Niche site or personal blog?

26 replies
Well hello all, I've just arrived and wanted to ask a first question.

Honestly, I've been trying to get going with 'making money online' and haven't done so good. As I'm trying to get some decent keywords and started with my passions 'photography, kids, church, dog etc' I wonder if rather than starting with a niche site for say 'slr photography for beginners' I develop a personal blog and have a photography category.

This seems to make sense to me as I think Google would appreciate it's authenticity rather than a see me as trying write for money.

I'd put the same quality posts into either site, I just wonder how different google would treat a specific 'photography' site compared to my personal 'adysblog.com/photography' posts.

I'd like to go down the personal blog route but joined here to ask you guys what your opinions are on the matter.

Thanks for any feedback you can give.

Ady
#blog #niche #personal #site
  • Profile picture of the author Orhan Alparslan
    Hi Ady

    Welcome
    I would combine your personal story with your photography business on the same website.
    Good educational stuff on its own doesn't sell, a good story does. You need to attach your personal touch to your content to distinguish yourself from the competition (be unique to Google's view) and people may relate to your story as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author adysalisbury
      Yes that's what I was thinking. I know it's competitive but I have so many friends say they've just bought an SLR and dont know what to do I know there's a huge market. Rather than worry too much about 'the' keyword, I can go for lower traffic ones (using LongTailPro) and concentrate on each post standing alone. Do you agree?
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  • Profile picture of the author IM Alex
    Welcome to the forum Ady.

    Now as to your question..

    1. Stop worrying so much about Google. It'll drive you nuts. There are many other ways to bring traffic to your site. Don't rely just on Google.

    2. Stay in one category. People who are looking for help in photography won't have much interest in other topics on your blog. This could actually hurt your site's ranking.

    3. Why not combine your options? Create a niche blog with a personal touch. Write as if you're actually talking to someone you know. Don't be afraid to be friendly and entertaining your audience. Try to stand out from the rest of the boring blogs repeating the same boring stuff.

    4. Engage your audience, ask for their feedbacks and opinions, join polls, ask them to tell you what they need help with, etc. In short, treat them as the real people they are, instead of just pageview numbers.


    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author adysalisbury
      Haha, thanks Alex, yes I do sound like I'm whittling dont I!

      So you'd advise to set up a new site dedicated to photography standing alone rather than develop adysblog.com?
      I totally agree with what you're saying about being personal, I am actually thinking of bringing in a few friends and family that ask me this stuff and training them on film. I genuinely want to help people and build a great resource and you may be right, not many come at it like this.

      Thank
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      • Profile picture of the author adysalisbury
        ... I have to say, I'm really keen to keep it on adysblog.com unless you think I will suffer for it (there I go, whittling gain).

        I just think I can set up and keep on top of social media etc easier this way.
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        • Profile picture of the author Thriftypreneur
          Originally Posted by adysalisbury View Post

          ... I have to say, I'm really keen to keep it on adysblog.com unless you think I will suffer for it (there I go, whittling gain).

          I just think I can set up and keep on top of social media etc easier this way.
          Some good advice in this thread already. I may be one of the only people on this forum who doesn't advocate branding yourself. Having a personal blog is fine, but if you're making a business out of it, personal branding can really hinder your exit opportunities (and value), should you decide to sell your business down the road.

          Just something to think about.
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          • Profile picture of the author adysalisbury
            Charanjit - You are dead right about the look of the domain. Point taken
            RockingLastsForever - I hear you about the mismatched topics
            Thriftypreneur - An exit plan, selling up, what great advice, thanks. I'd never have considered things like this.
            Adam - Not quite sure what you're saying about an update, sorry.

            Guys, again, thanks so much for your support and interest.
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          • Profile picture of the author adysalisbury
            Ok, so I've come away from the personal blog after your valuable advice but I'm struggling with LongTailPro to come up with a decent, low competition keyphrase around photography, seems it's very competitive.

            Again, am I too concerned about the details here, could I find a domain name around photography and just do some basic training and reviews or do I really have to fit it around a certain key phrase? I guess I'm looking at more than google for traffic right.
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            • Profile picture of the author Thriftypreneur
              Originally Posted by adysalisbury View Post

              Ok, so I've come away from the personal blog after your valuable advice but I'm struggling with LongTailPro to come up with a decent, low competition keyphrase around photography, seems it's very competitive.

