When it comes to choosing a topic for a blog there are two popular schools of thought. Some bloggers maintain that you should aim to blog about something you are passionate about. On the other end of the spectrum, many authorities disapprove of this and instead claim you should select a topic to blog about based on it’s profitability.
Today I’d like to examine the arguments from both sides to try and give you a better understanding of your options.
One of the key problems that many bloggers face once they have started to blog is actually how to monetize their writing. After all, while many bloggers are perfectly comfortable writing purely for the joy of expressing themselves and meeting like-minded individuals, many of us, if we’re honest, would like to earn some money from our blogs.
It follows of course that some topics or niches are far easier to monetize. For example if you set up a personal finance blog and manage to build up a significant readership you will likely have advertisers queueing up to sponsor your site. Even if not, there are a range of affiliate programs offering big payouts and even Adsense can pay handsomely in niches such as this.
Speaking as someone who has done exactly this in the past, I can tell you that the financial benefits can be very satisfying. The problem however is that if your chosen topic isn’t something you are genuinely interested in, not only can this lack of enthusiasm spill over into your writing, making for a lacklustre blog, but even worse you may get bored of posting altogether.
Blogging should be a pleasure and having to force yourself to write about something you have little interest in isn’t for everyone, irrespective of the potential financial gains.
On the flip side, should you choose a topic you are passionate about then creating content can be both easy and ejoyable. But if you’re not making much money from your writing is it really worth your time? Only you can decide.
It has been claimed that if you blog about a passion of yours, you may struggle to delineate between work and play. You may spend so long working on your blog that if you worked it out, your hourly rate would be better if you flipped burgers at McDonalds.
However is this necessarily a bad thing?
Numerous studies of highly successful people show that this group of people often struggle to find the line between work and fun because to them they are one and the same thing. If you love dogs and you naturally spend time on dog forums discussing them, then if this can help to build your own blog at the same time, what is the problem?
Furthermore, if you are running a blog on a passion or interest of yours, then the content for posts will come naturally to you. You could just be out doing your hobby and suddenly think “ah, this would make a good blog post”. Often ideas come to you spontaneously.
On the other hand you’re likely to be far more efficient with your time management if you are creating a blog based purely on a profitable topic. You’re likely to set out to write an article, get it completed as quickly as possible (to get it over and done with) and then shut down your computer to do something else. So you may find you have more free time *and* money. And you can always use this free time to indugle in your passions outside of the blogosphere.
Pleasure is a difficult beast to put your finger on but let me try to define my meaning a little further. Quite simply, how much do you enjoy running your blog and all the tasks that involves?
Making a profit is nice, but isn’t a major part of the “internet dream” to be doing something you love?
How wonderful must it be to wake up each morning full of enthusiasm, energy and ideas rather than simply dragging yourself into the office because you know that you *should* be working rather than because you *want* to?
Running a blog on a topic you’re passionate about will likely be far more of a pleasure for you than running a blog on bad credit mortgages, though the money you could earn from a profitable niche may enable you to do things that simply wouldn’t be possible if you just followed your passion.
Many of us would like to earn a living from our blog, but quite how much you’d like to earn may impact your final decision on focusing on your passion or potential profits.
Earning some pocket money or even a low monthly wage may be enough to satisfy you if you are immersed in a world you love. But equally you might be keen to try and become a six figure blogger and this is typically far less likely with a blog about bowling than one about household insurance or camcorder reviews.
Networking – whether that is getting involved with social media, commenting on other related blogs or being active in discussion forums – is a key element to a successful blog.
Social networking in this way can help you to market your content, increase your readership and make new friends and business contacts along the way.
If you’re not passionate about the topic of your blog then you need to ask yourself how much you will enjoy this aspect of blogging. Will connecting with others, sharing content and discussing ideas be a struggle or a pleasure for you?
Will you be able to force yourself to do it at all, or will you simply have to accept the fact that the idea really doesn’t appeal and so you’ll instead try to market your blog using other techniques?
No Right Or Wrong Answer
The goal of this article is not to convince you that one method of choosing a blog topic is better than the other, but rather to delve into the topic and highlight a few important points for consideration. Only you can analyze the topics covered here and decide what is right for you.
Just remember to take your time and carefully consider the options before jumping in because starting a blog is arguably the hardest part of all. Once you have created content, built links and are receiving regular visitors you have an asset that you can leverage and build upon. It would be a shame to put all that work in only to find that you made the wrong decision in the first place.
Richard Adams is the creator of WpSplitTester, a new WordPress plugin that launches today and is designed to help you maximize the affiliate profits from your blog by using effective split testing.