I have heard it said, “When you start blogging, to help you get found, visit other blogs in your niche.”

In some ways this makes sense.

After all, if we are frequenting the same blogs in our niche others are visiting, not only do we get our name out there as a blogger who blogs about the same topic, but we could become part of a community of like minded people.

All thinking the same.

Although this can be good, it could also create tunnel vision.

Today’s Lesson

Let’s say we blog about blogging.

If we only visit blogs about blogging, even though we can learn why one blogging blog is more popular than the next, we might also start comparing ourselves to others. We could easily begin to feel intimidated. Or worse, we could become a copycat blogger and lose our authenticity.

We may begin to feel there is only one way to blog about blogging. Or, we may begin to think “their” way is gospel.

By following the herd, we could easily forget to question if another way is better. Better for us.

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy visiting blogs on topics other than those in my niche.

Not only can I expand my knowledge base, but I get to meet bloggers whose interests are different from mine.

Other bloggers give me ideas for blog posts, ideas to experiment with in real life, plus help me to become a more well-rounded person.

By reading a story from someone who has “been there”, not only can that help to broaden our thought process, but it can teach us to become less judgmental.

I’m not saying visiting other blogs in our niche is a waste of time.

What I am saying is by branching out and by reading up on a variety of topics, we not only learn more, but can become better people. Better bloggers.

What say you?

Today’s Assignment

Do you feel visiting blogs in your niche is beneficial? If so, how?

What benefit do you find by visiting blogs outside of your niche?

Care to share?

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gail Gardner, Barbara Swafford and Stan Carter Jr., Blogging Master. Blogging Master said: Blog Post Can Blogging Cause Tunnel Vision? http://bit.ly/djoZZ8 […]

  2. JoyNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I love visiting blogs within my own niche because I have so much room to grow and it helps enrich my journey. I have also received much encouragement and support from fellow bloggers within my niche, and find it’s a great forum to share ideas within. I think within this particular niche we are quite a neat community and I went farther than most and actually met quite a few who have become “real life” friends..
    I enjoy variety in life, so greatly enjoy variety online. I tend to frequent blogs outside of my niche that challenge me to think about ideas in a different way, or invite me to explore creatively using mediums I might not have tried, or entertain me in ways that please my heart..
    I absolutely love my experiences online..but I also am mindful about the time I spend on the computer..and make sure that I balance with great quantities of time offline..

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joy,

      With your niche being so large, I can see how it’s easy to find others who encourage and promote each other and their growth. Plus, the positive vibes must carry through to your personal life, as well.

      That’s a good point of how even though we “hang” with wonderful people online, it’s our real life which needs to be lived.

  3. HI Barbara,
    You are right…it does help broaden our horizons when we read on blogs other than just our niche. But you know..even in our so called niche there are so many more different branches…and they all add to your learning and your growth.
    I love reading other blogs in my niche, but i also love to read about blogging, technology, current affairs, parenting…..and cooking too. So the blog i read up are plenty.
    It not only adds knowledge, but it makes you so much more observant. As a reader I might be only concentrating on the content…but as a blogger/reader i concentrate on design, social interaction, among many other technicalities. See being a readers is awesome..but being a blogger and reader makes for better reading and learning. Better reading cause you know the genuine blogs from the hoaxes :)
    And all your blogs are on the awesome genuine authentic blogs of reading :)
    Lots of love and hugs,
    Z~

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Zeenat,

      That’s a great observation; by being a blogger who reads other blogs, we can quickly spot blogs which are scams or where the author appears unauthentic. Like you I also enjoy visiting other blogs (in all genres) to see what they’re doing design wise, as well as any nifty plugins they may be using.

      ((Hug)) back at you! :)

  4. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    For me, there are four categories of blogs out there.

    1) Blogs on niches that I care about and will continue to care about: For me, it’s puppetry and computer programming (iPhone, specifically) and I do keep one blog on each topic. These are topics that I would read about in great details. Even if what’s being discussed is really splitting hair, it’s still good mental exercise and sometimes things do add up.

    2) Blogs on a new niche that I am starting to care about: I would dig through the archive and read through lots of posts on this new topic, and I will continue to read all the posts from several blogs of the same niche for weeks or months, then it becomes…

    3) Blogs on niches that I care about but have read enough about: After learning what I think is enough on a certain topic, I would start just scanning and skimming the posts. For example, I read enough about Law of Attraction now. I already know which part I agree with and which part I don’t, and the rest are just details I don’t care about. I don’t claim to know everything about it, but I don’t care enough to learn more about it.

    4) Blogs on niches that I don’t care about at all: Automatic skip.

    For #1, I go for the depth. For #3, I go for the breadth. And #2 is sort of a transition in between. I only have 24 hours a day but I have lots of different interests, so a conscious trade-off is necessary.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      I like the way you spelled out how you pick blogs to visit, and why you continue visiting, or not.

      I know what you mean about blogs on certain topics. After awhile we’ve read so much about about the subject, there’s no need to read more.