              Again, am I too concerned about the details here, could I find a domain name around photography and just do some basic training and reviews or do I really have to fit it around a certain key phrase? I guess I'm looking at more than google for traffic right.
              Here's an interesting statistic regarding niche sites and primary keyword phrases. Depending on the niche, once the site is established, usually 80%+ of your search engine traffic is going to come from keywords other than your primary keyword.

              So, while having a few good primary keywords to target is nice, it's certainly not mandatory to getting search engine traffic.
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              • Profile picture of the author bretski
                Is this a hobby site for you or are you planning on trying to make money with the site or sites... since there's no law saying that you can't have 2, 4 or 40 sites. Also, how are you planning on monetizing your site or sites again? I couldn't find that in the thread. Who is your target audience?
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      • Profile picture of the author adysalisbury
        Thanks Mike, certainly thinking of video, hadn't really thought of podcast due to the visual nature of what I'm covering but I'm sure there are things to talk about too.
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        • Profile picture of the author runningonjuice
          Why not do both and have 2 blogs?

          The personal blog could be a good way to cut your teeth on writing, images, traffic strategy etc. You can learn a heck of a lot with this.

          Then I would launch your niche site. Then you can start focusing on your niche and making some cash. I think people will like you have a personal blog as it shows you are human and not some corporate etc.

          As long as your are disciplined with producing content for both it totally could work for you.
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      • Profile picture of the author IM Alex
        Originally Posted by adysalisbury View Post

        Haha, thanks Alex, yes I do sound like I'm whittling dont I!
        Hehe nah, most beginners have the same worries, Google has become the big bad boogeyman some marketers use to scare newbies with :p
        The point is, stop worrying so much about this Google algorithm update and that new flashy SEO method that can raise your PR.

        Just keep writing good content that actually helps your audience and keeps them engaged and makes them come back for more. This is what Google wants in the end anyway.


        Originally Posted by adysalisbury View Post

        So you'd advise to set up a new site dedicated to photography standing alone rather than develop adysblog.com
        Yup, you got it. I understand that you would wish to use a personal blog to brand yourself with, but it's better for your business (which is what this should be about) to keep things separated. Pick one main category and stick to it and its relevant sub topics.

        People who are struggling with post processing in photography and don't understand how some feature in Photoshop works or want to know what the heck the rule of third is really don't have much interest of, or benefit from, a post about the latest stroll in the park with the dog.


        Originally Posted by adysalisbury View Post

        I totally agree with what you're saying about being personal, I am actually thinking of bringing in a few friends and family that ask me this stuff and training them on film. I genuinely want to help people and build a great resource and you may be right, not many come at it like this.
        Definitely the right mentality and attitude. Focus on helping people and solving their problems instead of just thinking of pageviews and dollar signs. These are real people your dealing with, so treat them that way.

        Give them valuable solutions to their problems. Be friendly and casual, let them know you know they're there and that they're real people.

        This will eventually build your authority and make them remember you as the go-to person who provides valuable information regarding their problem.

        This way you will have much greater success when you write a review post about a certain product (or create one yourself) that can actually help solve a problem within the niche.

        And training videos are definitely a good way to go (especially in the field of photography), people are far more used to getting a visual instructional tutorial video that shows them how to do something right then and there than before.

        In short, people want answers now, and they want it as simple as possible. Give it to them.

        Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author adysalisbury
    Hmm, I'm keen to develop one big site really. Maybe I make the photography more prominent, even changing the header line to something photo related and push more personal content under an about me category?
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  • Profile picture of the author adysalisbury
    You're a star Alex, that all makes total sense. I think I just get a bit lost in this when I work alone and my doesn't have any interest. I'm really glad I joined this forum, this is exactly the conversation I have been missing.

    Thanks all, watch this space, ha ha!
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  • Profile picture of the author Charanjit
    I would keep them separate, two main reasons, if i was searching for photography for beginners and I see three sites.

    one called

    www.photography.com/beginers

    other called

    http://adysblog.com/category/photography/

    I would be more inclined to click on the top one. But if you do go for http://adysblog.com/category/photography/ I would suggest setting up google authorship.

