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HOW TO FIND YOUR BLOG NICHE? [THE ULTIMATE TUTORIAL]

HOW TO FIND YOUR BLOG NICHE? [THE ULTIMATE TUTORIAL]

You are dreaming to become an inspiring blogger. You are already fascinated with the blogosphere, and ready to launch your own blog. But, thinking about what I am going to blog about? Do I need to find a blogging niche first? Ok, how do I find a blog niche?

This is what you’re going to learn in this post.

Many wanna-be bloggers get stuck at this stage, and some of them, just quit. Not knowing what to blog about. The thought of picking a profitable blogging niche scares many people. They feel like what I even talk about on my blog? Or, what blog topics should I pick? Or, what is the best blog niche?

And, wait, what is a niche?

Just take a deep breath and relax. I’m going to walk you through the process of finding a perfect blog niche for you. By the end of this post, you will have a blogging niche and off to start a blog.

Choosing a blog niche

I know you’re excited. You want to become a blogger. You want to share your thoughts, experiences and unique ideas. You want to make a small side hustle or maybe, a full-time blogging business.

And, the blog niche idea scares you.

Don’t worry. Just keep reading. This post includes all the steps to finding a blog niche that you won’t regret later.

WHAT IS A BLOG NICHE?

A blog niche is a clearly defined topic that you’ll be focusing on your blog. The niche also needs to target a specific audience, and the blog content will be based on that particular topic.

The blog niche can also be referred to as the ‘main topic’ of your blog. Moreover, the content strategy and monetization plan are also based on the niche. That we’ll cover later in this post.

Why one needs to choose a specific topic for their blogs when they can write on different topics?

This is the question that troubles most new bloggers. And, I completely understand your concerns. Because, as bloggers, we are free to share ideas and thoughts. 

So, why a specific topic?

Most successful bloggers have experiences to share. And, the most important advice for new bloggers is to pick a niche for them.

Let’s say you want to become a lifestyle blogger?

As a lifestyle blogger, you can write about;

  • Health
  • Fitness
  • Lifestyle
  • Fashion
  • Food
  • Fitness
  • Pets
  • Family
  • Parents
  • Children
  • Outfits
  • Motivation
  • Work routines
  • Skincare
  • Hair growth
  • Relationships

And, the list goes on…

How are you ever going to be successful with all of these topics under ONE SINGLE blog? 

You can be if you are a big business fish or an entrepreneur who’s launching an online magazine with dozens of topics in it.

Or,

If you want your blog to be a personal diary, then you don’t need to focus on finding a perfect niche. Because it’s your diary. And, you can write whatever you want.

However, if you want to be intentional with your blog, serve your audience and make money from blogging then you got to find a niche. 

And, I will help you.

How to Write an Awesome Blog Post in 5 Steps

How to Write an Awesome Blog Post in 5 Steps

Now that I’m done thoroughly mangling that vague metaphor, let’s get down to business. You know you need to start blogging to grow your business, but you don’t know how. In this post, I’ll show you how to write a great blog post in five simple steps that people will actually want to read. Ready? Let’s get started.

How to Write a Blog Post in Five Easy Steps [Summary]:

  1. Step 1: Plan your blog post by choosing a topic, creating an outline, conducting research, and checking facts.
  2. Step 2: Craft a headline that is both informative and will capture readers’ attentions.
  3. Step 3: Write your post, either writing a draft in a single session or gradually word on parts of it.
  4. Step 4: Use images to enhance your post, improve its flow, add humor, and explain complex topics.
  5. Step 5: Edit your blog post. Make sure to avoid repetition, read your post aloud to check its flow, have someone else read it and provide feedback, keep sentences and paragraphs short, don’t be a perfectionist, don’t be afraid to cut out text or adapt your writing last minute.

Now let’s review each step in more detail.

How to Write a Blog Post, Step 1: Planning

First, a disclaimer – the entire process of writing a blog post often takes more than a couple of hours, even if you can type eighty words per minute and your writing skills are sharp. From the seed of the idea to finally hitting “Publish,” you might spend several days or maybe even a week “writing” a blog post, but it’s important to spend those vital hours planning your post and even thinking about your post (yes, thinking counts as working if you’re a blogger) before you actually write it.

