I’ve read many articles about blogging. Many state that you need to “pick a niche” and create a blog around that niche.

Curiosity got the best of me, so I went to Technorati, and took a look at the top ten blogs.

What did I find? Well, most of them have a huge niche, and one doesn’t appear to have a niche at all.

For example, Boing Boing, is “A Directory of Wonderful Things”. Today on the first page, are posts about bullets, Klassic Komix Klub, 1869 MIT entrance exam, Chimps, drawings from preschoolers, and alcohol. Definitely not a niche blog.

Engadget, and Gizmodo are basically about “gadgets”, and contain lots of photos.

Techcrunch is a blog, obviously about technology.

The remaining six are about politics, art, and social networking.

If you are choosing too small of a niche, you could become paralyzed, trying to figure out what to write about.

This blog, is what I would consider a “big” niche blog. I write about blogging, what I’ve learned, plugins, stats, niches, etc……. With blogging forever changing, I doubt I will run out of things to write about, as I am learning new things every day.

My second blog, Observation Mountain.com, is not what I would consider a niche blog. I’m blogging about issues that fit under one big umbrella, called life.

Is a niche blog more apt to be more successful? Or, if your topics fit under an “umbrella”, (like Boing Boing), can you make it to the top? Apparently so. Boing Boing is currently rated number 2 with Technorati.

So, what do you think, Niche, or no niche?

Tell me what works for you.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Look Who's Talking
  1. I think sometimes ‘niche’ will make me sick to find new and update article.. even manga is huge but there’s a lot of manga blog worldwide..
    The unknown ‘niche’ http://boringblogz.blogspot.com
    also my blog but without niche…

  2. I suppose you could always start with a small niche and expand. But, it’s difficult to know what is going to work out best.

    What I’ve noticed quite a bit is that many of the gurus will encourage you to choose a small niche, but they don’t operate in a small niche themselves. I think that’s probably their way of deterring too many people from blogging about the same stuff as they do.

  3. NelsonNo Gravatar says:

    You could probably make it to the top with a blog without a niche, but like those blogs that ramble on everything, you probably will need to create 20 to 25 posts per day to keep things interesting, or you will be one of millions of blogs, without an identity, on the web.

  4. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Manga to read,

    Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

    Welcome to my blog.

    Catherine,

    What you’ve written holds true. You may be on to something…

    Nelson,

    I’m not sure a person could make it to the top, without some type of niche. The rambling blogs I’ve seen, appear to be more of a “personal, daily diary” type of blog. And unless someone has a very exciting life, those would get pretty boring after awhile.

  5. AsakoNo Gravatar says:

    Catherine is definitely onto something.

    Whatever people say, I am for my niche. I would like to build a blog that lasts for the next 10 years, because of the niche. I would not want a blog that lasts just a few years, then runs out of the topics.

    I think many of the rambling blogs Nelson points out, would not be read 10 years later.

    At some point, I would not mind abandoning the chronological aspects as well.

    What do you think?

  6. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for your input, Asako,

    You’re thinking like a true blogger-build a timeless blog-one with a future. I don’t think too many bloggers start a blog, and think of where that blog will be 5 or 10 years from now.

    Ironic that you mentioned the chronological issue. I’m touching on that subject, in another post!

    Stayed tuned!

  7. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    It’s a really interesting question. I actually started a blog as a kind of personal diary. But I suppose it could be a niche?

    I was frustrated also because my business had failed. And I couldn’t really find anything where someone was talking about how they turned things and got through it.

    I do empathise though with the limitations of a niche. I pretty quickly got through lots of material about liquidation, bankruptcy and some of the technical stuff.

    And for a period, I was chronicling the negotiations on personal guarantees from the banks and other creditors.

    I would say though that is has naturally evolved. I’m finding myself, I suppose, sharing good practice now – but aimed at people who are struggling in business, failing or even who have failed and not too depressed to try again.

    I still don’t know whether it is still niche (or was it?) or is it becoming mainstream.

    It has been a great experience! From being inexperienced (I hesitate to use “newbie” after your article!) I now really enjoy playing with blogs, but am about to create one for the resurrected business.

    Is that “niche” or is a company blog something else altogether?

  8. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Ian,

    Thank you for visiting, and leaving such a meaningful comment.

    I just visited your blog, and was moved by what you have written. Such honesty, during a time of what I know had to be, extremely stressful, (and still are, undoubtedly).

    Although your blog is a personal journey, it reminds me of a well written story…..and a page turner, at that.

    I would venture to say it does fit into a niche, but one that’s under, what I call, an “umbrella”, i.e. the topics fit together.

