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Should You Go Niche?

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Faced with the massive amount of competition among anything even remotely general online, it’s no wonder why most SEO consultants (including SEO super stars like Aaron Wall) routinely regurgitate the conventional marketing wisdom of go niche.

In fact, lately website owners are taking this to a new level and going extremely niche, creating massive websites to target an extremely narrow subject.

It’s simple advice, pick a very specific topic and build you entire website, blog, image, and brand solely around that. Show that you’re passionate about XYZ and compile a resource that stands out and can be easily found due to the limited competition in that field.

It’s the belief that for a smaller player it’ll be better to dominate a “niche” rather then be just one choice lost in a larger marketing place filled with bigger players who have more resources and money then you do.

This advice is sound and has generally stood the test of time online, but it’s not the only way to obtain an audience and find online success. Many people get sucked into thinking they have to go overly niche or they won’t have an opportunity to stand out in the jungle of cyberspace. THIS IS NOT TRUE.

Picking too narrow of a topic, like most sites do, limits the creativity of the author and puts strict limitations on what the site can become. When Myspace was launched Friendster was already online and doing well. Myspace didn’t pick a niche; they innovated and created one of the most successful website of all time. There are countless other examples.

One particular bad example, that also works, would be the naked news broadcasters. News and soft-core pornography are both very broad topics. But by combining the two and “stylizing” the presentation they were able to receive an amazing amount of press and exposure by presenting them in a unique way.

Trying to stand out in a sea of competitors will help you refine your ideas and demand more work & creativity for success. Plus when you do find success you’ll have built up a lot more value then if you box yourself in by going over niche. Underneath your broad topic target the individual pages and posts of your site for specific keywords. Provide some type of unique content or spin on the subject you’re targeting.

Let the individual pages on your blog / website be specifically targeted, your entire site theme doesn’t have to be. New social bookmarking and networking technologies allow for massive amounts of potential traffic to come through a single post or page;

If you going to write on a broad topic pick an angle that can stick out, go into more detail, perhaps give strong opinions that contrast the overly objective larger competitors or do a better job of discussing the issues then anybody else. Traffic can come from many sources besides the conventional search engines.

Be active, be alive and be exciting. Overly niche sites are boring, because of their limitations. Engage your audience, talk to your visitors and let your site evolve.

Use the advantages of a broad topic on your main site, but target niche keywords on the individual pages / posts. Create lots of content. Be patient, and steadily keep creating more content. Let your passion speak for itself and work hard, the traffic will come, even if you don’t go niche.

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About the Author

Solomon Rothman is the CIO for Social Media Systems; an online marketing company that helps its client succeed by providing web development bundled with search marketing. He authors numerous blogs including 3net Search Engine Marketing Blog and loves the ongoing challenges of the online marketing world. Besides technology, Solomon’s other passions including filmmaking & screenwriting.

Should You Go Niche?
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