Should you go wide appeal or focus on a niche? This is a question that haunts many a startup, and as usual a lot will factor into the decision …
Getting noticed in a niche is far easier, and being unique, useful and visible is essential in this ever more crowded world. Being just-another will not work unless you have a massive budget and some extraordinary visibility already.
One of the first considerations is who are your competitors and what are they doing?
If you are launching a new social bookmarking site then the wide appeal audience is already taken. Digg, Reddit and the b-list like Mixx, are not easy targets to overtake. Tip’d realized this and launched a social bookmarking site just for the finance niche, and it is already getting noticed.
On the other hand, focus too much on a niche and you might not have enough of an audience to sustain you. So your goals have to come into play, it is one thing to focus on a micro niche when you are just creating something for the love of it, but if you need to make a living then you need to know there is a market, not just a potential readership.
A good solution is to find a motivated audience and then serve them, rather than think up a topic or subject area to work in. Audiences and demographics can allow you to wander into many areas, spreading your promotional tentacles into many communities to bring back users and subscribers.
I believe one of the reasons for Digg’s success is they until recently appealed to the male student in parents basement demographic, with a diet of Linux, Ron Paul, Manga and memes (not of the blog memes variety but of the 4chan/Lolcat type)!
How do you decide if you should go mass appeal or niche?