from Star Wars to schools

Blogger.com, one of several sites at the heart of this phenomenon, now lists more than 375,000 registered users, adding 1,300 more each day. Users range broadly-from churches that have found blogging an effective tool for tending to their congregations’ spiritual needs to activists who see blogging as a means of fostering political awareness, and fans who use blogs to interact with other enthusiasts. Most often, bloggers recount everyday experiences, flag interesting stories from online publications and exchange advice on familiar problems. Their sites go by colorful names like Objectionable Content, the Adventures of the AccordionGuy in the 21st Century, or Eurotrash, which might leave you thinking that these are simply a bunch of obsessed adolescents with too much time and bandwidth.

Yet something more important may be afoot. At a time when many dot coms have failed, blogging is on the rise. We’re in a lull between waves of commercialization in digital media, and bloggers are seizing the moment, potentially increasing cultural diversity and lowering barriers to cultural participation.

What will happen to democracy in the current media environment, where power is concentrated in the hands of a few publishers and networks? Media scholar Robert McChesney warns that the range of voices in policy debates will become constrained. The University of Chicago Law School’s Cass Sunstein worries that fragmentation of the Web is apt to result in the loss of the shared values and common culture that democracy requires. As consumers, we experience these dual tensions: turn on the TV and it feels like the same programs are on all the channels; turn to the Web and it’s impossible to distinguish the good stuff from the noise. Bloggers respond to both extremes, expanding the range of perspectives and, if they’re clever, creating order from the informational chaos.

At the risk of egotism on my part, let’s imagine what happens when bloggers get hold of the online version of “Digital Renaissance.” Some may post links to the column calling me a pretentious ass. Others, if I am lucky, may feel that I have some interesting insights. My arguments for grass-roots media may be taken up by conservative and progressive sites alike but framed differently depending on the bloggers’ own ideological agendas. Once this column appears, my authorial control ends and theirs begins. As these words move through various contexts, they assume new associations and face direct challenges, but they also gain broader circulation.

Ultimately, our media future could depend on the kind of uneasy truce that gets brokered between commercial media and these grass-roots intermediaries. Imagine a world where there are two kinds of media power: one comes through media concentration, where any message gains authority simply by being broadcast on network television; the other comes through grass-roots intermediaries, where a message gains visibility only if it is deemed relevant to a loose network of diverse publics. Broadcasting will place issues on the national agenda and define core values; bloggers will reframe those issues for different publics and ensure that everyone has a chance to be heard.

It may seem strange to imagine the blogging community as a force that will shape the information environment almost as powerfully as corporate media. We learn in the history books about Samuel Morse’s invention of the telegraph but not about the thousands of operators who shaped the circulation of messages, about Thomas Paine’s Common Sense but less about the “committees of correspondence” through which citizens copied and redistributed letters across the colonies, about the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist blockbuster Uncle Tom’s Cabinbut not about the teenagers who used toy printing presses to publish nationally circulated newsletters debating the pros and cons of slavery. In practice, the evolution of most media has been shaped through the interactions between the distributed power of grass-roots participatory media and the concentrated power of corporate/governmental media.

As the digital revolution enters a new phase, one based on diminished expectations and dwindling corporate investment, grass-roots intermediaries may have a moment to redefine the public perception of new media and to expand their influence.

So blog this, please.

Find a niche that you truly love and you’ll find yourself in a great position.

Funny how all of us how to make money bloggers always advise you to go find a niche you are passionate about instead of just saying these are the only niches you should consider if you really want to make a living with your blog.

Before I begin this wonderful journey of blowing the how to make money blog world up let me say that I do think you can make money in almost any niche that you decide to enter.

However, some niches are a LOT easier to build an audience and make money with than others. Your goal probably isn’t to start a nice hobby that you work over 1,000 hours a year on.

Here is a new quote for you:

Profit isn’t in passion, it’s in popularity.

You want to start a business. Instead of making others money you want to make money for yourself.

As you should.

Before we dive into the specific niches I want to hit a couple of myths and knock them out of the way.

Myths About Finding a Niche

I never believed in finding a niche. It’s the wrong mindset to have.

Instead, I believe you should find a problem and address that problem. Sure, when you take a step back that puts you into a niche but finding niches is one of the things that continues to hold bloggers back.

Most bloggers are better off just writing things they like until they hit upon a problem that resonates with people.

You Need to Find a Niche and then Niche Down Some More

Meh.

You don’t.

