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Does Your Profile Or Niche Turn Some People Away?

Posted by on Jan 19, 2011

I have to admit that it was tough coming up with a title for this post. Writing posts are never a problem for me; titles… well, I wrote a long time ago about trying to come up with a title for my book. So, it’s not my strong point, yet it does convey the point I want to address today.

Are there certain describes niches that turn you off from even taking a look at the blog or website? Are there certain things a person will put into their profile on Twitter that will keep you from adding them? And are the perceptions you have for those things fair, legitimate, or at least honest?

Y’all know that I’m always going to be honest about what I talk about on this blog; after all, I’m sure my post last week on decluttering my online life will affect some people who might have thought about visiting this blog in the future, but it was truthful. So here’s some more honesty.

I won’t visit blogs that mention that they’re WAHM, or “work at home mom” blogs. The connotation with that is that those are blogs for other mothers only, certainly nothing for someone like me, and thus I just avoid them. Sometimes you don’t know, but when I do know I won’t visit them.

Now am I wrong? Well, it’s not 100%, but overall it seems that I’ve been correct in what I’d be interested in reading on those blogs. I gave it a shot early on, but found that I just wasn’t interested. It’s not that it’s such a bad thing though, not having me stop by. I also won’t read blogs on cars, shopping, shoes, religion, serious politics, et al. They’re things that I know I’m not interested in reading or talking about, and thus I avoid them.

I mentioned “religion” in that last paragraph. On Twitter, if someone found it was important enough for them to list their religion in their profile I’m not following them. I don’t believe in any religion, and I’ve found that those who really feel they’re serious about it aren’t reluctant to throw in a religious statement in the middle of any conversation. Frankly that irks me. A person wins a tournament and says “I want to thank God for allowing me to win”; did that mean God meant for the other person to lose? Should that person be thankful for losing?

Now am I wrong? No, I don’t think so. I’ve seen it happen more often than not from those people who put it on their Twitter profile, where they start quoting scripture and adding the chapter and verse of where they got it from. That type of thing prompts me to do something that’s somewhat catty and immature, and I don’t like that type of thing coming from me. I don’t mind people having their religion overall. I tend to think religion is responsible for both a lot of good and a lot of bad. I’d rather not be a party to it, and following my post talking about destressing my life, I just feel it’s best not to go there. Some of you know this line well: “Don’t start none, won’t be none.”

Still, it leads us to think about how we convey things up front that might affect whether someone wants to even give us a shot or not. For instance, Beverly has a site called Boomer Diva Nation, which targets baby boomer women 50 or older. Does it mean that there won’t be anything for people younger, or for males? Nope. Does it mean, however, that a lot of men probably aren’t going to check it out? Yup. I’ll admit that the only reason I ever checked it out was because we were talking on Twitter and I was curious. Any other time, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

Does that mean Beverly should change her focus? Not in the least. Does it mean she’s probably accepted that not every one will visit that site or look at those articles? I don’t really know; Bev will probably stop by to answer that one for herself.

But all of us end up doing the same thing with our blogs and websites. I write a blog on financial issues; do I really think everyone will stop by to take a look, especially if they’re not interested in the topic? Nope. Will I change its focus or its title just to attract visitors? Nope.

It was something I had to come to grips with with my business site on the bio page. There aren’t a lot of black people who do what I do in health care, and I thought that having my picture on my site would drive people away. Actually I still think it does, because I get way more visitors than I get people contacting me. But my dad said it was who I was, and I certainly couldn’t hide it forever, and wouldn’t it be better if people knew up front so that neither of us were shocked if we ever met in person? And thus my picture is on my business page; a shame that even in the 21st century that has to be a concern. And, oddly enough, I don’t have it on my SEO site About page; I’ll have to think about that.

I’m comfortable with the folks who visit my websites and my blogs, and I hope they’re comfortable as well. I hope everyone is comfortable with their websites and blogs and their presence online in general. However, it’s definitely something to think about, how you’re being perceived by your presentation and whether it’s what you hope to project. Are you comfortable? What would Yoda say?

