Building a profitable blog comes down to this: choose the right topic from the beginning.
Yes, you can certainly flip a blog at a later point but very few do because of the mounting pressure from their community and this inherent “weight” that one has about making major changes to a website (such as adding ads or promotions which may disgruntle the existing community).
So, back to the point. It’s about choosing the right topic from the beginning but not just any topic, it needs to be profitable in the long-run.
This is how you go about it …
Step 1: What are you passionate about?
I’d say the best start is asking what you’re most passionate about. However, not all “passionate niches” are exactly profitable because there may not be enough traffic for what you enjoy. On the other side of this though, you do have an advantage of starting because you know the foundation of what you’re interesting in and so you’ll be able to easily create content around the topic and bring in a following of similar minded individuals.
Tip: Hobbies and product-related interests are a great place to start because there’s always something to sell to people.
Step 2: What are other people doing?
Take the entire guess work out of finding a profitable niche by basing your work off the shoulders of others. There’s no “rules” to starting a business and you don’t necessarily need a new idea to get something going – hell, just look at franchise models – you wouldn’t say McDonald’s is a bad investment because you know people buy the stuff.
More specifically, take a look at what people are doing with their sites, what they’re promoting, the content they’re producing, and the communities they’re going after. The web is large enough to have a ton of players in the market so carve out your own niche and tap into the industry.
Step 3: Does the keyword show promise?
Niche’s boil down to specific keywords and interests but not all of them are readily used within the general community (you won’t find an average person mentioning “social media traffic”, they’re just lumping it all together because they don’t need/care to know the specifics).
So, this really goes across all industries – you have the inner group that knows everything, the mid level consumers, and then the general audience. Your job is to figure out the profitable keywords and link them to the content and products you’ll be promoting.
You can use free tools (Google Keyword Tool) or some paid ones to get the job done. I won’t go into the very specifics of doing keyword research because there’s a wealth of information already out there but basically you just need to make sure it’s getting enough traffic without too much competition.
Step 4: What sells?
Is there even a market for what you plan to be selling? Are people buying it regularly and not as some one-off thing such as holiday cards or yearly calendars? There’s always money to be made in the smallest of niches but if you want long-term growth than you need to make sure that the trend is going upwards for what you’ll be selling.
Take a look at the top sellers on Amazon, Ebay, and other commerce sites and compare their histories. You’ll find that a lot of gadgets, information, and other misc products and services fall out of demand quickly while others last decades.
Step 5: Run with it
Lastly, I’d highly suggest that you don’t worry so much about doing everything up-front (in reverse of how I opened this post) and, instead, try to at least get something going. The longer you sit on an idea, the less it’s profitable because people’s interest dies out and they move on.
Do the first four steps to the key but don’t hold out any longer than you need to get your website up and launched. Start churning out content and let it run for a while before you decide 100% what you want to do with it. Use that initial burst of traffic to get as much information on your niche as you can and then make the appropriate changes.
Final Thoughts & Suggestions
As someone that does a lot of web projects, I can honestly tell you that not every idea is going to work out the way you imagine. However, your best bet is to simply try things. Start looking around and do your research into what sells and what’s going to be around for the next few years.
Don’t put off til tomorrow what you can start work on today. Find something that interests you and get to work on it. Your projects will grow the deeper you get into creating websites and if you did your groundwork thoroughly than you have a high chance of it turning a profit.