How to write a blog post planning stage

Does your blog post have enough circles and crosses?

Long before you sit down to put digital pen to paper, you need to make sure you have everything you need to sit down and write. Many new bloggers overlook the planning process, and while you might be able to get away with skipping the planning stage, doing your homework will actually save you time further down the road and help you develop good blogging habits.

Choose a Topic That Interests YOU

There’s an old maxim that states, “No fun for the writer, no fun for the reader.” No matter what industry you’re working in, as a blogger, you should live and die by this statement.

Before you do any of the following steps, be sure to pick a topic that actually interests you. Nothing – and I mean NOTHING – will kill a blog post more effectively than a lack of enthusiasm from the writer. You can tell when a writer is bored by their subject, and it’s so cringe-worthy it’s a little embarrassing.

Creative Blog Post Ideas

Creative Blog Post Ideas

Do a (number) by a (certain age) post.

Have you ever heard of “My 30 by 30” posts? These are really cool and help readers see into your life and business by showing your personality and uniqueness. Think of this blog idea as a bucket list before you or your business reaches a certain age.

Put together a gif-filled post.

Everyone loves gifs. Put together a post and use gifs for the images. Gifs have a way of adding humor and energy to posts in a way that images and graphics can’t. You could also make your own with Boomerang.

What would you love to learn how to do?

Share pictures and what you’d like to learn, then go out and try that thing. Share an update of your experience with your followers.

Write a parody post of some sort.

Bringing humor into a post can be good. It’s always fun to make people laugh. I once did a parody post with Taylor Swift’s song, “Shake It!” and I tied writing into it. It was a lot of fun!

How to write forum topics for community engagement

How to write forum topics for community engagement

Forums are great for community engagement and questions are a big part of a positive online community experience.

One of the biggest challenges for community managers and public consultation professionals is understanding what questions to ask in order to fuel active participation from stakeholders.

The following infographic offers up 16 tips for writing forum questions that will help you connect with your audience.

 

How to Evaluate an Online Forum

How to Evaluate an Online Forum

What made these online forums stand out so that they were included on the list? It’s wasn’t necessarily their size; not all of the forums featured were exceptional due to their size. When looking for online forums for information, look for ones that are:

  • Active. You want to see a forum where members are participating regularly. This will help to ensure that you are keeping your finger on the pulse of your topic and that the hints for topics you are picking up for your readers will be interesting at present.
  • Respectful. Take the time to browse through some threads to see how the members interact with each other. If they are treating each other well, more than likely the forum has some long-term members who have built up some expertise. This is important in your search for ideas and networking goals. You’ll want to align yourself with people who have a good online reputation.
  • Variety of Topics. The forum should be a place where members are introducing new topics and asking questions that the group can discuss.
  • Easy to Navigate. Members will become frustrated and will be less likely to visit the forum if it isn’t well laid out on the web page.

If you can think of a topic, there is probably a forum devoted to it. This is just another tool you can keep in mind when conducting research for blog posts and articles. The more variety of tools you use from your virtual toolbox, the more interesting and varied your finished work will be, and your readers will definitely approve.

How Online Forums Can Help you Find Ideas for Article and Blog Topic Ideas

How Online Forums Can Help you Find Ideas for Article and Blog Topic Ideas

Your first step to using online forum discussions is to find one related to your topic. You have a couple of choices:

  1. Perform a broad search by typing [name of your topic] + “discussion forum” into one of the major search engines (Google, Bing or Yahoo!). Each one will bring back different results in the Top 10 searches, so you may want to try changing up your search engine from time to time to get more variety in your search results.
  2. Search for the answer to a specific question or concern by typing the keywords into the search engine with the word “forum” or “discussion forum.” For example, if you wanted to see if anyone is talking about types of paper for making flowers on an arts and crafts forum, you can do a keyword search for “making paper flowers” and “online forum” OR “forum”.

Once you get your search results, spend some time visiting the forums. See what types of issues the members are discussing and which ones have come up recently. These are the ones that are on the mind of people interested in this topic right now. It’s a good idea to compare the topics that forum users are discussing to see whether they are similar, or they vary depending on the website the forum is associated with. The website may attract a different market, or you could be looking at out of date posts, so do make a point of double checking the date of the most recent posts.

