Your blog niche is the most essential part of your site. But, just because you think you have a niche, it may not mean you do. The wrong blog topic may be hurting you more than helping.
But how do you narrow down your niche?
What does niche down mean?
You may have heard bloggers tell others they need to niche down, or it could be someone mentioned this to you.
Niching down means having a clearly defined audience and target reader, so you know the content you produce will solve a specific problem.
Why should you change your blog topic?
There are many reasons you should consider niching your content to be more clearly defined and focused.
Not ranking on Google or low traffic
If you are not making traction on Google and getting your content to rank, a factor could be your niche. Google looks at not only the content but the site as a whole when ranking.
Google may see some great content there. However, if other content on your site has nothing to do with this article, it is confusing. Yes, you may get the one post to rank but is that might be it.
If Google cannot understand your blog’s intent or purpose, or what it is you are the expert at doing, it will struggle to give you authority.
You can’t be the expert on gardening, travel, fashion, and saving money. It is impossible. Google knows it, and when it does no see that connection, it cannot see you as an authority.
However, if you are helping new single moms get back to living, you could cover finances, dating, and parenting. Those are defined for a single person. They collectively solve problems for your target person.
Little to no email growth
Struggling to get people to sign up for your email list? Your niche may be the culprit.
If a reader visits your site because of a recipe he finds online, that may lead to looking around your site (which is what you want). However, if the other content they see has nothing to do with that recipe, they have no reason to return, let alone sign-up to be on your list.
When the content connects to a reader, he or she will hand over their email address time and again.
Low open or engagement rates on email
You may get loads of people to sign up for your list, but when you send the email, you see low open and click-through rates. Or, even worse, a high number of people unsubscribing.
If someone is there for that awesome recipe and they sign up for your list, they expect that type of content to hit their inbox. But, if you email them about organizing the bathroom, they are confused. They will unsubscribe. Or, worse, just move you to spam never to look at your content again.
Struggling to write articles
When you do not have a clearly defined audience and focus on your site, it makes writing very tough. One day you write about your adventures at Disney and then realize it has been three weeks since you shared a recipe.
It can be exhausting.
When you know who you are writing for, it is easier to come up with content ideas time, and again that solve a problem. You are not struggling to come up with new content for a topic that you may not know very well.
Low affiliate conversions
One of the critical components of an effective affiliate marketing strategy is to place links in a way that they directly solve a reader’s problem. When you can do that, they will click, and you can make money.
However, if your content is not solving those needs or hitting the reader’s pain point, they have no reason to click. When you know what the reader needs, you can develop the content and add those links to help them.
Stagnant site growth
You may experience one or two of these issues or all of them together. And, that means you do not yet see your income and traffic goals come to fruition.
You need traffic and an email list. You need content that will convert to sales. If you don’t see any of these things, then you are not growing.
And, it may not be the result of Pinterest, Google, or even the way you write. It could be that the reader does not connect with your site and what your content is doing for them.
How do you know if your blogging niche is profitable?
You may want to talk about anxiety or the use of semi-conductors on your site, but how do you know that type of blog will be profitable? After all, changing niches or niching down needs to give you the results you want – which are traffic and of course – income.
So, how do you know if the niche will make money? You don’t want to do all of this and end up back at square one in a few months. You need to do a little homework to find out for sure.
Look for competition
You may think you want to make sure there is no competition for your topic, but for now, you want the opposite. You need to see if others write in the same niche as you!
Well, if others are doing so, then there is a reason why. They may have banner ads, affiliate marketing, or sell their products – all of which make them money.
If another site is doing something similar – it means you can too! But you should not stop there. You need to dig a little deeper.
Join their email list to see what they are doing and how they are making money from their list. Doing so may give you some ideas to add to your blog.
Good old Google may hold the answer you need! Use the AdWords planner to learn about both search volume and difficulty.
First, you will want to see a higher search volume for your keyword. That indicates there is interest in the topic. However, you should not consider only that factor.
You must also look at difficulty. If that phrase is going to be tough for you to rank for, then you will want to narrow that down a bit more and consider the sub-niche.
The sub-niche would be something like electric guitars vs. guitars. It is more defined, and there may be less competition, allowing you a more significant opportunity to tap into a niche that may not be covered as in-depth as others.
Amazon is an excellent resource for determining if you can make money on your niche. Are there products or books on your topic? Then that may mean you will have products you can promote that will increase your income.
Review other affiliate programs
Look for topics in various affiliate programs to find out how many potential partners you may see. Search for both products and brands to see what you can find and if there is the potential for products to promote to your readers.
Don’t look at others to make money – what can you create yourself? If you want to write a blog on electric guitars, maybe you could build a course on how to learn to play. If you are an entrepreneur, a workbook to create a business plan may be something you could offer.
Don’t stop by looking at what others are doing; think about the products you could create for profit.
How do you know if your blog will get traffic?
We all need traffic. After all, that is how you make money, be it affiliate marketing, ad placement, or selling your own products. That means you need to make sure you will get traffic to your site.
