500 Plus Niche Categories or Infinite Niches

For the past 2 full weeks, we’ve been preparing the ground work to release almost 100 new niche categories that have been requested by our members, studied by our team, and researched to death for viability.

Today, I wanted to pause to contemplate for a moment a bit of self-destructionism:

In a world where everyone is flooded with information, does it still make sense for EzineArticles to have individual categories?

The Pro’s to 500+ Niche Categories:

  • Members hold back quality article submissions due to their perception that we don’t have the right category for their article…thus, more categories = more article submissions.
  • We send nearly 2 million monthly permission-based opt-in emails to 82k members of the niche categories.
  • Tens of thousands of daily visitors find us via category RSS feeds.

The Pro’s to Infinite Niche Categories:

  • “Infinite Niche Categories” really means no categories at all any more and EzineArticles becomes a tagonomy of user-decided unlimited niche categories.
  • The look of the site shifts from being perceived as a directory to being perceived as a more comprehensive knowledge depository.
  • Email alerts move to become incredibly more complex, but simultaneously, the information delivered is more precisely tuned to the requesters interests. Same for RSS based on tags, not categories.

Ok, your turn to voice your opinion:

Does EzineArticles continue adding categories per the plan already in progress or do we abandon all ye plans and go for the infinite niches model?

41 Comments »


1
Alvin writes:

Hi Mr Knight,

Somehow I still prefer “categories”. Make the site more organized and neater.

But I am rather puzzled that some of the very common topic are left out. One good example is “high blood pressure”.

I have no choice but to submit to the health->heart section. That’s the closest to to it. But I think that High blood pressure or Hypertension itself is an important topic to stand on its own.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 8:24 AM

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2

I like the idea of categories because it makes me feel like I can better serve the needs of my readers. I never hold back from submitting an article due to its being in a category outside what you currently offer, however, I have sometimes felt that the categories available to choose from were too limited for my topic. That is exactly why I submit my articles here; you and your team are constantly looking for ways to improve our experience and that of the readers.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 8:29 AM

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3
Melissa writes:

I don’t like the idea of tags and I think adding hundreds of new niches would be painful for visitors to sort through. I would MUCH rather use the “search” function than get lost in a monstrous directory. Infinite niches would probably get some topics lost in the fold…

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 8:37 AM

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4
Paul Darby writes:

I definitely think stick to the category format but that there should be more of them.
I have just tried searching the site from the perspective of a reader/publisher looking for a category.
Two things leaped out at me.
1) The categories at the top centre of the home page seem to be in a totally random order. Wouldn’t it be easier if they were either listed in alphabetical order or some more logical order than they are

2) One facility of the site that I have only just discovered is that you list the top 10 authors within each category. I was amazed how few articles will get you in the top 10!
If there were more categories it would take even less, which would be a great incentive for authors to submit more articles

Paul
heart-attack-and-heart-disease.com

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 9:06 AM

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5
P.Pal writes:

EzineArticles is successful due to what it is right now. Adding tags or any such concept would just further complicate matters and users would only search for what they are looking for thus most articles would go unread which would not provide the respective authors with proper traffic. Therefore if they don’t get traffic they would not submit articles no matter how many categories there might be. So I don’t think the idea of Infinite Niche Categories is going to work for me as an author.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 9:06 AM

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6
Jason writes:

Get rid of all the categories and evolve EzineArticles into an “Information Portal.”

There had been many times in the past when I was puzzled by the lack of proper categories. But there is no end to creating categories in this day and age. You guys will go nuts trying to keep up with our ever expanding world of knowledge.

Instead, have a Mother of All Search Functions with Simple and Advanced drop-down menu etc. options so that the searches can be granular up to a certain point. Then let people both post and find their own stuff in EzineArticles. Self-serve is the ultimate solution, not spoon-feeding.

The time and energy invested in such a Mega Search function would eliminate all the need for new categories — which is nothing but a losing race against time.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 9:08 AM

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7
P.Pal writes:

One more thing I would like to point out is the example of an “Apple I-pod”. When they came out it was nothing more than just a simple Mp3 player with no fancy features. There were already high-end PDA’s in the market which would not only play music but videos too along with internet capability. You see I-Pod was more expensive than most of these PDA’s but still sold more. Why you ask? Well apple has one theory- “Simplicity is the key”. You see people are willing to pay any amount of money for something which is simple and such things can even compete with High tech stuff already present in the market only due to the fact that it’s simple therefore in my opinion EzineArticles is simple enough right now, Unlimited categories would mean a lot of confusion for the end user.

