How do you translate knowledge / experience, quality writing and marketing into a successful blog? For each big hit there are thousand other bloggers who know their field and write well but aren’t able to break out into the limelight.
The key ingredient is razor-sharp focus – and it means the difference between being remarkable and being ‘like everyone else’.
As you know, Performancing’s motto is ‘helping bloggers succeed’.
As part of this effort, we ran several Blog Reboot sessions in which we took a blog and analysed how it could be improved to:
- increase traffic
- retain readers / increase readership
- increase revenues
This was personalised and specific advice, telling bloggers exactly what they needed to improve on their blogs in order to increase their traffic (and readership) and maximize their revenues.
In the 5 blog reboots I’ve done so far, only one blogger had the the right idea about blog focus and the value of dominating a niche. It helped that Paul Tan had been doing this for 3 years, but this isn’t a lesson that’s learned with time, it’s something that you can implement on your blogs right now.
It’s no wonder that Paul Tan’s car blog is one of the more successful blogs around – most of that success can be attributed to his focus on a particular niche (he is THE authority in Malaysia on cars and car buying), which in turn brought in valuable links and increased traffic and readership (not to mention increased revenues).
This is also the hardest part of blogging, because if you have been blogging about a topic for some time you are liable to have some sort of resistance to change.
For example, in one of the blog reboots I did, I told the blogger to offer something unique and specific to his readers instead of merely regurgitating the same news and following the same pattern that most other blogs were following. His answer? That he thought that his readers appreciated his efforts to act as a filter.
Well, of course your readers are going to say that – that’s why they stick around, don’t they?
But have you asked those people who came once, left and never came back again?
Or those people who subscribed to your RSS feed, then unsubscribed because they found it boring / too similar to other blogs?
Your readers will usually tell you that you’re doing a good job – because fact is, if they didn’t think so, they wouldn’t have stuck around to tell you.
But you don’t know how many readers you’ve lost because you’re doing a ‘bad’ job – that is, either just repeating / rehashing what everyone else is saying or not talking about anything in particular (like many personal blogs are).
Hey, if you are running a personal blog and don’t have any intentions of growing your readership fast, having many people read your blog and / or make money from your blog, then don’t listen to me.
But if you DO want to increase your fan base, increase traffic and increase your revenues, then focus on a single niche (and in that niche, focus on specific topics), and favor quality over quantity.
Don’t write about gadgets when you can talk about home theater systems.
Don’t write about soccer when you can talk about your favourite club.
Don’t write about music when you can talk about a genre (and don’t talk about a genre if you can talk about a band or a specific musician).
The right way to dominate a niche is to start by attacking and dominating a sub-niche. Want your blog to be the most-read parenting blog on the planet? Start by talking about a limited set of issues – don’t attack the whole niche at once.
After you’re the top dog in that sub-niche, move on to the next level – i.e. a bigger niche.
Divide and rule, then you consolidate.