When a blogger or business really start to look at their website in a way to focus content that wins at Google and wins with sales, the idea behind a niche becomes the central focus. While most existing businesses already have an existing niche, many bloggers fall into the trap of trying to do too many things to appeal to too many people.
This isn’t a good strategy because unless you are spending a lot of money to market the website, you aren’t getting Google to recognize what you offer.
Is a niche the same as a pillar?
Creating A Niche for Your Website
A niche is a category you identify that allows you to focus on the special characteristic of products or services that directly help a targeted demographic. A niche helps you find your buyers who are ready to buy and don’t need to spend a lot of time thinking about it. You have what they want and they are ready to pull the trigger.
Think of it this way: is your website a department store model like Target or Macy’s, or does it focus on a smaller market like Bed, Bath, and Beyond? Bed, Bath, and Beyond still has a pretty wide selection of items for home goods, just not all the extra clothing or furniture that the others have. Both models are successful for different reasons.
Are there more niche stores for specific home goods compared to Bed, Bath, and Beyond? Yes. You can find small local drapery stores, baby gear only stores, and patio furniture retailers. These stores have niched down further.
Why Get Specific In Your Niche
There are two fundamental reasons to niche down a store: reputation and inventory.
Small retailers rarely have the ability to get the same wholesale pricing deals that major chains get. This means they have to beat the major retailers on reputation and inventory. They have to be known as the local experts for their niche products and have a wider selection of inventory to satisfy more than the mass market needs. It also helps if they have expert advice that helps consumers make better decisions or fix problems.
Keep in mind that many online stores don’t have to worry about pricing in many respects if they are drop shipping. Dropshipping suppliers tend to level the playing field for websites big and small. The problem is Google’s awareness. That is where the small blogger with a store can’t compete on price to the major department store (think of Amazon as the Macy’s of online experiences). They can do anything and everything bigger and cheaper when it comes to selling products. Being a new store there gets you lost in the mix. If you want your store to compete via its website, you have to build the reputation that is recognized first by Google and then your organic target market.
What Is Pillar If Not a Niche?
Pillar content is not a niche market, but it can be centered around the niche at times. Pillar content revolves around the needs of your target market. It may serve one segment of the market or one section of your niche. This quickly gets confusing because isn’t the niche created to target my sales (I can hear you asking that exact question)?
Let’s go back to the department store model.
Target has a sporting goods section. If I run an online store for sporting goods, I want to become known as the go-to place online over Target. Remember that Target has tons of resources and they can easily create buyers guide for baseball mitts that can rank, simply because their website already has a huge online reputation (reputation by Google terms is known as domain authority).
If I run a local sporting goods store and write the same type of buyers guide, I won’t much traction. Is there a way for me to answer more questions with more authority than the big brand competitor and build my online authority? Yes, with pillar content.
Building the Right Pillar
Choose a pillar that will allow you to monetize the most in the shortest amount of time. If baseball mitts are the way to go, write that pillar with the sub-sections and supporting content. That means I won’t write a buyers guide on baseball mitts, volleyball nets, and football helmets. I may eventually, but each category should be its own pillar: baseball equipment, volleyball equipment, football equipment.
In the baseball equipment pillar, I know I can do the buyers guide as well as many different types of product reviews, how to choose a mitt, the best mitts for girls, the best mitts for catchers, and so on.
Everything still relates to my niche but falls within one pillar of ideas that are all connected. Football players don’t always play baseball. While they are part of my niche, they are not the same pillar.
Pillar by Pillar
Just like a house has many posts set to build the floor, frame the walls, and support the roof, most websites have more than one pillar pertinent to their niche. It’s all still one house but with many different parts connected and relying on each other for support. When you build out one pillar, you want to focus interlinking within that pillar. However, over time you will see opportunities to cross-link across other pillars. This is how one pillar getting traction on Google will help other pillars get traction faster.
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