How one Second Life blogger niched her blog and got over 85,000 pageviews a month
It’s no secret that I am an advocate for niching – in business and in blogging – and by now you must know I like to support my advice with evidence. Since first writing and advising Second Life bloggers to niche their blogs, I’ve looked for a compelling case study that showed the power of niching your Second Life blog. After a short look; I found it, and it’s MeshBodyAddicts.
A couple of months ago, I asked Daria (lildaria resident) to share her direct experience with niching her blog. Daria has been driving MeshBodyAddicts for nearly a year now, and her blog has become so successful, she’s even been able to spawn an event from it: The MeshBodyAddicts Fair.
The MeshBodyAddicts Fair features 82 designers, each showcasing exclusive items you’ll find only at the event, among other goodies made specifically for a range of mesh bodies. The event opens Saturday, August 1st, and Daria is giving SL Blogger Support members an early access pass on Friday, July 31st! Watch the in world group for those specific announcements.
But first, the exclusive interview with Daria of MeshBodyAddicts:
Canary Beck: Thank you very much, Daria, for taking the time out of what I’m sure is a busy schedule to chat with me. As you know, I want to talk to you about niching. I’ve been long advocating the value of niching to Second Life Bloggers, and I believe it’s one of the most important decisions a blogger can make if they want success.
Obviously, your blog’s niche clear, but your blog wasn’t alway about mesh bodies, or addicts, right? I’ve been deep into your archive posts, and I’ve found fashion posts about the typical things bloggers post about that had little to do with mesh bodies. My questions are: When did you start blogging, and when did your focus change?
Daria: You know I actually had to dig back into my blog history to answer this one! My blog was originally called ‘Cute Sexy Cool’, and it was really just me and my photos talking about fashion! I was new to blogging and SL fashion altogether, so more than anything I was exploring – and writing about it!
My blog changed around the same time the Belleza Venus mesh body was released. By that point, I’d been blogging for a while with very little success, and when the Venus came out I just fell in love with it. From there my blog naturally evolved into talking mostly about mesh bodies – I was fascinated with how they worked, how to dress them, how to use them – and mid to late last year I took the plunge and changed my blog name and focus to become Mesh Body Addicts!
Canary Beck: That’s fantastic. I think that most of our readers might already be familiar with your blog, but for the sake of clarity, who would you say your blog’s target audience is, and what problems do you solve for them?
Daria: My blog’s audience ranges from those who are new to mesh bodies right through to experienced mesh body users. I write a lot of tutorials for new users because it can be daunting to ‘make the change’ to mesh – but at the same time I get many enquiries from experienced users about the more complex topics, so I write tutorials to answer these enquiries too.
Canary Beck: People will flock to a blog that solves a difficult problem really well. Mesh bodies aren’t easy for beginners, so people see your blog as a resource, which is why you’re getting so many repeat views when compared to unique visitors. They’re treating it like a reference. And that’s what niche blogs become.
Daria: That’s what I set out for them to do really, I wanted it to be a reference point. I offer my readers access to up to date, topical information about mesh bodies and heads.
Canary Beck: Tell me, if you could summarise what you offer your target audience, how would say it?
Daria: My goal has always been to empower my readers by informing them about the choices available to them, helping them to make full use of their body/head and showcasing designers who make mesh bodies, mesh heads, and compatible fashion.
Canary Beck: Why did you choose to niche this way?
At a certain point I asked myself – why would anyone read my blog? What am I offering that will make them want to come back to my blog? And the answer was… nothing!!
Daria: It was a natural progression of my blog, but not without thought. As most bloggers would know, it can be extremely difficult to attract readers and at a certain point I asked myself – why would anyone read my blog? What am I offering that will make them want to come back to my blog? And the answer was… nothing!!
Mesh Bodies were a new concept then and I was already enthralled with them – so I searched for blogs about mesh bodies and found nothing, and that was my ‘ah-ha’ moment; there was a gap in the blogosphere on that topic, and I was so obsessed with mesh bodies already – so I went for it!
Canary Beck: Most of us now agree that niching is a good thing to do, but I’ve also heard that many bloggers don’t know how to go about doing it. How did you go about doing it?
