One aspect of my job is market research. I do it on a much more basic level than those in most corporations because I am the community manager, not a full time, dedicated market researcher, so my task is to look at certain things with the understanding that I am as much part of the user base as I am part of the company.
This puts me in a unique position in that I will look over a set of data, like who signed up, but haven’t used the service yet, and can quickly, by looking at their blog, deduce why they probably haven’t had a need to come back. No single service will ever capture the attention of one hundred percent of the blogosphere, no matter how wide the scope of their idea is, but sometimes it can be frustrating to see huge groups of sign ups, and no interaction.
Bloggers, especially certain groups of bloggers, act very differently online than a customer in the store. They don’t necessarily like being sold to, they don’t like signing up for things, though they sometimes enjoy trying a product early to get a competitive edge.
It is really interesting to analyze my peers and try to come up with their motivations for using or not using a product and relaying that information to the company I work for.
The hardest part will always be defining our key demographics and sticking to satisfying them before anyone else.
I think there are many sites, and software applications that try to widen their scope, either to make more money or get more traffic, and they only end up ruining things for the original community of users.
Bloggers can do this too when they change things too radically in hopes of improving monetization. I definitely recommend doing some market research, and sticking to providing for the key demographic you come up with. If Darren had evolved his Problogger.net blog as his initial users became more advanced, I doubt his blog would be the a-list resource it is today.