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How to Start a Blog in a Crowded Niche

It’s getting hot in here.

Day 1: You were SUPER gung-ho to start blogging. “Yay, a way to make money!” you said to yourself as you began clicking away at your keyboard. “Connect with new friends!” “Sell my stuff!” “Get the word out!” “Yee-haw!”

You thought to yourself, “No other dentist in [insert your town/city here] is going to be blogging like ME. I am so ahead of the curve.” You thought to yourself, “What other wedding cake company in [insert your town/city here] is going to have such a stellar blog? No one!”

Day 1 (later that day): Wow. You were wrong!

Whoops. Turns out that everyone (it seems) is doing it (it, being… blogging). There goes your notoriety, eh?!

Don’t sweat it. We all face it. Every day, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of blogs and micro-blogs are launched. Some, like sweet, buttery cream, rise to the top and snatch up 80-90% of the hungry readership. How can you make yours do that?

#1: Don’t Panic, Plan

Probably the worst thing you can do as a blogger is get into the “why me?” rut. I’ve been there, and it isn’t any fun, is it? It can be frustrating as you literally hear the swooshing sound of other bloggers whizzing past you in terms of traffic and ranking, and as a result, popularity.

Make a blogging plan. Decide right now how often you will post, what you will write about (this is SO key), where you will circulate the goods (blog commenting), and how you will promote your blog.

This plan can be living; it can change over the life of your blog. That’s fine. The idea is to just make one and adapt it as necessary.

#2: Learn to listen and learn to learn

Probably the two best things you can do when first starting your blog is to listen to the buzz and learn how other bloggers are making their way through it and around it.

  • Who are the big contributors in your niche?
  • What do they write about?
  • Who are their readers?
  • How do they interact with them on the blog and outside of the blog as well?

You can even listen without participating in the conversation in the beginning. Many blogs give you the option to subscribe to comments without leaving a comment yourself, and this is a good opportunity for you to understand how people are interacting with your top blogger’s content (although if you’re not shy, go ahead and jump into the conversation, if even to ask a question).

#3: Carve out for yourself a niche within a niche.

The nice thing about this step is that you can test the waters and change direction as needed. Your primary niche is set – let’s say you are a wedding planner. Wedding planning is your niche. But perhaps in your business you typically work as a day-of wedding coordinator, and so you know a little bit more about day-of planning than others in your area. You can write about that a little more than the other stuff, effectively creating a niche within a niche. This will help you get used to adding your own somethin-somethin to the mix, and become known for your expert knowledge of a specific topic.

#4: Make the best of local search engine marketing

In the beginning, when your following in many of the social media channels is still small, you can really maximize search engine marketing, especially for local keyword phrases. Not everyone in the world is looking for a San Diego dry cleaner but people in San Diego are looking for just that! Be sure to use your location liberally – in your blog title, in your posts, in your comments, and pretty much wherever you go. And you really should list your blog in Google Places if you are local, too, to gain a bit of an unfair advantage and high ranking in search results (after all, you should rank higher for San Diego dry cleaner than one outside of the area).

Focus on making friends with other bloggers in your area and joining forums and communities that are local as well (that’s extra; beyond search engine marketing). When you guest post and share content, share it there, and leverage the search engine marketing that those sites are already doing.

#5: Meet people

Dare I say it? Can blogging be successful in a vacuum? Let all the people say… no. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. Again, long ago I tried it that way, too, and came up dry. Forums, blogging networks, comment support groups, Twitter, Facebook, and the like, are all really good ways to get out and show your face (er, avatar) so that people start getting to know you. Bloggers are people, too. It’s human nature to hang out with people we know and like, so make sure that people know you.

Ready… Go

Ask any blogger you admire and she or he will tell you that it is entirely possible to blog successfully in a crowded niche. That’s one of the nice benefits of blogging and producing great content for people to use and pass on to others. Don’t be afraid of the crowd and the rising tidal waves – jump in! Leverage the pathways that have been laid and start laying some of your own. :)

Tia Peterson is the founder of bizchickblogs.com.

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{ 70 comments… add one }

  • Tamara Calhoun December 20, 2012, 6:03 am

    It would be a lot easier if you were writing about a niche that not so many blogger write about; but then that would be saying to work on a coffee shop when you’re a doctor. If your chosen niche is jam-packed with bloggers, see the situation as an opportunity instead of an obstacle.

