Before you sign up for a website host, you want to choose a niche that’s going to be profitable for you and a name to match your niche.
I challenge you today to finish today’s lesson and get one step closer to an additional income stream in your life!
Today you will learn:
- what a niche is and why you should pick one,
- how to choose a niche,
- how to choose the name of your blog,
- what to do if you can’t pick a niche or name,
- and how to save money buying a domain name the way that I recommend.
Remember, if you need help with anything at all, ask away in our Facebook community, and tag your question with #challengeday1.
New to this challenge?
Did you somehow find your way to this roadmap before even learning about what this challenge is about? Well, let’s get you started the right way.
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CHOOSING A PROFITABLE NICHE
WHAT IS A NICHE?
A niche is a set of topics that your blog will be focused on. Essentially you will be specializing in this subject.
Examples of niches include but are not limited to:
- Personal finance for college students
- Solo female travel
- Parenting tips
- Sustainable health and wellness
- Dog training tips
- Tech for business people
WHY IS HAVING A NICHE IMPORTANT?
Having a niche is important for your readers because it’ll define who you are as a blogger. You’ll be seen as an expert in this field and your readers will come to you time and time again for advice on your niche.
Your readers, the targeted group of people interested in your niche, will be your niche audience.
In addition to others viewing you with credibility, having a set of topics to create content around will make blogging so much easier for you!
Since you’ll be an expert* in your niche, you’ll be able to think of topics to write about more easily and tie together related subjects that the average person may not have been able to think of.
*Don’t worry if you don’t think you are an expert. You either already are one and don’t know it, or you will become one.
I loved traveling and traveled all the time, but I really became a travel “expert” when I started to blog about it and learned more about travel-related topics so I could present well-researched information to my travel-loving audience!
Lastly, your blog will do better with ranking on search engines if you are niche-specific. In fact, Google loves niche blogs!
They want to provide users with information that is highly relevant to them so if you are in the niche that Google’s reader is in, Google will be more likely to show your blog to them than another blogger who writes about your niche AND other topics too.
If after going through these tips, you still can’t choose a niche and name, please make sure to read the section on what to do if you can’t pick anything! It is very important to your blogging career.
THREE TIPS FOR CHOOSING A NICHE
Choosing a niche might sound hard, but you probably already have areas of focus in your life that you weren’t aware of but are deeply involved with everyday.
Here are some tips for choosing a niche:
1. Choose a niche in something you are passionate about.
Most successful bloggers tend to start out writing about stuff they absolutely love. Because of their genuine interest, they’re able to create lots of content and really let their personality and care for their blog shine.
Also, you are going to spend hours writing content around what you love, researching related matters, looking at photos about it, and talking about it so choose something that’ll keep you happy long-term.
Believe it or not, you are going to become an expert in this niche!
2. Absolutely don’t choose a niche based on how seemingly profitable that industry is.
Although blogging sounds like it’s a lot of fun, it can get tedious sometimes like when you’re thinking up new ideas for content.
Googling “Most Profitable Blog Niche” and picking a niche based off profitability instead of what you love actually can lead you to blogger burnout or boredom faster.
One key to making money from blogging is to keep at it!
You can’t make money if you get burnout and stop so let’s prevent that from happening in the first place.
So we’re back to tip #1, choose a niche that you love.
Doing what you love will lead to profitability better because you’re most likely to keep blogging about it.
You can’t be profitable with your blog if you stop blogging so a profitable niche is one that you’ll keep blogging in.
3. Let it come naturally.
Some people wrack their brains over what niche they should choose, but don’t get worked up over it.
Be conscious of your day-to-day actions, and take note of what you find yourself doing or liking the most.
When you see a pattern in something you do over and over like constantly look up places you can travel to or read about healthy lifestyle tips, ask yourself:
- Is this something that makes my heart jump for joy?
- Will this allow me to express a part of myself thoroughly to the world?
- Is this something I want to become more developed and knowledgeable in?
- Does this niche inspire me, which in turn, allows me to inspire others and feed off their energy to keep doing what I’m doing?
If you can’t decide on one niche and want to focus on two, go right ahead! Just choose one that you may be writing more on so you can focus your brand name around that.
Also, if you’re really having trouble on picking a niche, then don’t fret!
Your blog will evolve, and you may naturally niche down overtime, or like me, you may start branching out into broader topics.
BRAINSTORMING ACTIVITIES TO HELP YOU PICK YOUR NICHE
If you’re not apparently passionate about anything or you just want to make sure that your niche is going to be profitable, use these two brainstorming activities to help you out.
Take at least 30 minutes to do this activity!
ACTIVITY #1: BRAINSTORM TOWARDS YOUR PERFECT NICHE
Grab a pen and piece of paper, and let’s brainstorm towards your perfect niche.
When doing this exercise, DON’T HOLD BACK!
Write down everything you can think of.
I repeat– don’t be shy, don’t be humble, and definitely don’t worry about feeling stupid whatsoever.
No one else is going to see this unless you want them to.
This is for you!
Question 1: What are your passions?
i.e. What do you enjoy? What makes you happy? What is something I could talk about all day?
