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When Being the Number 1 Blog in Your Niche is Not Enough

“I’m the number 1 blog in my niche but I’m not getting much traffic – do you have any words of advice?”

This question hit my inbox earlier today and I thought I’d repost part of my reply here as I think it could be relevant to more than the blogger concerned. Here’s most of my response (I’ve removed reference to the blog concerned as I don’t have permission from the blogger to identify it):

Congratulations on the success you’ve had with your blog. It is great that you’ve hung in there for two years now with the blog and grown it as much as you have. It sounds like you’ve worked hard to find your voice, build a core community and establish some profile and credibility in your niche.

One thought that came to mind regarding your question was that perhaps you need to widen your sites a little. While it does seem that you’re the number 1 blog in your niche (I can’t find any on your topic on Technorati with a ranking as high as yours) you are certainly not the number 1 site on the internet on your topic.

Many bloggers only see their competition as other blogs on their topic and in doing so ignore other types of websites in their niche. For example when I search on Google for your topic I find 3 forums, one social media site and a couple of other static/informational websites that not only rank higher in Google for your keywords but which seem to do significantly more traffic than your blog (according to Alexa and Compete’s stats).

I don’t say this to discourage you but in the hope that in widening your sites about your ‘competition’ that you’ll be driven on to think bigger and improve your blog.

Some practical words of advice for you are to see what opportunities there are to interact in these other websites in your niche. I know you are active in commenting on and networking with other blogs in your niche but what about getting involved in the forums, contacting the other website owners and getting active in the social networking site?

You’ve grown your blog to the point you have partly by the networking and promotion you’ve done within the blogging community – but think broader and you might just find yourself not only being the number 1 blog on your topic but being the number 1 website of all types.

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.

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Comments

  1. I just started this blog couple days ago. It’s only trial and error to be honest because I’m eager to see what’s coming next for this blog. To be #1 in certain niche is very nice. I think I want to have that first before dreaming about to be #1 in all kind of site :)

    Anyway thx for sharing.

  2. Rich says:

    This is a very clear post, Darren. And this is one major problem of most bloggers. They are very busy socializing to every blogger they meet, hoping to get quality backlinks as well as high traffic.

    While it is true that we have a lot competitors around, it does not mean that we are not going to mingle with them. In fact, I think we should because you have the same niche.

    Forum posting is another online free way of advertising our blogs, and it’s just a pity that I seldom see making money online bloggers at Digital Point and Warrior forum. And if I do, most of their posts are irrelevant. Most of them are just socializing.

    I truly believe that in any form of traffic generation, or blog promotion; relevance is the most important factor. This is even very helpful in SEO.

    And yes, relevance is better than quality.

  3. Without knowing your niche – you could always widen what you think your niche ‘is’. An example would be moving from ‘prayer’ to ‘spirituality’, ‘football’ to ‘sports’, etc.

    Being #1 in your area means you already have a wide readership to kickstart things – and that are likely interested in a lot of similar subjects.

    Cheers,
    Mark
    http://wisequotes.org

  4. shea says:

    that is something I’d never thought of, You’re always so helpful and informative, that’s why you are 1

  5. I read all the way through this – great article – but I’m unsure as to whether you meant “sites” or “sights”. I think you meant “sights”. A quick edit would reduce confusion. Thanks.

  6. Darren,

    The advice you have given here is excellent. I think many of us, expecially those in relatively small niches, forget about forums and social media sites – often, because we simply don’t realize they are there.

    I encountered the same issue with a niche blog that I have run for about three years. I had good Page Rank, and was at the top of the list for quite a few keywords… but the traffic just wasn’t growing like I wanted.

    I happened to remember a forum dedicated to that niche, and resolved to spend 30 minutes a day posting on that forum. Within a week, my traffic had tripled!

    Why? It’s about leveraging other people’s networks. I started getting visitors from the forum, and then their blog/website followers came close behind.

    It would have taken me months to reach the same number of people myself. But by using just one forum, I had an army of people working for me instead.

    The person that asked the question clearly has a few forums available… If someone reading this can’t find a forum/socialnetworking site in their niche, I’d definitely suggest starting one through NING or a similar service.

    Lee 6 Figure Blogging Strategies

  7. J.D. Meier says:

    What’s the advantage of posting in forums over commenting in blogs?

    … or is the idea that your simply visiting a different set of people (whereas you might be commenting in the same blogs all the time — so your traffic stagnates)

  8. Papa Razzi says:

    My blog is also #1 in the niche simply by default. No other paparazzi has ever made a blog about the job or how to become one. But I only get 1-15 hits a day.

  9. mike says:

    Some topics have far less competiton than others. If you have a good blog though, I think you can be #1 in any topic. Keep growing it and making it the best it can be.

  10. Jon says:

    There will ALWAYS be somebody better than you, whether this is a blog or other things… maybe you will shine for a few days, years or decades but eventually, you get the best of yourself and others take advantage of it. As such, being number one is nice but it shouldn’t be the end and be all of your goal.

    Jon
    http://buzvia.com – Where’s Your Traffic Going?

  11. When the no: 1 spot is claimed where we do go from there? Having also a vision to continue to serve other people will make our business grow, when we are no: 1. Staying as no: 1 is harder than becoming No: 1!

  12. Shaan says:

    These tips are all about niche blogs but what if somebody is having a personal blog having lots of different topics ?

  13. Frank J says:

    Being #1 is great, but it’s tough competition. My reward is when a fan or friend walks away with more knowledge and understanding from one of my blogs and they let you know it publicly.

  14. gendut says:

    too many factor give effect good for our web….we learn continues and combine many strategy, new information, and always doing evaluation……..survive and to be number one

  15. Simon says:

    Well, all depends on the niche, I know many pure technical blogs that are much better than any other sites but have much less traffic. All depends on the money you’ve got for advertising.

  16. TechMata says:

    and a little bit of luck ^_^

  17. Shaan says:

    Luck, mouth publicity are really important.

  18. Greg says:

    I found this post thanks to an interesting question that I was recently asked and was dumb founded to answer. Is it better for my site: To be a blog, to use a traditional website layout, or to use both at the same time ex. site.com is the main site, and site.com/blog is the blog for that site.

    I’ve tried a ton of Google searches on this topic, and your post is the closest I’ve come to anything that even talks about the two things. Do you have anything to add on this subject?

    When she asked the question she thought her post was too ‘blog sounding’ for her website and thought it would be a better blog post than a website page…

  19. mizfit says:

    Very interesting post…thought provoking and, while not disheartening, a little surprising at the fact I should widen my scope of the definition of ‘competition.’

    I have a vibrant community of readers—but not as much traffic as Id like.

    need to step back and view bigger picture I think.