31DBBB Day 4: Analyze a Top Blog in Your Niche

This is Day 4 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers. You can read an overview here.

Today’s assignment is to spend some time on a successful blog in your niche.  That sounds easy enough.  But I think this is a lesson and assignment many bloggers are going to have a difficult time with for several reasons.

1) Some bloggers don’t know their niche. For some the issue is similar to Day 1 where you’re still trying to figure out what you’re blog is about and find focus.  Others of you are probably bristling at the idea that your blog could be in a nitch because you don’t like to be labeled.

1.5 (Added 5 PM) Some bloggers don’t know what blogs are in their niche. If you don’t read other blogs that touch on the same topics you do, you may not know what blogs to analyze.  A couple of places you can search for blogs by topic are Technorati.com and PostRank.com.

2) This sounds like copying. When some of you read the assignment, “Analyze a top blog in your niche” you heard “Watch what the popular people are doing and copy it.”  This assignment is not about mindlessly copying anyone or losing your identity.  While part of the assignment is to learn things you can incorporate into your own blogging.  It’s just as important to identify how you’re blog is unique and how you’re going to differentiate yourself from other the blogs in your niche.

3) Golden nuggets are easy to miss. Chances are you’ve been to the top blogs in your niche.  You know what they look like.  You know what they write about.  It’s going to be real easy to skim over this assignment and not find anything meaningful.  When panning for gold, first you’ve got to dig, and second you’ve got to look real carefully to avoid missing the valuable nuggets.

Today’s lesson identifies some good elements to observe on other blogs – topics covered, posting frequency, which topics/posts are most popular, things you like & dislike about the design, etc.  Here are some additional suggestions…

  • What modules does the blog have in the sidebar(s)?
  • Specifically, what features does it have to facilitate sharing and social networking?
  • Read the comments.  When people say they like a particular post, what specifically do they like about it?

Discussion

  1. What is your niche?
  2. What site(s) did you analyze?
  3. What did you notice about them that you  may want to incorporate into your blog?
  4. How is your blog unique?  How are you going to differentiate it from the rest of the pack?

Don’t forget, if you’ve posted a new post to your blog today, you’re welcome to include a link to it in your comments.

The Extra Mile

A few other things you can do to take your blog, other bloggers, and this project even further today…

  • Reply & give other bloggers feedback on their analysis.
  • When other bloggers include a link to a new article they’ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
  • Check previous posts in the series for new comments.
  • Tweet, share, & bookmark this post.  (You could win a $25 gift card!)

[image by gerlos]

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

163 Responses to “31DBBB Day 4: Analyze a Top Blog in Your Niche”

  1. Oh yay! I thought we broke the OurChurch blog with all our amazing traffic we've been sending its way.

    Today… me, Oprah, ProBlogger and some other cool people are niche buddies….
    http://greeninventionscentral.blogspot.com/2010/0

  2. Today we have posted a Video Blog.
    http://ronniespoon.blogspot.com/2010/05/fear-holi

    Here are some of the website/blogs I read. They are great for leadership and all of them have sermons you can listen to as well.
    http://www.perrynoble.com
    http://herbertcooper.blogspot.com
    http://swerve.lifechurch.tv

  3. Today we have posted a Video Blog.
    http://ronniespoon.blogspot.com/2010/05/fear-holi

    Here are some of the website/blogs I read. They are great for leadership and all of them have sermons you can listen to as well.
    http://www.perrynoble.com
    http://herbertcooper.blogspot.com
    http://swerve.lifechurch.tv

  4. Before I say anything about my blog, I just want to say that as I read the blogs of other people participating in 31DBBB, I'm surprised at the number of really good writers there are out there. I'm walking with giants, and it's challenging, humbling, and encouraging to find myself here with all of you.

    Also, the sense of community that is developing here is great (though I was unable to participate a whole lot over the last two days).

    I need to do some digging to find blogs that talk about prayer. There are lots of blogs out there talking about the Christian life in a broad sense, but I haven't ever come across any that focus specifically on prayer.

    I'll look around today, but does anyone know of a prayer blog off the top of your head?

  5. I'm having serious problems with this one. I've been able to find a couple of blogs that I really like and can look at and learn from, but nothing that really fits my niche of a "new or young Christian audience" http://michaelhyatt.com – I thought this had a great layout, one of the first blogs I started reading. http://ymiblogging.org – this is one that had a similar target audience but a completely different approach (for the youth BY the youth kind of thing). Nice look awesome multimedia, but I'm not really into that.

    The layout of both was great and the content was solid (if somewhat one track at ymi). But beyond that I don't feel like I really took anything away from this one. Anyone have any suggestions for other blogs to look at?

