Focusing On A Niche Doesn’t Make Me A Numbskull!

Focusing On A Niche Doesn't Make Me A Numbskull!

I have two reasons for writing this article.

First off, I attended WordCamp last weekend and had a fantastic time. But I also came away with an increased desire to niche-down my design and digital marketing services to best suit the target audience with whom I’d most like to work.

The second prompt was this Google Plus post, by good friend and savvy marketer, Stephan Hovnanian. Before I dive into the topic, I don’t think Stephan was calling me to task, or insinuating my preference for WordPress or Fireworks makes me a ninja or guru. As a fellow fan of pushback and discussion, Stephan will, probably, appreciate my take on the subject (fingers crossed).

WordPress Is Our Way, NOT The Only Way!

When it comes to web design, both halves of Go Creative Go choose to use WordPress.

Focusing on WordPress doesn’t make me one of the unsavory usurper experts (think guru, ninja, evangelist, etc.).

What does it make me? A web designer determined to focus my skills so that I can offer the best options for my clients. I prefer not to be a jack of all trades, master of none. To quote Seinfeld, I want to be master of my own domain. I want to focus on continuing to be a fine WordPress designer/developer.

Have I seen some fantastic sites created with Joomla or Drupal? Sure. I’ve seen some snazzy sites created with Wix, if I’m being honest. And, on the flip side, I’ve seen some utter crap designed and developed using WordPress.

That doesn’t change my choice to focus on designing and developing the best sites I can using WordPress as my weapon of choice. WordPress is my way, it’s not the only way.

Focus Isn’t Futile!

Focus increases functionality.

If I dabbled with Drupal and jumped around in Joomla, I’d probably learn how to do a few things. But I prefer focusing increasing the functionality and customer fit of the sites I design and develop based on my WordPress focus.

As a team dedicated to learning everything we can about this tool we’ve chosen to use, we can tackle almost any client want, need, even dream.

Targeting More Than The Tools!

Our business niche and focus is about a lot more than the tools we use and the finished projects we create with those tools.

Over the course of the weekend, immersed in learning about running a WordPress business, I found myself thinking long and hard about creating a client niche. A niche that would allow me to work with the very individuals I hang out with online every day.

I was already excited to be geeking out with my peers and fellow design doers. But, I’d been feeling stretched when it came to my service offerings and those to whom they appealed. I was losing my mojo, bit by bit, and feeling tired.

I’ll speak more about the client niche in another article, once I’ve made some changes to the site and sussed out my service offerings.

The point is, we can’t successfully work with a target audience that includes EVERYONE.

My Go-To Might Be Your Get Lost!

I admit I’m a Google fan girl. I love Drive, Docs, Gmail, Chrome and more. But I certainly don’t shun those that prefer Evernote for their blog ideation process. I have a Dropbox account, too. And I always have Safari open as my secondary browser.

I work with both clients and collaborators who have their own, different, systems in place. I adapt as needed.

Go-to tools simply mean you’ve taken the time to really dig into the full functionality of the tool in order to find what works best for you. What’s best for me, might not be best for you. And that’s A-OK hunky dory.

But it would be silly to turn up your nose and decide I’m a ninja, guru or evangelist (just typing that made me shudder with horror) based on my use of a tool.

Are my digital marketing strategies and practices somehow sullied by my preference for a Buffer/Tweetdeck combo over Hootsuite? Of course not!

Do Your Research, As I’ve Done Mine

I’ve spent a lot of time, dollars and effort to come up with my business focus and the tools that allow me to maintain that focus.

You must put in the same work when you choose both the practitioners and the platforms you’ll use to help your business succeed.

If you fall into the clutches of a ninja, guru or other shady dealer, it’s probably down to you failing to put in the effort to ensure that ninja was in tine with your own niche and specific needs.

8 replies
  1. Stephan Hovnanian
    Stephan Hovnanian says:

    I fully embrace your point here, Mallie. People seemed to really cue in on the WordPress thing in my post, but where I was coming from wasn’t a preference for the CMS itself, rather, a blind preference with no other experience to the contrary to fall back on. Basically saying, “this is the only way I’ve ever done something, which means it’s the only way to do it, and you’re wrong for thinking otherwise.” Professionals, many of whom weighed in on that discussion, will choose WordPress for the right reasons, and with a full understanding of how that choice is going to make for a successful project. I guess in some way that also makes them a bonafide expert, huh?

    Thanks for adding the context that my original thought deserved, great post!

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      I often get an idea for an article from my “first take” on an idea or post. The little seed was sown from that first read. I know you weren’t calling out WP users overall. But I’ll take an idea from wherever it comes, Stephan. And I hope I managed to take the idea of niche beyond tools, as I’m about to start a retooling and re-launch of my own niche.

  2. Danny Brown
    Danny Brown says:

    I (half) jokingly tell anyone that doesn’t use WordPress they are dead to me…. 😉

    Focus is key. Learning your trade is key. If you want to focus on a specific area and be known for that, it’s not a bad mindset to have (especially if you can carve out such awareness that your name becomes synonymous with it).

    Which is why I’m hoping #eleventybillion can become a trending hashtag. 😉

    PS – have you checked out The Grid yet?

    I must admit, it has me intrigued and would be a contender that could maybe – maybe – drag me away from WordPress at some point in the future.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      I’ve only given the Grid a cursory look, Danny. Beyond the power and open-source goodness of WordPress, there’s also the community from casual user to hard core developer. That, for me at least, is a huge bonus in the stick with WP column.

      Though, somehow this comment ended up in SPAM, so WP has a little something to answer to! LOL.

  3. Reginald Chan
    Reginald Chan says:

    HI Mallie,

    I totally agree with the WordPress thingy. It is one part of the solution but not the only solution. Work with what it works for your brand and company, and always avoid following others.

    Great article and shared!

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Thanks Reginald. I hope I stressed that WordPress, and tools and platforms are just one part of a niche. You and what’s best for your business always come first. Innovation is great, and developers are always adding to WordPress. But finding your voice, and those who seek out what you’re voice is saying, must always be the key objective.

  4. Andrea Beltrami
    Andrea Beltrami says:

    Those people I’ve coined preferential snobs boil my blood with fiery! There’s a couple on G+ that have grinded on my nerves so hard they can’t even get my attention if they tried. There’s more than one means to every end…no matter what project or topic we’re talking about. By understanding what works best for you and your audience you are short tracking the path to success, in it’s most basic form. A path that may have taken a very different route for someone else. Neither of you are better than the other, you’re different. And let’s get real, variety is the spice of life.

    Sorry, I’ve gone off on a tangent. Great rants have that affect on me. Get your niche on girl, and own that shit proudly! {fistbump}

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      LOL. I am so going to need my rant time with you next week, my dear. What a flipping day!

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