What is Niche Blogging?
If you’re wondering how to make money blogging, there are three ways to do it — two of them being at opposite ends of the spectrum. You can:
Write short articles promoting products, and make all your money from affiliate commissions.
Focus on a subject, concentrate on building a following, and hope that advertisers are attracted to your content.
Create the content on your blog to help promote and point readers to your own product.
All three methods are viable. Each one usually works better for some people than the others. It all depends on your personality and preferences.
You’ll get the “blog purists” insisting that anyone who makes money from their blog is unethical.
Similar to these are the blog owners whose baby becomes popular enough to attract advertisers looking down on those who practice affiliate blogging (often called “niche blogging” because many affiliate bloggers will create multiple blogs — one for each product or niche). A good deal of this attitude arises from misconceptions about niche bloggers and the morality of those selling on the internet. And sometimes they’re not all misconceptions…
A Question of Ethics
It’s the old story of an honest, ethical majority being tarred with the same sticky brush as a small segment of make-money-at-any-cost marketing sharks. It’s very easy to tell the latter. Their posts contain no real information and are basically an excuse to push the ads or products providing their commissions.
However, there is nothing wrong with making money from a product that you, yourself, have:
Purchased and used
Enthusiastically believe in
Discovered exactly who would love it too
I’ll go further than that, and say there’s nothing wrong with promoting products you, yourself, have tried but don’t like as much as another product… if you honestly feel that someone different might prefer Product B. The key to doing this ethically lies in pointing out Product B’s drawbacks, however, and giving a really honest review stating who you might think would prefer it — and why.
And I’ll wriggle even further out on that limb: It’s also perfectly ethical to promote products you haven’t tried yourself, at all providing you do so honestly because you know specific people (your “niche”) who would be interested. Let me give you an example…
Promoting Products You Haven’t Bought Yourself
Supposing you hear that a group of people is all looking for safety stirrups that have a snap-away rubber side opening so that if a horse bolt and a rider falls off, their foot doesn’t get caught in that stirrup. Now supposing you happen to know of a stirrup like this, but have never personally tried that stirrup brand yourself… and you happen to run a horse blog.
Is it wrong to say: ”Hey, for those of you wanting a safety stirrup, here’s a link. This product has the benefits and features you’ve been asking for. I haven’t tried it myself, but here’s what three people say about it…”?
Some people believe that promoting anything for a commission is wrong (but they’ll buy a new washing machine without asking if the salesman is on commission or not).
Others would take the view that introducing people to the very product they’ve been looking for is a public service… and here’s where the hypocrisy creeps in. If you recommend a product without getting a commission, people assume you’re giving them an “honest” recommendation. If you allow the production company to pay you a small commission, these same people assume that anyone who gets paid for recommending a product has a conflict of interest and will “say anything” just to earn the sale.
Investing Time, Money, Research, and Dedication
Not so. The truth is… there niche blogs and then there are niche blogs: You’ll inevitably get some affiliate bloggers who create blogs full of empty calories — spam, hype and information so generic it’s practically useless. You’ll get other bloggers who give the most scrupulously honest, specific recommendations and provide real information you can actually use. Wouldn’t you say that the latter category deserve to be paid a small fee by the product company — not by you, the consumer — for bringing the right people in their door?
It’s sort of like match-making. The best niche bloggers invest considerable time, money, research, and dedication to presenting their readers with the information they think will really add to the quality of their lives.
And that’s niche blogging, the way I see it.
Read more posts about niche blogging — the good and the bad.