Starting a Niche Blog

What is a Blog and What is a Niche Blog?

Chances are that you’ve probably heard about blogs. But what exactly is a blog? And what’s a niche blog? And which one is the best? Lets start with a quick Internet history lesson.

In the beginning of the web, some 20 years ago, everyone wanted to show off that they could be the best of the jack of all trades. We all created portals which would link to a myriad of unrelated subjects, sometimes publishing an article from NASA about space exploration next to a photo of your favourite pet. It was a disorganized mess, and we didn’t mind it. But then we grew up. Now that there are more and more content creators out there, the burden is higher on us to be experts in our fields. For example, Queen Elizabeth II of England may have worked as a driver and mechanic in WW II, and while she is reputed of being quite adequate at both tasks, I would be more likely to ask her views on running the Commonwealth, and keep my car questions for my mechanic. The French have an expression “À chacun son métier et les vaches seront bien gardées”. Loosely translated: “To each their own craft, and the cows will be well taken care of”.

What is a Blog?

A blog, which is the short name for a weblog or web log, is a website where you mostly put entries called “posts” instead of creating only pages. Every blog is as different as the person or persons writing it. Traditional blogs usually only had one author, but we see more and more multi-author blogs where many authors contribute on a subject. A blog can be a form of diary, where you share about yourself and what you do, or it can be about your hobbies or things you know and are passionate about. A blog can be about you, your business, your interests, or really anything you can imagine.

What is Niche?

Now that we talked about blogs, lets talk about niche blogs! Lets start with the boring complicated answer first and get it out of the way! A niche is a marketing term which refers to a small segment of the market. If that made no sense, don’t panic, we’ll break it down with an example! Lets take all the chocolate eaters in the world, and lets call them the market. How much chocolate all of them combined want to eat would be the demand. To fulfill that demand for chocolate, the chocolate industry was born, which includes many chocolate manufacturers and providers. The total of all the chocolate they produce (Yummy!) is called the offer. At first everyone is making that same generic chocolate and they’re all fighting for the same customers. Until one day one of the manufacturers decided that being the 100th best chocolatier in the world is not enough, so they decide to specialize in one type of chocolates. I love milk chocolate bunnies, so lets go with those. All of a sudden, that chocolatier has a big choice in front of them. They can either keep competing against all the other chocolatiers in the world as the 100th best chocolatier, or they can become the #1 seller of chocolate bunnies. By differentiating themselves with a smaller, more precise market, it is easier for them to target their niche market, find out more about them, and to make sure that anytime someone needs a chocolate bunny, they’ll go to them.

So What’s a Niche Blog?

Now that we understand better what a niche is, how does that apply to blogs? Lets say you wanted to make a blog about cars. For this exercise, go in your favourite search engine and type cars to see what comes up. I’ll be waiting.

Back? Great! Chances are you saw sites related to selling cars, car manufacturers, and even some links about the movie with that name. While a blog about cars could be a great idea, you will be competing against companies with millions of dollars going into publicity. The truth is that a viewer will be worth much more to a company such as Mercedes or Porsche than it will be worth to you, a blogger. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do a blog about cars. But do you really want to compete against the over 1.1 billion web pages related to cars that Google indexes? Probably you should narrow it down. Will your blog be focused more on driving cars, designing cars, racing cars, fixing cars, or collector cars? Maybe you’re a big fan of a specific car model, such as the the Volkswagen Beetle? Or maybe you want to narrow it down even more and build a website about moving furniture with a Beetle car! Surprisingly you would still have 454 THOUSAND competitors! The more you narrow down your niche, the less competition you will find. The idea is to find a niche which offers a good balance between a high amount of search volume, in other words a subject which enough people are interested in it, yet with not too many competitors.

In the next post we’ll continue talking about choosing a good niche for yourself, but suffice to say for now, that on top of being a viable niche, it also has to be something you are knowledgeable about, and willing to spend hours upon hours talking about. No matter how good a niche is, if it bores even yourself, you’re better off letting someone else do it.

Starting a Niche Blog

What your niche blog expects from you

As the old saying goes: “Ask not what your blog can do for you; ask what you can do for your blog!” In the previous post we discussed What to Expect From Your Niche Blog. In this post, we will turn the table around and see what you will be doing to make your blog the best in its niche. Every blogger has their own rules of self-discipline they try to follow. Some try to create new content every month, every week, every day, or even multiple times a day. But being a blogger is more than writing witty content. There’s promotion, relationships building, maintaining the blog, and a ton of other things which need to be taken care of. We’ll dive deeper into all those subjects in future posts, but for now lets do an introduction to what your blog expects from you.