Daria: At first I was simply including mesh bodies in my posts (specifically Venus, then Slink, then Maitreya…), but once I’d realised I wanted my blog to be focused on mesh bodies, I just bit the bullet and started talking about them, blogging about them and featuring them. I changed my blog name shortly after, and the rest followed.
Canary Beck: It sounds so easy. Ok, so you made the change back in October, and changed the name of your blog in November 2014. What has happened to your traffic since you changed your focus to mesh bodies?
Daria: Ok, here is a little breakdown of my stats up to June this year. In October 2014 I started talking more and more about mesh bodies on my blog, and in November 2014 I officially changed the name and solidified my ‘niche’.
Canary Beck: That’s a pretty impressive increase, Daria. Can you tell me more about the numbers we’re looking at here? How many views were you getting at the start of that chart (August 2014)?
Daria: 197 views.
Canary Beck: Yeah, that kind of number is pretty familiar to bloggers just starting out. So what happened when you changed your name and niche in October 2014?
Daria: In November 2014, the blog got 574 views.
Canary Beck: Now that’s a big jump. Awesome, but the numbers really start to climb in December 2014, don’t they?
Daria: Yeah, that’s when I got 5,286 views, followed by January 2014, when I got 14,543 views.
Canary Beck: Wow, that’s extraordinary. All from just changing your blog’s niche?
Daria: Now I know, it seems like a huge jump, and it is, but in December I also started posting more frequently (November had 13 posts; December had 27) and started getting more sponsors, so activity increased in large part because of that too.
Canary Beck: Ok, that makes sense too, so you not only changed your niche, but also posted more. But I can see you went back to posting only 11 days in June, while that’s the biggest number on the chart by far, how many views is that?
Daria: In June 2015 my blog received 86,503 views.
Canary Beck: Wow, over 85,000 views in one month. That’s more than most Second Life blogs get in a year! That’s fantastic! Do you find you get more engagement with your posts (likes, comments, follows or reblogs) since you niched?
By niching, you’re encouraging people with the same interests as you to read and follow your blog, which will naturally cause more interaction.
Daria: I do, and part of that is because now I have many more readers than I used to – but it’s only partly due to the fact that now I’m talking about a topic that’s of interest to my readers. By niching, you’re encouraging people with the same interests as you to read and follow your blog, which will naturally cause more interaction.
Canary Beck: I couldn’t agree more. But many bloggers say that they don’t want to limit themselves creatively by niching. Do you find it hard or dull to write about only one subject?
Daria: Never! It sounds trite I know, but if you love the topic it never gets dull. I could rant for hours about mesh bodies (sometimes I do) – so if there’s a topic that you can rant about for that long, it’s probably time to niche!
Canary Beck: Do you have agreements with designers? How has your relationship with creators changed since you niched your blog?
Daria: I don’t really have agreements per se – I have sponsors like most blogs do – that is, designers who help me to run my blog by providing me with items I love to wear and photograph, but other than that no. I don’t promote any body specifically, I wear the body I feel like wearing for any given photograph or blog entry. The only agreement really is that if I’m given a body/head, I will write a review on it that is my own words, based on fact and my own opinion.
To me, your blog is clearly more than just advertising; you share an opinion, and I really respect that.
Canary Beck: Oh yes, I do notice that you actually review items, from both a positive and negative side, which is rare for Second Life blogging. To me, your blog is clearly more than just advertising; you share an opinion, and I really respect that. I recently joined your inworld group, also called Mesh Body Addicts. Now, most bloggers don’t have inworld groups, and certainly not with nearly 800 members, would this have been possible if you’d not niched your blog?
Daria: No it wouldn’t have – but the group isn’t really an extension of my blog to be honest. I get a lot of enquiries from readers who want to talk about different bodies, and there weren’t any groups in world that openly allowed discussion of all different bodies – so I started one! I’ve always felt my blog was more of a ‘community’ than just me ranting on a page, so the group was part of continuing that community.
Canary Beck: It’s no secret that you are in the midst of launching an event, can you tell me more about that and how your blog influenced it?
