Close
Close

Analyze Your Blog’s Competition

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Today’s task in the 31 Days Blogging Project is to so some analysis of other blogs in your niche – your ‘competition’.

Note: I use the word ‘competition’ hesitantly because the thing about blogging is that those blogging on the same topics as you are potentially your biggest allies. Connect and work with your competition and everyone improves.

This is actually an exercise that I recently recommended to a friend in the process of setting up a blog as part of his process in refining a topic. Having thought about it since I’m becoming more convinced that it’s actually a good exercise for established bloggers to do from time to time also.

1. Make a list of 10 blogs in your Niche
2. Get the RSS feed of each of these blogs and commit yourself to reading them each week
3. Do some analysis by asking some of the following questions:

  • What do they do well?
  • What are the boundaries of the topics that they focus upon?
  • What don’t they write about?
  • How often do they post?
  • How long are their posts?
  • What level are they pitching their blog at? (beginners, intermediate, advanced)
  • What questions are their readers asking in comments?
  • What style or voice do they write in?
  • What type of posts seem to get the most attention (comments, trackbacks, incoming links)?
  • What is their design like? What do they do well and what do they do poorly?
  • What are other blogs writing about them (use technorati to check this)?
  • If they have an open or unlocked stats package what can you learn from their stats? What pages are popular? Where does their incoming traffic come from?

Why do you need to ask these questions?

Good question – I’m glad you asked!

My reasoning for doing this type of analysis is not to copy other blogs in your niche (although you might find some things that you want to emulate) – but it is quite the opposite.

In asking these types of questions you will often find gaps in the niche that others are not writing about that your blog might be able to fill. You’ll also have a good feel for what is working and not working for others, might have some possible ideas for connecting with other bloggers in your niche, could come up with some potential post topics etc

Let us know what you find in doing this analysis in comments below.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. This is exactly what I tell my clients as far as starting a business, I do believe the same holds true for blogging! Good tip!

  2. mgroves says:

    How do I define my niche?

  3. Husbandhood says:

    mgroves, how about Ramblings and rants. Do a google search for those words and you should come up with other blogs similar to yours.

  4. Nicole says:

    mgroves,

    I would suppose that a niche is the category or tipic that you write about. Like, “Business” is a category “Environment-friendly Equipment for Restaurant owners” is a niche.

    If you search ProBlogger, you will be able find information (or at least links to information) that explains this in more detail. Hope this helps.

    Analyzing your blog’s competition is a great idea. It feels weird however, calling some blogs in a particular niche “competition”, espcially if these are blogs that one reads on a regular basis. This should be a helpful task though, as it can provide insight on what improvements can be made on a specific blog.

  5. Jay Tillery says:

    What if I don’t have competitors?

  6. Yebot says:

    How would one use Technorati to find out what are other blogs writing about a blog?

  7. What a great idea – I just finished doing that and found some blogs that deal with finance (like mine) but in different countries – I found that sometimes they write about things that either happened already or are about to happen in my country (Canada) – so it makes for a different perspective and has unlocked my brain into many ideas on what to post about next! Thanks so much Darren! What a simple but great idea… :)

  8. Pete Moore says:

    A good tip for this is go to alexa and type in ‘your market/niche’ + blog in quotes e.g “dog food blog” and check out the blogs that have a good alexa rank. This will show you what blogs are successfully receiving a decent amount of traffic. They are the ones you want to concentrate on.

    Pete

  9. Etienne says:

    Jay Tillery, How can you not have a competitor? I have visited your website and its very nicely done. Surely there are others who are better than another person. Chinese proverb saying “There is always a mountain higher than the other”. Hopefully you understand what i mean, like problogger says, source for 10 others who are webdesigners like you and see what are your weakness and good points against them. Everybody sure have their weakness.

    Cheers!
    Etienne

  10. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I have quite literally hundreds of feeds, the best of which I have in a favorites folder to read daily.

    I also use my knowledge of the “competition” to make certain that I don’t copy anybody else’s topic or give anybody the impression that I ever would do that.

  11. Ian says:

    I’ve been doing this very thing. It is hard to find a competitor/ally blog in my niche (building a DVR), but there are several forums, so I’m using those to find out what people are interested in.

  12. Another gem from the master.
    Cheers,
    Vaibhav

  13. I do this all the time even with you darren … :)
    the length post frequency and even style

    trying to see what differentiates you and me :)

    but I do it to other blogs too and check their traffic rankings and see what keywords they use etc – its the only way I can see me matching to them

  14. Carolyn says:

    Darren, this is great advice! I routinely do this, and find the information I gather priceless.

    What I usually do is concentrate on the lack of certain information on other blogs in my niche and try to fill a gap that needs to be filled. In this way, I try to be different and define my blog as uniquely as possible.

    However, I’ve caught myself becoming obsessed with what others are doing, so I don’t make it a daily, or even a weekly, practice. I don’t want to loose my individuality.

    This is an invaluable project for setting your blog apart from what everyone else is doing.

    Thanks!

  15. Darren Rowse says:

    “How would one use Technorati to find out what are other blogs writing about a blog?”

    Head to Technorati and type in the URL of the blog you want to analyze – then click ‘search’.

