(Please note: I am not providing any financial or investment advice. This is merely a guide to help you use research to determine whether or not a blog idea has profit potential based on the successes of other blogs in a similar niche. I am only sharing what has worked for me and my clients. Unicorn Copy Co. is not liable for any business decisions you take based on this research method.)


It would be nice if profitable business ideas just landed on our heads.

You probably have all the usual self-doubts running through your mind.

You’re worried about taking the leap to start a blog.


profitable blog blog validation pinterest keyword research unicorn copy co


You’re wondering if the blog will make money.

You’re afraid of failure, afraid of trying and failing, afraid of being a disappointment to yourself and your family and friends.

The list goes on.

Not knowing which blog idea to go with isn’t your fault.

This is mainly because most people don’t have a content marketing background, where validating ideas is a part of the job.

That’s why I came up with a series of Monetization Markers you can use when you’re trying to see if your blog idea will make money.

I’ve outlined the exact research method with Monetization Markers I use below.

Go ahead and get started on validating that blog idea you have in your head!

(By the way, have you joined my free 5-day Blogging Biz Bootcamp? It shows you how to brainstorm, validate, brand, and launch your profitable blog – in just 5 days. Although this post is chock-full of valuable and actionable takeaways, the Blogging Biz Bootcamp has a ton of worksheets and tutorials – more valuable goodies – to guide you. Don’t miss out! Join below.)



Step 1: Choose Your Blog Idea


Okay, I know this step sounds pretty self-explanatory.

But I’ve got to spell it out for you.

Sometimes you don’t know where to start when you’re coming up with a blog idea.

You don’t know what you’re good at, you can’t quite pinpoint your passions, and you don’t know what skills you have.

When people have to come up with a blog idea, they often freeze because they operate with their skills and passions on autopilot – without really thinking about them.

In my free 5-day blogging challenge, I go really in-depth on this part so that you can find topics in a niche that really resonate with you.

If you have a topic or niche idea for your blog, great!

If you don’t, take a moment to see what you’re good at and what you like, then move on to the next step.


Step 2: Search for Your Blog Idea on Pinterest


This is where the real research begins.

You want to search for your chosen blog topic + the word “blog” on Pinterest.

Why are we using Pinterest?

Because I recommend Pinterest as a starting point to moving traffic to your blog – it’s a search engine filled with people who are constantly looking for solutions to problems.

The Pinterest community is very solution-oriented, and that’s good news for you because you can give them the solutions they’re looking for.

If you start your search on Pinterest with the intention that you want it to be a source of traffic for you, then you’ll see the kinds of things people are already looking for.

Here’s what you’ll do:

Take your chosen topic and add the keyword “blog” to it in the Pinterest search bar. I used “fashion blog” as an example:



Do you see that entire line of words that come up after your search?

These words are worth their weight in gold, dear unicorns.


Because these are keywords Pinterest generates for the word you searched for – in other words, these are words your target audience is already searching for.

A.k.a. this allows you to get into the head of your ideal reader so that you can provide the best value for them on your blog.

Okay, I’m jumping way ahead with excitement.

Let’s dial it down, Alex.

Once you’ve done that, you’re ready for the next step.



Step 3: Find 3 Blogs in Your Chosen Niche


This is the part where we hunt for competitor blogs on your topic.

Now, I know “competitor” sounds like a big, scary word.

Here’s the thing:

Don’t turn away from starting your own blog because the “competition” looks more experienced.

You still have something to offer to people.

Let’s get rid of the word “competitor” from our language – let’s look at bloggers in your chosen niche as collaborators.

Chances are, these are people whom you’ll befriend one day and who will inspire you to keep going with your blogging goals.

So, let’s get back to the example I’m using – searching for a fashion blog.

I’m going to click on this extra keyword Pinterest suggested, “To Follow.”

That means the keyword we’re searching for is “fashion blog to follow.”



There’s a bunch of results that come up:



Don’t feel overwhelmed. There’s a method to the madness of Pinterest keyword research.

The very first pin looked very relevant:

Hover over the pin to make sure you’re going to a good-looking domain (and not a spammy domain), then click through to see what you find.

Notice I’m going to an article on an entire list of fashion blogs – this simplifies my search process a lot because I have more blogs I can look through at once.

Our goal is to find 3-5 blogs in our chosen topic.

I found the following three, just from this article:






Step 4: Take Notes on Monetization Markers


Ok, unicorns. This is where things start to get really fun.

This is the part where you will put your analytical and page-sleuthing hats on because you’re going to predict the blogger’s main sources of income from their blog.

Your goal in this step is to look for what I like to call Monetization Markers.

These are surefire giveaways that a blog is making money from a particular source.