It’s good advice because the more you niche down the more you find a very specific audience that relates to what you are writing abut but is it necessary?

Nope.

Take a look at Chasing Foxes. Silas and Grace have done a wonderful job of building up a blog to over 5 figures a month in less than 8 months.

What is their niche?

I have no idea because they literally write about everything. I guess you could consider it a lifestyle blog but it seems way more broad than that.

Instead, every time they write something they make sure the post revolves around solving a problem. Each category on their site in turn because it’s own little niche.

There is a caveat to this approach, though. They will probably find it harder to make money from creating products because their audience is so spread out. However, when you are getting over a million page views a month then creating a product might be at the bottom of your priority list.

You Need to Pick a Niche You’re Passionate About

Meh.

You don’t.

When you ask yourself why you are starting a blog there are always two reasons:

  1. You want to help people do something. This is the feel good Why. This is the Why you get to tell yourself and others to keep your conscience clear.
  2. You want to make money and not just a little bit of money. You want to make the type of money that the Income Reports people make.

Many people have a hard time making 1 and 2 work together, but let me tell you a little secret:

Once you start making money with something, you can learn to become passionate about it real quick.

Not a single how to make money blogger has started off by saying that they are passionate about teaching others how to make money. However, it becomes really easy to be passionate about the topic when you are making 5-6 figures from it every single month.

Sometimes following your passion is exactly what is holding you back from making money. Besides, isn’t it easier to help others when you have money in the bank than when you don’t?

What Do People Want?

When it comes to choosing a niche it really comes down to understanding what people want. To put it simply, people want to be better versions of themselves. Nobody doesn’t want this.

If you can promise to show them how to be a better parent they will listen.

If you can promise to show them how to be better with money they will listen.

If you can promise to show them how to get the body they want they will listen.

Niches that show people how to be better versions of themselves are the niches that you are looking to enter.

The Best Blog Niches to Start a Blog In

I understand that you can show me smaller bloggers that do well in random niches. The question is are they the exception or the norm? How long did it take for them to get to that point?

Now, this list isn’t going to make a lot of how to make money bloggers happy because they want to teach you how to take any blog to the moon. If they really wanted you to achieve their success then they would tell you to start a how to make money blog just like them.

But that probably wouldn’t sell as well.

As a blogger, you have to be careful of being too idealistic. You see all of these how to make money blogs and so you want to completely resist because you know your blog on National Park tours in Alaska is something the world needs.

Go for it. Someone else just like you is going to do something more obvious and make the money they want.

So, here we go. These are in no particular order except for the first one. Also, keep in mind these are the broad niches. There are tons of sub-niches within each one but they all fall under the bigger niche.

1. How to Make Money

This is the obvious one. The real elephant in the room.

Many beginning bloggers often find themselves asking if they need to start a blog on making money to make any money.

It’s a great question because all of the blogs that teach you how to make money seem to be run by people that only make money through those types of blogs.

Luckily, this isn’t the only niche that can do well with making money but it’s one of the easiest…

…if you can show that you are making money yourself already.

Too many bloggers jump into this niche and take the wrong approach. They pretend that they have the knowledge to share with others about making money online but this audience isn’t stupid.

They know they have other options so if you can’t show them in some way that you know what you are talking about then you won’t be making the type of money you thought.

So does this mean that beginning bloggers can’t enter this niche? Of course not.

The way I would approach it as a beginning blogger would be to treat it more like a blog journey. Chronicle all of the things that are working for you and not working for you. Let people follow you along from day 1.

The catch is, is it better to do this with the how to make money blog or a secondary blog? My gut tells me you should do it with a secondary blog but that means a bit more time. However, it gives you a bit more authority for when you are ready to launch your book or course.

Bloggers in this niche include:

Do you think if any of these bloggers had the chance to start over that they would choose another niche?

My own sites in this niche:

2. Personal Finance

This one can easily fall under how to make money depending on the approach a blog takes. Some personal finance sites teach you how to save money through frugal living while others show you how to make money with investing and side jobs.

One of the larger bloggers in this space is Michelle Gardner. The majority of her income comes from her affiliate link with Bluehost (how to start a blog and make money) along with her affiliate marketing course.

So both of those would fall under the first niche.

The strategy here though is to cast a wide net around frugal living and then you show people that you can live frugally and make a ton of money at the same time.

There are other sites in this niche that range from frugal living to investing. The Busy Budgeter by Rosemarie is another great example of one.

