niche sites

I Figured Out a Niche

I figured it out! I know I've gone through this whole charade before (and I totally did when thinking about my news show and before settling on identity capital), but I've figured out a niche for real this time. After thinking about my niche, I've come to a decision and I think it's a good one. I'm going to cover current affairs as a whole.

After thinking about that niche and outlining my ideas, I realized that they all fell under the category of current affairs. Even identity theft and credit reports are current affairs topics, since they keep coming up in the news and they are changing enough to merit constant attention.

Here's the Plan

My plan is to pull my blog post ideas from Extemp Central. They do a good job of posting questions every week, but I do notice the site lacks in original issue analysis (perhaps that's what the strategy briefs are about, but you have to pay for those. Not everyone wants to pay for those.) It also lacks answers to the questions it posts, although it does share and forward useful articles every week, sometimes those articles don't line up with any of the question it's posted. So, I plan to fill in what's missing by answering questions three to four times a week. It will take some time to do the necessary research, but I also do want to do personal, off-the-wall blog posts from time to time, so there's room for that as well.

Have I said all this before? I feel like I have since it all sounds so familiar in my head.

Blog Post Topic Examples Include:

  1. Should the U.S. cut off military aid to Egypt?
  2. Are Common Core standards bad for American education?
  3. Should Google Glass be banned from public places? (I've actually answered this question before on another blog, but nothing too extensive).
  4. Is Elizabeth Warren a potential Democratic presidential nominee in 2016?
  5. Should secular corporations be exempted from Obamacare’s contraception requirement on religious grounds?
  6. How should states deal with their looming pension crisis?
  7. Is it in Pakistan’s best interest to improve ties with Afghanistan?
  8. What steps does the Libyan government need to take to restore stability?
  9. Is al Qaeda making a comeback in Iraq?
  10. How should the international community police money-transfer agencies to insure that they are not funding terrorism?
  11. Would the construction of an inter-oceanic canal solve Nicaragua’s poverty problem?


I originally got into international extemporaneous speaking almost 10 years ago (it's been that long since sophomore year of high school! Whoa!) because I was learning so many things that I didn't even know were going on. On top of that, these were issues that weren't talked about on the news but were very important for people to know and understand. With what the American media covers and what the pundits talk about, this situation hasn't improved. If anything, it's gotten worse since the mainstream media is much more partisan than ever and it completely ignores foreign events unless it somehow relates to the United States (or when someone of royalty is born, as that's very important). It's tough to find world news on the mainstream channels and websites. You have to know where to look.

At the very least, I'm working to prevent what happens in this video from happening to other people. I mean, the family was so darn excited to play too. Apparently, they didn't have a clause that said, "Pass when we don't have any answers." The other family didn't have clause that said, "When I can't think of an answer, I should probably listen to the rest of my family."

About that Niche

choosing a niche I still haven't chosen a new niche for this blog yet, although I have given it some thought. There are a few ideas in my head that I'm mulling over, trying to figure out which one would be the most interesting and enjoyable to pursue while needing a reasonable amount of work. I don't want this to take away from my digital content work, but I do want it to contribute to my personal branding and expertise in a substantial way.

I Could Do the Blogging Case Study Again

I could, and I have thought about it. My only issue with it is that I feel like I would still have to choose a niche, so it doesn't remedy the problem I currently have. Without a niche, I would trouble ranking for keywords (kind of tough to have keywords to rank for without a niche) and I would have trouble determining how many visitors came from search engines (because I don't have a good grasp of the keywords). It might not be a bad idea to combine the two, choosing a niche that doesn't have a strong business blogging presence and needs some barrier busting, but perhaps we'll do that if the niche works. I don't want to limit myself to a niche that would work with the blogging case study. Although, if I did do this, I don't think I'll blog every day. That's too much for me.

I'm Leaning Toward Identity Theft and Credit Repair/Scores/Reports

My identity theft protection client just reduced my workload by two-thirds. I'm okay with that, since I wasn't too fond with their business blogging methodology anyway. I've been writing for them for about two years now, so I've developed a wealth of knowledge in this arena. It's information that's badly needed in today's society, as how identities are stolen is constantly changing. Credit reports and scores and one of the few ways we can find out about identity theft, but our credit reports and scores aren't always accurate and can be used against us if we don't know what's on them. Also, things like scams, malware, phishing etc. also jeopardize our identity theft risk.

I'm Also Considering Something to do with Activism or Political Issues

It was my maternal health critique that went viral, even though all I did was critique the book reviews of a book I was reading about maternal health. They were misrepresenting the facts and the issue.

The point is that I think I could do well in this arena, even though I do think I have to choose a specific issue or a specific format. I've considering answering U.S. and international extemporaneous questions, since I know there is an audience for that type of analysis (and I would have wished to have such analysis when I was doing speech and debate). This niche also allows me to cover a broader array of topics. The hard part with this would be the workload. I would have to spend the time doing the research and sourcing my arguments. It would also be hard to choose only a couple of questions each week, when 20 new ones are introduced each week.

I could also do an overall advocacy or a consumer advocacy blog, where I'm covering the news while primarily introducing materials to help people to take action and to advocate for their rights or for certain things to happen. I'm thinking something similar to the business idea that my business coach and I drew up a few months ago (not sure if it would a been a good business because I'm not sure if you can sell this sort of thing. You also can't appeal to everyone, so you'd have to choose to narrow your market substantially, which isn't good). It fulfills a huge need, and I know I would absolutely love doing this work. I also have the experience and expertise to back it up.

What to do? I still need to think about it. This helps a lot though.