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33 Comments »

It’s a matter of what you choose for people to feel about you.
If you put religion statements, it’s obvious you want to be perceived as a believer. It means your preferred niche is a set of (business) people with a certain set of morality and religious standard. And it means you are also ready to lose people driven away for this very same reason.
I am personally not excited when I see religious cites in one’s Twitter stream, it maybe not be enough to drive me away but I become a bit suspect for sure.

January 19th, 2011 | 10:14 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

That’s pretty much my feeling as well, Gabriele. I don’t mind that someone has a religion they believe in. However, if they overtly put it out there, it makes me wonder if they’re going to be exclusionary or inclusive or proselytizing. Just yesterday news broke in Alabama when the new governor, in front of his church congregation, said that anyone who hadn’t accepted Jesus into his life was not his brother or sister. That created a firestorm because people wondered if it meant he would favor people who said they were Christian over others and if he would make policy or laws based on Christianity instead of what was legal. Definitely entitled to his beliefs, but it ended up causing controversy I’m sure he’d rather not have to deal with.

January 19th, 2011 | 10:31 AM

You think that big friendly smile of your’s drives people away? 🙂 Well, they deserve to miss out!

There are only so many hours in the day, and only so many of those can be devoted to reading blogs. We have to try to focus on those we will get the most from. Like you, there are certain categories/keywords I avoid like the plague. Others I may peek into if a title piques my curiosity.

Oh, and, the article ComLuv links to here – has nothing to do with religion; it may deal with something else irksome, but it is not religion. 🙂

January 19th, 2011 | 10:42 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Well Allan, I know enough of the Bible to know that there wasn’t an 11th commandment, although I’m thinking if they really wanted to get it right they needed a list of at least 25! lol

January 19th, 2011 | 10:55 AM

I agree with Allan. If you’re avoiding certain blogs based on first impressions, you’re probably doing yourself a favor 95% of the time. I don’t understand how you read as many as you do.

January 19th, 2011 | 11:57 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Charles, it wasn’t only a conversation about blogs, but in general. If a shoe company sold both men’s and women’s shoes but only showed women’s shoes, men probably wouldn’t ever go inside. Or it’s like saying something is a “black owned” business; I’d never do it because it carries a certain connotation with it (yeah, unfortunately it does) and I wouldn’t want to limit anyone who might be able to use my services or products. That’s the type of thing I mean.

January 19th, 2011 | 1:56 PM
Jessica Sieghart:

I’m sure mine probably does, but I don’t feel obligated to please the masses with a personal blog. I write what I want and I’m happy with the way it looks and the visitors I get. (which, by the way, are the highest quality;) I’m exactly like you with the avoidance of religion. Not so much that I’m completely disinterested in what people have to say, but because the comments and discussions on those things tend to be insane. I love snarky personal bloggers, but that’s probably not too surprising 😉

January 19th, 2011 | 1:39 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Jessica, if anyone isn’t checking out your blog, they’re missing a good time. Heck, Sire and I were trying to figure out if those boots are your feet. lol And I don’t think yours would because you don’t really identify yourself in that fashion.

January 19th, 2011 | 1:59 PM
Jessica Sieghart:

LOL! You are Sire are just going to have to keep wondering! (it’s part of my appeal 😉

January 20th, 2011 | 9:41 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Awww man…. lol

January 20th, 2011 | 10:01 AM

Hei Mitch,

I usually check websites even though the first impression is bad. Mainly, because I don’t want to miss something that might be good just because at first glance it looks bad. Of course this doesn’t that after I take a good look it still seems bad that I will ever come back.

Also, first impression is something subjective: some people may like it and some may hate it. No one can please everybody, no matter how hard they would try to find a good niche or change their profiles.

January 19th, 2011 | 12:45 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Alex, I’ll check lots of things out just because I get curious. I’m not sure you’re on Twitter, but if you are and you get certain requests, do some of the images immediately turn you off? That’s kind of my point; people have the choice to do whatever they wish, but sometimes what they wish to do might be turning people away from them.

January 19th, 2011 | 1:57 PM

Mitch, you always have thought-provoking posts, titles notwithstanding.

Everybody gets a chance or three with me. It’s like Million Dollar Drop: folks start putting too much on the wrong platform, I drop ’em. The difference between me and the game though, is that I will go away quietly.

