The Second Most Difficult Blogging Question

If you spend any time at all trying to learn about blogging … especially blogging for dollars … you hear one question probably more frequently than any other.  "What can I write about"? 

A distillation of hundred’s of thousands of those answer would be "Write about what you know".  There will often be other qualifiers thrown in, "write about something you can be passionate about.", Write about popular subjects that people search online for" and many more similar suggestions.

This leads directly to what seems to become the second most difficult problem, once one has chosen a niche or subject to blog about … competition.

The space where this blog currently has a lot of posts … making money on line is a great example.  I can write with some authority on the subject … I’ve been making money online for several years now, and currently write and "do web things" full-time.  But I am surely no expert.  And I make nowhere near the money that "A-Listers" make.  So the competition kills me, right?  I will never make money in writing on the subject of making money because I got a late start and others are far, far in front of me … that should be obvious, no?  Or is it?

perhaps it is.  but before you throw up your ands and quit trying to make yourself a niche online because the subject you are interested in has a lot of competition, read what a real "A-Lister", Steve Pavlina has to say about competition in blogging:

Blogging Example

For this website I decided to tackle the hard problems of personal development, namely trying to identify the hidden order beneath the surface chaos in our lives. Although the results may often look simple, the thought and effort that goes into this work is extremely challenging.

You may notice that I rarely write about the easy problems of personal development, like how to get your computer to run faster, where you can download free ebooks, or how to save money on your mortgage. You’ll find zillions of websites discussing those topics. Instead I focus most of my energy on the high-level, timeless concepts. This is much harder work, but the upside is that it gives me an opportunity to make a unique contribution. Most people who try to do this kind of work for a while soon give up in frustration. It may look easy on the surface, but I assure you it is not. This is one reason my website continues to thrive in an increasingly crowded field.

Just because this work is hard doesn’t mean it’s painful. Tackling hard problems can be extremely rewarding, especially when the solution benefits others….

Steve is not an A-Lister in the terms that say John Chow is … but Steve makes much, much more money blogging than John does … and he makes a substantial amount of it without gimmicks and Google trickery (who can forget John’s mad scheme to get thousands of people to link to him last year and how Google "slapped" him for it).

I will submit to you that if you have a subject in mind and have been hesitant to get into it because you see a lot of competition, then you may well be shying away for all the wrong reasons.  Competition is virtually a necessity if you plan to make money.  Competition is the most reliable indicator that there is a market for what you are trying to do.  Competition can almost always be countered by7 quality … which often translates to diligent work.

So ask yourself this question .. are you really afraid of the competition because of the work that’s required?  If so, I would suggest you aren’t passionate enough about the subject … because I find that the work I do in competitive niches is the most fun and the most rewarding … even if, yes indeed, it can be hard at times. 

Don’t think strictly in terms of hard work avoidance.  think in terms of better working by using more brain cells … in the online world the old management myth, "Better, Faster, cheaper" can come as close to coming true as it can anywhere.


  1. Found your site via trackback from Steve Pavlina’s web site. I am new to blogging and seeing posts such as your is always inspiring. Best of luck.

  2. Hello Ricky,

    Nice to see you and thanks for commenting. You know where we are now, so don’t be a stranger. I checked out your blog and you seem to be doing well … getting many of the things accomplished that I int3end to, as soon as I get one of those Round Toits *smile*

  3. Thank you.
    I have bookmarked this site and I will be checking regularly. 🙂

  4. Hello

    Likewise found you through Steves Blog

    Without competition there is no make money niche, everybodys passion may not get them to A-lister, but neverthe less they can be true to themselves…

    Sifting through all the information about creating profits online can be hard work too,,,,

    Traffic still remains the #1 problem faced by most online business today.


    Leo Hanes

  5. @Leo Hanes: Thanks for visiting and for the comment, Leo. I would differ slightly with what you said regarding traffic. It’s not traffic we lack, it’s buyers (and I use that term in a braod sense of ‘buying’ … reading and buying into idas as much as buying a product. A good example are severla of the popular social marketing ‘thingies’, like Stmble Upon. I’ve had posts here or eslewhere get Stumbles and seen the traffic momentarily shoot through the roof, yet got not even a single comment. We do need traffic, but it has to be of a useful kind.

  6. I started blogging this past July and I found that when I wrote about things I was genuinely interested in, then I was more excited about my blog. And you’re right about traffic, & about needing the right type of traffic & not just spammers. Best of Luck!

  7. @Yumna: Thanks for visiting and for your comments. here’s what happens to alot of people regarding blogging. They get fired up, they learn how to get a site and a blogging platform set up, they learn this and learn that … but they have nothing to say!!! The key to succeeding, both with self and visitors, is to have a message … it’s not technical, it’s an issue of heart and mind.


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