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I started this website because I want to help writers make money. I’ve been struggling for years to make an income from writing, and it’s only been the last 18 months or so that I hit on a strategy that actually helped.
A lot of people assume that freelancing is the way, but it’s hard to get a foothold, especially if you’re on a budget.
I decided to start a website on plants that gets almost all of it’s traffic from search. Not only do I love writing about plants, but it meant that I have concrete evidence that I can get free, high-quality traffic to websites.
It’s a great strategy, because:
1 – It’s one big portfolio to show prospective clients
2 – You develop skills that set you apart from other writers
3 – You can monetise your website.
By the time I got enough traffic to really blow away clients, I made money from my website by itself.
But what should you pick as your niche?
Could you blog about the genre you write about?
This is a great strategy, because you have a ready-made portfolio. This can be great for people that want to write about saturated topics like finance and health. I would recommend finding a very narrow niche, at least to begin with, so that you can start to get a little traction on Google.
It goes without saying that if you have a qualification, in something like accounting or medicine, it makes sense to write about that topic.
Google can be slow to rank YMYL websites (your money your life), so your EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) has to be spot on.
A qualification will really help here.
Do you have any hobbies or skills you could turn into a niche blog?
If you have no idea what you want to write about (maybe you write fiction), then you can pretty much write about whatever you like. Perhaps you want to learn a language, or a new skill.
Make a list of all the topics you would Google in order to learn that skill, and you have a list of articles to research and write.
You could write a website about a particular book or series you love. As long as it has a fanbase but isn’t too famous (you’d maybe struggle with Harry Potter), you write articles about it.
Use Google to find out what questions people are asking about the books and answer them.
This could be a great way to promote your fan fiction or art.
Do you have an interesting job? Or a job you could blog about in an interesting way?
This can be really popular, especially if you have a job that you could teach people to do for themselves, such as:
- Efficient ways to clean homes
- Pest control
- Growing flowers
- Small business accounts
- Window cleaning
The list here is probably endless. If you spend a bit of time on google, studying the autocomplete and ‘people also ask’ section, you’ll find that people are asking questions about their specific situation, that you deal with everyday. How to clean a specific fridge model, which flowers to plant to have blooms all year, etc etc etc.
When you’ve worked a job for a long time, you forget how it felt to be a beginner. Help people – share the products you used, the people you consulted, the videos you watched. What seems obvious to you isn’t to other people, especially if they’re overwhelmed or in a time crunch.
Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn?
Share your journey! Share the resources you loved, the ones you didn’t, how you’re progressing, etc etc etc.
If you wanted to learn it, other people will to, and they’ll appreciate someone that’s only a step or two ahead of them who already did the grunt work.
Can you think up 50-100 blog post topics?
This is the number of articles I like to come up with before I start a new website. I then use Google to narrow it down to 30 posts that I try to get written within a couple of months.
I like to have a lot of ideas before I start so that I have something to concentrate on. It can be tempting to write 10 posts and then give up because you’re not getting any traction.
Remember that it can take Google up to a year to start showing your site in search results – but then it grows quickly. In month 8, I went from 1000 monthly views to 11,000. And I had no one at all visit my site for three months.
Concentrate on creating content, not traffic. I aim to have 100 posts written within the first 10 months of my site going live.
Are there already a tonne of blogs on the topic already?
If there are, it can be a sign that there’s a lot of search volume, and that the site is saturated.
But visit the sites. Are they still being updated? Is the content useful? Could you do better? The more saturated a niche is, the longer it will take to rank and the better your content will have to be. But when it does start to rank, there’s a lot of potential traffic out there.
I always recommend starting with a very specific niche – you can always expand into other related areas later.
Is there any opportunity for monetising the topic you’ve picked?
There aren’t many topics out there that are impossible to monetise. Even if you’re not selling or affiliate marketing, if there’s enough traffic, then there’s potentially ad revenue to be had.
But maybe you could write a book in the future? Design printables that your audience would pay for? Create your own products.
This is where having a targeted email list can really help. Even if you only have ten people on your list, you could email them mockups or ideas and ask for feedback. The money is in the list, but not because they’re buying your products – they can tell you exactly what product they need.
Final thoughts on what you should blog about as a writer
You can blog about whatever you want. As long as you create valuable content that people are looking for, you can make money from your writing. It takes a while, but it’s worth it.
What you blog about depends on what you hope to achieve. Do you want to create a great portfolio that you can also use to prove your skills to prospective clients? Do you want to build a community of like-minded people? Or do you want to pick up tapestry but don’t know where to start?
Remember that you don’t need to pick one topic. Start a website, write 30 articles, then start a new one. See how they both do. It’ll take either more work or longer to rank, but you’ll two potential sources of income.
You don’t need to wait around for a publisher or agent to pick up your manuscript, or spend all day cold emailing prospective clients and hope they take a chance on a newbie. You don’t even have to hang around on social media hoping that one of your tweets goes viral. Money can be made from your writing if you create content that’s being searched for.
Learn SEO and how to write great content by experimenting on your own website, with the aim of monetising it in the future.