I have written about how to pick a niche when you’re starting a new blog. In that article, I talked about making sure your topic is brought enough to get visitors, but not so broad that it’s too competitive.
I also talked about making sure the topic can actually be monetize. And I said you should have enough interest in the topic to sustain writing the content for the site.
And then I briefly mentioned:
Some people will tell you to pick a niche you’re passionate about. I did that a couple of times, and I have regrets. Those blogs didn’t make any money, couldn’t compete once people with money jumped into the topic, and very often ended up generating negativity.
Let’s go deeper into this one.
“Blog Your Passion”
This is bad advice. It’s toxic positivity that is likely to get you nowhere.
I’ve been blogging for about 20 years. Back then, nobody ever suggested you should blog about whatever interested you. Most of the people online back then were nerds. We knew what interested us didn’t interest most people.
Then smartphones came along, and suddenly everybody was online. And everybody was starting blogs. And they mistook themselves for experts, like newbies so often do.
They knew nothing about SEO. These people assumed they could write blogs about their daily lives, post pictures on social media, and make a million dollars.
Those blogs are all gone now. They either shut down or they evolved into real business models. And if you’re thinking “Ah, no, some of them got famous and have TV shows and product lines now!” – no. Those people weren’t blogging their passion. They were creating a brand.
Anyhow, you’d think it would be obvious that if every interest could be monetized, and everything worth doing was someone’s idea of fun, everyone would love their job. But how many people would be getting paid to sit around fishing all day, if that were the case?
Maybe people just want to believe you can make money at anything. But life doesn’t work that way. Jobs are not always fun. They’re not always fulfilling. Sometimes you have to look elsewhere in your life for fun and fulfillment.
If fishing is your idea of a great time, but garbage collecting is the best job you can find, then collect that garbage and be glad it pays for the fishing equipment. And thank you – because somebody’s got to collect that garbage.
My fulfillment comes not from blogging about things I love to yap about or learn about, but from being self-employed and proud of what I do. I’m providing websites that give people something they want. And I don’t ever have to worry about being laid off.
What Happened When I Blogged My Passion
I have run a couple of websites on topics that I really cared about and had some expertise in. One of them got a little fan base. And a bunch of dedicated volunteer writers! Great, huh?
They didn’t attract enough traffic to pay the hosting fees. They did however attract a lot of trolls and DDOS attacks and unpleasant people.
I soldiered through all this, wasting so much time and energy, and putting myself through so much heartache. I kept thinking there had to be a way to monetize these subjects!
Over the years – and I kept these blogs for about a decade – I saw corporate-funded websites get into these niches. I looked hard at their monetization strategies and mimicked them as best I could.
Then most of them shut down. They weren’t making enough money to bother, either. And I realized these sites would always be low revenue and high misery.
Blogging my passion ruined my passion for those topics. I don’t even talk about them that much with friends anymore. It also ruined a couple of my hobbies.
Other Examples of Passion Blogging Gone Wrong
It’s not just me. Look what has happened to health bloggers, especially who talk about supplements and alternative therapies.
Both Google and Pinterest have cracked down hard on health topics because there’s a lot of misinformation in that niche. And if didn’t matter if you were sharing solid, vetted info.
Look at travel. It’s back now, but travel bloggers really suffered during the pandemic. Many of them realized they needed a second site, not on their favorite topic of travel, but on literally any topic that didn’t require people setting foot outside their homes.
Set Goals for Your Blogs Instead
My approach to blogs now is very goal-oriented. Meeting my goals is my passion. If a topic can’t meet my goals, then it’s not for blogging. Maybe it’s better suited to be a hobby, or something I talk about with people on Reddit.
And my goal is to make the most money I can with the least hassle. I avoid topics that invite trolls, mean people, DDOS attacks, and also lawsuits. If you have the stomach for it, you mind find a highly incendiary opinion topic very lucrative, but it’s not for me.
You may be different. Some people really just want to blog a passion, make a little money, get bored, and then move on to something else. It’s just how they roll, and that’s totally fine. It energizes them. It would exhaust me.
My preference is to build for longevity. I want my sites to be making money 20 years from now. I’m not interested in building something I know isn’t likely to do that. That’s my passion.