Look at the discussion titles and click on discussions to delve deeper to find ideas that you can develop into your topic titles for blog posts and articles. If someone took the time to ask about it in a discussion forum, there are likely many other people thinking about the same idea or having the same issue who haven’t asked about it. These ideas deserve to be looked at and discussed in a different format, and you can address them from an angle that is appropriate to your audience.

Quintessential List of Online Forums

There are many online forums available online. The ones appearing on this list have been reviewed for quality and each one has earned its place on our list of the quintessential online forums in a number of popular topic categories.

Health and Wellness

1. Canadian Virtual Hospice

A place for people with serious illnesses, their caregivers and those who are grieving a loss to connect with others and share stories, coping tips, and resources. Links to articles, books, programs and services are provided.

2. eHealth Forum

The eHealth forum is a place where the online community can find information on a number of health matters. The forum is a large one, divided into sections titled “Mental Health,” “Women’s Health,” “Men’s Health,” “Cancer,” “Conditions and Diseases,” “Pregnancy,” “Parenting,” “Relationships,” “Lifestyle,” “Nutrition,” “Abortion,” “General Topics,” and “Debate Forums.” Simply click on a topic to see threads from members. The “Ask a Doctor” Forums are separate and divided into the same categories. This section of the site features answers from medical professionals.

3. Men’s Health Forum

Men’s Health, the popular print magazine, has an online forum where internet users can post questions and discuss issues related to fitness, including weight training, cardio, yoga, equipment, setting goals, and keeping a success journal. The forum also has categories devoted to recovering from injuries and rehab, diet and nutrition, and health.

4. Spine-Health

Back pain is one of the most common complaints that leads to people visiting their family doctor, and the Spine-Health forum is dedicated to discussions of back pain (chronic, upper, lower, neck), conditions that cause back pain and available treatment options. The section entitled “Mind, Body and Spirit” is for discussions pertaining to side issues and back pain, including sleep difficulties, depression, exercise, diet, and more.

5. Mental Health Forum

With mental health issues coming to the forefront of the public’s radar, you may be looking for information about anxiety, depression, schizophrenia or personality disorders. This forum also addresses eating disorders, dementia and substance abuse, along with treatment options, including psychotherapy, mindfulness, medications and self-help.

article ideas

Pets and Animals

6. Dogster.com

As the name implies Dogster is a forum devoted strictly to canines of all ages. The forum covers categories such as general health, nutrition (including a raw food diet and home prepared food), choosing the right dog, behavior training, grooming, travelling with a dog, and more.

7. PetLovers.com Forum

This forum has something for pet lovers of critters with fur, fins and scales. It’s divided into handy sections for birds, cats, dogs, fish and reptiles, farm animals, and small animals (rabbits, rodents, etc.). Visitors to the forum can interact with fellow members to ask questions about any issue they wish. Special sections are set aside to discuss animal rights and mourning the loss of a companion animal.

8. Hedgehog Central

If you ever need to find information about hedgehogs, this forum should be able to help you out. Hedgehog Central is a specialty forum that focuses solely on all things related to hedgehogs. Its members discuss a number of specific health conditions relating to these animals, as well as diet and nutrition, housing, animal personality and behavior, color and breeding for color, and travelling with a pet hedgehog. Reviews of veterinarians are also provided.

9. Animal Forum

With more than 10,000 registered members, Animal Forum is one of the largest discussion forums of its kind on the internet. Sections in the forum include the latest animal news, dog breeding, grooming, health and nutrition, cat health and medical questions, birdwatching, care and feeding, and aquarium cleaning and maintenance.

10. PetsChatForum

This forum covers many aspects of life with pets, including news, health, diet, handling, grooming, behaviors and breeding. It also includes specific sections devoted to birds, cats, dogs, fish, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits.

blog post ideas

Travel

11. TravBuddy

Travel is a popular topic, and the TravBuddy forum is an excellent place to find ideas for blog posts and articles. It includes general travel topics and travel advisories for different parts of the world and then moves into discussions of different geographic areas. You don’t need to register to see what kinds of questions members are asking, so surf over to find out what travellers really want to learn about before they visit certain parts of the world (what to see, eat, do, what to avoid….) and find out what others have suggested before conducting your own research.

