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October 7, 2015

How Do You Know if it’s Time to Redefine Your Blog’s Niche?

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Image Credit: Kristina B via flickr

If a frowny emoticon best describes your analytics or ad revenue report then you’ve come to the right place. You put a lot of time into carving out your niche, generating ideas, and building your authority but you’re paddling in circles with one oar. So should you consider redefining your blog’s niche?

Changing your blog’s direction is a huge step to take. So before you make your toughest decision since choosing between minesweeper and solitaire, we are going to give you a few key solutions to implement first.

Five things you need to know before redefining your blog niche

1. My traffic is increasing…. But my ads aren’t getting more clicks

More traffic looks nice on a graph but does not mean more money. If you run ads then you need to get people to click them. In many cases, your ads will be contextualized to your content. This means that the ad network you use attempts to match between your content and the ad content.

Driving the right traffic is more important than driving more traffic. Getting the right kind of people to walk in the door is more important than a deluge of window shoppers, so the first step in deciding whether to redefine your blog’s niche is to decide why your increase in traffic is not resulting in clicks.

Look at how you are qualifying your traffic. If you don’t have the right title tags and keywords in place, your organic traffic drivers will open the wrong doors for the wrong audience. Remember that all traffic is not created equal (think spam comments that say “this blog post is great information”).

You want to make sure that you are optimizing your tags so people know exactly what’s behind the link they are about to click.

Targeting with the appropriate keywords will not only help you with Search engine optimization in the long run, but will also place the right audience in front of your ads, and will allow you to target higher paying CPCs (cost-per-click).

Optimization should always be a concern, and if you are placing advertising on your website, evaluating and optimizing is necessary to improve your ad revenue. This includes using tried and true tactics to avoid banner blindness.

While seeing a spike in your number of visits is always great, it means nothing if those visitors aren’t the type of people who will click on the ads you serve.

Focusing on the right targeting and keywords can help you determine whether deciding to redefine your blog’s niche may be premature.

2. Certain types of blog content work better than others

Oftentimes, people find that one type or format of content routinely outperforms others… for example, “how-to” posts may result in traffic flocking in droves, while product review posts barely gets visitors.

There are simple (and free) tools available to help you find both the best topics to blog about and what kind of format works with the content and with your audience.

But no one knows your audience better than you (actually, no one know your audience better than your analytics but we’ll let it go). Evaluate what resonates most with your audience based on the past and compare to your competitors.

The data you have will go a long way to help you decide if you should create more of a specific type of content, diversify your content offerings, re-purpose content, or leave the niche altogether.

Use your data to better understand exactly which type of content resonates with your audience and scale efforts accordingly.

3. Help! Where did my traffic go?

There are a number of reasons for decreased traffic. You may be posting irregularly or the quality of your posts may have taken a dive. Or, you may not be submitting articles to the right places…

Whatever the reason may be, when your content drops there is one important thing you need to do…take action. This may seem like an obvious comment to make but you’d be surprised how many webmasters excuse traffic drops for seasonality, external factors, etc. and fail to take action. You need to adjust or if that’s not possible,target a different niche altogether.

If you focus on Christmas and in July it’s costing you more to drive traffic than you are bringing in in revenue, perhaps its time to broaden your approach.

4. My CPC changed and I am not making money any more

If your cost per click is no longer netting you revenues that are satisfactory with the effort you put forth, you may need to optimize your ads to get a better CTR. Improving your CTR has been proven to improve CPCs, in some cases.

If the ad network you use has decreased their payouts don’t run off to the next best thing. As my mother user to say, better the devil you know. Instead, make sure you are maximizing your monetization efforts. That does not mean place more ads but optimize the ones you are displaying to receive more clicks.

Remember, you have spent time learning this niche and refining your strategy. Before you head on a new adventure, make sure you have exhausted all other options.

5. There is just too much competition in this niche

Competition isn’t always a bad thing… it means the topic or product is hot, and ad payouts will probably be high. But it is hard to gain foothold in a highly competitive niche.

When operating in a competitive niche you have to be strategic. First, go for the low hanging fruit by getting specific with your targeting. If you talk about kitchens on your blog try focusing on certain appliances.

Laser focusing on specific products and not general kitchen posts may net you higher search engine ranking, high quality traffic, and great ad to content matching.

Another tactic is to go where others aren’t yet. For example try creating videos and/ or targeting mobile users with location specific content. While your niche may be crowded, you can use tactics that other marketers aren’t.

Maximize returns on your current content creation before taking on new adventures

So is it time to redefine your niche? If none of the tactics above net positive results, it may be time to choose a new niche for your blog. But because this is a big decision, testing and optimizing your blog posts and traffic driving efforts should be employed before creating a completely new focus.


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