The Importance of Choosing a Niche

This post contributed by Adam Ferguson from Rotten Bananas.

Well I’ve been running my blog for a few months now. My official start date fell somewhere around the beginning-middle of January. It started with me saying to a buddy, “Hey let’s start a blog.” I then went home and looked at the Fantastico support built in to my buddy’s hosting service. I first installed Drupal, but that only lasted a day. Next was WordPress and I was instantly satisfied.

I’ve played with having multiple contributors a number of times, but it hasn’t really worked out well yet. I didn’t know much about blogging before I began. I didn’t do any research, I wasn’t reading John Chow, ChrisG, ProBlogger, or Green Llama at that point. And I certainly hadn’t chosen a niche. I’ve tried to narrow my scope on a number of occasions, and if I had to tie myself down, I’d probably focus on business/marketing/entrepreneurship, but I’m too hyper for that. I’m interested in lots of things, so I write about lots of things, and I like rotten bananas being that way, but it’s definitely affecting the blo’s popularity.

By not having a targeted audience, I’m having trouble maintaining 10 rss subscribers and visitors per day, and I should be well above that by now. People need a reason to revisit your blog. That doesn’t mean that an unfocused personal blog can’t succeed. John Chow may be big on making money online, but he also deviates on a number of things, but people still come back. I attribute this loyalty (and general interest) to the fact that John has a voice that people know. They’re not just visiting for advice or information, but for his personality. Unfortunately, I haven’t quite earned that notoriety yet.

If you’re starting a blogging career, you need to make sure you’re having fun. Rotten bananas is what I had to do to make sure that I had fun and stayed interested, and I have. Now I’m giving more thought to starting my own niche blog. So, when you hop on the blog bandwagon, be sure you enjoy yourself, but also try to start with one or more targeted niche blogs, and you’ll find that interest will drive traffic to your blog at an exciting rate.

12 Comments

  1. Kyle Eslick said

    April 23 2007 @ 5:49 pm

    Finding a niche can take awhile. I also have a lot of interests, and started out with an NFL blog. I ran it for a few months, but after the season was over it wasn’t much fun.

    Thats when I turned to my other passion. I really like writing about technology and blogging, but its a tough niche because its so popular and there are full time bloggers doing the same thing with more time to devote to it. I am constantly tempted to write about sports or whatever else, but so far I’ve resisted the urge.

    Having a niche is important, but if you aren’t trying to make a living blogging, having fun is the most important! :)

  2. Adam said

    April 23 2007 @ 6:38 pm

    Yea I feel your pain man. The business/entrepreneurship niche is extremely packed with some of the biggest names in blogging – Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, etc.

    I think I’m going to find a different niche for a new blog. It’s tough to decide where the appropriate line is between interest and success, because you can be very interested in a topic, but if there’s no success, it’ll be hard to keep up, and if you’re less interested, some success can definitely make up for that. I guess I’ll see where the wind blows me.

  3. Kevin said

    April 24 2007 @ 3:09 am

    i dont think that finding your niche should be too hard. Blog about what you know. I think a lot of new bloggers are trying to do what john chow has done.

    What people are forgetting is that any blog can make money. If you have readers then you will make money at some stage. Say your a huge new york yankees fan. If you blog about that and you your posts are of good quality then you will get readers because there are other yankees fans out there.

  4. Adam Ferguson said

    April 24 2007 @ 3:59 am

    I totally agree with you. For me, the difficult part is just finding something that I am equally interested and knowledgeable in. My forte happens to be computers/tech, which is already a saturated market, so I’d like to go with something else.

  5. Kevin said

    April 24 2007 @ 4:05 am

    but if thats what your interested in, i believe thats what you should blog about. when you start blogging about something your not interested in it will soon feel like hard work :)

  6. Adam Ferguson said

    April 24 2007 @ 8:29 am

    Haha, agreed. But I’d rather not compete with boingboing and Techcrunch if I can avoid it! I’m not suggesting that my niche blog will be about something I’m not interested in. I just have to decide what it will be, since my default option is to enter a saturated market.

    Wow, I used ‘default option’ in a standard english sentence. Can you tell I’m a dork?

  7. Shawn Knight said

    April 24 2007 @ 12:19 pm

    Good read, I enjoyed it. I agree with most of your points, and I like how you kept touching on having fun.

    I started my blog without a real niche and have kept it that way. It seems to be doing well thus far (only about 3 1/2 months old).

    I actually might write a post here in a bit on this very topic – it’s really got me thinking! Great job!

  8. Adam said

    April 24 2007 @ 6:55 pm

    Shawn – I’m glad you liked it. You should definitely expand on the topic if you have more to say. I’m always looking for advice!

  9. Leroy Brown said

    April 24 2007 @ 7:16 pm

    Damn things have been busy while I was away today. Good to see everybody stopping by – great post Adam!

    And I’m of the school to blog about what you like, but only if you’re just in it for fun. If you have dreams of making money blogging, then you need to be more selective.

  10. Rian Brooklyn said

    April 28 2007 @ 9:27 am

    I hear you on this. We’re always told to go narrow and deep. So I started with a PS3 blog, just because PS3 was popular, not because I was passionate about the PS3. Wrong move and a waste of time. Niche into areas you are passionate about. If there’s no money in your niche…find another. We all have multiple passions. I finally chose to blog in the IM niche because I’m super passionate about IM. I know its competitive. I know its hard to get your blog seen. But thats ok since I love the topic to death. Blogging about the PS3 became a chore which I dreaded. So whatever your niche is, make sure its something you’ll be 100% motivated an excited to work in.

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