A few days ago, I talked about the hidden x-factor and why some blogs seem to “make it” while so many others don’t get that much traffic. This inspired a reader to post a comment which I think is an awesome topic for a post. Essentially, should we just all start talking about making money online in order to get traffic?
The reader’s name is Kay Rennie and the comment was:
Great post, and I really appreciate the advice given here. I wonder though – do we all need to get on the bandwagon of marketing tips and tricks and how to make money etc. to get any real attention? I know other types of sites do well, such as photography etc, but most are very much related to the same group of marketing topics. Is it just me, or is this section of the web totally self-absorbed? Any suggestions for sites that do really well traffic-wise that are not about marketing? There must be thousands but I don’t seem to come across them.
Ah, the notorious echo chamber. It is funny, too, since my other blog (PCMech) is a technology blog and there is a huge echo chamber in that market as well.
There are certain very popular markets which, because they are popular, see a lot of entrants. And when you have a lot of people talking about the same thing, you get a lot of overlap. It just so happens that both of my blogs are in pretty big markets.
Technology and computers is a HUGE market online for blogs. It isn’t necessarily the best market to be in for making money, however. In my experience, this market is rabid, but cheap. And the hardware market leaves very little room for money as an affiliate marketer because the margins are so low and, hence, the commissions are very low. I manage to make a good living with a cheap market and it is a lot of work.
Blogging and “make money online” is another extremely popular topic. The reason I decided to get in on this market is simply because I had been making my money online for years before I ever started talking about it. I knew it was a good market to be in, and it seemed only natural for me to enter it because I was already quite successful at it and felt I had a unique style and perspective to offer.
Do most popular blogs, though, deal with tech or making money online? No, not at all. For example, Yaro interviewed Alborz Fallah, an Australian blogger who has gotten quite successful talking about cars at CarAdvice.com.au. Darren Rowse has a blog talking about photography. Icanhascheezburger.com is extremely popular and all they do is post funny pictures of cats!
Opportunities abound in blogging. It is a matter of your market selection and how you approach it. I don’t recommend getting into the blogging/marketing niche unless you have something unique to offer and can actually demonstrate that you practice what you preach. I actually DO make my entire living as a blogger and I even post income reports to prove it. But, if you’re not in that boat, I wouldn’t recommend it yet.
Tips For Selecting a Market
Obviously, selecting a market is a fairly involved topic, but I wanted to provide some useful information in this post. So, here are some tips:
- Select a market where you have something to offer. It doesn’t really matter if there are a lot of other people already doing it. What matters is that you can do it and make yourself unique in some way.
- Some huge markets online are in technology, dating & relationships, making money and health. Technology is a saturated market and not the easiest to make money in, but it is a biggie. Dating is a huge one. Making money is, too. And health is huge, but you have to be careful with legal implications.
- Often, you can enter a saturated market and be unique by simply making it more local. For example, the CarAdvice blog mentioned above targets Australia.
- Think outside the box for ideas. I mean, who would think a blog of cat pictures would be such a hit? I was also amused to see my friend Mark Jaquith (yes, the WordPress developer) starting WordsPlosion which is a photo blog of signs with errors.
- Look inside. You need to be interested in your topic and you need to be able to constantly have things to write about. If your idea doesn’t pass that test, I wouldn’t recommend blogging in that market.
So, do you have any other advice? What do YOU blog about and why? And, feel free to share some other examples of popular blogs you read outside of the “make money online” and blogging arena.