12. Travellerspoint

Travellerspoint has a large community of members, but its forum is very simply laid out. There are no sections for specific types of questions or posts; everything is laid out chronologically. Visitors to the forum see posts in the order they were posted by site visitors.

However, the subjects are very easy to make out. If you want to quickly browse through to see if you can find some ideas that capture your interest for posts or articles, you don’t have to spend a lot of time here to see whether there is something you can use for your work or not.

13. MyFamilyTravels

Use the pulldown menu to see a list of forums when you visit MyFamilyTravels.com Selections include:

  • USA & Canada Family Travel
  • Infants & Toddlers Family Travel
  • Single Parents Family Travel
  • Documents, Safety & Security Travel
  • Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific Family Travel, and more

Find tips, hints and plenty of ideas (geographically based and for different groups of travellers) when you visit this online forum.

14. Aruba.com Forum

This is the official Aruba community forum. If you are looking for information about this destination, you will find general information, posts about flights, food and culture, family vacations, nightlife, destination weddings, nightlife, shopping, activities and moving to Aruba.

15. FlyerTalk

FlyerTalk is one of the largest travel forums on the internet. With over 650,000 registered members and more one million threads, there are plenty of opportunities to find ideas on a wide variety of topics ranging from air mile offers from various carriers, hotels, cruises, travel news, security, and much more.

online forums

Home and Garden

16. Gardenweb

Bookmark the Gardenweb link and you will have access to multiple forums in several categories. When you want to mine the website for ideas, all you need to do is look at the list of forums, select a topic from the list and start browsing through post titles to see if anything catches your eye as being something you can start building on. Here are some examples of what the site has to offer: The House, Cooking, Fiber and Needle Arts, Finances, Health, Family, Crafts and Hobbies.

17. Gardening-Forums.com

Gardening-Forums is well laid out and is divided into sections covering a large number of gardening-related topics. You will find discussions about garden design, fruits, vegetables, perennials, indoor plants, diseases, plant identification, organic gardening, roses, and more.

18. Garden Stew

The Garden Stew forum includes a number of topics, such as herb gardening, water gardening, seed starting, garden design and seed starting. Other discussion topics on this online forum include hobbies and crafts, interior design, home improvement, pets, books, and more.

19. DoItYourself.com Community Forums

This is a large site broken down into several forums geared towards DIYers in a number of niches. Plan to spend some time here exploring the different topics and the posts from the community under each one. You’ll find it a rich place to look for ideas, and it’s worth bookmarking for that reason, as well as for conducting research when you are writing blog posts and articles. The community members are knowledgeable and generous in sharing what they know when asked. The main topics discussed in the forums are:

  • Cars, SUVs, Vans, Trucks, RV’s, Boats and Gasoline Outdoor Power Equipment
  • Electrical, AC & DC. Electronic Equipment and Computers
  • Exterior Improvement
  • Interior Flooring, Floor Coverings and Coatings
  • Garden and Outdoor
  • Hardware, Tools, Wood & Metal Working, Home & Business Security
  • Heating, Cooling, Air Conditioning, Ventilation and T-Stat Controls
  • Interior Decorating, Design, Painting, Upholstery and Fabrics
  • Household Cleaning, Kitchen Appliance Service and Repairs

20. HouseRepairTalk

HouseRepairTalk is a DIY home improvement forum. It is very well organized and easy to navigate. You can easily discover the date of the last post, the number of threads on a particular topic, and how popular a topic is on the board.

This last bit of information may be helpful to you when trying to choose topics for your own writing. You want to find topics that your readers are interested in, but have not already been well covered elsewhere. It’s important that your writing give your readers something fresh and interesting, or they will simply click away without continuing to read your piece.

Examples of the topics covered here include:

  • Decks and Patios
  • Wood, Masonry and Concrete
  • Cleaning
  • Flooring
  • Painting
  • Plumbing
  • Roofing and Siding
  • HVAC
  • Refrigerators
  • Computers and Electronics

21. ContractorTalk

This forum for professional contractors has more than 120,000 registered members and gives a bird’s-eye view into the issues and concerns of tradespeople who are sole proprietors or who have employees or subcontractors working with them. The board is divided into Business Discussions and Trade Talk. The Business Discussions focus on general business, marketing and sales, and technology as they pertain to this niche market.