    You’ll be taken to a page like this one for ProBlogger which has a list of the latest posts written with that URL in them.

  16. Darren Rowse says:

    “How do I define my niche?”

    Check out this post on How to Choose a Niche

  17. What a great tip, Pete … “A good tip for this is go to alexa and type in ‘your market/niche’ + blog in quotes e.g “dog food blog” and check out the blogs that have a good alexa rank.” …. this is something I am doing as soon as I post this comment, thanks!

  18. Starfeeder says:

    Hey Darren, great post :)

    I’ve studied (or rather been reading/socializing) on my “competitors” websites for several years now, the oldest being close to 9 years old.

    -I definitely know what they do best, and what they don’t do best
    -and I’m experienced in our topic (StarCraft) both in a general sense and per my niche (professional gaming)

    -my topic/site is going to cover a specific niche that I’m very passionate about.

    My question to you is; when it comes to just starting out and getting on the playing field with these other blogs/websites how is it best to go about paid advertising?

    .. start small and escalate, start a big massive campaign, or launch ads in segments?

  19. Brad V. says:

    I don’t like use of the word “competition, because as Darren pointed out, blogs in the same niche can end up being great allies.

    Also, it’s not like we are trying to get customers to buy only our product and no one else’s. I think most readers prefer to read more than one blog in the same niche to see what different people are saying about a specific topic – I know I do!

    When I read other blogs in my niche, I use what I read to figure out if a topic is important and worth writing about on my own blog.

    Great post though! Thanks!

  20. Of course another very good tip.

    I believe that with the advent of adsense and the ability that one has to make money with their blog that any way that bloggers can find to help improve upon their blogs will not only help improve their blogs but also help improve their earnings if their blogs are earnings-oriented.

    Doing research on one’s competition is also a good way to help optimize one’s site for the search engines. Since search engine traffic constitutes where a lot of site visitors come from it would be a good idea to “use your competition” to help place you higher in the search engine results – especially if you can manage to rank higher than your competitors!

  21. Steven Snell says:

    Excellent points Darren. It’s tough to do better than the competition if you don’t know much about the competition.

  22. Thanks for that!
    I think I’m going to give it a try!

  23. Nice points. There’s no competition. We’re all happy campers in the Blogosphere. ;-)

  24. Cher says:

    Good information. It is really necessary to analyze the competition, whether it may be a blog or website. As the blog is updated regularly, it needs to be analyzed at a regular fashion.

  25. Vijay says:

    Darren you have started a good discussion.
    I am doing the same niche analysis of my other blog topic which is on software. One thing I noticed is that many blogger feels insecure to extend relationship with niche bloggers. Some time they unnecessarily criticize the blog. So can you tell me how to deal with such bloggers?

  26. I spend a lot of time re-visiting those who write similar content to mine or those who visit the site. My regular visiting keeps them coming back to the site and checking the content in return.

  27. OknooRap says:

    Hello, I am Newbie here, BTW I’ll try for analyze my blog. Thanks for you all.

  28. Lucia says:

    I have to admit… I didn’t analyze my competition for any blogs I write. But that’s because I know I’m a bit of an oddball and no matter what I write it will be different from other people.

    After all, I was tempted to title my blog “What a knit-blogger can tell bloggers about blogging”. But, I decided that was too long.

    Still, it might be a better name than the one I picked!

  29. Missy says:

    Darren: My biggest problem with this task, is that i haven’t yet picked out a niche. My general category is vegetarianism, but it could potentially branch off a million different ways, like vegetarian diet, lifestyle, recipes, meals, shoes, newbie vegetarians, latin vegheads, etc. How do i pick one? What should be my guiding force?

    Missy.

  30. DayJobNuker says:

    I have no competion. I am the only one who wants to NUKE MY DAYJOB!

  31. NYC EMS says:

    I looked up on Alexa and the completion isn’t too extreme…but I do have my work cut out for me!

  32. alex miller says:

    I love and am attracted to nicely designed blogs. I would like to redesign mine, but have had comments about how much readers like my design.

    I enjoy honest, simple, short and personal posts written in the voice of the writer, not in complex language. In these short posts, I enjoy interactivity, slides, movies, pictures more than reading. I have little of this type of post. I write to much and encourage to little interactivity.

    This challenge has been great for me in so many ways!

    Thanks Darren

  33. Blog Bloke says:

    I couldn’t find a trackback for this post so this will have to do: Making allies of your competitors within your niche.

  34. I have no competitors for my free car insurance adsense blog theme for Bloly Blog site script….however…thanks for your tips!

  35. edy hartono says:

    A very nice method, i believe we could enjoy things on internet.
    And a relationship do does matter.
    I hope less then 31 days to make my blog complete and competed.

  36. Zander says:

    hey Darren

    I totally agree with what you’re posting here, but I’ve got one question, How do you find your competitors?

    I’ve done an ample amount of searching but can’t seem to find something quite like my website…
    Is my niche to small or can you direct me to some methods of finding these sites?

    my niche by the way is: A blog exploring my journey into the Game Industry and Tips / Advice for 3D students / Enthusiasts.

    Zander Erasmus