Even though I have my three taboo subjects, the taboo exists, not because I am afraid of turning people off or away. It’s simply because, after nearly 50 years, I’ve learned that there are only two kinds of conversations: civil and evil. I tend to wind up in evil conversations when I ignore my taboo subjects.

Cheers,

Mitch

January 19th, 2011 | 5:20 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

So do I, Mitch. Normally I don’t go out of my way to address certain issues, but if it’s already been presented I definitely will. But I also get angry with those things from time to time, and I will pull myself away when it’s time. But you know, I’ve seen so many things that make me angry, which is why I set up my own rules for when to disengage from certain things.

January 19th, 2011 | 9:10 PM

I tend to stay away from bloggers who have a lot of advertisements plastered around the blog, as well as those that have a lot of paid posts. It makes me skeptical and I don’t trust what they have to say.

January 19th, 2011 | 8:34 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

I hadn’t even thought about those particular blogs, Henway, but in retrospect I don’t think I stick with many of those either. I don’t mind blogs that offer reviews as long as they’re not paid. As for the ads… nah, that type of thing doesn’t bother me unless they’re pop-ups.

January 19th, 2011 | 9:02 PM

I have same conversation with SEO trainee yesterday. The choice of niche is the most important thing, that many newbies do not understand. I tried to gave him few examples, but I don’t think that really understood anything. I think that too many webmasters/bloggers are falling into the trap of money making and create so many websites, that nobody want to stay, read or buy. Especially those that thing about money too much and choosing niche related to those high paying $100/click financial keywords.

January 19th, 2011 | 9:15 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Good stuff, Carl. I’m not a real fan of micro sites or micro blogs myself for that very reason. Just seems like there’s no personality, and I often wonder who really wrote the content.

January 19th, 2011 | 10:19 PM

Fashion, shoes, cars, golf, and yes, religion bothers me- to a point.

I am a believer and ever cross the threshold of a church on occasion, but people that post bible scripture after bible scripture on your facebook wall or on Twitter…

Maybe people don’t like the word, but that’s bible thunpin’ for sure!

January 20th, 2011 | 6:03 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

I hear you on that one, Carolee. And yes, there are tons of topics that just aren’t up my alley. But there are topics I’d like that I may never see based on how the “user” is presenting themselves.

January 20th, 2011 | 9:58 AM
Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing:

See, now here’s a distinction. Being in direct sales as I am, I am drawn to WAHM’s. 😉

My main peeve is any profile with a sales pitch. No matter how subtle they think they are, they aren’t.

January 20th, 2011 | 8:12 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Good stuff, Dennis. Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t know until you’re looking around at stuff. If almost every post is a pitch, I’m outta there.

January 20th, 2011 | 10:00 AM
Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing:

Exactly, not much diff rent from a blog or newsletter.

just curious, when/why did you start adding the “Mitchell”

January 21st, 2011 | 8:08 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Wow Dennis, you’re the first one to notice that! I actually added it about a month or so, I think; I’m not quite sure. It was inspired by this medical group I’m a part of for whom I created a blog, and they wanted their names to show on their blog posts (yeah, like they write a bunch). Then I noticed that my name didn’t always show on my post and I decided to add it. Then I was thinking about your blog and how you always have your full name, and how some other people like Mitchell Allen always uses a full name, and decided that I wanted to do that as well. As I’m working on this concept of influence I realized that “Mitch” on its own just wasn’t going to get it done. Course, I still have to compete with Jimi Hendrix’ drummer, but I can handle that. 😉

January 21st, 2011 | 12:10 PM

I stay away from travel sites…but that is because I don’t want to know what I’m missing. I’m happy with my daily trip to the mailbox though it lacks glamor and glitz. I consider myself a religious person, but I don’t want it crammed in my face. Mitch, I would for sure add your picture up with no hesitation. Your dad is right. I can’t imagine that would make any difference in today’s world but maybe that is just me and the way I was raised.

January 20th, 2011 | 7:40 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Melinda, it was just something I had to think about back at that time, and it’s terrible that I did. Yet just last week I read where someone was afraid to put their image on their site for the same reason; freaky. As to the other… I love travel sites because they’ll show me things that I know I’m never going to see in person.

