The infocarnivore blog has gone through its share of developments (and it’s not done!) Finding my ‘niche’ has been a challenge. I originally started in April 2010 with the idea of sharing all sorts of random tidbits of trivia and weird and wonderful facts, but within days realized that the topic was too broad to generate a faithful following. I shifted my focus on to one of my true hobbies, information security and antivirus. That went well for a while, and I was really enjoying myself, but within about two months discovered that niche to be actually rather narrow and limited in scope (at least for me since I aim to be informative for the average computer user, and am not an expert in the seriously technical side of security and hacking). I tried to expand to include social media and blogging, but felt like I was betraying the info security nature of the blog, and for that reason I actually became my own worst enemy of blogging… Coming up with all sorts of great blog posts and ideas, but not publishing them because I felt that they didn’t fit my niche. This was actually getting discouraging, because I had limited myself to such a narrow scope that I couldn’t write about other topics of interest. I actually felt like I was compromising when I would write a post about anything other than info security. It’s taken me till the end of September to realize it’s probably okay to expand the focus of the blog. In July I realized that a new passion was developing for me, “blogging about blogging“. About two months ago I bought a new domain, and thought I’d carry on infocarnivore as an info security blog, and start a new blog for blogging about blogging. Instead I’ve decided to consolidate both ideas here, for that reason info carnivore is expanding from the specific topic of ‘info security’ to a more general topic of ‘technology & blogging’. It’s a lot more broad, but it also gives me more of an opportunity to write and not feel like I’m betraying my niche. (With that said I’m also open to those who’d be interested in guest blogging here, if you’re interested take a look here.)
Development takes time
So are you developing your niche, or is it firmly established? With the bloggers I’ve talked with it seems that the focus of a blog can change dramatically anytime within its first year of existence. Here are five simple thoughts about niche development. The word ‘develop’ suggests something that happens over time, you may have a great idea, but it’s not necessarily developed yet. So be patient with yourself.
1. Don’t be too narrow, and don’t be too broad. I feel that three or four specific topics is sufficient, that way things won’t spread out to thin, and it will always give you room to find something new to write about.
2. Got an idea that doesn’t fit on your blog? Why not guest blog it somewhere else. This will help to promote your own blog, while building community and relationships in the blogosphere.
3. Don’t be afraid to change things up. If your blog is new (newer), than hold it loosely, don’t be too obsessed with sticking to your original plan… it’s likely going to change. You may have established and thought out some ideas well early on, but as time advances you’ll probably find things changing on you. Decide to be okay with that, and change it up a little. Keep an open mind, and be willing to adapt.
4. Stick to what you know (at least a little about). Too many bloggers are trying to jump into a niche just to try and make money. If the single most important priority for blogging is for you is to make cash, then I encourage you to check out some other online opportunity. There’s no quick money in blogging. You have to focus on where you can have genuine influence, and for that reason your niche needs to develop around things that interest you, and things that you know about (or are focused on learning about). You don’t have to know everything about your chosen topics, but at least know something – and then as you learn, share it with your readers.
5. Blogging is not about having it all perfect. At least give yourself some room to breathe. Readers like humans who connect with them, and share on their level. Far too many bloggers are obsessive about their blogging habits (I include myself in this, though I am getting better). Don’t be too hard on yourself if it’s not all coming together. I found that my niche almost started emerging on its own as I wrote about different topics of interest the responses and comments helped me begin to focus. Paying attention to what people are interested in and pairing that with your interests will help you develop over time.
These are a few of the things I’ve learned about developing the niche that infocarnivore now resides in. As times goes on I expect it will evolve some more. What are your thoughts on niche development? I know I’ve not nearly covered every angle, so lets start the conversation, I’d like to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment.