I just checked my email and found three requests from readers to have a look over their blogs and offer some tips. I’m happy to do this from time to time for free – but am unable to do it individually for everyone in depth without having to charge a bit of a consulting fee (mainly due to the numbers of requests I get. So I thought without mentioning the blogs who’ve asked for help (I don’t want to cause any offence or embarrassment) I thought over the next few days I’d write a few random tips that come to mind as I’ve surfed each of them.
Define Your Niche
The temptation when you first get into blogging is to write everything that comes into your head whether its about the movies you’re seeing, what you’re reading in the newspaper, your work, your latest techy toy etc. Whilst this might interest you and give you plenty of posting ideas it actually can make it difficult to write a profitable blog for a number of reasons. These include:
- You have a better chance of ranking higher in search engines if all your posts are on related topics that are interlinked. If you have 100 pages on 100 topics the search engine will not see you as an authority on anything, but if you have a collection of pages that relate to one another they’ll consider it a safer bet that you are an authority on that topic.
- You have a better chance of finding an advertising income stream for your blog. This is the case both for ad systems like Adsense and if you’re wanting to get private sponsorship for your page. With Adsense – it looks at the content on your page to determine which ads to serve. If it looks at your page and sees many topics you’ll confuse it and the topic of your ads may or may not relate to your content. The danger is that if your content does not relate to your ads you’re not likely to have people click the ads. The ideal situation is that you write on a topic and your readers see ads for that same topic – if you get this happening you increase the chance of them clicking and therefore of you earning an income. Likewise with private sponsorship deals you’re unlikely to find a company willing to pay you money to put their ads on unless their product relates to what you’re writing about. It wouldn’t be good business practice for them to do so.
- You run the risk of confusing your readership if you blog on too many topics. Yes you might find a few people who are interested in the eclectic mix of topics you write on, however the more things you write about that they are NOT interested in the less chance you have of them coming back to your blog.
Of course there are exceptions to the ‘niche topic’ principle of successful blogs – there are of course successful blogs that cover many topics, but most at least have a loose theme whether it be politics, technology, news, etc. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard given to web entrepreneurs is ‘try to be a big fish in a small pond’. Define your pond (a topic) and work at having the most comprehensive site on the net on it.
If you want to write about more than one topic I’d recommend you start a second and third and fourth blog rather than try to put it all into one.
I know that this tip can be difficult to hear for some bloggers – but its not just me that is saying it. Virtually every profitable blog that I can think of is carving out a niche for itself – some are smaller than others, some are more profitable than others, but they are niches nonetheless.