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A Niche of Their Own: Five Sites to Check Out Today

A look at bloggers who find their audience by doing one thing (really, really) well.

The blogging community is huge and diverse, with thousands of smaller clusters of sites built around shared interests, causes, and passions. It might seem daunting at first — like walking into a party where everyone already seems to know each other — but there are a number of ways to ease your entry into the community, from participating in a blogging event (or even starting your own) to taking one of our free blogging courses.

As the bloggers we feature here demonstrate, there’s another way to find your place in the big, wide world of blogging: zoom in on one thing you enjoy doing, then do it consistently, and well. From parenting to cooking to illustration, these bloggers found their niche and their audience by developing a hook — something unique about their posts that makes you want to visit them again and again.

Zounds, Alack, and By My Troth

There are thousands of humor blogs out there, at least as many illustration blogs, and a respectable number of sites devoted to William Shakespeare’s work. Ben Sawyer, the illustrator behind Zounds, Alack, and By My Troth, made his witty web comic a cross of all three, distilling the Bard’s work — sonnets, scenes, entire plays — into well-executed, smart panels.

From Henri IV retold to the tune of Semisonic’s “Closing Time” to Othello explained in five easy steps, Sawyer’s comics (and commentary) make you look at Shakespeare’s corpus in a fresh way — not an easy feat when it comes to the most studied English-language author of all time.

Read an Interview

Every Monday, readers can expect a fresh, wide-ranging interview conducted by Johan, the blogger who runs Read an Interview.

The interviews span a wide range of topics, and feature an eclectic gallery of subjects — from a police canine trainer to a designer of figure skating costumes. Regardless of who he engages in conversation, Johan’s curiosity, patience, and respect for his interviewees is evident everywhere on his site.

Things We Like

Who doesn’t love lists? Author Jessica Gross came up with a neat idea: a site dedicated exclusively to lists of things people like (you can send her yours, too — she accepts submissions).

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.36.08 AM

A list by blogger Lindsay James

Succinct and digestible, these lists, full of quirks and offbeat details, give a surprisingly good glimpse into each list maker’s psyche.

My Least Favorite Child Today

The web is full of wonderful parenting blogs, covering a wide spectrum of topics and writing styles. Stephen Hurley‘s dad blog, My Least Favorite Child Today, belongs firmly in the humorous end of that spectrum, with hilarious posts on the shenanigans of his young twin boys. (How hilarious? His irreverent post titles — like “He’s Not Teething. He’s Just An Asshole” or “Breaking: My Sons Have Perfect Weiners!!!” might give you a hint.)

Beyond the great writing, the blog also has a great hook: each post ends with a (mostly fabricated) rating of the twins, letting the readers track the always-changing state of Stephen’s affections. (If you care to know, Charles and Arthur are currently tied at 36 days each as least favorite child.)

Cooking in the Archives

If you’re a history buff, a baking fanatic, or any cross of the two, you’re bound to love Cooking in the Archives, a site where two literary scholars, Alyssa Connell and Marisa Nicosia, make their way through the outré (and often surprisingly appetizing) recipes found in early-modern cookbooks.

Eighteenth-century beer cakes, recreated.

Eighteenth-century beer cakes, recreated.

Full of fascinating commentary, lovely images of old books, and honest reviews of the results of their cooking, Marisa and Alyssa’s site is a niche blog that appeals both to fellow ancient-cookery geeks and to the wide, uninitiated public (so much so that it’s been featured on CNN, the Washington Post, and elsewhere).

Does your blog have a unique hook? Let us know in the comments.


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74 Comments

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  1. ofopinions

    Great blogs! I’d like to think my blog has a unique hook, something that has been honoured by the WordPress community with a Freshly Pressed feature on my blog “hook” – my use of the preposition “Of” to prefix my blog post titles. It is actually less unique and weird than it sounds – I was inspired by the first essayists, Montaigne and Bacon, to write “something about anything”. And make that into an entire blog. Thus, with posts with titles like “Of Having A Dreadful Name for A Blog” to my latest, “Of Sensuality”, a lot of ground can get covered!
    My aim with my blog is very humble – to make readers spare a few moments thinking about an everyday thing, that they may not think about often, or at all. I do wish I could write something on recreating those deliciously “recreated” 18thC beer cakes though!

