Blogging What You Love: Finding Your Niche

“All blogs have one faithful reader at least – Google bot.” – Funny Side of Life ~ Why do you blog? The motivations behind the blogs you read are just as diverse as the bloggers who write them; some blog as a way to build a reputation as an expert in their field, some as a creative outlet, some to earn an income, and most are a combination of many reasons. There is no right or wrong, but it’s important to figure out WHY you blog, so that you can have a purpose, goals, and plans for growth.

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“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” – Brian Clark {Photo credit}

If you’re a blogger who’s only motivation is to write for fun, and you’re not at all concerned with making money, building an online reputation, or growing your audience, then this post isn’t relevant to you. But if you DO blog as more than a part-time hobby, these tips might be helpful in guiding you towards a more productive plan for blogging successfully. I mean, we all spend waaaaay too many hours blogging, right? So if we’re going to put so much of our time into this – time that could be spent with our kids, our spouses, or drinking margaritas with our girlfriends – then we better make sure that that time is getting us closer to our goals.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself 

Whether you’re still in the planning stages, have a new blog, or have been blogging for a long time – it never hurts to take a little time and evaluate yourself. Ask yourself these questions to help determine where you might fit into this big ol’ blogosphere…

  1. Is your primary goal to earn an income? If so, do you plan on earning money directly, or indirectly? Direct income would be using an ad network, or selling ads to sponsors individually. Indirect would be using your blog as a platform to brand yourself as an expert on a topic, to get into public speaking, or sell an ebook or online course.
  2. What are you excited about? You need to choose a topic that’s wide enough that you can keep finding new things to talk about – week after week, year after year. Not sure yet? Ask yourself – what do you spend most of your money on? What do you find yourself always talking to your friends about? What do people come to you for advice about? These answers can help you figure out what you’d do well with – something where your passion for the topic will shine through when you write about it!
  3. Do some online research. Search Google Trends - pick a couple of keywords or phrases from the niche you’re considering writing about and see if they’re growing, or trending downward. Search out other blogs writing on your topics – what are they missing? Can you add a different point of view, layer of expertise, sense of humor, or something else unique….?

Even if you’re already blogging, these steps can really help you focus your writing more effectively. I know that there’s a lot of discussion on whether having a niche matters – and it’s true, there are successful bloggers who don’t really fit into one category. But even those big blogs with a ton of variety usually have an overlying theme – The Pioneer Woman shares favorite recipes, homeschooling tips, remodeling and DIY ideas, photography tips – and so much more. But – they all come from a perspective of a “City Girl” turned “Country Gal”. When you read her recipes, you know you’re getting Cowboy Cooking, not a review of the latest frozen pizza brand.

Why Having a Niche Can Lead to a More Successful Blog

It’s important to build a brand for yourself, so people know what you represent, what they’ll find on your site – or they’ll easily forget all about you. Here are a few more reasons why having a niche – whether very targeted or more broadly focused, can help you.

  1. Credibility: People will begin to see you as an expert on your topic. Think about it – who do you trust more when it comes to beauty products; Walmart, or Sephora? Easy answer, right? That’s because Sephora focuses really well on one category, does it well, and is amazingly knowledgeable about all things pretty. You want to be that go-to voice online in your niche too!
  2. Loyalty: Let’s use the above example again – who do you think has more loyal customers, Walmart or Sephora? A blog that has no real focus, or a super-duper broad theme like “Life as a mom, with reviews and giveaways!” is ok – but if you blog about, “Finding humor in parenting catastrophes!” then people know they can get a laugh each time they visit your site. If you blog about, “Life as a eco-momma – sharing our tips to living a greener lifestyle” – again, people will identify closer with you, and you’ll attract more loyal readers who are looking for those lifestyle tips too.
  3. Brand Ambassadorships: It’s not just readers that will appreciate your focus, brands will too. If you’re a cloth diaper company, you want to have your products featured by a blogger who is known as an expert in cloth diapers, right? If Wilton has a new cake decorating line, they’d most likely want it reviewed on a site that regularly shares beautiful desserts. So – having a more focused niche can lead to some great brand partnerships.
  4. It’s not just about the topic: Maybe you do want to blog about anything, and everything. That can work too sometimes – but what CAN you do to set yourself apart? Can you be known for your stunning photography and design skills like Dear Crissy? I mean, that girl could do a post on Hot Pockets and you just KNOW she’d find a way to make them look like beautiful artwork. Or maybe you can build a reputation due to your inappropriate & super funny take on life like The Bloggess? If SHE wrote about Hot Pockets, she’d find a way to have me laughing out loud like crazy at my desk, spitting out coffee on my computer screen and scaring the dog.

