There seems to be two dogmas that pervade digital culture: (1) content is king, and (2) it’s all about your niche.
What does this all amount to? Well, that a niche blog is a very powerful marketing tool.
Indeed, blogs offer many business benefits, from SEO to branding. So if you intend to leverage a blog as a business tool, you have to approach it in a strategic way: first, you have to define your niche, and second, you have to deliver killer content on a consistent basis.
There are five fundamental steps any blogger should take when building a niche blog — from the technology used to the strategy implementation. If you cover each of these basics, the only limitations left are (1) the potential of your niche, and (2) your own talent.
1. Hosting Your Blog
No matter how killer your niche content is, if no one can access it, it’s not worth the pixels it’s written with. For that reason, you have to make sure that your blog is hosted by a stable and reliable web hosting provider.
You see, if you’re going to build niche blog with business goals in mind, using a “hosted” service such as Blogger or WordPress.com just won’t cut it. You want something that’s more professional and that you can control. After all, just imagine if your Blogger or WordPress account was hacked or suspended on some technicality!!!
So before you do anything, you have to shop around for a blog hosting provider. The good news is there are plenty of reliable hosting companies out there that offer affordable packages – especially for bloggers.
But how do you know what to look for in a blog hosting provider?Well, there are two main things.
First, you want a hosting provider that either offers specialized blog hosting packages and support. With such hosting companies, you’ll benefit from features such as one-click WordPress installation and user-friendly admin dashboards to help you manage the technical end of things more easily. This way, you can concentrate more on producing killer niche content, and less on technical headaches.
Secondly, you should look for a hosting provider that guarantees 99.99% uptime. This is important for two main reasons: (1) when your blog is down, no one can read your content, and (2) repetitive downtime (and slow load times) will negatively affect your SEO.
Of course, you shouldn’t just take a hosting company’s word for it (because most of them promise 99.99% uptime). Instead, once you have a few short-listed options to choose from, you should use Google to find reviews and read what other webmasters and bloggers have said about their.
2. Pimping WordPress with the Best Plugins
Once you’ve chosen your blog host, you should really go with WordPress (and a handful of certain plugins) to power it. WordPress is a free and open-source platform, which means that there’s a huge community that supports it. Indeed, it’s the #1 blogging platform in the world, hands down.
Chances are if you’ve chosen a blogger-friendly hosting provider, they offer one-click installation. But even if they don’t, WordPress is pretty easy to install and set-up. But as awesome as WordPress is out of the box, there are a fewf ree plugins you’ll want to install to get the most out of your blog.
WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast – Now, there are quite a few SEO plugins for WordPress, but this one does more than any other. In fact, some premium WordPress themes(which are not free) offer a lot of built-in SEO features, but they still don’t offer everything that the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast does. This plugin givse you the powerto optimize your blog at every level, and even includes links toSEO documentation so you can understand the what different options are for.
Custom Contact Forms plugin- There are probably more contact form plugins than there are SEO plugins, and this is the one that really stands out. The Custom Contact Form plugin offers all kinds of flexibility so that you can build custom contact forms for different pages on your blog. It even lets you export form submission in CSV files so that you can compile a niche email list.
3. Build a Category Taxonomy
As you’ve probably noticed, most blogs have categories. But how many of them really thought their category structure outin advance. I mean, really strategically in advance. There are two reasons why you should do just this before you get started.
First, your core category structure is your core category structure. It’s something that shouldn’t really change (or get added on to, too much). It’s also something that’s going to dictate the kind of content you produce.
In other words, you’re going to use it to keep you focused. After all, if you just intend to add on whatever categories come to mind as you go, you’ll end up way off track, your readers won’t know what to expect, and you won’t have much of a niche blog anymore.
Secondly, your core category structureis going to drive your SEO efforts. After all, if your category structure determines what you blog about, then it determines what kind of keywords are going to appear throughout your blog. So consider the niche you’re targeting and trying to rank for, and use it to inform how you structure your categories.
For example, if your niche blog is about cars, then your blog categories might reflect different aspect of the auto industry. So you might end up with categories for:
- Car Maintenance
- Vintage Cars
- Sports Cars
With those decided, you’ll know to blog about everything from the latest models to how to shop for that perfect family vehicle. That kind of focused, niche content will not only keep your users (car enthusiasts) engaged and coming back for more, but it’ll also help you get new traffic as other users find your content in Google on their niche searches.
4. Follow an Editorial Calendar
Once you have your core category structure set-out, you need to plan to update each category with content on a consistent basis. After all, it looks really unprofessional when you click on a category just to find out that there’s just one or two posts in it, or it hasn’t been updated in weeks, months, or years.
This is where your editorial calendar comes in.
Only you know \ how often you’re capable of blogging and what resources you have behind you. So your first task with your editorial calendar is to allot those resources evenly so that each category gets updated in turn.
Failing to do so won’t only mean giving users a bad impression about your blog. It will also mean failing to produce keyword rich content that’s going to help your blog rank well within its niche.
5. Get Social with Niche Communities
Now, your decision to launch a niche blog in the first place was (or should have been) all about focus. You’re an expert about something and/or have a passion for it, and you wanted to share that expertise and that passion with a group on interested people.
Well, those people are a community. So it should come as no surprise that you have to get social with your content.
The internet is littered with blogs. What separates the good from the garbage is (1) killer content, and (2) community. Just because you’re blogging it, that doesn’t mean they’ll come. Instead, you have to reach out to the communities related to your niche. Ad thisentails leveraging Facebook and Twitter (and whatever other social networks your niche market is using).
Twitter: When it comes to Twitter, you’ll need to set-up a profile just for your blog so you can have an official feed through which to Tweet your latest content and updates. When you do so, moreover, it’ll be important to tag your Tweets with relevant hashtags so that users interested in that niche can discover it. Of course, you can’t just stop there. You’ll also have to get social, yourself. This means (1) going out and following users who are interested in your niche, (2) engaging them with @replies, and (3)Retweeting their content to show them that you’re interested and engaged, too. Doing so will help you build trust and relationships with them, and that will turn them into readers who will also share your content, in turn.
Facebook: It should come as no surprise that your niche blog will also need a Facebook page where you can build a fan base and syndicate your content to them. And just like on Twitter, you can’t only post links to your content. You have to be social, you have to be engaged, you have to contribute to the community. This means sharing third party content that your users will find engaging. Doing so will demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in the niche beyond your own bottom line.
Content is King, Niche is Queen, and Community is Church
The power of niche content extends beyond promoting your expertise, products, or services. It’s a strategic aspect of SEO and, when done well, can help you build up community around your brand.
Follow these five guidelines in building (or reinventing) your blog, and the only thing holding you back will be your own creativity. As long as you can keep devising new ideas for new niche content, your community will remain loyal and continue to grow.
Author Bio:- Mariana Fang Lin is a marketing copywriter for ClickHost, web hosting provider that specializes in WordPress hosting. When she’s not helping ClickHost spread the word about their top-level hosting solutions, she enjoys blogging about SEO, social media, and blogging strategies. You can follow Mariana on Twitter at @marianafanglin.