Today’s task in the 31 Days Blogging Project is to so some analysis of other blogs in your niche – your ‘competition’.
Note: I use the word ‘competition’ hesitantly because the thing about blogging is that those blogging on the same topics as you are potentially your biggest allies. Connect and work with your competition and everyone improves.
This is actually an exercise that I recently recommended to a friend in the process of setting up a blog as part of his process in refining a topic. Having thought about it since I’m becoming more convinced that it’s actually a good exercise for established bloggers to do from time to time also.
1. Make a list of 10 blogs in your Niche
2. Get the RSS feed of each of these blogs and commit yourself to reading them each week
3. Do some analysis by asking some of the following questions:
- What do they do well?
- What are the boundaries of the topics that they focus upon?
- What don’t they write about?
- How often do they post?
- How long are their posts?
- What level are they pitching their blog at? (beginners, intermediate, advanced)
- What questions are their readers asking in comments?
- What style or voice do they write in?
- What type of posts seem to get the most attention (comments, trackbacks, incoming links)?
- What is their design like? What do they do well and what do they do poorly?
- What are other blogs writing about them (use technorati to check this)?
- If they have an open or unlocked stats package what can you learn from their stats? What pages are popular? Where does their incoming traffic come from?
Why do you need to ask these questions?
Good question – I’m glad you asked!
My reasoning for doing this type of analysis is not to copy other blogs in your niche (although you might find some things that you want to emulate) – but it is quite the opposite.
In asking these types of questions you will often find gaps in the niche that others are not writing about that your blog might be able to fill. You’ll also have a good feel for what is working and not working for others, might have some possible ideas for connecting with other bloggers in your niche, could come up with some potential post topics etc
Let us know what you find in doing this analysis in comments below.