      Like you, I also enjoy reading blogs on topics which challenge me mentally.

  5. HenwayNo Gravatar says:

    I think visiting other blogs tend to give me other ideas for my blog. They’re great for inspiration. I dun think it’s already not beneficial.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Henway,

      That’s true. We can gain tons of inspiration from other blogs which makes our “job” of blogging all that much easier.

  6. DangerManNo Gravatar says:

    I think it always helps to get to know everyone in your niche and to hear what they have to say and where they’re coming from. When you read someones opinion on a subject though you should always take a step back and get an introspective view on it, see if you agree or not.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Danger Man,

      Yes. When we’re new to blogging it can be very beneficial to frequent blogs in our niche, as long as like you said, we take the time to step back and ask ourselves if we agree or not. (Or, if we’re agreeing because everyone else appears to be.)

  7. This is interesting, Barbara.
    I haven’t considered whether the blogs I read are in my niche. If the topic is interesting I read, no matter what the niche — again, this is where good headlines are handy. I can see an advantage to consciously stepping outside your niche in the sense that you would stand out in the crowd, but I don’t follow a calculated path in the blogosphere.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      I hear you. Good headlines/titles are very important whether we’re reading blogs in our niche or not.

      That’s true. When we step outside of our niche we can separate ourselves from the crowd. Plus if our blog is on a topic that’s of interest to others, we could easily gain more readers, as well.

  8. Hi Barbara – It seems to me there are echo chambers alive and well in certain niches, most notably the “make money fast on the Internet” and personal improvement segments. It’s a struggle to keep the reader at a manageable level within these categories and still explore others in which there may be an interest. That old saw, “It’s not you, it’s me” plays in my head every time I delete RSS subscriptions. I just can’t handle the overload. :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Betsy,

      I know what you mean about feeling like there’s an echo chamber in blogosphere. With only so many topics to write about, chances are we’ll find many bloggers repeating what others have said many times before.

      That said, I don’t think a new blogger should get discouraged from writing about a topic even if it’s been beat to death, provided they can put an authentic spin on it and attract readers who haven’t been frequenting the echo chambers (who are mainly seasoned bloggers).

  9. Jay SchryerNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Well, I had this great comment planned out, but then Joy beat me to it! I’ve been “Lanced” by Joy! So, I have nothing more to say, other than I second what Joy said. It’s great to follow blogs in our own niche, but it’s also good to expand our horizons.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jay,

      I hadn’t heard that saying before: “I’ve been Lanced”. I’m assuming you’re talking about Lance from Jungle of Life. :)

      That’s true. Expanding our horizons can be very beneficial.

      • Jay SchryerNo Gravatar says:

        lol…yeah Lance as in Jungle of Life Lance. When I first started visiting other blogs on a regular basis, it seemed like Lance and I always went to the same ones. He always, always, always commented before I did, and he always said exactly what I wanted to say, only 10 times better than I ever could. It got to be a running joke between us…I used to (jokingly) accuse him of doing it on purpose…and so I created the term “Lanced” to mean when someone says what you were going to say, only better.

  10. Hi Barbara and everyone,

    I visit some blogs in my niche just to see how people are covering various topics. But I tend to branch out and see what’s being written elsewhere: political, problogging, spirituality …. wherever my little fingers can take me. :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lisa,

      That is one advantage about visiting others in our niche. Like you said, we can observe how they cover the various topics. I think that also helps to inspire us to be different; to speak from OUR heart, making our blog an original.

      Our little fingers can take us to amazing places, can’t they?

  11. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I read blogs in my niche to expand my thoughts and understanding and to improve my writing. (I have 3 niches :)) I read lots of other blogs, too, for the same reasons and because I like to read about lots of different things. I subscribe to many blogs but I do edit from time to time–life outside of blogging is important, too.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      Three niches? How fun.

      Like you, I also enjoy learning about other topics, but like you said, we do need monitor the time we spend online so we’re not stealing precious time from our real life.

  12. “I enjoy visiting blogs on topics other than those in my niche. ” I 100% agree. You know, the more I blog, the more I realize people should really ignore the “new blogger” advice they’re given and simply do what works for them.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      Isn’t that the truth? New blogger advice can be confusing. If we feel what we’re doing is working for us, even if the experts say differently, there’s no need to change.

  13. MikeNo Gravatar says:

    I guess I’m not sure what niche Exit78 is in so I certainly read blogs outside of whatever niche it is. The benefit I get of visiting other blogs is seeing the perceptions that other people have — helps keep me grounded and better rounded. 😉

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      That’s true. By reading other blogs we do get to observe the perceptions others have and learn from them.

      I agree. Exit 78 would be difficult to categorize. My first thought is “travel”, but it’s more than that.

  14. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    …visit Blogs in my niche?

    WHAT blogs in my nice? :-)

  15. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. you’re so right .. we need to be expanding our horizons .. and as you say – keep us well rounded.

    I’m not sure where my niche is .. but I enjoy what I do .. and blogging friends seem to enjoy my interpretation of life and past history ..

