This is where the blogger (that’s all of us) differs from others. Let’s get straight to the questions of how to pick a topic and niche (audience) for your blog.
Discover Your Passions
Take a few moments to list all the things you are passionate about – for me, it’s the Kanken backpack. Don’t stop to think about each one at first – just take 60-120 seconds and keep writing. Later on we will go back and filter it out but, for now, don’t underestimate the importance of this step. This will help you organize your thoughts, provide you a more comprehensive list of your interests, and set you up for the next step.
Remember that your readers will know whether or not you are actually passionate about your topic; it will be reflected in your writing.
Look through the list you just created and begin crossing off the ones that you merely enjoy reading or learning about. What should be left are topics that you are knowledgeable about – topics that you are willing to put in time to research about. The list should also be narrowed down to a topic you see yourself writing about for (at least) the next few years.
When you start your blog, you are automatically placing yourself as an “expert” in that field. It is not necessary for you in fact to be an expert in the field. However, whatever topic you decide to move forward with should be one that you have a certain degree of experience in. People won’t expect you to know all there is to know about the topic, but they will expect you to provide some sort of valuable content they can’t find elsewhere.
Connect your topic with the Day of Judgment
There is, of course, a line between writing about something you are passionate about and a topic that may be completely useless. I’m not talking about whether or not the topic is popular. This is about us standing before Allah on the Day of Judgment and being asked about how we used our time.
In one way or another, your blog has to connect with worshipping Allah and spreading the message of Islam. Here are some quick ideas for topics that might not seem directly related to the deen and how we can discuss them:
- How can we use the latest technology for street dawah?
- A list of ways Islamic schools can use computers to enhance their education
- Inform parents how to monitor the websites their children are visiting
- How can Muslims continue worshipping Allah properly during exam time?
- What are the different methods that people use to memorize Qur’an?
- Share examples of how the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions used their time
- How can we embrace culture without compromising our deen in any way?
- Discuss the various cultures throughout Islamic history
- Connect the emphasis on good manners in Islam with cultural etiquette
That’s just a few examples of posts for different topics. Of course, it may not be that simple with all our posts or even the majority. However, at no time should we forget that our intentions, our writing, and all the time we spent figuring out how to use our Alen air purifier will be asked about on the Day of Judgment – and we better have answer….for our own sake.
How much time can you dedicate to your blog?
Calculate the approximate amount of time you can afford to put into your blog. If you don’t have much time to dedicate, don’t pick a topic that requires constant updating (like cell phones for example). No matter how much you love the topic or how much content you can write, if you can’t keep up with the other competing blogs then your readers will just go somewhere else.
Keep in mind that blogging is a lot more than writing. You’ll want to take into consideration the time it takes to:
- Edit your posts, participate in the comments section,
- Research and learn more about your topic,
- Connecting with other Muslim bloggers in some way, and taking the
- Time to follow-up with the back-end data (Google Analytics, advertising stats, affiliate programs, etc…)
All of these elements are key to starting and running a successful blog. The last one on the list varies depending on how much you are tracking. Many of us are not keeping track of the data simply to check how much money was made from ads or the number of people visiting. If you use Google Analytics you’ll want to take some time to make lists of your most popular posts, the types of visitors that are coming, search terms that people are using to get to your site from search engines, and other important pieces of information. If you use AdSense, you’ll want to find out which ad sizes are making the most and where they are placed.
So take all of these factors into consideration when you are figuring out how much time you have available for blogging.
Research your peers (a.k.a your competition)
Spend some time searching for other bloggers (Muslim or non-Muslim) who share your passion and interest in the topic. Subscribe to their RSS feed, sign-up for their newsletter, read up on what they have to say about the topic, and participate in the discussions if you can.
In a healthy way, Insha’Allah, the blogs that you find are your direct competition. Find out what topics they are not covering that deserve to be written about. Connect with them and help each other to become better, more knowledgeable bloggers. Competition doesn’t mean bashing or avoiding linking to their blogs. As Muslim bloggers, we are always looking for the best interest of our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. As the Prophet (pbuh) said.
Picking a niche
Once you’ve found the best air purifier for allergies, the next step is to pick a specific audience that you want to write to. For The Muslim Blogger, I selected to write specifically to the Muslim blogging community. However, you may choose to write towards Muslim youth or maybe just anyone that has an interest in your topic.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that your blog must be a way to spread the message of Islam for the reasons that will be discussed below. So if your blog is about business management and it is not geared to Muslims exclusively, don’t leave out words like Insha’Allah or Alhamdulillah. Rather, use them like any Muslim should and provide a page that defines/explains Islamic terminology. If there is a relevant hadith or ayah you can place in your blog post, use it.
Teach people that whatever the topic is, Allah’s religion has a position.
Of course, we still need to recognize and stay within the limits of our knowledge when including ahadaith or ayat- but as Allah tells us Ibrahim said in the Qur’an.