QUESTION 2: What are your skills?
i.e. What are you really good at? What can you turn into a proficient skill and become an expert in? What’s one thing you want to be known for? What do people compliment me on?
question 4: What do you think your niche should be?
i.e. What do you both love and are good at?
What do your answers from these three questions have in common?
Pick the niche that has some combination of what you wrote down in these three sections. Whatever you choose, make sure you are passionate about it!
Your readers will be able to feel your passion and connect with it.
(OPTIONAL) ACTIVITY #2: MAKING SURE YOUR NICHE IS NOT TOO NARROW
Once you pick your niche, you’ll want to figure out if it’s too narrow of a niche.
If it’s too narrow, then it’ll be hard to come up with blog posts in the long run, and to make money from blogging, you need to be consistent and keep blogging so let’s prevent your niche from being too narrow!
To make sure your niche is not too narrow, come up with 20 potential blog post topics. You can “cheat” on this activity by looking at what other bloggers write about in their niche.
Here are some examples on topics:
- If you are in the sustainable beauty niche, you could write about best sustainable face washes, dirty ingredients to watch out for in beauty products, clean beauty companies of 2020, how to use clean beauty products and so on.
- If you are in the solo travel niche, you could write about best countries to go to for female travelers, what to pack on an international flight as a solo traveler, how to meet people while traveling, what safety tips to keep in mind while traveling and so on.
If you can’t write 20 blog post ideas for your niche, then it might mean it’s too narrow, and you may have to broaden your niche. For example:
- You might want to broaden the niche “Nighttime Mountain Photography” to “Outdoor Photography ”.
- You might want to broaden the niche “Baby Toy Poodle Care” to “Poodle Care”.
Do this activity QUICKLY!
Set a timer for five minutes or so, and just get ideas out. These topics aren’t set in stone.
They’re just to help you see if your niche is too narrow or not. No one is judging!
Feel free to get out the “silliest” ideas.
If you are able to write 20 blog post topics, then hooray for you! You have a ton of ideas already set up for your blog.
CHOOSING THE NAME OF YOUR BLOG
Now that you have your niche down, let’s move onto creating a blog name.
Your blog name is going to be like your second name.
It’s going to be a part of you for as long as you blog and will represent your blog brand.
Your blog name should be
- related to your blog niche,
- easy to remember,
- easy to spell
- and not need much explanation.
BLOG NAME ACTIVITY
If you need help figuring out your blog’s name, get a piece of paper and pen.
I strongly suggest doing this activity out by hand.
1. Write down:
- Your blog niche (i.e Fashion, Beauty, Travel, Gaming)
- Your blog’s tone (i.e Will it be serious? Sarcastic? Optimistic?)
- Your target audience (i.e. Men or Women? 19-24? 25-34?)
2. Write down words that exemplify the topics and categories you wrote about above.
3. Write synonyms for the words you just came up with.
4. Lastly, mix and match those words ‘till you get something short, sweet, simple, and YOU.
Come up with 2-3 options, and don’t get attached to the name yet because we have to vet it!
Tip: You can read the section below on what to do if you can’t pick a name. I talk about why choosing your own full name as your blog name is a very viable option!
VETTING YOUR BLOG NAME
Once you picked out your niche and blog name, you’ll want to vet it to make sure it’s something you want to stick with you for quite some time (and possibly forever!).
Go through this list of questions to vet your blog name.
- Does someone already have your blog name?
- Search for your blog name by entering it as an URL in a browser. If it doesn’t lead anywhere, then most likely the website is for sale.
- BE CAREFUL searching for your blog name on a site where you buy domains because they could be sneaky and increase the price of that domain name or buy it themselves.
- Is there a potential conflict with an existing trademark?
- Check for free at the USPTO.gov site.
- How does your brand name look as a domain name?
- Remove all the spaces, and add a .com at the end to make sure something like Pen Island’s penisland.com doesn’t happen.
- By the way, I recommend a .com over .net or .blog because .com is easiest for people to remember and the most commonly used.
Don’t make people think twice about coming to your site!
- Will your brand name be relevant in a few years in general or even with just yourself?
- For example, if you are a budget backpacker now but outgrow that lifestyle in a few years, well, creating a blog name around budget backpacking won’t be sustainable in the long run. It may be too niche to grow with.
- Will you need to explain your name after you say it?
- If your blog is called dsignflower.com, will you need to always tell people that it’s design without the -e? Then you might want to rethink the name.
- What does your blog name sound like out loud?
- Say it out loud a few times.
The above steps might seem like an overly detailed process on vetting your brand name, but I encourage you to go through these many steps to get a blog name that you’ll love and can work with monetarily for years to come.
My Own Experience
Personally, I did not go through this process and trapped myself in a name too niche.
My first blog name was talesfromafork.com and was about culinary travel. It was too niche. I quickly outgrew it and had to rebrand to fromlusttilldawn.com.
Let’s avoid you having to do that because it is a pain!
WHAT TO DO IF YOU CAN’T PICK A NICHE AND DOMAIN NAME
If you can’t pick a niche and a domain name, then don’t worry. I have an easy fix for you.
Here’s what you do need to worry about.