You will need to dig into the difficulty of the various keywords you may target. Let’s say you want to write a blog about the harmonica. Is there a chance you can rank and beat out others in that niche?
Use a service such as Keysearch, where you can find out the difficulty for the keywords you want to target. You can also find out the direct competition you may have and whether you can rank or not.
Isn’t lifestyle a niche?
Let’s kick this off by saying lifestyle is not a niche. Lifestyle means you write about any topic you want. Period.
Most lifestyle bloggers talk about a range of topics that may or may not go together. And, most often, do not work together to solve a reader’s problem.
Think about fashion, travel, blogging, beauty, and fitness. How do these work for one single person? The truth? They don’t. There is not anyone who is visiting your blog who wants to know about all these things. They don’t.
Stop calling your blog a lifestyle niche and create something more specific that works for the reader you want to target.
Doesn’t a broader niche mean more money?
No. It means the opposite.
When you talk about too many unrelated topics or try to appeal to a broader audience, you will struggle. You struggle to make the connection to the reader who feels you are there to teach them to solve their problems.
Think about retirement for a moment. There is a lot to know about this topic. If you try to talk about retirement, in general, it may be too vague. And, the way you approach retirement savings at age 20 vs. 50 is very, very different.
When you can tailor the content to the person you want to help, it not only makes writing easier, but they feel a connection to your blog. They think you are their person who gets them.
You can’t help every gender or age demographic on your site. It may be a struggle. Sure, you might get lucky, and it works, but the truth is, for most, it does not.
Connecting to the reader and providing them with solutions is how you make money. They get the answers they need by clicking on the links right in front of them. They don’t have to dig around and search to get answers because you get them and are helping them.
Won’t I get bored?
That is why it is vital to make sure the niche you select is one you love and can talk about all of the time. Look at the topics you write about at this time. Which of these could you see yourself writing about 5, 10, or 15 years from now?
Those that you can’t are the ones you would never want to consider. However, when you find a topic you love, and that will grow with time and you, then it is one you can choose.
How do you narrow down your niche?
It is a rather simple process to change your blog topic, so it has a more clearly defined purpose. Using something, like a niche planning guide, walks you through this to ensure you cover every aspect necessary to create a well-defined blogging niche. We’ll break this down into sections:
- Your site purpose
- Your avatar
- Connecting to your person
- Site navigation and layout
What is the purpose of your blog? What is your why? What is your reason for blogging? What do you hope to achieve? What do you want your readers to accomplish by reading and following your blog?
Start by asking yourself these questions. Think about the reason behind why you want to start a blog (and it should not be only to make money).
It is OK to want to make money blogging, but that can’t be your only motivation. There needs to be something you want to teach or share.
Start with your why so you can define your purpose.
You need to also think about the person who will visit your site. Ask yourself questions, such as:
- Are they male or female?
- Married? Single? Divorced? Widowed?
- Does my reader have kids, and if so, what age group?
- What is my reader’s financial life like at this moment?
- What are my person’s struggles?
- What does this reader need to learn?
Knowing precisely who your person is not only helping you narrow your focus but makes writing easier. You write specifically for them and nobody else.
CONNECT WITH THE READER
Once you know what you want to achieve and define your reader’s issues, the next step is to bridge the connection. Think about the topics your reader needs help with and what you want to talk about.
How does each of those topics solve his or her specific issue? For example, if you are writing for the stressed-out mom, does travel really solve a problem for her? Or, would be self-care be a better topic?
Make sure you connect your goals and your reader’s needs to guide them along a journey.
CREATE YOUR NAVIGATION
The final step will be to create the navigation menu on your site. Doing so will guide the reader so he or she can find exactly what it is they want to read. They can quickly drill down to find the article they want.
Think for a minute about shopping online at Target. You would never want to scroll through every page on their site to find the socks you need to order. Of course not.
Instead, you can easily use their navigation menu to see all the socks they have on their site. That helps you focus on what you need.
You need to do the same on your website. Help your reader find the content he or she needs as quickly as possible.
Updating your site for your new niche
It is one thing to get that you need to niche down but another to implement it. There is a process you can follow to determine the content that stays and what will go.
Once you have defined your avatar and know who you want to help (and how), look at your blog topics on your site. Which of them helps your reader and which do not? If you have to stretch to make that connection, then it is a topic you should not cover.
For example, if you want to blog about dancing, should you talk about budgets? Sure, you need to be able to afford to pay for dancing, but that is a bit of a stretch. Drop budgets from your topic list.
You may also struggle with being too broad and need help narrowing down a single topic. For example, you may want to blog about personal finance. That can include:
- Saving Money
- Getting out of Debt
- Credit Cards
- College Savings & Expenses
- Personal Loans
- FIRE movement
While these all are a part of personal finance, who are you writing for? Who is it that you want to help.
The truth is that people in different stages of life deal with various financial goals. Look at your avatar. The parent who has a new baby is more focused on budgeting and saving money than they are on retirement, whereas the 50-year-old is focused on paying for college and saving for retirement.
Take the time to list your topics and those sub-topics you may talk about. If none of them connect, then it is time to drop a topic.
