Have you ever looked around at all the other blogs covering the same topics and wondered why in the world anyone would care about your blog?
If you’re blogging in a popular niche like health, wellness, fitness, DIY, finance, tech, design, photography, blogging (insert any other popular topic here), the truth is you need a game plan to make your blog stand out.
You can’t simply publish the same types of posts and cover the same topics as everyone else and expect to see results.
With many other blogs already established in your niche, you’ll need to stand out in some way.
In this article, we’ll look at 7 different ways you can make your blog stand out, as well as some action tips you can put into practice to make it happen.
1. Know What Makes You Unique
If there are hundreds or thousands of other bloggers publishing content on the same topics as your blog, it's critical that you take a unique angle or approach.
What is it about you that makes your blog different from all the others?
If your blog isn’t different, unique, or special in some way, it probably won't make a strong enough impression on first-time visitors. The people visiting your blog likely visit several other blogs in your niche as well.
If yours feels like “just another blog”, readers aren't likely to latch on to it and keep coming back.
In order for your blog to be successful over the long term, you'll need to be able to develop a loyal base of readers that truly care about the content that you publish.
One of the best ways to grow a loyal audience is to know what makes you (and your blog) unique, and then make that obvious to your visitors as well.
This may seem discouraging or intimidating. After all, maybe you don't have the same expertise or experience as some of the top bloggers in your niche. But don't worry, there are ways to stand out even if you're at a disadvantage in terms of experience.
Take for example the personal finance blogging niche. Many successful finance bloggers are not finance or investing experts.
There are a number of really successful blogs started by people who were going through their own journey of paying down debt or just starting on their path towards financial independence.
Each one of these bloggers has their own personal story that makes them and their blog unique.
When visitors read the story they feel a personal connection, they can relate to the blogger, and they are far more likely to subscribe to an email list or at least come back to the blog again in the future.
Health and wellness is another crowded niche where a lot of bloggers without prior expertise have stood out, thanks to their own personal story.
It could have been a weight loss experience, learning how to cope with a child who has an illness, or any other situation that applies to the life of the blogger.
We all have our own story and things about us that are unique. If you want your blog to stand out and you want readers to be drawn to your blog, find an angle from your own situation that makes your blog unique, and then make it clear to your website visitors.
Of course, many bloggers have an About page that shares the details of their unique story.
Only a small percentage of your visitors are likely to click on the About link, so if you have a great story you'll need to work to give it some extra attention.
Some bloggers use a mini bio in the sidebar along with their photo, and then usually link it to the About page for more info.
Other bloggers may use the front page to share more about their story.
Here are a few examples of bloggers who are using their own story to help them stand out:
Dave Domzalski from Run the Money covers topics related to making money. If you read his homepage you’ll notice how he shows that he can relate to readers who have a full-time job and want to start a blog. Dave works a full-time job and still built his blog to several thousand dollars per month in income in just one year.
Crystal from Fulfilled Wellness covers popular topics like health and wellness. Her bio tells the story of how her pursuit of wellness started after a miscarriage. Any reader who has been through a similar situation will feel a connection.
There are a lot of blogs covering early retirement, but the blogger behind Retire Before Dad shares his motivation and his goal of retiring at 55, one year earlier than his father. Even the name of the blog helps to distinguish it.
Action Step: Take some time to think about what makes you and your blog unique. Think about your target audience and how you can make a connection between their current situation and yours (either your current situation or something you've overcome in the past). Once you have that hook that makes your blog unique, be sure it’s clearly communicated to visitors so they can have the opportunity to feel a connection.
2. Build Your Network
One of the most important, and often overlooked, factors in blogging success is networking.
Every successful blogger is well connected to other bloggers and influential people in their niche.
Of course, having a successful blog makes it much easier to build a network, but many successful bloggers reached success because they prioritized networking from the start.
There are several different ways bloggers can benefit from a strong network, including:
- Guest post opportunities
- Social media shares that lead to traffic and new readers
- Links from other blogs and websites
- Opportunities for interviews and podcast appearances
- Promotion of your products and product launches
- Opportunities to promote other people’s products as an affiliate
- Testimonials for your blog, product, or service
- More comments on your blog posts
- Helpful advice when you need it
- Possible partnerships and collaborations
The list really could keep going, but I think you get the point. If you’re trying to build a blog and you’re not making an effort to build your network, you should adapt your approach as soon as possible.
Blogging in a crowded niche only makes networking even more important. And the good news is, in crowded niches, there are even more opportunities and possibilities for networking.
Since there are a ton of blogs in your niche, there are countless bloggers that could become a part of your network.
Your networking doesn’t have to be limited to just bloggers either. You can connect with affiliate managers, potential advertisers and sponsors, and others who are involved in your niche in some way.