Trade Talk is divided into several subsections, including the following:

  • Architecture and Design
  • Carpentry
  • Electrical
  • Landscaping
  • Masonry
  • Painting and Finish Work
  • Plumbing
  • Remodeling
  • Tiling

A separate section entitled “Equipment and Safety” has sub-sections focusing on Tools & Equipment, Vehicles, and Health & Safety. Contractors Liability is a separate topic on the discussion board.

online forums

Technology

22. NIH 3D Print Exchange

This online forum, at the National Institutes of Health website, discusses tips and tricks for 3D printing and 3D printers in general. There are also discussions about 3D modelling techniques and software.

23. CNET Forums

Register for free and gain access to forums software, operating systems, hardware, tablets & mobile devices, and more. A list of hot discussions and the latest posts is provided on the main page for your convenience.

24. Electro-Tech

Electro-Tech is an active community of more than 170,000 members dedicated to discussing electronics. Topics on the board include microcontrollers, renewable energy, robotics & mechatronics, automotive electronics, microcontrollers, repair, jobs & careers, and much more.

25. Tech Support Guy

We love our computers and devices when they work — but when they don’t, we need tech support, pronto! This tech support forum answers all kinds of questions about computer security, malware, operating systems, internet and networking, iPhones and mobile devices.

26. TechRepublic

The Forum section of the TechRepublic website is chock full of suggestions for articles and blog posts. Browse through it to find answers to questions or share your own knowledge on subjects including software, mobility, hardware, operating systems, social networking, and more.

online forums

Sports and Hobbies

27. Fencing.net

If you ever need to find information or topics about the sport of fencing, this forum can help. There is a section for those who are new to the sport, as well as others devoted to Rules, Armor, Coaching, Tournaments and Camps, and more.

28. Tradition Sports Online

This forum is dedicated to discussing sports video games. If your niche involves Madden NFL football, FIFA, NCAA football, MLB: The Show, NBA 2K and other similar fare, stop by to see what players are talking about. A separate board is set aside for Tradition Sports Leagues for football, basketball, soccer, baseball, hockey, and more.

29. Hobbies and Crafts Forum (Gaia Online)

This is an active forum that has a number of discussions taking place at any time. You will need to fill in a captcha code to enter the site, but once you enter, it’s easy to pick out the most popular ones, as well as how long a particular thread has been on the board. Choose an avatar for yourself and participate in discussions or simply browse through the board to find broad ideas or click on particular threads to delve into specifics about what types of hobbies and crafts are most popular right now.

30. Cycling Forums

Cycling is a popular sport, and members of this forum discuss topics such as equipment, road racing, training, news, and bike holidays and tours. Advice for bike buyers, supplements, and triathlons are also among the topics discussed here.

31. ArtistForum.com

ArtistForum is an online community for creatives to discuss topics relating to painting, drawing, life drawing, digital art, mix media, sculpting and photography. A separate section of the forum is devoted to the business of selling and showing one’s art.

31 Online Forums to Find Article and Blog Post Ideas

31 Online Forums to Find Article and Blog Post Ideas

If you are looking for a source of inspiration for blog posts and articles that won’t run dry, consider visiting an online forum that corresponds to the broad topic you are writing about. There are a number of advantages to using them as a way to get your creative juices flowing. This is a resource you should keep in your virtual back pocket and not hesitate to turn to when you are looking for fresh blog post ideas to write about that will engage your audience.

What is an Online Forum?

An online forum, or internet forum, is a discussion board on a website where participants can read posts by members and post responses of their own. In most cases, registration is required to post on the discussion board. All members can post new topics and respond to all other members’ posts.

Members agree to a certain code of conduct when they register. It’s understood they will not be abusive to fellow members or use inappropriate language. A moderator can delete posts, entire threads or ban members who are found to be in violation of the forum’s code of conduct.

