Have you ever run out of stuff to write about for your blog? It used to happen to me all the time. Now I have years of content backlogged and I'll never run out of things to talk about. On my highest traffic blog which gets about 500,000 page views per month, I publish more than 10 times per week and I have a whole year's worth of content ideas in the pipeline to be written and scheduled.
These days, it's less about “what” to write, and more about how to prioritize all my ideas.
In my opinion, if you don't know what to write about next on your blog, then there's two possiblities.
- You are not an expert in your niche (yet)
- You are thinking about your niche in the wrong way
What If You're Not An Expert In Your Niche
Not a big deal. You can become an expert over time.
I'm somewhat of an expert at becoming an expert, so trust me on this. In a few years, assuming you dedicate a couple hours a day to your topic, you can be in the top 10% anything in the world. Even if you don't have a mentor. Even if you are starting at ground zero.
Why am I an expert at becoming an expert?
Wayyyyy back in the day I learned how to play guitar in high school, and within two years I was playing Eddie Van Halen guitar solos. That was my first taste of “expertise”. It was my first time becoming good at something by working at it, so I didn't really see the transformation for what it was. It just kind of happened.
Later on, I wanted to become a jazz guitarist, but that never panned out. Why? Looking back it's because I didn't spend enough time doing independent research and practicing. The internet wasn't really a thing back then, so I just practiced a few of the same solos over and over and over again and my jazz career never went anywhere.
Then I moved to Prague and started learning Czech. Instead of enrolling in classes which were slow and expensive, I hired university students (at half the rate) to just meet me in cafés and talk to me for 2 hours at a time.
I had 4-6 “lessons” per week with various students and we just went over Czech learning workbooks, and talked about beer, music, girls, and life in Prague. Within a year I was speaking. In 2 years I was conversationally fluent. In 3 years I was reading, writing, texting, and living life full time in Czech.
Then I moved to China and basically repeated the same process, but fast forwarded my progress and was fluent in speaking, reading, and writing in 2 years. I was reading and discussing Chinese poetry by year 4.
How I Became An Expert At Earning Money Online
One of the core mindsets of starting my online business in 2010 was that “earning money” was like a skill just like learning an instrument or a musician. If I dedicated a decade to learning how to earn money online, I could be an expert by year 10. At that time I was 25. I'm 35 now. That framework ended up being very true, and now I'm an expert at earning money with affiliate blogging.
Actually, I was pretty good at it within 2 years and earning a full time income. In hindsight, I wasn't an “expert” per se. What I was doing was working, but my business was fragile. It took another 8 years to build a robust, passive online income and feel confident in the business systems I had built out.
All of that is to say that you can repeat these processes and become an expert in anything you want to. Becoming an expert is not an overnight thing. It's not something you can measure in weeks or months. It takes years of consistent dedication.
If you're reading “years of dedication” and recoiling with fear of work, then you probably aren't going to be successful blogger or business owner. Running any business takes work. Just because this is the internet doesn't mean that things are going to be fast, free, and easy.
The good news is that you only have to be an expert in two things.
- Your niche
- Your blog
You'll need to spend time learning about the topic you choose so that you can write accurate, interesting, and original information. You'll also need to learn the ins and outs of WordPress, so you can publish articles and make changes to your website efficiently.
Task #1 is priority. Task #2 will be useful, but not required. Honestly, I think you could be very successful and earn thousands of dollars every month with very basic publishing skills because the core of what makes money in a blog is the written content. The format is simple:
People search for stuff. You write about that stuff. You get paid through ad clicks or affiliate sales. Easy. Everything else is a bonus, and you can learn it as you go. You've got time Email list? Sales funnels? Product development? SEO? It's useful stuff, but not required to earn good money.
How Might You Be Thinking About Your Niche In The Wrong Way
If you consider yourself an expert, or are somewhat of an expert and on your way to becoming a true expert, you may still find yourself out of ideas. In this case, you need to rethink how you are going after keywords in your niche.
Though it's pretty obvious to say it this way, here's what's worked for me:
- Be more specific
- Go broader
Obvious, right? Well, it's only obvious in hindsight, and I didn't always “get it”, so I figured a real example would drive this point home and help you guys out if you hadn't made the connection yet.
