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You Have a Niche! You Just Don’t Know It Yet

This guest post is by Heather Eigler of HomeToHeather.com

Yes, you do have a niche. You’ve likely read it a thousand times on blogs about blogging. Two of the number one pieces of advice are ‘choose your niche wisely’ and ‘write what you know.’

So what if you aren’t wise and don’t know anything? What could you write about that qualifies as a niche? And what does having a niche do for you anyway?

Having a niche has its benefits

Your niche gives you focus. It gives you identity and purpose. A blog with no niche is like a magazine with no cover model. The model on the cover of a magazine tells readers instinctively what they are likely to find on the interior pages. A fashion model indicates articles about celebrities and shopping can be found inside. An athlete tells us we can likely learn how to improve our golf swing.

The same goes for blogs. A niche is our version of a cover model. We include it in our headers, our buttons, our posts and our SEO. Readers who land on our page will instinctively know what the blog is about—if we’ve done our jobs well.

There are blogs about food and blogs about cameras. Blogs about travel and blogs about sports. But what if you just write about your everyday life? What if there is no core subject matter and your blog is a grab bag of this and that.

What can you do then?

You have a pre-made, bona fide, built in niche

Yes, you do! It’s your location. Everyone lives somewhere. And there are other people who live where you do who might be searching for information on local events or restaurant reviews. And there are many people who don’t live where you do who might be interested in visiting someday … but how would they know if they can’t come across anything on the web that tells them what a great place it is?

When I rebranded my site, HomeToHeather.com, to be more of a personal blog, I knew that I was going to have issue expanding my readership because of my content—it’s a mom blog. Only so many people are going to want to read about my kids
and they certainly aren’t going to surf in from search engines to do so. Yes, I write about other things, too—like blogging and products.

I’ve had a small bit of success with traffic from StumbleUpon but not enough to keep the site growing. Since I live in a fairly large, dynamic city I decided that incorporating a local slant could be my niche. So I started incorporating a few posts here and there about Calgary. I added my city to my title tags and banner. Then I sat back and watched my stats to see if anyone arrived via search.

And they did.

What topics can you take local on your blog? How about:

  • events
  • restaurants
  • parks
  • wildlife
  • sports
  • local celebrities
  • local schools, clubs, and associations
  • tourist info.

If they’re talking about it, they’re Googling it

What’s going on right now that people are talking about? Read through your paper and write a post on the opposite view on a major topic. What are people talking about at work? Write about it.

I get a smattering of Google traffic every day for phrases such as Calgary Daycare, Calgary Blog or Calgary mom blog. I’ve attended a few events as a “local blogger” and have had one or two advertising inquiries from local
businesses. The new local focus is working and I’m excited about what’s next for me.

While HomeToHeather is still a small blog—very small, I am slowly working my way towards establishing a local readership, with local content. It’s a great way to round out the rest of my more random posts about blogging, motherhood and creativity. So try it yourself and take advantage of your built in niche—you never know where it will take you.

Have you done any local posts on your blog? Could this technique work for you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Heather lives, parents and blogs in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Grab her rss feed for more posts on local blogging.

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Comments

  1. Great information Heather. I never thought to add anything local since I am in a rural part of the state but maybe close enough to a few big cities? will entertain this some more thought. I will have to check out the post you mentioned about attracting local traffic… thanks!

    • Faythe – You could contact those places via email and set up a time to interview business owners or go on a tour of whatever it is you are blogging about. This would save you a trip into town since you’re some distance from them. I’m planning on doing this for the Seattle-based Chocolate companies I want to blog about.

      Heather – FABULOUS post. There’s a ton of possibilities for me to blog about such attractions. And there’s some major Chocolate companies here in the Seattle-Tacoma area I know many a Chocoholic would love to know more about.

      THANK YOU Heather!!!

  2. So simple, yet so true! Great post, Heather!

  3. Very good idea! Love the article and the tips you give. My blog is mainly reviews/giveaways, but it is also about my every day life as a mommy to my two kids and other things too. It is kind of a mixed bag. I am glad to hear that your blog is doing well, but then again you are a great blogger :)

  4. Good read :) It’s true — we often overlook the little details that can benefit our sites while trying to search for something new and unique.

  5. Julian says:

    you were right
    the hard thing is how to find it out :-)

  6. Heather your city looks pretty small compared to mine that is home to nearly 5 million people! I agree that local targeting can work, particularly for businesses that operate offline. It’s an easy way to boost those search rankings for your area – personally I don’t but I would recommend it to others for sure. If anyone wants to make a killing from SEO, go around businesses in your local area and advise them on how to do this to increase their customers – I guarantee you’ll do pretty well.

