What is the Most Profitable Niche in Blogging?

115 Intelligent Opinions

make money blogging

When you’ve been blogging for as long as I have you’ll start to see a few common trends, questions and concerns that continually pop up.

And one of the most common questions of all is how to find the most profitable niche to blog about.

People rack their brains trying to find the hallowed niche that is untapped, flowing with traffic and, of course, oozing with money.

They use amazing tools like Market Samurai (aff) to research their competitors backlinks (yes, you can do that!) and see if there is any way that they can do it better or mimic their success.

And while these methods do have merit there is something missing. Something not quite right about it all.

So, in this post I want to talk about the most profitable niche in blogging.

I really hope everyone reads this because it might save you a lot of time, money and heartache over the years.

How to find the most profitable niche

In all the years that I’ve been doing this thing I’ve noticed something that happens every single time. Now this might be a self-truth and not apply to anyone else but I have a sneaking suspicion that it does.

You see, even when I’ve found great domain names in really profitable niches I’ve never managed to make it work.

Why?

Because I just don’t care enough about the topic. I get bored. I get lazy. And in the end, every single time, the blog just ends up failing away into obscurity.

I must have done this at least 30 times.

Different types of motivation
One thing that is important to work out early on in the game is what motivates you. Broadly speaking there are two types of motivation:

  • Intrinsic motivation
    This is the type of motivation where you do something just because you like doing it. For example, riding a bike because you like bike rides as opposed to riding a bike to lose weight.
  • Extrinsic motivation
    This is where you do something for an external reward that happens later. For example, you create a blog in a niche you don’t like because you want to make money.

I realized (eventually) that I find intrinsic motivations much more powerful. I generally won’t do something I hate doing in order to get a reward later. That’s probably why I dropped out of University with two subjects left in my Degree because I just couldn’t stand the thought of six more months of that life in order to get a qualification.

And the same goes for blogging. Even when I know the niche could be profitable in a year or two years’ time I just can’t seem to muster up the discipline to work at something I find pointless or boring.

Life always just seems too short for that.

While this might sound a little bit like a diary entry for a troubled blogger there are some lessons for everyone else.

What I’ve noticed about intrinsic motivations and profitability
What I have noticed, however, is that the people who succeed at blogging do it with blogs they they freaking love to death. There are so many of them out there – bloggers writing in niches that, to me, look like they’d be quite small but are actually producing a really good income.

Mayi Carles is one of them.

The same goes for me. My best blogs have been the ones that I really enjoy writing about. There haven’t been that many of them but they always seem to make more money and have more success that the ones that are flat out just in profitable niches.

So what is the most profitable niche?

If you want to know what the most profitable niches by numbers are I can tell you right now. It’s not that hard.

Credit cards, mortgages, loans, finance, digital cameras, mobile phones, gaming and a few others that I don’t really even want to mention.

But the thing is, I highly doubt that they will be profitable for you.

The niches that are going to be popular for you are the ones that you love to write about. It’s the topics that intrinsically motivate you that are going to keep you going through all the boring days of writing and the months of very little income.

It’s really important to think about the age-old blogging for profit problem:

Do you find a product that you can sell and then blog about that product or do you write a blog and then find a way to make money from it?

Now I’m sure this is going to create a little bit of discussion/disagreement in the comments but nowadays I really lean towards the latter option. I think it is far more important to build a good blog and then find a way to make money from it.

That being said, I know one or two guys who have made millions of dollars doing it the other way. Again, it comes back to what motivates you. If it is money (or the things you can do with money) then you might be better off looking for that profitable niche.

Blogs about blogging

I know a lot of people think that blogs about blogging are the only places that you make real money. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are only a handful that do it really well and most of them actually make their money by selling related products in the way Copyblogger sells WordPress themes and SEO software.

The best blogs are the ones that become authorities on very specific topics and it often doesn’t matter what that topic is.

The discussion topic for today

Instead of writing lots about this issue I’d really like to open up the comments to you guys and hear your thoughts on intrinsic vs extrinsic motivations. Have you ever started a blog solely for money and made it work? Or are you having more success with a blog that you just love writing on? Also, do you think it’s better to start a blog once you know what to sell or should you worry about that later? Please leave a comment and get chatting.

Photo: © Estike

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115 Comments... Leave yours.

  • Jamie Alexander October 2, 2012 at 7:30 am

    People always seem to be on the fence one way or the other. I’m in your camp and would only blog about something I love.

    I think the sheer fact it could take years to become successful means there’s really no other way for me. Plus the fact loving what I write about is very important.

    I watched a video once where a remote viewing blog was making millions of dollars. I think that’s something to do with past life’s or seeing into the future. The point is: if something like that can make millions you should be able to make good money of most niches.

    As long as you love them and keep fighting until the bitter end.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 7:38 am

      That time element is a really good point Jamie. A lot of really good ideas can take years to get off the ground and it’s a big sacrifice.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    2. Trent Dyrsmid October 4, 2012 at 3:27 am

      Yes I’ve been on both sides of the fence too. I once had lots of micro niche sites solely for the purpose of earning more money. But I keep one blog that I really love.

      And regardless of whatever animal updates Google released it didn’t hurt that one blog that I love. So now I know that if you choose what really is your passion then you wouldn’t go wrong.

      1. Ramsay October 4, 2012 at 3:59 am

        Good point. A lot of people worry about the Google animal thing in regard to having one big blog vs lots of small ones.

  • James October 2, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Good post, Ramsay. I suppose one of the things that feed into this is longevity – I have never had a blog which took off suddenly, it’s always something that has happened over weeks and months, and I guess with a topic you choose purely based on profit you’re going to lose interest before those external rewards start kicking in!