January 20th, 2011 | 9:59 AM
Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing:

What’s my first place prize?

Ironically, I was fine with just Dennis until I started using the Top Commenter widget and wanted to ban myself from showing up…not good for contests and such.

Since I didn’t want anyone named Dennis being banned from it, the Edell was easy enough. 😉

January 22nd, 2011 | 11:04 AM

Hey Mitch,

I am one of those bloggers who certainly does not appeal to everyone but I do find myself in a unique position because of who I am and what I do.

As a baby boomer woman, my Boomer Diva Nation site targets women 50 plus. Now, I’m not saying you MUST be 50 to read the articles because I believe there’s useful information for all mature women in business, however, I am not going out of my way to attract younger women.

On my BoomerWorld blog, the same holds true although I write stories of interest to male and female baby boomers. Key word: baby boomer

On my babyboomerbev blog, I am ranting as a grandparent about the issues we face.

On my beverlymahone.com, I am the veteran journalist–the SEASONED veteran journalist. Yes, I am older but this is the one site where ANYONE who has a desire to learn more about capturing the media’s attention and creating a media buzz can go.

I do think some bloggers try hard to appeal to the masses and it just can’t work on one blog or website.

Another great topic–from a thought-provoking blogger!

January 23rd, 2011 | 3:05 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Bev. I think niche sites in general aren’t a bad thing. I do worry that some people might indicate something about their blogs or website or even Twitter profiles that keep people from connecting with them, and it’s possible they might have something important to share. For instance, I don’t connect with anyone on Twitter who makes it a statement to say they’re conservative either; I’m just not up to any of the conversations that could possibly product with my politics.

January 23rd, 2011 | 3:29 PM

Mitch, like most, I tend to haunt the blogs etc. that match me, more or less… which is also a potential problem. As a writer I need ideas from new places… I try to explore outside my own comfort zone – shake myself up as it were.

January 26th, 2011 | 11:20 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Anne, I have such a broad spectrum that I can easily afford to limit some of the areas that, well, put me off for whatever reason. I like that there’s a few people on Twitter who say they can’t quite pin me down as far as my interests because they never really know what information I’m going to be sharing with the masses.

January 26th, 2011 | 1:09 PM

Hi Mitch,
I’m glad I found your blog even though I don’t particularly agree with your stance on WAHM and religion. There are extremists in any group yet, we can find common ground with others if/when we look beyond the initial cringe words.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have been nicely surprised by the witty, savvy and kind soul behind a seemingly no-go-zone blog or twitter handle.
Another point is that a number of WAHM worked in the business world at all levels before mommy-hood called, and they could be great connectors for referrals and fresh insights on your business…
I love my faith and only God knows how I found your blog, no pun or Freudian slip intended, but I don’t shove my faith down anyone’s throat; to each his own. 🙂
As per the About Me photo, I noticed you have yours back up on your blog and I applaud you. I took mine down for similar reasons and because I felt I had enough pictures of myself on other social network sites and well… enough is enough.
By the way, I like that picture of you and the parrot; very colorful and welcoming too!
Here’s to abundance and success for all of us in 2011 and keep up the good work… Hey, I’m just sharing! 🙂
Cheers,
Elizabeth

February 5th, 2011 | 1:49 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Hi Elizabeth; welcome to the discussion.

Personal choices aside, I think that every blog runs the risk of having people who won’t even try, or might try once, blogs in a certain niche and decide it’s not for them. You’re right, there’s always that one gem that might be hidden in there, but even you own up to it being “nicely surprised” rather than it being something that happens more often than not. In a weird way, that’s something that CommentLuv can help one overcome if their topics lend someone to think it’s something else. But when one visits as many blogs as I do, after awhile I start to decide that it’s in my overall best interest to put my efforts into the types of niches or writing styles that I know I’ve had more success in previewing.

As to the image on my business site, I honestly have to give more credit to my dad than take much for myself. I definitely was leaning another way at the time. These days, I figure there’s enough images of me on the internet to supersede any consternation I might have with images anymore.

Thanks for your perspective; I appreciate it greatly.

February 5th, 2011 | 6:45 PM