How to Choose a Niche For Your New Blog or Business

There are two approaches I advocate when it comes to starting your first lifestyle business.

The first?

Freelance writing.

It’s a skill that most of us already have, and there’s a huge demand.

Plus, if you need to make money relatively quickly?

Freelance writing is the best way to do that while building your online skills and confidence in the process.

But what about people who don’t dig the idea of freelancing and want to do something in a niche?

The ones who truly want to build that dream “Four Hour Workweek” business around their passion that makes them feel like they never have to “work” ever again.

Well, for those people, I’m a big fan of starting what I call a “Hobby Hacking” site. Or more commonly known, as a niche site.

Not only will doing this allow you to build an asset and a brand but over time it will help you establish yourself as an authority in your niche, while also making some money in the process.

But here’s the problem with that.

While a niche site is great, most people don’t do a very good job of choosing their niche.

I know as I was building my primary hobby site out, I did a horrible job of niching down.

You see, I’m really into golf.

So, a few years ago I decided to start a golf niche site – and I thought I would immediately crush it because of the knowledge I had growing Location Rebel.

In reality? It didn’t quite go like that.

I started the site, but the problem was that there was zero focus. I did club reviews, wrote about the PGA Tour, talked about golf travel, golf courses architecture – and pretty much any other topic in the realm of golf you can imagine.

Now it’s one thing if you have a team of authors and are posting every day. But this was a niche hobby site, where I posted once or twice a week and was doing it all on my own.

So what’s the problem with this?

I never truly established what my niche was.

Golf is an industry, not a niche.

And in the golf industry, people have wildly varying interests.

Some only care about Tiger Woods and the major championships. Some only care about cheap municipal golf courses – others totally geek out on the subtitles of golf course design.

My problem is that I didn’t appeal to any of them.

I began to realize this over time, and what I ended up doing was niching down as far as I possibly could. And the result?

I’ll get to that in a minute.

How to Choose a Niche

This video walks you through exactly how to go about it. And in particular hones in on the extremely under utilized “NWN” Method.

In this post, we’re going to show you how to choose a niche for your new blog or hobby site by using the niche within a niche method.

By doing this I’ve increased the revenue on my own niche site by about 10 times in one year, and even though it might seem counterintuitive, it’s the best way I’ve found to truly grow and monetize a passionate audience of people.

Step #1: Choose The Industry For Your Niche

You can create a niche site in literally any industry. No matter what it is, there are people out there who are interested and passionate about your topic.

There are plenty of sites out there that will show you how to find an underserved or under-monetized industry and create a site around it – regardless of whether or not you have any interest in it.

We’re not going to do that here.

If you create a niche site in an industry you don’t enjoy, you’ll grow to resent the site, and your readers will be able to clearly see through this.

So when it comes to choosing an industry, chances are you already know! What is something you love to do, are passionate about, or wish you could turn into a job? Start with that.

Question to ask yourself’:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are your biggest hobbies?
  • What do you wish you could turn into a job?
  • What industry sites do you spend the most time reading?

Step #2: What Niche Within This Industry Are You Most Interested In?

Like I mentioned, the point of this post is to help you niche down. So what niche within your industry are you most interested in?

As an example from a couple of my sites:

Breaking Eighty

  • Industry: Golf
  • Niche: Golf Travel and Top 100 Courses
  • Content: Course reviews, travel guides, product reviews, photo tours

HDR Software

  • Industry: Photography
  • Niche: HDR (High Dynamic Range)
  • Content: Tutorials, product reviews, gear reviews

My old photography niche site.

Questions to Ask:

  • What subset of your industry are you most interested in?
  • Would you be happy writing about this every week for the foreseeable future?
  • If you could run a site around this niche full time, would that be exciting to you?

Step #3: Figure Out if Other People Are Interested in This Too

Ok, so at this point, you should have a good idea of your ideal industry, as well as a niche within that industry.

But we still have to figure out if there’s actually a market or a demand for your dream niche.

Here’s how to get a sense for this:

  • Are there other sites built around this niche?
  • Are there products you can buy in this niche?
  • Are there online forums with people talking about this?
  • Is there a Sub-Reddit for your niche?
  • Is there much discussion on social media about your niche? (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube)

Step #4: Monetize Using the NWN Method

Ok, now here is where we get to the secret sauce of this plan.

While the questions and steps above will help you get a good sense of your niche, you often won’t truly hone in on it until after you spend a few months creating, testing, and seeing what resonates with both you and your readers.

But once you really hone in on it, do you rest there?

Of course not!

If you want to give yourself the best shot at monetization, you niche down even further – using what I call the Niche Within a Niche Method (NWN).

And to illustrate it, I’m going to go back to my golf example.

So while niching down to golf travel, is a great start – there are a still a lot of other people out there talking about golf travel – and it’s continued to get more popular over the last couple of years.

So I wanted to differentiate myself even more – so I niched down as far as I could go.

What does this look like?

Well, when I travel I like to see as many golf courses as possible. The problem is most of these are private courses, and they can be tough to access if you don’t have the right connections. So I started there and then started thinking about who my ideal niche within a niche would be.

It looked something like this:

  • Is a member of a private golf club
  • Enjoys hosting guests and showing off their home club
  • Likes to travel and experience other notable and historic golf courses
  • Enjoys discussing and talking about golf on the internet

Now, that is extremely specific.

In fact, this person I just outlined represents about 3-5% of my total audience for Breaking Eighty. BUT, for those people, I knew if I could provide something that was a perfect fit for them and their interests – they would probably be interested.

So what’d I do?

I created the Eighty Club. An online forum for private golf club members who fit into every box above.

the eighty club

In a year we’ve grown to 165 members from some of the best golf clubs in the world.

And it only worked because I continued to niche down to appeal to as small of an audience as possible.

What does this mean for you?

It means, one of the best ways to grow your niche site and monetize it is to implement the NWN Method.

So how do you identify your niche within a niche?

Here’s how you can start:

  • Create a list of smaller subsets of your chosen niche
  • Of these, which one feels like it has the most monetary potential?
  • Think about areas of this industry where you’ve said “why aren’t there more resources for _____?”
  • What is a niche within a niche where you would happily pay for more resources, content, or access?

Asking questions like this helps you begin to identify where those longer term opportunities are within your chosen field.

Niche Down: Some Final Notes

One thing I’d like to reiterate is that this entire process isn’t something that happens overnight.

If you’re creating your own Hobby Hacking it can take months of writing, posting, researching and tweaking to truly find your target niche.

Part of the reason Breaking Eighty was successful was because I cast a wide net early on. By writing about everything relating to golf it allowed me to:

  1. Figure out what I was most interested in writing about
  2. See which content resonated the most with readers

But I could have been even more successful, had I done a better job of planning out my Niche Within a Niche for the Eighty Club earlier on.

So the goal of this post is to help you find your niche, but also help you begin to think about how you can niche down even further because that is often where the best opportunity for monetization is.

Those sub-niches are usually the most underserved, so by creating something that appeals directly to them – the demand can be much higher.

Once you’ve got your niche targeted, you can start building out your niche site.