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 7:38 am

      Yep. Totally agree James. The only way I can see it being an option is if you have enough capital to hire other people to write/manage it.

      1. James October 2, 2012 at 8:46 am

        Actually, I have experimented with hiring in writers in the past. Unfortunately, I rarely find I am satisfied with the writing that results – it’s never as good as I (think!) I can write. I think one of the problems is perhaps the difference in aims – we want to have the best possible blog in our niche, whereas a writer has an assignment to complete so they get paid.

  • Ryan October 2, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Great post Ramsay!

    I agree that intrinsic motovation gets the best long term results, as chronicled in the bestselling book “Drive” which you’ve probably read. If you lack intrinsic motivation to slog it out in a profitable niche like credit cards, however, you could always hire some writers and give them some extrinsic motivatoon!

    Ryan

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 7:39 am

      Ha ha. I just wrote that in the comment above. That is a really good point Ryan.

      I haven’t read that book. Worth a go?

      1. Ryan October 2, 2012 at 8:22 am

        I liked the book. It kind of talks about what you wrote in your valuable post above, but it also demonstrates that everything the average person knows (and what we’re taught) about motivation is wrong, or at least outdated. So yeah, I’d recommend it.

        1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 8:50 am

          Sounds awesome.

          1. Marcus October 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm

            Daniel Pink also delivered a TED Talk about Drive called “Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation.” Good stuff.

            There’s another relevant TED Talk called “Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” There’s an interesting case study of two teams competing to build a working airplane.

            One team had the talent, the money and powerful backers. Their leader was motivated by getting rich and famous. The other team were brothers who owned a bicycle shop. They had fewer resources but were powered by the dream of achieving flight.

            Quote from that video: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.”

  • Kitty Kilian October 2, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Hi – there are those people, too, for whom money is all important and they will be able to do anything as long as it makes money, even write blogs about iffy subjects. (If I mention them this comment will not get through the spamfilter ;-) ). Or subjects other than their own favorite topic – making money.

    Just as emigrants who emigrate PURELY for economic reasons are happiest, or so I read in some research years ago. It makes sense though – if you are not tied to a culture as much as you are to becoming wealthy, you will not be as homesick.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 8:18 am

      Hi Kitty.

      That is interesting research about the immigrants. Perhaps that is the case because economic migration is often tied to a poor lifestyle/growth opportunities for family as well as health care, etc.

      Thoughts?

      1. Kitty Kilian October 2, 2012 at 8:25 am

        It is research I read about in a newspaper article years ago. As an economic historian by training I was interested and I have always remembered what it said. It does make sense that people who care mainly about money (and all that it entails) would be happier than those who care MORE about family, friends and culture.

        And no, it had nothing to do about people who fled from situations of poverty. The researchers were measuring mindsets, not circumstances.

        But alas, I do not even know it if was Dutch research or from somewhere else.

        1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 8:28 am

          So the study was just asking whether people were leaving to make more money or not?

          If so, wouldn’t you think it would seem a little limited in scope? For example, how many people over $50k net p.a. emigrated?

          Interesting conversation!

          1. Kitty Kilian October 2, 2012 at 8:43 am

            Hey, I’ve got an ebook to write, you are keeping me away from my desk ;-)

            No, it was very thorough, it measured psychological makeup. Just asking people hey why did you leave etc. is not proper research.

            They measured people’s mindset and measured their sense of wellbeing on a happiness scale. And then they found that the more ‘materialistic’ emigrants were , the less UNHAPPY. Because as you will know emigrants often feel torn between the life and relatives tec they left and the new life they’ve gained.

  • liz@lifedreaming October 2, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Good one Ramsay

    I knew you’d be talking about passion and internal motivation.

    I’d rather visit the dentist than write a blog on a topic I wasn’t interested in – and I’m dentist phobic!

    A few years back I wrote a blog that was about living in a small town in Ireland and it got multi thousands of readers. They loved the pics and stories and were usually somehow connected with the town or loved small town stories.

    As you know [and have been a really great supporter] my brother and I have been working on getting the new Life Dreaming site redesigned to launch the LD Expedition.

    Yup – the Expedition is a way to earn some money AND it’s the culmination of 30 years of my life’s work.

    It’s all about passion and planning and GOYA [get off your arse]. No Secrets, Miracles or Rules!!

    I haven’t spent 3 years and countless thousands of unpaid hours doing something that bores me. I LOVE Life Dreaming and creating it with my brother has been [mostly] a real joy.

    I’m an introvert who is highly intrinsically motivated so I am rarely swayed by external opinions or judgements about what SUCCESS means.

    Having said that, a little money can go a long way in my life!

    You and I must be freaky time warp friends. I left an MBA with only 5 modules to go because I just couldn’t see the payoff exceeding the pain. It drove everyone I love crazy and it was the best thing I ever did.

    And very very soon all my [and Marc's] hard work will leap out into the world when we launch the site and soft launch the Life Dreaming Expedition in November.

    Wish me luck R.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 7:44 am

      GOOD LUCK!

      I’m sure you will do really well.

      Thanks again for your amazingly huge comments.

      1. liz@lifedreaming October 2, 2012 at 7:50 am

        Thanks Ramsay.

        I agree with the other fine commenters that doing something you love does have the potential to make some money.

        It takes time and actually asking people with different skills sets to help. Social media in terms of building a FB or Twitter presence can help. All the relationship building stuff we talk about here is a huge factor as well.

        There seems to be space for people speaking authentically about the things they care about and how they monetise [or not] is up to them.

        1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 7:54 am

          Spot on. As always.

  • Todd October 2, 2012 at 7:47 am

    I agree and I am also intrinsic. The problem I run into is I was trained in medical electronics but I have learned to hate it. I don’t know what to blog about. I love all things SEO, PPC and Analytics but I am no expert and that niche if full.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 7:50 am

      What is medical electronics? Like ECG, MRI, CT machines and what not?

