In this guest post Sherice Jacob from iElectrify and author of Get Niche Quick explores a question I get a lot – how should a blog be niche focused or not?
At one point or another, all bloggers have had to sit down and make a crucial decision with their blogs. Do you focus exclusively on one topic or do you cover several related subjects in an attempt to “cast the biggest net” and capture a larger share of visitors? Once you’ve decided – how will you profit from your new blog?
And as a side note, you can profit from your blog with more than just money. Added exposure, loyal readership and a greater marketing reach are just some of the many untapped “profits” that result from a popular blog. But deciding whether to “niche-ify” or expand is that one critical tipping point that influences your blog’s success more than any other.
Ultimately, your decision will likely reflect the amount of information on the subject, plus how much time (or not) you want to devote to it. Here are a few tips and insights to help make your decision easier.
To Niche or Not to Niche?
To successfully write a niche blog, you not only need an interest in the subject, but you need to come up with timely, detailed content about it that no one else has. Don’t be afraid to go deep into the subject – something that your competitors haven’t done because they either don’t know the answers or they’re afraid to do more than just skim the surface. Become known as the person who goes a little deeper, uncovers a little more and shares it with fellow fans and readers and you’ll reap an extremely loyal audience.
There is a downside to niche blogging, and that is the issue of “boxing yourself in”. Do you have enough to say about the subject to actually warrant a full-scale blog? Or will you run out of steam within the first few months? Sketch out possible titles and topics for articles if you have to – just to see how much time and effort you can devote to this blog.
Then there’s the question of serving ads or not. Consider your audience and their reasons for wanting to visit your site. Do you want to create more of a community around the topic or accentuate it with relevant, focused ads? Either way, you’ll need to prepare yourself to cultivate that niche blog until it thrives on its own.
One Blog, Many Topics
Having one blog cover several topics can be a great choice if you have the self-discipline to stick with it and give each topic its own space. My own blog (www.ielectrify.com) focuses on design and marketing tips – but each of these branches off into their own niches as well, such as copywriting, social marketing, email marketing and so on. A larger blog like this takes more time to develop and you may find yourself blogging for a year or more until you get a sizeable audience. That’s because there’s no defined topic. People who are interested in email marketing might not want to know about social networking, or people who are looking for copywriting tips might not care about adding audio or video to their site, but all of these sub-sections are necessary for the “big picture” of what it takes to have a successful design and high-converting content.
When It’s Good to Go Big
You’ll want to create a larger blog with broader categories if you have a subject that includes so many “pieces” to the overall puzzle that it’s impossible just to focus on one part alone. ProBlogger is a great example. Not only does it teach you how to make money with your blog, but you also find blogging tools, blog design details and freelancing/job posts as well – all conducive to helping you make a solid income as a blogger.
In the end, the decision to go with a niche blog or a larger content-focused blog depends largely on your goals for it and what you want out of it. Either choice has the potential to become a remarkable success as you continue to grow and develop it. Now get out there and start blogging!
On ads: I have only used sponsors in order to keep my site more clean. I contact companies that I think would help my readers. Off topic companies are not allowed to advertise.
A bigger advantage of running a new less competitive niche is less work and some quick cash.I love doing both niche blogging and main topics.niche blogging helps fill my pockets quickly and the rest are long term goals.
Great Post! This is exactly what I have been thinking about the past few days. In the beginning of a blog you have many great ideas, but pretty soon you can easily lose steam.
You have great point here Sherice! I do prefer to create a niche blog instead of “One Blog, Many Topics”, I found that it’s kinda difficult to get traffics and difficulty to find specific audience, they’ll not stay long after they read the only one post they interest, they piss off other post and get off.
Between, I do build a few niche blog which I get info from my current working places, do some research on the keyword and optimize the keywords. All of them make money from Adsense. :)
I started with a blog without a niche that ended up mutating into a blog that had a niche anyway. Now I’m ready to give that site its space and start another blog without a niche. The thing is though, after a while the niche will find you…
I think it’s important to not be so rigid that you can’t morph when all the indicators are there to do so. I started kinda broad, narrowed, then expanded a bit.