What Your Niche Blog Expects From You!

Starting and running a successful blog can be a lot of work and a big responsibility. Basically, the more effort you put into your blog, the more rewarding the experience will be. At the same time, the more popular your blog will become, the more demanding your audience will be. From refining your idea and giving it an amazing name, to setting up your blog and registering for many social media platforms, a lot of effort goes into getting your blog going. Then comes the part everyone is anticipating: writing amazing content! Finally you will have to grow your audience. If a writer writes a blog on a website nobody reads, are they still a writer?

Starting a Niche Blog Is a lot Like Starting a Business!

Before you even get close to writing your first post, you can expect to spend anywhere between 10 and 80 plus hours to create your blog. Once you have decided the general subject your blog will be about, you need to come up with a name, a website address, choose the platform you will be using, find a web host, setup social media accounts, and much more. The awesome news is I will be writing posts covering all of these subjects, so my guidance will never be far away.

Where Is a Blogger’s Time Spent?

Each blog post usually goes through a series of steps or phases before becoming part of the blogosphere. The first phase is the conception: what will you write in today’s post, and how will you approach the subject? This needs a bit of research, both for the content, and for the metadata: what is the most compelling way to title your post to bring you the traffic you’re looking for? What keywords should you use? The second phase is the actual process. Now that you know what you’ll be writing about, you have to sit down and write it. Lastly, once your content is published, you need to publicize it. This is where social media will come in.

It’s Easy to Get Lost in Your Niche Blog!

Sometimes it will be 3am and you will be trying to put the final touches to a blog post before going to bed. Other times you will wake up at 5am with a great idea that just can’t wait. Blogging isn’t all about sipping an overly expensive coffee at your favourite coffee shop. But then again, sometimes it is!

Finding the Right Balance!

Finding the right balance for your niche blog is both a difficult and rewarding experience. While blogging is extremely fun and can sometimes even be addicting, don’t forget that you have friends and family outside of the virtual world you are creating. You may be watching TV with your family, and all of a sudden, you get a Facebook notification! The temptation is huge to drop everything to answer that question as quickly as possible. You use your cellphone, tablet or computer to find out what it’s about, most usually whichever device is closest to you. Someone just asked a question. Do you drop everything you’re doing to answer them? Or do you put down the device and answer them once your family quality time is over? It is important to sometimes unhook yourself from the computer. You’ll be refreshed and revitalized, and it’ll make you an ever better blogger.

Don’t Forget to Sharpen Your Tools!

Your blog’s biggest asset is yourself. While that may initially seem like a lot of weight on your shoulders, thankfully you don’t have to do it alone! There are plenty of resources available to help you sharpen your tools: a myriad of books and blogs to help you become a better blogger, including this one. Try to learn from others who have earned their blogging badge, especially those who are willing to share what worked and what didn’t work. What works for someone might not work for another, but the more you learn about blogging, the more tools you will have to overcome problems.

Starting a Niche Blog

What to expect from your niche blog

Before you start any new project, including a niche blog, its important to set correct expectations.  That way you know what you’re getting into, and you know you’ll love every step of the way.  I will break the expectations topic in two posts.  This one is about what you can expect from your niche blog, and the next one will be What your niche blog expects from you.

What you can expect from your niche blog!

Everyone has different expectations when starting a niche blog.  Some do it to share their knowledge, others to it for some additional income.  Some dream of quitting their 9-5 job, while others like their day job but are looking for a new hobby.  More and more we see bloggers who are on their retirement, sharing the wisdom they have acquired through the years, from cooking to running a business, working with wood, or working with words.  The subjects of niche blogs are definitely endless.  Some also yearn to write creatively.  Blogging can be a great art form and can be quite liberating.  Many will do it for one or more or even all of those reasons combined, and a myriad of other reasons I have not listed.

Leave us a comment to share what some of your goals and expectations are for your niche blog!