You see sometimes making slight adjustments is enough to add value and achieve more success in life. Once the foundation is laid you can’t shake the whole building without shaking it’s foundation.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 9:15 AM

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8
P.Pal writes:

Jason,

Sorry to disagree with you as most of the time’s users post a lot of useless stuff since not everyone out there is an expert when it comes to professional writing. The articles in EzineArticles get high ranking on Google only due to the fact that most of them are high quality. Giving users complete control would make it more of an information sharing forum than anything else.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 9:19 AM

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9

I agree with P.Pap, EzineArticles.com is the best article directoy on the web for what it is now.

I like the fact that I can quickly research information on any topic and view the latest articles on the site.

I like EzineArticles the way it is now.

Let’s see what you decide.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 9:46 AM

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10
Thaddeus Ferguson writes:

How much bigger or better do you think EzineArticles will become if you went to this infinite model which I dont understand at all and is it worth the risk of having it all collapse?

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 10:05 AM

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11

The question we are asking ourselves:

Which model adds the most value to our users and members?

The current model appears to be satisfying everyone better than the higher-risk infinite niche model… but we always like to question our assumptions.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 10:12 AM

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12
Jim writes:

I like many others have been frustrated by the lack of a category that reflects the subject matter of our article. That being said we have always been able to adapt.

As stated above the current system makes doing research somewhat easier.

I prefer the current system as long as it continues to grow and reflect the real world.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 10:31 AM

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13
Thaddeus Ferguson writes:

If I am understanding the infinite model correctly isnt that already in place in some ways considering that you can do a search for the type of articles that you are looking for using keywords.
Or does this mainly have to do with the certain percentage of writers that dont write or at least submit because you dont have their “category” on the website.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 10:37 AM

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14
Susan Scharfman writes:

Fine-tuning, trouble shooting and innovative changes are necessary to keep EzineArticles fresh and au courant. But why muddy clear waters? This is not a helpful change.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 10:41 AM

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15
Dick Pennington writes:

Leave it as is. It is working, even for those of us who are not full of ideas. I have watched my site grow every time I submit a new article.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 10:51 AM

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16
Kathryn Merrow writes:

This is very timely because I have just started to submit articles and planned to contact you regarding categories.

In my category, Health and Fitness, “Pain Management” seems the closest choice for many of my articles-to-come, except for the difference between “management” and “relief.” “Pain Relief” is closer to what I help people attain. When readers understand why they hurt and what they can do to reduce or eliminate their pain, they can get relief. “Management” indicates that one is stuck with their pain and can only learn to manage their response (which is true in some situations.)

Additionally, I see categories for arthritis and back pain, but not for carpal tunnel (or hand/wrist/arm) pain or headaches/migraines/head pain, both of which are large problems fpr readers. Perhaps “Pain Relief,” “Carpal Tunnel or Hand/Wrist/Arm Pain” and “Headaches/Migraines/Head Pain” are already on your list of considered categories.

And I like categories–makes it easy for me to scroll and find what I’m looking for. Thanks for asking!

Kathryn Merrow, SimplePainRelief.com

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 10:54 AM

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17
Ed Bagley writes:

Wow! You and your staffers must be laying awake nights all goosey and excited about how you can make your creation even MORE COMPLICATED than it is already. Pretty soon we will have a category for “How Squirrels Mate in North America”. I will agree with you that viewers want information more than quality writing. This would explain why the most read articles are on erectile dysfunction, men’s hair restoration, the latest hair styles for young women, and anything to do with sex, drinking, mating, etc. Even so, people want to get on with it, they do not want to make a career out of trying to find the information they want. I suspect you are headed to the barnyard with this program and the pig slop that goes with it. Having said that, I will be forever amazed if you do not justify going ahead with your plans, to not do so would mean having to recognize that your idea might not be so hot.

Another thought: When I started with EzineArticles, I wrote about a dozen articles and then did nothing for several months as I began to learn about the Internet and creating a web site. I then returned and have become a steady contributor. Under your new guidelines, I would have been drummed out of the system. When I received your apparent stern warning about how I better have an article during a certain time frame or else, I thought, “What is a matter with these people?” I do not want or need a job or a boss to put strict requirements on me in the creative process. You are receiving my quality articles for zip. I do not buy or sell articles, or send them in 5 different ways to create more articles and exposure. I actually write my articles from scratch and they are my creation.

