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August 30, 2012

Tips on Thursday: Niches

When I look around at "how to blog" sites they all say to be a success find a niche. But how specialized or focused does your content need to be? Is blogging about books (as opposed to fashion or politics) focused enough? Do I need to narrow my blog to a single genre? I know some very successful romance blogs. Is it because they are focused on one genre or is it just the popularity of romance novels?

Obviously, I have not narrowed by blog to a single genre. I could never just read one genre all the time. I need variety and I think my readers appreciate it. I consider my blog to be moderately successful. I have a nice following and my readership is regularly increasing. However, I'm always looking for ways to take my blog to the next level. So I've been considering content.

I feel like I'm at a crossroads - do I become more specialized or more generalized? I've always lean towards being a generalist (which would explain some of the friction during my graduate studies where the point is to become more specialized). I participated in the Photo a Day Challenge (though I have slacked off this week) to test two things. One, would posting more than once a day increase page views? Two, would content that wasn't strictly books affect my readership?

To answer the first question - Definitely. On average I see 100 more page views daily since I started twice a day postings. Each individual post is getting fewer page views than before, but still doing well. It seems more people are coming to the front page and then scrolling through the posts for the day instead of clicking on individual post titles.(Length of time spent on my blog per visitor has increased as well.)

As for question two? I'm not sure. I know several bloggers that have diversified content. I've mentioned several times how Kriss of Cabin Goddess combines recipes with her reviews. Donna and Dave of Tweedle Dee anad Tweedle Dave review movies and video games in addition to book reviews. Both blogs are successful and have great readership. If book blogs are considered more as media sites then the diversification isn't harmful - magazines and news sites cover more than one thing (usually there is a theme to tie all topics together).

For authors, I have encouraged diversity on their blogs - adding little things that let their readers get to know them. But I'm not sure if that is sound advice for book bloggers that are mostly review or news sites. As I do not see myself as a writer, my tips posts are a stretch for me, I feel awkward writing about "stuff". A personal blog never lasted long for me. Many bloggers from a group I belong to have participated in a flash blogging event. They had a topic each day and were to write a short post on that theme. The blog hosting it is an author's site, but I know a number of the participants are book reviewer/bloggers. It really got me thinking about how focused content should be on book blogs.

I don't have a conclusive opinion. Since I'm here for my readers, I want to hear what you think. Should my blog focus exclusively on books and author related topics? Or do you want to hear my ramblings on other topics?

Bloggers - what do you think? Do you diversify or keep with a main theme? Have you seen any changes in your readership?

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  1. As a fellow blogger I say add a little "you" to your blog. You can't find a better niche than yourself. I love reading about the person behind the blog. I even try to feature a blogger every couple of weeks that is only about non-blogging things. I feel like it lets people know we are REAL humans with lives.

  2. I hear this too and struggle with it. I think it takes time for the blogger to figure out something new and unique to you to find that niche. But like I said I'm not sure I get it yet! hehe

  3. I think you should follow your heart. Do you want to diversify, or do you want to find a way to specialise - there's a rule about long tail niche that suggests there is a market for everything :)

    1. My goal is make my site more of a media outlet so I would think there should be a definite focus. But media sites also do "special interest" stories, so still not sure what I want to do.

  4. Maybe give yourself the freedom to open up just a little bit? I'm a writer, but I don't often blog about my book, I blog about women's issues (this week's post is about dropping your child off at college) because my book is about funny middle-aged women "stuff." So, girls who read - what else do girls that read do? Just thinking out loud here: they wear glasses while reading, they eat chocolate while reading, they go to movies based on books, they read books while in the bath tub - just depends how far afield you want to go.

  5. Stop worrying about this. Don't ask us what we want. Give us the best of what you've got and we will find you.

    Brave words! But really, it is time for writers to remember that we are the creators, we are the inventors, and to stop letting ourselves be pushed around by social media consultants, agents and publishers.

    Write, do, what is in your heart.

    1. But I don't view myself as a writer. I don't want to be an author. A newspaper or magazine is concerned with writing for their audience and I see my blog more along those lines. So as a media outlet, do I share about me or other general interest stuff?

  6. I have a blog that I recently started that is just for books and book news. But I couldn't function without my main blog, which is personal opinion, kid stories/quotes, and books. I read and review most genres. If I tried to keep it all separate, or narrow it down to one genre, I wouldn't be posting very often. I'd have even more blogs than I already do, and none of them would have any traffic because the posts would be so sporadic for each blog. I also took part in two challenges this month (mostly), but my traffic is actually down this month because I didn't participate in 3-4 giveaway hops like I usually do. So I can't compare this month to last month. I would suspect that traffic would be up a little, at least, if I were able to do a straight comparison.
    As a reader, I like to hear a little about the author of a blog. It doesn't have to be as personal or as often as my posts, but something more than just book reviews or how-to articles or whatever that blogs niche is.