Step one, how to choose a niche. Hi, I’m Lori Ballen and I have several businesses that are all driven by blogging. So I could easily tell you that I earn about a quarter of a million dollars a year through blogging and video.
I will add that this comes from services, coaching, teaching courses, affiliate income, Google Adsense, all of that. We’ll group them all in there. My leads come from blogging and from YouTube and social media channels. Blogging is the anchor.
Quick Table of Contents
What is a Niche?
Blogging drives a whole thing. I rank on the search engines for blogs, for all of my niche websites. When a query is performed (when someone types a keyword phrase into google) and the search engine results page appears, they see my webpage listing on there (that’s called a snippet). They click through and hopefully they find what they’re looking for.
There are a lot of different ways that I work these blogs to monetize them. Today, I want to talk to you about how to get started blogging in a way that you can truly monetize and make money from your blog. The first thing you’re going to do is to decide what you’re going to blog about. We call this your niche.
The word Niche can be pronounced neesh or nitch. Both are correct. Don’t get so caught up in this that you don’t actually start anything though. I hear other instructors and bloggers and teachers and people on YouTube say that if you choose the wrong niche, you’re just going to be out the window.I think it paralyzes people. It stops them from moving forward.
What you want to do is pick something and go, I am an “action Jackson” kind of girl and I will tell you that that is absolutely the reason that I’ve been in business since I was a teenager really.
I’m a serial entrepreneur and have owned and own multiple businesses. I’ve sold businesses before. And I will tell you that my secret to success is not how great of a blogger I am. It’s not how great of a writer I am. It’s obviously (see mistakes in the video above) not how great of a Youtuber I am.
While I’m confident in making videos, I don’t mess around with all that fancy schmancy stuff. The secret is that I take massive action and I don’t worry about things being perfect. Perfect is the enemy of profitability.
If you lose sleep over typos, this is going to be a lot more challenging for you than it will be for somebody like me. Of course we should have our Grammarly installed and we should have those things that help us watch our spelling and whatnot, but it shouldn’t stop us.
You’re not going to be perfect, man.
When I first started blogging, my stuff was just ugly, ugly. And I have to tell you, part of the reason why was that the platforms we blogged on were ugly. We didn’t have WordPress, we didn’t have what we have today. Our word editors were ugly. And so you just wrote all of this awful long text on top of more long text. Then you’d try to put in an image and it would be off to the left or off centered. You might remember what those old school 90’s websites looked like.
Today, I’m very proud of the work that I put out now and I teach. I teach how to blog in this style that keeps your reader on the page, that gets them clicking and engaging. I teach what helps you rank on the search engines. There really is a formula now for how to create a great blog that people want to read. And it’s not hard with the tools and the platform. You just kind of have to learn those steps.
How I Choose My Niches
My first niche was real estate and that’s because my “then husband” wanted to get into real estate and I ended up joining him in real estate and I’m naturally more of a marketer than I am a salesperson.
And so being a real estate agent didn’t really appeal to me necessarily, but the marketing side of it did. Back then the Internet was nowhere near what it is now.
Prior to that actually, I was using similar marketing strategies in my catering company. This was back when AOL said you’ve got mail. That was the first time I started playing with niches and the Internet.
At first, I was just doing AOL and testing things. So when I got into real estate, I said, let me kind of create this “digest”.
This was my thought.
I kept saying the same thing over and over again to my clients. I keep telling them how to sell a house, how to buy a house, what is escrow? How long is it going to take to sell my house? How do I get the top dollar for my house? How should I prepare for my home sale? How do I buy a house with no down payment? How do I buy a house with low credit, you know, all of these things?
And then I got into short sales, which was even way more in depth. And I wished there was a way I could just kind of put everything I said every day on something and give it to the clients.
And so there it was, blogging. I created a blog all about short sales and all about the home buying and home selling process. My website pages quickly shot to number one in my Las Vegas market for all things short sales. I closed hundreds of short sales in 2007, 2008 in 2009, 2010. These were all the distressed properties where the bank has to agree to take less money. That’s called a short sale.