      1. Todd October 2, 2012 at 7:56 am

        I actually work on linear accelerators for radiation therapy. They produce radiation to kill tumors. Some of them have CTs attached to them. The industry is very hush hush. I would probably get sued if I wrote about how to repair them. How about that Google EMD update?

        1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 8:02 am

          Dude you are freaking superman to me. My best mate nearly died of cancer a few years ago. Stuff like that saved his life. I can imagine it would be hard to blog about though.

    2. Amy October 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      Todd, I would encourage you to blog about those things. Even though it seems that niche is full, what you’ll find when you start blogging about something you love is that you will attract your own group. Your sincerity will seep through and people will start subscribing.

      Internet traffic is predicted to grow by something like 4X in the next 5 years (I read the stat a few months ago and don’t remember the exact numbers but it was huge) and besides the constant influx of new traffic, you’ll simply get people to subscribe if you have good content.

      Shoot for 1000 subscribers. The rest is all downhill.
      Good luck!

  • Kath October 2, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Ramsey,

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog. I found it ironic that I was just telling support at Market Samurai how much I LOVE their product! Talk about a ‘dummy proof’ program that over-delivers and has a support team second to none!

    Anyway, I couldn’t agree with you more about what you have written in this post. I think initially a lot of us got on line with the intention of ‘making money’ with this new medium. But, as for myself, I found that even technology couldn’t compensate for enthusiasm and passion. And it is, and has always been true, people are attracted to the brightest light, and that is what comes shining through when you are doing something you love!

    Keep up the great blogging and thank you for your commitment to excellence!

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 7:51 am

      Market Samurai really is a good example of how to do something well. They are amazing in every facet of their business.

      Thanks for commenting!

      1. Kath October 2, 2012 at 8:03 am

        Ramsay,
        Just curious – In your personal opinion, do most people who blog generate income from products and services they offer? Or, by capitalizing on their traffic and selling advertising? And does one model out do the other?

        1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 8:09 am

          In my opinion, if you can make money from a product or service then you will do so much better. If you are just selling advertising or generating Adsense clicks you really aren’t maximising the potential of each reader.

          Example:

          Sell an eBook to a reader = $20 to $300

          Get an Adsense click = $0.10 to $5

          1. Kath October 2, 2012 at 8:12 am

            Insightful as always. Thank you!

  • Steve Eason October 2, 2012 at 7:48 am

    I blog personally on my site, Ingenious Internet Income, because I have a passion for the subject. I love helping other people figure out and understand the process of building a website and turning it into a business. I am in the position where I haven’t made hardly any money through the blog, but I hope that will change once more people find my content.

    What I tell my visitors is to write about what you love. What is it that you do with a passion? I also tell them that if you have a passion about a particular subject, say model airplanes, there are other people who probably do to. They are the people who would love to read what you have to say. And you can make money doing it.

    I did write a rather popular article about this subject, Creating a business that you love (http://www.ingeniousinternetincome.com/creating-a-business-that-you-love/). I’ve gotten lots of great feedback from this article, and it’s just in line of what you are talking about.

    Thanks for the insightful discussion.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 7:55 am

      Great work Steve. Had a quick look and you seem to have a nice writing style.

      1. Steve Eason October 2, 2012 at 8:08 am

        Thank you. As you highlight in this article, I’m passionate about helping other people succeed. I was talking with my daughter about blogging what you love and I gave her a live demonstration. I started talking about what I write about with her. I started talking about how much people need to love what they are doing. During this conversation my excitement and energy started going up. I was moving around and I could feel the adrenaline building up. Then I stopped and asked her, am I passionate about what I’m talking about?

        She clearly got the message. When you have a passion about a subject, you can’t miss that fact. It burns inside of you. Everyone will know. When you write about that subject, with that type of passion, it comes out in your writing. Everyone will know and will identify with it, if they have the same passion. This is why it’s a fantastic idea to write about what you’re passionate about. Whew.. I slipped into the passion moment. Thanks for the comments and I look forward to more posts!

        1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 8:10 am

          Steve… Steve Irwin? ;-)

          Love it.

  • Mariana October 2, 2012 at 7:48 am

    I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years and I had no intension of money making back then, so I just writed about things I liked and shared this I’ve done. Now I’m learning all that I can on how to make some money with my blog but I don’t honestly belive I could do it by blogging about something that i don’t love or belive in. So for me the path starts with making a great blog and then try to make money with it.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 7:51 am

      Thanks for sharing Mariana.

  • Vic October 2, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Hi Ramsay,

    I enjoyed reading your post today, but then I always do.

    My choice would be… and is to:
    Blog and then find a way to make money from it.

    I have started my new blog AlphaWavesAndBeyond.com with no intention of making money in the early stages.

    My blog is my passion… I personally think the above is the best way for a lasting blog, that is if you want to be in it for the long run. A website where people will come back to listen to you without fear of being sold something each time they visit.

    I think what I am trying to say is, you have to build trust first then… if you have what they want it will manifest itself for both the blogger and the subscribers

    Thanks again Ramsay for your blogs of wisdom

    Vic… The meditational Mojoist!

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 8:03 am

      Nice work Vic! Sounds like you’ve got it under control.

  • Slavko Desik October 2, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Great post. It really comprises so many stages of evolution that the regular blogger commonly cares about.
    Having a blog, I stumbled across many of these questions myself and, in all honesty, never quite figured the chicken and egg situation. Was the passion first or the promise of money? Be that as it may, I think that things gradually evolved and took shape, for the most part. And that’s a great start I’d like to think.

