While on one of my strolls through the Internet I came across an article that boldly claimed to state the top three blogging niches. It began with a declaration and a flaw: that when one is starting a blog, he must chose a profitable blogging topic.
The declaration is pretty straightforward—in fact it is pretty and straightforward—but it could not have been more vague. While the idea of evergreen is fairly obvious, what does it mean to be profitable? A blog that showcases the talents of the writer? A blog that gives great substance, no matter how small the article itself? Or a blog that is a mint for its owner?
Profitable blogging is a funny thing. Indeed, now that I think of it, the very word profit sounds out-of-place when it is in the same sentence as blogging. First of all, it goes against the spirit of blogging, making it seem business-like.
The idea here is that blogging was born with the spirit to be useful (or profitable if you will) to both parties involved: the blogger and their reader. It was to introduce a new form of literature, a cross between reporting and spewing out opinions. Journalism of sorts. This meant the reader, one, could be informed; two, could be entertained; and three, their thoughts could be provoked.
With time, this took on a new form. Blogs could be used to make money. Bloggers (or at least the fellows who called themselves that) sported advertisements, sold products and—worst of the lot—wrote articles reviewing products on what I call a pay-to-praise basis.*
So, when one is speaking of profit via blogs, these days society dictates that we blend in all the above meanings into our general understanding. With this in mind, and hoping this is what the author of the original article also had in mind, let us examine his opinion of the reigning blogging topics.
Health and Lifestyle
I always say it is pointless to chose any such thing as a blogging niche before starting a blog. It only makes sense to start blogging, experimenting and seeing with which genre of topics one feels most at home before diving straight into the blogosphere. Even then, one often finds themselves bumping up for air as they realise the genre does not suit them as much as it seemed at first sight.
That said, the top blogging niche allegedly is health and lifestyle. Weight loss, exercise, diet, acne and the likes are listed as possible ventures in this niche. Very well, but would writing articles on such topics not require some basis or qualification? On the funny end, how many readers would vouch for a blogger who is obese because of a few Macs too many? And, on the serious end, how many readers would love to spend even half-an-hour each day listening to exercise tips from an elementary-school mathematics teacher who has been to the ballpark perhaps thrice all his life? (As for his calories, it is believed that working with numbers is a sufficient calorie burner!)
The reader also goes on to say that these topics ought to be updated regularly as new things pop up and stuff keeps changing—or, to quote, because they’re constantly updated. I believe we were discussing evergreen topics? If a topic needs to be updated and re-written/structured on a regular basis, I would hardly categorise that as evergreen. Or maybe it is just me?
All like-minded people out there, reading this, need to be prepared to be quite disappointed. The word relationships here does not refer to elementary or mathematical relationships (sadly,) rather to the human emotions/parenting/dating/conflicts etc. that I seem to be oddly alien to. Apparently they exist and the author suggests them as good contenders for a profit from your blog.
These relationships that have been around—and I quote—as long as humans have been around, are worth writing about. The author says such topics are evergreen as people will always want to improve their relationships in their lives.
I believe I have insufficient grounds to further comment on this topic, so I shall stop here. Now again, perhaps it is just me, but I believe that a person who looks to the internet to help him in this regard has failed as a human being.
Money and Finance
Speak of (monetary) profit! Apparently, a good way to make money from your blog is to write about it!
The author says that if we could help people get wealthy be writing content that helps people increase their earnings (profit) or reduce their losses (savings) we would earn a significant income online. Those last three words—straight from the original article—make it clear that the profit in this regard is, indeed, monetary.
Now, if we could actually provide people with such content, would we not have used it to get wealthy ourselves without dousing the spirit of blogging in the process—like we would be doing if we actually wrote something like this?
So what is missing?
This naturally brings to one’s mind a question targeted at me: if these do not work, what does? What are the truly reigning topics?
My short answer would be, the mob is fickle minded.
Now, we can sort out blogging based on the nature of the posts rather than the nature of the content. I shall expand on that, if I have not been clear already. My own list of three evergreen blogging posts would be (based, as I said, on the nature of the writing) opinionated, factual/reporting and pictorial.
Opinionated writing is always a welcome read. The same monotonous set of sentences have probably already been spoken a hundred times in a hundred different ways. Can you give your readers a different perspective on that? Can you write something thought-provoking? In short, can your writing be dubbed as different with sufficient grounds? An introduction to the current state of things sprinkled with the bloggers own opinion will make way for a worthy read, time well spent and possibly a healthy discussion.
Reporting/Factual articles are truly evergreen. However, there is a little catch here: what really is a fact? It is important to understand that not all researched and declared statements are facts if either their results are open-ended or leave room for doubt. In these cases, our scenario would be like that of the health and lifestyle niche above.
A fact would be saying an average human has 32 teeth. It is safe to say that so long as we do not evolve into an altogether new species overnight, the fact stands. However, one can run out of facts.
Reporting is a good alternate route along the same lines. However, note that reporting is not an entirely advisable option because, let us face it, newspapers are far more trusted, and have more reasonable stances, than bloggers. And you cannot possibly write anything that some media-source has not already reported, especially considering the fact that the blogger’s own research material was among these sources of mass media!
The only situation when reporting/blogging is a good idea is when you are a local and you personally visited the site/were at the incident you are reporting about and it is something the rest of the world would want to read about.
It is therefore a valid conclusion that this second idea is not as good as the first. Factual blogging or journalism-via-blogging is a good once-in-a-while option and it ends at that.
The last one is photography as I stated above, or, to use the right jargon, photoblogging. This, again, is quite a narrow stream if your photograpy skills are not at least easy on the eyes. While it is surprising how many people underestimate their camera skills, even if only with a point-and-shoot digital camera, it is also surprising how many overestimate it.
If you are camera happy and truly believe the world will want to see what you see through the view-finder, it would be a good idea to put up at least one picture a day and run a successful blog, sans words!
And by successful I mean a blog with a large readership and one which allows the blogger to express himself without strings attached.
You can skip this section without weighing down on your conscience because everything I say here is biased.
I would love to see a period when science—especially physics—becomes a raging blogging niche. I frequently explore the annals of physics here, often writing to popularise it and at times to reproduce something new I have learned simply so that I can come back and explain it to myself—because nobody can explain to oneself better than themselves! Science is something that intreagues every human—although I am acquainted with a few who outrightly lay false claims that it does not. As humans we question just as easily—and unknowingly—as we breathe, and, science being the answer to everything, an occasional blog article in science—and this is the voice of experience speaking—throws up readership like nothing else possibly could!
So what are your ideas of everygreen blogging topics? Do you believe in my varied approach via the nature of writing? Or do you have another explanation altogether? Share it below!
*In my own opinion, perhaps the one, unadulterated, place where blogging—although a relatively new idea, at 17 years young—has unarguably achieved is the lack of gender bias. While other streams are apparently approaching an increasing loss of the male-dominance-psychology, blogging, for some reason never took that gender-bias foundation. To some extent, I think this is because early blogs did not carry the images of the authors; and—owing to the lack of both sexist language, and the need to mention the blogger’s name anywhere—the writing itself could not possibly help identify the writer’s gender, unless specifically mentioned.