Be careful about what you are creating, you may be raising being complicated to an art form at the risk of losing your viewers and quality writers. You may end up with a lot of so-so articles in too many categories for viewers with not a lot of time to find them.

Ed Bagley

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 10:57 AM

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18

Chris,

I have to admit that at first glance I am in favor of the Infinite Niche Categories model. I have articles that could easily fit into multiple categories, and more than once EzineArticles has adjusted my chosen category to one your editors find more appropriate. I understand why you do it, and I respect your right to change my category choices. However, it is somewhat disorienting to find an article that I’ve written with parenting advice in mind suddenly appearing in the research section of the directory where it really doesn’t feel as appropriate to me. After all, the people who visit research are very different from the people who visit parenting advice.

It strikes me that the infinite model would solve both of these issues.

On the other hand, the most important people to satisfy are the publishers and the views. I think that their votes need to come before mine. Which model satisfies their needs best? I do have one question. What would happen to articles that have not been tagged by the readership? Would they disappear into cyberspace?

Finally, I like your new word‚¬€self-destructionism

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 11:23 AM

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19
Jeanette writes:

Chris,

You know your site best. If its working so well, don’t significantly change it. People sign up to things relevant to them, so categories help at the front end when people sign up.

Joy~

Jeanette

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 11:58 AM

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20
Mario writes:

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It ain’t broke!

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 12:04 PM

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21

Hi Chris!

I agree with Paul Darby when he says that the categories at the top centre of the home page seem to be in a totally random order and that it would be easier if they were listed in alphabetical order or some more logical order than they are.

You have to reorganize the site. First of all you have to change the place for comments. It has to be immediately under the article, without any list of other articles before. Then you have to organize the several categories in a way that even an idiot would understand them, because they are too many.

The divisions must be different. Many times I feel that an article is wasted because Depression is one category, Mental Health another and Psychology another one! while the article is ideal for the three categories. I am obliged to choose one of them. If the category was more general like it is in most sites my article would be found by most readers.

Fortunately the readers usually don’t open EzineArticles and start looking for articles, but type at Google, Yahoo, etc. whatever they want to read about and then they find the article they need.

However, there are a few readers that visit EzineArticles or that read several articles, since they arrived at the site, and they probably get lost among so many categories.

You can do many things in a computer. Think! How could you give to the readers general and specific categories at the same time? How could you make things easier for them and at the same promote our articles in all categories? Why do we have to waste an article that fits in multiple categories in only one?

Wouldn’t it be smarter to organize the site in a way that all articles that belong to the health category for example could easily be found all together and if the reader wants, he or she could look in a catalogue with the specific categories and find quickly exactly what he/she needs, otherwise simply read everything that belongs to the general category?

You could organize EzineArticles with the articles in their categories making things much easier for everyone and much better for the site.

The way it is now, you better stop adding categories. It is already too chaotic.
Without organization, the unlimited categories will make the readers miss what they want because they can’t find the title that you give for what they want, because each one asks for something using different words. This is why we have keywords and we try to guess the way that our visitors will type what they want so that they may find our article.

What if the reader doesn’t know that he or she has to look for psychology first at Reference and Education and he goes to Mental Health because he believes that psychology fits better in this category? This is a very simple example, but you have to understand that the visitor doesn’t know how you separate each category and where to look for what he or she wants if he comes for the first time to the site.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 12:30 PM

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22
Hope Wilbanks writes:

I think categories would best serve members and users as well. While tags might be “neat” at first, I would think articles would begin to just become a jumbled up mess. Categories keeps everything clean and neat and manageable. Just my two cents. :)

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 12:53 PM

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23
P.Pal writes:

Christina,

Placing comments right under the articles would affect search engine rankings for your articles therefore I feel EzineArticles is doing a great job with it already. You see most search engines index comments too and that would affect your keyword density thus affecting your search engine rankings.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 1:24 PM

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24
Edward Weiss writes:

Well, you know what they say in the advertising world …

It takes hard work to come up with a good headline. But it takes a genius to leave it alone.

Sometimes too much tinkering isn’t good. I’m not sure in this case. But I do no that author’s get the majority of their traffic from the search engines so further subdivision won’t matter.

But … I could be wrong. :)

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 1:32 PM

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25

Thank you for the information, P. Pal!

But why the comments affect the keyword density?
And so, what?

