I can’t help but comment upon the popularity of “specialty” blogs. Steve noted that the stats for his true crime blog have been through the roof. People are interested in that type of thing, or Ann Rule wouldn’t have a career, right? And I’m not knocking that, either. There are blogs that specialize in technology, namely Slashdot and Kuro5hin. There are political blogs, like Daily Kos, InstaPundit, and Little Green Footballs. There are homeschooling blogs, knitting blogs, and whatever you name it, there’s a blog for it. I myself keep a blog with an admittedly narrow focus — Harry Potter. I’m not alone there, either. MuggleNet, The Leaky Cauldron, The Dark Mark, Veritaserum, HPANA, and many more are also available in that narrow niche.
There are a plethora of so-called personal blogs, which, in my opinion, resemble nothing so much as journals. Not many of them reach the upper echelon of blog popularity. There are a few, I’m sure, but I’m stuck trying to think of a personal blog that doesn’t have some other agenda or focus tied to it, whether that be technology or politics or whatever else. Just a flat out, “this was my day” or “this is what I’m thinking” type of blog. Some people dismiss these types of blogs as “not real blogs.” So what defines a blog? Some definitions I’ve found, with a quick Google search are:
- Blogs have comments (defined by, of course, a commenter and not the author).
- Blogs are updated daily (the author points out he doesn’t believe this, but references another who does).
- They’re not corporate blogs.
- They’re not professional or celebrity diaries. I’d argue Wil Wheaton DOT Net is a real blog that just happens to be written by a celebrity.
I’m sure you could add to that list, but that will do for starters. Then there is the problem of nefarious sites masquerading as blogs. This has become a big problem, prompting lots of comment spam designed to improve Google rankings and increase traffic. Read more:
So what makes a blog good? And why, inexplicably, is this an extrememly popular blog? Go figure.
I guess people read specialty blogs because people are interested in fitting themselves into niches and reading news about that niche moreso than they are interesting in reading the ramblings of, say, your average high school English teacher with three kids, two stepkids, a minivan, and a small house in the suburbs of Alanta (for example). Not that I’m complaining about a lack of traffic. Actually, believe this or don’t, I don’t really care about traffic. Not here, anyway. But it does bug me that I get one or two visitors a day at the Pensieve. I realize part of the fault is mine. I don’t update it often enough. But it is hard to update it without turning it into another Harry Potter news aggregator. I never wanted it to be that, and anything else requires more time than I have. It takes time, for instance, to research the characters’ name origins or to speculate about rumors and make predictions based on logic and clues in the books. I want to do it justice, which means I don’t update much. Still, I think there is some good stuff there.
So… is there such as thing as being too narrow in focus? *Scratches chin thoughtfully* Maybe. But I’m not going to change the focus of the blog just to generate traffic. People can get Harry Potter news in a variety of places. I don’t have the time or inclination to add my site to that pile.