What the Hell Am I? What is This Place? What do I do for People?

Do I need to find a niche for my blog?

Do you ever struggle with blog identity? I’m struggling now and could really use your help!

What is my blog all about? Where’s my focus?

Here’s the thing: I’m a big fan of the do whatever you want philosophy. That means blogging about whatever you want. And in my case, that means posts about:

That’s a lot of topics. Sometimes I look at my blog and think, what am I doing here?

If this was just a personal blog, I wouldn’t think or worry about it. But Nose Graze is both a personal blog and a marketing front for my business so I feel like I can’t just ignore this topic.

I look at other blogs and see focus.

Sometimes I look around at other peoples’ blogs and business websites. These people are freelancers, designers, developers, coaches, and inspirational people of awesome. Almost all of them have a clearly defined focus.

Their blog is about freelancing.
OR
Their blog is about blogging.
OR
Their blog is about design.
OR
Their blog is about business and marketing.

See what I’m getting at? They have one clear topic that brings people to their site. And while I know you shouldn’t spend too much time comparing yourself, I compare my site to theirs. It feels all over the place.

I look at those other peoples’ sites and I’m envious of their big, clear, focused taglines. They say things like:

“I help creative people with big dreams jump-start their businesses.”
“I help bloggers turn their sites into profitable businesses.”
“I help freelancers save time by streamlining their processes.”
“I create amazing copy that will help you triple your income.”

What would mine look like? Maybe..

“I help book lovers and freelancers and creatives find great books to read and launch awesome WordPress-driven blogs that can eventually turn into businesses. Oh, and I post coding tips too.”

Whaaaaaat…

This lack of focus became painfully evident to me when I tried to write a tagline that described what Nose Graze is all about.

How much do you drive people away by having multiple blogging topics?

When I post book reviews, most of the freelancers and coding addicts who read my blog tune out.

When I post business posts, most of my bookish folks close the window.

And I’m not mad at any of you for doing that, because I TOTALLY GET IT. I’m interested in all those things, but most people probably aren’t.

I’m merging very different topics into one online space because I happen to love all those things. But how many people am I driving away because they’re only interested in ONE of those things and don’t want to be bombarded with the other?

I’m struggling between doing things FOR ME and focusing on MY BUSINESS.

All the business advice out there says to “niche down” and “find a focus” and “choosing a niche for your blog [is] truly the most important thing you’ll do for yourself, your blog, and your audience.”

My business would probably grow more if my blog was constantly writing to my ideal clients. But Nose Graze started as a “for me” kind of blog and I don’t want to let go of that. I don’t want to drop the topics that I love and care about, even if logic tells me I should. How big of a mistake am I making?

But then there’s also the problem that my ideal clients are two different markets. My pre-made products cater to hobbyist bloggers, but my custom services cater to designers and bloggers with bigger budgets. How can I market to two different groups?

Ashley: Expert brand butcherer.

Visually, I don’t have a brand.

Because I keep killing it.

And I’m about to kill it again.

Hi, my name is Ashley and I’m addicted to redesigning my website.

I last redesigned Nose Graze in March 2015 and I’m already looking at redesigning it again. It’s like I get this itch and it WON’T STOP ITCHING until I scratch it.

After the launch of my last redesign, I told myself that I would let myself redesign my website when I got that itch again, but when I did, I wouldn’t actually launch it. Instead, I’d release it as a new pre-made theme. I’d let myself scratch that itch by PRETENDING I was designing for me, but then I actually wouldn’t be. Well, that’s a pretty good idea, unless I completely ignore it. I redesigned Nose Graze last week and LOOOVED it so naturally I wanted it all for myself. So now I’m coding a new design all for me.

I don’t have a brand identity.

There’s nothing that makes Nose Graze recognizable because I change all the visual elements 1-2 times a year. As soon as my readers get used to something, I change it.

So, once again, how big of a mistake am I making?