A comment is so important that even if it provokes problems in other aspects, it still is more important than the problems it may provoke.
I don’t mean positive comments, that are merely compliments, but negative ones, where the reader expresses his or her opinion and the author has the chance to explain the article’s meaning much better.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 2:52 PM

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26

Ezine is already recognized as the best Ezine on the net, why mess with perfection.
This sorta reminds me of going to the grocery store and finding about 15 different styles of shampoo for every conceivable type of hair problem. One could spend 15 minutes just finding the correct shampoo for their hair. Frustrating!
You will never please everyone, unless it is infinite. But do you want to try to please everyone? Can’t be done!
Keep the system you have now, with the possibility of adding a few and fine tuning, according to the numbers of requests in the future.
Customers look for an article by using keywords. Would you try to categorize according to keywords? I don’t think so. Too stupid. (Too many shampoo styles on the shelf.) same thing!
Keep the successful system you already have.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 4:10 PM

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27

Chris –

What you have is working, and working amazingly well.

Stay with the categories.

Pls don’t pull a “New Coke” – OK?

Jeff

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 7:07 PM

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28
Vern writes:

Hi Chris,

I have to agree 100% with Jeff.

We have a working model now which
is building momentum as we speak.

Lets focus on what we have and
not re-create the wheel again.

Take care,
Vern

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 9:29 PM

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29
Hadee Ismail writes:

This is a great new feature for affiliate marketers like me and you. We don,t have to put our article to the wrong catogories.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 10:09 PM

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30
Kathryn Merrow writes:

And I agree with Jeff. I found the site user-friendly ever since I first arrived. I wouldn’t like to lose that, even though more sub-categories would be helpful.

Comment provided March 5, 2008 at 10:09 PM

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31
Aakash Shah writes:

Hello,
I agree with most of the users out here.
Adding Infinite categories wont be a good idea. Instead I again agree that improving search engine would be great…
Or else why not just introduce Tags system similar to Keywords.
I am happy with the categories system of the ezine, just adding few more would be best.

Comment provided March 6, 2008 at 9:06 AM

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32

Alvin,

Hypertension has been added for Fall 2008 consideration:
http://ezinearticles.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2243

We keep a running list of suggested new topic categories throughout the year.

Jeff,

But I liked NEW COKE! I really did. In fact, I was angered by Coke’s decision to remove NEW COKE from the market.

So I’m back to Pepsi… or Cherry Coke.

All,

Your voices have been heard. We won’t be dumping our categories-based hierarchy for now.

Comment provided March 6, 2008 at 10:08 AM

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33
Anita Bruton writes:

I am in total agreement with Jeff! I like the categories! It works!

And I’ll stick with my Diet Coke! :)

Thanks for sticking with the categories!

Comment provided March 6, 2008 at 1:15 PM

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34
Thaddeus Ferguson writes:

I was a big fan of Pepsi Clear even though it made me nauseous everytime I drank it

Comment provided March 6, 2008 at 9:57 PM

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35
Jeff Herring writes:

Chris – I like the way you ask, listen and respond to your readers.

Mr. Pibb is my soda of choice…

Jeff

Comment provided March 8, 2008 at 1:45 AM

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36

Do NOT remove the categories! I shudder to think of what this might do to your searchability. If you lose out on that, the clients (authors) get no search love. Authors should just get over the fact that they have to be categorized. It’s pure logic, and logic is a beautiful thing.

Comment provided March 9, 2008 at 9:04 AM

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37

I am in total support of any step that bring improvement to both the organization and the authors alike. One more
thing, the time articles are under consideration for approver is too much. I had to correct my last article, for the past 4weeks now yet to be approved. The worst part I can’t submit new articles!

Comment provided March 9, 2008 at 10:37 AM

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38

Pastor Samuel,

I recommend contacting our member support when you feel something is wrong.

I’d have to reveal information about your account in order to help you solve this problem…and this is better done privately.

Comment provided March 9, 2008 at 5:25 PM

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39
Rob Emmerson writes:

I am glad to read that the categories will be staying. As a new contributor I find the categories helpful, rather than just a pile of information.

I also appreciate the review process, it keeps the quality of the articles higher, and I am sure eliminates spinning of articles.

Keep up the great site.
Rob

Comment provided March 10, 2008 at 8:16 AM

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40
Lance Winslow writes:

Well the niche categories have sure been good to me, I like them, it allows us to specialize. To target, although I still realize that even if there were no niches, the search engines seem to find my articles quite well. The RSS subscribers, well, that just makes it a double whammy and allows me the traffic I need. Thanks.

Comment provided March 11, 2008 at 9:58 PM

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41

When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails with the same comment.
Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
Appreciate it!

Comment provided August 27, 2014 at 3:08 PM

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