Sunday, June 18, 2006

What Makes a Popular Blog (and why this one isn't)

In addition to this blog of random personal rambling and complaints I also write a blog associated with my consulting practice. I've been posting here for over five years. The consulting blog is barely three months old. This will be posting #821 over here; the other has only 48.

And yet, in most measures, the other blog is far surpassing this one in terms of popularity. Feedburner and Bloglines each tell me that it has more than twice the number of subscribers. The Technorati ranking is higher, and more other blogs link there than link here.


I believe the main answer is simply this: Specialization.

Both blogs use the same basic template, so layout and color scheme are not the answer. It's not quality of writing; I do them each so they either both suck or are well-written depending on your opinion of my style. The only real difference is content matter.

On this blog I am literally one of millions of people whining about our lousy President and giving reviews of the latest season of American Idol. The writing here is geared towards a mass audience, but the market is full to overflowing with blogs so written.

On my consulting blog I am one of only a few hundred specializing in blogging about nonprofit agency management and fundraising. It is a much smaller, niche market. But it is one in which I can stand out and have been able to make a name for myself in a very short time.

So, my advice to the new blogger just starting out, and trying to decide what to write about? Specialize. What do you know about that not many others do? Where are you an expert? The old adage to "write what you know" is as true in the blogosphere as it is anywhere else.

Oh, I'll continue to ramble here to the detriment of my own popularity ratings. But I don't do this blog to be popular. I'm not sure why I do it, but I'm fairly certain popularity isn't it.

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