There is a quiet revolution occurring on the rolling fields of the Internet, and many experts are saying that this revolution is here to stay. The power of niche markets is becoming more and more apparent as we enter into a new economy in which all the rules are being rewritten. Now why is this precisely? For one, the rapid proliferation of technology means that consumers have a stunning array of choices when it comes to virtually anything that is considered a commodity. Considering this flood on the market, consumers have turned to smaller, more specific brands that appeal directly to their tastes and interests.
In terms of information and media consumption on the Internet, renowned media and technology writer David Carr, recently wrote an incisive article about the rising popularity of niche media sites in the New York Times. In the article, entitled “News Trends Tilt toward Niche Sites,” Carr notes, discussing the recent buy out of TechCrunch by AOL:
“What works on the Web right now is an identity, one that sparks recognition and in the best case, passion among its employees and consumers. Even though AOL paid a lot of money for TechCrunch, it was clear last week that its audience and its writers believed it belonged to them.”
Of course, it is likely that you’re blog is not among a group of popular niche sites being sought by large media corporations. Still, Carr’s article speaks volumes about Internet behavior in general. In today’s blogosphere, successful blogging means appealing to as specific of an audience as possible. Becoming a big player in a small but powerful niche is much easier than being even mediocre among general interest blogs. Having a large following that returns to your blog for information on a topic about which they are passionate drastically increases the chances that they stay for awhile on your site, instead of clicking through. Your audience will also more likely interact with advertisements, especially if they are targeted to their tastes, as noted in an excellent Technshare article, “What Makes Niche Blogging Awesome.”
Of course, there are disadvantages to building niche sites, many of which are discussed in this Pro Bloggerarticle about the pros and cons of niche blogging. For one, you will have a smaller audience by proxy, one that is interested in your specific niche, and you can’t much expand beyond that niche audience. A few other obvious disadvantages are that it will take longer for you to get substantive search traffic, and it will also be more difficult to get other sites to link to yours, since there are obviously far fewer sites dedicated to your topic.
Notwithstanding the cons of niche blogging, the market is unavoidable heading toward a landscape in which readers look for what matters to them, and they look at nothing else. Take these early warning signs of this particular shift, and narrow the focus of your blog as much as you are able. It will definitely pay off in the long term.