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Back when I built my first niche site about 7-8 years ago, I followed my passion, which was playing guitar. At that point in time, I had been playing guitar for many years, at one point several hours per day.
Not only that, but I’d learned to play both right handed and left handed (I started right handed and switched to left handed several years later). I clearly had a strong enough background to create successful site, right?
Yet, that site was definitely a failure. Even after letting the initial batch of articles have time to rank for several months, I was only making pocket change from a few Amazon affiliate links.
Of course, I had no idea what I was doing at the time, so I was writing on anything and everything related to guitar. My site lacked focus and wasn’t properly targeting low-competition keywords.
That’s not to say that I couldn’t have succeeded had I approached the niche better. But at the end of the day, following my passion didn’t work out.
In this case, I’m convinced that my site failed because I didn’t know how to build websites, not because I followed my passion. In fact, there are many reasons why it makes sense to build a site based around your interests, even if you’re not super passionate about them.
There are also many reasons why you might want to stay away from niches that you’re not passionate about, or at least familiar with, and picking the wrong niche early on can drastically affect your chance of succeeding.
In this post, I’ll lay out the pros and cons of following your passion when selecting a niche. You can definitely succeed either way, but that doesn’t mean one road isn’t significantly easier.
Why You Should Follow Your Passion
Following your passion when it comes to niche selection has a ton of benefits. In fact, three of our sites are all in niches that our team members have at least a good amount of interest in.
I definitely think the interest level in these niches has positively impacted the growth of our sites, and here are a few reasons why.
You Can Create Content Quicker
When you first start a new site, plan on writing all or most of the articles yourself. With that being said, would you rather write about something you’re familiar with or something that requires extensive research.
Building a niche site around a passion means you will be vary familiar with the various topics within that niche. As a result, articles will be easier for you to write, and you will be able to produce them relatively quickly.
Because will be able to produce posts faster, you’ll be able to get a lot of content posted early on, which is significant when you’re trying to rank a brand new site.
It’s Easier to Stay Motivated
Another huge benefit of following your passion when building a niche site is that it’s much easier to stay motivated.
Again, early on, you’ll likely be writing all of your own articles. If you’re writing about topics that don’t interest you, it can be extremely difficult to stay motivated after you’ve lost your initial wind from starting the site.
By keeping yourself motivated, you can continue to produce content, even as your site isn’t getting any traction early on. If you push through that tough initial phase, the payoff can be significant.
Your Authenticity Will Show
One of the worst things about outsourcing content is that it’s pretty easy to tell that the articles weren’t written by you. This is especially true if you hire multiple writers, as they’ll each have their own style of writing.
By writing your own articles about topics that are of interest to you, your authenticity is bound to shine through in your writing. It will be clear to readers that your posts are genuine, and that will lead to better user engagement, and eventually, better rankings.
It’s Easier to Spot-Check Outsourced Content
The benefits of following your passion don’t end once you start outsourcing content. Even as you begin hiring writers, you’ll be able to spot check their work much easier than if you knew nothing about the niche.
Spot-checking writers is extremely important, at least early on until you can trust that your writers are producing solid, original content. When you’re already familiar with the topics that they’re writing about, you will be able to quickly and easily spot mistakes, which will help to streamline the process of outsourcing.
You Can Use Your Own Images
While this one won’t apply to everyone, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to take quite a few original photos if you’re building a site in a niche that you’re passionate about.
Using your own pictures is the absolute best scenario when it comes to adding images to your site. You don’t have to pay for them, you don’t have to worry about any copyrights, and you don’t have to worry about using the same images that plenty of other publishers are putting on their sites.
While this might not seem significant, using your own images can improve the authenticity of your site, which again will lead to better user engagement and higher rankings.
You Can Add Personal Anecdotes
This last one is huge. Nothing pulls a reader in like a personal, relatable story, and when you build a site around a passion, you’re bound to have some good ones.
Starting each of your posts with a personal anecdote is a great way to get a reader hooked. Not only will they be more likely to continue reading your post, but they’ll also be more likely to share your content, view other articles, and comment on your posts.
When someone can tell that a writer is being genuine by sharing a personal story, it becomes really easy for the reader to feel a connection to that writer and their content. This leads to better user engagement, which ultimately leads to a higher ranking site.
The Drawbacks of Writing About Your Passion
While there are clearly a ton of benefits to starting a site in a niche that you’re passionate about, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of as well. Most of these drawbacks relate to the difficulty level of succeeding within a given niche.
Might Be Too Competitive
One of the first drawbacks to be aware of when selecting a niche based around a passion is the level of competition. Just because you’re passionate about something and know a lot about the topics within that niche doesn’t mean it’ll be easy for you to outrank your competitors.
This is especially true in YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) niches. Examples of niches that would fall into this category are weight loss and investing. Basically, anything that can impact your health or finances.
Google has made it clear that to rank in YMYL niches, you need to show that you’re an expert. They don’t want people finding poor advice in the search results that can significantly affect their lives. As a result, it’s very difficult to crack into these spaces.
If your passion is in a YMYL niche, you’re probably better off going in a different direction.
Might Be Too Small
One of the most common problems with starting a passion project site is that the niche might be too small. A small niche means you won’t have enough keywords to target with your content, which will limit how much your site can grow.
A niche that might be too small would be something like ice fishing. While you might be able to come up with 50-100 topics to target, once those have been exhausted, your site will begin to flatline and eventually decline.
Instead, think a bit broader and target something like fishing as a whole. This will give you plenty of areas to grow into after you’ve burned through all of your ice fishing keywords.
Might Be Difficult to Monetize
Lastly, a passion site might be difficult to monetize. While just about a site can be monetized in one way or another these days, it can be very difficult to make money when your site focuses on certain topics.
If your goal is to build an info site, which is what we do, your end goal should be to monetize your site with display ads. Ideally, you do this through a premium ad network like Mediavine or AdThrive, although since they have high traffic requirements, you’re better off starting with Ezoic.
If your passion is around drugs, violence, or adult topics, there’s a good chance you won’t get accepted by a premium ad network. As a result, you’ll have to choose another monetization route, which will likely have a much lower return.
It’s always a good idea to look into the various monetization options within a niche before committing to that niche and building a site.
Creating a niche site centered around your passion can be a great idea, but don’t assume that just because you’re passionate about something or that you know a lot about your niche that your site will be a surefire success.
When selecting a niche, ask yourself the necessary questions to narrow it down. If your passion still makes the cut, move forward with confidence, as you’ll have a big advantage over the competitors in that space.