The blog is meaningful when it has an element of passion combined with the mindset of an entrepreneur. Your blog can be your long-term passive income source to give you the Financial Freedom.
The first step is finding your area of interest in a profitable niche to start a blog in 2020
5 Steps to Find a Profitable Niche for Your Blog
The success of the blog depends highly on the earning potential of the blog niche.
If you pick a niche with no profit potential then your blog will hardly generate any money. On the other side, if you pick a niche with the high competition then your blog will stand no chance to rank among the high authority websites.
You should finalize the niche that has low competition yet high-profit potential.
Step 1. Follow Your Passion
Prepare a list of your interest areas and ideas that naturally come from your heart. What is your passion? The list can include anything related to any topic in any industry.
Like, I am passionate about credit cards, stock investments and personal finance. I read and spend a lot of the time reading financial books, blogs and analyzing stocks.
You too can find your ideas, it could be related to your education, work experience or interest.
Step 2. Where You Spend Most of the Time – Your Interests
The next step is to make a list of websites where you spend most of your time exploring and consuming information.
Starting a blog in these areas will help you write articles that you read and explore on a regular basis. You can write quality blogs without doing additional research as you already have good depth on the topics related to your interest areas.
You would actually start enjoying reading & researching more on topics related to the requirements of your niche and interest areas. In my case, it is personal finance and content marketing.
Step 3. Match With the “Profitable Niches” List
Match your list with my recommended list of evergreen profitable niches. The intersection of the niche will be the one that you should pick for your blog. Because this is where your interest and profitability lies.
The evergreen profitable niches list topics that are high in demand and growing exponentially.
- Health & Fitness
- Beauty & Fashion
- Food & Kitchen
- Productivity & Self-motivation
- Personal Finance
- Gardening & Outdoor
- Blockchain & Futuristic technologies
- Parenting & Childcare
- Real Estate & Interior
- Sales, Marketing & Startups
You can find multiple sub-niches when you explore the niche further. Like wearable fitness gadgets for men, travel for adventure sports, Interiors for urban homes, productivity hacks for students, and many more.
Step 4. Exploring the Marketplace – Amazon
Amazon marketplace can be explored to find out;
- Where people are already spending money – the top products
- What are they buying – the bestsellers
- What problems they are facing with the products they have purchased – the reviews section
Select a niche on the intersection of your interest areas list and profitable product category from Amazon.
For example, if you are interested in the “Health & Fitness” niche then from the Amazon product category you can select “Supplements” as your target products.
Now you can start a “Health” niche blog focusing on “Supplements”.
You can even find sub-niches to serve a particular segment of the market like supplements to gain body-weight or supplements for hair growth.
Step 5. Explore Websites Sold on Flippa
The last step is to analyze the type of online business that sells like hotcakes. This will give you a fair idea of whether your niche is in demand and people are ready to pay high prices to acquire profitable websites in the niche.
If they do so then it will validate that your niche is a profitable one.
Go to “Flippa.com” and explore websites and online businesses that are high in demand and value. You can use different filters like just sold, business models, the industry, and the price range.
Finalize Domain Name for Your Blog
A domain name is the brand of your blog. If you are serious about blogging as a business, then it is better to get a branded domain name.
The domain name should be simple and must have a good connection with your niche and blog.
It is challenging to get a single word domain name as most of them have already been taken.
Buying your ideal single name domain from someone can be an expensive and time-consuming process.
The best solution is to look for a two-word domain name that you think could connect well with your audience. For example, I found cash overflow, which connects instantly with the personal finance niche.
Important Points to Remember While Finalizing the Domain Name for Your Blog
- .com is preferred, but if it is not available then go for any other extension. If you have a country-specific audience then go for that country’s extension.
- For example, if your target audience is in India then you should go for .in extension. If it is a UK based audience then you should go for .uk extension.
- Avoid domain names with hyphens and special characters because your reader will find it difficult to spell and remember.
- Avoid words that are difficult to spell, instead, use simple words that people can easily remember.
- A branded domain name is better than the exact match domain name from a business point of view.
If you find it hard or time-consuming then you can take the help of domain name finding tools.
Domain Name Finding Tools
- Leandomainsearch.com – You just have to input a word about your blog, or the niche or any expression related to your blog and it will give you multiple combinations of different domain names.
Like, the word “content” gave the following results.
You can select any of them or you can use it to get an idea to make a different combination of domain names.
- Namechk.com – The tool lets you know whether .com is available or gives you a list of other available extensions. You just need to put up your domain name to know the availability.
For example, the domain name “moneysaving.com” is unavailable but “moneysaving.store” or the name “moneysaving.site” is still available.
If you find it difficult to get what you desire then you should start with any domain name and change it later.
The domain name should not be an obstacle in starting your blog. I started my blog with “wisebaniya”, then I changed it to “moneysparkle” but I was not satisfied with the domain name.