  6. I'm having serious problems with this one. I've been able to find a couple of blogs that I really like and can look at and learn from, but nothing that really fits my niche of a "new or young Christian audience" http://michaelhyatt.com – I thought this had a great layout, one of the first blogs I started reading. http://ymiblogging.org – this is one that had a similar target audience but a completely different approach (for the youth BY the youth kind of thing). Nice look awesome multimedia, but I'm not really into that.

    The layout of both was great and the content was solid (if somewhat one track at ymi). But beyond that I don't feel like I really took anything away from this one. Anyone have any suggestions for other blogs to look at?

    • What about youth pastors? I know perhaps they don't apply to your criteria but they are addressing a youth audience.

      But how young is young? For example,http://winteryknight.wordpress.com is in his early thirties, but does that fall outside your target? I consider myself young or was that just wistfully stuck at age 13? Hmmm ;)

      Or how about:http://lmae123.wordpress.com/ or on a more professional footing try:http://ymiblogging.org/ or have a look through a list like this:http://www.x-raytechnicianschools.org/radiologic-… and determine which of the authors are young or as a final suggestion – how about asking here:http://www.christianyouthforum.com/Home.html

      • I think that's probably another part of the problem. As a youth pastor I assume my audience are teens but what I write could easily be for a Christian of any age. I think perhaps Paul got it right by saying it's more Christian inspiration and doesn't necessarily target specific concerns of a teen audience.

    • When you describe your niche as "new or young Christians" I'm not quite sure what you mean. Are you talking about talking about teens and young adults who are Christians? Or people who have recently become Christians regardless of their age? I read your "about" page and came away thinking maybe it's about Christian inspiration, but I'm not sure.

    • I just started a blog called Jesus' Apostles. It has not got hardcore Christian messages like normal blogs, it more vibrant, youthful and has many different media forms, from posts, videos, music videos, and pictures. Check it out at: http://www.jesusapostles.blogspot.com … i would dig for some feedback if you care to note some issues:)

  7. I've posted the blog with my thoughts and who is in my niche and what I can do to model myself after them while still being unique. http://ragamuffinray.blogspot.com/2010/05/great-b

    • I'm enjoying teh different approaches fellow 31DBBB's have taken so far. And yours was yet another one of them – left a comment on teh blog too.

  8. OK – here's my thoughts on the matter and let me say up-front, it isn't a huge criticism of the blog I picked on, but I felt I had to do my critique justice.
    http://www.churchtechy.com/2010/05/i-get-to-analy

  9. OK – here's my thoughts on the matter and let me say up-front, it isn't a huge criticism of the blog I picked on, but I felt I had to do my critique justice.
    http://www.churchtechy.com/2010/05/i-get-to-analy

  10. OK – here's my thoughts on the matter and let me say up-front, it isn't a huge criticism of the blog I picked on, but I felt I had to do my critique justice.
    http://www.churchtechy.com/2010/05/i-get-to-analy

  11. OK – here's my thoughts on the matter and let me say up-front, it isn't a huge criticism of the blog I picked on, but I felt I had to do my critique justice.
    http://www.churchtechy.com/2010/05/i-get-to-analy

  12. Well took me almost all day, but here it ishttp://blog.beachdaze.com/?p=48. As always please comment!
    B

  13. Well took me almost all day, but here it ishttp://blog.beachdaze.com/?p=48. As always please comment!
    B

  14. Well took me almost all day, but here it ishttp://blog.beachdaze.com/?p=48. As always please comment!
    B

    • Added a thought about the tag cloud – for the benefit of others though I don't think a 'tag cloud' has any impact on your blogs viewability or discoverability. It is simply a means to graphically display your tags – which are taken in to account.

      Maybe someone with more SEO knowledge than I can comment.

      • A lot of blogs have a list of categories in the side bar (we do here), which allows people who have an interest in a specific category to find all the posts in that category. A tag cloud does essentially the same thing except with tags. And I think there are a couple of other benefits.

        1) Because it displays the tags you use most in the biggest fonts, it provides an easy visual way for visitors to quickly figure out what your blog is all about.

        2) It looks a lot cooler & takes up less space than a category list.

        • Perhaps I was mistaken but I thought a tag cloud was JUST a grahical presentation of your tags (as inhttp://www.churchtechy.com/vision/) – in and of itself it has no SEO value, but the tags themselves do and they still need to be manually crafted – whereas thetag cloud is created from your tags. Or is there now a plugin that creates a live tag cloud?

          • Stuart, based on your example, I think you're right. I was thinking the tags in the tag cloud were clickable, but I guess not. There are WP plugins to generate a tag cloud. And I agree there is some SEO value in the tags themselves. They should help your site rank a little higher for keywords that include the tags, each post should rank a little higher for keywords that include the tags for that page, and then the tags pages themselves (eghttp://blog.ourchurch.com/tag/31dbbb/ ) will get indexed.

