I was doing some reading on niche blogging and looking for tips from other people. I was a bit surprised at something I read at OpTempo. In a post titled Niche Blog Beginner Tips, jfc wrote:
Update Frequency Isnâ€™t That Important
The common train of social blogging thought is that you have to be constantly updating your content, usually on a daily or at least weekly frequency, or else youâ€™ll lose traffic. With a niche blog, updating daily isnâ€™t needed after the site has gained a degree of search engine traction. In fact, you may find that if youâ€™ve done things right by accident or design that your traffic will actually increase over time rather than decline even though youâ€™re no longer actively updating it.
I know it seems counterintuitive to those whoâ€™ve been doing social blogging. The thing is that over time Google begins to consider your site, due to the way your keywords are constructed and your link building exercises are done, an authority site on your topic. This, in turn, means youâ€™ll get an increasing number of valuable search engine visitors even though your core articles havenâ€™t been updated in a year and may be of limited utility.
I understand that your blog can gain search engine traction over time and that even if you do not regularly update your blog anymore, you will still get a lot of hits because you are already well established up in the SERPs. However, I think that this defeats the purpose of providing your readers with something new to read. In my mind, one creates a niche blog in order to address a need for information in that certain niche. If the most recent content was published a year ago, do you think that your old readers would keep coming back for more? I really donâ€™t think so.
What is your take on this?
Outsourcing is quite popular these days â€“ everyone is doing it. Should you? I think that if you do not have much time to create enough content for your niche blog, you should consider doing the same. Outsourcing comes in many ways. Let us look at some of them.
Invite guest bloggers to contribute
Guest blogging is one way of outsourcing. Basically, you get other bloggers to write for your niche blog. It is up to you guys how you work out the compensation, if any. The good thing about encouraging guest blogging is that it works both ways â€“ you get the help you need and the guest blogger gets the exposure that he wants. Just a note, you have to make sure that the person you engage as a guest blogger should be knowledgeable about your field. Otherwise, you might end up in the losing part of the deal.
Use multiple authors
If you are not comfortable with engaging someone to guest blog for you, try something else â€“ get close friends to help you out. Instead of having â€œguests,â€ have co-authors. Different blogging platforms allow for multiple authors so you can actually do this. Again, you have to make sure that they are as dedicated as you are to the project and that they are knowledgeable regarding the topic as well.
I think these are the two most cost-effective ways of getting some help for content creation. If all else fails and you are earning good enough, then you could hire staff bloggers to do the job.
Photo courtesy of oooh.oooh
So you do not like news blogging? Perhaps you do not like looking at the news too much and writing about it in your niche blog, thatâ€™s fine. There are other ways by which you can come up with content for your niche blog.
Some people also call this speedlinking. So what does this kind of post entail? It is actually simpler than news blogging because all that you have to do is to come up with a list of links to posts or articles that are related to your niche. Place the titles and the link in your blog entry and you are good to go. I would suggest giving some personal input, though. Add your own thoughts to the links and why you have chosen those particular links for your post.
Video or photo posts
If you like browsing the Web for videos and photos, then you can turn this hobby into creating content for your niche blog. Before anything else, do make sure that the photo or video that you would be using for you post is somehow related to your niche. Once you have decided on a video or image, you can put it in your post and then write 3 to 5 sentences about it. Make sure you use keywords when writing those few sentences. Oh, and make sure that you are not violating any copyright laws when posting the video or photos.
We have to admit it, there will be times when you find yourself short of time. You may want to continue giving original and fresh content all the time but you have to keep your ideas flowing. And when you find yourself short on ideas and time, you might have to resort to other options. My suggestion is for you to keep your own â€œtreasure chestâ€ of niche blog content ideas. This way, you will always have something worthy to write about and post in your nice blog. Let us look at some types of content that you can play around with.
Some people dub this as â€œlazy bloggingâ€ but I seriously disagree with them. One of the points of niche blogging is bringing fresh news regarding the topic or subject area to your readers on a regular basis. Of course, you have to make sure that your news is always fresh and not stale. Otherwise, your post will be good for nothing.
Another point that I have to raise about news blogging is that you should always do more than report the news. Give your own input. After all, your readers can read about the news item from other places online, especially your source. Your edge will be giving your own ideas and sharing your perspective. Now that is priceless.
To make it easier for you to create news posts, make use of tools such as Google Alerts and other aggregators that can inform you when something newsworthy relating to your niche comes up.
(to be continued)
We have talked about posting schedule a long time ago. We were not really focusing on niche blogs then but the general idea was to have a regular posting schedule. Does the same thing apply to niche blogs?
I would have to answer a resounding YES to that question. You see, niche blogs may be tightly focused on a specific subject but it does not mean that it is much different from other blogs. The idea behind blogs is to provide fresh content on a regular basis. It does not have to be daily, especially if you are maintaining several niche blogs. If you decide to post daily and you have several niche blogs, you might find yourself having a hard time juggling your posting schedule. In fact, I would say that posting every other day or even two or three times a week would be a good enough frequency for a niche blog.
Another consideration that you have to think about when it comes to content for your niche blog is the possibility of future posting. Basically, future posting is writing entries for your niche blog before you actually publish them. So for example, you can write the posts for the week on a weekend and then just pre-date them. With WordPress and Blogger, it is not a problem as they allow this. This idea is very important for those who have day jobs and other commitments. This means that they might not have the ability to set a regular schedule during the week.
The important thing is for you to lay down the guidelines for your posting schedule and stick to them.