Finally, I found “CashOverflow” and transferred the MoneySparkle website to the CashOverflow domain.
I would suggest you to buy domain from Namecheap
Fast and reliable hosting gives your audience a wonderful website visiting experience.
Select a good domain name and reliable hosting to provide your visitors with enriched website experience.
While choosing between free and paid hosting, go for paid hosting for your blog. Because free hosting comes with lots of limitations, for example, the attached platform extension in URL like blogspot.com.
Further, the platform controls all your information and data. There are restrictions on the customizations, changing themes, installations of plugins. You might face problems in tracking data.
The worst part is that the speed on the free hosting is utterly slow which hampers page loading time, resulting in bad user experience.
You would never know how many unhappy visitors would leave your slow (freely hosted) website without reading your content. It is like destroying your potential business in the womb itself for the sake of saving a few dollars on hosting.
In my initial days, I too started my blog on GoDaddy. I thought I would save $30 per year by using a cheap hosting company. In reality, I wasted money & time with GoDaddy.
I was tempted to go for cheap prices offered by GoDaddy. But I found them to be horrible, as their shared servers were very crowded making the website utterly slow. The matter became worse when I faced errand customer support.
That is where I migrated from GoDaddy to Siteground. To date, I am happy with the Siteground’s reliable & fast hosting servers and their quality customer support.
Factors you should look while selecting a hosting;
- Select a hosting company with quality customer support
- Knowledgeable support staff
- Have high-speed servers with blazing page speed and SSD
- Security tools and measures like HTTP/2
- Hosting which provides free SSL
- Easy Installation and maintenance helpful for non-techies
- Cashing servers, connection with cloud for speed and ease of content delivery
After experiencing various hosting services I recommend hosting from Siteground and A2 Hosting.
Steps To Buy Hosting From Siteground
Step 1 – Click here to Go to Siteground website and select ‘Web Hosting”
By purchasing web hosting you get hosting services for your blog on the Siteground’s shared servers.
Step 2 – Select GrowBig Plan
GrowBig plan is for entry-level growing websites. You can host more than one website, have 20GB of webspace and up to 25K visitors which is good enough for growing multiple blogs.
On the other hand, you can host only one website on StartUp Plan. The GoGeek Plan (not recommended for beginners) has higher resources and is suitable for high traffic websites.
Step 3 – Choose OR Enter Domain Name
Step 4 – Select Plan Period and Complete Purchase
Here you can select the hosting plan period from 12, 24 or 36 months. Siteground has a fixed transparent price of $5.95 per month irrespective of the plan period.
Next, you will require a word press setup to see your blog live on the internet.
Setup Your WordPress
WordPress is a free open source content management system that supports web content. The system is based on PHP and MySQL.
WordPress helps even non-technical users to create websites with the help of easy to understand the system.
WordPress lets you do almost everything a web-developer can do without having the need of knowing any of the programming languages. WordPress is totally free.
In order to create a blog, you first have to install WordPress from your hosting control panel. Some hosting services may provide a pre-installed WordPress, but it entirely depends upon your hosting provider.
Anyways, using WordPress you can easily create web pages, posts, add images, install themes & plugins to customize, and change the appearance of the blog.
With WordPress, you have additional functionality to start an e-commerce, create a course, and quizzes.
How to Configure WordPress
In order to install WordPress, first, you need to log in to your blog’s WordPress account to execute the desired changes.
After login, you will land on the main page of WordPress which is called the Dashboard.
All of the WordPress functionality options are available in the Dashboard.
The Left Column shows various options to change the functionality of your website and the Right Side Area shows further options related to the selected left-side option.
For example, I have selected the Dashboard from the left column. On doing so the right side space provides all the functions that you can perform in the Dashboard option.
The four main options in the left column that you will be using on a regular basis are posts, media, pages, and comments to build blog posts, take feedback, and engage with audiences.
Let me explain a little more,
- Posts – Posts are the article and contents shown on your blog page. You can add a new article using the post tab, see all the previous posts, categorize your posts, and add different tags to your posts.
- Media – Here all the media files like images and videos are uploaded and managed. You can link these media files in your blog posts to create engaging articles.
- Pages – These are different web pages of your blog which are similar to posts but they are individual pages that cannot be shown in the post feed.
- Further, you can create pages having multiple posts. You can even make specific pages accessible to the specific audience only.
- Comments – Here, you can see the feedback received from the audience, review them and moderate the comments received on your posts.
Additionally, you have options for Appearance, Plugins, and Settings menus.
- Appearance – The appearance sub-menus allow you to change the look of your website. However, you may or may not have an appearance menu, depending on the theme on which your website is running.
- Plugins – A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website to make it interactive and to provide additional features.