I Think I Need to Work on My Niche Again

choosing a niche I feel like this blog lost a little something, that it's not what it used to be. I understand that part of it might be that the move to the domain name, where few followers transferred over from the Wordpress site to this one. The switch also prompted a swarm of spam comments, of which I have abated with an Akismet purchase, so that at least takes away the frustration and the time to clear these things away. But, I also think that it's more than that, and that primary something is the niche.

What About Identity Capital?

Although I love the idea of building identity capital, this site is meant to be more about building my own identity capital instead of helping others build it. The theme of chronicling my journey of building identity capital is just awkward unless I pick one or the other. I mean, we should be constantly building and thinking about our identity capital. Essentially, it's a fancy way of turning this into a diary, and this isn't Xanga so we don't need that sort of thing. I need a better theme, a smarter theme, a theme that does more than provide a good online presence and overload the search engine rankings with my random musings (there are worse things that could overload the search engine rankings). I need a theme that actually builds identity capital and positions myself as an expert in that theme/topic. Besides, the tagline for this website is awful.

So, Once Again, I Need a Topic

This part of the process is going to take a long time. I really shouldn't be having this glass of Almond Breeze Mocha Iced Coffee, but I am (and it's delicious) because this is going to take a while and it requires some serious thought. There are just so many topics to choose from, but the point here is to choose a topic that I want part of my personal brand. It also has to be a topic that isn't too competitive, or is something where there's an open niche. I could easily do a blog on content marketing or business blogging, but the competition is outrageous (and I don't really want those things part of my personal brand anymore). It also has to be something that I could reasonably position myself as an expert in. Sure, I could do a poker blog, but I don't play often enough to have anything to say about it or to have anything unique to contribute.

I don't know why I'm forcing myself to pick one right now, or even in the next few days. I might have to take the time to sort out my ideas, and save the ones that have the most money-making potential for the business and ultimately choose one that has little in the way of revenue but lots when it comes to audience value and current need.

Part of My Personal Brand

I need to recognize that this website is part of my personal brand, much like Stirring Media and Gateway Grounds are going to be, although I hope that those entities will become bigger than myself and will eventually not need me to survive. The same can't be said for this site, and even though it's not going to be the same as those other two, I think the perspective ended up constricting me. Because I didn't want this site to turn into another business venture, I was a bit more willy-nilly about the whole thing, when this site should have been given the same rigor and attention when it came to choosing a niche and to choosing a topic. That's all changing now.

Dealing With, and Embracing, Uncertainty

embracing the uncertaintyI was spending time today researching how to niche this blog down, how to niche down content marketing and my current business, and how to niche down my business idea (which is best called a niche site, I think. I also think that it would a very terrific niche site.). I don't think I was getting very far, reading these articles only to have to think about what I'm about and what my passions are and the 882 things that I love and know about and ought to be shared with the world. I was also weighed down by the work that I have to do; how I need to write this for this client, and write that for that client, and do my house chores. I wasn't sure how I was going to get anywhere and to get anything done.

The Tipping Point

After all this, I finally came across an article that actually offered the value that I was looking for really showed how to find a niche and to turn that niche into something lucrative. Entitled, "How to Build a Niche Site that Brings in $500/Month", I knew from the title alone that this was something that I wanted read and that this article will actually provide the value that I'm needing.

Content Marketing/Business Blogging Tip: This article was actually at the bottom of the first page (ranked 10th) for my search term. Proof that you don't need to rank first for your keyword, and that a specific headline makes a huge difference.

It's not a quick read. I'm willing to bet that it's over 2000 words, which makes me still wonder why so many business blogs want 300-500 word posts. You can't get anything done in 300 words. Imagine if this niche-building-site post was only 300 words! It couldn't possibly provide any value! But, I was hooked.

This is the explanation for what I've been wanting to do to build a business and to generate income. I've always thought that niche sites were websites with crappy content created solely to rank for search engines. They don't really care about serving an audience or a customer. They just want to have an exact match domain (or several) and make money from the advertising revenue. It was all about getting traffic and not about having anything once all that traffic got to that site. I didn't realize that you could have a niche site that was also a legitimate business, one that was a trustable brand that had the best interests of its audience in mind. I didn't think that niche sites were a great way to build a business or earn a lot of money because it was all about affiliate marketing, advertising, and reviewing products all the time.

The Uncertainty Moment

Long story short: that post made sense. Other posts made sense. This guy, and what he was all about, made sense. So, I watched this guy's TED talk from last year on the future of the American dream. I found it so impressive that I almost cried, and there weren't any sob stories in it! It just seemed that this 15-minute speech was what I needed to hear at this point in time. I've also found that this speech had a lot of tweetables, some of which include:

  • There are only seven days in a week, and 'someday' is not one of them.
  • Uncertainty is the world's only fear.
  • Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty. - Tim Ferriss (This is the only tweetable that the guy didn't actually say, but attributed to someone else).
  • Make a conscious decision about what's going to make you happy.
  • The future of the American dream lies at the crossroads of fearing uncertainty, and embracing it.

I feel like I've been living in a whole lot of uncertainty for the past few weeks. I feel like I've just realized that, so now I can face it and do something about it. I can trust in the fact that what I want to do and that what will make me happy will be enough.

What Will I Do Now?

I'm going to incorporate and to implement the things he suggested, such as creating a bucket list (I did this when I was like 14, but I couldn't possibly find the list now. I don't think it would be true reflection of what I want to do now) and write out a list of every product, hobby, or interest I have that I might be able to build a site around. Once I do those two things, then I think I really have the start of something good.