Say hello to Amanda!
This is a guest post written by the lovely Amanda from Nellie and Co. She’s a blogger who loves books, blogging, and Blogspot. (For more about her, check the end of the post when you’re done reading. 😉 )
When blogs first came about, they were inspired by people wanting to share a bit of themselves with everyone else. They might have shared their holiday one day, and their cat another, their favourite book on another and their newest gaming obsession the following week and it didn’t matter at all. The bloggers were sharing what they loved in a space they loved and nobody saw fit to criticise them. It’s not quite as cute and dry as that these days though.
Bloggers are always saying to ‘find a niche’.
The most common and biggest piece of advice from bloggers who’ve ‘made it big’ is to ‘find a niche’. Find a topic you’re good at, know a lot about, can feature an awful lot, that people are interested in, and sell it.
As good as that sounds, I’m pretty darn sure many bloggers saw that advice, figured they’re not ‘amazing’ at anything and called it a day, and that’s not fair. In fact, do any of us really need a ‘niche’ and if not, why are so many people obsessed with finding one?
First off, what even is a niche?
Finding a ‘niche’ or having a ‘niche’ means to have something—a product, a service, a profession—that you’re either great at, creating demand for, or developing for something that’s never been done before.
Fill the gap with your niche.
A ‘niche’ is a gap you can fill, and in marketing terms, it’s like when Apple realised that in order to compete with other brands, they had to do something bigger and better than anyone else. This made them not only a competitor against brands such as Acer, Samsung and Dell for computers, but against Windows too. Apple created competition people didn’t even known they needed, hence created a niche in the market.
In blogging terms, having a niche could be anything. Take for example a few bloggers I follow passionately.
Ashley: a focus on WordPress.
Ashley from Nose Graze was a varied blogger, somebody who saw fit to blog about whatever she wanted, but using her blog as a bounce platform for her business, she decided it was time to find a niche and get down to the nitty gritty, which for her, was WordPress.
Cait: book fanatic.
Cait from Paper Fury has always been a book fanatic, and her blog screams that from the rooftops. Sure, she might delve into photography, but it’s all about the books, and when she blogs about blogging, it’s through the eyes of a book blogger, and she’s got the book topic down to a T, creating a book related blogging niche.
These bloggers found their niche, but it’s extremely common for the rest of us bloggers to never find a niche, and in turn, feel like failures.
You don’t need a niche to have a successful blog!
Need proof? Check out A Beautiful Mess. I’ve done nothing but use Emma and Elise’s blog lately in my posts, and I recommend every blogger I speak to follow them. Although they offer very little in terms in blogging advice, tips or tricks or are book related, they inspire me in everything I do, in everything I want to achieve and push me to be a better blogger. Why? Because they are the perfect example of a no-niche blog.
They have topics they focus on of course:
- Interior design
- Home development
But they have a whole host of fabulous topics that they talk about alongside this topic: recipes for fabulous meals I just need to try, photography and beautiful images, crafting, creating, DIY’ing and making a mess, fashion and beauty and by god, they even sell products, like stationary and office supplies.
They’ve worked with huge charities, they have some super awesome sponsors, and they’ve created a successful blog, all off the bat of blogging about what they love and feel passionately about. If they can do it, you can god damn bet your ass we can too!
I want to treat my blog like a business—even if I don’t make money.
I don’t particularly want to make gallons of money off Nellie and Co. I’d like to keep my blogging as a hobby and not use advertisements were possible, but that doesn’t mean I can’t treat my blog like a business. I think if I had a main blog topic focus, it would be blogging, and if I had to name sub topics, they’d be:
- Blogger (Blogspot)
I’m pretty sure having so many topics makes me a blogger with no niche, and yet, if my comments are anything to go by, and my viewing figures are to be taken seriously, I’ve done pretty brilliantly to get Nellie and Co. where it is in such a short space of time.
I still like to treat Nellie and Co. like I would a business. I work on marketing myself, on creating a solid foundation of content that can be seen as productive, helpful, worthy or reading and makes my brand strong and makes me a reliable, relatable and realistic human being.
Passion trumps niche.
Really, whether or not you’re using your blog as a hobby or as a platform for your business, you don’t need a niche; you just need passion, dedication, and a collection of content that is reliable and can influence many and makes your brand strong.
Whether you talk about books like Cait, or WordPress like Ashley, or a bit of everything like Emma and Elise, a niche is something you choose to have, and it’s not a requirement when starting or continuing blogging.
Blog what you love and you’ll find your home sweet home.
Awesome post! I have been battling this same thing for years. I keep thinking I need a “niche” because what if I want to write about something other than books? Book reviews is my main thing and sometimes I post on other topics and just throw them into a “random” type category. To this day I’m still thinking “what else can I add to my blog in addition to book reviews that would be interesting?” Well, maybe the answer is “nothing”. Or at least I don’t have to be in a major hurry to find it. Maybe it’ll just fall into my lap some day. I’m off to go check out those other blogs you mentioned. 😉
Thanks Carrie! I really don’t think a niche is important whatsoever. Besides, if your main focus is reviews already, then you’ve already got yourself a small niche there! Remember to write and blog what you first and foremost – passion is key! 😉
Like Cait, I am a book blogger. I think of it as my main niche. It is what I love and spend the most time discussing. However, I do like to talk about music or movies or health sometimes and I feel it is good to branch out and make your blog a good reflection of your interests.
Variety is definitely never a bad thing, and even if it’s every now and again, adding something different to the plate is a great idea! Stick with what you love Becca.