Will these changes help my traffic and income?
If you have been blogging for a while, this post may help you realize that your blog is too broad and it is time to narrow your focus.
This is one of the lessons Mike Pearson teaches in Stupid Simple SEO. He understands the importance of your site’s navigation and silos so that Google can crawl and know what you are about. When Google knows this, it can make a difference.
I reached out to some of his students to see if this theory was true or not. I was shocked to learn of the number of people who started with a broad niche who had narrowed it down and, soon after that, noticed an uptick in organic traffic.
Melissa is a Christian blogger at ThinkAboutSuchThings. She decided to niche down for SEO purposes in June of 2019.
Being a lifestyle blogger meant she had a lot of content that did not relate to her faith-based articles. She was worried, though, as her non-faith articles were bringing her loads of Pinterest traffic. She decided to no-index those posts.
She was scared and nervous to do so as she had no clue if it would pay off. By the end of that month, she had no-indexed the off-topic content and instantly began seeing an uptick in Google search traffic.
Check out what happened:
Betty Boiron was one of my coaching clients. We discussed many changes she needed to make, and one of them was niching down her content a bit. She took the plunge and look at this uptick in traffic to her site:
Another blogger who realized she too needed to redefine her niche was Lauren with Love Remodeled. She started the process before taking Stupid Simple SEO, however only in the form of the content she was producing.
At that time, Pinterest had seemed to have categorized her as a home improvement/home decor site, and those were the only posts that got any traction with them. That lead her to stop writing content outside of this topic.
Once she started the course, she created the spreadsheet that Mike recommended, where she ranked my posts from most views to least views over a specified period. That made it very evident that complete sections within her blog were not getting any views.
That lead her to delete nearly an entire category of posts. She moved many others that got some views to a subsection on her blog to keep them off of her home page. This process made her site look cleaner and more focused on her viewers. Since then, her growth has increased well beyond what she expected. Just look at that organic traffic increase!
Natasha began the process of niching down her site in November 2018 (after taking Mike’s course). Over the next several months, she either no-indexed or deleted more than all of the content on her site.
She had been blogging for years without any knowledge of SEO nor a clearly defined niche. She removed the content that received virtually zero traffic from Google. She removed the recipes and other posts no one was looking for and focused her efforts on printables for moms and children.
She began to see results almost immediately! After two years of stagnating, or even falling, blog traffic, she was finally starting to gain more views.
As you can see, niching down these sites resulted in an almost immediate uptick of organic traffic from Google. Your niche and well-defined content are paramount to seeing the traffic results you desire.
What do I do with content that is not part of my niche?
The bloggers in the case study talked about steps they took to remove the content. If you’ve been blogging for a while and realize that you have content that does not make sense, it is time to make changes. However, that does not mean you need to delete it — especially if it is getting some traffic from Pinterest.
The smart way to do this requires two steps: no-indexing and removing it from your navigation. However, you may also find that you need to remove it entirely.
How to no-index your content
If you have articles that are getting traffic from Pinterest, then you may not want to delete them. Instead, you want to keep it on your site — but make sure Google does not look at it when trying to understand what you are about.
That is what you can do when you no-index.
No-indexing keeps the article available for readers, but Google does not see it. It can’t crawl it. It will ignore it when looking at your site collectively for ranking.
If you are a WordPress user, there is a straightforward way to do this in your articles. You just need to use the YOAST plugin.
Open your article in your dashboard and scroll down to find the YOAST settings. Under the SEO tab, scroll down to Advanced and expand the window.
In this window, look for the first box that asks if you want search engines to see this post, and from the drop-down, select no.
Now your site will no longer be indexed by Google but yet can still get some of the residual Pinterest traffic that may still trickle in.
Remove the content from your navigation
If all the content is part of a single category, you simply need to remove it from your navigation menu. However, if the article is part of a category that you are still using, you need to remove it. This is where the “dummy” category can help.
Go into the categories in your dashboard and create a new one. You can call it Dummy – or whatever you like. I use “Znone” so that it is the category at the very bottom of my categories list.
Remove the current category tags on the blog post and replace it with the one you created. Now, the article is still on your site, but readers will not find it if they click on your menus.
(You can also backdate the article, so it is not on your home page either as readers click from page to page).
Delete the article
If the content is really off-topic, you can also delete it. In most cases, it is recommended that you redirect the article to something else, so Google does not get a 404 error. But, if there is nothing you can redirect to, it is OK to delete.
You may be tempted to redirect the article to the home page — but don’t. If you are going to redirect, then the reader needs to land on something that makes sense and ties back to what they found through search.
Imagine you click on an article about grooming dogs and get redirected to a home page on self-help. You’d be confused and wonder where you went, right? That is poor user experience – and Google agrees.
Google sees this too. It is one thing they never want — for a reader to click on one article and land on something completely unrelated. They would instead you serve a 404 error telling the reader the content is gone than to send them to an irrelevant page.
Don’t be afraid to delete content without doing anything more.
Niching down your blog is not a burden; it is a gift. After all, once you have clear focus and direction, the content, promotion ad monetization strategies all fall into place.