  15. I'm just curious, how has everyone gone about finding the top blogs in their niche? Has it been by simply searching a popular name? Have you simply been reading that particular blog for awhile? Word of mouth? Or is there a better way to find who is really a top blogger?
    I started with a search on Technorati.com for running and fitness blogs, but wasn't real excited with what I found.
    The next option was to look at blogs that I have already been reading in the area and see who they link to in their blogrolls.
    Any other suggestions for find great blogs?

  16. Ouch.. this one is hard.. My personal blog isn't really in a niche yet.. It's just in its' infancy and hasn't taken on any characteristics yet. I suppose it will be to create my own personal brand and attempt to make some money from the site.

    My business niche is auto transport. Some of my competitors do blogs and I read them for ideas on what to post (confession time). But none of them have any following. They are simply doing it for the keywords and to create links and more pages on their sites. There is no conversation going on within those blogs. And most of them are using an automated service that is pulling RSS feeds to fill their blog, and website, with posts. I do that as well on a few of my lesser blogs just for the linkbait (confession)…

    So not sure how I'll approach this today.. Does make me think I need to launch a separate blog with relevant information about the car shipping business.. I have the domain, just haven't gotten off my butt to do it.. Gary Vaynerchuk would be disappointed in me!

  17. Ouch.. this one is hard.. My personal blog isn't really in a niche yet.. It's just in its' infancy and hasn't taken on any characteristics yet. I suppose it will be to create my own personal brand and attempt to make some money from the site.

    My business niche is auto transport. Some of my competitors do blogs and I read them for ideas on what to post (confession time). But none of them have any following. They are simply doing it for the keywords and to create links and more pages on their sites. There is no conversation going on within those blogs. And most of them are using an automated service that is pulling RSS feeds to fill their blog, and website, with posts. I do that as well on a few of my lesser blogs just for the linkbait (confession)…

    So not sure how I'll approach this today.. Does make me think I need to launch a separate blog with relevant information about the car shipping business.. I have the domain, just haven't gotten off my butt to do it.. Gary Vaynerchuk would be disappointed in me!

    • Hi Scott – it's interesting you mention monetising a blog as I think that puts an entirely different spin on a blog. It becomes necessary for it to make money rather than it be about its original audience.

      I've resisted wanting to monetise the blog – not that I've had too any opportunities come my way. Then after I blogged about "We don't do adverts" I get an offer to place a reciprocal text only link. Turns out the other end couldn't do that but instead offered to pay me according to my pagerank. Well I'm a measly 2 :) so no tmuch there then but it pays for my hosting and I just think – thank you God.

      I've not really changed my attitude on advertising though.

      • I think every blog should have some sort of way on it to make you, the blogger, some money. Google Adsense, affiliate sites and etc. Now if your blog is a counseling blog or a church blog then you probably won't want to monetize it. But If you look at every major blogger out there they have ads on their page. That if you go and click on them and sign up they get paid something. Affiliate marketing is huge in blogs.. It's probably what most blogs are in my opinion.

        I think the opportunities are there and one should capitalize on them. There is nothing wrong with making money from your efforts.

        I have multiple blog sites up that all they day is autopost blogs and articles to them, tweet them to a twitter account and gets hits. I don't generate alot of money from them, but if someone clicks on the google ads I get paid. And if someone signs up or buys a product I get paid. They aren't blogs that I write anything, but they are blogs as they allow comments and are on the wordpress platform…

        • I guess it comes down to a personl opinion on whether or not one monetises their blog.

          The point I was badly trying to make is that I believe that monetising it does make a difference in your mindset and consequently could detract from the original mission / vision of the blog.

  18. Well, I'm posting for Day 3 here because I wanted to write a post yesterday. By the time, I finished everything, I knew it would be too late to get any feedback. So, I'm posting Day 3 and later will post Day 4.
    I sent individual messages to groups of friends on Facebook and sent out a group email. I'll say this went out to probably close to 50 people all together. So far, I have gotten 2 responses–one only posted to my FB message site. The other one left a post on my blog. I need help. I have a hard time drawing people in to read my blog. I've posted it on my facebook page in general, and friends will just leave comments on the pictures on FB. I don't know how to do Twitter, and I don't know how to add the share button to my blog so that it can go out to different media.
    As I posted late last night, I'm still holding out hope for more comments. Here is the blog post. However, I should let you know, this post is much longer than I normally write. You might want to look at others as well.
    Looking forward to your comments:
    http://openmyearslord.blogspot.com/2010/5/submiss

    Thank you,
    Janis

  19. Had to open an Intense Debate account. Still blogging away. Is anyone considering a Mother's Day theme??

  20. Was previously posting comments under my name Wendy Spoon.

  21. I have run across a fun blogs that I would say are in my niche of God's grace and spiritual encouragement, and I am sure there must be more out there. I will spend some time searching and check out the ones I find.

