Pick the Right Blog Topic
“What are the most popular blog topics?” “How do I come up with a blog idea?” “What should I blog about?” “How to choose blog topics?” “What if I don’t know what to blog about?” “How do you start a blog?”We get questions like these a lot, and they usually come from people at their wit’s end.Want to know the big problem with blogging?Most people don’t know there’s a huge chance of failure, so they spend months or even years creating a blog that has zero chance of succeeding.
Eventually, they give up and start over, but again, they invest months or even years into creating a second (or third or fourth) blog that doesn’t work.The reason?
It’s not because they’re dumb. And it’s not because they’re lazy.
Granted, if you’re starting a personal blog, the rules are different. Do you enjoy the topic? Is it fun? Those are the only two questions that should matter to you.
But if you’re looking to start a blog that will bring in traffic…
If you want to create a blog that will generate passive income…
You need to choose a viable blog topic that has a fighting chance to succeed. Because here’s the part that’s tough to swallow:
How to Choose a Winning Blog Topic
Jot down a list of topics that interest you.
These could be your hobbies, topics you suspect are highly profitable, or something random you read in a magazine while waiting to see the dentist.
To be a viable blog topic, you need to be able to answer “yes” to these five questions:
Do any existing blogs on this topic have a Facebook page with more than 10k fans?
Do any blogs on this topic have more than 50k followers on Twitter?
Does Amazon have any books with more than 30 reviews on this topic?
When you search for words and phrases related to this topic, are there any Google ads?
Do any words or phrases related to this topic have more than 100k searches in Google’s Keyword Planner tool?
These questions will let you know whether or not there’s an existing audience for your topic.
Here’s why this is important:
Too many bloggers try to be cute. They hunt for an audience no one else is serving. They think, “if there’s no competition for this topic, creating a successful blog will be easy!”
If there are no competitors, who will link to you? Where will your audience come from? How the heck will anyone find you?
It’s counterintuitive, but the more competition there is in a blogging space, the easier it is for a new blogger to find success in that space.
So, don’t try to be unique. Don’t try to be too clever.
Pick a blog niche that has an existing audience and popular blogs already vying for the audience’s attention.
Choose the Right Blogging Platform
There are several free blogging platforms out there, and for what they are, and what they do, they offer solid value.In fact, we’re big proponents of bloggers starting with a free blog at Medium.com so they can test their ideas and make sure they’re viable before creating a full-fledged blog.But once you’re ready to build an audience and make money online, there’s only one blogging platform you should consider (and no, it isn’t Tumblr, Blogspot, Squarespace, or Wix):
Or, more specifically, self hosted WordPress.
As of this writing, 37.5% of all websites use WordPress — including heavyweights like TechCrunch, the Star Wars blog, Mercedes-Benz, and, yes, Smart Blogger.With virtually unlimited plugins you can install, customizations you can make, and designs you can implement, a self-hosted WordPress blog offers flexibility the free platforms can’t match.Yes, WordPress is technically free too. It’s open-source. However, as we explain in the article linked above:
Because it’s self-hosted, you have to purchase a hosting plan so you can install WordPress on your own web host. That costs money (unless you choose free hosting — more on that later). You also have to purchase your own domain name, which we’ll discuss in a moment.But don’t let these relatively minor expenses deter you.If you’re serious about blogging, building an audience, and monetizing your blog content, you need to set up your blog on a rock-solid foundation.
hoose a Domain Name
You’re browsing the world wide web, and you see a headline for a blog post that catches your attention. Maybe a friend on social media shared it with you, maybe it came up on a Google search, or maybe it’s just a link in another article you’re reading.Regardless, you click the link and, consciously or not, you’re asking yourself a single question as you browse through it…
Within a few seconds, you have to decide whether to keep reading the post or move on to something else, and the only way you’ll stay is if it’s relevant to you.
And not just the post, either. When you’re deciding, you’ll take in the design of the web page, other posts’ headlines, and, yes, the domain name.For example, consider Entrepreneur.com. Is there any doubt who the site is for? Entrepreneurs, of course!How about BeABetterBlogger.com? Obviously, it’s for people who want to become better bloggers.Neither names are clever, but they help you decide to stay or go by clearly articulating who they are helping. That’s what a good domain name does.
Of course, all the great domain names are taken, right?
How to Choose a Custom Domain Name for Your Blog
Here are three different methods for finding the perfect domain name:
Name the audience. The simplest way to get a clear domain name is to call out the audience in the domain itself. (Examples: SmartBlogger.com, CouchPotato.com, AFineParent.com)
Name the topic. If your blog focuses on a specific topic, try finding a domain name that describes it in clear, concise language. (Examples: ArtofManliness.com, BudgetsAreSexy.com, PaleoHacks.com)
Name the benefit. Why should people stick around? If you have a good answer, sometimes you can turn it into a new domain name that really stands out. (Examples: BeABetterBlogger.com, MakeALivingWriting.com, BiggerPockets.com)
Don’t get hung up on your domain name. While it’s certainly helpful to have a good one, there are thousands of hugely popular sites with terrible domain names no one understands.In other words, it’s not really a “make or break” factor for your site. Give yourself a few days or maybe a week to brainstorm ideas, and then make a decision.
“What are the most popular blog topics?” “How do I come up with a blog idea?” “What should I blog about?” “How to choose blog topics?” “What if I don’t know what to blog about?” “How do you start a blog?”We get questions like these a lot, and they usually come from people at their…