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.