You might think it’s one of the simplest parts of starting a blog—but finding your subject can be surprisingly tricky. It tends to involve a lot of brainstorming, strategizing, and even second-guessing.
So if you’re thinking about starting your own blog, and have gotten yourself hung up on a subject (or maybe haven’t started thinking about it yet!), here are five questions I like to recommend asking yourself. I always find they help with picking subjects that last!
1. Am I passionate about this subject?
I’ve always believed that the secret weapon of a successful blogger is passion. After all, it’s something that you’re going to dedicate hours, days, weeks, years to—so you want to know it’s something you absolutely love doing.
One thing I see a lot of newer bloggers struggle with, though, is the idea of whether to focus on their passion or something that they believe will be a successful side hustle. After all, a lot of people turn to blogging (especially these days!) because they want to start finding ways to pad their income a little, and doesn’t it make sense to do something popular then?
My two cents on this subject is maybe a little controversial, but in my own experience, it doesn’t matter how great a writer or a blogger you are if your audience can tell you don’t really love what you’re talking about.
It becomes a lot more work for you, and it can mean less valuable content for your readers. So make sure it’s something you love!
2. Is there a market for this subject?
This is essential to consider if you’re eventually looking to make money with your blog, but it should only come after you’ve thought of something you can be passionate about.
Nearly every method of blog income relies on consistent traffic—so if you want to build income, you need to have some reasonable confidence there will be traffic.
Establishing this doesn’t need to turn into a massive make-work project, though. For example, in the past, I’ve done validation research like this by going through sites like Reddit and Quora and looking for people who are interested in similar subjects, or who are asking questions about said subjects.
You can also make reasonable assumptions if what you’re looking into is large enough. When I started the Girly Geek Blog, I knew I was getting into a rapidly growing multi-billion-dollar industry with a major emerging interest in women in gaming at the same time.
3. Can I stick to this subject?
One of the fatal flaws a lot of bloggers run into early on is that they try to talk about too much on their blogs, and then they never really take off.
You might be starting your blog as a diary of sorts. And if so, then it’s all good; write about anything and everything. But if you’re starting your blog with the hopes of turning it into a site that people visit regularly, and maybe even a side hustle, then unfortunately, this strategy isn’t going to work.
Why? Well, think of it in terms of your readers.
Let’s say they saw a post about A on your blog, and loved it. That’s great; they’ll keep coming back. But the next time, they don’t see anything about A—they only see B through Z.
Chances are, they won’t be back again.
Now, I do want to clarify that I’m not saying you can only talk about what your readers want, because the point is to talk about what you like. I’m just saying it’s important that once you identify what it is that you like and want to talk about, you stick to that subject for the sake of your readers and building an audience that trusts your blog for information on that subject.
4. Is this something I can talk about for years?
As much as it might feel like it, starting a successful blog isn’t really an impulse thing. It’s going to take time to build it—in fact, most bloggers will spend two to five years building before they start to see anything like a profit.
So when you’re picking a subject for your blog, it’s important to consider your long-term goals and how that subject will fit with those goals. Is it something you’ve been interested in for a long time? Is it something you can see yourself still being interested in for years to come? Is there enough to talk about—or ways you can find new things to talk about?
This will make it a lot easier for you to maintain both your own interest in your blog, and a consistent flow of content around that subject for your readers.
5. Can I grow with this subject?
The thing with blogging is that nothing ever stays the same. If you want to keep your blog running for any significant length of time, there will come a point where you need to be able to adapt and grow with your content.
For example, I started blogging about gaming in 2017. Since then, there have been seven or eight console releases. I’ve built a PC that’s already a few generations out of date. I’ve seen dozens and dozens of games come out, some succeed, some flop.
The subject you choose will inevitably grow and evolve over time, and for you to stay relevant and effective as a resource for that subject, you’ll need to be able to grow and learn with it. Plus, I’ve always found it’s much more fun to write when it involves learning about something I love!