How to Choose a Topic for Your Own Money-Making Website

Nick Usborne

This is the third in this series of articles.

The first revealed a way to make money as a writer without having to find or work with clients.

The second explored three different ways to generate passive income by writing a website of your own — like my site about coffee.

And in this article we’ll look at how you are going to set about choosing a topic of your own to write about.

Let’s get started …

Over the last 10 years I have started several websites just like the one I write about coffee.

And today all of them have fallen by the wayside, except for

How come? Because I just wasn’t that excited by those other topics. Working on those sites felt less like a fun, no-client way to make money, and more like work.

I have seen the same thing happen with other people who have followed in my footsteps.

The really successful sites are the ones where you can tell the writer is truly passionate about their subject.

It’s important to be genuinely excited by your topic, because you’re going to be working hard on your website. Like I said in my last article, this isn’t a “get rich quick” thing. You have to work hard and create a lot of pages for your site.

If you don’t absolutely love your topic, all that writing will feel like hard work. It might even feel like client work.

But if you DO love your topic, it won’t feel like work at all. It will feel like fun.

So how do you identify your ideal topic?

One thing I ask people is to take a look at their Facebook page, or their Twitter stream.

What do you like to post or tweet about? What are your natural interests? What do you get really excited or passionate about?

Cooking? Kayaking? Travel? Knitting? Dog training? Interior decorating? Healthy eating? Yoga? Vintage cars? Gaming? Geology? Bird watching? Organic gardening? Single malt whiskies? Gluten-free baking? Hobby farming? Coin collecting? Rock climbing? Horror movies?

The list of potential topics is almost endless.

You can narrow down the possibilities by asking yourself and honestly answering these four questions …

  • What are your hobbies?
  • What do you like to do when you have some time to yourself?
  • What do you talk about with friends?
  • And, as I said, what do you post about on Facebook?

Once you have identified a topic that excites and inspires you, you have found the subject to write about for your money-making website.

It’s strange in a way.

As writers we expect to have to write about what our bosses, clients, or editors tell us to write about. We’re used to knuckling down and doing as we’re told.

With your own money-making website it isn’t like that at all. We’re totally free to write what we want. And honestly, that freedom can feel a little weird when you first get started.

But once you get past that initial weirdness, you’ll quickly come to love being your own boss when it comes to writing.

Best of all, it’s when you really start enjoying your freedom as a writer that you’ll do your best work, attract more readers … and start to see that passive income flow into your bank account.


Tomorrow I’ll be sharing some core success tips. These are the hard-won lessons I have learned with my coffee website over the last 10 years.

In the meantime, be sure to share your thoughts, ideas, and questions below.

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Published: December 9, 2015

38 Responses to “How to Choose a Topic for Your Own Money-Making Website”

  1. Hi Nick, I love to read. That's my hobby and my passion. Do you think that reviewing books is a niche? Is it even legal, or is it covered by copywrite laws?
    I read everything - novels, biographies, children's books, even textbooks if I'm stuck. Shoot, my son and I fought over who got to read the cereal box when we were in the middle of a house move. I'd be interested in your answer. Thanks.

    Guest (Joanne)December 9, 2015 at 12:33 pm

  2. Hi Nick, Hope you landed and settled in. I have been considering posting a seperate Web page to write about a passion of mine. There is so little written about Type 1 Diabetes(not Type 2. Everyday I see the results of mismanaged Type 1 and know that it doesn't have to be that way. Physically, Physiologically and Emotionally.
    Millions of people can learn to live outgoing, productive lives, w/o being held back by what they percieve as limitations.
    The sponsorship opportunities are endless.


    Tom Rintelmann December 9, 2015 at 1:26 pm

  3. Hi Nick, My passion is coaching kids. I have coached soccer, baseball and football from grades K-8. I would be interested in your feedback on how this subject could be converted to passive income. I look forward to your response.

    CarloDecember 9, 2015 at 1:43 pm



    HARRISONDecember 9, 2015 at 1:50 pm

  5. I created a site in 2009 based on my interests--I have google ads, affiliate links etc....even a FB fan page (214 likes :P) But I have yet to make a dime--and I think it's a decent site? Not perfect, I'm sure, but organized and full of info :P

    I know that I have never gotten much traffic--which is king...

    Do you teach how to actually get people to your site? :)

    Guest (Cathy)December 9, 2015 at 3:09 pm

  6. Would love to hear your tips on getting people to look at our website.

    Guest (Sue C)December 9, 2015 at 4:00 pm

  7. I am extremely passionate about traveling the "Healthy Way." What do I mean by this. When people travel/vacation they think of all the fun things to do, places to stay and activities to explore. But I sell Travel Insurance, and I think it is important for people to think about "What If?" What is the health care system like where they will be traveling? What is an emergency response time? For the older traveler and those who travel with children. This should be a top priority. "What if?"

    healthb4travelDecember 9, 2015 at 4:01 pm

  8. hi Nick:

    Examining my time spent on-line, I find that it's mostly on photography sites or YouTube videos. If I wasn't a writer, I would probably be a photographer. But there are a ton of excellent photographers putting their work and instruction and reviews out there. And I have bought many of their ebooks. Most of them have way more experience than I.

