A Niche of Their Own: Five Sites to Check Out Today


The blogging community is huge and diverse, with thousands of smaller clusters of sites built around shared interests, causes, and passions. It might seem daunting at first — like walking into a party where everyone already seems to know each other — but there are a number of ways to ease your entry into the community, from participating in a blogging event (or even starting your own) to taking one of our free blogging courses.

As the bloggers we feature here demonstrate, there’s another way to find your place in the big, wide world of blogging: zoom in on one thing you enjoy doing, then do it consistently, and well. From parenting to cooking to illustration, these bloggers found their niche and their audience by developing a hook — something unique about their posts that makes you want to visit them again and again.

Zounds, Alack, and By My Troth

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From “Act 1, Scene 14 — Othello in Five Easy Steps“

There are thousands of humor blogs out there, at least as many illustration blogs, and a respectable number of sites devoted to William Shakespeare’s work. Ben Sawyer, the illustrator behind Zounds, Alack, and By My Troth, made his witty web comic a cross of all three, distilling the Bard’s work — sonnets, scenes, entire plays — into well-executed, smart panels.

From Henri IV retold to the tune of Semisonic’s “Closing Time” to Othello explained in five easy steps, Sawyer’s comics (and commentary) make you look at Shakespeare’s corpus in a fresh way — not an easy feat when it comes to the most studied English-language author of all time.

Read an Interview

Every Monday, readers can expect a fresh, wide-ranging interview conducted by Johan, the blogger who runs Read an Interview.

The interviews span a wide range of topics, and feature an eclectic gallery of subjects — from a police canine trainer to a designer of figure skating costumes. Regardless of who he engages in conversation, Johan’s curiosity, patience, and respect for his interviewees is evident everywhere on his site.

Things We Like

Who doesn’t love lists? Author Jessica Gross came up with a neat idea: a site dedicated exclusively to lists of things people like (you can send her yours, too — she accepts submissions).

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A list by blogger Lindsay James

Succinct and digestible, these lists, full of quirks and offbeat details, give a surprisingly good glimpse into each list maker’s psyche.

My Least Favorite Child Today

The web is full of wonderful parenting blogs, covering a wide spectrum of topics and writing styles. Stephen Hurley‘s dad blog, My Least Favorite Child Today, belongs firmly in the humorous end of that spectrum, with hilarious posts on the shenanigans of his young twin boys. (How hilarious? His irreverent post titles — like “He’s Not Teething. He’s Just An Asshole” or “Breaking: My Sons Have Perfect Weiners!!!” might give you a hint.)

Beyond the great writing, the blog also has a great hook: each post ends with a (mostly fabricated) rating of the twins, letting the readers track the always-changing state of Stephen’s affections. (If you care to know, Charles and Arthur are currently tied at 36 days each as least favorite child.)

Cooking in the Archives

If you’re a history buff, a baking fanatic, or any cross of the two, you’re bound to love Cooking in the Archives, a site where two literary scholars, Alyssa Connell and Marisa Nicosia, make their way through the outré (and often surprisingly appetizing) recipes found in early-modern cookbooks.

Eighteenth-century beer cakes, recreated.

Eighteenth-century beer cakes, recreated.

Full of fascinating commentary, lovely images of old books, and honest reviews of the results of their cooking, Marisa and Alyssa’s site is a niche blog that appeals both to fellow ancient-cookery geeks and to the wide, uninitiated public (so much so that it’s been featured on CNN, the Washington Post, and elsewhere).

Does your blog have a unique hook? Let us know in the comments.