I love redesigning my website because it’s fun and I fall in love with new designs and ideas. And again, if this were a personal blog, I’d say there’s nothing wrong with this. Redesign as much as you want—GO WILD!

But Nose Graze is also my business, so branding feels important. It’s important to become visually recognizable in your industry and niche. It will help readers instantly recognize you, whether it’s via your website or a business card or a logo on someone else’s site.

How much business am I losing if I’m not visually recognizable at all?

Sometimes I wish I could be one of those people who has one design for like three years before they ever touch it again. That, my friends, is branding.

But at the same time, if I was one of those people then I’d lose this process that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE. I love building a new site for myself. It’s incredibly fun for me. And for stupid, selfish reasons, I don’t want to give that up. I enjoy the process, the new ideas, and the new features.

Help me out of this crisis!

I think I’m just having a major identity crisis here.

  • Who am I?
  • What is my blog all about? Who is it for?
  • Why do people read my blog? Why do they hire me?
  • What is it that I do for people?
  • How can I even describe myself and my site in one sentence?
  • What should I have for dinner tomorrow?

I have to say, it does feel good to let this all out there, even if I haven’t actually solved anything with this post. Maybe you can help me out?

How important is having a strong, clear blog focus?

How often is too often when it comes to redesigning your website?

Photo of Ashley
I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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91 comments

  1. I have just been following you for a little bit, but I really think that if you want you business to grow ]by exponentially which I know you have great potential to do. You need to focus. Have you thought about separating the two? Then point one at the other, kind of like a franchise it’s just you put each site has a different purpose. I will be doing this when I establish my writing page vs. my review page. There is an audience like me that likes both the coding and reviews!

    Jessica Samuelsen recently posted: Review of Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne
    1. I have thought about separating them, but I also know it will be really hard for me. Two separate sites means:

      * Two websites
      * Two blogs
      * Two Twitter accounts (possibly)
      * Two Pinterest accounts (possibly)

      It’s just a lot to handle. I think I’m afraid that one would suffer. I’ve run two blogs in the past before and ended up closing one down since I found myself focusing more on one and neglecting the other. It’s just a lot of work to maintain two presences!

  2. Ashley, I wish I could help you, but I’m going through the same thing. I enjoy business, maybe I’ll start doing business with my lettering, and maybe I’ll shift more towards a lifestyle blog. Which is going to be hard, because books are my life too, and how do I balance all that? Would I be happy expressing just a certain part of my life online? And which part? It’s such a tricky question because one part makes you money, the other part is what you love.

    I, in fact, enjoy reading all of your stuff, because while I’m interested in coding in the way that it’s something I admire, I enjoy reading about your business and your WP tips. But I can’t think of a way to have a clear blog focus, for either of us, without giving something up. Going into lettering and personal blog has been an itch I can’t scratch lately, but what about the blog I have now that I’ve worked so hard on? *sighs* The only idea that I can think of is having a subdomain, in some way.

    Shannelle recently posted: Let’s Be Punny
    1. I’m so sorry that you’re going through this too Shannelle!

      I do actually think that books and lifestyle have the potential to merge quite well. I mean, most lifestyle blogs probably aren’t as into reading as you are, but I know of at least a few lifestyle blogs that make it a goal to read more. Of course, their goals are typically to read like 5 books a year, and a book blogger’s goal might be more like 50! πŸ˜€

      But at least reading is part of a lifestyle, so they have that in common!

      I think it would be fantastic to start doing business with your lettering. Lettering is super popular and I know you’re very skilled at it. πŸ™‚

  3. Ashley, I’m so glad you shared your identity crisis with us! I can see where you’re coming from; you’re actually unlike a lot of bloggers I know since you just do SO. MUCH. Which is freaking awesome! If I were you, I would probably make a separate website for your business aspect or something, and keep your book blogging/lifestyle stuff on Nose Graze. That way, you could have a more distinct identity on each one.

