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Blog for Money: Niche Blogging vs. General Blogging

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For many personal finance bloggers out there I am a new face to blogging.

It’s understandable, a simple whois will show you that PFtoday is actually pretty young.

But I’ve been working online as a web designer since 2002 and created my first blog in 2006.

In September 2007 I created my biggest blog to the date, a Romanian blog that, after 8 years is still one of the most respected in my country. It’s called DojoBlog.ro, if you are curious about it.

Over the years I blogged about various topics I am passionate about: music, movies, books, orthodontics, martial arts, parenting, travel, personal finance, web design and pro blogging etc.

It allowed to me get lots of clients (since people were impressed with my writing and my overall ideas) and also earned me a bit of an income when it comes to advertising.

As you can imagine, seeing that I am pretty fluent in English as well (and have already written hundreds of articles in this language in the past decade), I decided to replicate my success on the ‘international‘ market.

I could even start translating the over 2 thousand articles I have created there and would have content for at least 5 years.

Well, as we say in Romania, what you plan at home, doesn’t always work at the market.

Running a general blog is really fun though, here is what made me enjoy it so much:

  • it was so easy to create content for it – I could write about anything: from my work as a freelance web designer to my travels, what happened in my city, what books I have read or the movies I’ve last seen.
  • my audience was larger – people would come to read any of these articles and I wouldn’t cater to one type of reader only (blogger, or traveler, or freelancer).
  • the chances to get advertising deals were pretty big, again, since I’d cater to a large audience. I had advertisements for banks, women products, magazines etc.
  • getting traffic wasn’t difficult and my inspiration never ran dry.

Armed with this experience, I thought that it would work the same for an ‘international‘ blog. And it didn’t.

Why blogging for money worked with a niche blog and not with a general one

Doing proper SEO was close to impossible

On my old blog I never really bothered with SEO. I had already some good traffic and google liked my site.

Sure, you couldn’t get any ‘focused‘ keywords, since I’d rank well for all kinds of crazy stuff. When it came to this blog, it stopped working, the competition is already fierce and, if you’re not making some serious efforts, you’ll never rank for anything.

Only after finding my niche as a personal finance blog, I was able to start getting some Google traffic.

Never got a real audience

Getting return visitors wasn’t difficult in a small blogosphere, but it proved almost impossible to get my readers to come back with such an unfocused content.

The moment I started writing articles that would cater to a type of readers, they started commenting and getting back to read more.

Advertisers came only after it was clear that it’s a personal finance blog

Real advertisers didn’t come until they noticed what my target niche is really about.

So no chances to advertise a travel company today, a dog-food factory tomorrow and a local barber shop next week. Advertisers here know their business and want to get the best targeted traffic possible.

And it’s not gonna work with a general blog like I wanted it to be.

While writing content is not that easy, being more focused helps me get ideas for articles

Having a broad topics list is nice, but one good topic helps you focus better.

I now write about saving money, freelancing, debt etc., while also venturing from time to time into the pro blogging niche.

It might seem daunting to constantly create content on such few main topics, but, once you start organizing your thoughts, the ideas come.

My readers are always pleased with the content, since it’s what they were looking for

When blogging about everything and anything, I’d get people annoyed that I’m writing ‘again‘ about freelancing for instance, while others asked me if I could create more articles about it, since they were really interested in what I had to share.

Same with my travel articles: some readers couldn’t get enough of my stories and pictures, same things that drove others away. Now, any visitor who comes here knows exactly what they’ll find, so no more problems.

Even after a short time since getting my act together and writing more on this blog, it started showing progress and results.

I got some good advertising deals, the traffic is slowly picking up speed and I’m getting recognized in the personal finance blogosphere.

The fun thing I keep on telling people about is that years ago I decided to drop out of the Economics Faculty, since all that talk about money, demand, offer and accounting made me sick. And, here I am now, about 15 years later, writing about this stuff on my own accord and actually enjoying it.

What’s your story? Did you get better results on a niche blog? Have you ever tried running a general blog? How did it go?

34 COMMENTS

  1. I would say that each type of blog can serve different purposes. If you like to blog about everthing in your life, a general blog is a good idea. If you want to blog about something specific, having a niche blog is a good idea. A niche blog would target a much smaller audience vs a general blog and that’s fine. That is because you ARE trying to target a specific group, everyone else can either check your niche blog if they like or move on.

    • In theory, a niche blog does have a smaller audience, though, in the personal finance niche for instance we do ‘talk’ to all people. I mean everybody has money and wants to know how to better spend it or earn more 😀

      It’s easier to focus on fewer keywords and the entire SEO work is more straightforward. In my case, this was the main reason to actually move to a more narrow niche than just blog about everything.
      Ramona recently posted…The 11 Top Benefits of Having a Company BlogMy Profile

  2. I’ve seen a few general blogs that are actually popular (aka, they have tons of comments). However, ‘the big league’ is represented by niche blogs, IMO. As DC mentioned in the comment above, you need motivation to keep blogging, and choosing a niche you’re passionate about will help a lot in this case.

  3. I think, if you’re blogging for money, they you DEFINITELY need to create a niche blog! As both newbie@blogging and Ramona mentioned above, passion is a must!

    On the other hand, if you’re just blogging because you feel like writing about 100 different topics, then sure, a general blog is OK too, but don’t expect to have a huge audience. Unless you’re a big celebrity who blogs about everyday life, forget about earning an income from a general blog.

