Thursday

Do bloggers need a niche?

Contrary to general blogger opinion, I am a big fan of the blogging tips type post. In fact, I have a whole Pinterest board full of 'em! The problem for me, however, is that when I read these posts, a lot of them, and I mean a huge overwhelming amount, harp on and on and on about how you need a niche. 
According to these posts and articles, a niche blog makes sure you stay focused on consistency, gain loyal readers and can monetise your blog. I see this so often that I started thinking:


DO I NEED A NICHE BLOG?

In my editorial calendar for the following month, I have scheduled posts in a crazy huge range of general topics, including:
  • Beauty
  • Personal achievements
  • Human rights (LGBT and feminism)
  • Blog tips
  • Art
  • Fashion
  • Books
My posts are always so varied that I sometimes doubt myself and think I should tighten up my focus. But here's the deal: I don't want to.

I understand the discrepancy here. I want to write about everything I'm interested in but are other people interested? It's the virtual equivalent of someone showing you their holiday photos: Sure, it means a lot to them but you really don't care, to be honest.

IS ALL HOPE LOST?

Not necessarily, my good friend. You see, I sometimes consider honing a niche, but then I get a comment, or someone pops me in their blog post, or I get a response to my reader survey, and the reason they read my blog is always the same: They never know what's coming next. I do have loyal readers and they love the variety. Do I have as many followers as I would have if I purely wrote about pugs in London? Of course not (everyone loves pugs!), but my readers are probably more loyal because they want to know about me. Taking the holiday snaps analogy up again, my readers are the people who go "Becky! Show me your holiday photos again! Do you have more?" 

I'm also monetising my blog quite nicely. It would be easier to do so if I exclusively wrote about women's fashion in the UK (and I'm shortly re-launching my plus size fashion blog so it will be interesting to compare) but I am still able to make money from advertising, sponsored posts and the like. 

Consistency? You betcha bottom dollar I'm consistent! Maybe my topics are a bit erratic but I think we can all agree that my writing style, photography, timing of posts, branding and so on is as consistent as it comes. Know where to find me at 7:30pm on a Wednesday night? Of course you do- I'll be on Twitter for #lbloggers. I'm pretty sure there's some personal safety guideline about not being too obvious in your routine but at least my blog is consistent!


WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT NO NICHE?

Ok, Becky. You have loyal readers, you monetise and you're consistent. But you said that it would be easier if you had a niche. Why don't you have a niche?

Because I like too many things, that's why! I want to write about the things that interest me and, ultimately, I'm interested in a lot of things. In fact, some of the things I'm most interested in (serial killers, taxidermy, Victorian mourning) don't make the cut because, well, they're a bit morbid. I'm infinitely curious. I want to learn about ALL THE THINGS and the consequence of that is I write about ALL THE THINGS.

Without a niche, I have complete freedom. I can write about whatever I like, whenever I like without worrying if it's going to alienate my readers or mess up the general flow. It's easier to work with brands in a way, because I can work a lot of opportunities into topics I would post about anyway (such as starting uni or growing your hair long) and not panic about looking like a "sell out"...not that I agree with that phrase at all.

Yes, there may be some downsides to it but I love it just the way it is. 


SO WHAT CAN I DO?

Want to blog without a niche? Don't worry. There are two golden ways you can make it less holiday snaps-y.

Be consistent
One of the dangers with varied topics is that the entire blog can end up a little higgledy-piggledy. Keep your writing and photography style consistent, maintain your brand throughout and make sure your readers always know when, and where, to expect posts. This keeps a common thread running through your posts so they're still indenitifiably you, even if you're writing about something completely new.

Be helpful
Humans are simple creatures. They want to be helped and they don't want to waste time. If you can write posts that are helpful in some way- offering advice, giving inspiration, sharing experiences- people will love it. I don't always do this, admittedly, but I try to make sure most of my posts fall into one of those three categories. Reviews, whether beauty or books, share experiences. Blog tips like these offer advice. Fashion posts, especially the likes of Can Fat People Wear...?, give inspiration. When you start a post, ask yourself: How will this help someone?

That's it! Easy, right?
///

So do you need a niche? No. Will it make your blogging life easier if you do have one? Probably. Should you let that get in your way? Of course not!

It might take a little more tenacity and determination, but stick to your gut. If you want to write a blog as niched as Welsh potato dishes, go for it! If you want to post anything and everything, including your holiday snaps, rock it! 


WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Does a niche make blogging easier? Perhaps you have a tight niche and find it makes things more difficult, or you're doing amazingly well off the back of a super varied blog. I'd love to hear what you think so let me know in the comments below!

