There is a growing trend towards working from home. As a result, many employees have enjoyed the freedom it allows while lowering the operating costs for employers.
However, have you considered working for yourself from home? While there are many ways to freelance and side hustle, starting a blog could be viable.
Here is an introduction to starting your own blog. Is it the best option for you? Let’s find out.
How do blogs earn money?
Let’s start with the basics. How does a blog even earn money?
Most new blogs can start earning money with affiliate marketing. It’s a commission for referring customers. In exchange, the blogger gets a small commission, depending on the agreement.
Advertisements are another way to make money, especially with higher traffic. The more people that see the ads, the more money you can make on a website.
Another kind of advertising is a sponsored post. This is usually a full page written by the product in exchange for an ad fee for the space.
Usually, advertising and sponsored posts take some time to gain enough traffic to earn a lot of income. And with affiliate marketing, the commissions can be quite small.
So, some bloggers choose to sell their own products or services. Think ebooks and training courses. That way, they can keep all of the profit and have full control over the process.
Do Blogs Really Earn Money?
Reports show that many blogs do make money. There are even those that make $10,000 or more per month.
In reality, those are extreme cases and don’t represent the average. But making $1,000 per month as a side hustle is not unheard of.
In fact, according to Zip Recruiter, the average monthly salary for a blogger is around $38,000. Not too shabby for something you can start in your pajamas.
Choosing a Niche for Your Blog
A decade ago, you could write about anything and expect to start ranking on search engines.
Now it’s not so simple. To rank on search engines, you have to be an expert in one particular area. It’s what they call “niching down.”
Essentially, you need to have a laser focus on a topic and cover it as thoroughly as possible. This tells Google et al. what your site is about. So if someone is looking for what is the best “x” for their problem, the search engines will say, “oh, here’s a website that just focuses on ‘x’s. Therefore, that must be the best expert on the matter.”
Think of it like starting a store. If you want to start a general store that carries everything, you’re going against Wal-Mart and Target. That’s some stiff competition.
But, let’s say you decide to sell ice cream cones. Then, you could dominate the market on ice cream cones. Sugar cones, waffle cones, chocolate waffle cones…you get the point.
While you couldn’t compete with the big box stores in all categories, you could corner the market on that one thing in your town.
Then, if someone is looking for a specific ice cream cone for a special occasion, they will come to you since you are the expert.
When choosing a blog niche, it’s the same idea. You don’t want to compete with big blogs like Nomadic Matt in travel or Nerd Wallet in personal finance.
Both of them can cover a wide range of topics because they have built up quite a bit of authority.
By choosing a micro niche within those subjects, you have a chance to rank for that specific category.
Deciding Factors for a Blog Niche
The main factors to consider are:
What is your expertise
What do you enjoy doing or explaining?
What is the potential for making real money?
How much competition is there?
Let’s briefly cover these one at a time.
Your expertise. What are you experienced with? What do you do for a living, what schooling have you taken, what hobby are you great with?
You can start to figure this out when you think of the questions your friends ask you for advice with. Chances are you are pretty good at it.
What do you enjoy doing or explaining? You may be an expert at something, but you hate doing it. On the other hand, you may have a hobby or interest you know nothing about but would love to learn and teach others.
Does it actually make money? This is important. After all, you’re starting a blog to make some extra money. So choose a niche that you can get the most out of in the least amount of time. Even if you love the subject, if there is no money in it, move on to something else.
Conversely, if it makes good money, but you can’t stand doing it or talking about it, then you should certainly pass on that niche. You’ll be working long hours and hit many walls along your journey. So you better love it like a friend.
What is the competition level? This is important but not a deal-breaker. You don’t want to go up against giants like Wikipedia and YouTube. If they are dominating the niche, it’ll take a while to rank.
However, if you can offer value and explain from a different level than the other bloggers out there, you have a chance to compete. Just realize there is a longer path to success going that route.
Best Ideas for a Blog Niche
The top-earning blogs are in food, personal finance, lifestyle/mommy, travel, and outdoor.
Obviously, many people have figured this out and have gone into these niches. So the competition is pretty steep.
However, you can sidestep the competition by combining two or three to find a niche within a niche.
For example, you could combine a food and mommy blog and start a recipe blog for busy families.
You could combine personal finance with travel and go into the remote work niche.
Or intersect travel with adventure activities and start an outdoor travel blog.
Should You Start a Blog?
So, after this introduction to starting a blog, is it the right solution for you?
True, there will be a ton of work to get it off of the ground. But the benefits may outweigh the cost in time and/or money.
If working for yourself on a flexible schedule anywhere in the world has any appeal to you, take a second look at starting a blog.
And if you are ready for a pivot in your career that teaches you several skills that you can turn into other side hustles, then take the plunge.
Look for more ways to dig into starting your blog on this website.