If you observe the business world, you’ll often see companies releasing new products in a different sub-niche or niche. These products can be closely related to their existing products. For example, M&M’s stayed in the food niche when they entered the ice cream market. Other companies will enter a market that’s not related to their existing niche. For instance, Harley Davidson, the maker of powerful motorcycles, created their own brand of perfume in the 1990s.
The term for this strategy is called brand extension. Brand extension can work out well and increase the sales of a company but in many situations, the new products are failures and they dilute the company’s brand.
Harley Davidson bikers did not like the company’s perfume and they let the company know about it. Harley Davidson was forced to admit their mistake and they stopped producing the perfume.
A similar phenomenon called feature bloat or software bloat occurs in tech products. For example, a product manager for a cell phone being developed will keep adding features to the phone. He subscribes to the philosophy of “more is better”. But the final product ends up having way too many buttons and features that the average cell phone user is turned off since the phone is too complex and hard to use.
Why do I bring these things up in a blog about blogging? Well I think bloggers can fall into the same trap of adding new things that don’t really make their blog better. Instead, the new things dilute the blog’s brand and cause their readers to be confused and overwhelmed.
There are many ways a blog can get bloated with unnecessary stuff. Here are some of the common pitfalls.
I realized recently the content on my gaming blog was getting bloated. I blog about strategy and news because most of the other blogs in my niche do the same. However, I found out I didn’t like writing about the news. Therefore, my strategy content was much better than my news content since I was motivated to write about strategy but not about news.
To keep the overall quality of my content high, I simply stopped covering the news. At first, I felt bad about doing this, but my comments and stats show that I made the right move. I’m getting more comments from people that enjoy talking about strategy and my repeat visitor traffic has increased.
Passion is a good guideline on what to write about. Also, it makes sense to create content based on your experience and knowledge.
For example, you start a productivity blog since productivity is one of your passions. More specifically, you know a lot about time management and getting organized. However, as you look at the other productivity blogs, many of them cover things like health and tech products. You think your blog should be more comprehensive so you decide to blog once a week about health and tech products.
But after a couple of weeks, you’re running out of stuff to say in those two areas. You realize you don’t have enough experience and knowledge to consistently create quality content in those topics.
The best move then is to stop writing about health and tech products. You may like you should keep going to keep up with the other blogs, but your readers will see your lack of knowledge and experience. Also, you can still expand your topic areas in the future after you’ve gained the necessary experience and knowledge.
I’ve already talked about being active on too many social media sites. Feel free to read my post on the topic: Maximize Your Social Media Marketing by Focusing Only on a Few Sites.
Unnecessary features can come in many forms. You could have a Twitter feed on your sidebar that hasn’t been updated in over a year. Or you can launch a forum on your blog without the necessary traffic.
A blog in my niche started off really well and had a the thriving community in the comment section. It would get around 6-8 comments per post including a handful of regular commenters. However, the blogger killed the community by adding a forum that replaced the comment section. The vast majority of the commenters did not register on the forum so now the blog rarely gets any responses.
How to Fight Bloat
The first thing to realize about bloat is that it will creep up on your blog. It’s just human nature to try new things. Consider your purchasing decisions. Have you ever bought something you didn’t need? A quick look at our closets or garages shows that bloat is a part of the human existence. We want new things in our lives and on our blogs.
New things can improve your blog, so obviously the solution is not to avoid new things. Instead, the solution is to consistently evaluate your blog to see if you have unnecessary stuff and then cut it out. Every month or every couple of weeks, evaluate your blog. Consider the new things you’ve tried out and ask yourself whether or not they are really helping your blog.
Over to You
Does your blog have bloat? Is there any fat you need to cut from your blog?
Performancing offers a blog reboot service to improve your blog. We’ll help you cut out the bloat and develop your brand.