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46 comments :

  1. I used to write predominantly about beauty and eventually got bored of it and kept running out of ideas. Now I write about everything and anything - whatever pops into my head! - and I'm so much happier with my blog because of it. I definitely think you should do whatever makes you happy, because if you're not enjoying blogging, then what's the point?

    Great post, I really enjoy your blog!

    Ciara x | Ciara Pocket

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  2. I love your blog because you don't have a niche, neither do I on my own blog; I think it keeps things interesting, and honestly when people do have a niche I think they get a bit boring to be honest and don't really express themselves much because they are so focused on that certain topic...great post, thanks for sharing!

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  3. Very important post actually - I've been thinking so much about how my blog has become less of a 'niche' blog as I've gone on. I've just learned that I enjoy writing about lots of topics not just one!

    vvnightingale.com

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  4. This is great! I was always like "why do I have to only write about one thing?" and recently I started to write about a bit more than beauty and I actually really love it. :)

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  5. I was literally discussing this the other day over on Twitter. I agonised for YEARS about my blog, from my old LJ to my current self-hosted site. I wanted readers, obviously, but I absolutely don't have a niche and I've never liked the idea of sticking to one subject. I'm a huge nerd, I'm a gamer, I'm an artist who shares her art. I play video games all the danged time, I'm into cult nerdy stuff, Magic the Gathering, Warhammer... but I'm also really into fashion, makeup, vintage/mid century clothing/lifestyle stuff, animal rights, crafts... how do you balance it all? If I get gamer followers who are interested in my game reviews, I really don't think they'll be interested in outfit posts! If someone follows me for my art, I can' t imagine they'll care about boardgames or pretty 50s dresses.

    I asked my LJ readers (back when I only used LJ) if they'd rather I split into two blogs and they said they'd like to see it all. So that's what I did. In the end, I just outright said to myself "JUST DO IT." Now I post what I like, from outfits of the day to conventions I've gone to, holiday snaps, reviews, commentaries, my own thoughts. I feel it's VERY hard getting a following though. I don't have many readers. I try and contribute to chats on Twitter and Google+ but it's difficult in a sea of established blogs more niche than mine.

    ANYWAY, tl;dr, thank you! I'm glad to see somebody else posts what they like and manage to make a successful blog with it! It gives me hope that if I remain consistent (I've been very bad at regularly posting) I might slowly climb the blogging ladder :)

    Sel x
    http://www.reaperfox.com

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    1. It's definitely much harder to gain readers when you don't have a niche but I find comfort in the fact that, generally speaking, they're more loyal. They come back to YOU even if they're not interested in every post, and that's a big deal!

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  6. My blog doesn't have a niche but it does if you know what I mean. It's a lifestyle blog for twenty somethings but I post all kinds of things from beauty to fashion to general life happenings. My niche is very broad.
    Classy Country Girl

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    1. I guess mine's the same. I know my typical reader is a UK-based girl in her early 20s so most posts relate to that.

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  7. I don't have a niche and don't want one either! i like to blog about everything (I even just posted about a particularly bad job interview I just had - bad on their part not mine!) If people dont like certain aspects of what i write about i find they just skim over them and come back for the posts they do want :-)

    Charlotte xxx
    www.mushaville.co.uk

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  8. Love this Becky! I certainly don't have a niche and like you I write about anything and everything! There's nothing wrong with it and I think it shows more about me personally because there are a million things about me :)

    hellomissjordan.com xx

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  9. Becky, I love this post. I think, at least once (or more realistically at least 129 times) we all worry that our blog doesn't have a niche or USP. But, the majority of the time, I embrace that my blog isn't constrained by one particular theme or topic. I'm too indecisive as a person to stick to one thing...and as a reader, I'm too nosey to read about just one thing. I'm the kind of reader you described, that ones the nitty-gritty person stuff, variety...and to nosey at people's holiday snaps!

    Your blog is a fab example of one that doesn't have one particular set theme but works amazingly. That's probably down to your amazing personality and your almost superhero-like organizational skills. I'm learning on my consistency, but for now I'm having fun whilst finding my feet. I'll settle into a consistent routine when I'm ready. For now, I'll rock it my own way!

    Thanks for this lovely post :)!
    Tasmin | Grandiose Days

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    Replies
    1. Tasmin, this is such a lovely comment, Thank you! I am SO indecisive haha! Embrace it!

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  10. I love this post! I had tried to keep my interests in seperate blogs but it's just a pain in the butt to run them all. I love reading varied content. It's the type of blog I'm mostly interested in. I get bored of seeing the same posts over and over. I'm not a fan of others making it a rule to do a niche to only be successful. It makes bloggers feel like they can't ever branch out in fear of losing all their readers. I know plenty of peoplw who started with one and felt stuck when it was no longer interesting for themselves.