    In hard economic times, you and your blog, have the potential to help many. You have empathy and compassion for others facing similar situations. That is priceless.

    Keep blogging. I’ll be back to read each “chapter”. And…I will be looking for that happy ending.

    Welcome to my blog!

  9. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    Thanks for that. And also for visiting and sharing your experiences.

    Will niche blogs grow? Has blogging really finished taking off? In the UK, I don’t think it’s really fully got going yet. Has it peaked yet?

    Who knows. Sure there’s plenty of blogs talking equally about blogging’s continued rise – and just as many declaring the death knell for them as social networking continues its meteoric rise.

    Ian

  10. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Ian,

    The growth of blogs is on the rise if you check with Technorati. In April of this year, they were tracking 70 million blogs. That figure is now up to 107.4 mil.

    Granted some blogs never see their first post, and others only make it a short time, but it seems like blogs are becoming even more popular.

    Will niche blogs grow? I think so. In one sense, a good niche blog could be compared to “one stop shopping”. Proper placement of ads, and great content, could make for one big money maker, as well.

  11. KekoaNo Gravatar says:

    Some very good points have been made so far. I especially like Catherine’s thought that most popular bloggers do NOT fall within a narrow niche yet CONSISTENTLY recommend that their readers find a niche if they would like to blog. Two faced maybe?

    As for me, I’ve been struggling with this. In the beginning, the byteful blog was an experiment, and I didn’t hold myself to a certain niche, but now as my site grows and matures, I feel more and more pressure to specialize, specialize. Then someone pointed out to me that my whole site is basically centered around creativity.

    Can I really do justice to such a huge topic? I’ll do my best. For now I’ve been discussing photography, and I don’t know what I’ll do when I begin combining that with my other passion: travel.

    In the end, it may be a look at world travel through my eyes, and I suppose that is creative…

  12. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Kekoa,

    Your blog is filled with beautiful photos. Combining photos and travel would be a natural transition. There are many travel blogs out that do quite nicely.

    I wouldn’t worry about fitting into a niche. Sometimes I think that’s a lot of hype.

    Use your creativity, and put a new spin on it. Be original.

  13. KekoaNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks Barbara! You’re the best!

  14. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Your welcome, Kekoa

  15. […] my experience, niche blogs make for easier meta tagging, as your subject matter remains fairly […]

  16. […] Without getting too technical as to how “unique” or “new visits” are counted (different statistical programs use different methodology), I attribute that, to the fact that I blog about random subjects. My ObservationMountain.com blog is totally non-niche. […]

  17. NezNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Is it “kosher” to comment on old topics? One of those gurus should blog about that question?

    From the limited amount of blogs I’ve seen, there ARE the superblogs that are aimed at a niche, but there are also a good number of the popular ones that seem to cover overlapping niches:
    *family
    *productivity
    *finance
    etc. — sounds like the niche is called “Life”.

    I don’t know how long my own “critical thinking” theme will last in terms of generating content — but maybe it’s more of a hook. At least, it was that idea that got me thinking of starting my own blog!

    I’ll continue checking out your older posts.

    Nez’s last blog post..The Bitter History Teacher

  18. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Nez,

    It’s more than alright to comment on old posts. Often an old post becomes a very popular one.

    I read many posts about “you must have a niche”. I don’t always follow what the masses are doing. Anyway, to prove a point, my other blog http://www.observationmountain.com, is totally non niche (more about daily life issues, product reviews, etc.- and I post on that less) Ironically, that blog gets more traffic, makes me my piddly Google AdSense earnings, and get tons more search engine traffic.

    Granted, most bloggers are not ad clickers, but bloggers are better at commenting. The way I see it, I have the best of both worlds.

    I also use the differences of the two blogs as topics for blog posts on this one.

    And….my OM blog is what inspired me to write this one. Funny how that works, but as you blog, you will probably see that your blog will slowly take on a different personality than it started with. Often your regular visitors/commenters will be the ones who guide you in a new direction, based on their comments/questions.

    It’s usually a natural transition, and before you know it, you find a personal “niche” in cyberspace.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Test Proves Fatal In Internet Explorer (IE)

  19. If it’s not a personal blog, then I say niche. I like going blogs when I’m looking to learn something in particular. On my money blogs, all I want to read about is money related issues. Don’t tell me about your personal day unless you lost, stole or made some money.

    Natural Woman’s last blog post..Meet the Bloggers

  20. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Natural Woman

    I, too, like niche blogs if I am researching a specific subject, but I also like informational blogs if they deal with a variety of subject that apply to life issues. However, combining a personal blog with a niche/non niche blog, gets me confused too,.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Are Spammers Saying “Gotcha”

  21. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    At first I defined myself as a Daddy blog but recently I am beginning to think that I should expand it to life in general, this way I’m not restricted. This will also allow me to market to all kinds of readers.