As a blogger, there are many ways to go about networking.
The best and strongest connections are usually made in person, so attending industry conferences or other meetups is a great way to speed up the process.
But even if you can’t meet up with other bloggers face-to-face, there are plenty of possibilities for networking online. One of the easiest ways is to leave comments at other blogs.
Every blogger loves to get comments on their posts, and if you consistently comment at certain blogs the blogger will definitely recognize you.
Sharing other bloggers’ posts on social media is also a great way to network. I like to use Twitter for this purpose because most Twitter users pay attention to their mentions.
Facebook groups are another excellent way to connect. For example, join the FITnancials Facebook group and you can easily connect with Alexis and many others who follow her work closely.
One of the most effective ways I’ve networked over the years is simply through email (or contact forms).
Don’t be afraid to reach out to another blogger, introduce yourself, and let them know that you’re a fan of their blog.
Some of the best connections I’ve made over the years started with a simple email introduction.
When you are working to build your own network keep in mind that the top bloggers get tons of emails, tweets, comments, and messages on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean that you should never reach out to A-listers, but keep in mind that in many cases you won’t get response because they simply don’t have the time to respond to everyone. But if you focus on smaller bloggers you’ll be able to make connections much easier.
Action Tip: Make a list of 5 bloggers in your niche that you would like to have as a part of your network. No more than 1 one of them should be an extremely popular blogger. The ideal connections will be people who are just a little ahead of you in terms of the stage of their blog. Now, subscribe to their email lists or RSS feeds, and follow them on whatever social networks you use. Whenever they publish a new post you should share it via social media (and tag or mention them) and leave a comment on the post. After doing that with a couple of their posts send them an email to introduce yourself. Chances are they will recognize your name from the comments and social media shares. Don’t ask for anything right away or network with an agenda, just look to make connections and see which ones develop naturally.
3. Don't Rely on Other Blogs for Content Ideas
Every blogger needs ideas for new content. Most bloggers turn to other blogs when they’re looking for ideas. This can involve browsing other blogs or checking Pinterest boards to see what topics you could write about.
The problem with this approach is that you will only be covering the same topics as every other blogger in your niche.
It’s a lot easier to stand out from the crowd if you write some posts on subjects that nobody else is writing about, or if you at least take a unique approach or stance on a topic that others are covering.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t write about some of the same topics that other blogs in your niche are covering or that all of your articles have to focus on totally new ideas.
But at least some of your articles should feel fresh even to visitors that have already read countless articles on other blogs in your niche.
Instead of turning to other blogs for ideas, turn to your own experiences. What have you experienced or what do you know that others might not?
This also goes back to the first point about knowing what makes you unique. If you focus on those topics, experiences, and situations that make you unique, it’s a lot easier for your blog to stand out.
For example, when I started a personal finance blog I didn’t intend to publish much about my own life or my finances. But as I looked around at the hundreds, maybe thousands, of other finance blogs, I knew I needed to publish something that would stand out. I thought about my own experience and decided to write a more personal article, How I’ve Made Over $1 Million Blogging.
If you think about your own experiences and your own strengths you should be able to come up with some unique articles that are more than just rehashing what every other blog has already published.
And like I mentioned earlier, you don’t need to be extremely experienced to do this.
For example, another blogger who is brand new may not have the same experience that I have, but maybe he or she could write an article about how to take a blog from 0 – 10,000 page views in 2018.
Action Tip: Get away from the computer. Get a notebook and pen and take a few minutes to brainstorm post ideas. Focus on your strengths and your experiences. What do you know or do better than others? Come up with a few ideas for future blog posts.
4. Focus Your Content on a Few Main Topics
Lack of focus is a major problem for a lot of blogs. When new visitors arrive at your blog they should be able to tell very quickly what your blog is about and what topics they should expect to find at your blog.
If a visitors sees articles on a wide variety of topics they will have no idea what to expect from you in the future.
Chances are, they will not be interested in all of the many topics you cover.
If they see content that doesn’t interest them they’re not likely to subscribe to your email list or to come back to your blog in the future.
A blog that is tightly focused around a few main topics, or even just one main topic, will be much more appealing to visitors who are interested in that topic.
They’ll feel like the blog is much more relevant to them and they’ll probably be excited to come back again later and see your new content.
Having a tight focus on a few main topic is also great for SEO. This approach makes it easy for Google to know what your blog is about, and you’re likely to rank higher for relevant searches.
Action Tip: Take a look at the categories you’re using for your blog posts and the topics that are linked in your navigation menu. Are they all tightly related to each other? If not, is it likely that visitors will have an interest in all of the topics you are covering? Rethink the topics that you’re covering if needed. You may want to adjust your navigation menu to more clearly present the topics that you cover.
5. Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
Some popular blogs publish multiple posts every single day. Others may only publish a new post once per month.
Don’t try to compete with other blogs in your niche simply by publishing more content.
There will always be other blogs publishing more than you’re able to, and you’re sure to burn out this way.
Instead, focus on creating the highest quality content possible.
If you truly want to stand out, quality matters infinitely more than quantity. Simply publishing hundreds of mediocre posts will not attract loyal readers. But publishing just a few exceptional posts will certainly help you to stand out.
Brian Dean from Backlinko is a great example of this. Backlinko has been around for several years and Brian is considered one of the leading experts on SEO thanks to his in-depth blog posts.
Yet, his blog only has 46 posts! That’s only about 1 per month since he launched the blog.
Of course, Brian is an extreme example, but the point is, you don’t need to crank out loads of new blog posts to get traffic and build a following. You need content that makes a difference.
Action Tip: Take a look at the amount of time you have available to work on your blog. Set a tentative editorial calendar that gives you plenty of time to do the absolute best you can with your blog posts. If you’re publishing 3 times per week and your posts are not as good as they could be, cut back to once per week and put more time into each post.
6. Don't Try to Be Everywhere
When you’re trying to establish a blog and grow your audience, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is deciding how to use your time. No matter how much time you have to work on your blog it will never be enough to get everything done.
Your blogging tasks will include writing and publishing your blog content, working on the design and layout of your blog, managing your social media profiles, growing your email list and staying in touch with your subscribers, leaving comments on other blogs, responding to comments on your own posts, possibly writing guest posts to be published at other blogs, and more.
If you try to do everything and try to be everywhere you’re likely to wind up spinning your wheels and not making much progress. Instead, try focusing your time in a few specific areas.
Social media is one of the biggest issues that this impacts.
Rather than trying to be very active on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media sites, pick one or two and devote the majority of your time and effort there.
You’re likely to get much better results by focusing your efforts on one social network rather than spreading your time evenly across 4 or 5 social networks.
Jeff Proctor and Ben Huber are a good example of this. Their blogs DollarSprout and Breaking the One Percent at one time got the majority of their traffic from Pinterest. They dedicated more time and effort to Pinterest and they established a strong presence that led to a lot of traffic for their blogs.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t use other social networks as well. You can still have a profile and share your posts there. But dedicate the majority of your social networking time to the 1 or 2 sites that you’re prioritizing.
Action Tip: Pick one social network that is popular with your blog’s target audience. Put in some time every day to be active on the site and to build your profile there.
7. Have Patience
I’ve been blogging full-time for 10 years now and one of the most common mistakes I see is bloggers giving up to soon. Blogging can be a great way to make money, but it takes time, effort, and patience. You can’t give up because you’re not seeing results right away.
While there are a few rare blogs that have risen to popularity very quickly, they are the minority.
Most successful blogs took time to grow. It often takes a year or more before you really start to see results with your blog, especially if it’s your first blog.
In my opinion, it’s important to set out with a long-term focus, and this is especially important if you’re in a crowded niche.
If you launch your blog with the expectation that it will take a year before you’ll really start to see results, and you’re willing to work for a while without a payoff, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
FITnancials is a good example of this. Alexis has built a great blog, but it didn’t happen overnight. She put in the effort and had the patience to wait for the results, and now she’s benefiting from that patience.
Action Tip: Write down some realistic goals for your blog that you want to accomplish over the next 6 months and 1 year. Once a week read over your goals and set a to-do list of tasks that will help you to grow your blog and achieve those goals.
Standing out in a crowded niche among hundreds or thousands of other blogs isn’t easy, but it is possible with the right approach.
And the good news is if you’re successful at standing out in one of these popular niches you’ll be in a good position to make money from your blog.
Take some time to follow the action tips in this article to help ensure that your blog doesn’t get overlooked in a sea of similar blogs.
Action Step: If you have a full-time job and also want to start a successful blog, you need to check out Blog With A Full-Time Job. It is THE course to take to get you started with a strong 12-month plan to create a profitable blog. Blog With A Full-Time Job is my #1 recommendation for new bloggers or bloggers who are not making any income off their website. Use code ALEXIS15OFF for 15% off!
Marc has been a full-time blogger since 2008. He’s built and sold blogs in niches like web design, photography, and travel. His new project is VitalDollar.com, where he blogs about personal finance, making money and moving towards financial independence.
In a nutshell:
1. Know what makes you unique in your niche.
2. Build your network.
3. Don't rely on others for content ideas.
4. Focus your content on new topics.
5. Focus on quality, not quantitiy.
6. Don't try to be everywhere.
7. Have patience.
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