- For example, plugins can help direct uploading of doc, adding an e-commerce facility and facility for conducting quizzes, and courses.
- Settings – The Settings menu is the control tab that helps you configure settings for WordPress content management systems.
Setting up Themes
Selecting a Theme
While starting a blog many people waste a lot of time choosing a theme and fixing the design of the blog. It’s better to start with a simple theme, which you could change anytime in the future.
In the first phase of blogging focus on the content and traffic. And in the second phase of blogging focus on the design, conversion and money.
Just keep these points in mind while choosing a theme;
- Responsive design – opens well on mobile as well as on PC
- Cross-Browser compatibility – Blog opens with the help of any browser.
- Easy to Navigate – Navigation needs to be easy and smooth.
- Proper Structure – The website should be properly structured to give it a professional look.
Installing a Theme
If you are installing a free theme, then you need to go to the left column on the dashboard and
- Click on the ‘Appearance’ menu
- Click on the ‘Themes’
- Click on ‘Add New’
In the right display area, you will have various free themes to select.
You have an option to search industry-wise themes and select the one which you need to install.
For installing a paid theme, you need to;
- Download the theme file from the theme website
- Click on upload theme
- Choose the theme file
- Click on install
In both the cases (free or paid theme) after the installation process is over you need to click on the “Activate” button to make the theme functional.
Plugins for Your Blog
Plugins are a PHP written software which integrates seamlessly with WordPress to provide you added features or extended functionalities like;
- Start an online store
- Secure your website
- Create a Job board
- Build directory, forms and take quizzes
- Start a coupon or photography website
- Start a podcast using WordPress.
Plugins make it easier for you to add features to your website without requiring you to know a single line of coding.
Let me help you with the list of essential plugins that are a must for your blog;
#1. Akismet Anti-Spam
Plugin Akismet Anti-spam gives you peace of mind and powerful protection (99%) to your blog from spam comments. You just need to check for any discrepancies in filtering spam comments.
Akismet helps you save time and build the credibility of your blog by removing irrelevant and malicious content.
The plugin comes bundled with WordPress, but you need to signup with Akismet and create a free account.
With Jetpack, you get code-free customization and design assistant to help you build good looking professional blog. You have the option to configure settings automatically or manually.
You can add a Twitter sidebar widget, or social media sharing buttons using the plugin. This makes it easy for you to customize your homepage, blog post, and sidebars.
#3. WP Smush
WP Smush plugin reduces the image size without compromising on the quality. Which helps you in two ways. First – increasing the page load speed and second – you get more storage space.
Helping you give users an enriched experience at a lower cost (savings through reduced storage and bandwidth usage).
#4. Rankmath / SEO Press / Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO helps your blog discoverability by making the blog SEO friendly. You just need to provide details in the basic setting.
The plugin helps in;
- Optimizing content for search engine
- Enhancing the readability of content
- Generating XML Sitemap
- Customizing Twitter and FB post sharing snippets
Other alternative SEO plugins
- SEO Press
#5. Table of Content Plus
Table of Content Plus plugin beautifies content presentation in a crisp and clear format. The table is automatically created by the plugin using the H2 and H3 headings.
In fact, Google also uses TOC Index to provide “Jump To” links to your content.
“Jump to” links provide the reader with the most relevant section (jump to) of the content which he is looking for.
#6. WP Database Backup
WP Database Backup plugin is needed to create a backup of your critical WordPress files.
The plugin helps you protect databases and online resources in case of accidental losses during server downtime.
#7. Security Plugin – Sucuri
Sucuri plugin is a cloud-based website application firewall to protect your blog from brute attacks and malicious hacks. That means all the traffic gets routed through the Sucuri firewall before coming to your server.
The plugin also helps in the website’s integrity monitoring and keep site audit logs. This keeps you updated about all the changes happening to your website.
#8. W3 Total Cache
You do not need the W3 Total cache plugin in case you are using Siteground hosting. Because with Siteground hosting you get free SG Cache.
Otherwise, you will require a W3 Total Cache plugin to boost page load speed and to deliver content instantly.
While installing do not change the advanced settings and use only recommended settings mentioned on the page.
#9. Google Analytics for WordPress
Google Analytics plugin helps you with the blog’s traffic statistics and metrics. You can create a free account using a unique UA code.
The plugin will help you better understand your audience engagement like;
- How many users are visiting your website
- See how people are finding your website
- How much time they are spending
- From which page they are leaving
- What is the major source of your website traffic?
Further, there are advanced plugins, which depends on the type of website you are running. For example, plugins for email marketing or Affiliate Marketing plugins.
List of Advanced Plugins
- Email marketing plugin – MailChimp / ConvertKit
- Sumo Me
- Caching Clear – Wp Rocket
- Contact Form 7
You should not worry about the plugins in the start, just go for the necessary plugins only. You can install advanced plugins later based on your website requirements.