    • Well, a general blog CAN earn you money, and lots of it, but I think it’s easier with a niche site. A big editorial team can handle a general blog and whip out articles like there’s no tomorrow. So there’s success to be had (there are some HUGE ones out there), but I think that it’s more difficult to properly market and do SEO for, especially if you’re a one man show as I am for instance.
      Ramona recently posted…The 11 Top Benefits of Having a Company BlogMy Profile

  4. I don’t know much about blogging, but if I may contribute with my opinion, here it is: I think both type of blogs can earn money, niche and general.
    A niche blog can earn money for the reasons you have stated above. But a general blog can also be a good idea, just take a look at the online newspapers or review blogs! They will write about anything, regardless if the stories aren’t related. So, I think that if you have something interesting to say, people will read your blog, even if it’s a general one, because blogging doesn’t necessarily mean you will write about what you had for lunch, but you can write about a lot of stuff!

  5. Blogging for money is a very trendy topic and since I’ve read a thing or two on the subject, I’d like to pitch in: yes, passion is a must! However, the niche you chose to blog about has to be a profitable one, if you’re doing it to earn an income (be it big or small). Personal finance is a good niche! But blog about fishing rods to earn money…. well, you’d probably be disappointed!

  6. I’ve never tried running a general blog, because frankly, I don’t think I have enough resources right now.

    Like you said, it’s much easier to do SEO on a niche blog, and since I’m the only one doing the work on my niche website, it’s easier for me to manage things.

    Then, the focusing on ideas. I also find it’s more manageable to focus on one topic, and try and cleave it into small bits, rather than having a broad range of topics and not knowing if the audience will be interested in them or not. I’m afraid of losing ground if I come up with an article that doesn’t appeal to my (still so few) readers.

    • Well it is all about finding that little sweet spot, then, between that board approach and the more niche, specified approach. It is hard to find, and probably varies on the person, and is in general allusive to us all which makes things tough. When it comes to material, though, you might find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of data out there is your topic is something like religion or economics…..you gotta really zoom in somewhere and find a focus. Interesting stuff, and thanks for sharing.

  7. I think I still prefer a general blog to a niche one. I would be bored to tears. I love to write about different things. The variety is what I enjoy. I hate repetitive stuff. I think it is just a matter of time, If you keep going at it, you are bound to have success at some stage.

  8. I’m still researching between general and niche blogging. I started a personal blog in 2007. But, like you said, I must know my craft well in economics if I want to make money of it. You have a very convincing business plan for passionate bloggers and writers into generating money for what we do. Your Dojo Design seems to be a very lucrative Web designing/developing whom businesses can trust to work with.

  9. This is incredible! Your decision to forego a niche blog has come a long way. Your site is one reason I keep coming back– to learn techniques and understand online marketing, monetizing, and planning and building a online money-generating business. What do you advise on how to improve a photography website? How to increase traffic and visibility to the Web?
    Thanks for your tutorials!

  10. I have read your whole article without blinking! I only have 1 question. Uhm.. how exactly does one make money blogging?

    You mentioned advertisers came to you once they knew this is a personal finance blog. Do advertisers contact blog owners on their own or do blog owners have to make the first step? Also, what other methods are proven to be a good way to earn some money from a website?
    I’d be very interested in reading some more articles in regards to this very topic!

  11. Niche blogging, all the way!
    It’s easier to optimize the website for long tail keywords from the same category, people won’t get bored because they only find SOME of the articles interesting and it’s a lot easier for niche blogs to attract targeted advertisers.

    • I am interested more in the whole attracting targeted advertisers. The reason I am curious is because I am just not certain how many of them there are out there, and how prevalent they are in the marketing sphere. I just cannot see all that many advertisers out there for certain products or niches, and then I would think that the competition to get those advertisers would be really tough. I could very well be wrong, though, and it would not be the first time.

  12. When I search for personal finance advice, I expect to find a personal finance blog/website. I find some niches are “too professional” to mix them up with general blogging. Just my 2 cents 🙂

  13. I think both methods to make money work, but you’d need different approaches. Maybe a more heavy promotion for the general blog, writing original, unique and “wow” articles, when it comes to niche blogging. It’s all about how you separate yourself from the rest 🙂

  14. Hi

    My partner and i have quit our jobs and have decided that we would like to start a blog, We are debating about niche or no niche as we would ultimately love to be able to make money off of it. We would love to also add video blogs in of our adventures.

    We would love to blog about our travels in general though im also a beauty therapist and personal trainer so i would be doing alot of adventures around those topics as well.

    Is it to much of a variety should we just stick to blogging about one thing?

  15. I used to think niche blogging will become boring after a while, since it’s only 1 subject to write about, but that’s not the case at all! I’ve discovered that, if you’re passionate about your niche, you can always come up with new ideas and write tons of content. Of course, it does help to be passionate about a profitable niche!

  16. Well the one distinction that I have found in my experience, as I am sure others have as well, is that niche blogging is easier. I am not talking about easier when it comes to operating or monetizing, but when it comes to content. You soon find out that content is hard to come up with, and if you are doing a general blog, you REALLY have to have some direction with it or else you will just lose yourself and your audience. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Thank you for this post. I have a question and will be happy if you help me out with the answer. I have been blogging on a multi niche but recently want to change to a single niche. The question now is, do I need to delete all my old post? Leave them and just focus on that single niche? Or move to a new domain? Am asking because my current site is already optimised.

    • I would have to agree with Ramona here, and at least for me personally, it is hard for me to delete anything. Everything that you have done is probably a good amount of work and time, so you do not want to see anything like that go to waste. I would say maybe reorganize and shift around, but don’t delete.

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