    Liked by 11 people

  2. lupitatucker

    Cool blogs! I like the idea behind the interview blog. Sounds similar to what Brandon does over at Humans of New York, only a little more in depth.

    My blog’s hook is it’s name, Not Enough Poetry, which is based on the premise that there is not enough poetry in our lives, and therefore my attempt to change that🙂 http://www.notenoughpoetry.com

    Liked by 8 people

  3. Josephine Corcoran

    My blog ‘And Other Poems’ https://andotherpoems.wordpress.com/ is a rolling poetry anthology featuring the work of almost 300 poets. It’s recently celebrated its third year and has been archived by The British Library. It publishes contemporary poetry, twice a week. There is no commentary, no ads – it’s just a quiet, uncluttered place to read poems. Its unique hook is its simplicity.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Vinny Grette

    My blog on healthy eating is for and about kids. I like to think it makes dry nutrition facts a little easier to digest🙂.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Midwestern Plant Girl

    Phenology of Midwestern blooming plants is my hook. There are other posts about the Midwest including hiking, kayaking, animals and border collie adventures!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Jo Smith

    How can I start a blogging hop? If I do, how will other people know about it if I’m not that popular?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Kathryn Grace

    You are so kind to ask. I soft-launched YayYay’s Kitchen this spring as a some-day legacy to my grandkids. I’m YayYay to them, and they like to bake and cook with me in the kitchen. Sure, it’s about food, and over time I intend much more–a safe place the grandkids, or anyone, can go to for comfort, rousing debates and of course our favorite recipes, along with step-by-step guides so they never have to wonder how YayYay did it–all the things one expects in Grandma’s kitchen.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Robert Doyle

    Off to check some of these blogs out now, but they look great! I like to think my blog has a hook. I scrapped an earlier attempt at writing a blog because I realized it did not have a hook. Like Not Enough Poetry, I think most of my hook is in my blog’s title-Soundtrack Of A Photograph. The idea was what if a still photograph had a soundtrack to it, in the same way a movie does. I recently revamped my blog to sharpen the focus from my earlier ones. One song, and only one photograph so it better reflects the title. Though I am happy with everything I have written, I like the new direction this is taking me in!
    https://robpatdoy.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/soundtrack-of-a-photograph-4/

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Kally

    Thank you for sharing such interesting blogs. Mine is http://MiddleMe.net and it’s about making your work life more productive, progressing in your career no matter what you do and be a better manager now or in future. I felt there are way too much grudges and complains about our workplace and I wish to spread my knowledge and my passion around to allow others enjoy their 40 hours work week as much as I have enjoyed mine. There are just too many questions we are afraid to ask our bosses or HR without looking dumb. My website is here to help to dish out everyday advice to make everyone’s lives better.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. swanpride

    My blog Honoring the Heroine was pretty unique when I started it (the idea was to praise well-written female characters instead of constantly complaining about badly written ones), but there are now a few similar blogs or article series out there (not that I think that they are copies of mine, I guess I am not the only one who was tired to only read complains).

    Movies and Lyrics is a little bit more unique, though it has multiple hooks…it discusses mainly animation, animation history and how music is used in animated movies. By itself, that is not particularly unusual, because there are a number of blogs about animated movies and a number of blogs about music, but I don’t think that there is one which combines all those topics and actually analyses the lyrics in the context of the movie.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. wanderlustywriter

    Love this post. My blog is about traveling, writing, and reading, and I’ve often thought I should maybe just focus on one or two out of those things … but I don’t want to give any of them up! After all, writers like to read, and who doesn’t like to travel? That’s what I’m telling myself anyway…

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Michele Kearns

    JoyReturns, http://joyreturns.com/, is about sharing my adventures through widowhood in hopes of encouraging, inspiring and supporting widows through their grief journey. I’ve shared stories of my husband’s passing, unemployment, participation in an online fitness group and whatever else this new life brings. My golden retriever got in on the action and hacked my computer a few times to write her own posts. Unfortunately, some of my most recent posts have been about her passing.