The Final Step, Prepare a Content Plan
Content is the king in the online world. Relevant and engaging content is the core of your blog. A solid content plan is required for
- Building and develop authority
- Driving organic traffic to your website
- Engaging fruitfully with visitors
- Converting them into paying customers
- Improving customer retention.
If your content plan is weak, then your blog won’t get the desired results. You will require a clear roadmap defining type of content, the frequency of the post, the marketing rules.
The process involves keyword research, generating article ideas, article selection, and creating an outline of content.
Keywords help you write posts that are discoverable and rank higher on Google. In a way, it helps your blog to attract organic traffic. You need to find profitable keywords for your blog.
Remember four things while doing keyword research
- The keywords should be at least three words long.
The long keywords have better search intent. It would be great if you can find a keyword that has 5-6 words.
- The monthly search volume should be at least 100
- The keywords should address your target geography
For example, if your blog is catering to audiences in the US then the keyword should be from the USA and if you are writing for Indian audiences then the keyword should be from India.
- You should be able to write decent content on the keyword idea
If you find a keyword which is great but you are not comfortable writing a good article on it then keep it aside for a later stage.
Initially, you should pick those keywords that are easy to develop into an article.
Generating Article Ideas
You should look for content ideas from different sources. For example, you can get content ideas from:
- Keyword Research
- Social Media
- Ideas from your own mind
Keyword Research – This can be done using tools like SemRush, KW finder to find article ideas.
Social Media – You can get an article idea by observing the trending or viral content on social media like FB groups, Twitter, Quora, Reddit, and Buzzsumo.
Own Ideas – Article ideas can come from the feedback or questions asked by the audience. You can pick them from your own experience and observation because you know the pain points and difficulties of your audiences.
Using all the above resources, you can easily create a list of article ideas enough for your 4-6 months of content publishing plan.
You can take a clue from my simple formula of coming up with;
- 20 ideas from Keywords
- 10 from Social Media
- 5 from Own Ideas
The formula lets you have 35 content ideas, which is enough to last for up to 6 months.
Once you have a list of 35 article ideas for your blog, you need to prioritize articles on those 35 ideas. It will naturally take some time to write blogs on all the ideas, so allocate your time and resources accordingly.
Depending on the speed and the writing quality, it might take 2 to 3 days to complete one article.
Two things to keep in mind before prioritizing your ideas:
- Do in-depth research on the ideas
- Assess whether you can write high-quality content
When I started writing for my cashoverflow blog, I wrote 18 high-quality articles in a year. So you can imagine, with 35 content ideas on your hand, you need to have a 2-year content plan.
You can pick 3-4 ideas to write in the first month and the rest of the ideas can be stacked for the upcoming months.
Apart from the quality, you have to pay attention to the format, structure, and length of the copy. You have to do justice with the length as readers want very precise and crispy content to consume.
Your lengthy blog on any topic could drive your audience away and kill the engagement. Keep in mind that the length of the content should be such that it could convey the right information in a meaningful way.
If you are stuck on the ideal content length then, you can follow my thumb rule;
- For SEO Articles – 2000 words as it is keyword-based and is well researched for engaging and providing in-depth detail.
- For Personal Stories – 1200 words are sufficient where you want to share a message or communicate valuable information.
- For Social Media Articles – 800 words are enough because on social media people have a lesser attention span.
Outline of Content
The content outline helps you build a framework to structure your thoughts and messages while writing the article.
The outline is the blueprint of your article which keeps your readers engaging with the right content flow.
Every type of content is unique and requires a different approach to create an outline. In general, an outline of every article has 3 major parts;
- Introduction – The article introduction can be used to create interest and hook the reader. You can start with some message, reader’s pain points or the problems that you are going to resolve through your article.
- Body – Body includes the message and the important details that you want to convey through your article. Remember the details in the body should be relevant and to the point.
- Conclusion – Lastly, the conclusion should be able to address the reader’s question and solve his problem.
Blogging is a powerful tool that helps you express your creative ideas and share the knowledge that could be beneficial to hundreds of people. You can build a small business around blogging, but it all depends on your passion and initiative.
My blogging journey started in 2015 when my startup failed to pick up despite all possible efforts.
I learned my lessons from failure and moved on with a positive mindset to explore opportunities in the field of content marketing.
I started CashOverflow as my hobby, driven by my passion for credit cards, money-saving hacks, investment optimization, and saving income tax.
For the first one and a half years until September 2016, I did not earn much. I just concentrated on learning skills and using them to improvise my blogging, provide value to the audience, and grow blog traffic.
In the following years, I experimented with various things like affiliate marketing, content writing, paid newsletter, and consulting.
You can also experiment with your blog to find the sweet spot for your business. You can also write if you want further details on any of the above topics.