Online Forums: History

The first online bulletin boards were developed by Ward Christensen and Randy Seuss in 1978, who called it the Computerized Bulletin Board System (BBS). This type of bulletin board was used until the 1990s when Usenet became popular. Users would subscribe to newsgroups dedicated to topics that interested them. Participants reply to a thread, and their response is shared with all the other participants in the newsgroup. Usenet is still being used today. There are a number of search engines; Binsearch is one example that is free to try.

The first dedicated software for discussion forums was developed in 1994 by the W3 Consortium. Since that time, there have been many other software programs developed for online forums. They continue to be very popular, with some forums having thousands of members.

Advantages of Using Online Forums as a Source for Blog Post Ideas

blog topic ideas

Collecting ideas from this online source can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Online Forums Contain Topics your Audience Finds Relevant

If a particular question is being asked or an issue is being discussed in a forum, it’s of interest to the online community. You’ll still want to check other sources to see whether it has already been covered by several other bloggers or at least find an angle that has not been written about a number of times before you start to write about the topic. If the topic is broad enough, you should be able to find a different angle that you can address.

  • Find Fresh Ideas and Questions for your Audience

Since the posts on the online forum are dated, you can focus your attention on the most recent ones. This will allow you to address the types of problems and issues your audience is trying to solve now.

This information is especially helpful if you are writing for a blog. Your audience wants to see facts they can use right away when they read the posts. The ideas you get from forum posts can give you clues to where your readers’ pain points are and what you can write about to address them. The blog post ideas you get are then more timely and relevant.

  • Learn Terms Specific to your Niche

Often, a niche will have specific terms that apply to it that may not be used in general conversation. If you are new to the topic, you’ll need to do some research to learn these terms in order to make your topics more relevant and relatable to your audience. Visiting online forums will help you with this by exposing you to the lingo.

While you don’t have to become an immediate expert, you do need to be able to define the special terms you are using in your posts and articles so that readers who are new to the topic can familiarize themselves with what you are writing about. You also need to understand the special terms so that you don’t get bogged down when trying to write. There are usually one or more posts with definitions in easy to follow language that can help to explain terms specific to a particular niche, and these can be very helpful when taking on a new topic.

  • Ideas for Multiple Posts

Visiting a forum be a starting point where you can collect ideas for several posts. You can mine it for general topics or ones that are very specific that you can build a post around, depending on the niche you are writing about.

  • Provides an Excellent Networking Opportunity

Spending time visiting online forums and participating in discussions gives you an opportunity to get to know other people who are active in the online community relevant to your niche. Do take time to introduce yourself and to answer other people’s questions in the forum if are able to provide them with some helpful information.

Other forum members can be a source of help and information for you. Your networking efforts can lead to sources for information and interviews, as well as opportunities for guest posts.

  • Source of Job Leads and Information

Forums are an alternate source of job leads for yourself or someone you know who is interested in working in the field you are writing about.

If you are browsing through posts, look for categories listing job training, education or specific openings. You may also get to know people who are hiring for gigs from your networking efforts.

 

11 Top Writing Communities You Should Join and Why

11 Top Writing Communities You Should Join and Why

The life of a writer is pretty solitary, both by design and necessity. While you may find yourself in the neighborhood coffee shop a few days a week just for a change of pace, being a writer can be lonely and quiet.

Well-meaning as they are, your friends and family don’t understand the nuance between conflict and crisis. Try as they might, they can’t relate to the complexity of creating a consistent voice. And, heaven help them, they’ll never get the agony of choosing between traditional and self-publishing.

It’s no wonder that writing and alcohol are familiar companions.

But it’s not happy hour yet. Here’s the good news: you’re not alone. In fact, right this moment, writers just like you are actively participating in writing communities all over the web. It’s time that you meet.

But first, you may be wondering, what’s the point of joining a writing community? I’m glad you asked, because there’s a lot of compelling reasons to join. Let’s break it down:

+CRITIQUES

Have you ever gotten to a point in your story where something just doesn’t sound right, but you can’t figure it out? You don’t want to ask your friends and family for their opinion because, let’s be honest, they’ll just say it sounds great to avoid hurting your feelings (even when you know it doesn’t).

Submitting a difficult piece to your writing community allows you to get honest, actionable feedback while you’re still working on your manuscript.