    It’s interesting how I got hooked to my niche after a while (though I loved it from the start too), and truth to say, I found that now I’m driven completely by intrinsic motivation. And here is what I came up with… Having the intrinsic motivation, we are far more likely to tap into our potential and creative thinking. Ideas are born like from nowhere. Granted, I’m still shy on the execution part, but they are piling up one after another nonetheless.

    Doing something for the sake of doing it, narrows our focus and we are much more likely to excel. The other way around is possible only in a narrow band of circumstances.
    I remember Glen talking about how he sold a blog about showbiz (was it?), explaining how he couldn’t care less about what Paris Hilton ate for dinner. And such subjects may have a lot more going on when compared to other niches, but on a second thought that’s a no. Even if broader and with the potential for more revenue generating models, I would still be better off with what I love writing about. I doubt that I can come up with so many ideas as I do now writing about what I love.

    The thing that everyone forgets is that the money will probably come one day. And what then?
    The ones doing it for the money, will always lose their motivation once they reach the target. The others opposed to that will never lose interest. They don’t write about the niche, they LIVE the niche.

    Great post Ramsay.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 8:05 am

      Living the niche. I like that.

      I think if you have interests and dreams outside of the net then that extrinsic motivation can work well. For example, if you make $400k a year and then spend 90% of your time volunteering.

      But you’re right – if you really hate it then it will be hard to produce something worth while.

      Great comment!

  • Rachelle October 2, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Profit isn’t everything. It’s nice for keeping the lights on and rent paid.

    I should know I just fired a client paying me 5K per month

    Scary times…

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 8:06 am

      What happened? Too hard to work for?

      1. Rachelle October 2, 2012 at 8:20 am

        I didn’t like their attitudes anymore, the way they treat staff, and then they moved my cheese one too many times.

        I bring tremendous value…if you’re worthy :)

        Also batshit crazy demanding.

        1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 8:23 am

          Think it’s a big part of “growing up” in business.

          Read this? http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/01/case_study_when_to_drop_an_unp.html

          1. Rachelle October 2, 2012 at 9:42 am

            If you want numbers… about 50% of gross income, but about 80% of gross expenses, 90% of my time and 150% of my stress. No boundaries regarding any time off either. The emails start after they finish work and on the weekend.

            You know when it’s time to quit? When you get an email from that client and your stomach hurts and you know they’re going to email you every day, many, many times per day.

            I feel scared and excited about all the new and fantastic clients I’m going to meet. Sane ones.

  • Shaun @ Money Cactus October 2, 2012 at 8:22 am

    This has been my battle for the past 2-3 years. The trouble that I have found with blogging about something you really like first, then trying to turn into a business later is that it can be pretty tricky, some things are just easier to create cool resources for and monetize than others.

    Completely agree about motivation needing to be intrinsic though, I can’t do anything that doesn’t motivate me personally in some way. Trouble is I sometimes misplace my feeling of passion for a niche, when I’m really just interested in the process of learning, unfortunately it eventually wears off :(

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 8:24 am

      Keep at it bro. I think you’re way closer than you think.

  • Odtaa October 2, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Hi Ramsay,

    A post to get people thinking as usual – good.

    I think many bloggers can make dramatically more money from their sites if they think through potential sources of income.

    A friend who is writing about all things cars was getting his regular $2 a month from Adsense felt he could do a bit better.

    I had to spell out that very few people will by a new car through his site.

    Just replacing the Adsense with an Amazon link to car manuals greatly boosted his income.

    A little chat and I worked with him to write some articles on selling second hand cars, taking cars to auction, funding car purchases and car insurance – this not only gives him scope for affiliate ads from financial services and auction houses, but widen his potential audience – which has boosted traffic.

    This then led to ads for gadgets, like sat navs. Again a profitable source.

    These posts may not have been quite so much fun to write, but within a motoring website it has boosted his income and he can now afford to pay my consultancy fee – ie a pint a beer now and again.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 8:50 am

      You got it. Perfect.

  • Kenny Fabre October 2, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Ramsay

    I think the most profitable blog niche could easily be taken from a person’s passion and hobbies

    like me before i started blogging I use to comment on alot of blogs, and read alot of blogs out of that I started my blog, and now I’m building my blog and its bringing in monthly casflow

    but this is just my take on it

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Yeah I think you might be right Kenny.

  • Shea Laughlin October 2, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Awesome post! This is something that I’ve been debating for quite a few years and have had many failed projects due to execution. I often find that I choose certain projects because of the mood I’m in and not the long term plan. For instance, if I’m feeling down about my 9-5 job then my next idea will of course be around making money and not for passion. When things pick up then I put the project on the back burner.

    For the past few weeks I’ve been working on two projects as a bit of an experiment. One project is to make money and the other is following an ambition to write an ebook – which could be sold but the topic is something that I truly enjoy writing about.

    Thanks for posting this! It’s another validation point that I’m starting to go down the right path – well, kind of.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      Ha ha. You sound a lot like me Shea.

  • Andi the Minion October 2, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Hi Ramsay, I say both, not that I am sitting on the fence but a clever well season money driven blogger will usually have a worker who they trust to do the writing and work for them. They can afford to use the skills of others and make money on that which they spend.

    Personally for me, if I don’t like what I am writing about then I can’t do it, it is hard to become motivated when you don’t care for the topic.

    When you love something with a passion then you will normally do that at the expensive of other things. When you write from a place of passion it will show, your readers will love it and that is the main ingredient. Personality and passion rules.

    It is like meeting someone new in a bar and chatting to them, when they are passionate about something the whole conversation lights up and you enjoy yourself.

    I love techno and acid house which was popular in the late 80s, it might not be popular now but worldwide a blog can still amass a large number of fans that love the music and that can lead to a profitable blog and business. If my love and knowledge for the music shone through the site why would people not want to return if I was giving them an exceptional user experience?

