When starting a travel blog the conventional wisdom is to pick a niche and blog about that subject. The nicher the better, they say. I agree that having a focused niche site is better than a general site. For example this site is purely about the business of travel blogging.
There is another style of blog which for many bloggers is a more suitable option, and that’s a blog that I call a quasi-niche site.
What is a quasi-niche?
Going by the dictionary definition, quasi is:
“having some, but not all of the features of”.
So a quasi-niche site is a blog that has that has some, but not all of the features of a niche site.
Transitioning from a general travel blog into a quasi niche travel blog
I’ve noticed a trend in travel blogs that start out as a general travel blog that then evolves into a quasi-niche site.
As I outlined in my defence of general travel blogs, it’s often the case that a travel blogger doesn’t know what their niche is until they they start blogging and find their voice. Then over the life of the site it becomes apparent that the blogger has a particular passion for a subject and blogs more about that.
The travel blogger still keeps their blog about their travels, but it now features a strength in a particular niche.
The good thing about a quasi-niche is that it lets you become an expert in your chosen field, yet it still gives you room to blog about other topics you care about.
When you pick a niche site you are generally wedded to it. For example if you start a blog about diving in Indonesia it will look out of place if you then posted an article about a weekend trip to Vienna.
A quasi niche can be about a place or a subject. Quasi destination niche sites are ideal if you are a regular traveller but are based full time in one city.
Examples of quasi-niche travel blogs
Sometimes a quasi-niche develops over time. Not everyone knows what they want to do straight away, but once you start travelling you find that you know what your interests are.
A good example of a quasi niche is Dave’s Travel Pages. This site has been online since 2005, where is began life as a general travel blog. To quote Dave:
“Over time, I have become known as a down-to-earth expert in two completely unrelated travel niches. The first is bicycle touring, and the second is Athens and Greece. I certainly never started out with that in mind – It’s funny how life works out!”
The site still allows Dave to write about other places while being an expert in cycling and Greece.
Another example is another Dave. What’s Dave Doing started out life as a general RTW travel blog, and over time Dave started doing more long distance walking. Pretty soon that became a central them of the site, so the semi-theme of this site is hiking, with room to write about anything else to do with travel.
Quasi-niche sites work well if you are based in a city and travel a lot. rice / potato are a travel and lifestyle blog based in Bangkok. They have an extensive archive of in-depth articles about Bangkok beyond the usual known tourist hotspots. They have enough content to make it a stand alone Bangkok guide, but as a quasi niche-site they get to blog about other destinations they visit in Asia. Their tagline sums it up: “An Urban Travel Guide to Bangkok and Beyond”.
The Island Drum is also a quasi-destination guide. Vanessa is based in Langkawi and travels extensively around Southeast Asia. The Island Drum features lots of information about Langkawi, and has a roundup of weekly events. Instead of being boxed in as just a Langkawi guide, this blog has the flexibility of writing about other places while still being seen as an expert on Langkawi.
To go quasi-niche or full niche site?
A quasi-niche is good as it gives you the flexibility to blog about other things, and you might find that you don’t have enough content to write a full site about a specific niche.
If there is enough to write about then it would make sense to create a new blog specifically for the niche subject. Dave from Go Backpacking found himself enamoured with Medellín, to the point where he moved there and started Medellin Living.
In this case it made more sense to make a new site and keep the general travel blog. Dave has since left Medellin but he is able to maintain the site with on-the-ground writers.