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One of the most important steps to growing a successful blog is choosing the right niche, or topic, for your site.
I’ve made just about all the mistakes you can in this area, from going too specific to starting too broad.
In general, here’s my advice:
Making your passion into a blog doesn’t guarantee success, and neither does following the money just to make money.
You need to choose a niche that has a lot of questions and problems so that you can answer those problems with your content. Those niches translate into the types of blogs that make money.
What you should focus on: providing value to readers by solving even the smallest of problems.
What problems do you want to solve?
Whose questions do you want to answer?
That’s the best way to pick your niche.
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a blog niche, including:
You want to make sure you pick a niche where there’s actual demand for content and there are problems that need to be solved, however small.
You also want to make sure there are products that you can suggest as solutions, and that you can monetize your blog with those products. A good way to find monetization ideas is to look at blog income reports.
For example, if the problem is people wanting to figure out what to pack on a backpacking trip, then the solution might be an ebook on how to pack light, or the solution may be the backpacking products themselves.
If you take anything away from this post, make it this:
The best blog niches have the most (or most important) problems or questions.
Here’s what I mean: every Google search is a small problem someone’s experiencing.
They’re looking for a restaurant in Chicago, or figuring out how to fix their toilet themselves, or trying to find a way to feed their family for less money.
Even fun, entertaining searches are small problems that need solutions.
So, the best niches for bloggers are those that have the most problems, searches and search variety.
Bad example: collecting old typewriters
Good example: personal finance
Good niches have a ton of questions, searches, problems, etc.
Bad niches have limited searches and problems.
I love collecting old typewriters, but it’s not a niche that will pay the bills.
I don’t love personal finance, but there are a lot of questions related to personal finance, which makes it a good niche for people interested in budgeting.
If you want to focus on a passion, make that passion helping other people by solving their problems.
If the best blog niches have a lot of questions and problems, then the best niches for parents are ones that parents can solve, or at least find the answers to.
You’ll notice a lot of these topics are things you can research or tackle firsthand even with kids and a busy schedule, simply because they’re a part of everyday life.
Of course, I recommend going with a niche that fits your lifestyle, so if you don’t care much about travel, consider other options, and if you’re not super handy, avoid the DIY route.
That said, you don’t have to be an expert in any of these areas, you just need to know how to:
It’s not rocket science, but it does require paying a lot of attention to your topic, so again, don’t focus on something you’re not interested in, but also understand you can pick a topic you’re not super familiar with, knowing you’ll be doing a lot of research in the future.
A lot of bloggers I talk to also choose something they want to personally learn as they help others with content.
So if you’ve never budgeted in your household but you’re looking to start, personal finance might be a good niche because you’ll be teaching yourself as you make content for your audience.
All that said, here’s a list of 7 blog niches that are great for parents.
They offer lots of content opportunities and they can be monetized at some point with different revenue streams.
They may be more competitive than going into something super niche and specific, but they’re also more likely to produce income for you because they are proven markets with proven problems and solutions.
In each of the niches below, I’ve listed some of the long-tail, or super specific, content that each site ranks for.
These are important to see because this is the type of content you’ll want to focus on when you’re just getting started.
After you get some time, traffic, authority and income under your belt, you’ll be able to move to more broad, competitive topics, but at the beginning, you can gain a lot more momentum and positive experiences by focusing on hyper-focused long-tail topics.
With a lot of the content examples below, they’re topics that you could tackle on your own blog and have relative success with in a short amount of time.
Anything related to money will have a ton of searches online.
There will never be a time when people don’t have questions about their finances, and as times change and new markets come and go, those questions will change and come in different forms, but they won’t go away.
Parents can do really well in this market because there’s so much content to be created here.
Anytime you have a niche with really big sites like Nerd Wallet, and a lot of smaller, personally run blogs, then you have a recipe for success.
Large sites are gold mines for content and keyword opportunities.
These sites produce a lot of content, but they don’t always care about going back to make sure that content is as updated, accurate or useful as it could be.
A lot of these sites are more in the business of churning out content than making sure it’s the best content possible.
But even if they do a good job making content, you can still see plenty of ways to find their most popular topics and create better content on your blog.
Here’s an example.
NerdWallet gets millions of visitors each month, but some of the content they rank for is completely accessible to the beginning personal finance blogger.
Each of these topics gets hundreds of searches each month and is a relatively low-competition topic.
You could cover topics like these right out the gate and likely have success getting organic traffic within a few months.
And you don’t need to be a personal finance expert to write this content.
For the first topic, you can do research on all the Turbo Tax products, read the reviews and maybe even try the software yourself and then address the question at every angle.
Maybe it’s worth it to save time on your taxes, but maybe it’s unnecessary for those who don’t mind a slower but cheaper process.
For the credit card questions, most of that can also be answered by researching, finding expert reviews and making a case for every side of the problem.