Your niche can be about more than just the topic you write about – it’s about who you are, and what your blog is known for. There are so, so, SO many blogs out there. I never consider other bloggers competition – I think that there is room for everyone. When a new book is released, you don’t consider that competition for every other book in the bookstore, right? But if your goal is to grow your site, earn an income, build partnerships, and increase your traffic – you do need to make sure that you have something that makes your blog different, and able to be noticed in a giant sea of other blogs out there.

What do YOU think?

Do you think having a niche is important? Do you have one? – My blog started out as more of a frugal-type blog. Then I realized that really wasn’t what I wanted to be about… There were a million people out there who knew WAY more about coupons and strategic shopping than I did. So what WAS my blog about? After a lot of thought and research, I realized that what’s important to me is finding “Smart Solutions” – those clever tips, products, and services that make you say, “Whey didn’t I think of that??!!” And I knew that I wanted to write to moms – especially moms like me, who are trying to balance their job earning an income as an entrepreneur with their job of being a mother and homemaker. So, I decided that my site is about Smart Solutions for Busy Moms. That guides everything I do – I review products with a focus on how they can solve challenges in a busy mom’s life. I share awesome apps that can help you save time. And I do my best to offer content that will educate and entertain other busy moms like myself. It has made a dramatic difference in the quality of my blog, the partnerships that I’ve made, and makes me more excited to write each day.

So tell me – what are your thoughts on having a niche?

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Comments

  1. I don’t know if mine has one. I mostly talk about about family stuff..and things we come across as moms.

  2. Finding a niche for my blog was something that happened gradually. I went into it with a completely different vision of what kind of blogger I was going to be than what I am now!

  3. I’m not quite sure yet what my blog’s niche is. It started out to be about funny things that happened to my kids, and the ways they drive me nuts, (which I still write about from time to time), but I’ve also branched out to write about stuff in my state and topics that are important to me. I’m still not sure what I’ll stick with, probably a bit of both, but I agree that finding that niche is pretty important!

  4. I found myself thrown into a niche of infertility, the moment I opened up about what was going on with trying to get pregnant. It has lead to some pretty great friends and a few brand relationships that I probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

    In the long run, I don’t worry too much about sticking to a niche. Right now my main focus is on being real and honest. That seems to be when my blogging is at its best, so that’s what I’m trying to work at. :)

  5. Brilliant! Even now that I’m busier with my blog than I ever imagined, it’s still a good idea to make sure I don’t lose focus. When I got the new “look” on A Helicopter Mom, I tried to keep what I really want out of blogging in mind.

    Great post! :)

  6. Awesome post as always! I think your blog needs to be *you* whatever that is. You need to believe in your passion and write about it. For me, it’s busy moms. It’s about moms who want to do as much as they can in different areas of their lives without becoming an expert in any one. It’s about squeezing in a quick workout to get in shape, making an amazing meal but not spending all day doing it, looking your best despite your crazy schedule and any number of other things I think most busy moms struggle with. It feels right for me and hopefully others enjoy reading it too!

  7. Right now, I don’t really have a niche as I just blog about anything really. I think a niche is a good idea to have if you have a topic that you can continuously talk about.

  8. Each of my blogs have their own niche and I find that it works great for me!

  9. Well… yes, I think I have niche – altho its a big one, because there is never an end to the annoying things in this world!

  10. Great post…I blog for many of the reasons you listed….great post and I like that quote….I saw it earlier this week somewhere…

  11. Awesome post Meagan! You’ve really made me stop and think about what my niche is or isn’t!

  12. I don’t have a niche. At least I don’t think I do. Maybe it’s entertainment. I like books, movies, baby stuff…um. Help!

  13. These are some really great tips! Thank you so much for sharing them with us!!

  14. My blog has evolved so much. I still don’t have a very targeted niche and probably fall under the ‘lifestyle’ category. It seems to be working pretty well for now. I’m looking forward to getting my second blog off the ground which as a very targeted niche.

  15. I definitely think you need to have a goal with hat you want your blog to be about; however, I feel like it’s important to let yourself adapt when you need to as well.

  16. I wish I had a niche. It’d make things much easier ;) But I do try to brand myself on my blog and stay true to that. This is a great resource to help share with my friends who are considering blogging.

  17. Thanks for the post! You have inspired me. I started my blog to review kid-friendly cafes, then added in recipes, then parenting tips, then our stories, then love letters to my boy. I think it is time to redefine my niche! Good points, I can see why a niche is important.

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