Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tips for Local Niche Bloggers

Back in January, I revived one of my 6 years old domain names and started a local niche blog about Living in Hawaii. At the time, I also made a post here at Success with Todd with 5 reasons to start a local niche blog.

Over the past few months, my Alohateam blog has grown to the point where it's getting about 100 visitors a day, (with about 85% of those coming from search engines). For those of you who either have, or have thought about starting your own local niche blog, I thought I might share a few "lessons learned" from my first couple of months.


  1. Unless you're studying journalism, Do Not try to emulate your local newspaper and become some sort of "reporter". If people want real news, they'll go to the newspaper's site. They have the resources for those type of stories. If you try to compete, you'll burn yourself out.

  2. Find your own unique voice. The whole purpose of a local blog is to share your unique perspective with the readers. Basically, don't be afraid to be yourself, and share some of your personal adventures.

  3. Seek out, and fill in, under-served topics. One of my most read posts to date is about the Grey Boat ferry that runs between Iroquois Point (where I live) and Pearl Harbor. I had to ride it for a week because I was taking a class over on that side. When I searched online to try to find the schedule, I came up with a big fat blank. So, during my week of riding I did a story about the boat. Since then, I've received literally dozens of requests for information ... lol, I've somehow become the grey boat expert ... which in a way feels kind of cool.

  4. Probably the most important lesson I've learned so far, it to try to find a "good" reason to post every day. This is definitely something I struggled with for the first couple of months. Then about a month and a half ago, it hit me that I already love taking pictures, and bring my camera with me almost everywhere I go ... so, I started posting a Hawaii Picture of the Day. I either take a new picture, or go through the thousands I already have in my archive, find something interesting, and write a couple of paragraphs. It's funny, it took the "stress" right out of blogging. I actually look forward to my daily post on that blog now.

  5. When it comes to building links to my local blog, I've primarily relied on commenting on blogs that I already read. One advantage I've discovered is that I can easily use a keyword focused name such as "Todd in Hawaii", and nobody really objects. Whereas if I was to try something like "Make Money Online with Todd" (pointing to my "Earn Extra Income" niche blog), unless I already know the blog owner, there'd be a chance I'd end up in Akismet.

  6. Wrapping it up, I'd say the most important thing to remember when it comes to local blogs, is to Have Fun, and Be Yourself. If you do that, people will come.



There were a couple of other people who started local niche blogs at the same time as I did. These are a few (but certainly not all inclusive) that I think are coming along nicely:



If you're a local blogger, and theres ever anything I can help you with, feel free to leave a comment, or drop me a note any time.

Keep havin FuN!
Todd

Creative Commons License photo credit: _sarchi

7 comments:

  1. Your idea about the Grey Boat posting is brilliant! Writing about things in which folks are interested offline (but haven't been tackled online) is a great way to generate quality traffic.

    Enjoy,

    Barbara

    Barbara Lings last blog post..Middleschooler Hacks Personal Wordpress Theme, Makes Money Online

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  2. Hi Barbara,

    Yes, it's a lesson that I'm actually hoping to be able to apply to some of my other blogs as well ... but obviously it's easiest with the local niche.

    Todd

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  3. Covington NeighborhoodMay 18, 2008 at 3:37 PM

    These are great tips. I especially like the one about bringing a camera everywhere. I just started a local niche website for my area. I'm really excited about where I want it to go.

    I took my camera out yesterday to take some photo's of a soon to be city park and put them into one of my posts. But bringing it along all the time is a great idea. You never know when somethings going to be going on and you don't want to have to run home to get the camera.

    Great Tips!
    Stephanie

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  4. Hi Stephanie,

    I've just been to your blog. It looks like you're off to a great start. And yes, bringing your camera with you all the time will certainly contribute to new ideas. The only downside I've found, is that sometimes I'll want to write about something, but will hold off until I can get some good pictures ... if not monitored carefully, this can easily lead to procrastination (which I tend to suffer from greatly at times).

    Keep havin FuN!
    Todd

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  5. Hi Todd,

    Thanks!

    I have procrastination issues as well ;) I have a few articles already written, but instead of waiting for pictures, I'm waiting for clarification of dates (one is about a sports celebrity at a store grand opening, have to check to verify with stores corp. office actual date.) or clairification of locations(school music recital).

    I'm trying to get into the habit with all my blogs to write article now while I've got the words in my head, then save it till I have the info I need. Sometimes it works.. sometimes not. :)

    Stephanie

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  6. Good sense in this..

    I keep my camera in the car - Ergo, wherever I go so does the camera - Can't miss!!!

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  7. It's definitely important to "be yourself." After all, isn't that what social media is? Being "social."

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