Recently, I fielded a good question from a reader.
They have a travel niche site that pre-COVID had great traffic and earned well.
It’s now down 80%.
That’s a huge hit.
While it’s likely temporary, we don’t know how temporary. 3 months? 6 months? 12 months? 2 years?
Nobody knows when travel will resume.
What can they do?
My suggestion was to pivot the blog a bit.
I’m not talking about switching it to some Julius Caesar aficionado site or foot fungus health site. That would make no sense.
I’m talking about publishing content related to the travel niche but are topics still sought out.
In fact, what I set out below can be applied to any niche as ways to expand topically AND go deep into topics.
One of my favorite things to do is dream up ways to capture more traffic without compromising the integrity of a niche site.
I tried the “everything and the kitchen sink” niche site. It worked for a bit but stopped. I wasn’t surprised.
It’s best to stick within the parameters of the niche, but be creative within those parameters.
How do you pivot a niche site?
Let’s use travel as an example because it’s relevant.
Let’s assume I have a website all about Vancouver, BC. I live in North Vancouver which is a burb of the big city of Vancouver.
These days Vancouver tourism is dead.
No cruise ships. No visitors. No tours. No bike rentals. Nothing except for locals eating the odd food truck meal.
How can a niche site on Vancouver pivot?
Here are some ideas.
Some of you might think the following is a stretch but I think if organized properly on the site, it could work and make sense.
Vancouver is in-part known for skiing. There are the local ski mountains and of course Whistler.
While skiing destinations is a dead topic for the time-being, skiing is still relevant.
People will still ski come winter. I will be.
Publish a series on ski resorts in and around Vancouver. Then drill down into ski topics. That opens up a whole new niche. While it’s seasonal, it’s something.
What else is Vancouver known for?
Lots of movies are filmed in Vancouver. It’s Hollywood north. I know many folks working in the film industry.
You could do hundreds of articles about movies shot in and around Vancouver. You could write about the Vancouver film industry. The list goes on.
Sushi restaurants are huge in Vancouver.
Sushi alone is a niche. That could be fun. That’s not seasonal and it’s evergreen.
There are many more tangental topics a Vancouver travel site could pivot to and cover.
In fact, you don’t have to wait for a pandemic to do this.
You can do this with any niche.
Have fun with it.
How do you structure your site with adding related but non-travel topics and articles?
I can only tell you what I do. And yes, I do add tangential topics to my sites. I love going deep.
Here’s an example of how to approach it if you published a travel site on Vancouver, BC.
The purple and red boxes indicate the “tangential” non-travel niches linked to from topics apparent on the travel site.
You could do the same with steak restaurants topic, resorts topic – everything. There’s so much you can add that if structured properly on the site the articles don’t seem out-of-place and in fact adds a lot of helpful info for site visitors.
Isn’t that fun?
I think so. I geek out on this stuff.
The beauty of niche sites is that while we do have parameters, they’re wide enough to give us wiggle room to make the site whatever we want it to be.
It’s like practicing law.
Laws are parameters but there is often plenty of wiggle room where a little creativity can be interpreted to favor a client’s situation. It doesn’t always work, but the good lawyers operate this way.
Practicing law well also requires framing a client’s fact pattern so that the law favors them (without misrepresenting the facts).
Same with niche sites. If you present the tangential topics via links in the travel-related articles, it comes across as a natural fit. It’s all in the presentation.
What you don’t want to do is put a Ski Boots topic in the menu of a Vancouver travel site. That would look dumb and confuse visitors.
But if you link to a ski boots section from ski gear section which is linked to from an article about Vancouver ski resorts, that totally works (IMO).
When should you add tangential topics and niches to your site?
If you’re in a travel niche that’s been pummelled, do it now. It gives you something to get excited about and grow your site.
However, this concept applies to any site. It’s a way to go DEEP into each topic on your site and going deep is good for visitors and search traffic.
If you have topic block and can’t come up with new articles, approach your site this way and I’m sure you’ll come up with many new topics, sub-topics and articles to cover.
Niches are like endless wells.
You just have to keep drilling.
What’s the best way to drill?
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.