  7. Nicole says:

    Excellent post Heather, and particularly relevant to those of us who fall into the seemingly niche-less category of mom blogging. Adding info about our communities is a great way to draw local readers (who are even more likely to keep coming back) to our sites.

  8. rosemary says:

    this is true as I sometimes post about events in my area but I am 2 hours from NYC so the blog is mostly about that as I try to go once a month. as far as the blog being about NYC it has been going well and I have many events lined up as press to cover for the blog. they all seem very happy to get the publicity which is great!! nice article!!

  9. Heather,

    This post is confirmation for us that we are adding a nice feature to our blog. We live in Orlando, FL. It’s a place many couples come to on their honeymoon, anniversaryor family vacation. But if you come to Florida and only see theme parks you’ve missed the best part of Florida. I was born here, so I know some great romantic spots tourists never make the time to find. We added the beginning of this year a category titled, Romantic Orlando. We are hoping this will draw people to The Romantic Vineyard who might not have found us otherwise. We plan to offer one post a week – on Wednesday – about this topic.

    Thanks for sharing! I’m heading over to your blog now to check it out. We’ve always wanted to visit Calgary – you may just give us the inspiration to make it happen.

    Ciao,
    Debi

  10. poorblogger says:

    It is exactly right to find niche even for personal blog. Try to find everything that near us and focuss it. Make a niche topic will make more opportunity to earn more traffic.

  11. I love how you’ve expanded on a simple, but overlooked concept. Very doable advice. Nice blogging voice, too. :) Good luck!

  12. Marcie says:

    This post has helped to clarify a few thoughts I’ve had about revamping my blog lately.

    My blog, Shorty: Your Chicago South Side Resources shares information and resources on the South Side of Chicago. I have been sharing information about education, culture, employment, health and youth programs and activities, and very little news or opinions. I am going to start sharing my experiences about my visits to museums and trade shows coming to the city which will increase my credibility as an educational resource. Check it out at http://www.goshorty.net

  13. soleroo says:

    good suggestion!! writing about our city that we lived is quite easy compare to writing something we have less knowledge about it, simple because we know our city well. I,ve done it, but never think about this before. Thanks for this good idea

  14. Crawlcraft says:

    choosing a niche i found it the most difficult part of blogging.

  15. Thank you for a fantastic article Heather! I have been blogging for 2 years and I started off right away with a niche (green). 95% of the time I am happy I did it and then 5% of the time I get kind of bummed because I feel like I have limited myself as far as opportunities. I have never discussed my location on my blog other than “New England” because I was always nervous about people knowing where I am. (probably silly) But now I am thinking maybe incorporating some local stuff could be good for me. Local green companies, etc. Do you think “New England” is too broad of an area?

    Thank you again for this, it was very helpful and inspiring. I look forward to follow up posts because I have no idea how to start implementing. :)

    • Heather says:

      No I don’t think New England is too broad. Go for it and see if you get any results from search hits. You can always tinker as you go :)

  16. Jaclyn Mullen says:

    Heather–great topic and suggestion. Obviously the advantage bloggers have over print writers is that we can see what terms are being searched to bring readers to our site. We can see what content gets the most page views. That information can help a Blogger find their niche! Part of this process is experimenting, as you’ve demonstrated, whether that’s geographically focusing on an area or a certain subject matter. Look at your analytics!! They will help.

    • Heather says:

      This is very true! Analytics will give us inside info as to what our readers are looking for. I often blog in response to a google search that’s landed someone on my blog

  17. Jo says:

    Some interesting points! Keeping it local is such a good tip, although I suppose you do have to decide if your locale is ultimately a big enough fish pond for your blogging aspirations. I have that dilemma with my travel blog about Western Australia, which more and more seems to be getting lots of hits on the local features about Bunbury, and less on the ones in a wider context. Your article has made me think seriously about harvesting the niche rather than trying to conquer the world.

  18. My blog is niche-less. I mean, I write about *everything* and I’ve often wondered if I made a huge mistake by not zoning in on only a few specific areas of interest. But my mind isn’t wired that way – I need to be able to write about whatever is on my mind at any given moment.

    But … you make an excellent point. If I were to write about anything going on in my neck of the woods, well? I could still write about anything I wanted as long as I tie it in somehow to my location.

    Awesome food for thought, Heather!

