Chances are that you’ve probably heard about blogs. But what exactly is a blog? And what’s a niche blog? And which one is the best? Lets start with a quick Internet history lesson.
In the beginning of the web, some 20 years ago, everyone wanted to show off that they could be the best of the jack of all trades. We all created portals which would link to a myriad of unrelated subjects, sometimes publishing an article from NASA about space exploration next to a photo of your favourite pet. It was a disorganized mess, and we didn’t mind it. But then we grew up. Now that there are more and more content creators out there, the burden is higher on us to be experts in our fields. For example, Queen Elizabeth II of England may have worked as a driver and mechanic in WW II, and while she is reputed of being quite adequate at both tasks, I would be more likely to ask her views on running the Commonwealth, and keep my car questions for my mechanic. The French have an expression “À chacun son métier et les vaches seront bien gardées”. Loosely translated: “To each their own craft, and the cows will be well taken care of”.
What is a Blog?
A blog, which is the short name for a weblog or web log, is a website where you mostly put entries called “posts” instead of creating only pages. Every blog is as different as the person or persons writing it. Traditional blogs usually only had one author, but we see more and more multi-author blogs where many authors contribute on a subject. A blog can be a form of diary, where you share about yourself and what you do, or it can be about your hobbies or things you know and are passionate about. A blog can be about you, your business, your interests, or really anything you can imagine.
What is Niche?
Now that we talked about blogs, lets talk about niche blogs! Lets start with the boring complicated answer first and get it out of the way! A niche is a marketing term which refers to a small segment of the market. If that made no sense, don’t panic, we’ll break it down with an example! Lets take all the chocolate eaters in the world, and lets call them the market. How much chocolate all of them combined want to eat would be the demand. To fulfill that demand for chocolate, the chocolate industry was born, which includes many chocolate manufacturers and providers. The total of all the chocolate they produce (Yummy!) is called the offer. At first everyone is making that same generic chocolate and they’re all fighting for the same customers. Until one day one of the manufacturers decided that being the 100th best chocolatier in the world is not enough, so they decide to specialize in one type of chocolates. I love milk chocolate bunnies, so lets go with those. All of a sudden, that chocolatier has a big choice in front of them. They can either keep competing against all the other chocolatiers in the world as the 100th best chocolatier, or they can become the #1 seller of chocolate bunnies. By differentiating themselves with a smaller, more precise market, it is easier for them to target their niche market, find out more about them, and to make sure that anytime someone needs a chocolate bunny, they’ll go to them.
So What’s a Niche Blog?
Now that we understand better what a niche is, how does that apply to blogs? Lets say you wanted to make a blog about cars. For this exercise, go in your favourite search engine and type cars to see what comes up. I’ll be waiting.
Back? Great! Chances are you saw sites related to selling cars, car manufacturers, and even some links about the movie with that name. While a blog about cars could be a great idea, you will be competing against companies with millions of dollars going into publicity. The truth is that a viewer will be worth much more to a company such as Mercedes or Porsche than it will be worth to you, a blogger. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do a blog about cars. But do you really want to compete against the over 1.1 billion web pages related to cars that Google indexes? Probably you should narrow it down. Will your blog be focused more on driving cars, designing cars, racing cars, fixing cars, or collector cars? Maybe you’re a big fan of a specific car model, such as the the Volkswagen Beetle? Or maybe you want to narrow it down even more and build a website about moving furniture with a Beetle car! Surprisingly you would still have 454 THOUSAND competitors! The more you narrow down your niche, the less competition you will find. The idea is to find a niche which offers a good balance between a high amount of search volume, in other words a subject which enough people are interested in it, yet with not too many competitors.
In the next post we’ll continue talking about choosing a good niche for yourself, but suffice to say for now, that on top of being a viable niche, it also has to be something you are knowledgeable about, and willing to spend hours upon hours talking about. No matter how good a niche is, if it bores even yourself, you’re better off letting someone else do it.