And then once we got out of that distressed market it was just more information about how to buy a house, how to sell a house when you’re getting divorced, those kinds of things.
Then I created a smaller niche inside of that which was hyperlocal marketing: Things to do in Vegas, Things to do on a date, things to do for free, things to do with your kids and today I use that to draw in real estate leads, sponsored ad income, and affiliate income.
And so real estate was my niche website (after catering) because that’s what I did for a living. So it made perfect sense. Now, if I knew then what I know, I would have done the “Mom Stuff” as my kids were growing up.
I would have a mom youtube channel and I would have a mom blog. My older daughter is in her twenties and my youngest daughter is a teenager getting ready to drive. So I missed that idea!
Narrow Down To A Small Niche
So let’s just say your niche is going to be being a mom or dad being a parent. How can you make that smaller? So that’s not as competitive. There are not as many people blogging about it means there is a lower barrier to entry.
Maybe it’s being a single dad, raising your kids. Maybe it’s being a single mom, raising your kids, and you’re going to talk all about being a mom. But you’re going to do these really certain things where you talk about being a single mom and how a single mom makes money and how a single mom manages their time schedule.
Maybe you talk about being the parent roles, both mom and dad and how the single mom handles the holidays or maybe it’s a divorced mom or dad, right? That’s a blog. Knowing now after being divorced for a couple of years, I know that’s a blog.
Anyway, whatever you’re dealing with in your life at the time can be a blog.
I saw somebody do one on their journey fighting cancer recently. Thank God she is healthy and in remission and doing wonderful. But what an incredible blog. She documented the whole process.
She’s got affiliate links on there, equipment and so forth. That niche called upon her.
Let’s say you want to blog about pets. A lot of people want to do pets. You love your dog. Great. Just making a blog about a dog though is going to be super, super competitive on the search engines. And if you just start talking about dogs, the odds that your website is going to be found are pretty slim.
But what if you talked about breeding dogs? Now you just made it a little bit smaller, more laser targeted. What if you talked about breeding one particular style of dog, now you just made it that much smaller.
Maybe you’re blogging all about healthy dogs, health, food, their exercise and so on. You have to think about how you make it smaller and smaller and smaller, but where there is still an audience.
I started a lifestyle blog for the midlife woman. So this is for women say 45 to 65. Okay. 40 to 70. My target audience is 50 to 60 because I’m going to be heading into that age in the next few years when I enter the 50s and so I started with over 40, which is where I am now, but I’m already gearing up towards the over 50.
While I like that 40 is smaller, for now, it can grow to a bigger niche later. More people are searching for over 50. So I like the idea of where that pocket is going to go, even though it’s way more competitive.
I started testing it, just kind of sort of blogging about anything to do with over 40, everything from weight and health and fitness and wrinkles and fashion and marriage and divorce and dating and empty nest and finances and business and all these kinds of things.
And I happened to slip in some things about makeovers for women over 40, makeovers for women over 50. And those that hit a pocket. Those already have been climbing on the search engines.
Sometimes, you just do your work and hit a spot that hasn’t been saturated yet.
Make Money Niche
I’ve got another blog called The7thstream.com (this one). That’s my how to make money at home niche focused on affiliate income through blogging, video and social media.
It’s all about finance, business, making money online, how to monetize your blog, how to monetize your youtube channel, all of that. How to make money online, unfortunately, is a massive niche, but specific affiliate marketing through blogging, affiliate marketing through youtube, those are much smaller niches so I can get on there much faster with those.
I could do a whole blog just strictly geared towards work at home parents, work at home, etc.
Ask yourself: what’s going on in my life? Where am I at? What am I passionate about? Don’t look at your blog as it has to be a forever blog.
How To Look Up Niches
I use a tool called semrrush to look up information about niches. I can start with a general topic and see keywords, competitors, even paid ads. I can look at total search volume and get ideas for narrowing the niche.
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