    If anyone can recommend some I'd love some help!

    As for the assignment, I see its merits. For me it is more of a time challenge, but as the old saying goes, "nothing ventured, nothing gained." I and perhaps others have to be reminded that this is like any investment. Some work up front will hopefully yield great fruit in the future.

    I will work on a new post. Maybe I'll combine the last two lessons and create a list post of blogs I am reviewing and why!

  22. Hi fellow 31DBBB bloggers. Hope all is well.

    My niche is encouraging people to bring God into their everyday moments–either by looking at how scripture applies to our daily-ness or sharing how God showed Himself to me through the seemingly mundane.

    One site that I love ishttp://www.chattingatthesky.com This is a friend of mine who has such a creative style. She is someone I often look to for advice in this writing thing.

    Something she does–that I am trying to do more often–is ask her readers a question at the end of her posts. This spurs conversation which ultimately causes us to actively think about what we read.

    My blog differs from something like hers in that I have such a passion for the Word of God. I usually have at least one post each week that is taken straight from my time that morning in His Word.

    Oh, and, she's on twitter. Yes, I'm still considering.

  23. Hi fellow 31DBBB bloggers. Hope all is well.

    My niche is encouraging people to bring God into their everyday moments–either by looking at how scripture applies to our daily-ness or sharing how God showed Himself to me through the seemingly mundane.

    One site that I love is <a href="http://www.chattingatthesky.com” target=”_blank”>www.chattingatthesky.com This is a friend of mine who has such a creative style. She is someone I often look to for advice in this writing thing.

    Something she does–that I am trying to do more often–is ask her readers a question at the end of her posts. This spurs conversation which ultimately causes us to actively think about what we read.

    My blog differs from something like hers in that I have such a passion for the Word of God. I usually have at least one post each week that is taken straight from my time that morning in His Word.

    Oh, and, she's on twitter. Yes, I'm still considering.

  24. Hi fellow 31DBBB bloggers. Hope all is well.

    My niche is encouraging people to bring God into their everyday moments–either by looking at how scripture applies to our daily-ness or sharing how God showed Himself to me through the seemingly mundane.

    One site that I love ishttp://www.chattingatthesky.com This is a friend of mine who has such a creative style. She is someone I often look to for advice in this writing thing.

    Something she does–that I am trying to do more often–is ask her readers a question at the end of her posts. This spurs conversation which ultimately causes us to actively think about what we read.

    My blog differs from something like hers in that I have such a passion for the Word of God. I usually have at least one post each week that is taken straight from my time that morning in His Word.

    Oh, and, she's on twitter. Yes, I'm still considering.

  25. Oh yay! I thought we broke the OurChurch blog with all our amazing traffic we've been sending its way.

    Today… me, Oprah, ProBlogger and some other cool people are niche buddies….
    http://greeninventionscentral.blogspot.com/2010/0

  26. I believe my niche is tips for familly living. Live and learn.
    Would that fit as a niche name?!

    Here are 3 sites I've analysed with my comments.

    http://www.mereindigne.com/
    Banner, one column, archives, categories and links to other blogger.
    Published a book after writting for a while on her blog. Now broadcasted as a webpisode.
    Simple look.
    Don't really post on her blog now.
    http://lataiedoreiller.blogspot.com/
    On the right side column, shows what she reads, Twitter feed, Facebook link, archives and game dress up the duck.
    Simple look.
    Post regularly.
    http://www.banlieusardises.com/
    Love the look and the layout !
    At the top, navigation within the different subject (cuisine, jardin, loisirs, etc.)
    On the right side colum, shows ad, box for popular post/comments/recents posts, shows Facebook fans with images, Flickr feed, box to search the blog with keywords.
    Footer : infos (about, archives, etc.), and 2 more boxes.
    All posts have a picture.
    Post regularly.

    How's my blog unique? Beside being from Gatineau, I don't know. And even that. I didn't do that extensive a search… I'm kind of clueless about this one. Any suggestions from the outside?

    Also, today I talk about Lego blocs for my 4th day to become a better blogger ! http://lemondedenathalie.ca/2010/05/06/jeremie-et

  27. I believe my niche is tips for familly living. Live and learn.
    Would that fit as a niche name?!

    Here are 3 sites I've analysed with my comments.

    http://www.mereindigne.com/
    Banner, one column, archives, categories and links to other blogger.
    Published a book after writting for a while on her blog. Now broadcasted as a webpisode.
    Simple look.
    Don't really post on her blog now.
    http://lataiedoreiller.blogspot.com/
    On the right side column, shows what she reads, Twitter feed, Facebook link, archives and game dress up the duck.
    Simple look.
    Post regularly.
    http://www.banlieusardises.com/
    Love the look and the layout !
    At the top, navigation within the different subject (cuisine, jardin, loisirs, etc.)
    On the right side colum, shows ad, box for popular post/comments/recents posts, shows Facebook fans with images, Flickr feed, box to search the blog with keywords.
    Footer : infos (about, archives, etc.), and 2 more boxes.
    All posts have a picture.
    Post regularly.