In reality, most info in blog posts isn’t necessarily brand new or proprietary, it’s just presented in a way that meets the searcher’s intent.
There are a ton of reviews on tax software programs and credit cards, but very few bloggers are actively looking for the unique ways that searchers’ structure their online searches.
If you can do that, and present your info in a way that matches, it’s off to the races.
Here’s an example of a personal finance blog that gets a lot of traffic.
The Budget Mom does a great job covering all sorts of budgeting topics for families.
A lot of the stuff she covers is pretty competitive and in-depth, but she also writes about a lot of low-hanging fruit that would be easy for a new blogger to tackle.
Again, the key to her success is that she frames the info the way people are searching for it online.
There are a ton of budgeting spreadsheets out there, but how many people are creating “paycheck to paycheck” budget sheets?
The key is to find the unique ways people are framing their searches online, and to then create content that fits that frame.
If it sounds hard, it’s not – it just requires the right tools and approach (see me after class for these).
One of the first blogs I started was in the DIY niche, and after a few years I was able to grow it into six-figure site using affiliate marketing and display ads.
The reason it worked so well is that people love DIY projects, and there’s no shortage of questions and problems people have when it comes to making their own things.
Not only that, but with some niches, there’s one “clear” answer to a solution.
In the DIY niche, you may have 10 ways of doing something, which means the potential for new and useful content is unending.
Another great feature about this niche is that it does extremely well on Pinterest, so if you’re creating graphics or images with your DIY content, you can likely attract a lot of Pinterest traffic as well.
Here’s an example of a DIY website with a ton of content and traffic.
DIY & Crafts gets thousands of monthly visits to hundreds of blog posts, and many of them are based on high-volume, low-competition searches.
These topics include:
These all get hundreds of searches each month but are considered relatively low-competition because there aren’t a lot of sites trying to target these specific searches.
Altogether, this site ranks for more than 300,000 keywords, and a good chunk of those are based on this low-competition content model.
DIY works well for parents because, well, we’re always doing stuff around the house.
Whether it’s home improvement projects, crafts with kids or figuring out what to do with all our sh*t, there are plenty of DIY things you can tackle for a blog.
Similar to DIY projects, the home improvement niche is ripe with problems, which means lots of searches and content opportunities.
Where DIY is subjective to style and taste, home improvement content is more cut and dry and often based on “how to” searches.
Hunker is one site that does a great job of answering these searches with clear, easy-to-understand content and answers.
Some of the low-competition topics they get traffic for include:
If you’re handy around the house, this can be a great niche for parents who always have a weekend project for the house or yard.
It’s also ideal for bloggers who can create videos, even simple iPhone clips, simply because the content often lends itself well to “how to” videos.
And if you’ve ever spent any time looking up how to do something around the house on YouTube, you know how valuable it can be to have a good, clear, straight-to-the-point video.
Travel blogging is competitive, but like in the above markets, there are ways to produce content that will still get traffic and good revenue.
The key with travel content is to really find those unique ways that people are framing their searches, which may require more research and digging than in a straightforward niche like DIY projects.
For example, the topic of what to do in New York City is really, really competitive, so there’s not a good chance your brand new travel blog will start ranking for those searches.
You’re not going to beat out TripAdvisor, Fodors or US News.
But digging into keywords and topics, you’ll find that people are looking up “things to do in lower Manhattan,” which is a relatively low-competition topic.
If you’re familiar with the area, it may be really easy for you to create a hyper-focused article on what to do, where to stay, when to go and what to eat while you’re in Lower Manhattan.
This is exactly what The Globetrotting Teacher does.
Her travel content is focused on specific needs within travel and the outdoors.
Some other examples of her content that gets good traffic include:
You should see a theme by now.
Instead of focusing on “Paris travel,” she’s focusing on unique ways to frame that topic.
Traveling to Paris for the first time.
Non-touristy things to do in Paris.
It’s all about how you frame your content to meet the searches people are actually making online.
If you can do that consistently, you’ll get traffic, income and eventually you’ll start to rank for more competitive searches like “things to do in Paris,” even if it takes a while.
Trust me, it’s worth the wait.
Another example of a travel site doing a good job of finding unique travel angles is The Culture Trip.
Some of their low-competition traffic topics include:
There are broad, generic versions of all these searches: museums in SF, best food in Maryland, places to visit in NYC, etc.
But they’re ranking for terms that are specific and unique, and that cuts down the competition and makes their content seem perfect for that long-tail search.
You can do the same with your travel blog.
Don’t focus on the best things to do for everyone.
Think about the best things to do for a small, hungry-for-information market.
There’s likely a certain demographic looking for the most “Instagrammable” places somewhere.
If you can target specific searches that get searched a lot with your useful content, you’re in business.
If you’ve been a parent for more than a few minutes, you know how many questions come with the territory.
This is great news for bloggers.
