Sunday, September 18, 2011

How To Get Blog Traffic: Finding a niche

I think one of the biggest pitfalls most bloggers run into is not having a focus for their blog.  They like the idea of starting a blog.  They think of a cool name, get all excited about the layout and then... now what?

Pretty much every person I've come across with the complaint "my blog gets no traffic" has one thing in common: there is no focus to their blog.  There will only be a smattering of posts.  One talking about the weather, one talking about how dinner didn't taste right and one about a comic book.  And then it comes as a shock that no one has thought to type in "Fred Alistar III's blog" on the internet to read about those three things.  That was a very exaggerated example, but you get the idea.

Someone gave me some good blogging advice once and so, to quote Oscar Wilde, I'm going to pass on the good advice since it's the only sensible thing to do with it:

Your blog should provide a service.

Yes, it's that simple.  I say provide a service.  But the idea of "service" can be broadly interpreted.  Basically you need to figure out what you have to offer people.  Are you there to entertain?  Are you there to inform?  Are you there to sell?

You must find a niche.  Unless you're already famous, nobody but your family members will type your name in on the internet.  So how will the general public find your blog?  You need to blog about things that people might type in on the internet.  So if you like food, title your blog post "Delicious Apple Pie Recipe" instead of "My Recipe."  You are providing a service by providing subject material (apple pie recipe) that people will probably type in on the internet.

A focused blog allows for word of mouth to kick in.  As my go-to reality check, I always think about how I react to things.  If I was talking to a friend and the subject of food came up, there's almost no chance I would say "Hey if you like food you should check out this guy's blog where he talked about his dinner once."  However, there is a really good chance that I would say "Hey you should check out this blog I saw where they posted a fun new recipe every week."

Find a niche.  Provide a service.

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