    How's my blog unique? Beside being from Gatineau, I don't know. And even that. I didn't do that extensive a search… I'm kind of clueless about this one. Any suggestions from the outside?

    Also, today I talk about Lego blocs for my 4th day to become a better blogger ! http://lemondedenathalie.ca/2010/05/06/jeremie-et

    • You ask how it's unique? Well the simple fact that you blog in a language that is not English makes it stand apart from the crowd.

      On top of that you are even getting comments – which a lot of English written blogs fail to get. My french is not what it used to be and never was that good so I cheated and used a translator – but some good stuff there.

      BTW, my son loves building stuff too – lego, connex, etc …

  28. this is a bit hard for me since I know a lot of blogs that deal heavily in the technical aspect of filmmaking or are extremely professional. SynaptcLight is really an account of my journey and thought regarding filmamking.

    I'll have to say thathttp://philipbloom.co.uk/ is a seriously popular site in the niche I am in.
    Things I noticed:

    Lots of more videos using the equipment he Evangelizes
    Lots of Advertizing
    Definitely lots of stuff for filmmakers to benefit from in terms of reviews, tutorials
    He also get very involved outside of his blog with the reviews and films he shots – this gives more credibility, respect and trust

    What can I use/incorporate?
    Well I can certainly get together with local filmmakers or people interest and get a partnership going where we can write reviews and technical articles – inviting more professional people to be involved – take it offline.

    What makes Synaptic Light Different:
    Filmmaking is not my job, it is a hobby (a bit more than that), I don't do it for money, I do most of it for church and I am documenting my progress and what I learn as I work my way to be better in my spare time.

  29. this is a bit hard for me since I know a lot of blogs that deal heavily in the technical aspect of filmmaking or are extremely professional. SynaptcLight is really an account of my journey and thought regarding filmamking.

    I'll have to say thathttp://philipbloom.co.uk/ is a seriously popular site in the niche I am in.
    Things I noticed:

    Lots of more videos using the equipment he Evangelizes
    Lots of Advertizing
    Definitely lots of stuff for filmmakers to benefit from in terms of reviews, tutorials
    He also get very involved outside of his blog with the reviews and films he shots – this gives more credibility, respect and trust

    What can I use/incorporate?
    Well I can certainly get together with local filmmakers or people interest and get a partnership going where we can write reviews and technical articles – inviting more professional people to be involved – take it offline.

    What makes Synaptic Light Different:
    Filmmaking is not my job, it is a hobby (a bit more than that), I don't do it for money, I do most of it for church and I am documenting my progress and what I learn as I work my way to be better in my spare time.

  30. this is a bit hard for me since I know a lot of blogs that deal heavily in the technical aspect of filmmaking or are extremely professional. SynaptcLight is really an account of my journey and thought regarding filmamking.

    I'll have to say thathttp://philipbloom.co.uk/ is a seriously popular site in the niche I am in.
    Things I noticed:

    Lots of more videos using the equipment he Evangelizes
    Lots of Advertizing
    Definitely lots of stuff for filmmakers to benefit from in terms of reviews, tutorials
    He also get very involved outside of his blog with the reviews and films he shots – this gives more credibility, respect and trust

    What can I use/incorporate?
    Well I can certainly get together with local filmmakers or people interest and get a partnership going where we can write reviews and technical articles – inviting more professional people to be involved – take it offline.

    What makes Synaptic Light Different:
    Filmmaking is not my job, it is a hobby (a bit more than that), I don't do it for money, I do most of it for church and I am documenting my progress and what I learn as I work my way to be better in my spare time.

  31. this is a bit hard for me since I know a lot of blogs that deal heavily in the technical aspect of filmmaking or are extremely professional. SynaptcLight is really an account of my journey and thought regarding filmamking.

    I'll have to say thathttp://philipbloom.co.uk/ is a seriously popular site in the niche I am in.
    Things I noticed:

    Lots of more videos using the equipment he Evangelizes
    Lots of Advertizing
    Definitely lots of stuff for filmmakers to benefit from in terms of reviews, tutorials
    He also get very involved outside of his blog with the reviews and films he shots – this gives more credibility, respect and trust

    What can I use/incorporate?
    Well I can certainly get together with local filmmakers or people interest and get a partnership going where we can write reviews and technical articles – inviting more professional people to be involved – take it offline.

    What makes Synaptic Light Different:
    Filmmaking is not my job, it is a hobby (a bit more than that), I don't do it for money, I do most of it for church and I am documenting my progress and what I learn as I work my way to be better in my spare time.

