I was talking to a friend who is excited about the idea of starting a website. He said: “I have not blogged before so I just need a topic! This is the hard part!”. Many beginners might get stuck at this same stage so let’s take a look at things you should consider when finding a perfect topic to cover on your site. We live in the information age, where people rely on information and use Internet to research. The idea is to post about a topic that you are passionate about, that you know a lot about, and that people want to know about. Here is my 3-step plan to finding a perfect topic for your online project.
1. What gets you up in the morning?
To find your topic look inside and see where the raw energy comes from. Running a site means that you need to create regular content about this topic so you don’t want to run out of things to say or lose the interest shortly after starting. You should be in it for the long haul. Think in what topic do you have the experience, knowledge and passion needed to spend day after day on.
Have a look at your calendar, your emails, sites you subscribe to or people you follow on Twitter. Get a sense of on what you are spending your time on when you are not busy. How you spend your free time reveals to you what your true passions and interests are. Blogging about your passion and the knowledge you possess makes you enjoy what you do, and turns the work into play. Now come up with a list of topics you care about. These are the questions you should think about:
- Who are you?
- What gets you up in the morning?
- What do you do for a living?
- What do you love to do?
- What are your hobbies?
- What do you have passion for?
- What do you dream about?
2. Where do you have credibility and experience?
Your passion will get you over hurdles and will fuel and drive your work day to day, but passion about a topic is not everything that you need. The second thing you need to look at are your assets. You need to find your unique selling point (USP). This is a marketing concept I got repeatedly pushed onto me in my business college days. The concept basically means finding what differentiates you from others, something that’s special about you, a reason why people should listen to you and not to someone else.
Finding your USP means looking at what you do best and what you do better than other people. In words of Mark Twain: “Write what you know”. If you are passionate about something but not very good at it, you won’t be able to attract much of an audience. It is what you know best that counts. You need experience and credibility to help you be taken seriously by your visitors and partners.
Sometimes you will discover challenges that other people find difficult but you find them easy. These challenges could be that valuable skill and a valuable asset that differentiates you from others. Discover and write down these key points. Compare them to your passion list from the step above. To help you out here are the questions to think about:
- What do you know a lot about?
- What do you have a talent for?
- What skills and abilities do you have?
- What do you know that’s hard to come by?
- What do you know that’s both rare and valuable?
- What are you experienced in?
- In what topics are you better than other people?
3. What is there a demand for?
Successful sites are not built on passion and ideas alone. Having a topic that you are passionate about and the key skills that differentiate you from the rest doesn’t automatically make your topic a potential hit. Just because your heart comes alive at a calling doesn’t mean that there is an audience for it. To find the perfect topic you also must consider the reality in the market. How popular is the topic? Is there a demand for it?
In other words your topic should be something that you are really good at, that you love and that there is an interest for. Now that you have a list of topics that you love and a list of topics that you are really good at, you need to figure out if there is a demand and interest in those topics. Do a bit of research on each of your topics. This research will help you decide which of the topics that you love and that you are really good at also have an interest and a demand from the audience. Look at these things:
- What kind of sites are in Google rankings around the topic?
- How popular are the sites in terms of subscribers, social media followers, comments?
- Have a search on Twitter and see what people are saying about the topic
- Is there a Reddit subreddit about the topic? How popular is it?
Starting your site
To summarize it all a perfect topic, your sweet blogging spot, is found by interlinking the 3-steps described above:
- Your passion – topic that you really love and care about
- Your assets – topic that you are really good at
- Market reality – topic there is interest and demand for
Do you have a good topic in mind? Great! The process of actually starting your site is pretty simple now. I recommend Bluehost as they offer a free domain name and feature a simple start-up process. The whole process takes 5 minutes. Watch my step-by-step guide below to get started.