  • Trung Nguyen May 17, 2012, 4:23 am

    To start blogging in a crowded niche, I think we must ask the question “is it a niche we have passion about?” If the answer is yes, that’s a niche we can choose, if not, we must choose the others.
    Trung Nguyen recently posted..How to Start a Blog: 7 Steps to Start a Blog YourselfMy Profile

  • Usama September 30, 2010, 6:21 pm

    Just stay focused on your tasks, pick up things and interact with other bloggers.
    Thanks for the advice.
    Usama recently posted..Who Are You Outsourcing Your Self-Worth ToMy Profile

  • Suresh Khanal September 8, 2010, 9:17 am

    This rekindles the strong hope and inspires to increase effort to sustain in this tough weather of blogging sky. thanks for the tips! after all everybody will get their share of traffic based upon how much they have followed your tips.
    Suresh Khanal recently posted..Result of Computer Operator Exam Conducted by Public Service Commission- PokharaMy Profile

  • Michelle September 6, 2010, 8:42 am

    Cool Blog. A lot of people nowadays are blogging about how to get niches etc. and most of them are truly technical, this article explains everything in simpler to understand – everyday language. lol.

  • Tanveer August 25, 2010, 2:37 am

    A very good post for bloggers who are going to blog on the same topics which others are already blogging.

  • Camden August 18, 2010, 8:32 am

    Tia – Thanks for the info about blogging in a crowded niche. I started a couple of years ago and had no clue how crowded my niche is!

    Surprisingly, I had never heard of VN7 until you mentioned it in your comments section – looks like a great resource.

    Do you recommend local search marketing for affiliate marketers? I don’t have a physical shop or presence (other than my own self!) here in Denver…
    Camden recently posted..Wireless Car Mouse- Zoom the Internet in StyleMy Profile

  • James King August 11, 2010, 1:10 pm

    This is very interesting because I was researching this last week.

    It is important to be very creative and use something that takes your blog to the next level. Multimedia is a good opportunity to apply your messages use audio or video to improve the impact of your blog.

  • TJ McDowell August 11, 2010, 7:32 am

    Especially in a crowded market, you may even have to rely on people you already know to start getting readers. If you know other vendors in a similar field, get them to read your blog. Give them incentive to read because you mention their names when you work with them. Then you can build on that. Don’t you think?
    TJ McDowell recently posted..Photography Startup – 5 Books You Need To ReadMy Profile

  • John Paul August 9, 2010, 8:26 am

    I’m a lil late to this..lol But great tips.

    There is room for everyone, if you take the time to learn how to stand out, do things others are not doing.
    John Paul recently posted..I Will Teach You To Be Rich Book ReviewMy Profile

  • Rahul August 8, 2010, 8:40 pm

    I am thinking to start blog for very competitive niche. Already 5 top ten blogs has 5000 pages indexed and updating daily many times a day. Do you think, we will be ever be able to dominate over them?

    • Tia Peterson August 9, 2010, 12:18 am

      Hi Rahul – Maybe not. It depends on the niche and the traffic flow. 5000 pages is a lot, but it’s not important if your blog and your indexed pages are more relevant than theirs. The goal would be to get your blog indexed as quickly as possible (try getting a link from a high PR forum like v7n.com) and then post often – ALWAYS staying on target in terms of SEO. Very little room for deviation there.

      Use the Wonder Wheel to choose your categories and article topics. Make your blog spot on SEO-wise and you will be fine.

      Cheers,
      Tia

      • Rahul August 10, 2010, 12:32 pm

        Possibly you are correct but i still feels i can get large volume of traffic out of this niche. Long tails will be easy i guess.. I will update this blog monthly 15 times for few months and let see how traffic grows.

        • Tia Peterson August 10, 2010, 1:49 pm

          Right on. Don’t forget to monitor, though, as you go. Frequent updating alone doesn’t bring traffic. You need good quality links, also. If you notice you aren’t getting good search engine visibility than use other methods, too.
          Tia Peterson recently posted..Indispensable Blogging Lessons from HubPagesMy Profile

  • Kok Siong August 8, 2010, 6:09 pm

    Hi Tia! Nice to see your guest post here! Yes, most of the bloggers tend to give up easily when they meet an obstacle in their blogging journey. Planning is important for every blogger.
    Kok Siong recently posted..Sunday Drama Series: Mom of a Child with Down Syndrome (Part 4)My Profile

    • Tia Peterson August 9, 2010, 12:15 am

      Hi Kok – Thanks!!