So lets start off with the big elephant in the room which nobody dares talk about: how much money will you make from your blog.  This is definitely different for everyone, and in most cases you sign a confidentiality agreement saying you can’t publish your exact revenues, but in general building a strong successful niche blog should be considered a long-term goal, not something you can achieve overnight.  This is not a get rich quick business, and it takes a good amount of effort to build a blog popular enough to generate a decent amount of income. The wonderful aspect is most of the revenue is residual, meaning your blog post which is very popular today could still be very popular for years to come and generating you some revenue for a long while. One general rule in business is that you should never expect a new business to generate much revenue the first 3 years.  Some will expand it to 5-7 years.  For a blog, I would say that after 1-3 years of blogging once weekly, a good blog should produce enough to pay at least one monthly utility bill: phone, cellphone, or electricity.  Somewhere around the 3-5 year anniversary, as you grow in experience and your blog grows in popularity, you might be able to pay rent or a mortgage payment.  If you keep at it for 5-10 years, you might even be able to pull off a salary similar to your 9-5 job.  Bear in mind, though, that this is for a blogger who will put in the effort.  Remember the old adage: “You reap what you sow”?  It certainly holds true with blogging.

Keep in mind, though, that blogging does not only come with revenue, but also with some expenses.  Chances are you will need a computer, a work space, electricity, an internet connection, etc.  Depending on the subject of your niche blog, you might incur other expenses, from tools to materials, whether you are are working with food, wood, metals, plastic, or canvases, and the tools needed to turn those materials into the pieces of art you will be blogging about.  Don’t forget to add a camera, some lighting, and at some point maybe even a DSLR camera with a microphone and sound recorder to do some videos.  You may even have some web hosting fees depending which platform you use.

Oh, and don’t forget your taxes!  The bad news is that in most cases, blogging revenues are taxable.  The good news is that you can claim most of those expenses to help a bit. A quick talk with your accountant or tax specialist will quickly help you understand how it works in your part of the world.

What else is in it for me?

Let me take a minute to talk about other benefits you can get from your blog which does not involve money. Blogging is a wonderful way of doing some good deeds. Very often you help out real people who have real problems. Knowing that you are touching lives and helping people out is definitely a great ego boost. Blogging is sometimes also about making friends. Either with fellow bloggers, where very often many bloggers in the same field will help and support each-other out, or by interacting with your audience. Some of these friendships can last for years and even for a lifetime.

Blogging is a great creative outlet. It is a great way to distract ourselves from the horrible things that may be happening in this world. For a brief moment, there is only you, your keyboard, and letters appearing on the screen. In many ways I believe blogs are an interesting alternative to a diary, or at least a good complement. Your blog is your sanctuary, and you should be happy to return to it after a long stressful day.

Establishing yourself as an authority or credible source in your field is also a great advantage of being a blogger. Compare two accountants. One works quietly on his work, and never publishes anything. The other one owns a niche blog where he teaches different accounting techniques, tips and tricks. He reviews accounting software, gives great financial advise, and is always kind and polite with his large audience. If you needed an accountant, which one would you go for? The blogger which you have been following for years and can attest for the quality of his work, or the accountant you have never heard of? The same holds true for many other professions. A professional without a niche blog is certainly a missed opportunity.


Welcome to Niche Blog Mentor

Welcome to Niche Blog Mentor!  The goal of this blog is to mentor new and existing niche bloggers by sharing tutorials, tips, and tricks needed to get a niche blog started and how to grow it!

Everyone has their own goals when creating a blog.  Maybe you have some knowledge to share and are looking for an interested audience.  Maybe you are looking for a creative outlet, or maybe you just aim to be famous.  Or maybe even you’re looking to get some extra income.  While all goals are valid, and each goal has a different methodology in reaching it, here at Niche Blog Mentor we favour constant organic growth in order to build a strong long-lasting web community.  There are plenty of sites covering get rich quick schemes, and this will never be one of them.

What is a Niche Blog?

One of the blog posts I have in mind will go in more detail on this question, but very simply put, a niche blog is a blog on a very specific subject.

Why I created this blog

I was about 3 years old when we got our first computer, a Coleco Adam Z80.  I learned how to type before learning how to write in cursive, and here we are over 30 years later.

I have been creating content in the online world since a time when 3.5″ 1.44mb floppy disk drives were the norm for backing up your files.  First I dabbled in BBSes and finally made my way to the web in the mid 1990s.  I created many websites back on the olde days, some for myself, and some as a web designer.  Fast forward in 2015 and I am still creating content online.

I have accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience over my 20 years or so online, and figured the time was right to share it with the world, and help out other bloggers.  When I started mentoring other bloggers, I realized that much of the advice I gave was universal, so I figured a blog to share some of those universal bits of wisdom would be a great way to share my knowledge.