Choosing a Subject: Niche or Broad?

Photo credit: Wikipedia

A common question we hear is, “I have blog, now what do I write about?”

If you’re reading this, you probably have a blog, and you might even be earning money from that blog. If not, you’re at least keeping track of how much traffic your blog gets. Your earnings are primarily affected by traffic, and traffic is primarily affected by what your blog is about. Is you blog a niche subject, like 9to5 Mac (where folks can instantly find Apple-related news), or a broad subject like Jon Negroni (where folks can find articles on pop culture, social media, and generally anything that Jon Negroni finds interesting to share with his readers). Both sites are great, both are very popular, and both bring in some great revenue, but they both share very different traffic dynamics.

A broad subject blog tends to bring in more of a following of dedicated readers than a niche subject blog, which tends to attract many one-time readers from search engines. Take a moment to remove yourself as a blogger and think of yourself as a reader. If you love what Jon Negroni has to say, you’re probably already following his blog, or will be following it right after you read this article. If you want to hear about the new iPhone, you’ll probably find several articles from 9to5 Mac at the top of your searches. Is either situation better than the other? Technically, yes, but ultimately, no.

A site with a broad subject focus, like Watts Up With That? (focussing on climate change, an arguably broad subject within itself) is bound to maintain a more stable average than a site with a niche subject, like Stoopid Housewives (focussing on news and gossip surrounding Bravo’s Real Housewives series). While traffic to a broad subject may maintain a more stable average, traffic to a niche subject will have higher peaks and lower valleys. How much traffic both sites accumulate at the end of the month is really up to the site. It can’t be quantified or predicted with any shred of accuracy, no matter who or what claims they can. A broad subject may enjoy a more comfortable average throughout its existence thanks to a more dedicated following, while a niche subject will have amazing days when something remarkable happens within its subject and terrible days when news simply dries up.

Ultimately, you should write about what you want to write about. Let the traffic come to you, and let that traffic stay if it wants to. Write for yourself, the audience you want will grow, and your earnings will follow.


  1. I love the tone and mood of this article. Yet it’s just straightforward and true. It also helps to encourage people like me in the niche automotive blogging business to stay true to my calling.

    Thanks very much, James Huff, for sharing!

  2. I have both generic (personal) blog and niche (technology) blog. My niche blog has 10x more email subscribers than the generic one. I feel that a niche blog has a better chance of people subscribing to them. At least, I would be more interested to subscribe to niche blogs that are based on my passion. However, I would subscribe to limited no. of generic/personal blogs because my personal blog needs some readers and comments! 🙂

    1. This is another balanced way to view the scenario. I’m just okay with a niche, really specific automotive technology blog, specific to the point of talking only about the fun cars, the ones with Personality, the ones that retain that Joy in Driving…

  3. Common wisdom says – build a brand, meaning – remain focused.

    My blog is quite eclectic – because I write for myself first. Interestingly, I’ve garnered quite a following – with no effort on my part to “build” traffic.

    I’m glad to learn there are some out there who think it’s okay to be “broad” based.

  4. I’ve been blogging for a few months now. Mine is a general blog that often focuses on current events. I started a government shutdown hall of shame where I have been inducting a new member every day it continues. That has brought a lot of traffic. But I just try to write about things I feel strongly about or interests me. I enjoy being a mix of journalist/editorial writer. Traffic has its ups and downs. I just focus on content and do a little promoting. The best advice I can give is enjoy your blog. If it turns out it is a grind and not at all fun, then maybe it’s not for you. There are days where it is a bit of a grind, but overall the experience should be a positive one or it’s not worth doing. I enjoy crafting an article and hitting the publish button. Blogging has given me a way to improve my writing, tap into my creativity and express my thoughts in a way I have never done before and I simply love it.

  5. Reblogged this on The Truth Files and commented:
    Good information. I applied for Word ads over a month ago, and STILL haven’t heard back from there, I hope I do soon because otherwise I may have to move on. Can’t spend 50+ hours a week, and not get something back in return. Many of us rely on programs like this to fund our research.

    1. If you haven’t heard back from us yet, it might mean that you haven’t yet achieved the minimum monthly traffic our advertisers are looking for. Don’t worry, our system automatically brings your application to the front when you do, and you can always contact us if you have any questions.

  6. Hey James – like your article, and gave me some good ideas, thank you! Had a question regarding the photo you used, and hoping you may know. Do you need to give credit for where you find pictures when posting on wordpress/blogging? I always wondered about that, and not sure. If you could let me know. Thanks!

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