When A Niche Is Too Small

I started using WordPress at version number 2.3.3 which, in layman’s terms, is September 2007. Right around that time, my friends and I started a dog blog called Avenue K9, which we wanted to make more interactive. The problem was that, at the time, WordPress was fairly basic. The most interaction you could get was either through the comments section or by rigging it with bbPress … until BuddyPress came out.

BuddyPress created a social layer on top by extending user capabilities through friending, messaging and activity feeds (anybody remember the Wire days?). Luckily, I was already testing out the alpha and beta versions of this add-on, which later turned into a plugin. By the time BuddyPress got some momentum, I decided to create a handful of BuddyPress (BP) themes; yes, BP required separate installs/themes … it was nuts. I decided to market them full-force and thought that this might become my thing, when I quickly found out that interest began to wade in the following year. BP, at that stage, was still a major pain to install, upgrade and maintain. God forbid you were on a crappy host!

There are lots of people that still use the plugin and many great sites are built on top of it. Here was my biggest gripe with it: The *average* BP user was more of advanced WP user who required much more specialized knowledge in customizing WordPress and BuddyPress, all while still keeping it performant under a heavy load. Even worse, there was an incredibly sparse amount of people that were into this niche community. Combined with a lack of potential prospects, that kind of skillset was out of scope for me and I wasn’t particularly keen on becoming a full-fledged backend developer either. That’s when I learned that there can be such a thing as a niche that is too small.