+SUPPORT & ENCOURAGEMENT

Writers understand other writers. They understand what it’s like to fall in love with a character, to struggle with dialogue, and to build entire worlds from scratch. These are your people. You need an environment where you can talk to fellow writers who struggle in the same areas you do. Those people can also help pull you from the mire of despair when the going gets tough, and they’ll motivate you to write those last thousand words.

+REVIEWS

After you’ve written and edited your book, you can ask your writing community to review your book. Swapping reviews is a popular practice. It’s free and easy to do, and a win-win for both writers.

+BETA READERS

So, what is a beta reader? Beta readers can help catch common, easy to fix mistakes such as detail inconsistencies, that you’ll most likely miss after having read over the manuscript 300 times. Often the most important thing beta readers can offer is the indication that something is wrong. They may not know how to fix it or may not offer the right suggestion, but they’ll alert you to the fact that X isn’t working.

+MARKETING

If you’re self-publishing, you’ll need to get marketing savvy quickly. In addition to subscribing to our blog, get thee involved in a writing community where you can learn a lot of interesting marketing tricks and techniques from seasoned pros.

Also, most online writing communities have a dedicated space for writers to promote their books. Share your book with a wider audience.

Now that you’re fully convinced on the benefits of becoming an active member in an online writing community, let’s look at the very best ones to join (in alphabetical order) :

1. ABSOLUTE WRITE WATER COOLER

absolutewrite

Absolute Writer is a popular and passionate writer’s forum on everything from politics to science fiction (which may in fact be the same thing). It welcomes writers of all genres, including novels, non fiction, screenwriting, and greeting cards.

Why Join? This community is well moderated and extremely popular. You’ll find kindred spirits here.

2. AGENTQUERY CONNECT

AgentQuery Connect is a great place to go for critiques and feedback. If you’re further along in the writing process and would love to know how to get an agent, for example, this is the go-to writing community. Check out successful query letters and learn about marketing your book after it’s published.

Why Join? There’s plenty of advice for after you’ve completed your manuscript and are interested in shopping it around. Find out what needs to be done by those who’ve been there/ done that.

3. BOOKRIX

bookrix

BookRix is a community for independent writers who are interested in self-publishing. While the site BookRix does provide writers with self-publishing help, its community is full of diverse topics that can help any writer improve and commiserate (or both!).

Why Join? You’ll enter an established book community with lots of activity.

15 of the Best Online Writing Communities for Aspiring Authors

15 of the Best Online Writing Communities for Aspiring Authors

As enjoyable and fulfilling as writing can be, the truth is that it’s often a solitary endeavor. While we might romanticize the focused artist typing away while imaginary worlds and narratives swirl inside their minds — authors know the truth: writing can get lonely. And moreover, when you’re working on a one-person project, it can be hard to remain motivated and accountable. That’s where writing communities come in.

Writing communities are the perfect place to find answers to your writing questions and to discuss the ins and outs of the writing life with people who actually understand what you’re talking about.

So, if you are tired of listening only to the voices in your head, take a look at our list of top online writing communities. (And if you’re hungry for more, check out our more exhaustive list of the very best writing websites!)

Top online writing communities

1. Absolute Write Water Cooler

With over 68,000 members, this is a large and highly active community. Here you can find threads on every genre imaginable, as well as discussions about freelance writing, the publishing industry, pop culture, writing prompts and exercises, and much more.

Perfect for: writers who are looking for a large and active community.

2. AgentQuery Connect

While this forum will come in handy for any writer, it’s especially helpful for authors who have already completed their manuscript and are wondering what to do next. The site boasts a wealth of information on publishing topics such as querying agents, self-publishing tips, and book promotion advice.

Perfect for: writers who are looking to connect with agents and learn more about the publishing industry.

3. Camp NaNoWriMo

If you’ve ever wanted to go to a writer’s retreat but can’t afford it just yet, then this site might help scratch your itch. Holding online “camp sessions” in April and July, Camp NaNoWriMo offers a digital space to encourage and empower writers at any point of their career. Here you can work on drafts, revisions, short stories, or any other writing project that involves word-count goals.

Perfect for: writers who can’t wait until November to crack their writing goals.