As you specified, when working with niche blogging one must be ready with the topics to blog, otherwise he may run out of them. I blog about developments in web which is a never ending area. I have a lot of topics to blog about. Normally I keep note of them wherever I am- sometimes in my phone or in my notes. Even niche blogging can never run out of topics if you do a lot of research. What is required is the same passion with which you started the blog
I started with a personal blog. On my fourth month of blogging, I find myself writing more extensively on three related topics. And I’m staying with these categories because it’s where my interests lie. With three broad topics under my belt, I’m confident it will take me a very long time to fully cover the whole breadth of these themes.
Thanks for this insight on niche blogging Sherice
like you and many blogger i believe in covering most related topics rather then sticking to one subject. Multiple topic blogs have its own benefits
1) you are never short of topics and idea for your next post.
2) if you can produce interesting content on every subject you cover you can have vast readership then a niche oriented blog.
the list can go on and on
Interesting points, Sherice. As the only contributor to my humor blog, I often struggle with whether a particular topic stretches the spectrum of my subject matter to unreasonably broad lengths. I am often leery of the damage to readership that may occur if I cross the line too often.
I’ve started a new blog. Is it necessary to post some interesting topics before posting it on social networking websites or working on its traffic…!
I started with a general blog but concluded that was like a department store: okay but nothing special.
So I setup two specialized blogs for distinct audiences
1) revealing how the wealthy tame their financial risks (blog.riscario.com)
2) ideas, insights and best practices for advisors (marketingactuary.com)
Since writing is time consuming, I have one article per blog per week. This approach works well but I occasionally go on a tangent (e.g., reviewing PersonalBrain 5). That’s the problem with having many interests :)
Interesting. This is something that I have been pondering recently. My own blog focuses on two distinct areas, cycling and web developing. At first I thought that these two things should probably live in separate blogs as people may not want to subscribe to something that only covers some things they are interested in. Then I thought – you know what, it’s my blog and this is what makes me tick. Plus they can subscribe to individual categories if they wish to do so. I think it works, and ultimately I get the most pleasure out of it – if you don’t enjoy writing blog posts, you simply won’t keep it up. Just my 2 cents worth.
Great article btw :)
I think one of the key aspects of niche blogging is that A) the sub-categories of your blog need to be rich with content as well.
For example, I’m running a blog that’s about two months old for real estate agents. Just the sub-category of “phone technology for real estate agents” is rich with innovative tools, tricks and ideas, and adds spice to the general “real estate sales skills” content.
The formula for content would look something like a supreme-style pizza. Bulk niche topic = the dough and crust. Categories = the sauce, cheese, pepperoni. And then you narrow your scope to the individual post topic and you have your canadian bacon, olives, onions, sausage, hamburger, bell peppers, etc. Most importantly, all of the toppings fit neatly onto your dough (niche topic).
In the end, even “non-niche” sites usually end up with a niche following anyway. It makes sense that starting with a pre-determined niche allows you to skip a step an unneccesary step in your blogs development.
Also, if you remember the results triangle for marketing (Message + Market + Media), you can’t really have the complete effect of your offer without a defined market, and ultimately, isn’t that what your niche is?
I prefer to make niche blog, for me it will be easier to manage it. By focus in a small niche, I can get loyal visitors, and my blog grow faster.
Writer Dad is right on – eventually a niche will find you. I see this happening with Mommy Blogs. We start out just rambling about life in general then after a few months we find the handful of topics we are really passionate about and focus more on those. The constant evolution of blogs is what makes it so much fun to read and to write!
Thanks for the info, great article. I have been trying to determine what direction I wanted to take my blog. It would be great if someone could decide it for me . LOL
I think going niche is great for conversions and getting better search engine results for your blog. Being specific is important to bringing in the right visitors.