    • Phillip–random question. How do you get your blog to preview the posts on your homepage??? I've thought about doing that on my website and then linking it to my blog but I am not sure of the html jargon.
      ~Lara

    • Phillip–random question. How do you get your blog to preview the posts on your homepage??? I've thought about doing that on my website and then linking it to my blog but I am not sure of the html jargon.
      ~Lara

      • it's a theme characteristic.
        one of the benefits of self hosting – nice themes.
        It's basically the engine behind the scenes that finds a certain string that indicates the cut-off where everything above is shown in the main page and all in the single page.

        now sure if blogspot has a script you can use to emulate this

      • As Phillip says – it's a side benefit of using themes in WordPress. Your site has a unique style, feel and flavour that would be quite hard to replicate within wordpress – however WP gives so much more in terms of flexibility in the backend management, etc …

        As an example of the unique aspect – your about page is a series of static images, yes? You could do that in WP as well but would it look as 'neat' …?

        Me, I can't code (I ask my eldesyt to do that) so use what I can and WP makes that so easy.

        • Thanks, guys. I wondered if it was a WP thing. How difficult is it to switch from blogger to WP? It seems daunting when I think about it.

          • I did this sevreal years back – simply set up my WP as I wanted it then used the import functionality to drag in all my posts / comments / etc

    • I like this Phillip.

      Whether just for this task or previously you've obviously considered what extra you can do. Take it offline would be an obvious step so long as geography allows. I think seeing extracts of stuff you've created / worked on would be excellent and how-to's always go down well (so I'm told).

  32. this is a bit hard for me since I know a lot of blogs that deal heavily in the technical aspect of filmmaking or are extremely professional. SynaptcLight is really an account of my journey and thought regarding filmamking.

    I'll have to say thathttp://philipbloom.co.uk/ is a seriously popular site in the niche I am in.
    Things I noticed:

    Lots of more videos using the equipment he Evangelizes
    Lots of Advertizing
    Definitely lots of stuff for filmmakers to benefit from in terms of reviews, tutorials
    He also get very involved outside of his blog with the reviews and films he shots – this gives more credibility, respect and trust

    What can I use/incorporate?
    Well I can certainly get together with local filmmakers or people interest and get a partnership going where we can write reviews and technical articles – inviting more professional people to be involved – take it offline.

    What makes Synaptic Light Different:
    Filmmaking is not my job, it is a hobby (a bit more than that), I don't do it for money, I do most of it for church and I am documenting my progress and what I learn as I work my way to be better in my spare time.

  33. My new post for the day:http://campfirecowboyministries.com/2010/05/how-o

    I think my post disappeared (or I nested it somewhere). Typical for today.

    My niche is Simple Cowboy Christianity.

    Could only find a few blogs that fit my niche. Most were cowboy church blogs that were more announcements than blog.

    I sure wish I could find that post!

    • Hey Kevin, it looks like we've been having some legit comments getting flagged as spam. I will be checking the "spam" comment a couple times a day and restoring those that are legit. You might also consider creating an account with the IntenseDebate commenting system. I think if you're logged in to IntenseDebate, that eliminates any chance of your comments getting caught in the spam filter.

  34. My niche is Church Technology. In looking at other sites, I need to beef up my ability to offer subscriptions and include a widget or two on my site. I'm also looking into better category descriptors for my posts and the possibility of using a guest blogger.

    My post for today: http://jerryfultz.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/tech-f

  35. My niche is Church Technology. In looking at other sites, I need to beef up my ability to offer subscriptions and include a widget or two on my site. I'm also looking into better category descriptors for my posts and the possibility of using a guest blogger.

    My post for today: http://jerryfultz.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/tech-f

    • I've been told Tags are better than categories. I honestly don't know but some SEO dude may help us out with an answer to this one.

      • one of the things I did on my blog was a complete overhaul of categories; I reduced them from a bucketful to a handful. Tags, they are not a bucketful to me – they are a boat load. If tags are more important then consistency of the tags you use should be important, hmmm – just thinking out load really

      • Stuart – I included you in my blogroll. Looking forward to keeping up with you.

      • Yea, I need to figure out the tag thing. Hopefully it will be an upcoming topic of discussion.

  36. My niche in Christian growth/discipleship/pastors. I already posted my (almost) daily reads on my list post: http://junctionforjesus.blogspot.com/2010/05/6-bl
    What I really like about most of these is their content–a lot of good ideas and info for me as a Christian and pastor. I don't know that they are "top blogs" though.
    Here are some that might be top blogs in my niche: http://www.ronniefloyd.com/blog/ — Pastor and a leader in the SBC. I like the format of his blog. http://alvinreid.com/archives/category/blog — Professor at SEBTS. Again, a great layout. Pictures and everything. http://www.perrynoble.com/ — I too think Noble's blog is a top one. He has a very clean layout. He uses a lot of lists also!