A lot of people get stuck at this stage and never start blogging. It’s disappointing because picking a niche and domain name is literally one of the first steps of blogging.
I am going to be honest with you, if you let THIS stop you, you will have a lot of trouble blogging as there is a lot to learn and do.
Alright- now that little lecture is over with, here’s what you can do if you can’t pick a niche and domain name but don’t want that to stop you.
For your domain name, use your full name! It’s as easy as that.
The reason I recommend this is because I know a lot of bloggers in travel and fashion who started out with www.mycuteblogname.com but ended up rebranding to their full name when they got bigger.
I personally did this, but do you know Leonnie Hannie, one of the biggest fashion bloggers out there? She used to be @ohhcouture and she rebranded two years ago to @leonniehannie.
Drew Binsky used to be the Hungry Partier and rebranded to @drewbinsky.
It is a common move that bloggers make once they evolve and get bigger so you can cut that step out and use your name from the beginning (because rebranding is a pain; I did it twice).
For your niche, if the activity above really doesn’t help you, throw it out the window completely. Sometimes the best way to figure out what you want to write about is to actually write about it.
So you’re interested in travel, beauty and cooking? Well, start your blog and start writing about all of them. One week write about travel, the next week, write about about beauty, and the next week, write about cooking.
You will learn by experience what you like to write about and what you don’t because liking something in real life is completely different than researching, writing and marketing it on your blog.
BUYING YOUR DOMAIN NAME
The hosting plan I recommend for your website includes a free domain name for the year BUT I don’t recommend going with the included free domain.
Instead, I recommend doing what I do, which is buying a domain name BEFORE you get your hosting to save you money in the future.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY WITH MY RECOMMENDATION
We’ll talk about what Privacy Protection is in a bit after we talk about saving money first!
Getting a domain name with the hosting service I used for my travel blog is free for the first year, BUT Privacy Protection is an extra $12/year for the 1st year and then $15/year for the 2nd year and on.
That means next year, when you have to pay for your domain name with the hosting service because only the first year is free, you will be paying $18 for the domain name AND $15 for the Privacy Protection.
That’s $12 for the first year and $33 total for every year after the first year.
METHOD #1 TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Buying a domain name with my recommendation is only $8.98/1st year and $13.98/2nd year and on AND it includes Privacy Protection FOR FREE.
That’s only $8.98 for the first year and $13.98 every year after the first year.
Here’s the breakdown
Hosting Plan’s “Free” Domain Name
Year 1 – Domain Name $0 + Privacy Protection $11.88 = $11.88
Year 2 – Domain Name $17.99 + Privacy Protection $15 = $32.99
Year 3 – Domain Name $17.99 + Privacy Protection $15 = $32.99
My Money Saving Recommendation
Year 1 – Domain Name $8.98 + Privacy Protection $0 = $8.88
Year 2 – Domain Name $13.98 + Privacy Protection $0 = $13.98
Year 3 – Domain Name $13.98 + Privacy Protection $0 = $13.98
As you can see, in the long run, getting a domain name beforehand saves money because it includes the very important Privacy Protection for free.
Keep reading for another way to save even more money on your domain name.
METHOD #2 TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Update March 2022: I don’t think this hack by Lexi one of my students, works anymore 🙁 You can try it but it seems that it gives you the regular renewal rate.
Namecheap used to renew at $10.88 in year two and on, but now it renews at $13.98/year. She found a hack to keep the $8.98/year pricing.
To get your domain name for $8.98/year for the next five years, you can bulk pay for the domain name for five years at once, which is $44.90.
This of course includes privacy protection, and not to get too detailed into search engine optimization (SEO) right now, but some people speculate that the longer you have a domain name, the better it looks to Google and can help with SEO.
Let’s talk about Privacy Protection next and then I will show you how to actually buy your domain name.
WHY YOU NEED PRIVACY PROTECTION
Privacy Protection protects your information and prevents spam.
Basically, when anyone signs up for a website, the public can see information such as name, address and phone number used to sign up for the site.
With Privacy Protection, your contact info won’t be available to the public.
It’s a must-have in my book!
BUYING YOUR DOMAIN NAME THE MONEY SAVING WAY
Now that you know why I am having you buy your domain name beforehand instead of grabbing the free offer by the hosting company I use, let’s sign up for your domain name the right way with Namecheap. See important instructions below.
- Go to NameCheap (click the link here) and type in domain name you decided on.
- Add it to the Cart and go to it.
- Make sure WhoisGuard is enabled!!! This is the Privacy Protection you need. See screenshot above.
- Then hit Confirm Order and follow through the instructions to pay for your domain name.
Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of your domain name.
Come to our Facebook group and let me know that you got your domain name so we can celebrate!
Celebrating small wins while building a blog is a must!
I am so proud of you for finishing the first day of the challenge!
Now you can:
- Head to the 2nd day of the challenge to sign up for a profitable website host,
- or go back to the Roadmap if you need.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask anything in our Facebook group!
SHARE THE COURSE
Know someone else who would want to go on this blogging journey with you, or perhaps you just want to spread the news about this free course that could help someone start their blog?
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