    People love pleasure, they love doing what they enjoy so that goes both ways, a blogger who loves his subject will perform brilliantly and a reader loving what he reads will reward the site/person that has increased or lengthened his level of enjoyment and joy.

    Cheers
    Andi

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      Always great to have you here Andi!

  • chris October 2, 2012 at 10:06 am

    (your comment count continues to amaze me)

    One of my early blogs, ere long ago, was a credit card blog loaded with adsense. Back then, clicks were about $1-$3 a piece. However, I had little desire for continual blogging on the topic and little traffic.

    In answer to the question, “Do you think it’s better to start a blog once you know what to sell or should you worry about that later,” that depends.

    Do you know what your audience would want? Are you really sure? If so, start blogging while creating your product. If you’ve not, create your blog, get your traffic, build your newsletter list, and then survey them.

    The first ebook I created was for online customer service; best practices, reducing need for back-and-forth communication, and reviewing the CS process for areas of improvement. There wasn’t a demand for it. #epicfail

    I went on to create products on a site in which I had a passion and a following and I knew the needs. #epicsuccess

    Ramsay, thanks for this article. Yes, people can make money by creating sites where they lack passion. But who wants to live that way? Live your passion!

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      Very well said Chris! And yes, the comment count continues to amaze me as well. #noideawhatI’vedone

  • Ben Hebert October 2, 2012 at 10:09 am

    As someone who has blogged about a few passions (and failed miserably), I will say that it’s easier to do it about something you love. It took me a few tries to find the right niche, but they key is starting… anywhere.

    There are more ways to monetize than just adsense!

    Ben

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      Great point about just getting started. One learns a lot from trying and failing.

  • Holly W October 2, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Great topic Ramsay. As a fairly new blogger, I’m still not sure what my “product” will be. I don’t know what exactly I will sell and what is going to make me that first buck. But what I do know is that I’m LOVING each moment of writing for free along the way to that discovery. I think that is the question people should ask themselves. If you weren’t getting paid for your blog, would you still be interested in writing about that particular niche? Your readers will see right through it if you’re not. If you stopped getting paid and started writing mundane pieces, it would be very obvious that your heart isn’t in it, and I can guarantee that your followers will dwindle.
    So to sum it all up, I am a firm believer that the passion comes first, and the money will follow because of your heart-felt desire to share your ideas.
    PS. Mayi’s blog – new to me, but I’m in LOVE – just about got lost over there and almost forgot to come back to you. Now back I go!

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Yeah Mayi is an absolute gem. She is someone who has created a lot of distinctiveness in her brand. She’ll go far.

  • David Gillaspie October 2, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Hi Ramsay,

    I’ve been blogging a few years on wordpress.com. Then I read your piece on installing wordpress.org and hit the pro league with boomerpdx.com

    Along with your help I took a local class on making money blogging, which worked out well for the teacher at $300 per student.

    Boomerpdx is a reflection on Baby Boomers and how they continue to influence. Sort of like blogtyrant to bloggers.

    My niche is narrow, my tyrant is ever present, what could go wrong? I’ll be checking in with results.

    Thanks for the hand up, Ramsay. It made a big difference. You’ve got my trust into the future.

    David

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      That’s a really lovely comment David – I really appreciate it. Normally the older generations don’t much care for us Gen Ys! :-)

      Sounds like you’re on to a winner.

      1. David Gillaspie October 5, 2012 at 8:54 am

        Funny how that generational animosity works out. There’s always a new gen to dump on, a new group to jump on. That learning curve needs a few angles.

  • Craig October 2, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Great post Ramsay. I think new bloggers should focus on their intrinsic motivations. If they blog about something they love, they’ll be more than willing to do a lot of the work themselves, which will help reduce their start up costs. There are a lot of fancy tools out there that can help get a blog up and running and generating traffic quickly, but the costs are high for someone new to the scene.
    Eventually, when they start bringing in some traffic and start monetizing it, they can begin to outsource certain aspects of the site.
    It’s shifting a hobby to a business and if you don’t start out with a subject that intrinsically motivates you, you won’t reach the stage of bringing it to a business level.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      Shifting from a “solo” position to one that includes outsourcing is a really important aspect of online success I think. I’ve got something about that coming up soon.

      Thanks Craig.

  • Jonathan Joseph October 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Hi Ramsey,

    Firstly thanks for posting this piece it has certainly made me think about my blog and my motives. My comments are probably best served by sharing my experience of creating and publishing my own blog so here goes…

    Well it all started with me becoming unemployed, getting stuck in a rut I was struggling to pull myself out of. I am sure anyone who has been unemployed for a period of time suffers from self-doubt and a feeling of uselessness. A friend suggested to me that I could create a Blog. It was a random suggestion which sparked an interest so I went and took a look at what the whole “Blogging” subject was about.

    So I did some research and being I.T literate I could see it didn’t appear too difficult to setup a blog. Then came my dilemma what subject could I write about. This triggered my introspection specifically on what skills I had and what I could publish in a blog. It was like a light bulb moment in my mind where I recalled a past memory of my school teacher telling me I had a gift for poetry. Then came the self-doubt again as this was some twenty years ago, maybe I had forgotten this form of self-expression, and even if I hadn’t what subjects could I write about. Any way once I cast away my self-doubt and thought I had nothing to lose I set to trying to write some basic rhymes.

    This is where my intrinsic motivation kicked in I guess. When I sat back and thought what I was motivated to write about I drew upon daily events, things I was thinking about and my children who often provide much inspiration. From the outset my blog was all but a project, something new holding no expectation simply designed to release me from my prison of unemployment and routine. I set off writing rhymes and including imagery and photos from my archive the whole project gave me a feeling of worth, tapping in to my creative self which had been to date restricted by the daily grind of employment.