My own sites in this niche:

3. Health and Fitness

Health and fitness is one of those tricky niches because you can get a ton of traffic from it, but it can be difficult to monetize if you don’t know what you are doing.

Starting off the best approach to go is with affiliate marketing. This works well because your audience is actively searching for solutions to a problem and a nice Amazon (or wherever) link to a product that helped you can do wonders.

A lot of blogs in this niche are usually run by teams of people or fitness trainers.

My own sites in this niche:

Yes, you are reading that correctly. Soon I will have 5 blogs in this niche.

4. Food

This one is notoriously difficult to make money in because the audience isn’t really looking to buy things, they just want recipes.

The best approach is to build up a large audience and use ads to supplement the business. Probably the most well-known blog that does this is Food Blogger Pro, that teaches bloggers how to start a food blog. This goes back to niche #1 and the strategy that I talked about before of starting a blog in a different niche and then teaching people how to duplicate that success on your how to make money blog.

My own sites in this niche:

  • Pass

5. Beauty and Fashion

This one for me is the holy grail of successful blogs because not only can you make money but you also gain access to cool events.

The problem though is that it is HARD. While the other niches rely on great written content, beauty and fashion are more reliant on your personality and your ability to continuously get yourself out there.

Most of the big beauty and fashion bloggers focus on YouTube and Instagram because they are visual platforms. Once they build a following there they slowly build out their blogs.

Unsurprisingly, their blogs become more lifestyle blogs that cover a number of different categories beyond fashion and beauty. Why? Because the beauty and fashion niche is all about an overall lifestyle that you live.

Sites I have in this niche:

6. Lifestyle

This one is the hardest to describe because it is so broad. Some bloggers take this niche to the extreme and think they can write about anything that involves their life but that isn’t the case.

For example, here are some of the sub-niches I see for this niche:

  • Gardening
  • Homesteading (huge)
  • Survival (huge)
  • Home/Outdoor Decor
  • Organization
  • Travel

These are not all of them but these are definitely ones that I would consider creating a blog in.

Monetization methods for this niche are usually ads or printable. With the first 3 sub-niches books can work really well.

Sites that I have in this niche:

7. Personal Development

Just life a lifestyle blog a personal development blog can be tough because many people don’t target a specific problem. They create a blog that is vague on its purpose beyond living a better life.

With personal development, you need to be very specific about what you are helping someone with. For example, you might say:

I promise to help you kick your procrastination habit.

Or…

I will help you overcome your depression.

Simply offering a better life doesn’t help out anyone unless you are specific about how you are going to help.

Site that I have in this niche:

None as of yet but I do have an idea for one, I just need to borrow some of your time because I’m running out of my own.

Every penny that I earn starts with my blogs. I’ve put together a free 12-day blogging bootcamp for you that goes through every step that I take to build a successful blog.

→ Free 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp ←

Starting Broad and Then Circling In

As you know there are a ton of ways to make money blogging and not all of them apply to all of these niches.

By default, you can assume advertising works for all of them, but advertising is not the most lucrative way to make money.

Selling your own higher end products is where you really start to see returns but it’s hard to justify paying for a course on closet organization. That’s why you see many popular bloggers outside of the how to make money niches create products that fall under the how to make money niche.

Abby at Just a Girl and Her Blog has an awesome lifestyle blog that centers around organization. However, the majority of revenue comes from:

  • A book on building a blog
  • A course on writing a book
  • Affiliate marketing of products related to blogging

There is nothing wrong with this approach and it works very well because you are already establishing authority with your audience. Many people that visit your blog will think that they want to start a blog just like that and that’s when you offer them your book/course on blogging.

Of course, with so many infoproducts like this already out there you best make sure yours is pretty good. Your whole audience won’t know what else is out there but that doesn’t mean they won’t expect great results.

That’s why I’ve waited for so long before finally announcing the Billionaire Blog Club. I wanted to make sure that I understood what it takes to build successful blogs across a number of different niches before putting these concepts into a single course.

I now make money selling digital products, membership communities, affiliate marketing, and ads (although these are always just a temporary measure).

If you’re interested in finally turning your blog into a business by following actionable videos then check out the Billionaire Blog Club.

And of course, if you feel I’m missing a niche or know of great examples of blogs that I missed in the niches below please let me know in the comments.

Did you know that there are exactly 13,783 steps to building a successful blog?

I’m just playing, I have no idea how many steps there are but believe me there are a lot.

In fact, one of the biggest reasons why many bloggers don’t even get off the ground is because they suffer from analysis paralysis.

