Apr 112009

Analyze a Top Blog in Your Niche

Day 4 of the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog program really had me stumped for a while. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what exactly my niche was. Sure, the goal of this blog is for me to become a better writer, but it’s not very often that I actually write about writing.

Then, at 10:00 PM last night it hit me: boingboing.net. They blog about everything, essentially. Since it’s one of my favorite sites to look at (nearly daily) I am kind of surprised the idea didn’t hit me sooner.

Please note that I skipped over the recommended areas of the analysis that dealt with monetization, or SEO. My goal here really is just to make myself a better blogger, not really make any money or have tons of traffic (though both would be nice).


Content- They cover a little bit of everything, but mainly: politics, gadgets, current pop culture, books/movies/music, and unusual forms of art. They post in the common blogging style, which is very conversational and subjective. As far as frequency goes, they post around 10-20 times a day, but the have several writers contributing. Posts are very short and to the point.

Reader Engagement- It’s hard to gauge which topics generate the most comments, because Boing Boing has a lot of readers…each post is overrun with comments. If commenters have questions, they are usually requesting more information from the poster. I see very little complaining going on in their comments, but do occasionally see people “flaming” each other for one reason or another. As far as tools go, I know there is a general BoingBoing.net Twitter account, and each contributor has their own as well.

Design- The design at Boing Boing is very simple; white background, black text, banner at the top. Navigation is across the top, with ads on the sidebar. They’ve done a good job at keeping it simple, but the site does look a little out of date–I have seen simple black on white designs that look a little newer. Subscription is offered via RSS (unfortunately no ATOM, which I prefer) or email.

Traffic- According to Alexa, Boing Boing averages about 2400 hits a day, which is an increase over their traffic from last month. Average time on the site is pretty normal, though I wonder if Alexa counts time spent viewing articles through an RSS reader.

What I learned: I feel like more frequent content on my blog would improve my readership.

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