Here’s the thing. One of the prevailing myths around blogging is that the best way to start a new blog is to find a topic you’re passionate about, and then build a blog targeting a general, beginner audience interested in it.
For example, if your passion is WordPress then a (seemingly) good idea for a blog is something like “Beginner’s Guide to WordPress.”
Well, here’s the kicker … even though it might sound like a good idea, it actually isn’t.
In theory, you should be able to attract beginners and effectively be the first resource they encounter. But in practice, most of your readers will already be familiar with some of the big-name blogs in your niche by the time they even get to yours.
Those big-name blogs have all the power they need to sweep your target audience right from under your nose. They have the reputation, they have the brand and they have the social proof that beginners look for.
So what to do?
Is the “beginners” market so saturated that there’s no place left for you? Should you just abandon the idea of blogging entirely?
In a sentence: Of course not!
Let’s look into the possibilities that are still out there, and the specific things to do if you want to get into blogging.
Fork in the road – three paths to blogging
Taking the problem described above into account, there are basically three paths you can follow:
- Launch a “for beginners” blog anyway. Hey, it will be difficult, but it’s not impossible, provided you have these two things: (1) a big budget to spend on promotion, SEO and other marketing-related things, or (2) a truly unique angle that has the potential to stick right from the get-go.
- Launch a blog in a specialized area within the “beginners” niche. Using my previous example, a specialized area in “Beginner’s Guide to WordPress” might be a “Designer’s Guide to WordPress” – exactly what CodeinWP did when launching their blog meant for WordPress enthusiasts and pros.
- Launch a blog focusing on more advanced aspects of the niche. Here, you’ll be going the completely opposite way and not paying much attention to beginner topics.
All of the above have their pros and cons, so let’s go over each and get a little more in-depth here.
“For beginners” blog
The main advantage of launching a “for beginners” blog is that creating content shouldn’t be very challenging. I mean, I know that bloggers have to be able to provide quality no matter who they’re writing for, but creating beginner content is always … what’s the word … lighter than creating advanced content.
It’s also easier to explain the purpose of your blog and probably convey its brand too.
Moreover, beginner blogs can usually utilize different content types more effectively than advanced blogs. For instance, it’s way easier to conduct an interview with a respected figure in the niche and prepare a list of questions that everyone can benefit from (not only advanced listeners).
On the other hand, the main downside is that making such a blog popular is next to impossible. Okay, maybe I’m a little too harsh, but let’s not forget that only a small part of blogs manage to attract more than 200 visitors a day, and the more competition you have, the more difficult it gets.
In order to grow such a blog, you’ll have to invest not only in good SEO, active social media promotions, massive guest blogging, but also in promotion through other online media channels like YouTube or podcasting.
Specialized “for beginners” blog
Launching a specialized “for beginners” blog shouldn’t be much more difficult than launching a standard one; although creating regular content can be a bit more challenging and will require more time.
However, one of the great things about such sites is that they become somewhat authoritative by default right from day one. For instance, if you title your blog “The Beginner’s Guide to Grilling Steak” then very few people will question your expertise in that space. It’s much more difficult to portray yourself as an expert in “all things cooking,” than it is in “all things grilling steak.” The same thing goes for most other niches too.
For example, this approach was neatly used by Ruben Gamez of Bidsketch when he launched a blog to get more people interested in his main product – project proposal software for freelancers. The main idea of the blog was to focus on topics related to project proposals and working with clients.
Such a strategy has made it easier to get the initial stream of visitors and build a core audience. In comparison, launching and growing a blog that simply talks about marketing or business would have been much more difficult.
Essentially, the more niche you go, the easier it is to find a small group of devoted fans. That being said, the problem you might encounter sooner or later is that building your audience can gradually become more challenging every month. You can simply start running out of audience, so to speak.
What to do when that starts to happen? Pivot. Start writing about other more general topics related to your niche. Your core audience will help you spread the word and reach new readers. Readers who would have never stumbled upon you otherwise.
Good SEO and other promotional methods are still important when growing a specialized niche blog (like they always are). So you will need to devote significant amount of your time to that. On the bright side, your hyper-niche idea is most likely to stick right away and resonate with a targeted visitor who’s actively interested in the topic.
Advanced niche blog
A good way to get a grasp on what an advanced blog should cover is to think about one of your passions and try answering the following question:
What were the things you were interested in once you were already 2 to 3 years into your passion? In most cases, this is the kind of topics that are perfect for an advanced blog.
Nevertheless, an advanced blog is probably the most challenging project to launch successfully from a content creator’s point of view. Advanced content is always the most time-consuming type of writing, and it needs to be 100 percent accurate with no room for mistakes (advanced audiences will quickly catch those).
Thankfully, you don’t have to publish new posts very often. Even once a week or once every other week will do just fine, as long as your content is extremely useful.
Just like with the other two types of blogs described here, good SEO is always the key ingredient. Luckily, the keywords for an advanced blog are usually less competitive and easier to target. Most of them are long tail keywords.
For example, two or three weeks ago I wanted to get some info on creating a grandchild theme in WordPress. The phrase I used in Google was something like “how to create a child theme of a child theme WordPress” … this is what we call long tail.
The greatest power of long tail keyword phrases is that when someone searches using them, they are almost 100 percent certain to visit your page if the title (more or less) matches their search query. Going long tail, as a searcher, is the ultimate desperate move. It simply means that you haven’t been able to find quality information with shorter queries.
One more cool thing is that the big and popular blogs in your niche are more likely to link to a blog that covers advanced topics. That’s because you’re positioning yourself as the “next step up” kind of resource. Comparing this to a scenario where you have yet another “for beginners” blog, there’s just no need for an already established popular “for beginners” blog to link to it.
All three types of blogs have their individual challenges and pros and cons to tackle. But in the end, launching a successful blog is always a lot of work. I’m sure you’re familiar with Darren’s story on how he built his blogs.
Every project like this should start with a good plan. I hope that this post will help you craft such a plan and then put it in practice.
Lastly, what’s your opinion about blogging in “for beginners” niches? Does it still make sense to do it?
Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance blogger and writer, published author, and online business figure-outer. His work has been featured all over the web, on sites like: NewInternetOrder.com, MarketingProfs.com, Lifehack.org, About.com, Optimizely.com, Adobe.com, and others. Feel free to contact him to find out how he can help your business grow by writing unique and engaging content for your blog or website.