    Liked by 8 people

  13. Sunite

    Indeed, an impressive list of blogs. I think since I love food, I’ll have to check out the last cooking blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dennis

    Not a hook, but I believe I amazed an CNN author once as well, because they linked to my tutorial about internet memes… http://diaryofdennis.com/2013/05/10/the-most-commonly-used-meme-font-and-a-tutorial-how-to-create-a-meme-with-photoshop/

    I have had success with some other articles as well, but overall my blog does not fit into any niche as I write about a lot, and if so it’s more about my photography that I want to show regularly. But as my articles are so mixed, I don’t think that my blog is a hook, quite a lot of people visit my blog via Google, but they go after 1 or 2 articles as it is too mixed😀

    Liked by 1 person

  15. de Wets Wild

    Our blog http://www.dewetswild.com is focussed on South Africa’s wild places. Sometimes it gets reeaaally difficult to find a contribution that fits the weekly photo challenge, which we love participating in, as well as our blog’s central them😉

    Liked by 3 people

  16. lindamowles

    My blog, The Ruminant Scribe, Snapshots of God’s World and Word, tries to express thought-provoking topics for living our lives in Christ Jesus by using snapshots of various places, things, people as a springboard for the spiritual application. So it is a combination of travel, pictures, Scripture and challenges.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. randomlyabstract

    Oh My God! All of these are so awesome! I mean, how do you people do that? Fhsnhs. Wow. I am so inspired at this moment. {Please God let me select a -what was that word?- niche–a cool(est) niche so I could reinvent my blog this 5th anniversary (it’s on 6th September. I mean the blog’s. Wow I am blabbering?) and die proudly.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. Steve

    It’s great seeing what other people are up to! My site http://www.bestpresidentialbios.com logs my Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies. I’m just over halfway through my collection of the best 219 biographies of the US presidents I could find. I started December 2012 with a dozen biographies of Washington and have worked my way through the first 28 presidents up to Woodrow Wilson. The next “exciting” president will be FDR (15 bios to read) by this Thanksgiving, and unless more biographies are added to my list I’ll wrap up Obama sometime late 2017 or early 2018… See you there!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com

    It would be great to have a bloggerathon meeting in a place accessible to me, but I fear it ain’t going to happen any time soon! The look: of my blog is hardly unique: confused probably describes it more accurately: mostly poetry, spiced with quilting, baking and the occasional rant, all contained in a framework of Paris rooftops and Bistrot Vivienne.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dorris Keeven-Franke

    Mine is Mo-Germans.com and it is all things German in Missouri. And Missouri has a really strong German heritage. We have stories,events, genealogy, focus groups, programs, all kinds of things.Its definitely a niche.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. atiredheart

    My blog, “journey of a tired heart, is about adjusting to life after a diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy. My posts cover a range of topics from my own poetry to the latest hot (vested) news regarding cardiomyopathy and heart health. As I also carry a diagnosis of fourth stage osteoarthritis and borderline diabetes, I’m looking at the world through different eyes now and sharing the journey with readers. After all, there are literally thousands of other people in the same situation struggling to make sense of it all. I want them to know they are not alone. https://journeyofatiredheart.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Laura

    My blog, https://laurazphotoblog.com/, follows the beauty of nature in northern Minnesota.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. debbiedeywrites

    This is definitely an area I’m struggling with. I keep reading that finding a niche and specializing can be more lucrative, but I feel like my knowledge-base is more blended as a generalist. I know a lot about construction and real estate but find myself wanting to write about lifestyle issues. I could use some advice from my blogger friends on how to find my niche without c compromising the “fun” aspect of making money writing. Any thoughts?

