We often hear about the importance of being very precise when choosing a topic to focus on. The most important thing is of course to create content about a topic you are interested and passionate about, but what if you have two big interests? Could you combine those in one site and thereby reach a new niche? Or keep them separated? What is the best way to approach this?
Focus your topic on a narrow niche
The optimal thing would be to know a specific niche topic you want to produce content about. It helps you focus and attract an audience as an expert in the specific field. If you have spent some time thinking, brainstorming, mind-mapping or whatever other tactic you use, and you still cannot figure out a specific topic that you are passionate about and that you have a lot of content pouring out of you, you can start a more broad topic as well.
It’s preferable to focus on a limited range of matters from an expert’s point of view rather than cover every possible topic starting with kitchen ware up to computer hacks and end up with a salad of empty words. The more you narrow your topic, the better it is for your site’s potential. I look at it from the visitor’s point of view. If I click on a tweet, read a post, and I like it, I will click onto the main page and browse to see what the site is about. If the author jumps between topics from post to post, it will be very hard for me to become a fan as there would most probably be a lot of content that I am not interested in. On the other hand, if the content is very focused, and concentrates on a specific topic, then I would most probably subscribe to it.
It is much easier to attract visitors and subscribers if you have a very focused topic. You brand yourself as an expert within that field and your readers know what to expect from you. It is also easier to monetize a narrow niche as advertisers are looking for targeted traffic and a focused topic has a very targeted audience.
For me the key in this case would be to monitor the performance and amend your strategy accordingly. Let’s say you have written 30 different posts during the first 3 months on a wide variety of topics and did your best in promoting and spreading the word about them, and you have some website data from Google Analytics or similar to analyze from. I would be looking into what kind of posts were most visited during the period. Can you see any trends or is there any specific topic or format (i.e. length, multimedia, structure) that seems to be working better than the rest? Working better would for me mean more visitors and longer time spent on site consuming the content.
I would also be looking at some other metrics. How many people have shared the posts in social media via Twitter retweets or Facebook shares and likes? How many comments have you got from people either in the comment area or in social media? Again look at the bigger picture and see if there are some trends in terms of interest from the general public for a certain topic or format.
Source of traffic is another very relevant metric to look at. Who sent you visitors and to what articles? You may find some interesting sites to cooperate with, or some forums and other communities you never even knew existed and that appreciate your advice and your knowledge on a certain topic.
One site, two topics: Pros & cons
If you have passion for more than one topic, I would recommend taking it one topic at a time. Start one site, give it some 3-6 months, focus on writing good and quality content, focus on promoting it to your audience. After some time, the process will become easier, you will get into the rhythm of writing 2-3 posts a week and marketing will not be much more than sending out a tweet about your article. You will be able to automate by writing on a consistent schedule and encouraging your visitors / subscribers / Twitter followers to spread the word about it, which will leave you with more time to start another site.
Keep an open mind though as you might happen to find that two topics mixed in your personal way create something very unique with a potentially large audience. Doing all this analyzing might make your decision easier and you may find that the best answer to your question will be given by your readers in the form of data. Like with everything else, there are some positive and negative sides to consider, before deciding to do a mesh-up. Let us take a look at pros and cons.
Let’s take a look at the positive:
- Your site becomes more unique with two subjects: there are a gazillion sites about fashion, but there’s only a handful about fashion and cooking.
- You reach two big target groups and a small niche: if you post quality work about both subjects you can end up with three types of users – two groups for each topic and one smaller group that shares your unique interest for both.
- It’s more interesting for you to write: writing articles about the same topic can at times feel uninspiring. You can avoid that by switching from one to another.
- Inspiration keeps coming: with more topics, you have more sources of inspiration so you will never lack ideas for new posts.
- More advertising opportunities as your site will be targeting a wider range of people
- More fellow bloggers to befriend: befriending the other bloggers is important, and here you have even more to choose from.
And on to the negative:
- The topics don’t relate in any way: make sure at the topics are related in some way or the other to create a cohesive feel. Beauty and cars might not be the best choice, however healthy food and chemical-free beauty might
- You’re not an expert in neither: when ting to do too much, we end up doing nothing, so be careful not to take on too much, you’ll risk losing credibility. We literally can’t be good at everything
Multiple sites: Pros & cons
At some point, you may entertain the idea of launching multiple sites on a wide range of topics. But managing them properly can be a very delicate task. To start off with the right foot when you decide to extend your “family”, take some time to sort out all implications: content making, SEO, marketing and your own time management.
- Content coherence. Multiple sites are easier to brand, based on individual traits of content and design, than a single all-in-one. Your content should be diverse enough to keep people’s interest alive, but just as unitary in order to be recognizable.
- Advertising profit. Multiple niche sites naturally bring more ad spots and a wide range of qualified keywords. You will be able to target diverse income sources and, in time, have a better chance of meeting high quality scores in Google AdWords for the search relevance. Notable PPC advertising marketplaces also favor sites which belong to a distinguishable niche.
- SEO benefits. The great thing about multiple domains is that they can be interlinked and, in time, pass link juice from one to another. As for all SEO, this is a slow process, so you shouldn’t expect results on the first year or so.
- Self-improvement. Last but not least, multiple sites bring a better opportunity to learn and self-improve, by coping with a high demanding job. Beyond all make up, blogging is essentially about great content that inspires people to talk about. And this greatness depends on the quality of information you fill posts with. When you maintain a niche, by description you get to specialize on that particular topic. Your articles will gain a great deal of informational density and depth of thought, a lot more than for generalist bloggers who thin spread their attention upon myriads of knowledge fields.
- Time consuming. Posting daily on several sites can be daunting. You risk content gaps and going inconsistent with your articles at times. To do it at good standard you have to invest loads of work, some flair for the dreaded multitasking, plus the right web tools. Of course, in time you can lighten your burden by delegating others to administrate each one of the sites in which concerns content and back end.
- Marketing challenges. If you thought that single sided promotion is hard, with multiple sites you have several public niches to target. Don’t panic, but take it small steps at once. Each marketing campaign should be targeted meaningfully towards these segments of public. It can be difficult to promote different sites on the same social media account, especially in the case of YouTube or Twitter. To avoid confusions, it’s a good idea to create separate profiles for each of your most important projects.
In conclusion, there is no foolproof path, such as in life, but choosing a formula is about individual taste. Which is your favorite one?