The first step in determining how to start a blog is to evaluate blog topics for business potential. No one starts a blog just because they love to write, after all. Well, just about no one. All of us want to make money blogging. And the first step down that path is finding the right focus for your blog’s content.
There’s a distinct difference between hobby blogs and blogs with income potential. Let’s look at each individually.
Hobby Blogs vs Blogs With Income Potential
The vast majority of blogs are hobby blogs. There’s no doubt hobby blogging has a place. It allows people who are very passionate about a subject to share that passion with an audience that shares it as well. If you’re trying to make money from your efforts, this approach can be limiting.
A few things are typically true about hobby blogs:
- The blog ideas these writers cover may, or may not, have potential to generate a return on time invested.
- Hobby bloggers choose what they write about. And the blog posts they publish are based on knowledge and their audience’s interest. Their content strategy isn’t built in a way to aid incremental growth. Much less on eventual ability to monetize their work. If they have one at all.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword volumes don’t always drive content planning. Sure, these bloggers want to grow their site. But likely are not taking steps necessary to ensure it happens. They’re just writing. There’s nothing wrong with that.
- Hobby bloggers write on hobby niches. Think about your own hobbies and when you have time to pursue them. When you have a few free minutes here and there, right? Most hobby bloggers just blog here and there as well. And probably not on any set pattern.
Blogs With Income Potential
A few things are generally true about blogs with income potential:
- Bloggers who have built blogs with income potential have done due diligence in choosing things to write about. They know each blog post they create has long-term potential to generate a return on time invested.
- Incremental growth drives content strategy built by income-minded bloggers. Monetization is front-of-mind as is the SEO impact of each blog post. Income-minded bloggers simply do not publish any blog post without an intention backing it. Ever.
- Income-minded bloggers stick to a hub-spoke content strategy, content marketing strategy, and work on their blogs daily. Sometimes it may only be an hour. However, that hour can be impactful and purposeful.
Income-minded bloggers need to consider the expendable income of their audience, the audience’s willingness to spend, and also level the level of demand for content related to their blog topics.
How to Uncover Income-Driving Blog Niches
To determine if your niche has income potential, there are a few things to consider. First, does your target audience has sufficient expendable income to purchase products or consulting services you would offer as part of a larger monetization strategy? More importantly, if they do have that income, what about their behavior, psychographic, and demographic makeup would make them attractive readers and/or customers?
To best evaluate if your niche is a hobby niche or one that could generate income, think about the differences in what a hobby blogger would write about, and also what businesses exist within the niche.
Do some side-by-side comparisons when you’re considering blog topics. As an example, let’s compare a blogger who has deep knowledge on home repair, but also could extend that knowledge to writing about the home construction process, because they’ve had experience there as well.
And, along these lines, they need to make a very crucial decision.
Using Ahrefs and Facebook Audience Insights
Ahrefs allows you to comb millions of websites through keyword research on your niche. Facebook Audience Insights allows you to look at the demographic makeup of people in your niche through a few simple and intuitive searches, and learnabout your potential customer base.
Using Ahrefs to Evaluate Blog Topic Interest
The more often keyword(s) in your niche are searched for around the world, the more interest there is in the subject. Ahrefs makes it very easy to find this out.
Here’s a screenshot of the number of people around the world searching for the keyword home repair monthly:
As you can see from the above, searching for keywords in Ahrefs has a few interesting characteristics:
- Keyword difficulty – The difficulty of keywords in Ahrefs ranges from 0 on the low end to 100 on the high end. A keyword difficulty of 30 isn’t too bad. It’s definitely possible to compete for search traffic on home repair as a newer blog.
- Search volume – This is the average number of monthly searches in the country that you’ve selected in your account as your “home” country. 8,300 a month is very solid. Really, anything over 2-5,000 is pretty solid and a good barometer.
- Global search volume – This is the average number of monthly searches around the world for the keyword you’re researching. A volume of 10,000 is fantastic.
In short, the keyword home repair ticks all of the boxes as a core topic you’d want to write about for a blog. As a comparison point, let’s see how home construction checks out. Here’s the Ahrefs screenshot for that keyword:
Look at the keyword difficulty! It’s only a 6 so it wouldn’t take all that much heavy lifting to get into the mix of search results for residential construction. The domestic and global search volume are a little less than for home repair, but still respectable. And, the smaller volume is offset by light competition.
To further examine the difference here, let’s check out Facebook Insights.
Using Facebook Insights to Evaluate Blog Topic Interest
Facebook Insights provides a bird’s-eye view of the number of people interested in a particular topic. There are 10-15 million people in the US interested in the blog topics surrounding home repair:
From this screenshot, you can see 65% of this 10-15 million people are women, so it’s probably worth digging into this group a little further to see what else you can find out. To do this, change the Gender selection on the left to Women and grab the new results:
It’s interesting to note 54% of the women in the country interested in home repair are age 55-65+. And that women make up 6-7 million of the previous group of 15-20 million we considered earlier.
As a comparison point, let’s take a look at the same screenshots for blog topics surrounding the keyword home construction.
Here’s the high-level Facebook Insights screenshot for home construction:
A few things to note here:
- The audience is much smaller at 1 million to 1.5 million people nation-wide. Also, the audience skews female at 61% to 39%.
- This is very interesting given it was true with home repair. An easy assumption would be more men than women would be interested in home construction, but this doesn’t appear to be the case on the surface.
Regardless, for comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at the male population a little more closely:
As you can see, men ages 25-53 make up 74% of the men in the US interested in the topic home construction. To take things a step further, let’s see what types of pages on Facebook they like. To do this, change the age range to 25-53, and then click on Page Likes in the navigation menu:
Hmm, interesting. You notice here that pages like KB Homes, RIDGID power tools, Milwaukee Tool North America, Dewalt and Klein appear as pages that men interested in home construction ages 25-53 like. Think there might be some residential home contractors in there? It’s a good bet.
Think those contractors might be interested in blog topics geared directly to their interests, and be willing to spend money for that information? Even better bet.
See where we’re going here?
Now this absolutely isn’t to say that female home construction contractors wouldn’t be interested as well. The point is, in general, the home construction niche has income blog potential while the home repair niche has hobby blog potential. Along these lines, just think about the money spent on the average home repair project versus a full-scale home construction project, and the people involved in these processes. It’s a huge difference.
When considering topics to write about, it becomes pretty obvious which topic would be better to focus on.
Putting Blog Topic Insights Into Action
Once you’ve found the topics to write about that will result in a good return on the time you have to invest, dig in! Don’t waste any more time evaluating, just get to work. Write some cornerstone content. Aggressively start obtaining guest blog opportunities that point links back to those cornerstone articles. Write spoke content that support your cornerstone blogs.
And then, start thinking about how to make money blogging!
Our team at Blog to Scale is here to help you take full advantage of that hour a day you have available to evaluate blog topics and to build your income-producing blog. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you scale these efforts even faster through one-on-one consultations via our Blog to Scale Training Academy.