    Liked by 2 people

  24. debbiedeywrites

    Sorry, I forgot to mention that I have signed up for some blogging courses through WP and that I plan to try some of the suggestions listed in this post. I’d really love some additional feedback from those who struggled and yet ultimately found their niche. What was their process?

    Liked by 3 people

  25. crafty theatre

    Some really great ideas here. I never imagined that you could blog just with interviews. It makes sense as my most shared blog post has been an interview. I blog about theatre history and mysteries, focussing on the Shakespeare Authorship Question at the moment but have looked at Menander, shadow puppets, medieval drama … CraftyTheatre. WordPress.com
    Thanks for the opportunity to share🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. askyermom

    There are so many great ideas here!! My site is http://blog.askyermom.com/ which is devoted to answering questions from my kids with both frankness and humor. (Someone told me I was funny once and I’ve never been able to get over it).
    Right now I’m on my seventh week of posting every weekday. Quite a challenge and so much fun!!

    Liked by 3 people

  27. ninagrandiose

    My blog has an unusual perspective. It is all about India’s culture as seen through a western person’s eyes. It’s taken a bit of time for it to settle into this as I really didn’t know at first what I wanted to blog about! Unintentionally, many of my readers are Indian who seem to get a kick out of my point of view.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. jabrush1213

    Thank you for this information! My blog encompasses: traveling, holidays, history and much more.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Samer T.

    Interesting ideas! I like the Read An Interview one, it’s a fresh concept.

    I have also recently started a book blog. It’s at bookbubblebee.wordpress.com. I plan on writing reviews, talking about favorite characters, and hosting my own blog event. I would like to know how to spread my blog’s name around but am finding it a little difficult.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. dawnlizjones

    Thanks for the tips, as always! My “hook” is Christian theology with humor, thus the name “Inspiration with an Attitude” at https://dawnlizjones.wordpress.com/. My husband’s brand is exploring modern mythology and is entitled “Pneumythology” at https://robertlambertjones3.wordpress.com.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Nancy Mock

    This article is well-timed, as this topic has been on my mind a lot lately! (And thanks Ben Huberman for the link to the UVP post.) When I started my blog, Hungry Enough To Eat Six, it was meant to be an outlet for all the cooking I was doing and a way to share my recipes and writing. Though I love it, I have begun to worry that unless I narrow my focus and find that hook my blog will never grow beyond where it is now. As a possible hook I’m trying out posting recipes in a themed series – 6 at a time to tie the series’ into my blog name. I wonder if many food blogs go through a similar process of starting with a broad focus and then trying to narrow to a niche.
    I appreciate these posts and the insights in other readers’ comments!

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Nancy Mock

    Also, I’m really happy that this article highlights Cooking In The Archives – it’s a great blog with a fascinating focus!

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Mr Tozzo

    Cool blogs !!!

    Liked by 2 people

  34. dmanderphotography

    Really enjoyed this and the blogs mentioned thanks!🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Janet Thomas

    I’ve just started a blog, so I’m a real newbie. My niche area is Reflective and Therapeutic Writing ( http://janetgthomas.com/). It’s a blog about how and why writing is good for you and while that belief will underpin everything I do, writing as a tool for change and wellbeing is the over arching theme.

    Liked by 5 people

  36. Viajero Frecuente

    Nice blogs!! thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 3 people

  37. LDG luciledegodoy

    Hi Ben, thanks for sharing these blogs. How do you select a niche blog among the billion pages out there? What’s the criteria? I always wonder how can you WP editors select who to freshly press or feature as a niche, as it is not humanly possible to keep track on all blogs out there. Do the editors assign categories of blogs to check according to own interest/specialization? And do you focus mainly on North American blogs? I am blogging for over a year, and must confess that at the beginning I have wondered what that button (press this) was for until I asked around. I have to say that I never found a good explanation for how it works.
    I guess that there is a stronger focus on promoting blogs/events in the USA. Are there plans to also host events in Europe?
    Thanks for your attention.
    Lucile

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ben Huberman

      Hi Lucile,

      As you correctly assume, “it’s not humanly possible to keep track on all blogs out there,” so in our small team of editors we each rely on our own networks, mine the WordPress.com Reader and social media like Twitter where bloggers publicize their work, and use other search tools when we try to zoom in on specific topics. We end up covering quite a lot of ground, but no matter how many posts and blogs we showcase, we’re very much aware that we’re missing out on millions of others simply because of the sheer number of sites out there in the WordPress universe.