      And what could help is this – planning for obstacles! We already know we’re going to run into them, so might as well realize it ahead of time and keep our eye on the goal the whole time.

      Thanks for your comment,

      Tia

  • Steve Scott Site August 8, 2010, 4:20 pm

    Very good points on the things you need to do to get started in a crowded niche.

    I like the first one “don’t panic”

    It won’t all happen in a day, but if you keep plugging away it will get better.

    Thanks for a motivational post.
    Steve
    Steve Scott Site recently posted..Steve’s Sunday Selections- August 8, 2010My Profile

    • Tia Peterson August 9, 2010, 12:13 am

      Hi Steve – You’re welcome! I’m glad it was motivating. :)

  • Cindy August 6, 2010, 10:56 am

    nice post Tia :)

    better to dive in than to simply test the waters… otherwise, when will they ever notice you.
    Cindy recently posted..Stressful Blogging 101- Use Sleepmaker AppsMy Profile

    • Tia Peterson August 9, 2010, 12:12 am

      Hi Cindy – Thanks. I agree. The fact is that hemming and hawing about it won’t get us any closer to our desired goals. We should give ourselves more credit than to only reach for what we know we can obtain.

      Cheers!

      Tia

  • Colleen August 5, 2010, 5:13 pm

    Nice article Tia. We are certainly in a crowded niche, but fortunately some of our main competitors are not bothering to blog. So we kinda have free run of the store, at least until folks in our niche start realizing business can be garnered from blogging.
    Colleen recently posted..Tri Cities Washington Business Crime Prevention ConferenceMy Profile

  • Andreas August 5, 2010, 10:42 am

    I am going with Matt Cutts advise here. If possible start your new blog in a sub niche and then expand to larger niches from there. Your site will build traffic better this way.

  • Mark Thompson August 5, 2010, 10:26 am

    I think your first point is spot on. As a blogger you always pay closer attention to all of the bloggers that seem to be capturing all of the traffic and spotlight. Its important to stay focused and have a strategy in place. If you are providing great content and reaching out to other in the community, you will start to see results.

    Great post Tia.
    Mark Thompson recently posted..Making Sense of Social Media Analytics – With Adam Covati [Podcast]My Profile

    • Tia Peterson August 5, 2010, 12:08 pm

      Thanks, Mark! It’s a great encouragement for bloggers, because it really does pay off at some point. Of course, common sense is always in order but persistence and patience will take any blogger a long way.

  • Melinda August 5, 2010, 7:56 am

    I agree finding a niche in a niche can be the key. Figuring out what everyone else is doing, and then doing it a little differently can make you stand out, too.
    Melinda recently posted..7 quick organization fixes for under $10My Profile

    • Tia Peterson August 5, 2010, 12:06 pm

      Right; it’s also about meeting needs. If people have a need for what you write and how you write it, you will attract them.

  • Dean Saliba August 5, 2010, 7:48 am

    This is god advice. When I got into the MMO niche I didn’t do any planning (apart from reading John Chow’s blog), I just got stuck in. I do thinkthat if I had planned it better I would be doing a lot better than I currently am.

    • Tia Peterson August 5, 2010, 12:05 pm

      I think we all make that same mistake because blogging “seems” to come easy and it seems like you should just jump in. I believe there’s a difference between being proactive and going in feet first. :) Sometimes, especially where money is concerned, planning and research helps.
      Tia Peterson recently posted..Don’t Sweat Small Stuff – No, really. Don’t.My Profile

  • Hieu Martin August 5, 2010, 4:33 am

    Thanks fr great article @Tia
    Hieu Martin recently posted..Get category ID using category nameMy Profile

  • Sachin August 5, 2010, 3:58 am

    Great Post it covers all interesting points needed to start blogging :)
    Sachin recently posted..Search Engine Optimization SEO My Profile

  • Dev - Technshare.com August 5, 2010, 1:58 am

    Hey Tia,

    Great Post as always. I really like the point #5 “Meet people”..!!
    I think meeting other people/bloggers in your niche is the most important…!!