The more questions = the more long-tail content you can put out there.
Of course, not every parent wants to spend their spare time thinking about parenting things, but there are plenty of bloggers who dig it.
Case in point: KellyMom.com, started by Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC.
A lot of her content is related to breastfeeding in general, which is a good example of getting focused within a niche.
Still, she gets traffic for a ton of content, including low-competition topics like:
One word of caution: parenting blogs often dive into health, wellness and medical content.
This isn’t bad, but you should know that Google treats these pages differently than normal informational content.
In fact, these pages have a name: YMYL pages.
Your money or your life.
“According to Google, any page including content that can affect someone’s health, happiness, safety, or financial stability is a YMYL page,” says John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility.
This is important to consider for personal finance blogs, too, but a lot of times those blogs are focused on budgeting, saving money and coupons rather than complex financial investments and decisions.
Still, it’s worth paying attention to whether or not you’re creating YMYL pages and what can happen when Google makes updates to improve the results for searches related to these pages.
That shouldn’t scare you, and really, a lot of parenting content doesn’t have to be medical or health related.
It can be stuff related to what to make your kids for lunch, or how to teach your kids to recognize letters and so on.
Take the blog WeHaveKids, for instance.
A lot of their content focuses on more generic, informational content like:
These topics may be easier to write about with your own blog because you don’t need a medical background to appear as an online authority.
But anyone who’s named a kid or can research Social Security Administration’s list of popular names can put together this type of less complex information.
I’ve worked on a parenting blog before and let me tell you firsthand, there’s no end to the number or type of questions that parents look up online.
Not only that, but they look up those questions based on all sorts of scenarios, including age, weight and temperament.
If you’re looking for a niche with a seemingly endless variety of content, parenting’s a good route to go.
Like travel, food blogging is extremely competitive, and there are sites out there that have been churning out recipes for years.
Still, it’s possible to target low-competition content topics with the right angles.
Rosemarie at The Busy Budgeter does a good job of this.
Though her blog is financially-focused, some of her top content is related to food topics, including:
Instead of “chicken recipes,” she gets traffic for a specific type of recipe: those with grilled chicken strips.
Instead of “lunch ideas,” she gets traffic for lunch ideas for a specific group and scenario: dudes workin’.
If you can take this same approach to food content, you’ll find there’s plenty of content gaps out there still.
Again, it may take more time to find these gems, but they’re out there, and you don’t need a whole lot of them to start getting a good chunk of traffic and income.
One more example of finding super niche topics within food comes from Pinch of Yum.
They’ve been at it for a long time and get plenty of competitive traffic, but they also rank for long-tail food searches like:
Pinch of Yum doesn’t necessarily have to target these searches because they have the authority, relevance and history to compete for more competitive searches, but these are all good examples of what to target when you’re just starting out.
Don’t focus on brownie recipes.
Focus on a specific type of brownie and a way to make it.
Again, you won’t always have to take this approach with content once you’re more established, but if you’re just getting started, this is a perfect strategy to jumpstart your traffic and momentum.
This is a purposely broad and vague niche, but the point is that something related to your day-to-day life can be a perfect blog focus.
Lifestyle may include fashion, career advice, photography, hobbies, local interests (compared to general travel), religion and so on.
The advantage of a lifestyle blog is that you can cover a lot of ground and still be relevant.
The bad part is the same: you can cover a lot of ground, so it’s important to have a theme or focus within the lifestyle niche.
First example: Clean Mama.
This blog focuses on good, efficient cleaning methods and strategies.
Some of the long-tail topics the site ranks for include:
Hers may be a lifestyle blog, but within that niche the site’s focus is on cleaning, or in their words, the site’s there to “help you find a little grace in the dailies.”
Second example: Brighton the Day, a beauty and fashion blog.
A few of their long-tail topics:
These are all super-niche searches that drive traffic because Brighton creates focused, valuable content targeted to specific readers.
These aren’t the only profitable blog niches out there, but they offer a good place to begin if you’re just starting to blog.
They also work great for parents, students or others who have limited time or resources and need to make the most of their blogging efforts.
If you’re having trouble deciding which niche is best for you, remember that you’re in it for the long haul.
What do you want your blog (brand) to be remembered for?
What problems do you want to solve, however small?
What group of people do you want to help with useful content?
I can’t remember where I saw it, but someone on a webinar I saw once asked: what could you talk about on stage for two hours?
The point is: do something you care about.
You don’t have to necessarily be passionate about the topic, but you should care about helping others and learning more about your niche as you go.
If you’re not concerned with either of those, there’s probably a better business model out there for you.
If your only goal is to make money and you don’t care about content or solving problems, there are faster and easier ways to make money in your spare time.
Blogging isn’t easy, and it’s not fast – it takes a lot of time, attention and commitment.
But choosing the right niche can speed things up and make it a more positive and profitable experience.