Blogging verticals: hot and not verticals for February 2009

I was asked by someone this week what my advice would be for verticals for new blogs. While I gave a few tips privately, I thought I’d share some verticals that are worth looking at, ones to watch, and ones to avoid if I was starting a new blog tomorrow or next week. This list is by no means exhaustive, and pushed I could provide longer lists, but if you are looking at starting a new blog, they might be of assistance.

Verticals I’d consider starting a blog in

Green technology is hot right now as the global warming alarmism continues to rise. Whether you agree that the world is going to end or not is irrelevant, there’s plenty to write about in the space, and a growing market for the news. There are an increasing number of blogs in the vertical, some great, some not so great, but it’s a space that isn’t saturated yet, so offers ample opportunity.

Jobs/ Employment
With the recession by some accounts soon to turn into a depression, a growing army of jobless are looking for help and advice. This is a wide vertical that has room for specialization and broader coverage. Advertising is tight (like much of the market), but targeted blogs towards the newly unemployed are in undersupply given the potential.

Pop culture/ celebrity blogs never go out of fashion, and the economic crisis may actually drive readers towards escapist content. Notably the movie business during the great depression actually boomed, and early figures show is some places, movie going is on the up as people swap out more expensive recreational pursuits for quick and cheaper fixes.

This is a highly saturated vertical that is notoriously low paying on ads (our CPM drops every time we get a traffic surge on celeb news), however it’s a vertical that lacks for broad quality, easy demonstrated by the thousands of blogs that publish the same photos and stories over and over again. While some sites and bloggers do a brilliant job, generally speaking celeb blogging is full of amateurs, with some who got lucky.

The key in breaking out in this space is bringing a unique angle, or quality take. Only recently, two new celebrity/ entertainment blogs have launched with funding: The Wrap, a serious take on the industry, and Big Hollywood, a conservative take. With homework, this is a space that you can succeed in.

Verticals to watch

As the mainstream media bleeds, both the quality and quantity of news both online and offline diminishes. And yet there is always a demand for news. Hyperlocal is starting to pick up some steam again after failing at its first outing, but even further up the scale, opportunities are waiting to happen.

This is a harder vertical to get into than most traditional blogging spaces; if you’re going to run an entire business on news, it pays to have paid or volunteer writers/ staff, and access to a wire service so as to avoid any copyright issues and to supplement your content. You can do it without either, but you’ll need that setup to scale.


Advertising is tanking in automotive (along with the industry itself) and yet there’s still good money to be had. There are some big blogs in the space doing good numbers, but likewise it isn’t saturated either. Car manufacturers still have to advertise to get buyers through the door, so there’s still money to be had. A lot of homework required, but a space to watch.

Busy vertical with revenue issues, but angled well shopping, and related fashion, makeup and product blogs have potential. Bargain shopping a definite growth area.

Verticals to avoid

The tech blogosphere is saturated, and dominated by a raft of big players, both independent blogs and larger corporations. Tech spending is tanking, and people without jobs or a lot of spare cash won’t be looking to buy the next shiny gadget as much as they have in previous years. Count Web 2.0 in the mix as well; less VC funding and buyouts means less news to go around. Even some of the biggest sites in the industry have started covering celebrity stories in their mix (no, I’m not talking about us); a sure sign that the tech market alone is stretched.

Finance/ Banking

Busy vertical under the hammer due to the recession. Also currently served well by a range of players. Unless you have a unique take that can help you break out from the noise, avoid.

Real Estate

See finance. Has longer term potential if the market turns.

Reviews (dining/ travel)

Another space with a large number of players catering for a diminishing market. These sorts of sites can be fun to write, and done well can grown an audience, but it’s a risk going into a contracting demand cycle with strong competition.