    Can I monetize a photography site when there is so much competition in that field?

    PaperPilotDecember 9, 2015 at 4:22 pm

  9. Hi Nick. I'm a hip healthy 71 yr woman and I am aware there are many things that have changed for me now that I am a bonifide elder. A good topic? Could I monitize? Thanks!

    Guest (JB)December 9, 2015 at 6:01 pm

  10. This all sounds good, but what if you are not very web savy or web creative? How do you create your own writing website if you don't have the skills or know how to create a website? That is my biggest challenge. I love to write and have a lot of creative ideas, but I am not very tech or web savy. Any advice and suggestions you have to offer are appreciated. Thank you.
    - Christy

    Guest (Christy)December 9, 2015 at 6:39 pm

  11. Nick, Everything I read is about how to make a honest buck. Enjoy reading about business development ideas. If I were to choose one topic, it might be FRAUD, the causes and investigation. Probably not much interest in this subject unless your company has been victimized.

    A few years ago I tried developing a SBI website but could never get it off the ground. It is a fantastic site development program but it just gives me sensory overload. Any suggestions on creating a website?

    Billy HDecember 9, 2015 at 8:31 pm

  12. I saw comments somewhere about you reviewing a site...My "passion" site was created in 2009 (I am "Cathy" from above comments :) I could see me creating a new site based on one of the areas of my old site--but wondered if the new site might help bring traffic to the old site...or if the old site could be improved vs starting over? Is this too involved for your course?
    I have two college aged children that are interested also--how can they use this also? They won't be available until summer

    catctaDecember 9, 2015 at 8:53 pm

  13. Nick I am greatly interested in prisons and addiction(especially heroin) due to my past life. Marketable?

    Guest (Guest)December 9, 2015 at 10:21 pm

  14. Nick, thanks for these 5 articles pre the Money Making Website class in January. I am retired -- HA! -- operate an adult family home, teach dementia and mental health for WA DSHS, and write/read dementia poetry. "Senior" will be my base and can branch off to "retirement," "alternate living options," "ALZ, Parkinson's, Lewey Bodies," caregiver support, and a kazillion associated subjects. Can't wait for the class to start.

    Guest (Maxine)December 10, 2015 at 1:22 pm

  15. Hi Nick,

    I'm always a little nervous to show my site to someone looking with a "critical eye" :P Be gentle :)

    the site is:
    thegoodnewscafe dot net

    and each topic in the navigation menu (from "Global Warming Facts" down to "Good Habits") leads to an "intro" page that then has 3 to 5 or 6 page links with more in-depth content. the rest of the pages in the menu are add-ons from when I first built the site or self-explantory non-content pages.

    catctaDecember 10, 2015 at 3:37 pm

  16. Here's the rest of my comment :0

    I know some of the keywords I used are out-dated (e.g. global warming is now called climate change)--I have not done much SEO work since I built it other than checking links and adding image text and stuff like that as suggested by my host site (YOLA).

    Thanks for the offer to peek!

    catctaDecember 10, 2015 at 3:37 pm

  17. It's all beginning to come together. Thanks Nick!
    Claire Erickson
    (Pl note the spelling. Have experienced continued difficulty in trying to change the spelling)

    Claire EricksonuDecember 10, 2015 at 7:07 pm

  18. Nick, I missed the opportunity for the reduced rate on the 7 Step Online Seminar. I have done a sitemap for blog/monetized site focusing on downsizing your living experience. I took the copywriting course for selling direct response, however would like to engage in a blog that I have experience helping friends and family eliminate "things" in a productive, less emotional way. Now it's time to bring this knowledge LIVE. Would your course help with monetizing and adding visitors?

    Guest (Linda Gebhardt)December 12, 2015 at 1:08 pm

  19. After I build my own website, what am I getting paid for? I intend to buy your program in January. I won't have the money for it until then.

    Guest (Shahidah)December 12, 2015 at 4:31 pm

  20. Hi Nick,

    Did you have a chance to peek at my site? :)

    I did sign up for your program--my confirmation email/links seemed to show the talks as being already recorded, but I thought there were to be live classes?


    catctaDecember 14, 2015 at 10:40 pm

  21. Thanks, next question would be whether you think I could use your course to revamp my site or maybe just specific pages of it--if that would work as far as monetizing etc...?

    Or would it be better to start over? I think I mentioned I do have a twitter and FB "following" small though it is...and the niche is maybe too "open"?

    Thanks for the info on the course itself--any idea what day and time the live sessions will be?

    catctaDecember 15, 2015 at 10:18 am

  22. Thanks again for the info...Looking forward to it!

    catctaDecember 15, 2015 at 11:37 am

  23. Hi there, I'd love help choosing a topic. I'm passionate about raising my boys to love Jesus in a world that doesn't.
    I have a heart for single moms; and there's this: I have spent the last two years reading & in counseling to get through the trauma of sexual betrayal. This last topic is important to me because I want to help other women. I don't have a coaching license (yet) and no book on the topic (yet.) Any suggestions on which would be the most marketable?

    FarmhouseMomJanuary 17, 2019 at 9:36 am

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