Thursday, July 24, 2008

To Niche Or Not To Niche

I've been wondering lately if I should make this blog of mine fall into a "niche". As you can tell, I've allowed this place to become a pool where all my thoughts continuously spill out into - as was the original plan. Even the name of this blog captures its nature quite perfectly, if I do say so myself. But, I do think that there are some valid reasons why I should consider following a niche instead of being all over the place. And at the same time there are reasons why I should stay the way I am. Here are 3 arguments from both sides of the fence.

To Niche:
1. A set focus in terms of content.

2. Force me to put thought into what I write so that my posts fit the mold of the blog(s) I'd be running.

3. Hopefully provide my readers a more "pure" experience. If people come here to read about one thing, they don't get bombarded by other matters that don't interest them, say my experiences at the near by Apple Store or something.

To Not Niche:
1. If I were to take this blog and then alter it, it would then become many blogs. Each with their own area of thought. That would mean I'd then have to divide myself between each blog and I don't have that much willpower for that. One blog is going to get more attention than the other - I can tell you that much now. So if I already know that, why bother attempting it?

2. I personally like to think that most of what I write about have a way of being interconnected, should you hang around long enough for them to. In my head, this is certainly the case and then for me purposely separate them into boxes, I might be shooting myself in the foot. I just don't think within such lines.

3. Tags were invented for a reason. Really. I don't have them there because I think they are a nice little distraction. I do try to use tags to help organize my posts into actual themes. You guys should use them as well.

For the time being, I'm going to stick with this blog. Its treated me well up until now and I don't see a need to change it around unless I'm moving to my own servers. I'm highly content with this place and I want to see it mature naturally - breaking it up into branches would only hinder that.

And besides, if this blog is too disordered, just have fun with it. I know I am :)


  1. Hi, Ryan.

    Speaking as someone who has a niche blog, I do not see how you could turn this blog into one, or why you would want to.

    What I did not see in your post is what the niche would be. A niche blog emerges from a specific passion and focus.

    If you find that your readers only come here looking for only 1 thing, then, sure, give them that one thing and cut away the distractions. But is that the situation?

    There also seems to be an unexplored subtext to this posting, which is how you measure the success of your blog. It's a tricky question to answer, but it's important. I bring this up because your reasons for changing to a niche blog seem more tactical than strategic. What I mean is it's less about where you want to go than about how you can get there. Where do you want to go that would be easier to get to with a niche blog?

  2. BTW, you asked about Objective-C vs. C++.

    I haven't used Objective-C, but I can give a useful answer.

    Objective-C is not widely used outside of Mac programming (and before Steve Jobs came back to Apple from Next it wasn't even used there), but it seems to be the core language for Cocoa.

    C++ is a more general purpose language used on just about every platform.

    Both languages are based on C, but there are some big syntax differences. I think C++ code is easier to read, but maybe that's just because I'm more used to it.

    C++ code is also likely to run slightly faster (though for many apps these speed differences are not an issue) because Objective-C 2.0 has a couple features that help the programmer at the expense of raw speed.

    The biggest of these features is garbage collection. Objective-C 2.0 will delete objects that are no longer usable, whereas in C++ you have to explicitly delete objects you create in order to avoid running out of memory.

    The other big difference between the two is dynamic typing. In C++, if your object doesn't define a method "doX()", then you can't call doX() on that object. In Objective-C you can call doX() on any object, and you can give objects different ways of handling unknown calls, such as forwarding them to another object.

  3. To your first comment:
    I was thinking about niche blogs and their seemly inherit ability to draw in lots of people and so I was wondering if I could do same.

    I'm not really sure why people come here. It seems to be mostly by accident, but I've noticed that few - like yourself - bother to stay around. And for that I must thank you. Makes me feel good inside, kind of like a vindication of sorts.

    And to your second comment:
    Thanks for notes. I've been looking into their differences as well and I think that for now I'm going to stick with Objective-c. I'm more than likely going to blog about my reasons why tomorrow or so.

    I've been writing little programs lately using the books I've gotten, so I was thinking about blogging about what I've been able to make and where I'm stuck at.

    As always, you really are a great help!

  4. You're welcome. I'm happy to help.

    About niche blogs, I think there are a lot of them that don't draw much traffic. It's easy not to realize it, because almost by definition you don't read them and may not even know they exist.

    A niche does reduce the competition for attention, though, and it gives you an opportunity to be the best at something (i.e. the best bilingual blog about Paris with great photos :-)). Being the best can draw the attention of those who are interested in the niche. That provides quality of traffic, which is more a bit important than quantity, whether it's for generating revenue or just sharing ideas.