    However, I’m JUST like you on the aspect of changing my blog design a few times a year. I’m not as tech/design savvy as you are, but I always love changing things up. WHY THE HECK NOT? I personally love seeing new designs of yours, and it’s not like you’re changing your blog name every time.

    Fabulous post, Ash! I hope my thoughts helped a bit?

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts Jen! I’m struggling with how best to approach a possible separation. My fear is that it’s SO HARD to maintain more than one blog/identity and I’m afraid I’ll be sacrificing one for the other (if not immediately then eventually).

      It’s also tricky because it’s not just a separation of business and personal, because half my business is for the bookish community. So I think the most logical separation would be:

      1) Nose Graze: Books, coding, blogging, and my business that targets the book/blogging community (UBB plugin and such).

      2) Some other site: Freelancing, business, and targets my audience for bigger/custom coding projects.

      But I still fear that it will be too hard to juggle two websites, two blogs, and two separate businesses. It’s a lot to handle! That also leads into managing two Twitter/Pinterest accounts (possibly), which is also very hard to do.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one addicted to redesigning her blog. πŸ™‚ I do love the design you have right now. It’s very simple and clean but I love the brush/handwriting font and that pop of pink! But you’re right—redesigning is just too much fun to ever stop!!

  4. Hi Ashley,

    I’ve actually been struggling with the very same thing – I’d literally just walked away from a discussion about it when I opened your email! So first I’d like to say that I admire you for sharing this with your followers and for being so open and honest about it. And that even a post like this provides value, because it’s encouraging to realize that awesome bloggers like you still face these same doubts!! I love your site and I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned from you about blogging and WordPress.

    However, I understand where you’re coming from about the niche thing. I agree with Jessica’s recommendation above – create a new site specifically for your business. The new site would be like “headquarters” or “home base” for your clients, a site with a consistent/recognizable brand. And then you could continue to do what you want with your “personal” site, even if that means redesigning every year and blogging about multiple topics/areas of expertise.

    Because if redesigning is what you love, I don’t think you should give it up!! Also, it inspires you to create new themes. So where’s the harm in that?? But I truly believe it could be liberating to separate blog and business. They should point to one another, but each would have a clear purpose (for you as well as your multiple audiences). Hope this helps!! Best of luck – I know you’ll figure it out! πŸ™‚

    Brooke @ Brooke Reviews recently posted: Brooke Reviews: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
    1. What a coincidence, Brooke!

      I think my two main concerns for splitting things up are:

      1) It’s not a clear divide between business and personal. Because my “personal” blog (talking about books and such) also caters to half my business audience (Ultimate Book Blogger plugin and such). So it’s more like dividing my business in half. Half caters to book bloggers and the other half caters to bigger budget clients for custom development. And I guess that’s doable, it just sounds harder to manage than a clear business/personal division, you know?

      2) It’s very hard to maintain two websites, two blogs, and two identities. I’ve done it once before and ended up closing one down because I couldn’t maintain the two presences. I’m afraid of that happening again!

  5. I read all of your posts, even the business ones!!! I just find them all super interesting, even if they don’t apply to me. But I have been following you for awhile now, so maybe that’s why I don’t mind the topic jumping? I also really don’t buy into that whole ONE TOPIC, CLEAR NICHE!!11!one!!! philosophy. I mean, it does make sense if your blog IS your business, but I think if it’s just your personal space you should do whatever the heck you want! And I feel like you have your business and your blog is just an extension of that, so you could totally have more freedom on what you post about.

    As for your design….I love seeing new designs that you come up with! I totally get what you’re saying about your brand though. But maybe if you keep certain elements and carry them through future designs instead of completely redoing everything, then that would be better. It is a bit jarring when everything is different except the name. But I also think that changing up your design is a positive for your business, since it shows off one the skills that you sell! People are more probably more likely to check out your themes if they like what they see on your blog, and you can definitely show off different styles that you can do.

