I had a debate with a friend the other day about whether it's better to create a very niche site or a site that tries to be a jack of all trades and master of none. I thought I'd open the discussion up here.

Basically DaniWeb was founded out of my frustration that there were sooo many niche forums out at the time, and I felt like just to put a website together, I had to use JustLinux.com to learn about the OS, WebHostingTalk.com to learn how to host it, PHPFreaks.com to learn about the php side, DBForums.com for the database side, SitePointForums.com and WebmasterWorld.com for the marketing and SEO. Every community has its own set of rules and nuances, and I wanted to create one unfied place where you can learn about all of the technologies you use together in a consistent environment with the same community culture and familiar faces.

Today, eleven years later, I'm still a fan of that road. My friend argues that he feels that if he needs to know an answer about topic XYZ, a niche site JUST about that topic would be much more helpful than a site that has that topic as just a small drop in a huge ocean. For example, if he has a PHP question, he'd go to PHPFreaks before he went to DaniWeb.

My argument is that niche isn't always better. Sometimes it's just small :) For example, DaniWeb's C++ forum can more than rival the CProgramming.com forums or the CPlusPlus.com forums. And then there's all the additional help with the technologies you would use with C++ that don't exist on those sites, and the easy transition to build your resume learning new technologies too, in the same familiar environment.

I was just wondering what you guys think? Niche or not? :)

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Hi, Dani.

The trend in the world does seem to be toward specialization. People want ever finer control over their lives. That's why industries around print magazines, newspapers, CDs, videos, etc. are dying out. Myself, I don't want to have to buy a CD with nine songs I don't like just to get the one I do. With an MP3 player, people can download exactly what they want without getting anything they don't want. The same goes for magazines and newspapers. On one hand, I happen to like reading ink on paper. On the other hand, I dislike having to purchase a whole newspaper or magazine whose content is 80% uninteresting to me (Sports, Local Social Scene, Local Interest, etc.). With online news, I can read about the exact topics that interest me (developments in the aerospace field, international news, business news, economic trends, etc.). Even a big company like Microsoft caught on a few years ago by offering users more granular control over what they could install or omit with their software.

(Having said that, I like Daniweb, with its mix of tech talk and social talk. I mean, coders don't want to talk about programming PHP in PhpStorm all the time; they need some casual chat.)

I think if you want to be a One-stop Shop for all things related to website development, you have to make sure (i) you've got a good, deep, trove of resources (which you have), (ii) those resources have to be extremely well-organized, and (iii) those resources are easy to find with a search.

If you want a suggestion for improvements to these forums, here is one:
pull the Social Media section out of the Internet Marketing section. There have been times when I had general questions about Facebook, blogging, LinkedIn, etc., but they were not Internet Marketing questions. I thought about posting in Daniweb, but then I second-guessed myself because my question about, say, Facebook, was not about Facebook in regards to Internet Marketing. Did I make the wrong assumption?

Also, do the SEO forums still serve a purpose? I see people responding to eight-year old threads, and I am sure the OP is long gone, so don't reply to most discussions there. Or I see many newbie (spammer?) posts about generic topics that have been discussed many times. Is any useful exchange going on there? That section seems like a spammer magnet. Besides having their post counts go down, would anybody miss this section if it was deleted?

not! I love diversity. that's why I love daniweb. and daniweb is better than other forums that is wide-ranged because of the interface and it's clean and neat. everything is categorized correctly

Sure, but then explain the popularity of forums like Notebook Review, Howard Forums, forums on specific android phones etc.

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