Everyone goes on and on about how you need a blog niche, right? But what is a niche? It’s just a hyper focus for your blog. Everything you read will tell you that you need a niche. But I’ve noticed something, very few bloggers “stay” within their niche 100% of the time. This is because not every topic neatly fits into a box and there is easily some crossover into other topics. So let me ease your mind and share with you why you don’t need a blog niche and what you should actually be doing for your blog instead.
If you don’t realize this, then you might get immediately discouraged. Your plan was to only talk about vegan cooking, but now you’ve gotten questions about supplements or exercise or vegan beauty products… You’re interested in these topics too and your readers are as well, but you feel like you can’t talk about these topics because they aren’t in your niche of “vegan cooking.”
So I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to not always stay within your super super narrow niche. I felt so stressed about figuring out what my niche was and what I could or couldn’t write about. I questioned every little topic – is this narrow enough? And then I felt like I was running out of things to say if I kept my niche too narrow. The stress!
So I unburdened myself by not concentrating on a niche, but instead concentrating on my blog focus. I like using the word focus instead because it’s not as harsh sounding and a focus is broader. Think of taking a photo of a flower. The “niche” would be just the flower, but the “focus” would be what’s around the flower that is related to it. The table, the vase, the room, the background. Here’s a little visual…
See the difference? If you are just a niche blogger, you are focusing down too much and aren’t seeing the bigger picture. On the left, the focus is just on the orchid but the rest is just blurred out. On the right, it’s more about looking at the whole world of the photo – the main interest of the orchid, but also the related parts of the photo – the window, curtains, other plants, bar, etc. Analogies, right?
But I hope this visual helps you to see that sometimes we miss out on the important related things but focusing down too much.
Ok so now, how do you figure out your focus instead of your niche?
What you want to blog about
So first off, figure out what you actually want to write about on your blog. Think of your passions, your hobbies, things that you are just genuinely interested in and can see yourself writing about at length. This can be lots of things that you might not initially consider. Think outside the box.
For me, I started my blog as just a creative outlet so I started by just wanting to write about my life. But then my blog evolved and I realized I want to write posts that were more helpful and encouraging for other bloggers, rather than just writing about my vacations. I like to take my personal life and figure out a way that my experiences can help my fellow bloggers.
So just know that what you want to blog about can absolutely change. Figure out what you want to be blogging about right now.
What you’re good at
Ok next think about what you’re good at and where you an expert. Think of your life experiences, jobs you’ve had, your education, the hobbies that you’ve become awesome at. No matter what you are doing in your life, there are so many ways that you can help others. Even if you’re a beginner at yoga, there is someone more beginner than you and that person would love to read about your struggles and experiences and what you’ve learned.
For years, I avoided writing about the legal side because I wanted to keep my career as a lawyer separate from my blog. But then I realized, why should I not share what I know with others? I went to law school, I have legal experience and I’m a blogger, so who better to break down the legal aspects of blogging for others than me? It finally clicked for me that this is what I’m good at and I should absolutely be sharing this with my readers.
Find where you’re an expert or where you can help others too. Even if you don’t feel like an “expert” yet, just think about how much you would’ve loved reading someone’s blog who was just starting out too. You’re got good shit to say, so say it!
What your readers want from you
This sorta ties in with the last one, but figure out what your readers want to learn from you. You can figure this out by looking at your analytics to see what your most popular posts are, what posts get the most shares, what you get the most comments on. Also, remember and write down questions that you might be getting often too.
Take all of this in and you can start to figure out what your readers want from you and your blog. Do they want to hear your struggles, do they want DIY posts, do they want tutorials, do they love funny stories? Know what your readers wants and love from you and it’ll make it so much easier to figure out your focus.
How it’s all connected
Ok now it’s time to tie all this together. You want to be writing about something you like so that’s important. But also figure out what you’re good at and also what your readers want from you. Sometimes your writing might be more in one category than another, but it’s all about experimenting and finding the best balance for you, your blog and your readers.
Remember to keep your focus in mind and try not to stray too far off. I mentioned you don’t need this crazy narrow niche, because no one stays 100% in their niche. You know food bloggers sometimes talk about their kitchen or supplements or exercise routines or throwing holiday parties. The focus on cooking and healthy lifestyle makes more sense than a niche of just talking about recipes only 100% of the time.
Keep experimenting, try out different posts, see what works with your readers and maybe even do a reader poll to see what works.
Let me know in the comments – have you niched down or are you still struggling? Do you think finding your blog’s focus will work better for you?
Also I am re-launching my first course Blog While You 9-5 — my course all about how to better balance your blog with your full time commitments including your day job. In the past 4+ years, I’ve grown my blog on the side, all while working full time and also doing freelance social media management. It can be pretty crazy, but it’s totally doable. The course includes tips and methods for figuring out your focus, growing with social media, time management, tax info, and more.
Right now you can get Blog While You 9-5 plus my ebook The Blogger’s Handbook for Keeping It Legal (which I just updated!) as a bonus. The Handbook is your guide to the legal side, so with this bundle you can manage your blog better and learn about the legal side too!
This bonus is available until Sunday October 9 – so just sign up before then and I’ll send your free copy of the Handbook directly to you!