      To answer your other questions: we don’t have assigned “beats,” though we do each have loose and ever-changing collections of topics and niches that interest us in particular (and many of those overlap — a couple of us love showcasing street art; all of us try to highlight poetry every once in a while, and so on).

      We try to include voices from as far afield as possible, and have shared stories from dozens of countries and all continents (including Antarctica!). That said, we always strive to do more in that regard; while North Americans make the majority of our readership, WordPress.com is a global platform, and we’d love to reflect that as much as possible in the sites and posts that we feature (with the major caveat that for now at least, we focus almost exclusively on English-language sites).

      Liked by 3 people

      • LDG luciledegodoy

        Hi Ben,
        Thank you for taking the time to reply and explain the way it works. Much appreciated.
        It’s really a lot of work and it feels like looking for a needle in a haystack. For that, it is commendable what you do, as you’re not many editors.
        The same applies to all of us, who cannot find all the gems that are on the blogosphere, but you help us by finding some of them that we otherwise would never find. Thanks!
        Do you accept suggestions from bloggers on other blogs and if yes, where do you send them?
        Once again, thanks much for your kindness and all the best.
        Lucile

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ben Huberman

          We love to hear from other bloggers about the posts and sites that they love! Comments on posts like these are always welcome (for example, I learn about many WordPress.com authors each time we showcase a selection of published WordPress.com bloggers). We also love getting reading recommendations on Twitter (on our @Freshly_Pressed account); we’ve often featured recommended posts on Freshly Pressed and elsewhere.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Ben Huberman

      PS — I just realized I’d missed your question regarding hosting events.

      WordPress.com and the comapny behind it — Automattic — sponsor numerous events and conferences all over the world, many of which have a blogging focus. We’ve ran a couple of successful blogging events in the US this past year, and while I don’t know of concrete plans to extend them to Europe, I know that we’re always thinking of new ways to engage bloggers beyond North America.

      Liked by 2 people

  38. Chief_want

    Brilliant. Hoping my blog will be on that list sometime soon. I’d also like to agree with lupitatucker, there isn’t enough poetry and my blog tries to change that by mixing poetry and other experiences from Africa.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Lifelover

    My blog is kind of “many topics one blog “. That’s why I chose the name randomwordstorm.wordpress.com . My latest post https://randomwordstorm.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/an-open-letter-to-cancer/ was well received by readers outside WordPress community.
    The blogs featured here are really cool. Interview blogs always make a good read. One of my favourite blogger @curtisbausse writes amazing interview blog on almost every Thursday.

    Liked by 4 people

  40. LBLivingBetter

    Great article! I am a college friend of Stephen Hurley’s and a mother of twin boys! He is just as funny today as he was 20 years ago.

    Liked by 3 people

  41. clara@expatpartnersurvival.com

    I have a niche blog, it’s aimed at expat partners. So the non-working half of a couple moving abroad for a job. You’d be amazed how many of us there are out here! Although luckily many of us do find work as well🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  42. simplycharu

    Great ideas and definitely inspiring to a newbie like me. I am trying to develop a niche with my blog: http://foodandmycity.com/ where in I talk about eating my way through what a cosmopolitan city like Dubai offers and the city itself🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  43. Jean

    I was glad to land upon my blog’s name Cycle Write because it allows me to use the metaphor of bicycling as a journey of exploration to tie together several favourite themes and other non-cycling interests, in my blog: cycling, travel, culture, art, history and blogging.

