The following post was submitted by Lindsay B as part of the ProBlogger Case Study Series
Nothing is certain in the blogging-for-profit world. It’s hard to predict which sites will take off. Sometimes the blog you funnel twenty hours a week into has mediocre earnings. Sometimes the dinky little blog you spend an hour a month on suddenly starts paying the mortgage every month. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could pick winners from the start? Well, maybe we can…
By now, you probably know pro-blogging success (AKA making money) depends on finding the right niche. Focus on a specific topic, and you draw readers interested in researching and potentially buying something related to that topic. Whether you’re into affiliate programs or pay-per-click advertising, it’s easy to capitalize on a niche audience.
So, the question isn’t about whether you should be blogging about a niche; it’s about whether or not your niche is… nichy enough. Is it too big? Too broad? How do you know for sure? If you’re not earning what you think you should be earning, your problem may be you’ve chosen too general a niche. Let me use two of my blogs as examples of what works well and what (alas) works less well.
Home Improvement Ideas (henceforth known by the unassuming title of Blog 1)
In this blog, I write about all sorts of products and trends for the home, everything from granite countertops and wood floors to remote control range hoods and jetted bathtubs. I post at least twice a day, and it’s coming up on 1,000 entries. I put a lot of effort into finding neat things to write about, and many of my posts have received links from high profile gadget and luxury blogs. Despite that, the blog receives less traffic and makes less money than another blog of mine…
Fireplace Lowdown (henceforth known as Blog 2)
I started this blog on a whim because I’d recently researched gas fireplaces and had some potential content. Because this was an on-a-whim blog, I didn’t want to bother with a domain name and all that, so I set it up on Typepad, where I already had an account. I started posting once or twice a week, and it recently broke 200 entries (math whizs in the audience will note this is significantly fewer posts than Blog 1 features). Blog 2 hasn’t exactly been a link magnet, yet this small blog gets more traffic and makes more money than Blog 1.
Let’s take a look at why. I’m the first to admit there’s room for improvement with ad placement in both blogs (writer != designer), but that wouldn’t change the fact that Blog 2 gets more traffic than Blog 1, even though both are about the same age and Blog 1 has five times as many posts. so, what’s the big difference?