    When I retrospectively look back to the beginning of my Blog I realize that the goal was never to make money from my Blog, but to gain something priceless from the experience that money can’t buy a feeling of accomplishment. This was the treasure I found from my Blog. Sometimes I think you don’t have a goal with projects such as a Blog maybe sometimes you just want to try something new and see where it takes you. I think this is probably the best place to start with no expectation, no disappointment and all that, maybe it should just be fun?

    Anyway Blog created a few rhymes posted and some pleasant feedback on a number of my Rhymes, all very nice for anyone just starting a new project outside their comfort zone. I remember being in the playground picking up my children and discussing my blog with one of the parents, who told me that you can make money from Blogging. Being unemployed this certainly caught my attention!!! So I have to admit for a while I dreamed of making money from my Blog and invested time in free Marketing such as Twitter for example. I set up a Twitter account and then started publishing rhymes in specific groups of interest on Facebook and so on. I saw my visitor numbers rise it was all great fun, and I learnt a lot of valuable social media marketing skills which should help me in future employment. Again no money but a valuable set of skills learnt that otherwise I would have not learnt without the creation of my Blog. I just want to say a quick thank you Ramsey for your free eBook which inspired me to write my own free Ebook and self-publish it online.

    So the thrill of attracting visitors lasted a while and fuelled my enthusiasm to keep writing and self-marketing my Blog. Then the excitement passed and I came back down to earth and for a while having a break from my Blog. I had the feeling that my Blog project had served its purpose and I had learnt from it what I needed to, maybe this was my cop out as my creative material had dried up and I was struggling for new subjects. I think sometimes it is good to take a break from things and return to them with a different perspective.

    Well before I returned to posting new rhymes on my blog recently I analysed my Blog and what it should really be about. For me my Blog is now about having a tool on the internet I can access if that feeling of non-accomplishment arises again. My rhymes include many subjects close to my heart and also draw upon many life experiences, hobbies, interests and things I have achieved. Only a few weeks ago I felt a little down so I visited my Blog and read a rhyme about my son instant therapy:0) The frequency of my blog posting has reduced, however I now just treat my Blog as a bit of fun and a creative outlet. It continues to be a great conversation topic with new people I meet and now sits there in the electronic jungle of the internet, where I hope a passer-by may encounter one of my rhymes that will inspire deeper thinking and or simply make them smile or laugh for a moment.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      Jonathan that is probably the longest comment I have ever received! 929 words! Did you write that just for here? If so, thank you.

      I think you have a great talent and hope you keep it up. I’m glad blogging has helped you through that tough time – I know a lot of folk in your situation don’t deal with it so bravely so that’s really cool.

      Hope to see you around here again!

      1. Jonathan Joseph October 3, 2012 at 5:26 am

        Thanks Ramsey I did only write this for you:0)

        Thanks for your kind feedback the smallest encouragement can make a Blog suceed whenbyour having a bad day it gives you something to draw upon:0)

        P.S I have just started contemplating writing articles to keep people motivated and enthuiastic about persuing their blogs,

        Speak again soon I hope,

        Best Regards,

        Jon

  • Donna@MummyCentral October 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Ramsay. Just started subscribing and find your posts inspiring and thought-provoking. Particularly this one.
    When I set up a parenting blog with a friend, I had no doubt about my ability as a writer (I’m a former journalist, now stay-at-home mum) and quite arrogantly thought we’d make money quite quickly.
    How wrong I was.
    We’re still scratching around for what small income we can manage, mainly I think because there are so many other parenting blogs like us.
    And even writing about something that appeals to you can become like a chore, if you let it.
    But I’m not giving up. Once my kids are at school I’m going to concentrate full-time on writing/blogging and see where it gets me.
    But you’re right. I couldn’t stick to writing about credit cards, etc, just because it’s a profitable subject. Bores me to tears.

    1. Odtaa October 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      Hi Donna

      I had a quick look at Mummy Central. You have a money section and could write articles linking to finance, credit cards, insurance etc now and again – which could lead to profitable affiliate links.

      The style is nice and friendly so you don’t have to have a hard sell – that wouldn’t work on the site – eg Arghh now the holidays are over you might want to sort out your finances with an article on checking credit card prices etc.

      Holidays would also be a good source of advertising.

      I would also suspect that approaching some companies – I know it requires a bit of nerve – to give your subscribers a discount.

      In the UK the site Mumsnet is highly successful, is able to call in politicians to be interviewed and it attracts a lot of income – admittedly they have quite a few writers and I think they were well funded when they started up.

    2. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      Hi Donna.

      I think the key to succeeding with blogs in saturated niches like ours is making it as personal and distinctive as possible.

      If you look at Dooce.com – the most successful “mommy blogger” – you’ll see how her style and daily dog photos, etc. are extremely unique and very personal.

      If you think there are “so many parenting blogs like us” then I would try and find a point of difference and brand yourself towards that.

      Thanks for commenting! Hope my rant helps. :-)

  • Alexis October 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Yes it has to be something you’re really passionate about. And it has to be something OTHER people are passionate about. And I think a lot of people are missing out on the second component. Too many navel gazing bloggers out there throwing up adsense and wondering why the checks aren’t rolling in.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      Well said. I like your style!

  • Helen October 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I’m in the process of building a blog/website and have been looking at numerous blogs on how to blog.

    I don’t know, maybe I’ve been hanging around the wrong blogs, but so many of the blogs on blogging I’ve subscribed to seem to only be sending me “offers” not real information. Very few, and I’m pleased to say you are one, are actually sending me usable or thought provoking stuff. So thank you and I’ll get off my soapbox now.

