I was trawling again like I do when I came across a comment on Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income site.
It’s amazing how once again the comments have led me to yet another blog post. This is the second I’ve written in two days just from combing some information. It is not even from the main writer which goes to show just how good a community Pat has behind him.
Just to frame the term dilution before I cruise on. It is the weakening of one fluid when mixed with another. Take for example orange juice concentrate mixed with water. The end solution is a weaker form of the orange juice. The emphasis here is on the weakening, the dispersion of the concentrate forms a weaker solution.
Niche Dilution Ills
The Greenovator gets into a key topic that I’m covering today. Whilst this comment is 2 years old in the light of today, it is still valid.
“#Kyle…Worrying about Internet competition is a great way to get an ulcer. Since a significant amount of traffic to most websites has little to do with the SERPs if you are doing your homework. Chaos on the net, varying algorythm changes, geographic searches, total pages, proper seo, and a zillion other things all affect what visitors and types of visitors who “find” or for lack of a better term “stumble upon” your site. With 60% of the world’s population connected to the net, and a significant portion trying to earn a living from online marketing, niche dilution will occur with or without an individual’s effect[.]”
I think the Greenovator summed it up quite well.
SERPS as you should know is Search Engine Results Page. We look at the first page quite often but on rare occasions we don’t find what we want and dig deeper or none of the articles listed match that keyword exactly.
Establishing the Niche
As you are probably aware if you are new to blogging or if you have been blogging some time, you need to fit in a niche. You need to fit in a niche market to drive specific traffic to your site. This group of consumers, who provide your traffic, is your target market.
In the business studies world (one in which I spend hours of study), the way to generate a competitive advantage is through differentiation.
The way to avoid competition is by positioning yourself in a niche that provides to a specific consumer.
Photo Credit JoJoBombardo
In a real world example say that your topic is winter sports:
Your niche might be extreme snowboarding. You might further differentiate by saying that your niche is extreme snowboarding in the Alps.
Obviously somebody may already cover that niche and be dominant. They may be so dominant that you can’t break in.
You then have to differentiate further and make your niche a sub-niche. This may be a quick decision or happen over time but either way, the segmentation of your core audience has begun.
Hyper-competition, another one of those evil business studies terms, is a very real threat on the internet for bloggers. Hyper-competition occurs where there are no distinct barriers to entry. Blogging is ultra cheap. You can put out a blog for free on the basic platforms like Blogger, Blogspot and WordPress. Hosting is also relatively cheap so taking the extra step up is child’s play. The only sizable barrier is domain authority and historical competitive advantage (time served).
Creating a blog is easy, maintaining a blog is easy, learning key tips to stick at blogging are easy. People like Pat Flynn, Neil Patel, Tom Ewer, Darren Rowse and Ana Hoffman give these tips away for free every day.
With so many successes the differentiation mentioned above will become diluted by new entrants and substitution. In addition your audience will go where the heat is. Your readers have a defined bargaining power. Your chief supplier, Google, has bargaining power over your content.
A lack of control on new entrants leads to Niche dilution. This is a metaphorical tipping point where you are against so many competitors that your voice becomes increasingly harder to be heard.
It is normally the historical “First In” who should perform best but occasionally a seasoned veteran from another niche can steal a march on traffic with their advanced knowledge of survival. If you are a little guy/gal, you are likely to get crushed by the weight of new entrants.
It is the established oligopoly (a bunch of hardcore site owners) who have around 80% of the traffic for that niche. You will be in the 20% fighting with every man and his dog for the rest.
In trying to expand your readership you will create further sub niches in your articles to gain further market share, ultimately diluting the niche and ensuring total niche saturation.
This is why it is bad to write about subjects such as SEO. Lots of bloggers have “hyper” diluted the term already. So much so that SEO is a common or garden phrase for everyone with a website. I am not trying to dissuade you from trying but be prepared for weak returns if you chase a niche that is saturated!
Some deep niches don’t generate traffic because there is just not the weight of numbers within the target market to justify making content. In future there might be enough of a movement to justify the niche but you will be trading on minimal returns until that time.
To tarnish that idea, sometimes being the first is crucial. You can gain a historical competitive advantage by covering more ground than everybody else sooner. A lot of the time, sites are rewarded for time served by search results. Not all is in vain. It is just going to be a slow burn to success if the audience isn’t there in number.
I haven’t branched into many niches myself but there are some common sense points that I can think of, and have observed from others, that will be of help to all beginners and intermediate bloggers thinking of exploring their next project:
- Research before you commit. Apply the “three coats of looking at” technique.
- Be unique even if you are cutting a similar trench into the Internet mountain.
- Don’t report on the obvious because the likelihood is that everybody else has already done that before you.
- Perform an acid test on the search engine for the types of keywords you are going to be using. See how many results Google returns. If the number is in the hundreds of millions then avoid.
- Think about your audience. Think about how likely your target market will fit into being interested by your niche. What defines and who is your target reader?
- Think about your Trade-offs. What will you leave out to reach your target market. What will you not do that a competitor already does? Often it’s not about what you leave in but what you leave out.
- Are you aware of the term hyper competition?
- Do you think your niche is safe?