    This is a huge advantage.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stuart Walker
    This seems to make sense to me as I think Google would appreciate it's authenticity rather than a see me as trying write for money.
    I think you are over estimating what Google can understand. Forget about what Google can or can't see / do and just focus on creating something of value for your visitors.

    A blog on lots of mismatched topics, i.e. photos, church, kids, dogs etc is too all over the place and will be of little interest to most people.

    Instead of trying to cater to the masses niche down and cater to a small but dedicated group of people with one interest and cover that topic really well.
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  • Profile picture of the author adamprattler
    if you do personal make sure you only write your personal experience relating to that topic \
    that said you could just as easily just make a niche website as long as you do have some branding which seems way more important after the recent 25th of june updates
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  • Profile picture of the author twinkenterprises
    I think you could find a domain name around photography, like the specific kind you're focusing on and do some basic training and some more specialized training for people who know more and want to advance thier skills. You could start out with things at a level of someone who never used a digital camera and then go up from there.
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    • Profile picture of the author adysalisbury
      Yes, and the penny has finally I think. Rather than doing small sites around random topics I build a great information site that people want to sign up for updates and I monetize through offers etc right!
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  • Profile picture of the author Tbyrd626
    I agree with IMAlex, to create a niche blog with a personal touch. Having a personal blog with your photography tips on it is not focused enough.

    If you are looking to make money with your blog, you need to get hyper-focused on a niche and do your best to offer value and helpful content related to that niche. If you do this, you won't be seen as just trying to make a buck. People want to learn from other people who are more experienced than them.

    So if your niche is "slr photography for beginners", think about what kind of help beginners are really looking for.

    I know for me, I am very intimidated by all of the buttons on new digital slr cameras. I don't know how to set the camera to do what I want it to do.

    You could choose a certain brand and model of camera and show beginners step by step how to use it. You could then have affiliate links for that particular camera only. Don't be afraid to only promote a few things. Create YouTube tutorials to drive traffic to your site.

    I can say from experience that photography is very confusing for a beginner. Break it down into easy, doable steps and you will be able to gain a following.
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    • Profile picture of the author andreas3
      Wondering why everyone says niche?

      Originally Posted by Tbyrd626 View Post

      I agree with IMAlex, to create a niche blog with a personal touch.
      From a marketing perspective, niche makes way more sense... not just because it's harder to find ads for a personal blog.

      You want to build a website that makes you money, right?

      Well, if you get a lot of traffic to your personal blog, you can make money. Maybe you have a really great personality and funny stories. But...

      If you got the same amount of traffic to a niche blog, you'd make much more money.

      Why does writing or buying a bunch of niche-specific, high-authority articles make you more money?

      Think about it this way... your personal story is what sets you apart from the competition. But when someone wants to buy something, they go to a website that has useful information.

      In other words, they land up on your niche blog. They read your blog articles. They realize... "Hey, this device is exactly what I need!" and... they click your ads.

      The same person could be reading your all-personal-stories photography blog every single freaking day for months and never click an ad.

      Does that mean you can't have any personal stories at all? Definitely not. Personal stories get you a following... especially if they're good. Just make sure you have at least as many useful articles.

      Do you like to go shoot outdoors? What about posting your outdoor photos... and then doing a series of articles on "emergency tripods," like those water bottle caps and beanbags they sell? Of course, you'd have affiliate links.

      Just some food for thought...
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  • Profile picture of the author franamico
    I would create a blog based on your passions. Yes, you can add some subcategories to test other niches...
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  • Profile picture of the author aarthielumalai
    Look at johnchow.com. He's making a LOT of money, and though his niche is internet marketing, he branded his site after his name. I think that is a great idea. People follow blogs to get that person's individual opinion, everyone knows that, so branding your site with your name, especially in a niche you are really passionate about would work really well.

    Just remember, you cannot sell this site later on, so if you are sure you can maintain it for a long time, then go into it. All the best.
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  • Profile picture of the author curationsoft
    I would say personal blog with content that catches your interest.
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