The other ones simply don’t know what the next step is supposed to be.

That’s why I created the 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp.

The idea behind it is that once you see the big picture of everything that you need to build a successful blog, it will become much easier to take the next step.

Stop wondering what it takes to build a blog that can help you quit your job or relieve some of the stress your family might be going through.

The free 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp is meant to give you an overview of successful blogging that nobody else can provide.

These are the things that I do over and over and over again with my blogs, not just my how to make money blog. All of them.

  • Personal Finance
  • Health and Fitness
  • Diet and Nutrition
  • Women’s Lifestyle
  • Working From Home
  • Survival
  • Homesteading
  • Parenting
  • Beauty and Fashion

My knowledge is coming from a place of diversity with the different blogs that I run so when I say you’re going to learn things you won’t find elsewhere, I mean it.

f hardware is hard, robotics are next to impossible. Even so, Sphero managed an impressive feat over its first five years, growing from a small Colorado startup with a glowing, smartphone-controlled ball into the maker of the most talked about piece of merchandise for cinema’s biggest blockbuster franchise.

Over the course of the past year, the company ramped up its product line from between one and two releases a year to five. In 2017 alone, the company released two new Star Wars toys, a Spider-Man figure, a talking Lighting McQueen car and a new, smaller version of its titular RC controlled ball.

But last week, it became abundantly clear that not all was rosy with the company — the company cut 45 jobs. That number represented more than a quarter of the company’s then 170-person staff. It was a regrettable end to a small hire spree Sphero had engaged in to ramp up for the demands of its Disney licensing deal.

As Sphero CEO Paul Berberian explained on a call with TechCrunch earlier this week, the company’s various branded products simply weren’t selling as well as expected. “The consumers have a bit of a movie fatigue and are just interested in a deeper experience,” the executive says. The company says the numbers weren’t make or break, but it was enough to prompt a serious bit of soul-searching on the part of the company’s higher-ups.

With the smaller staff comes a smaller product output. This year, the company will likely return to its earlier roadmap of one to two products a year. That means that a majority of the 10 to 15 product prototypes the company has in development at a given time will likely be put on the back burner.

This year also marks the beginning of a major pivot for the company, as it moves away from the branded offerings that put it on the map for mainstream consumers and pours more of its remaining resources into education. It’s a risky move from the outside. The world of STEM-learning robotics is a relatively new, but highly competitive one, with several startups and big-name companies like LEGO and Fisher-Price all vying for a slice of the pie.

 

But Berberian believes that Sphero has made significant inroads since it began aggressively targeting school curricula some five years back. The startup has invested millions in the category and has made its way into the hands of 1.3 million kids across 20,000 schools, by his count.

He also notes that while its branded product lines performed below expectations, the company’s own products outperformed what was anticipated. “Especially those that have a STEM core message,” says Berberian. “They were selling faster than the Star Wars products with a Star Wars movie out there, with virtually no marketing. Consumers are really interested in buying those products that have a deeper, richer experience that can help their child understand these 21st century skills.”

The all-in approach to education also appears to be about image. Berberian notes that Sphero never envisioned itself as a toy company, in spite of what it seemed like from the outside. And while he maintains that the Disney deal was the right one at the time, it may have pulled too much of Sphero’s resources from its prime directive of offering an engaging and accessibly programmable robotics platform.

 

“The deal with Disney was absolutely the right decision at the time,” he explains. “It elevated our brand, we got a lot of international and national coverage and delivered a great experience. The challenge is that everyone saw us as a toy company, making these mainstream toys. It turns out that the products were really popular and well received, but there’s still this risk in the consumer’s mind that if it’s called a toy, then it must not be of lasting value.”

This doesn’t mean that the company is abandoning that entertainment aspect. While the executive is careful not to tip his hand too much, he offers a little insight into a potential way forward in that regard. Berberian outlines a model similar to video game development, where partners do much of the heavy lifting for product design.

“If we continue to make some really cool toys,“ he explains, “that would be the model that it would be under, where we follow the model that has really worked for these high-cost development projects.”

Given the hardware and software platforms the company has developed with the intent of offering a flexible, programmable platform, such deals could make sense for the company moving forward. But Sphero’s not ready to announce anything just yet. From the outside, at least, it seems the company will require more time to get its ducks in a row before it takes that next big leap.

source:https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/27/spheros-ceo-discusses-the-companys-shift-from-star-wars-to-schools/

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