I couldn’t agree more! I recently did a similar post about not niching my art. I love to paint and draw and design and blog about business and more. As long as they all make sense and go together why would I want to limit myself to just one. I would get bored.
It is more about passion than niche!!!
It’s possible to have multiple passions and be good at all of them, you don’t have to pick just one. Do what you love and the people will come.
I’m currently thinking of ways to include book reviews on my business blog, but maybe I’ll just keep those as separate blogs.
I could not agree more Veronica. If you’re passionate about it, share it! 🙂
I do think the majority of people would find success much easier if they focused on one specific, highly focused niche but it’s true that you can achieve success simply writing about everything you’re passionate about.
Success is always a broad definition, but yes, I agree Marty 🙂
Great read Amanda. I was lost for a very long time on not really having a niche. My current site while it started with a very specific niche in mind, I had over the years grown to know I wanted to include other things. Now, however I’ve decided it best to separate the two…since most of the people who read this blog of mine right now really want it niche and focused, I’ll keep it that way and continue to provide quality. And as for everything else, I’ve been dreaming of including..I’ll put that in my own personal brand space – win win! A Beautiful Mess is a great blog, I love reading it and also I too love to reference it as a good site without a niche that soars!
Thanks Sasha! I think your plan sounds great, quality is mega important 🙂
As one with a nicheless blog, I’ve struggled with this for years. My blog has focused on so many topics over the years and I hate pigeon-holing myself, even though I know people like a blog w/a focus. Right now, I’m trying to pull the focus back to lifestyle, I guess, and just blogging whatever I want in general, instead of it being all about books, which it turned into for the last couple of years. Every few years I tend to get stuck in a niche and then work my way out. Even though I’m nowhere near popular, and I don’t think I ever will be, this is the style I like to blog with. I made it, so I wanna post whatever strikes my fancy. I do know that I want to post more content that people can actually get something out of though, so I’m working on that.
I think we all find ourselves falling into niches with time depending on our moods and our hobbies, but remembering that we can change that when and if we want to is the best thing. Your blog is yours, own the content Vi 😉
This has been such a huge problem with me, because I’ve been feeling like I’ve lost being part of the book blogging niche, and I didn’t know what to do. This makes me want to just keep pushing on, doing what I want to do. Great post, Amanda!
Glad I help you out Shannelle! 😀
This post is so good and encouraging! I’ve just experienced an identity crisis about my blog contents because I felt it was useless having a blog without a specific niche. Then I embraced the fact that lifestyle blogs are awesome too and it’s okay to talk about multiple things!
Unless your blog relies on you having a niche, don’t let it get you down Alice! If you’re happy with your blog and your followers are too, then you’re winning! 🙂
First, passion trumps niche it’s a great quote. I decided to create a niche blog (my blog is all about cats and cat lovers), but even when you have a niche blog I think you need to diversify your posts.
I couldn’t agree more Rosa. Variety is, after all, the spice of life 😉
Yes! I definitely think passion trumps having a niche. While niches are important, I think having a passion for something is contagious, and thus can play a bigger role in your blog. Blogging about everything and anything without any passion won’t come across as authentic, but if you truly love everything you’re blogging about, regardless of how different those topics are, that shows.
It definitely does show. If you’re passionate about something, it can have a much bigger impact, and affect people much more than a niche can.
I have seen a lot of bloggers who focus too much on their niche, and yes that was back to when making money blogging. Focusing on one niche really helps a blogger to pay close attention on topics associating within their niche. To me, my blogger doesn’t focus on only one niche, and I expand to different topics that are interrelated and somehow one connects to the other.
If you’re planning on making profit from your blog, then maybe a niche is a good way to go, but if you aren’t, why put the pressure on? If your topics are related, then you’re doing just fine Sam 🙂
As someone trying to (finally!) start off a blog I found this encouraging. I’ve been hearing so many people recommending only a clear and narrow niche, with the implication that otherwise your blog will be doomed to failure from the start. But a lot of the blogs that I really enjoy tend not to be so clear-cut, and or follow a much more general theme. I liked how this looked at a range of different approaches and noted the possibilities of all of them, rather than trying to rail-road you into one in particular. Thanks for this 🙂
That’s great to hear Bryony! Remember that quality content and passion are the best things to focus on when starting out. You don’t need a niche, and you should never feel like you do unless you want one. You’re welcome 🙂
I struggle with this and Ive decided to just blog what I love. Ive struggled for years! I cannot help what I love! LOL. Im a ‘creative hustler’. Im niched in a way with my mason jars but, I love design/blogging/WordPress/SEO, etc. I’ll be adding more. Besides the love I know bloggers visit me, I like to share.
I could go all the way and do two blogs but, one would just fall off and be slacker blog! LOL. I just wouldn’t be able to keep up, I know the reality of my life right now.
One jar craft post cant takes days to do. If I wasn’t so photo heavy it would be more manageable but, photos are my thing. Part of my brand is coming to see ‘pretty’ pictures.
Good read. This whole blog is a good read! Its good to know Im not the only one that is ‘niche-less’! 🙂
Thanks Amanda! I’m just getting started (spending more time researching how to do the techy side of a blog than actually writing) and I soooo appreciate this! I don’t currently have a niche, although over time I may find one develops. I just want to write the randomness of life, share the obstacles we all encounter, and let the world know they aren’t alone.
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Great advice. I continuously struggled with that topic for the longest time. I’d think of a blog, build the site, put about 10 entries in, and then have something off topic. I’m not niche related. I have far too many interests to only be good at one. I’m good many things and like to have opinions on everything. If I can provide value and entertainment with my opinions and philosophies on life then ima do it.
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