They key here is to tap into new keyword sets. By reframing my mind in how I think about my niche, I'm always able to find new keyword sets to keep myself busy. I love working in keyword sets, so will try to find batches of 10-50 or even 100 related keywords at a time, then either batch write them myself or hire a specific writer to handle a single keyword set.
Let's Look At An Example From One Of My Past Niche Sites
A previous niche of mine was “unblock Facebook in China”. Super specific, right? It was a very successful niche site for me, and was earning over $10k/month at one point.
Pretty soon, I ran out of ideas to write about though. I felt stuck. There's only so many ways you can say, “Use a VPN to unblock Facebook in China!”.
An Example Of Being More Specific About Keywords
An example of going more specific with my blog post publishing would be that I would actually talk about specific tasks you could do from behind the Chinese firewall. I'd talk about things like “how to set up a Facebook page in China”, or “how to use Facebook messenger in China”.
At the time, these were very low traffic keywords because Facebook was still pretty small and there were only so many American expats living in China. Mobile smartphone tech was still in its infancy, and I didn't even have an iPhone until 4 years later. There were only so many people in the world who would type these types of things into search engines.
However, these keywords were able to convert because they were hyper specific tutorials for a very tight niche group of people. In fact, I had one micro-niche site specifically about VPNs in China which only got about 500 visits a month but was earning more than $1500 per month in affiliate commissions.
More specific keywords are usually more work to churn out and yield much smaller amounts of traffic, if any. However, when they hit, they hit hard and convert very well if you have a relevant affiliate product to promote.
This type of specific content shows expertise to your audience. Anyone can churn out some basic top 10 lists by outsourcing content, and if your niche is flooded with this type of content, it can be hard to stand out.
Also, with hyper specific stuff on your site, my theory is that it will improve on-page metrics like time on page, pages per visit, and return visits, which can signal to Google that your website is authoritative in its niche. If youw want to get even weirder, I think that when you create hyper specific content you get a chance to add new words to your blog which are not featured on other blogs, signaling to Google that you are unique as well.
To summarize, content like this gives you an opportunity allows you to be a unique authority in your niche, and I think your rank will benefit from that over time.
An Example Of Going Broader With Topics Related To A Niche Blog
In general, I think lots of people can get the idea of going more specific because it's like a subtopic, but the going broader stuff may not be as obvious.
In short, it's OK to talk about things not specifically related to your niche, as long as there's some kind of connection.
Continuing with the Facebook in China example, one way I went broader with that site is that I'd write articles about how to access other services in China like Hulu, Netflix, and Google Drive. Though the topic of the site was Facebook, I considered it related to also talk about other online services which were blocked in China.
Since the solution to unblocking Netflix in China was also to use a VPN, this provided me with a lot more opportunities to promote the VPN affiliate programs, and my income increased significantly as I began to rank for these terms. Apparently Google thought it was relevant content as well!
Though my interest in these sites waned and I eventually sold them, there are an infinite number of ways I could have broadened the topics I covered just by brainstorming connecting threads. Here are some questions I'd ask myself to spark new areas of keyword research.
- What other online services do expats in China use?
- Which countries block websites other than China
- What are other things which expats in China miss about home
- What are ways to connect online with other expats in China
- What are the best Chinese replacements for Western online services
- What other software and hardware can protect your privacy like a VPN
This process can be applied to any niche, so if you run out of topics, I recommend brainstorming some ideas which are kind of related, but not super related, and you can probably come up with some interesting, low competition keywords to keep you busy for a while.
Any niche blog has an infinite amount of topics to cover, products to promote, and potential income streams. There is no maximum income for your website, no matter what the topic is.
The only thing limiting your online income is yourself. Your time. Your expertise. Your curiosity. Your tenacity. Your ability and interest in turning over new stones to find new traffic sources and revenue.
If you're stuck, you need to re-think what your site is. One of the most effective exercises for me is to think about what I want my blog to look like in 10 years. Thinking a decade in the future leaves me the space to think big, and then I work backwards from that.