Two posts ago, we talked about how commenting is important in niche blogging. More so, we emphasized how important it is for you to choose the blogs that you leave comments in; that, as much as possible, you should choose the blogs that are the most popular in your niche.
The next question then is this: how do you determine which blogs are the most popular in your niche? Here are some tips to help you find those blogs. They are really easy and you may actually be doing some of them already.
Everyone in the blogging business knows about Technorati. Even newbies are quite aware of what Technorati is and how important it is to building up oneâ€™s blog. One good thing that I like about Technorati is that you can download a file of the top 10 blogs in any of the existing category. That means almost no work for you!
Here is another simple way to find the top blogs. Just go to http://del.icio.us/tag/topic+blog.
I have been hearing about StumbleUpon for the longest time but to be honest, it was only recently that I joined the community. I wish I had done it earlier. There are tons of people using StumbleUpon and the classifications are quite specific. However, there is no single file that you can download like in Technorati. Still, StumbleUpon is a good way to find blogs in a particular niche.
Of course, these are only some of the tools that you can use. Do you have any suggestions as to how to easily find the top blogs in a niche?
Way back when I was writing the posts on getting started on niche blogging, I overlooked a very important thing â€“ your domain name. Now we all know that you can create a blog on Blogger, Typepad, WordPress, etc. for free. Then again, if you are really serious about your blog, then you would want to have your own domain. Choosing a domain name for your niche blog is essential in making it. So how do you go about it?
I am assuming here that you already have chosen your niche â€“ we have already talked about this in detail. Once you have that down pat, you have to generate some domain names that would fit with your overall niche blog strategy. One good thing to do is to choose a domain name that has keywords. This is especially important if you are aiming to get a lot of search engine hits.
So for example, if your niche blog is focused on the Wii, you should choose a domain name that has Wii in it. Of course, Wii.com is already taken so you have to add some other keywords in your domain name. You can try wiijunkie, wiienthusiast, everythingwii, and so on. You would have to check if your chosen domain name is available â€“ that is why you need to come up with several in order to have other options.
There are many domain name checkers on the Internet but I personally prefer typing www.domainname.com (or whatever extension you want) on Google to see if it is parked, taken, or available. Once you have decided on an available domain name, do not waste time â€“ register it at once!
Niche blogging is not that much different from blogging about general topics. The basic premise is still the same. The significant difference is that a niche blog is tightly focused on a specific subject.
When it comes to networking, though, a niche blogger still needs to exert some effort. Just because you are focusing on a particular topic or subject does not mean that you will be getting the traffic that you want for that topic. Not everyone knows that your blog exists. More so, not everyone will see your blog as the authority in that field, especially in the beginning.
One important thing for niche blogging is making comments in other blogs in your chosen niche. Just like with â€œordinaryâ€ blogging, leaving pertinent comments in other peopleâ€™s blogs is a good way to make your mark in the blogosphere. For niche blogging, though, you have to be very particular about the blogs where you leave your comments.
The most profitable thing for you to do is to comment regularly and actively in niche blogs that are similar to yours. More so, it would be better to choose those niche blogs which have more traffic than yours. Why is this so? One reason is so that you can increase your exposure. The more traffic the niche blog has, the more chances you have of being discovered by other people interested in your topic. This way, you can also gain more traffic. An other reason is that you can build relationships with these â€œsuccessfulâ€ bloggers and that is always a good thing â€“ basically what networking is all about.
In the previous post, we took a look at the first step in picking your niche, which is to narrow down your interests. The next step would be to assess the potential traffic for your blog. In the interest of monetization, you have to be able to somehow forecast the potential interest that your niche would get.
There are many tools which you can use to determine this point. One kind of tool that you might want to use is a keyword tool â€“ there are plenty in the market. Google has even come up with a new tool â€“ Google Insights â€“ which can help you determine search patterns.
Wordtracker is another useful tool. Ken McGaffin writes about it:
Wordtracker is a great tool for helping you identify and quantify niche markets. Keyword research tells you what people are looking for online and so helps you assess the size of the market for any particular product or service. To explore the size of any market, there are three stages involved:
1. Find the most popular keywords in your niche market.
2. For each popular keyword, see how it is used in longer search terms and use the total predicted volume of searches to estimate the number of people searching for that particular keyword.
3. Add up the total predicted volume of searches for each popular keyword within the niche to give an estimate of the size of the market.
Based on this and your narrowed down list of interests, you can already pick your niche. Do note, however, that the tools mentioned in these posts are only some of the many out there. Do not limit yourself to them.
In the previous post, we took a quick look at how to pick your niche. We looked at two considerations â€“ picking a niche for optimum monetization and picking a niche based on your interest. This time, let us look into more detail on how to pick a niche. If I remember correctly, I mentioned that in my opinion, finding a balance between the two considerations is a good consideration.
So what is the first step? I suggest narrowing down your interests. I am sure that you have at least several interests that you would like to blog about. The thing is, when it comes to starting up a niche blog, you have to focus on one particular topic. So instead of trying to capture a wide range of interests, you should pick out one and focus on it.
How can you do this? This could provide to be a bit of a task especially if you have a lot of interests. How do you narrow them down and actually pick just ONE?
One way to do this would be to search online. Go to sites like Wikipedia and other informational sites. Do a search on several topics that are closest to your heart. Visit many other sites that can provide you with background information on your topics. Once you are done with this background work, take the time to make your decision. That is, pick a few topics that you feel you are most comfortable with. More so, pick a few topics that you think will be sustainable in the long run.