The all important first step of creating a blog is deciding on the niche. Choosing the right niche can makes things a lot easier, whereas blogging on a tired old topic may make success impossible no matter how good the content is. So what makes a good niche? And how do you become the authority?
Not all blogs have to be wholly original–if you want to create the next blog about Apple, there will probably be some hardcore readers who will want an eighth (80th?) Apple blog to add to their feedreader. And this type of blog could certainly be monetized. It’s just unlikely that it will ever be the authority in it’s niche.
Why is being an authority so great? Well, if you’re the authority, you’re the default place people talk about and link to when they mention your topic. For instance, when we talk about PVRs, we all usually link to PVRBlog, right?
This all becomes easier if you think about it before you even create (and name) your blog. Two options for becoming the authority in your niche:
1) Pick a topic that IS being blogged about, but you know you can provide better content than those blogs (example: Gawker wasn’t the first ‘NYC’ blogger, but she is now the most popular).
2) Pick a “micro-niche” where you will be the only person blogging (example: the Long Tail was the first [only?] to blog exclusively about… the long tail).
Personally, I prefer option #2, since I am lazy, and it’s “low hanging fruit”. But #1 can work for you too, if you truly can do better that’s what’s out there (and more importantly, if you can stick with it long enough to be noticed).