You’ve heard it all before from every blogger and their mom: you need a super specific niche to stand out and grow your blog. But what exactly is a blogging niche and do you really need one? A niche may work for some people, but it DOESN’T have to work for you. This post will debunk the myth that you need one to build a successful blog and explain what you DO need to instead. Let’s get into it!
A “niche blog” is a blog that is created with the intention of reaching a specific and targeted market. It’s a blog that only focuses on one topic such as vegan cooking, DIY/crafts, or portrait photography. Yes, it is true that blogging about one topic can bring you “success,” but will it make you happy?
This post is for all the bloggers out there who think they need to put themselves in a box in order to be successful. I’ll be the bold person and say YOU DON’T NEED TO PUT YOURSELF IN A BOX. Standing out in the blogging world definitely takes hard work, but you don’t need to compromise your passions and authenticity to be successful.
- Related: 7 Ways To Keep It Real As a Blogger
Let’s look at 3 reasons why you DON’T need a niche
You Like Writing About Different Topics
Chances are you’re probably multi-passionate and just generally like writing about a bunch of different things. And that’s totally fine! Blogging is meant to be FUN. If you don’t enjoy it, why the heck are you doing it? So many people jump into blogging with the wrong intentions, such as all they can see are dollar signs or they want to grow a massive following. The biggest thing to keep in mind is to blog with your heart. What do you want to share with the world?
Blogger Burn Out
Putting yourself into this tight little corner vowing to only write about one certain thing from now until eternity will make you feel VERY restricted. Especially if it’s a subject you think you should be writing about, rather than something you’re passionate about. You’ll get bored, frustrated, and lose motivation. The creative juices will dry up and you’ll be so desperate for inspiration you’ll go mad.
Soon you’ll start to post less frequently until you ultimately stop putting your heart into your posts. All because you’re trying to fit into that little box of yours. The onset of blogger burn out will drive you to stop showing up to your blog every day and you’ll do what many bloggers end up doing shortly after starting: you’ll quit. Is that what you want? I sure as hell hope not!
You Won’t Grow
Before I rebranded my blog, In Search of Sheila was all about da fashion. Then I dived more into lifestyle topics, sharing advice on self-care, personal development and things that made me happy. Now I share authentic growth strategies and tips to help beginner bloggers grow their blogs with intention and purpose. This is what I like to call my blogging journey road map.
Uh, Sheila…where are you going with this?
My point is if you start your blog by being in a box, you won’t grow as a blogger. From the very beginning, it can be very difficult to choose your path. When you sit down to create your very first blog post you are faced with many different roads you can go down. Which one will you choose? Again, you need to follow your heart. Not what you think is profitable or what everyone else is doing.
Can I share a story?
Growing up I always had many interests. When I went off to college I majored in photography. After I did that for a year, I realized it wasn’t the right career path for me. I took some time off and went back to college with an “undeclared” major. I knew I wanted to go back to school, but I still had no idea what I “wanted to do” with my life. I had interests in photojournalism, sociology, and history. After taking a bunch of different classes to get a feel for all these areas, I decided to pursue a history degree. And here I am with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree working in the history field doing something I genuinely enjoy.
But now I also love blogging. And I’m not afraid to say that. Society tells us we need to go to school, get a job, and that’s it. What’s the fun in that? Also, with the way the economy has been going and the threats on the American education system, my field is becoming less sustainable than I have hoped for. This is why I turned to blogging to make a side income and eventually turn into a business. It’s like my blog and my “real career” both have back up plans. If one fails, I’ll have the other.
I know this story might have veered off the tracks a little bit (I tend to do that in real life conversation ALL the time) but I think it’s a good way to see your blog. If you restrict yourself to one topic, you’re leaving a multitude of other topics behind that could lead to something amazing.
Treat your blog like you’re in college exploring different subjects. You won’t know if you like something or are super good at it until you try!
What You DO Need
Can I get a drum roll please? ….FOCUS!
Ah, one of my favorite f-words. You might be wondering where the heck I’m going with this, but hear me out. Having a focus means that your blog revolves around a message or mission. What’s the meaning behind your blog? How can it add value to someone’s life?
Maybe you have a simple living blog, but remember: you don’t want to be in a box. Your focus could revolve around your daily routine and how you incorporate simplicity into your own life in order to help others made changes in their’s. Your posts can cover areas such style, beauty, traveling, finances, decluttering…
See where I’m going with this? Having a focus means you can blog about many different topics, as long as they all relate back to the overall message of your blog.
How do you find your focus?
What are your passions?
What are subjects or activities that really bring you joy? Think about your hobbies and interests, but also your natural strengths. I’m very passionate about learning, helping others, exploring my creativity, and of course–blogging. My blog is my special place where I am able to express these passions and provide a source of inspiration for others.
What do you actually want to write about?
What are topics that you always find yourself writing about with ease? No hard thinking or frustration–it just naturally flows? Make a list. Doesn’t matter how long or short–just write down everything that you like writing about. Now, review your list.
Which of these could you talk about for hours and hours without getting bored? These will be the topics for your blog. If it’s just one, awesome. If it’s more than one, that’s awesome too! Now, I do suggest not going overboard with your subjects–you do have to give yourself a cut-off!
What do your readers want?
After you’ve compiled your list of topics you want to write about, think about the people who read your blog. Why do they show up every week to read your content? How are you helping them? If you’re stumped, simply ask them! Send a survey out to your email list or create a poll on Twitter. While I do think you need to write about sujects you enjoy, you do want to keep your readers’ needs in mind. Without them, who will come to your blog every week?
If you just started your blog, think of your dream reader: who do want to be reading your blog? What’s their gender? What are their hobbies and interests? What do they struggle with? Get an idea of your reader in your head and start writing your content directly to them.
What’s your story?
We all have story that brought us to where we are today. This might take some time to figure out, but I promise once you pinpoint your story or message as I like to call it, everything with your blog will fall into place.
My story is that I “failed” at fashion blogging. I was doing it for over 3 years and didn’t grow a huge following, nor made money with it. Then I hit a dark place where my lack of growth really hit me and I didn’t know where to go. I felt lost and unsure how to bounce back.
But I took this “failure” as a sign of something good. It taught me also that numbers and dollar signs didn’t determine “success.” Finding joy in my blog and using it to teach and empower others, was. Now I use my blog to help others build a strong foundation not only for their blog, but for their soul.
If you take any major point from this post, it’s that you don’t need to blog about just one thing in order to be “successful.” There are soo many bloggers out there who are making it and they aren’t putting themselves in a box. They embrace who they are and use their passions and strengths to help others.
Ready to Take Some Action?
If you want to go more in-depth in figuring out if you should niche down or not, I have a free gift for you!
In my eBook, Blogging with Purpose, you get the complete blueprint to building a purposeful and profitable blog.
I want to give you a FREE chapter entitled “To Niche or Not to Niche? How to Find Your Blog’s Focus and Target Reader.”
I cover the pros and cons of both having a niche and NOT having a niche. When you finish the chapter you’ll have a better understanding of which route is best for you!
Plus you’ll get in-depth exercises to help you create your target reader, which is CRUCIAL if you want to blog without a niche!