    And although I’m just a fledging blogger, I am a long time reader of blogs in all niches. From a reader’s point of view can I say that it is often very obvious when a blogger is only in the business of making money and I don’t buy and I won’t return.

    I personally have become a blogger as I could find very little on the net about what I’m passionate about. So rather a reluctant blogger but I’m doing it in the hopes of building a community that shares my passion. However I like to eat also, so do need to look at ideas for monetization of the site but not at the expense of everything else and that’s what I feel is happening more and more to the extent that I’ve unsubscribed to a few blogs, some I’ve been following for a long time.

    Sorry didn’t mean to write a novel, but to answer the question, yes do something you’re passionate about, your readers aren’t morons, well maybe a few are, they can tell if you’re just in it for the money.

    1. Steve Eason @ Ingenious Internet Income October 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      I would recommend checking out Problogger.net too. Darren Rowse has a great resource there. Also his book Problogger is excellent.

      1. Helen October 2, 2012 at 10:15 pm

        Thanks Steve, I do already follow Darren at Problogger. It is a great site if a little overwhelming at times as a search will often bring up so many articles on the same subject.
        BTW I just went and checked out your blog too. Some excellent articles there that are relevant to me. Got yourself a new subscriber :)

  • Filip @BlogAdept.com October 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Hey, I think you’ve just saved me from months of worthless work. Thanks a lot!

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      Ha ha. That is awesome if it’s true!

  • Heather October 2, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    No, I’ve never started a blog just to make money.

    Let me take that back…I’ve started COUNTLESS blogs just to make money.

    I guess you could actually say I’ve purchased several domains with the intent to make money…

    And honestly that’s all they are, domains I’ve purchased and left stagnate.

    My passion is my frugal blog which was NOT started to make money (but brings in a pretty good income nowadays). The only other blog I’ve been successful with is my crafty/mom blog, because talking about my kids, posting pictures and crafts is another passion of mine (which brings in next to no income, but I’m totally cool with that).

    I cannot make money off of something I’m not passionate about. Maybe some people can, but honestly my mind just isn’t built for that. I am not a business person at all. I don’t have the brain or the organization to do be successful at things I lack passion for.

    My passion is what drives me and luckily I’ve learned how to profit from my passions. I know not everyone has that capability so I feel very blessed!

    I like the new site design. It’s been awhile since I stopped by.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      Sounds like you know exactly what you’re doing! Great work Heather.

  • Buntu Redempter October 2, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I really think It’s better to start blogging just for the sake of it, and worry about making money later. Blogging can be a very hard work when you don’t really enjoy what you are blogging about.

    1. Ramsay October 2, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      Thanks Buntu. Appreciate the input.

  • Karen Comer October 3, 2012 at 8:44 am

    I don’t know how much time I’ve spent over the years buying courses and reading everything about making money online. I tried the blogging to make money route, found niches with low competition and went for it, but after only a few weeks I became disillusioned, made no money, got little traffic and quickly lost interest.They were always niches I had no taste for.

    I’ve learned even more, strangely enough, by writing articles for others. I spend hours every day writing on mind-numbingly boring subjects for clients’ sites. They make money, why couldn’t I? I just wrote a series of 46 articles stuffed to the gills with keywords as per the client’s instructions. Keyword spamming at its best! But who am I, a failed blogger, to explain to the client what he’s doing is wrong?

    I have many passions in life. I’ve been in the antiques business on and off since I was 15 and I’m really old now! I just can’t see how a blog about antiques could be profitable, bar promoting Amazon books on the subject. Don’t even suggest trying to link to eBay items – dealing with them is worse than dealing with the IRS!

    What’s a gal to do? Do it anyway because I’d like to help people? Or did I just answer my own question!?!

    1. Ramsay October 4, 2012 at 4:03 am

      Have you ever thought about selling antiques that you source yourself? I have a client who has more than tripled their sales since they started blogging about their rare furniture.

  • Greg October 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    I think one of the best blogging niches right now is phones. From cell phones to Smartphones to VOIP phone systems, everyone is concerned about getting connected and staying connected. Nobody wants to travel if they can conduct a phone or video conference because it saves time and money. People want to read about the latest innovations and how they work for others.

    1. Ramsay October 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      It’s very competitive though.

  • Janice October 3, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    I love to blog and while it’d be awesome to make money off of doing it, I doubt it’d be happy with it if I wasn’t still able to have creative control over what went into it and how it was run (and instead let the money-making incentive dictate things).

    I can imagine that if I were to attempt making money off of a blog, I’d create a new blog where I’d do a lot of research and think about how to sell it, etc, but it’d still have to be selling or promoting something I was passionate about and believed in (like an outdoor/camping-related blog). But I know I’d still have my personal blog on the side where I could feel free to write about my personal thoughts and experiences that are most likely not going to make me any money. s

    1. Ramsay October 7, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      That’s a good idea. Personal blogs seem to be really important for a lot of people.

  • Monica October 4, 2012 at 11:07 am

    My problem is that I don’t know what I’m passionate enough about to build a blog around it! I have many interests, but when I think about trying to blog about it, I just can’t motivate myself. Boo…:( Great article though!

    1. Ramsay October 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      How did you find this article Monica?

  • Jeremy Cook October 5, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Totally agree. I’ve tried a few experiments with blogging, but only had any success once I started writing about something I’m passionate about (hobby robotics and other projects that I do on my own time).

    I do love getting more traffic and increasing money coming in is awesome too. Per hour though, I imagine I made about 30 times more money at my day job as an engineer than I do blogging! On the other hand, it’s allowed me to write for some other great publications, so that would bring the dollars/hour stat up a bit if you include that.