    Aaaaaarrrggggggggggghhhhhhh…I just don’t know. I guess I am going through growing pains. :)

    Chriss last blog post..I’m Tired

  22. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Chris,

    At times it’s tough to stay within a niche. With me, it helps having a second blog as I can write about most anything on that.

    Often you’ll find your readers/commenters take you into a different direction. They’re telling us what they like to read and subconsciously we start catering to their wishes.

    But one good thing about blogs is that they are ours and reflect our lives, so if we choose to expand on our niche, it’s o.k.

    By using categories, you could easily “file” the daddy posts accordingly, while adding posts that are about life, in general.

  23. I think I am no big expert on anything. I have this saying I like to go by: “If there is someone else who can do it better, leave it to them.”

    I like to play off my comments and from what’s going on my head. I don’t expect to ever have any definitive word on any subject, but I still wonder if I’m writing in the “life” niche or the “writing” niche (Despite what my tag line says!)

  24. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Matthew – Welcome to the BWAB community. Oddly enough, I just left a comment on your blog.

    That’s one thing I like about blogging. I can read five blogs on the same subject, but when the author puts their own spin on it, it makes me look at the topic from a different angle.

    With regard to your niche – often depending on how articles are written, they’ll fit under an umbrella. Maybe yours should be, “writing about life”.

  25. I guess my view of a “niche” is different than yours – which alarms me to no end!

    When I talk about a niche, I’m not talking on the topic side but rather focusing upon the visitor side.

    When you focus upon a niche market (let’s say middle aged bloggers – grin!) then you create a blog that’s full of information that middle aged bloggers need to know. Sometimes that information is “technical” and sometimes it’s “tactical”, but you’re always writing with that middle aged blog reader in mind.

    Will younger bloggers find value in your posts? OF COURSE THEY WILL! But your focus is upon the middle aged blogger (for example).

    I see “niches” as focusing in upon a narrow group of people instead of a narrow topic.

    Kathy @ Virtual Impax´s last blog post..Social Media Warning: I am Rubber – You are Glue …

  26. raphaelNo Gravatar says:

    I would say that every website out there is a niche website, what is different about each website is how big the niche is. And I am also a “niche” webmaster and I like smaller niches :)
    Easier to control and dominate
    .-= Check out raphael´s awesome post: The Hypnosis Protocol and Its 4 Stages =-.

  27. ToddNo Gravatar says:

    I have been wrestling with this issue for quite some time…

    My current blog did not start out as a “blog” per se. It was just a cartoon website for folks working in the field of Information Technology. The humor is very niche. My friends and family have made me painfully aware of this, since I have to explain the meanings of the cartoons in the majority of cases. In this respect I feel a niche limits my potential
    audience.

    My natural inclinations tend more towards variety. I would prefer to comment humorously on many topics even outside of the field of Information Technology, but I am hesitant to change format and scope of my current blog.

    Maybe the best solution is to just “blog your conscience” and forget what “the experts say?”
    .-= Check out Todd´s awesome post: svn revert back_to_mtos =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Todd,

      Follow your heart. Do what makes YOU happy. There are no steadfast rules in blogging.

      If you choose to create cartoons for different “niches”, they can easily be sorted by using categories, and maybe a tag line that suggests what a reader will find on your blog.

      You’re right, it’s best to blog your conscience. Besides, who are those experts anyway?

  28. I think niche blogging confines you too much, I at least got bored of my niche blogs and abandoned them. For many niche bloggers it’s like hardwork put into the blog so that it becomes more profitable. With all the seo stuff, link building, advertising, confining to one topic mostly we forget to have fun. I personally like blogs where people express themselves and not just write whats more profitable, optimized and what others expect you to write.

  29. I personally don’t like to blog on one subject everyday, I’m not writing about the same subject matter every day and it’s low maintenance because I’m only creating new content. Which is the same content I would have been doing anyway, just posting on 1 blog versus 3.

  30. aldarNo Gravatar says:

    First of all great article!

    I used to have a niche blog, it was about cars because I really liked them, but then if i wanted to blog about something OTHER than cars well, i couldn’t and i found that it become increasingly difficult to go to dealerships, ask for info i just didn’t have the time. (As I am not a full time blogger).

    Then I decided on a no niche blog and I think its just awesome! I write about anything that i seem fit to write about. Although i think i am missing out on the niche based die hard fans I feel that I am blogging for me not for anybody else.

    cheers!