  19. Brigid says:

    Great idea Heather, I live in a very tourist orientated area of the world, so theres always a lot going on here. Its just sensible to got on the band wagon here! Thanks for the tip, oh, and I love your blog, some really good info on there.

  20. That is a wonderful idea you have there Heather, and it can serve many blogs very well … I see so many blogs about cooking or healthy eating, kids or relationships … all of which qualify for reaching into the
    community.

    There’s a definite potential for eventually being able to monetize such blogs by catering to the businesses that they are featuring and as the kiddies grow and are in school all day … many more possibilities!

  21. amanda says:

    I’ve been wanting to add a local twist to my blog focusing on all the great small businesses that are in my city. The problem, or should I say, concern, is that since I want to focus on the smaller businesses I also want to know the motivation behind the business. How do I get the owners/managers to agree to a short interview for my, very small, unknown blog?

    • Heather says:

      People LOVE to be interviewed….and they won’t care that your blog is small. And neither will Google because you might be the only person who has written about that small biz. Go for it!

  22. Amanda says:

    Thank you so much, Heather, for this post! I have been struggling with finding my niche and had initially thought about this approach but I wasn’t sure if it was really worth it. But I guess it’s worth a shot at least before I can even rule it out!

    Thanks again :)

  23. I’ve used the local approach on my food blog with super results. I should take a similar approach with my other websites. In fact, on my dream analysis site I once mentioned my home state (Kentucky) and heard from a lot of people who submitted dreams about Kentucky!

    I’m going to incorporate this advice in the rest of my sites. Thanks!

  24. RandyNose says:

    Thanks. I’ve been trying to find a focus for my blog, as mine has topics from all over the place. – I started to to do a Daily Photo. I might need to put my local Town in the title if I can, and make sure that I put it on the tags too. – Thanks, you’ve helped validate what I was generally thinking. I will have to check out your blog too. :)

    Randy

  25. mark readal says:

    Writing with an eye on location is something I haven’t considered yet for my blog. The topic I follow is kind of non-local, but the way you are writing encourages me to brainstorm a few ideas on how to get location into my post topics. Thanks very much for this inspiring tip and heaps of new local followers for your blog.

  26. Ernie says:

    Great post Heather. The most popular posts on my lawn care blog have been the ones that highlight local dates for getting rid of leaves, brush, and Christmas trees. It’s been a great way to get traffic – now if I can just start converting a few of them into subscribers!

  27. cherylk says:

    This is the most helpful article I’ve read in ages! My original blog has always been more random thoughts than anything and I have written about my area a few times. I’m going to try to fine tune this stuff.

    I have another blog that’s strictly about our concessions business and I think I can even use this info more in tags to encourage local people to visit.Thank you so much for the great advice.

    My third blog is brand new…a food/craft/decorating blog…just three posts, so far. I’m definitely going to work the local aspect into this right from the start!

    Thank you…you rock!

  28. This is very encouraging, indeed. As a newbie, I’ve just been writing and not yet worrying about a niche at all. But I understand your concern that you’re material might have a limited audience, and admire your outward push. I have that same concern, a fear I’ll forever be blogging for a niche of “1″. Ha! But that’s ok, too. I’m just enjoying the opportunity to write. Thanks for putting your ideas out there for us!

  29. Mihai says:

    Hi.I really enjoy this blog and I wanted to ask you what language do you recommend me to use on my blog: Romanian( I’m from Romania) or English? I noticed English is the most used because it is known globally and I can have more than 10 times the traffic I can get in Romanian but the blog’s niche is almost 100% free in Romania, meaning that there is only 1 more blog which deals a similar theme, but not the way I want to do it.
    So I’m pretty confused of what to do.I want the blog to be great but I want to make money out of it too.So what do you suggest me to do?I’m asking you because you clearly know a lot more than me and you have quite a reputation.

    Thanks for the help!

  30. This is the exact problem I am struggling with. I have a mom blog but I am not consistent at blogging because I feel I don’t have an exact niche. I am not into couponing like so many other mom blogs. I feel like I have a niche, but then again I struggle to find posts.

  31. Cathy says:

    I love this, Heather! Thank you!

  32. Brittany says:

    I have a question for the more experienced bloggers out there. Did you decide on a niche right away, or did you find that it kind of formed itself over time? I’m having trouble figuring out what’s going to make my blog unique. Any advice would be appreciated! :)

  33. Michael says:

    I’ve been working on my military niche for a while with my blog about life after Iraq, but I’m wondering about how I might go about changing the niche of my blog?