Daria: That’s right. The Mesh Body Addicts Fair opens August 1st and it’s something I’m so excited about, because it is a shopping event that will feature only mesh body compatible items! The event will run for three weeks, and will include a photo competition with some amazing prizes up for grabs, including an Eve mesh body and Eve’olution mesh head!
The Fair wouldn’t happen without my blog, that’s for certain, because my blog has given me a chance to meet some truly amazing designers who have been so supportive of me and my wild ideas! My readers have also been a huge support for me in designing this event – they’re always giving me feedback and helping me understand what they, as consumers, are looking for.
Canary Beck: That sounds great, and is another great example of a niche, with events. Now this might sound like an obvious question, given what we’ve discussed, but overall, do you think niching was a good decision for you?
Daria: It was. Why? Well because it allows me to blog about something I love, and a topic that continues to excite me. I think finding a ‘purpose’ for your blog is the most important thing you can do, whether you niche or not, and I found mine.
Canary Beck: Well, it’s also a very clear success. So tell me, what advice would you give other Second Life Bloggers who are anxious about niching their blog? Do you think there are good niches available?
Daria: There are – but remember, you don’t have to niche to be niche. If you don’t want your blog to be about one topic, you don’t have to by any means – you can still make it unique. Perhaps your blog is funny, or it’s touching, or it’s topical – standing out can be as simple as choosing a writing style, for example.
The key to niching (in my honest opinion) is to fully commit to it – and there are a lot of possibilities for niches out there. Gatchas, ethnicity based blogging, hair, fantasy or even blogs that focus solely on events are all examples of blogs I’d love to see. I wonder why there isn’t a hair only blog? Everyone loves hair…
Canary Beck: No kidding, maybe I should start a hair blog. I know I’ve been saying the same thing for months, but it seems to me that either most people don’t understand marketing or aren’t willing to do what it takes to grow their blogs.
Daria: Part of the problem is I think bloggers see a blog they love, and try to emulate it, rather than trying to seek out a fresh idea.
Canary Beck: Yes, I call that monkey see gorilla do.
Daria: But if I think about how I look at blogs – I love blogs like Skin addiction because it’s one thing – skin. I know if I go there I can find all I want to know about new skins, you know what I mean? Why not do that for hair, or shapes or gatchas or… anything really. They would attract a lot of readers – but the truth is, to do it, it would cost them time and money just seeking out the latest stuff to show readers.
Canary Beck: Agreed. Well, I’m seriously impressed, Daria. What a great result. In fact, your blog is such an inspiration, maybe I should be writing for you! Can I have a job?
Daria: LOL, sure thing, it pays nothing and takes up all your time. Sold?
Canary Beck: Hahaha…oh wait, I already have a job like that. Several, in fact.
Daria: Yes you do!
Canary Beck: Who do you aspire to?
Daria: I’m a total Berry fangirl. Her blog was the first blog I ever read in Second Life, I lived on her tutorials when I was learning photography.
Canary Beck: Yeah, I’m sure many bloggers would agree with you. She’s like an institution for blogging here. Anyone else?
I’m kinda carving my own path a lot.
Daria: That I aspire to? Not especially, I mean there are so many talented bloggers out there and photographers that are so good it makes me want to throw away my crayons and stop trying to be as good as they are LOL but I think now with the blog being so niche, I’m kinda carving my own path a lot.
Canary Beck: Niching feels good! So what’s next for MeshBodyAddicts?
Daria: I’ve been hearing a lot of suggestions about what would make MeshBodyAddicts even better. So, the blog is currently in migration from the platform it runs on now (WordPress.com) to its own independent and self-hosted platform! Nothing will change, not even the web address – but what it will mean is that I can start to offer all the things my readers have been wanting – like video tutorials, the ability to give their opinion on bodies/heads and fashion by use of a ‘star’ rating system, daily ‘fitmesh finds’ and much much more! Mesh Body Addicts is growing up guys *sniff* she’s becoming an adult!!
Note: The MeshBodyAddicts Fair opens August 1st, 2015. Watch the in world group for an early access pass on July 31st, 2015 for all members of SL Blogger Support.