    Thanks for sharing this great Post. You’re doing awesome work everywhere :).

    ~Dev
    Dev – Technshare.com recently posted..6 Unique Ways to Come up with Killer Content IdeasMy Profile

  • tushar August 5, 2010, 12:35 am

    right….making your space in the highly populated niche is very very difficult but not impossible…i believe that every blogger is unique and he needs to find his uniqueness as soon as possible
    tushar recently posted..Its Time to Use Local AdvertisingMy Profile

  • Tran Tinh August 4, 2010, 10:17 pm

    Good planning is a MUST to stand out of the crowd. Thanks fr great article @Tia
    Tran Tinh recently posted..PayPal Electronic Withdrawal Service for Indian Bloggers Now ResolvedMy Profile

  • Charles August 4, 2010, 8:49 pm

    I definitely started off SUPER gung-ho when I first created my new blog and posted my first article. I knew I wasn’t gonna start off with hundreds of comments and stuff but what i find a bit unusual is that I have a lot of Twitter Followers (compared to how I started) and I can get people to reply here on FB to my comments or an article I submit here and I can also get people to vote for my articles on Blog Engage, but my articles on my blog tend to go with a couple of comments in some cases and none in others.

    I seem to be able to get people to my blog and read my articles, but i seem to have a problem getting them to comment and to be honest, I am not sure why. I know I just started and I have a plan to get more interesting things on my blog but I’m simply at a loss when it comes to getting people to comment. I still have a lot o research to do.

    • Tia Peterson August 5, 2010, 11:56 am

      Bloggers (some of us, no, most of us) tend to be really selfish. It depends on who is visiting your blog. If you’re attracting established bloggers, I find that they don’t want to take the time to comment unless there is something in it for them.

      I’d say that maybe you should test it out by (1) changing up your topic just enough to attract people very different than who you’re attracting now, or (2) try changing your promotional methods to reach totally different people. It’s obviously not your writing so it may be that you’re just not attracting chatty people!
      Tia Peterson recently posted..Confessions of an Amateur Nature PhotographerMy Profile

  • Murlu August 4, 2010, 8:24 pm

    No niche is too small :)

    In fact, like you said about going microniche, it can actually be more beneficial cause you could really hone in on your skills, become an authority and open up a ton of opportunities because who would you choose:

    Someone that’s all over the niche
    Someone that’s talking exactly about what you’re looking for

  • Robert August 4, 2010, 5:00 pm

    That’s a great post thanks, that seems to be one of the main problems these days. There’s so many dam bloggers out there that it’s nearly impossible to stake your piece of ground. There is no niche that I can think of (and i’ve spent time on this) that I could get into that isn’t already fairly crowded!
    Robert recently posted..Do You Know What Micro System Cameras Are?My Profile

    • growmap August 4, 2010, 8:22 pm

      While there are a ton of blogs there really are not that many that are exceptional in most niches beyond Internet Marketing or making money online.

      What I see that has HUGE untapped potential is to become THE blogger for a particular METRO LOCATION.

      Having watched Kristi Hines take her blog to an Alexa rank of about 10,000 and knowing how she did it we now know how to “stake your piece of ground” as Robert put it. Any serious blogger who wants to know how is welcome to join us in our private forum. Contact me for an invitation.
      growmap recently posted..How CommentLuv Grows Businesses and BlogsMy Profile

    • Tia Peterson August 5, 2010, 11:50 am

      Crowded or not, if there’s something you love and if you feel you can contribute something special to it, go for it.
      Tia Peterson recently posted..Wordpress Thesis Theme GalleriesMy Profile

  • Thomas Sinfield August 4, 2010, 3:48 pm

    I think meeting people is key for the success of any blog, but would also have to agree with creating a niche within a niche. However, I would personally just say, aim for the bigger niche but become known as the expert of a certain part of it!
    Thomas Sinfield recently posted..INTERVIEW: Dan Lew: SEO Expert & BloggerMy Profile

  • Julius Kuhn-Regnier August 4, 2010, 3:33 pm

    Thanks Tia for sharing this strategy. I believe that the best strategy is to meet people within in your niche. Only through that will you be able to get a nice following and stand out from other bloggers. By the way how is your blog going?! I think I sent you a message via your blog 3 weeks ago, you didnt get it did you?!