BROAD: is good if you have lots of writers and update your content daily in your various categories. Otherwise, go specific and get targeted traffic.
Thanks for writing a thorough article about effective bulk email blogging. I learnt something new and hope to test drive your ideas soon. Awesome article!!
It’s much easier to stand out with a niche topic
I’m finding that the niche blog I set up about 10 days ago (http://www.geithnerwatch.com) is taking off really quickly in terms of traffic. It’s been picked up by CNN Money and AOL, and my RSS subs are growing nicely.
My broader business/stock market blog never got anything like that. So I’m focusing on creating multiple blogs on various topics, with links going back and forth when appropriate. This way, each blog has good a chance at standing out on its own, and when one hits, it pulls the others up along with it.
If you’re already a well-known personality you can make general interest blogs work – but if you’re a regular person it’s better to focus on a single area that you’re strong in.
I would say it’s all down to knowledge and what value you can provide your readers.
I write about relationships, dating and sex, which although all related, is not a very tight niche. The difference is that I am an expert on ALL three and feel I’m offering advice other websites in the niche are lacking.
So I would definitely say it comes down to how broad one’s knowledge is of the subject as to how broad one’s niche should be. :)
I have found when you pick a niche that you have passion for the quality shines through and the readers enjoy it more.
I agree with Ken. I’m a niche-erator. It’s where my passion lies and that’s why I can produce quality content with a proud smile on my face – even if I have to stay up past my bedtime to get it all done. Anything else is a boring ‘ole chore…not interested!!
When I started blogging at A few good notes, it quickly became a mess with all kinds of topics mixed in one. I decided to create 3 (which later became 4) niche blogs of the subjects I’m more passionate about: One about web development (which also holds a lot of related Linux subject), one about blogging, one about my country Suriname, and one about my personal experiences in life.
I did have to rethink the choice of what niche I would write about in which blog, but I now have a clear view on what goes where.
I find this as a great article because most of the time people loose focus on the goal of their blog and need to decide from the beginning what they are going to do. I have to admit that things change as we learn more on our chosen topics and we all need to evolve and grow accordingly!
Thanks for the advice, I’m in a situation now where having started a blog in a niche, I’m trying to expand the content to include readers from other interests and industries, but I don’t want to move to far away given the number of loyal readers I have now.
Having a niche works well because it allows you to shine in your specific area of expertise. Also, niche blogs can acquire more regular readers since they are interested in a specific subject.
I guess I like the idea of “wide-niching”. So you start with something pretty broad, and then either leave it that way, or start to narrow it down or split off into multiple blogs depending on the interest that’s generated and how it ends up being focused.
What’s all this talk about a niche?
Okay, a lot of people use the word niche to describe how targeted their blog is. I’m finding that I prefer to look at it as different levels of targeting on a subject.
Would Olympics be considered a niche? Maybe 2010 Winter Olympics? How about 2010 Winter Olympic Freestyle Skiing?
My point is, choose to write about a topic that you are comfortable with and that also won’t expire. Target your blog in-depth enough to not get lost in too many subjects but spread yourself out enough that you can stretch your arms and never get bored of your own writing.
Remember to stay focused around a subject. Don’t bounce around from Parenting to Model Airplanes. These are two separate blogs.
These are just some things that I keep relaying to myself.
We started just blogging about our multi day hiking trips in Australia, more as a personal record we could share (brag about) with friends.
Enjoyed it so much we added:
– gear reviews
– food preparation/ planning/menus
– guest posts on other peoples hikes
– lots of posts in response to readers questions (freely made a ‘contact us” section available
Late last year released an e-Book on “Hiking the Overland Track” which has been selling well,
Second ebook in production now (using Google Analytics to determine what topics were being searched for and read the most on the blog, then creating the book in response to the demand) It will be released in the next couple of months (with an international rather than Australian focus)
So from a small personal blog, it has grown and gets good traffic (small but growing well it IS a niche)
Interestingly through blogging I have learnt a lot of excellent information and I am now branching out to web site development etc for small businesses. (and selling hosting)
Passive income is the goal…….