    My blog is certainly not a top one, but I hope it is unique just 'cause it's me. Here's my post for today: Church, Love It or Hate IT –http://junctionforjesus.blogspot.com/2010/05/chur

  37. Well I didn't end up with the results I was looking for (answers to the questions above). I spent most of my time trying to navigate my way around sites like Technorati and I ended up with results for blogs that I wouldn't have expected to be at the top of my niche (genealogy, family history, organizing photos, preserving photos and memorabilia). The site that came up at the top of my genealogy and family history searches in Technorati was not a pretty website, but they had a ton of very informative posts (multiple posts every day) and a ton of badges and nice logo links on the side. I couldn't tell if the logo links were paid sponsors because the site didn't have any visible link or page to find out out to sponsor and they weren't AdSense. I didn't see any AdSense on the page. It looks like a free Blogger.com template. The site is:http://tracingthetribe.blogspot.com/.

    • Wow they've got things going down the whole right side of the blog. i'm not sure about the badges and such either, might be pictures somehow or something.

  38. My niche seems to be that of "mommy blogger" who writes about family and faith. My blog is a little bit different, of course, because my family and choices about how I raise my family are different. I have my own unique perspective and spin on things.

    I analyzedhttp://www.wearethatfamily.com

    Some things I noticed that I would like to incorporate in my blog are regular, themed "columns" that people expect to see on certain days of the week, product recommendations, giveaways, and a focus on charity and giving, among other things. Some of these things I can incorporate immediately, and others will come as my blog grows and develops. I realize this is a process that will take some time.

    My blog is unique because I am unique, my family is different, and the some of the choices my family makes are unique. In addition, my family deals with some issues that other families don't have to deal with, and that shapes my writing, my faith, and my writing about my faith. I believe that differentiating myself from the pack will happen as a natural result of my continued work on my writing and my blog. Of course, I will be on the lookout for ideas and methods to use too!

    ~Jennifer

  39. Still working on reviewing a blog in my niche. The problem for me is in my main business I don't want to give any undo props to a company that is a competitor! ha!! So I'll review one later.

    But since we're a loving family here is the post today from the blog I run for my pastorhttp://tomelmore.com/what-happens-in-the-margin/

  40. Still working on reviewing a blog in my niche. The problem for me is in my main business I don't want to give any undo props to a company that is a competitor! ha!! So I'll review one later.

    But since we're a loving family here is the post today from the blog I run for my pastorhttp://tomelmore.com/what-happens-in-the-margin/

    • I really like what you wrote about. I need to remember to put time in my schedule for God, and making that margin. Are you part of Lifechurch.tv? The Margin topic reminds me of the series they did, so just wondering. Thanks for blogging!

      • Thanks.. I'd take credit for it, but Tom wrote it.. I just made it look good!!! We are not a part of LifeChurch although we do follow them and are big fans!

  41. Because several people asked for suggestions on where they can find other blogs in their niche, I edited today's blog post adding this:

    1.5 (Added 5 PM) Some bloggers don’t know what blogs are in their niche. If you don’t read other blogs that touch on the same topics you do, you may not know what blogs to analyze. A couple of places you can search for blogs by topic are
    http://Technorati.com http://PostRank.com.

  42. Because several people asked for suggestions on where they can find other blogs in their niche, I edited today's blog post adding this:

    1.5 (Added 5 PM) Some bloggers don’t know what blogs are in their niche. If you don’t read other blogs that touch on the same topics you do, you may not know what blogs to analyze. A couple of places you can search for blogs by topic are
    http://Technorati.com http://PostRank.com.

  43. Because several people asked for suggestions on where they can find other blogs in their niche, I edited today's blog post adding this:

    1.5 (Added 5 PM) Some bloggers don’t know what blogs are in their niche. If you don’t read other blogs that touch on the same topics you do, you may not know what blogs to analyze. A couple of places you can search for blogs by topic are
    http://Technorati.com http://PostRank.com.

  44. Because several people asked for suggestions on where they can find other blogs in their niche, I edited today's blog post adding this:

    1.5 (Added 5 PM) Some bloggers don’t know what blogs are in their niche. If you don’t read other blogs that touch on the same topics you do, you may not know what blogs to analyze. A couple of places you can search for blogs by topic are
    http://Technorati.com http://PostRank.com.

    • What if there are little to no blogs in your main business niche on Technorati or Postrank? And I've never heard of either site. Can you or someone else expand on them?

  45. I'm just curious, how has everyone gone about finding the top blogs in their niche? Has it been by simply searching a popular name? Have you simply been reading that particular blog for awhile? Word of mouth? Or is there a better way to find who is really a top blogger?
    I started with a search on Technorati.com for running and fitness blogs, but wasn't real excited with what I found.
    The next option was to look at blogs that I have already been reading in the area and see who they link to in their blogrolls.
    Any other suggestions for find great blogs?

