ideas, interests and passions down on paper, group them into categories and then pull out some relevant themes or subtopics they can explore as possibilities to base a blog site on.
In this article we are referring to passive income or niche sites which rely on affiliate marketing, ads and eBooks, rather than websites for an actual company or business. Our advice is aimed more towards the blogging and niche site space; nevertheless the same steps may be useful for other types of websites.
At the end of the day everyone has things they are good at and everyone has things they are interested in so we believe that anyone can find a good topic for their website if they get all their ideas out on paper and take a look over them.
Here is a quick summary of how to find a good niche for your blog if you are struggling:
- Systematically gather together all your general interests in a brainstorm.
- Pull out recurring themes from this ideas bank and grid them.
- Investigate these general topics to find sub-niches which are less competitive online.
- Make sure these niches are monetizable and have decent search volume.
- Start creating your blog around these niches.
By pulling out overarching themes, combining different interests or drilling down into certain topics to find very specific subtopics, it is very possible to find a suitable subject to base a niche website on. Let’s look at a way of doing this in more detail.
Brainstorm all Your Interests With an Ideas Bank
If you are stuck for ideas and inspiration for your blog site, the first thing to do is take a full inventory of all your ideas, interests and passions in the form of an ideas bank.
This can take any form you like, such as a digital folder, or a physical whiteboard or pieces of paper on a wall, but the main idea is to get anything that’s somehow interesting or significant to you out in some kind of external form.
A good way to do this is to break down your ideas bank in categories and put things which interest you into each category. The method I used was to buy a cork board, pin four A4 pieces of paper onto this board and then divide each piece of paper into four sections, creating 16 subsections to put different things into. These categories could include:
- Films/TV Shows
- Any other category which is relevant to your interests
- Anything else that somehow fascinates, interests or excites you but which you can’t quite categorize – Miscellaneous
Absolutely anything that interests, intrigues or excites me, or seems to be a recurring theme in my life, would go down in this ideas bank in a suitable category.
Give yourself a couple of weeks to do this if you want, since once you begin building this ideas bank, you may find that new things keep coming to you that you can keep adding. Perhaps things you had been interested in but completely forgotten about will come back to you.
Over days and weeks you may actually find you run out of paper, such are the different ideas that will come to you once you start the process.
There is often something useful about getting ideas out of our head and onto paper or something else external, as it can sometimes allow us to see things that have been under our nose all along, or else connect up general themes which run through our interests which we would never have noticed had we not got everything down on paper.
From here we can pick out some good potential avenues we can go down for a website.
Getting all your interests and passions down on paper or some other form allows you to step back and see general themes and trends
Extract A Niche Out of Your Ideas Bank
Once you have all your ideas, interests and passions down, it is time to start picking through and pulling out relevant themes and concepts which you think you could develop into a website. There are a number of different ways you could approach this.
Firstly, you can look across the different categories to see if there is any overlap or overarching themes that cut across into different areas of your ideas bank.
Perhaps there are common undertones or threads which are common to a lot of your interests, like human psychology, outdoors, environment, technology or money, to use some very broad examples.
This can give you an initial idea of general topics which are significant to you. You can then drill down into these general areas to find a specific niche that is going to work as a blog type of website. See the section below for evaluating niches to see if they are worth pursuing.
Perhaps technology can be niched down into a certain type of technology, psychology can be niched down into a certain branch of psychology, and so on.
You can also look to combine different interests and ideas in a way that would make a good niche site. For example, it crime and psychology are two concepts that keep coming up in your ideas bank, then maybe think about combining them into criminal psychology as a possible niche to pursue.
How about a site on forensics/criminology series’ such as CSI, Law and Order etc as a niche to explore (just an initial suggestion, not necessarily a recommendation)?
The idea here is to draw up a hit-list of possible niche topics for your site so you can then drill down into each topic to see whether it is a niche you can realistically expect to succeed as a passive income website.
Let’s look in more detail at how to do this.
Make Sure Your Niche is Not Overly Competitive
The crucial thing when deciding a topic for a niche site is to find the sweet spot between these 3 factors:
- A topic you are interested in.
- A topic that is not overly competitive in terms of the blogs already out there.
- A topic which has sufficient global interest and search volume that you can get enough traffic to make money off it.
If you can pull a niche out of your ideas bank which is the intersection of these three points, then you may just have a good topic for your website.
The interest part we have already covered. In terms of competitiveness, look for a topic that is not so broad and general that it is already dominated by bigger, more authoritative sites with loads of content already up.
It is going to be very difficult to outrank these type of sites no matter how good the content is you produce, since they have far more domain authority and trust on Google than a brand new site.
Certain areas like health, finances, recipes and fitness are generally NO GO’s for niche sites, since they are simply too saturated and competitive to get a foothold in.
Many other niches are also very competitive and you may need to avoid them altogether, or else drill down into a very specific corner or subtopic of the general topic to carve out a successful website eg. niche down from vintage cars to ford vintage cars, or from films to a certain category of films.
You are looking for small niches where the search results for many terms on that topic are poor quality and tangiental results (blog posts, short articles etc) and you think you can use your knowledge of the topic to write a better resource to answer that search term.
This is a perfect gap in the market for you to fill and the aim is to do this 30 times or more for different search terms within your niche to create a good passive income site.
The search volume and interest is harder to judge, since Google don’t release information on search volumes, and the keyword research tools do not give reliable data on this. It is more about using some common sense and good judgement here.
If the topic is broad enough that you can write 30 articles or more on searches people are typing into Google, then chances are it is a big enough niche to draw in some good traffic over time.
Income School on Analyzing the Competition for a Niche
What If I’m Still Stuck on Finding a Niche?
If you are still stuck for an idea after doing all this, it may simply be about finding a niche that is profitable and investing the time to learn about it, even if you are not that interested in it.
This is much harder than writing about something you are already passionate about, but can pay off if you are prepared to spend a month or so becoming a mini expert on something, doing searches on Google and watching videos on the topic.
A good compromise here could be pulling something out of your ideas bank that intrigues you, but which you have never really learnt about. Perhaps you have always been fascinated by windsurfing, but have never spent the time to look into it.
Now is the perfect chance to spend a month learning about it and write 30 articles afterwards about everything you have just learned, as long as you are answering searches other people are also typing into Google.
In general also look for any niche that is very specific and has a lot of search terms which have not be definitively or precisely covered in the search results.
This is an opening for someone to come in and produce high quality 1500 word articles thoroughly covering the these topics. Google will find and rank this article at the top of search results if it is better than anything that has been put out there so far on that topic.
Getting Started With Your Blog
If you mange to pull a good niche out of this process, and looking into it further you decide it is not overly competitive so you can have a stab at it, then it is about setting up your website and getting some good content uploaded that is the best resource online for that particular search term.
Our site is designed to take people through the startup process for the first time step by step, from getting domains and hosting, installing WordPress and setting up your website. Here are the general steps:
- Buy a good, shortish domain name which tells Google and visitors what your site is about. See our Domains page for a full run down of this process.
- Buy hosting from a reputable hosting company. Go for Shared/Web hosting to begin with and get an introductory package if you just want one site to begin with. Our Hosting page recommends 4 good hosting companies and takes you through the process step by step.
- Install WordPress and pick a good free or premium WordPress theme to build you website on. Our Themes page recommends some good free and paid themes for you to get started with. Acabado from Income School is a great option for super fast load speeds and no nonsense setup.
- The video tutorial below from Income School is designed for people just starting out and is a great motivational resource to get started with a niche website. Their Project 24 Program is also a great resource if you are able to invest the money in it.