Very timely for me. This is a question I’ve been pondering lately. My answer was to just keep going and see where it goes for now. I think it is too soon for me to make the decision either way at the moment.
its all about the niche, stick with a topic and own it!
i guess we need to have niche focus. Its important.
Great post about a critical part of making money online blogging.
Great post! I’m always finding useful things on this blog lol. I started a new make money site, please let me know what you think about it! Just click my name and enjoy :). Thanks again – I’ll be subscribing to this RSS feed! Email me sometime and we can discuss some blogging ideas. Cheers!
This is great to read. I always like these articles because I tossed the idea around in my head many times. I have a semi-niche. I even wrote a blog post about it a couple weeks ago.
@tumblemoose I agree what you said, not to be ‘so rigid.’ I think both can work, as long as there is SOME focus.
I think for some bloggers, a narrow niche can work. For others, it just doesn’t.
I found this post a little confusing.
It talks about niches within niches and doesn’t really explain much
It tells you to maybe run a niche blog, but not a niche within a niche blog.
It just isn’t up to problogger standards
I also agree with ken and yum.. ideas will easily come out if you love the topic very much.
This is such a great articles for a newbie blogger like me. It elaborates whether to stick to niche blog or to have a “general” blog.
Thanks for this…
If you’re 2 favorite niche are totally different then I will say don’t build a single blog. Better to have another blog for other niche. There is no problem building 1 blog of many niches but problem will be faced when you visitors are attracted to only 1 niche. If you are not writing regularly on different niche you can lose your visitors loyalty.
I would only create a blog on certain niche radher than making one that is for “everything”.
In Malaysia they called it “ROJAK BLOGGER” hehe…
I’ve made a blog on one specific niche and and another blog on a variety of topics and I liked both so I continue to run both. I like both equally because they each offer my readers something different. Great article here!
I agree with marl, (i’m new with this blogging think too)
Great post and thanks for sharing…
One of the challenges of running a niche-less blog that covers a wide gamut of topics is that it’s difficult to submit your blog to aggregators and directories since it’s nearly impossible to categorize. And you may have trouble finding an audience if the focus of your blog shifts among a vast array of topics.
But, as others have mentioned, you may be less likely to run short of ideas for new content on a niche-less blog…
I do agree with your idea of a niche. People go to a blog if they feel there is an added value, so if you specialize in a very particular field you might make a killing.
Succinct, informative, sensational post Sherice Jacob. The deep vs. broad discussion is throughout all businesses and products, not just for bloggers. To do deep analysis of one topic, doesn’t mean you have to stay within that topic forever. A broad blog can be created by mashing miniature related blog series together.
It’s one thing to write about the nuances of a specific product, it’s much more time consuming to actually design, build, test and market that product. This difference in difficulty allows bloggers to maintain a comfortable knowledge level about a fairly broad topic area.
I agree with you in doing niche blogs, we definitely need to be interest in the subject. We wouldn’t risk getting burned out after a few months with nothing to write about your chosen topic.
Blogs should be dynamic, so we need to write about something close to our hearts.
Great post! As one who already owns four niche sites, I am always wondering if the niche is going to be strong enough to warrant another site.
Each time a new topic comes up or I see where I can narrow my niches already, I really have to take some time to think about starting anything new. Eventually, I just stick with the original niche and just add a category.
Good food for thought for anyone in niche marketing.
The basic issue of what a blog is supposed to be, is that you should “write about what you interests you”. When you write for merely commercial reasons then you are talking about marketing strategy, not the pure essence of the blogging “spirit”. Write for fun or write for profit – take your pick and then go from there.
Good article, my blog is new but I am not certain that my blog is in rule, but this article gives me idea :)