      • Thanks Paul, that was VERY helpful. You know everything we have been doing so far has made a big difference on my blog. I hope others are having the same success. I realize that part of numbers is the fact that people who are a part of the group are going to each other's sites, but looking at my analytics I can tell that people are coming from other places as well. Thanks again for organizing this for us.

        • JD, that's fantastic! Nothing could make me happier than that.

          By the way, I just clicked over to your blog again and I couldn't find an "about" page. Did I miss it? If not, I strongly recommend you add one and put your elevator pitch on it, being able to read about who you are and what the blog is about will help visitors get to know you and want to come back.

        • JD, that's fantastic! Nothing could make me happier than that.

          By the way, I just clicked over to your blog again and I couldn't find an "about" page. Did I miss it? If not, I strongly recommend you add one and put your elevator pitch on it, being able to read about who you are and what the blog is about will help visitors get to know you and want to come back.

          • Thanks, just got that done. I didn't quote my elevator pinch exactly, I beefed it up a little more. I think once I get a few more posts going I'll go back and add a section called "Start Here" that will hopefully help people get a good overview of what the blog is about and hopefully help me get more readers to drill down into the blog.

          • I like it. It gives new visitors a quick overview of what the blog is about, tells a little about yourself, and includes a picture which helps people connect even more. Great job!

    • I suppose one possibility that we haven't considered is that the top blog hasn't been written yet. or that the top blog isn't necessarily the best one out there simply the best marketed. personally I'm having the same difficulties you are.

      • Exactly – which is why I have a built-in dislike for the Top 100 this or Top 100 That or anything subjectively determined by the likes of Technorati or Alexa.

        Me, I prefer word of mouth and a good old google search

    • I had a similar experience while searching on Technorati, I need some suggestions too! I was given this link by fellow 31DBBB'er that I've begun following on Twitter @hmx5, it's a listing of blog directories:http://www.google.com/Top/Computers/Internet/On_t
      After spending some time with this list, I hope I find a site that brings me better & more expected results in my niche (genealogy, family history, organizing and preserving photos).

    • I can't see where to comment – have you got comments auto disabled in your wordpress backend?

  46. Well, I'm posting for Day 3 here because I wanted to write a post yesterday. By the time, I finished everything, I knew it would be too late to get any feedback. So, I'm posting Day 3 and later will post Day 4.
    I sent individual messages to groups of friends on Facebook and sent out a group email. I'll say this went out to probably close to 50 people all together. So far, I have gotten 2 responses–one only posted to my FB message site. The other one left a post on my blog. I need help. I have a hard time drawing people in to read my blog. I've posted it on my facebook page in general, and friends will just leave comments on the pictures on FB. I don't know how to do Twitter, and I don't know how to add the share button to my blog so that it can go out to different media.
    As I posted late last night, I'm still holding out hope for more comments. Here is the blog post. However, I should let you know, this post is much longer than I normally write. You might want to look at others as well.
    Looking forward to your comments:
    http://openmyearslord.blogspot.com/2010/5/submiss

    Thank you,
    Janis

    • Janis – if you do FB then twitter is easy by comparrison. Just think of it as sending text messages to folks you likely don't know.

      The how of it is easily googled.

    • Janis, for the sake of staying on topic it would be better to post this as a comment to the Day 3 post. Some people use the Subscribe to All New Comments option, so they'll get an email notification of your comment and may reply.

      But as you alluded to, you do get the benefit of more replies and more people clicking through to visit your blog if you post your comment on the day of the post. (And the earlier the better too)

      • Let me know if you decide to join twitter and how to do it.

        Hi Paul,
        Thank you for your direction about the daily comments. Sorry I got off topic.
        And, yes, I would like to join twitter.

        Janis

  47. It's been a busy day. I wrote my post during lunch, but then didn't get a chance to post it here, so here it is:http://trainingcrucible.blogspot.com/2010/05/5-bl

  48. It's been a busy day. I wrote my post during lunch, but then didn't get a chance to post it here, so here it is:http://trainingcrucible.blogspot.com/2010/05/5-bl

  49. It's been a busy day. I wrote my post during lunch, but then didn't get a chance to post it here, so here it is:http://trainingcrucible.blogspot.com/2010/05/5-bl

  50. It's been a busy day. I wrote my post during lunch, but then didn't get a chance to post it here, so here it is:http://trainingcrucible.blogspot.com/2010/05/5-bl

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  1. Looking at blogs in our niche. | Scott Ayres - May 6, 2010

    [...] are suppose to analyze a top blog in our niche. This was pretty hard for me to do. This blog isn’t really in a niche yet. I’ve only [...]