What's in a niche? When I think of the term 'niche' in the web industry, I immediately think, 'Oh god, they're all the same'.

  • I hear 'medical', I think corporate and boxey,
  • I hear 'hotel', I think text heavy, a decent looking banner image, and lots of forms,
  • I hear 'night club' I think huge photos, dark color schemes, with hardly any text,
  • I hear 'clothing retailer', I think 2 column boring layout with cheesy stock photos,
  • I hear 'garage band', I think dark, grunge backgrounds, with crazy fonts that you can't read,
  • I hear 'daycare', I think bright and pastel colors, with massive amounts of smiling children.
Does this mean that because you're a marine biologist your website has to look a certain way, or if you're a vacuum repair man you have a particular set of guidelines to follow when coming up with a look for your new website?

What comes to mind when you hear those terms? Every niche based industry seems to be so cliché. But it doesn't have to be! Why not step outside the box? Rather then being the dreaded 'this site looks just like all the others', why not have the reaction of 'Wow, I've never seen a candy store's website look so awesome'. It's up to you to start the trend that everyone else wants to then become.

So out of pure curiosity and an attempt to see how accurate I am, I'm gonna think up a few niche based industries and check out their sites, compare them, call them out on similarities, and see what differs as well. Here goes…

We'll start fairly simple with 'department store'.

You would think they all bought their template from the same place, right? The logo is in the top left, all three have a top row navigation, huge banner image, and columns of boxed ads. Let's not forget the massive amounts of text links, everywhere! Not very original.

Next stop, let's try 'amusement park'.

Again, sensing a trend? Giant banner, navigation options along the top, banner ads in horizontal formation along bottom of site, and similar color schemes with blue backgrounds.

Moving on, 'rock band'.

All three have a dark backgrounds, big band name written in grungy font and minimal text with the main focus on tour dates (understandably). And you gotta love the cheesy 'backstreet boy'-type pose they all make. These guys are supposed to be hard core?

It's lunch time, so I'm thinking 'restaurant'.

We'll try this two ways this time. Above, as you can see, are the less-thought-out ones. Upper left logo, understated banner area, we've now gone vertical with left navigation, and of course the huge banner image of food.
Now we're talking! I have to give props to the above companies for turning their marketing efforts up a notch. It is a creative, outside the box, non-stereotypical, look at the appeal they have comparably. There are no similarities, they stand out above the crowd, and I'm gonna guess they are all currently on a waiting list for lunch. With websites this great looking, you'll be fighting the crowds.

And lastly, I'm going with, 'college'.

What we have here is a 3 column layout, school emblem in upper left, empty banner areas with a search box, left side navigation, and fairly low key color schemes.

So don't become one in the same, let lifeBLUE help you break outside the box! Your website will thank us. You, of course, won't have time to; because you'll be too busy taking care of all your new customers.