4. Critique Circle

Feedback should be a vital part of any writer’s process, and this is exactly what Critique Circle offers. This members-only site allows authors to post stories in exchange for feedback on other people’s writing. You can also find storyboarding toolswriting prompts, workshops, name generators, games like hangman, and much more.

Perfect for: writers who want honest feedback on their writing.

5. Chronicles

As the world’s largest Science Fiction and Fantasy online community, Chronicles offers writers the opportunity to get together and discuss the latest books, news, and pop culture in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy world. This is an active community with thousands of threads that include genre-specific challenges, workshops, critiques, and even publishing and industry information.

Perfect for: writers interested in Science Fiction and Fantasy writing.

6. Facebook Groups

If social media is more your style, don’t miss the chance to interact with your fellow writers by joining Facebook groups in your own niche. Look for groups with a strict “no self-promotion” rules so that it remains supportive and useful to your writing goals.

There are a lot of groups out there in a variety of topics that range from genre-specific writing tips to traditional and self-publishing industry news. Here are just a few of them:

The Street Team — Reedsy’s own book marketing group for self-publishing authors.
10 Minute Novelists — a group for the time-crunched writer.
Calls for Submissions — for writers looking for publication opportunities.
Fiction Writers Global — a great resource for information about traditional and self-publishing.
Writers Unite! — an active group with plenty of support and motivation for novice and experienced writers alike.

Perfect for: writers who prefer using social media.

7. Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Whether you are a debut or seasoned author, there’s no doubt that writing a book can be intimidating and rife with bouts of self-doubt. The Insecure Writer’s Support Group aims to help you overcome those insecurities by hosting a community of like-minded authors.

Perfect for: writers who have doubts about their writing and are in need of encouragement.

How I can monetize a community or a forum

How I can monetize a community or a forum

If you run a community that makes money from advertising, your constant challenge is finding ways to maximize revenue without turning off your membership. Adding too many ad units can cheapen the look of your site and slow down page load times.

Always remember that your community exists because it’s in some way unique and it has brought together a bunch of people who share something in common. It’s that uniqueness that is key to making more than what those low paying adsense banners pay out.

So, what are some other ways you can monetize your community?

1. Put up a paywall. This can work in some cases, for example if forum helps people do their jobs and they can expense the fee. Otherwise, charging for access might reduce your visitor to registered member conversion rate. A way to test this is to limit only a section of the forum to paying members.

2. Premium memberships. This differs from a paywall in that it doesn’t give members access to the content. Instead it might give them a feature (like being able to create a signature) or something more symbolic like a badge or rank.

3. Hold conferences or offline events. The Penny-Arcade forums are huge and don’t show ads. There are some ads on other parts of the Penny-Arcade website but it’s likely that their main source of revenue is the PAX conference. The first Pax conference in 2004 attracted about 3,000 people. The most recent Pax Prime event saw an incredible 70,000 attendees.

4. Sell merchandise. Profit margins on t-shirts or mugs are aren’t great but it’s easy to set up a storefront these days with services like Shopify. It’s also fun to hold design contests and get the community involved.

5. Apply to ad networks that pay better. There are lots of niche ad networks out there and some might might be looking to reach your audience. One of our clients targets mostly young urban males and has signed up with Complex Media, an ad network that specializes in that demographic. It’s win-win as the audience sees more relevant ads and the forum owner is doing better than with his previous ad network partner.

6. Do direct sponsorships. Reaching out to possible sponsors can be time consuming but can result in a nice steady stream of revenue regardless of pageview stats. Typically, we see the 3 or 4 packages being offered. The packages include a placement, term (the longer the better) and price. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some inbound inquiries and won’t have to do too much selling to land a few sponsors.

7. Sell member data. Look for a list broker or agency that has clients that want to reach people in your niche. A good broker will rent out the list on your behalf to legitimate marketers. It’s important to be upfront with your membership about this when they register and give them an option to opt-in or opt-out.

8. Monetize links. Services like VigLink replace links to products and services in your forum with affiliate links. If someone ends up buying via that link, you earn an affiliate commission. You can go a step further with these services and automatically hyperlink common product names but doing this can upset the post author and make your content look spammy.

Let us know in the comments your thoughts on monetization. If you want to explore other ways to monetize your community forum, check out our free white paper: How to Monetize Your Community Forum.

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