    • Tia Peterson August 4, 2010, 3:41 pm

      Hey Julius! Really!!?? I just checked my inbox and couldn’t find anything. Can you send a message to tia at bizchickblogs dot com? That way I’ll get it for sure. :)

      What I like about meeting others in the same niche is that you can see what works and what doesn’t work. It’s good to observe. Thanks for your comment!

      • Julius Kuhn-Regnier August 6, 2010, 4:00 am

        The problem is that I don’t remember why I wrote you. Ohh now I know :P I think it was because of your experiment with Hubpages. Anyway I will send you a message soon :)

  • Alysa Bajenaru, RD, CPT August 4, 2010, 3:29 pm

    Great post! I like how you talk about the importance of setting plans but letting them be fluid. I have found that to really help me as I go.

  • Aaron August 4, 2010, 3:27 pm

    Great tips Tia. I am totally with you on finding a niche inside of a niche. Once you grow that nice little micro niche, you can work your way into a larger niche. The biggest issue that newbies face is being overwhelmed with all the competition and most of them just quit. If you can really define a micro niche for yourself, you can do well.
    Aaron recently posted..blogReaction Introduces Revenue Sharing on Free Blogging PlatformMy Profile

    • Tia Peterson August 4, 2010, 3:39 pm

      I think people (everyone, myself included) can get down, even momentarily, when they feel like they’re not where they should be. That’s why checking out the competition is moreso for knowledge and not to get an edge. That comes with time and patience.

  • Stacey Cavanagh August 4, 2010, 3:24 pm

    I think it’s a big shock to people just how many blogs there are out there when they first enter “the blogosphere.” While it might be accurate to think, “I’m the only dentist in tinylittlesomewhereville with a blog,” then comes the sucker punch…. there are thousands upon thousands of dentists from everywhere else all at it too and if you want to be seen amongst them you need something special.

    Love this post. FOr me, it’s all in the first point…. planning without panic!
    Stacey Cavanagh recently posted..5 Stalker-Like Tendencies Facebook Has Instilled in us ALL!My Profile

    • Tia Peterson August 4, 2010, 3:37 pm

      Hey Stacey!

      Yes, it definitely helps to just not panic. I heard someone say once, “it’s just a blog.” And it really is. Even if it’s your sole source of income, it’s a blog, it can change, and the Internet will still be here tomorrow, so everything’s all good. :)

  • MommyB August 4, 2010, 1:58 pm

    Great article, I really love it. I wish I had carved out a niche for myself before beginning blogging but there’s still time :) Thanks for the helpful hints!!
    MommyB recently posted..New Beginnings Review and GiveawayMy Profile

    • Tia Peterson August 4, 2010, 2:34 pm

      Thanks! You’re right. There’s always time to shift. :)

  • Laura Davis August 4, 2010, 1:51 pm

    Haha I loved this post. Your language and imagery is so vivid. And its very true that going in, bloggers are super optimistic and ready to conquer any obstacle. Then they meet those obstacles and their confidence starts diminishing rather quickly.
    I like your solutions. Its very important for a blogger to have human connections and connect with other bloggers in their niche.
    Laura Davis recently posted..Should You Use a Car Loan to Build CreditMy Profile

    • Tia Peterson August 4, 2010, 2:35 pm

      Thanks, Laura. :) Yes! It makes all the difference in the world when bloggers start getting connected to other bloggers.

    • Hieu Martin August 5, 2010, 4:35 am

      Hi laura. I just know it make all the difference in the world when blogger start getting connected to another blogger.
      Hieu Martin recently posted..Get category ID using category nameMy Profile

  • Luqman August 4, 2010, 1:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing the interesting tips to how to start a blog in a crowded niche, I one of the most important thing is to have a working and suitable plan in place. Manage your time effective in other to following the plan to the later. Moreover, you will need to do a lots of research on suitable keywords and others

    • Tia Peterson August 4, 2010, 2:36 pm

      Hi Luqman! You’re welcome. The plan is key, even if it’s a loose plan, setting goals will help keep us focused and motivated.

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