The best niche for your blog is yourself
4 min read

The best niche for your blog is yourself

If you're struggling to figure out the best niche for a blog or newsletter, try starting with yourself and your experiences to get started.
Photo by Danielle MacInnes / Unsplash

To niche or not to niche?  That would be Hamlet's question as well if he was living in today's digital creator world.

Do you need a niche for your blog?  Most people say yes.  Their argument is that there's so much digital content out there that the only way to stand out is to go niche.

I'm here say... maybe.

Absolutely go niche if you are:

  • A columnist or blogger with an established audience who expects your specific viewpoint on a topic
  • Receiving a sick advance from Substack to start a newsletter
  • A subject matter expert
  • A wannabe subject matter expert with a defined passion

If any of the above applies to you, then why are you still reading this article?

But if you've stumbled on this article by Googling "best niche for blog," then my advice is to forget about a niche.  Just get started.  That's how I was able to get past thinking about starting a blog to actually starting this blog.

Drawbacks of not having a niche

There's a reason why most people on the internet encourage you to find a niche.  Essentially, there are two main challenges for blogs that a good niche helps overcome:

  1. Harder to get noticed
  2. Harder to get paid

Harder to get noticed

There's so much digital content in the world that it's hard to get noticed as a new blogger.  On Wordpress alone, around 2,000 new posts are published per minute.

It's definitely much easier to be discovered if you have a unique niche like "daily routines of cats who act like dogs."

Sylvain Cordier/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Additionally, Google will know exactly who are you and you can
own a corner of Twitter by being "that guy."  Readers will also know what to expect, which makes it easier to drive subscriptions.  If your blog is all over the place, it may be harder to convince a casual reader why they need to subscribe.

Harder to get paid

Once you've established a niche and have a few subscribers, you can monetize through other digital content.

If you can find just 200 people (0.000004% of the global digital population) who are willing to pay $5 per month to receive tips on how to train a cat to become a dog, then that's a cool $12,000 a year.  You can sell puppy-cat t-shirts and coffee mugs.  Maybe even branch off into how to train a bird to be a like dog (pun intended).

Wait, so why NOT go niche?

I didn't say that.  My argument is that the best niche for your blog is yourself and your experiences, especially if you're struggling to get started because you can't settle on a niche.

Starting with yourself has a few distinct advantages:

Get going before you think you're ready

I highly recommend this video by Matt D'Avella where he talks about "starting before you think you're ready."

Over the past few years, I've thought a lot about writing online but could never pull the trigger.  The main thing that  held me back was not being able to identify a good niche.  Topics that interested me all seem to be well-covered.  I was also concerned about getting bored with a niche.  What if I was into cat training one day but then decided I wanted to dive deep into cryptocurrency?

Never run out of content

A niche is focused, but that also means that a niche could generate only a limited supply of content.  How many articles could someone possibly write on how to train puppy-cats?

Yes, I could cover current events like Stratechery or Sinocism, but starting with yourself ensures that there's always content, especially at the beginning when idea generation may be the most difficult.

In his great book "Show Your Work," Austin Kleon talks about "sharing the process":

The minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others.  Share your reading list.  Point to helpful reference material.  Create some tutorial and post them online.  Use pictures, words, and video.  Take people step-by-step through part of your process.  As blogger Kathy Sierra says, "Make people better at something they want to be better at."

That's why I'm starting this blog with a flurry of topics about starting this blog (super meta).

Soon the logistics of setting up my blog will no longer be top of mind.  But having started with myself and my experiences, I can easily transition to exploring other topics without having to rebrand or start over.

Find a niche through trial and error

This advice is similar to career advice of finding passion and purpose through real experiences (rather than sit and stew in your mom's basement) or developing businesses and products through testing and continuous improvement.

The most effective way to discover a good niche is through actually writing and publishing.

Here's my experience.  I set a goal of publishing at least once a week, and to meet that goal, I've been slowly putting together a content calendar.  I'm noticing that certain themes are beginning to take shape, mostly because I naturally gravitate around topics that I'm most interested in.  Hopefully some of those themes will become great niches that attract readers, but there's no way to know without actually trying.

Get started!

Niches are important, especially in today's world of oversaturated digital content.  

But if you're struggling to figure out the best niche for a blog or newsletter that you've been dreaming about, then using yourself and your experiences as the niche may be the best way to get started!

I've also started on Twitter.  Please follow me there!