    While I love cycling, I can’t expect broad readership to understand cycling itself or even know how to bicycle. I have some readers who tell me they can’t ride a bike but they like reading my other stuff. This way I get to interact with more different readers. I get my cycling chat fix from Internet groups devoted to cycling.

    I did try a poll once on my personal blog. Maybe better response as a widget, probably.
    https://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/?s=comfort

    More response on a work-related blog because poll had a specific focus and readers wanted to know informal results too.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. greenmackenzie

    Nice idea to highlight some unique blogs. My blog is rather whimsical…weaving Scottish imagery, myth and magic into unique posts focusing on everyday mindfulness…..now that feels like a complex ‘hook’, but it rolls out quite easily🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  45. theunknownartisthour

    For all the wandering I do on the internet it’s nice to find blogs that actually do inspire. Thanks for the new reading material!

    Liked by 2 people

  46. navdisenyo

    Cool blogs! Nice idea to highlight some unique blogs. I’m a wordpress designer and developer, also a e-commerce developer. We are a website design and development agency. http://www.navdisenyo.com is our official site link. Now anyone help me SEO for my site? Any suggestion?

    Liked by 2 people

  47. Chiradeep Patra

    Wonderful Ben! I loved the blogs you have mentioned here especially, “Things We Like” & “Read an Interview.” I didn’t take much time to subscribe to their blogs.

    I really appreciate the way you guys highlight people’s new ideas and hard work which they deserve it.

    Commendable!

    Regards, Chiradeep

    Liked by 2 people

  48. Lena

    great sites! Yes, my site is unique in a way that no one else could have written my stories.. no one! Simply because I have actually lived all of them in real life… a lot of them are book/film material. I am honest in my writing and creativity, that is why thousands from around the world read it. My site also has photography, video and poetry mixed together with writing. Oh, almost forgot… It also has nude photos of me, shot by legendary photographers. : )

    Liked by 2 people

  49. gelukkig5

    Loved Cooking in the Archives. Can’t wait to see more.

    Liked by 2 people

  50. Nancy

    Great blogs – in the post and in the comments! I am rather new at blogging and grateful for the inspiration.

    Liked by 2 people

  51. thewritersinme

    My blog is lalindaknows.wordpress.com. I’ve written blogs about things people are thinking but may not discuss such as being fired; Editing Lalinda is about editing our negative self-talk and the latest Hating the Hater In Me talks about the fact that we “hate” on others because there’s something we lack. Then I talk about when “hating” gets out of control, what to do? Love insight and feedback.

    Liked by 3 people

  52. Betinix

    Yes, I post my personal drawings bettinixdraws.wordpress.com

    Liked by 2 people

  53. L. Richelle Murry

    I like checking out other people’s blogs. It just goes to show that we all have something to talk about. I have three, yes three blogs: Shadowbox a creative blog about all things art, Rshelles World a blog about my past, my present, my thoughts, and The Nahla Chronicle, where I can display my writing and drawings (work in progress). Overwhelming, but at the end of the day, I love a challenge!

    We all have something to talk, blab, gab, or share. That’s the best thing about blogging. Another thing about blogging is that someone maybe going thru very tough things in their lives and blogging give us just an encouraging word. Blogging gives us a voice we can link as well and I’m going to continue doing what I love to do. Here are my three blogs:

    http://shadowboxerinc.com/
    rshellesworld.wordpress.com
    thenahlachronicles.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Sarang Khanna

    A nice collection of good blogs! They are all amazing🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  55. richard herriott

    I cohabit a blog about car design, car culture and the industry. We don’t generally cover news but rather take a long view. With an extensive literature to draw on we can put current issues in historical perspective. We have a literary approach: we like writing first and cars are the grit in our oyster. We also preserve the fictional motoring writer Archie Vicar, a character who wrote about cars in the golden age of motoring writing.
    http://www.driventowrite

    Liked by 2 people

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