I’ll show you how to spot these.

Here are some very general ways bloggers make money on their blogs:


  • Display advertising: ads that you see in the top, bottom, and side banners on blogs, or sandwiched in between blog text
  • Affiliate marketing: links or ads that recommend a particular product at no additional cost to the reader
  • Digital products: products the blogger has created and sells (e.g., e-books, online courses)
  • Brand sponsorships: when a blogger and a brand partners up and the blogger advertises on behalf of the brand
  • Consulting / coaching: some bloggers attract a large following and offer their consulting services to their audience


Now, here are the Monetization Markers, the surefire indicators for each type of monetization strategy I listed before:


Monetization Type Monetization Marker
Display advertising banners and ads on the top, bottom, sidebar of page and in the middle of posts
Affiliate marketing links in the blog posts to recommended products, product comparison reviews, (linked) product mentions on social media
Digital products menu item called “courses,” “products,” “shop,”
Brand sponsorships photography and images with the brand’s product and the blogger, an explicit partnership announcement on the blog
Consulting / coaching menu item called “work with me,” “hire me,” “consulting,” or “services”


Now, I’m going to choose one of the blogs, Song of Style (run by Aimee Song), I found in Step 3 and scan it for Monetization Markers.

Just from the home page, I found two Monetization Markers: “Shop” and “Book” in the menu item.



I wanted to see whether this blogger referenced affiliate products and linked to them. I clicked through to a blog post.

I discovered a few more things:

My fashion sense pales in comparison to Aimee Song’s.

Aimee Song is a unicorn dressed in Sigerson Morrison heeled sandals.

I don’t know who Aimee Song was before doing this research, but I think I need to be styled by Aimee Song.

Oh, and I did find some affiliate links, too (these links went to the items she wore in the photo shoot):



Did I mention how I think she is a unicorn?

We’ve found a few Monetization Marker’s on Song’s site now: a shop, a book, and affiliate products.

I didn’t notice any display advertising (some bloggers do this to keep their sites looking neat and loading fast).

I also didn’t see any immediate brand sponsorships (though I’m sure she is partnered with a few companies) or any offering for consulting services.

So, jot down the Monetization Markers you found, and save them for the next and final step.

(Note: If you come across a blog that doesn’t seem like it has any monetization strategy, skip this blog and find another one in your niche. If you consistently keep finding blogs for your blog idea that don’t have Monetization Markers (around 12+ blogs), then there’s a good chance your blog idea may not profitable, or will take a while to monetize.)



Step 5: Determine if Your Blog Idea is Profitable


You now have a list of your Monetization Markers for your first blog.

Now, you want find Monetization Markers for the remaining blogs you found in your search (Step 3).

Keep a table of what you find, one that looks like this:


Blog + URL Monetization Strategy Monetization Markers


Keep track of both the monetization strategy and Monetization Markers that go along with that strategy. This is where you’ll start to notice the different ways bloggers apply common monetization strategies.

Once you have compiled all the monetization strategies and Monetization Markers for the blogs you found, ask yourself a few more questions:


  1. Is the blog up-to-date (recent posts)?
  2. Does the blogger post income reports?
  3. If the blogger posts income reports, how much did they make in:
    • the last month?
    • the last year?
    • the year before?


Take a look across all your research.

If all the blogs you found had clear Monetization Markers and were up-to-date, there’s a very good chance this niche is a profitable niche.

This means that the blog idea you have that fits in that niche has a good chance of being profitable, too.

Here’s the thing…you don’t need to reinvent the wheel for your blog to make money.

You don’t need to come up with a revolutionary concept no one’s heard about before.

That’s why this research method using Monetization Markers works so well; you look at the successes of other blogs in your niche in a systematic and strategic way to determine if your idea has profit potential.

You can stand out from the crowd by changing the way you position your brand, your messaging, the kind of audience you service…the list goes on.

That being said…Congratulations on coming to the end!

I hope you gained a lot of well-researched insight into your blog idea.


(Please note: I am not providing any financial or investment advice. This is merely a guide to help you use research to determine whether or not a blog idea has profit potential based on the successes of other blogs in a similar niche. I am only sharing what has worked for me and my clients. Unicorn Copy Co. is not liable for any business decisions you take based on this research method.)


Over To You


That’s it, unicorns!

That’s how you can use Monetization Markers to see if your blog idea will make money.

If you found this post helpful, then you’ll love Blogging Biz Bootcamp, a free 5-day challenge where I’ll show you how to brainstorm, validate, brand, and launch your profitable blogging biz. It’s got everything from worksheets to tutorial PDFs to help you along the way, too.

Sign up for the challenge below!