    In the end, I like to tell people that my blog more or less pays for my hobby of making random stuff!

    1. Ramsay October 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      That is awesome Jeremy! Are you into video games? Did you see the “real” drone that Steam had made from Portal 2?

      1. Jeremy Cook October 8, 2012 at 8:23 am

        Thanks! I used to play Counterstrike a bit, but haven’t tried out Portal (I hear it’s fun though). Is there a good link for some more info?

  • Ben Troy October 7, 2012 at 8:01 am

    This topic is really interesting, For my way, i like to do a keyword research in the adwords to find profitable keyword, the keys that get high pay per click cost. I love the niche about business and finance. The CPC is amazing, maybe upto 5 dollar a click

    1. Ramsay October 7, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      Yeah it is always very good in that industry. Lots of competition to drive the price up. There are lots of good affiliate products too.

  • David October 8, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Hi Ramsay

    I totally agree with the intrinsic vs extrinsic view. No point in writing about something that doesn’t interest you.

    But I argue that it is possible to have en extrinsic motivation in outsourcing the blog 100%. I have a number of sites in profitable niches (not in English) that I outsource. I maintain focus on these projects by managing the workflow and methodology. I don’t really care about the content : I know that is bad, but hey they are making me good money on autopilot.

    However, it’s pretty much impossible to build a decent brand with this approach : if it isn’t inherently obvious that the person writing the content is passionate about it then you’re not going to be able to build that community around the subject.

    David

    1. Ramsay October 10, 2012 at 1:22 am

      It’s not bad at all David. It is a great business model.

  • Lewis LaLanne October 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I’m not a multiple blog having guy. I feel that if I’m going to do this one site right, there’s more than enough tasks that demand my time than I have available and this leads me to focusing on the 20% of the activity that brings me 80% of my results.

    And of course this leaves all kinds of stuff on the table that I could be doing, or doing more of.

    I had to learn all of this blogging stuff after I started the blog because my partner back in 2008 thought a blog was the best platform in which to sell even more of what we have to offer. He was right.

    But what’s been great for me was that I started out in love with the product I offer and this love could be spread even further with a dynamic blogging platform.

    The one factor I think ruins most blogs chances at survival and notoriety is the owners unwillingness to work. Running a blog on all cylinders takes a LOT of work and most people just aren’t willing to do that – even with topics they love. Especially with ones they get no pleasure from on the level of feeling they’re growing as a human and contributing something value to their fellow man.

    1. Ramsay October 10, 2012 at 1:24 am

      You got it! Work, work, work.

      Uugghhhh….

      :-)

  • Nene October 9, 2012 at 4:46 am

    I find merchant account reviews to be rather lucrative. You don’t need hundreds of pages ri8ght away. A useful how-to, a FAQ page and an updates page should be enough to start and get traffic into your site.

  • SI October 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I guess profitable depends on how you measure it, more money could be made from certain niches like make money online and finance due to the price people are willing to pay to advertise products and there are more products available to promote but if your hearts not in it and you fail to create content and work on the site it will earn very little.

    However if you are in a less profitable niche but seriously love it the chances are you will work your little cotton socks off and make it profitable. Great post Ramsay. Looking forward to the next one. :-)
    Regards
    SI

    1. Ramsay October 10, 2012 at 1:24 am

      Thanks SI!

  • Dean Saliba October 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    As someone who has little knowledge with this kind of thing I would have also said finance and mobile phones. :) I would also have said don’t bother jumping into these niches as they are absolutely saturated. :)

    1. Ramsay October 10, 2012 at 1:27 am

      Yeah, afraid so.

  • Martin October 10, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Hi Ramsey,
    I found this article as you have just become a twitter follower of mine.
    That says a lot in itself about a guy who has thousands of followers, but finds the time to follow someone like me, who doesn’t do much with Twitter, or really know how to exploit the platform to market their Holiday Rental.
    I started a blog integrated into my own rental website http://www.valmargite.com a few months ago, just to try and attract visitors to the site through SEO etc and blog about the little known area of the Lot et Garonne in France. The only reason I can keep this going is because I love the area and love sharing ‘little known things’ about it with others.
    Your article (and the comments from others) has made me realise that it takes a while to develop a following/attract interest to your blog, but if your passionate about it, you really need to let your passions flow and you will eventually find others that share the same passion.
    So it’s most definitely the ‘intrinsic’ route for me Many thanks Ramsay for such an inspiring Article ;-)

    1. Ramsay October 11, 2012 at 12:29 am

      Thanks for stopping by Martin. Glad the post was of some use to you. The community here really is amazing.

  • Mark October 12, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I think, SOcial MEdia should be most popular topic over blogging world.

    I have seen that there is more blogs on social media, tech rather than other niche. It may be because people are more interesting in them or may be for to get paid from ads or paid guest posts.

  • Kimberly Rotter October 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I just have to tell you that my 2 1/2 yr old just read M O N E Y on her own as I started to read the post. Well, even if I’m not monetized online yet, at least I’m doing something well! :)

    1. Kimberly Rotter October 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      P.S. I’m launching my new blog in the 2nd way you mentioned — spending my energy on a blog I care about first and then seeing if there’s a way to make any money from it later on. I tend to agree with you that I am not likely to have success with an arbitrary “profitable” topic.

  • Diablo October 31, 2012 at 7:27 am

    The time that it takes to create a bunch of good content, and keep it rolling, even when it is something you love to death, it’s really hard work. If you do it just for the money, you are going to fall off just that much quicker. The Universe knows when you are being shallow. Life is chaotic, but you have to give yourself your best possible shot, and that means living with passion.

    1. Ramsay October 31, 2012 at 9:06 am

      Great comment Diablo. Really enjoyed that.

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