Are you interested in starting your own blog, but aren’t quite sure where to begin or what to write about? You may feel tempted to work on a broad topic and in many ways this is a great idea. Before you put pen to paper though, I’m going to explain what a niche blog is and why it’s important to be selective in choosing your primary blogging topic.
In this post I’m going to try to help you understand a little more about blogging niches and why you should seriously think about niching down before you start out on a broader concept.
I’m going to:
- Explain what niche blogs are.
- Tell you why they are so powerful.
- Lay out the advantages of niches.
- Highlight the disadvantages.
My intention is to help you make an informed decision about your core subject so you can make the right choice for your long term blogging goals.
What is a Niche Blog?
Niche blogs cater to a specific subject or market. You could argue that all blogs are niche, however true niche blogs usually focus on a very specific subject.
Examples might be:
- Health and Fitness: Training for a specific athletic event, weightlifting, endurance sports, cycling.
- Fashion: Wedding dresses, exercise clothing, sustainable apparel.
- Travel: Backpacking, solo travel, weekend breaks, luxury hotels.
- Personal Finance: Saving money, getting out of debt, credit cards.
- Parenting: Solo parenting, raising a child with a disability, advice for parents.
- Dogs: Labrador tips, Whippet information, dog foods, grooming.
- Food: Recipes for students, eating on a budget, restaurant reviews.
Many bloggers stress the importance of focussing on a niche you have a passion for. In my view this isn’t totally necessary.
Having said this, enjoying your subject makes it a lot easier to write about, especially when your blog requires commitment when things aren’t going the way you’d like and you’re not getting traffic.
Added to this, enthusiasm for your subject will find it’s way into what you write about. Believe me… if you’re genuinely interested in a niche topic, your blogging life will be much easier.
The Advantages of Niche Blogs
Niche blogs tend to gain a better foothold in search engine results, because they’re so targeted. It’s easy for search engines to understand what a niche blog is and where it should fit in it’s ranking system.
It’s also easier to optimize a niche blog, since every piece of content you publish will be relevant to all the other content you produce. Since your content will be so closely related, each new post you write will bolster the relevancy of your entire blog.
You’ve heard the phrase about being a jack of all trades and a master on none?
Niche blogs are more likely to result in you becoming known as an expert in your field. This is important for two reasons:
- People will be receptive to what you have to say.
- Google will see you as an authority on your subject (to find out why this is so important, read this).
When you become known as an expert, you’ll find that people will want to know what you think, share what you produce and link to your content.
Links are one of the most important SEO signals to search engines, and authoritative niche blogs make it easier to build links with other blogs like yours.
Many blogging professionals suggest that niche blogging is the most effective way to attract a loyal audience to your blog.
While general blogs may give you the opportunity to cover multiple subjects, a lack of topic focus makes it less likely that people will return.
A loyal audience returning to your blog frequently, makes your chances of blogging success more likely. This is going to be extremely important if you have products and services you wish to promote and sell.
Blogging about a specific subject area allows you to target a small but specific audience that could potentially stay loyal to your blog and its content. As long as you promote your blog and frequently produce new and interesting content, you increase your chances of gaining a loyal following.
Potentially, niche blogging makes monetization through affiliate marketing or advertising more possible.
Because the more relevant their marketing messages are to the audiences seeing them, the greater the likelihood of converting their promotions into sales or leads.
Let’s use a weightlifting niche blog as an example.
You’d produce all sorts of content focussed on this subject:
- Equipment reviews
- Training techniques
- Improving strength
People who are passionate about this subject will find much they are interested in if you wrote about these subjects. If you applied for affiliate programs that offer products and services in any of these topic areas, affiliate programs would more likely approve your application than someone who wrote about general lifestyle issues.
In the same way, you might be able to attract individual advertisers within this niche who might be prepared to work directly with you.
Furthermore, you’ll find it easier to sell your own digital products or subscriptions to a specific niche. When you’ve been blogging for a while and have built up credibility and trust with a loyal audience, you’ll find it much easier to sell your products to them.
You’ll struggle to sell niche products to a broad audience.
The Disadvantages of Niche Blogs
There may be less people targeting niche areas than broader ones… but that doesn’t mean they’re easier.
All niches are competitive: some more so than others. Most niches are saturated, but the more niche you go, the less competition there is.
You need to strike a balance between finding a niche small enough to be able to make an impact but big enough to generate interest.
Let’s be honest about it… your blog won’t be the only one out there covering your niche topic. You’ll find that you are one of many.
Don’t let this put you off though.
Instead, assess the competition in your niche, look at what they’re doing and figure out what you can do better.
The whole point of niche blogging is that you are focusing on a single specific topic. This helps you to be seen as an expert, as long as you produce valuable, engaging and in-depth content.
You may feel that publishing as much content as possible is the best way to approach your niche. Of course you need a substantial content portfolio to give readers and search engines plenty to consume.
At the same time, your content mustn’t be thin. Thin content doesn’t provide depth, substance and authority: how could a 300 word article provide the level of detail required to make an article empirical?
Furthermore, a real danger in trying to produce as much content as you can as quickly as possible, may result in you running out of ideas for blog posts.
Is there a solution for this?
It’s far better to post content less frequently but ensure it’s very high-quality, well-researched and as empirical as possible.
In this way you’ll not only avoid blog idea burnout but also be seen as someone authoritative as time goes by.
Over time, you may find focussing on a single niche boring. Since you’ll spend large amounts of time writing on the same subject this is a real possibility.
I get bored of blogging in my niche as do many others I know. This is why you need to choose a a topic in which you have a real interest.
You will get bored of committing to writing about one topic area for sure. But if the overarching subject of your niche is something you’re truly passionate about, it’ll help to carry you through the tough and boring times.
A niche blog is the perfect starting point for those entering the blogging world. Niche blogs are arguably more powerful than blogs that focus on broad topics because they:
- Provide more opportunities for targeted blog-wide SEO.
- Give you a chance to grow authority with readers and search engines.
- Make finding a loyal audience easier (as long as you write high quality content).
- Provide better monetization possibilities.
Blogs that target broader topics are much more difficult to grow unless you have masses of content. If you’re a lone-wolf you’ll find niches are a much better way to gain traction.
Blogging takes time, effort and patience… there’s no way around this. However, choosing a niche in which you’re interested can help to give you staying power.
That’s it for now.
What are your experiences of niche blogs? Leave a thought or two in the comments below.