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  11. You are spot on Becky, I love your blog BECAUSE of the variety! You always seem honest and genuine. I think I wrote something like that in your survey. You are my favorite blogger!
    I would encourage you to write something about Victorian mourning, right up my alley!

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    1. Thank you so much! Maybe I will write the Victorian mourning post one day!

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  12. I love this post, as a newbie I had started to wonder if I should just stick to one thing but after reading this I think I will continue to write about what feels true for my blog whatever subject that may be on :-)

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  13. I completely agree with you Becky! I was actually talking about this yesterday because I felt like my blog didn't have a niche and I could potentially be throwing readers off with such a range of posts. I don't think that I could possibly bring it down to a small topic because I knew what ever I picked, I would hate not being able to talk about other things in my life. I think it is all about making each post personal, whether that be through images, writing style or content. Originality is much more important that Niche for me. Lovely read xx

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  14. I used to have a blog with no niche and it was all over the place and quite frankly, looking back on it, a total mess. I deleted it due to personal reasons but after taking a break, I've just made a new one that has a focus. Due to my last experience, I overshared and it didn't end up making me happy. Now I'm focus on just personal style as I love writing about it more than anything else (as I finally discovered) so now I'm fitting into a niche but I'm happy to do so as I can concentrate on everything in this one topic and I don't need to share anything too personal

    https://matchamilady.wordpress.com/

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    1. It's really interesting to hear from someone who's found a niche helpful to them. It sounds like it's a much better option for you.

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  15. This is a great post Becky. Weirdly enough I write about a very niche area (the Events Industry) but the actual posts cover a breadth of topics! I personally love reading blogs that talk about anything and everything, because as people everyone has many interests!

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  16. Completely agree with you, I mainly blog about food and travel but have occasionally done book reviews and want to start doing more personal posts as they're the ones that really hook me in other people's blogs and it just gets the conversation flowing more. I'm actually less likely to follow a strictly niched blog - they get so samey! A bit of everything does you good :) xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua Italy

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  17. Fantastic post! I've been struggling with finding a niche. I mean I could easily write about being a British Asian but there's only so much you can write about currys and saree's, you know? Plus like you, I have so many different interests. My attention span is really way too short to stick to just one topic. Yay for diversity in blog posts!!

    Damzel In This Dress

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  18. love this post and the fact that in your blog,you do write about what you want to! It does make everyone come back to your blog as there always will be a post to suit everyone's taste! Your style of writing is important too and you have your own style,you dont try and write like someone else! Bottom line,it is working for you and it proves that you are one of the best bloggers out there x

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  19. This is such a great post Becky, and something I constantly 'um' and 'ah' over. I've tried both approaches - having a very specific niche and blogging about a variety of topics - but neither felt quite right. So now I guess I'd class my blog as "fashion with a little bit of lifestyle".

    I've been thinking too and I think sometimes just being *you* can almost be a (very, very small) niche and I guess that ties in with your point on consistency. The blogs I go back to, including your own, I love because of the blogger's personality and writing style - I just skip over the posts that don't interest me so much.

    Jodie x
    alajode.com

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  20. I actually prefer it when blogs have variety and aren't too niche.
    Also I don't like pugs so if you did start exclusively writing about them you'd lose a reader here XD

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  21. First of all, I also love all the blog tips posts, and have honestly been getting quite fed up of all the moaning I keep seeing about them. Who is forcing these people to read posts they're not interested in?! Why can't they just move on to something they ARE interested in?! I really need to know ;)

    Anyway, back on topic, I used to think blogs had to have a niche, which is why I currently have three separate blogs. On the pro-niche side, it's definitely easier to monetise a niche blog - my shoe blog makes more money than my personal blog does, despite having half the traffic, and I can only assume it's because it's so much more tightly focused. Despite that, though, I now really regret starting so many blogs, and if I could have a do-over, I'd stick to one, and write about whatever I fancied on it, as I do on my personal blog. It's harder to monetise, which means I have to work harder at it, but it's just much easier to write, and much more rewarding, too. The main thing I've learned is that no matter how interested I am in a particular subject, I will eventually run out of things to say about it, and then it'll become a chore to force myself to sit down and write something anyway. I still do it, because it's a job at the end of the day, but now it takes me three times as long to produce content that isn't as good. I never run out of things to say on my non-niche blog, though (quite the opposite in fact!) so I know it's the one that will stick around for the long haul. I also picked a blog template that allows people to easily go straight to whichever section they're most interested in, so I think that's help - the ones who are only there for the fashion posts, for instance, don't have to ever see any of the rest of it if they don't want to!

