Hey blogger bud! I had another topic I wanted to share about today, but I realized that post just wouldn’t be as useful if I didn’t write this one first. Gotta have that foundation, right? I’ve also been getting questions about this on Twitter and thought, gah! My peeps need this! So, my friends, here we are. Today’s post is all about choosing a niche for your blog and why it’s truly the most important thing you’ll do for yourself, your blog, and your audience.
When I started my business, I really didn’t have much of a niche. Like glitter at an elementary school, my content was all over the place. I wrote about anything that interested me and that I thought other people might enjoy, too: self-development, blogging tips, travel, recipes, my life, my dog’s life (seriously, there are entire posts dedicated to my dog). It was fun to have total freedom in my content, but as my blog slowly grew into a business, I began to realize that I could reach a lot more people if I wrote about a lot less things.
Wait, hold up. Let me repeat that because it’s important: I could reach a lot more people if I wrote about a lot less things.
It might sound counterintuitive to growing an audience, but the more you focus your blog, the more of a chance you have to increase your readership and reach. Ready to rock and roll? Let me break it down for you.
First, let’s check out a couple scenarios to explain this whole niche business and why it’s important:
- Blog A writes about anything they want — travel, their life, their kids, books, and occasionally a paleo recipe since they eat strictly paleo.
- Blog B is all about that paleo lifestyle. They’ve got recipes, factual information, even an e-book about getting started with a paleo diet.
So, let’s say a new blog reader saw a graphic for a paleo recipe on Pinterest. This blog reader, let’s call her Samantha for funsies, recently started eating paleo and is pretty stoked about it. She sees this drool-worthy paleo recipe pin and decides to click it.
If that recipe takes Samantha to Blog A, then she might read the recipe, love it, and decide to click around. There’s a chance she’ll fall in love with your site if she is, coincidentally, your soulmate, but more likely than that, she’ll click around, see posts about things that don’t interest her, and leave.
**I want to point out that in this scenario, it doesn’t mean that your other content is bad. No way, José. I bet it’s awesome, but it’s just not the right fit for our girl, Samantha.
Now, on the other hand, if that paleo pin takes Samantha to Blog B, then she might read the recipe, love it, and click around, just like in our first example. The difference? When Samantha clicks around Blog B, which is full of useful paleo recipes and info, it’s going to rock.her.freakin’.face.off. If Samantha is really into this paleo stuff (which she probably is if she took the time to click over from Pinterest), then she will probably follow your site, devour your content, and share it with her paleo pals who will then do the exact.same.thing. This is how exponential, organic growth occurs.
This also begs the question that I know many of you might have right now: if niche sites are so important, then what does that mean for lifestyle blogs?
Taking our two blogs from the previous example, Blog A sounds like a typical “lifestyle” blog, right? Blog B, on the other hand, has much more specificity in its content, but still has room for “lifestyle content” if it fits Blog B’s ideal reader, Samantha. For example, if every now and then, Blog B shared a post about the environmental volunteer work they do in South America or about their personal struggles with whether or not to put their kids on a paleo diet, it would still likely resonate with Samantha, since it falls under a similar umbrella of interests.
The big takeaway here?
If you focus your blog on a specific niche and audience, you’ll grow your site (and likely, your income), much faster and more easily than if you choose to write a blog about many unrelated topics. This all boils down to your ideal reader and how you fit into their life. It will benefit you to think very deeply about this person.
Who exactly are they and how does that identity connect with what you have to offer? While Samantha may be interested in a whole foods, paleo diet, what other types of things might Samantha then be into? How can you incorporate Samantha’s interests and lifestyle into your content in a way that makes her feel like your site was made for her?
**By the way, I often hear people say that they don’t know who their ideal reader is. If you are that person, then you probably need to narrow your blog’s focus more. It can be difficult to pinpoint an ideal reader for a scattered blog, simply because there isn’t one ideal person that your content appeals to. Once you narrow your focus, the “right person” should become a lot more obvious. The Heavens of Blogland will part, promise.
Will you feel limited/stuck/bored by narrowing your content?
Before I narrowed this blog to be mainly blogging and business tips, I was worried that the switch to a more defined niche would end up being boring for me. I liked doing the occasional recipe, sharing photos from my vacations, and writing posts from the perspective of my dog (ha!) — would blog and entrepreneurial tips get old? In my experience, the answer is no.
In fact, ever since I narrowed my own content, I actually find that it’s way easier to generate new ideas, since I have a specific type of person that I’m writing for. I just think about what they need, rather than thinking about what I want to write about. Make sense? This brings me to my second point…
If you narrow your blog’s focus, make sure you are passionate about it.
Perhaps blogging came more easily to me when I narrowed my focus simply because I LOVED sharing advice with other bloggers and business owners. It was my calling and what I enjoyed writing about more than any other topic. Had I narrowed my focus and turned my business into a DIY blog? I would have gotten bored because I don’t feel the same passion about DIY projects as I do about biz tips. It doesn’t mean one topic is better than the other, just that one topic is better for me.
In your case, you’re the only person qualified to decide what you’re passionate about sharing. If you have two equal passions, see if they can work together harmoniously, or consider dropping one of them if they are absolutely out of sync.
The bottom line?
In the end, the two most important things I hope you glean from this post are:
- Narrowing the focus of your blog will help you grow it faster and reach the right people. By the way, those “right people” need to read your content, my friend! Think about how much you can help them by simply choosing a niche.
- Once you narrow your focus, you’ll be able to figure out who your ideal reader is and can then cater your blog or business specifically to that person. #heckyes
Narrowing your focus might sound a little daunting (or dull) at first, but I promise you that if you want to grow your website, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself and your tribe.