Setting up a new blog is simple and free if you use public platforms like Blogger or Wordpress or Twitter. A few years after ordinary people discovered the joys of blogging, experienced bloggers are branching out into multiple blogs. This led to the rise of niche blogs, blogs devoted to a very narrow subject. The internet audience is so big that even the most obscure topic can gain an audience if it has two things: a good idea and enough material for regular updates. Since readers are often glad to contribute material, sometimes a good idea is enough.
Many photo blogs depend on reader submissions, such as the super-successful I Can Has Cheezburger and its various offshoots. Animals with Light Sabers (pictured) takes the idea a step further and combines cuteness with science fiction. Photoshop makes it easy to add a light saber to any photograph, so everyone can participate. Presidents on Roller Skates is an entire blog dedicated to Photoshopped images putting US leaders past and present on wheels. Only about half the presidents were posted before updates stopped. Maybe the webmaster was counting on reader submissions that never came.
Skull-A-Day (pictured) started out as an art project as artist Noah Scalin produced a skull every day for a year. Then he opened up the blog to submissions and is still posting a skull of one kind or another every day. Bad Spock Drawings began as a collaborative project involving artists from all over. All it took was an invitation for people to send in their versions of Mr. Spock from the original Star Trek series. American Gothic Parodies is a look at the influence Grant Wood's 1930 painting has on popular culture. The posts are scans of a collection the webmaster's grandmother kept.
Are highly focused niche blogs worth the trouble? Just ask Justin Halpern. Last summer he moved in with his parents and in August he began posting interesting things his 73-year-old father Sam said on his Twitter account under the name Shit My Dad Says. In three months, he has gathered over 759,000 followers! Here is a profanity-free example of his Tweets:
"You worry too much. Eat some bacon... What? No, I got no idea if it'll make you feel better, I just made too much bacon."
After only a month of Tweeting, Halpern was juggling book offers. Sam is so entertaining that CBS is developing a TV series. Yes, a TV series based on a Twitter feed.
Of course, there are more niche blogs than will fit in any one post. If you have a favorite that I haven't mentioned, please let everyone know in the comments!