Blog for Money: Niche Blogging vs. General Blogging

09-10-2015 | Ramona |

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?

If you like what you are reading, please share. Thank you :)

Recent Comments

  • DC @ Young Adult Money

    October 10, 2015 at 1:57 am

    Considering how difficult it is to stay motivated to stick with blogging, I’d bet that a huge majority of blogs that have staying power are going to be niche blogs.

    • Ramona

      October 10, 2015 at 10:19 am

      Motivation is indeed an issue with many things in life. In blogging is even worse, especially if you don’t start seeing some good results fast. Just working and not getting something in return does discourage a lot of bloggers

  • Jasmine2015

    October 10, 2015 at 2:38 am

    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.

    • Ramona

      October 10, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      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.

  • Newbie@Blogging

    October 10, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    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.

    • Ramona

      October 10, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      If you are not passionate, you won’t make it. It would kill me to write about something I totally hate. Even if I didn’t quite care about personal finance and economy years ago, since 2009 I actually started getting more interested about it and now it’s something I am truly passionate about.

  • Leyla

    October 12, 2015 at 8:47 am

    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.

    • Ramona

      October 12, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      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.

  • jANE

    October 13, 2015 at 9:01 am

    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!

    • Ramona

      October 31, 2015 at 10:41 am

      Yes, these can indeed work, but for a general blog you’ll probably need to write a lot of content to start seeing some results. This means you’d need an editorial team, which costs. There are indeed some great examples of HUGE general blogs, but they also have many authors to whip out constant content.

  • fehmeen @ Debt Free Lifestyle

    October 13, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Experience has also taught me that specialized blogs have a better financial future compared to a general blog, and I think it’s mostly because search engines need to know today that you are good at the topic at hand, so they can send authentic traffic towards you. Thanks for sharing your two-cents!

    • Ramona

      October 13, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      I feel the same way. The reason why I started seeing immediate results here for instance, compared to when I tried to be a jack of all trades on a previous project. Thank you for dropping by 😉

  • Tiger

    October 14, 2015 at 8:09 am

    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!

  • April

    October 16, 2015 at 2:36 am

    Now I know the difference between niche blogging and general blogging. This tips will help me how to decide. Thanks for your post.

  • Connery

    October 20, 2015 at 9:47 am

    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.

    • rz3300

      August 27, 2016 at 11:29 am

      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.

  • oraclemay

    October 23, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    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.

  • Rebekah

    October 27, 2015 at 2:58 am

    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.

  • Rebekah

    November 2, 2015 at 3:14 am

    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!

  • Alessya

    November 4, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    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!

  • M. Freelancer

    November 16, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    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.

    • rz3300

      September 7, 2016 at 7:06 pm

      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.

  • Angelina M.

    December 10, 2015 at 9:24 am

    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 🙂

  • Mikey

    December 28, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    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 🙂

  • chelsea

    July 11, 2016 at 4:39 am

    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?

    • Ramona

      July 11, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      Hello Chelsea.

      Great work so far 🙂

      Both travel and beauty are excellent niches, so you could pursue both. On separate blogs though. You could develop them and then link one from another.

  • linda

    July 12, 2016 at 7:56 am

    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!

    • Ramona

      October 1, 2016 at 10:44 am

      Yeah, it’s pretty easy to come up with a lot of content since most niches are way to broad anyway, so there’s always something to write about. Use a mindmapping solution and you’ll come up with countless great articles 😉

  • rz3300

    August 11, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    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.

    • Ramona

      October 1, 2016 at 10:45 am

      Have noticed this as well. My general blog is lagging behind because there’s so much I could potentially write about, that I just can’t focus enough to write the darn article 😀

  • waal

    October 1, 2016 at 7:53 am

    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.

    • Ramona

      October 1, 2016 at 10:46 am

      I don’t delete anything. Ever.

      You can start focusing on your new niche and slowly optimize for that only. I’ve noticed many bigger blogs that are now more focused on a niche, but which started broader.

    • rz3300

      October 2, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      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.

  • waal

    October 1, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    thanks for the advice…. I really appreciate.

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