Something that may be a bit confusing to those looking into working online is the concept of a niche. The simple, but not-so-simple answer is that a niche can be anything, though some niches will likely be easier or more profitable to work in.
Generally, what I suggest, especially to anyone just starting out, is to choose a niche based on something that you are already knowledgeable about, or at least interested in learning about. I find it much easier to motivate myself to write about things that I already enjoy. Then again, maybe your passion is always learning something new and sharing it. Ultimately it is up to you.
Merriam-Webster defines a niche multiple ways, but the two that are relevant here are:
- a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted finally found her niche, and
- a specialized market
However you choose to pronounce it, a niche is basically a topic that you are focusing on for your website. It ca be helpful to be specific, to really narrow it down. For example, if you wanted to make a site devoted to games, that is pretty broad. Basketball and baseball are games, as are poker, blackjack, chess, Monopoly, Dungeons & Dragons and Grand Theft Auto.
Narrowing your focus can help you reach a specific audience. Those who would come to your site looking for board games to play with their kids are probably not too interested in the latest PS4 or XBox games. Likewise, those who are into tabletop roleplaying games may not care at all about Apples to Apples….
By focusing on a more specific type of product, service or theme, you can create more of an identity for your site and really become an expert on whatever you may be talking about. Perhaps you love cooking, but your real love is Italian food, or vegetarian cuisine. Or maybe you love to travel to new places and eat new foods, which you then share with others.
Do You Have a Passion?
Often, we have something that we love to talk about and share with people. If you go to work each day and talk endlessly to your co-workers about your garden, maybe gardening is a perfect niche for you. If your friends know that you are the person to talk to when they need to know the actual speed represented by Warp Factor 5, then maybe your niche is all things related to the Star Trek shows and movies.
Now, you don’t need to wrack your brain trying to think “what is my passion?” It shouldn’t be too difficult, or cause you stress. Just consider what you like. What was the last really great conversation you had about? Chances are, it could be a niche.
As I said above, I personally think that it’s easier to write about something that I already have some knowledge about, or some interest in. The words seem to come easier, the sharing of information is more enjoyable, and the articles written are less likely to be thinly-veiled advertisements.
Could You Find a New Passion?
It’s possible, however, that nothing comes to mind. Maybe you just don’t have anything that you absolutely love. If that’s the case, that’s fine, too. Chances are that you are overlooking something that will come to you in time, but even if no brilliant ideas pop into your head, another simple thing to do is simply observe those around you.
Do you have a group of friends who are largely interested in a specific thing? Maybe your friends are in a bowling league (niche idea: bowling), or maybe everyone you know has a dog or a cat (niche idea: pet supplies). Maybe the kids in your neighbourhood have all been flying drones lately (niche idea: drones). What about friends who are trying to lose weight (niche ideas: weight loss, eating healthy, exercise equipment, running shoes…)
Do you see a pattern here (niche idea: patterns for making your own clothes)? You are free to pursue basically anything you can think of.
Does My Passion Make Money?
That may be a question you are asking yourself. Maybe you really, really love tea cozies, but are afraid that a website devoted to them just won’t be able to sell anything. Conversely, if you love video games, you might think that there are already so many sites online dealing with them that you have no chance to get a piece of the pie.
Consider, however, that there are more than 3 billion people online these days and the number is growing. Even if you attract 1% of 1% you’re looking at more than a quarter million people. In all the world, there are tens of thousands of people– if not hundreds of thousands– who will share the same or similar interests as you and many of them are shopping online right now. (Tea Cozies, by the way, was something I pulled off the top of my head, but a Google search returned 528,000 results…)
Facebook Probably Isn’t Paying You Anything
There are millions of people on Facebook every single day. If you are one of them, chances are that you are already sharing all kinds of stories and articles about things of interest to you. Facebook probably doesn’t send you a cheque each month for your efforts. Why not start posting on your own site? If you are already spreading the word about something that you like, why not use your own blog to do so? Why not get paid to help people find the things that they are interested in?
Whether you want to believe it or not, online marketing is here to stay. In fact, it’s just going to keep getting bigger for the foreseeable future. Why not be a part of it? Why are you working for free? Or even worse, why are you working for someone else?
Don’t you think it’s time to start working for you?
I’d love to hear from you and see what kind of wonderful ideas you have for creating your own niche!