    So like you I go places where I learn, where I feel comfortable .. but I’d hate to be stuck in one area ..

    You’ve inspired me to write a blog post – well Patricia and Davina prompted me .. learnt a lot .. and I know I’ve thrown you a few thoughts across the pond .. it’s essential to life ..

    All our friends aren’t identical .. are they? Nor our reading .. so mix and match .. and then don’t be a dull dog with tunnel vision ..

    Enjoy the week .. Hilary

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Hilary,

      I like that, “…don’t be a dull dog with tunnel vision” :)

      You’ve raised an excellent point. In real life our friends are different than us, with different interests. And with blogging, it’s a lot like visiting our real life friends; we learn from each other, support each other and are happy for each others success.

      I see your niche being history which makes you a Historian.

      • HilaryNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Barbara .. thanks – I quite liked the phrase?!

        Yes – you too .. we learn so much by being here ..if we’re humble enough to stand back and look at what others are saying and take on board how successful bloggers are doing it .. those with increasing followers and those with a few hundred and with comments – then we can get there too …

        .. as friends sometimes we’re just left to get on with it – that rapport is there .. but ‘help’ sometimes not. Also friends/family & blogging often don’t mix .. as there’s not that understanding or the vision of the opportunity —- especially something that could be tapped into in this day and age.

        Thanks re the history niche .. amazes me!! But love it .. Bend the rules .. get the connection?! Cheers – happy week .. Hilary

  16. ElizaNo Gravatar says:

    No, I don’t. Like you, I prefer to expand my knowledge by visiting blogs outside my niches. But, then again, I have the best of both worlds, because Silver & Grace has a fantastic pool of writers who bring my niche right to me :-)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Eliza,

      How sweet is that? To have writers not only bringing your niche to you, but also their readers.

      One thing I see with your “niche” and how you cast such a wide net, any visitor to your site is certain to find an article which applies to them.

  17. I think that with great creativity, *everything* can be related to everything.

    For example, I blog about being successful online. Methinks that everyone wants to be success, so voila, it’s related.

    Now let’s say that someone else blogs about anti-bullying (something about which I’m passionate). I can take what I know about being successful online and apply it to privacy online (the common denominator being ‘online’).

    Let’s say the blog instead is about telephone insulators! Bullying can involve mobile phones (the common denominator here is ‘phones).

    It’s all a matter of being creative…I love reading things that just plain interest me.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Barbara,

      That’s very true. If we use our imagination and creativity, we can connect the dots between nearly any two topics, and then use the other topic as an analogy for a post in our niche.

      The possibilities are endless, aren’t they?

  18. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    I kinda go back and forth on this one. Sometimes I visit writing sites and I’m all, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve heard that a million times.”

    Every once in a while someone knocks one out of the park though with a new take on an old subject – I guess that’s why I stick around.

    George

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi George,

      I know what you’re saying. Even though we’ve heard the same thing many times before, it’s always a thrill when someone surprises us with an unexpected observation.

  19. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I read a number of different blogs. However, I am unable to read that many, due to limited time. I also try to explore my own ideas, so that I can develop some of my own.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Evelyn,

      I hear you. With there being so many great blogs out there, it’s tough to read them all and write posts on our own.

      I like your idea of doing mental self exploration, writing a blog post about it and then asking for feedback.

  20. I love visiting all kinds of blogs, and I’m always looking for new ones. The only kind I avoid like the plague are the ones that are just trying to sell me something. But that may be because blogging is strictly a hobby for me. I don’t mind some reviews of products and ads, but I want to read something that isn’t only focused on selling.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mother Theresa,

      I know what you’re saying. Like you, I don’t mind that a blogger is trying to make money online, however when every post is a sales pitch it can be discouraging.

  21. I enjoy reading the blogs of other life and career coaches but I also enjoy stepping outside my niche. I think I learn more when I do that. No sense just reading stuff where the only comment you could make is. I agree.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tom,

      That’s true. Stepping outside of our niche is a great way to learn more, plus I like how it gives us the opportunity to meet other bloggers.

  22. We just realized when reading this, that we probably spend too much time in our niche. Time to branch-out and learn more! Thanks for the inspiration!!
    We just found you on StumbleUpon today. Like your blog! We’ll be back.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Happiness and Wisdom,

      I agree. Its’ easy to spend too much time in our niche, especially when we’re learning blogging or have made great friends with others in the same niche.

  23. It is true, staying within the same circles can cause tunnel vision. It is amazing what you can find by traveling (physically and online!) outside of your usual path!

    You see new things when you take a new route to work.

    You notice new products in your usual grocery when you shop with a friend with different tastes.

    You realize that there are people with broader perspectives than you would have imagined when you meet a new group of intellectuals.

    Getting out of your usual zone is a great way to expand your horizons. But most people want to stay in their comfort zones…

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ellen,

      Well put. Getting out of our comfort zone is a great way to not only expand our knowledge base, but in blogosphere lets us meet others with different tastes and interests, all which works great for making us a more well rounded person.