Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The great niche blog experiment

I've been obsessing a bit about blogging these past few weeks. Not sure why. I've always pledged that the only blogging I'd do is pay-per-post. I have some business clients that I blog for, on a flat monthly fee. I like that; I'm guaranteed fairly good money for that kind of blogging, at least in the blogging world.

But this blog directly violates that pay-per-post pledge. I have Adsense set up on it, but so far, I've only made 67 cents for that. That's not even enough for a can of pop at most vending machines.

But I've been debating the idea of creating a handful of niche blogs and equipping them all with Adsense to see what happens. Might I stumble upon a niche that actually generates decent traffic and, even more importantly, a high click rate?

The key here, of course, is to create niche blogs about subjects I'm truly passionate about. That way, I'll actually enjoy writing for them. And -- this is very important -- I'll already know my subject matter. I'll be able to write the posts quickly, and still have them contain useful information. There'll be a reason for people to read them.

Problem is, I'm not sure if the subjects I'd like to write about are the ones that people would like to read. I could, for instance, write a blog about avoiding home foreclosures. There are few topics hotter today. And because I've covered residential real estate news for newspapers and trade magazines for more than a decade, I do know the subject fairly well. But, quite honestly, I'm really tired about writing about real estate. I already write real estate blogs for two business clients. I still write real estate stories for the Washington Post. And I'm the managing editor of a real estate trade magazine in Chicago. I'm burned out on real estate, and even though a foreclosure blog might draw hits and clicks, I'm not sure I could summon the needed passion to update it on a regular enough basis.

What do I like enough to blog about? Comic books and graphic novels, for one thing. I even write a bit for the comics industry already. So it's a perfect niche topic for me. But is it one that will generate enough readers and enough clicks to make it worthwhile?

Then there's old horror movies, the black-and-white kind that I can watch with my 10-year-old son. I love those movies, and I love the cheesy horror hosts -- here in Chicago we have Svengoolie -- that play games with them. Again, a fun topic, but will it bring in enough click revenue?

There's only one way to find out, I suppose: Give it a try. My goal is to have at least five niche blogs, all updated on a regular schedule so I don't fill some with too much content too fast and others with not enough, running at once, all equipped with Adsense. Will it bring in enough content to make it worthwhile? Who knows?

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