We often talk about finding a niche for your project – to avoid going too wide trying to appeal to everyone, and not appealing to anybody.
But how niche is too niche?
Years ago I wrote a series on Blog Branding. It still gets a bunch of readers today, it’s one of my flagship series here.
The “problem” with that series is it locks me into walking my talk, it’s a lot easier to take the “do as I say not as I do” route!
Recently I started a brand new blog as an offshoot of my Maker site. It’s my first serious new project in quite a while. So far, as well as setting up social media accounts and a Facebook group, I have soft-launched it with content I created on my other site, the theme (Mai Reach by the lovely team at BizBudding) and a list using my dormant ConvertKit account.
Retro computer programming is already a small niche, and the project was imagined as a spin-off of my already niche, but not niche enough maker community.
I said Your Audience + Benefit = Targeted and Attractive Name
As an over-thinking analysis-paralysis type of person, it was tough coming up with a name, especially one where the main social site accounts and a good domain were not taken.
For this new project, the audience is people who want to learn about and discuss programming games for old 1980s-1990s computers and game consoles.
Could it be too niche?
I don’t think so.
Being very very niche for sure restricts the potential size of the audience, but my experience is focus increases the enthusiasm of that audience.
That said, I did do some research (as well as being a part of the community myself).
One of the ways you can tell if a niche is worth your effort is look around for commercial activity and ads – are there are products or services targeting that community?
I saw there are even print magazines, there are products on Amazon, hobbyists and companies. Plenty of people before me have invested in servicing the community so that gives me confidence.
I went through the checklist that I came up with all those years ago:
- Who your blog is for
- What the reader benefit will be
- The personality you want to evoke
- Where and how you want to use the name
- Possible future directions
- How you can position against the established names
Long story short, the name I chose was Retro Game Coders.
It is by no means perfect, and at first-glance it doesn’t really speak to any benefit, though the name is a good description of the target audience.
For this project I felt that attracting a community was the priority – especially as I am not an expert in the subject matter.
Perhaps it should have been something like “learn retro game programming” or even “learn to program games for your commodore 64” but I wanted above all to keep the name from being too much of a mouthful (while also being able to claim the name in 2021), and not restrict myself too much.
I could put a more compelling promise as a tagline, but I want it to be a bit casual for now, and there are no immediate plans to monetize.
Will it turn out a huge failure? Maybe, but regardless I will learn something useful!