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    1. I love that even your comments are wordy! (Not to criticise- your wordiness is one of the things I love!)

      I'm looking into making my design more user friendly so it's easier to find the categories of interest.

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  22. Totally agree, no niche needed. I'd struggle to stick to a niche; I find that my attention span isn't very long and like you, I'm interested in a lot of different things. Rather than aspiring to be a professional blogger or to make any money from my blog, I see it as an extension of my brain and the things I'm interested in, I guess.

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  23. I love being niche-less. The only problem I have is too many ideas, too little time :)

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  24. I don't think I could stick to one niche, I love to write about a variety of things and I also love to read blogs with variety!

    http://laurenslittleblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

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  25. Added to my previous reply, I've started Instagram and now I consider that to be my lifestyle blog of sorts. It's much easier for me and wastes less time to have them both as I've compartmentalised everything now instead of lumping it altogether in some big mishmash like I used to. That's my kind of organisation

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  26. Thank you for this post! It gives me hope!
    I am nicheless and have been my whole blogging life, I tried to split my blog up into a set of mini blogs if you like, each with their own niche (expat life, mental health, photography, religion) but I found that I couldn't blog consistently on all of them, so I went back to one mishmashy blog, and I love it.
    I don't have a huge amount of readers, but I get some lovely comments and am slowly monetising, I hope if I keep at it for another 6 years maybe I'll be able to make a living from my blog....maybe....!

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  27. Great post! I feel the origins of blogging come from people documenting their lives on the internet, and then as time went on more 'specialist' niche blogs popped up. Some of my favourite blogs (including yours!) mix it up a lot. Sure, sometimes someone might post about something that doesn't interest me, but it won't put me off reading lots more posts from the blog!

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  28. I like writing a variety of posts on my blog and my readers tend to prefer them than a strict feature or niche. I also like reading blogs with a mix of stuff as it keeps things interesting!

    Sarah
    https://everydayconcepts.wordpress.com

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  29. Really great read, thanks! As a non-niche blogger I do despair sometimes that it's all utterly pointless every time I read one of those articles that insist you must niche, niche or never be seen! Don't get me wrong, I read niche blogs, I love many of them, but I just don't think I have it in me to be able to put out consistent content on any one thing. Thanks for this! :-) Steff

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  30. I don't have a niche, but I run monthly themes. I think if I could only write about one topic all the time I would get bored, and if I was bored writing, it stands to reason that readers would get bored reading it.
    I also think I would run out of things to say about one thing pretty quick. Hats off to anyone who has a niche and never runs out of things to post!
    Debbie
    www.myrandommusings.blogspot.com

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  31. I get what you mean :) I think a lot of the time, a niche can help make you unique and identifiable but over time you have to ask yourself whether it is worth restricting yourself. Even some of the "big" beauty blogs have branched out into fashion, food, lifestyle, travel!

    Dannie x

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  32. Great post! Your blog has been one of my favourites for a long time and definitely one of the ones I've followed most consistently over the last two years or so primarily because there's a variety of post. I know it would be easier to get followers if I had a niche but I just don't work that way. I have many interests and not that much time or energy to write about them all! I know when I look at blogs I tend to prefer lifestyle ones with a bit of a mix to them. I like getting to know the person (I was a very long term LJ user...) and anything too specific I tend to lose interest in. I like some beauty posts but not beauty blogs, I like some fashion posts but not all the time, food is great every now and then, etc etc!

    Nicola // pink-confetti.co.uk

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  33. I don't think I do have a niche. I mean, my blog is primarily books/stationery'fitness, but it just depends on what I'm feeling like!
    Honestly though, you could write about anything and I'd still read! All your posts are helpful or interesting, even if it's not something I would have originally clicked on!

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  34. Loved this Becky! I don't have a niche per se, but I think I have a particular blogging style that means the readers that I do have keep coming back, which is what I love. I write and post about most if not everything that takes my fancy. My blog has come to be somewhat like an online melting pot of things that make me me and that I want to share and remember. (:

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  35. I don't have a niche either. When I started out, I blogged about just books and beauty, but over time my topics have expanded. I thought about reducing it and creating a niche for a while, but people tell me that they like my mix, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

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  36. I think my niche is myself, and what I'm interested in. Does that sound self-centred? Oh, who cares. There was no such thing as niches ten years ago, and I'm an old girl who is set in her ways. Anybody can write "niche" content, but it's the blogger's personality that makes it interesting and yours seems excellent enough to stick around :)

    Lis / last year's girl x

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  37. Hear,here (I never know which 'here' I am supposed to use for that phrase, so I shall use both! Well said! I couldn't possibly stick to one topic so I shall forever diversify but that is a good tip about trying to keep things looking the same etc!x

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