    1. Thank you Angie! πŸ™‚

      I totally get what you’re saying about keeping certain elements through designs—like a logo. But my problem is that I SUCK at that. When I design something new, the old elements tend to not fit with the new ones, you know? Like the logo doesn’t quite go with the new style because it’s just so different and feels out of place. It’s tough!

  6. I know how you feel! I like the idea of branding my blog, but I can’t pin down a niche because my blog has always been for me. I want to talk about everything. So if anyone were to ask me what my blog is about, I wouldn’t know what to say. I blog about fashion, gaming, and tech. Oh, and sometimes coding too.

    I also have the habit of redesigning for no reason. I don’t think I’ve had a theme longer than six months. Coding’s too fun and when I love the outcome, I want it for myself. I like the idea of releasing a prenade theme for that coding itch though!

    Raisa recently posted: My Favorite Things: August 2015
    1. The struggle is SO REAL!

      I love the topics you have lined out for your blog. Well, fashion isn’t totally my thing, but I’m totally into gaming, tech, and coding. I guess it’s a comfort to know that there are other people out there who also like a variety of topics. πŸ™‚

      Your current design is lovely by the way!!

  7. I will admit I miss all your bookish posts. I still enjoy reading your business ones even though they don’t directly relate to me. Do you ever think about using Creative Whim as your business stuff (and make a separate business blog) and Nose Graze as your kind of personal space? But, really, I wouldn’t worry so much about a certain niche because I think everyone enjoys the variety you have anyways! And for your blog designs…that is what makes you shine and I love seeing what you come up with! πŸ˜‰

    1. I have thought about opening a separate blog/site for business, but I’m afraid that if I do that one of my sites/blogs will suffer. I tried to maintain two blogs once before (Creative Whim used to be a web design blog) and it’s just SO HARD! I found myself always focusing on one over the other instead of an even 50/50 split, you know? And since I felt like I wasn’t giving one 100%, it might as well not even exist..

      It’s just really hard to keep up with two sites and online presences (as a second blog usually demands a second Twitter/Pinterest account).

  8. I might be worried if your blog stats/followers started leveling out or dropping, but based on your last quarter, they seem to be doing really well! I think being varied like this, makes you unique. I might be biased since I also post design/tips & tricks/coding/bookish things and sometimes wonder if that bothers my followers…but I’m not focused on my business like you are. I don’t think it’s a good idea though to have 2 separate blogs. It sounds like a good idea in theory, but I think one of them would end up neglected after a while.

    Your email subscription offers them an option, so I don’t see a problem with that if they really only wanted one or the other. I don’t think you want to shut out the bookish part of your business either since a lot of your plugins market to the bookish community. So, in a way, you are focused – just on the bookish community (unless you want to change that).

    I also wonder if having a wider variety of topics helps you gain a wider variety of customers through search results. As long as you offer quality content, that people will search for, your business should grow, right?

    Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts recently posted: Why You Shouldn’t Use Bloglovin’s Follow by Email Widget
    1. That’s a good point about the stats/following. Maybe it’s just all in my head LOL. But every time I release a book post there’s this huge fear that all my new business/dev followers will leave. And every time I release a business post, there’s the fear that I’m losing my old bookish followers. It’s this constant struggle in my head and it sucks.

      You’re totally right about the two blogs though. That’s why I haven’t done it yet. I’ve tried running two blogs at once (Creative Whim used to be a web design blog) and it’s just way too hard. I naturally gravitate towards my biggest/favourite one and start neglecting the other.

      1. I feel your pain Ashley, I’m in the same boat! I decided awhile ago to divide my business into 2 sites, each tailored to completely different audiences.

        Every couple of years or so I gravitate back to loving design more and focus on that site, then do a complete 180 and start focusing on dev again. The result is that one site (and accompanying social media) is always getting neglected. The other thing to remember is that you start to juggle different email addresses too… and 2 different brandings for your billing system, project management system… argh!

        Anndd some customers get confused when they see the other website and wonder what that’s about. Essentially my brand has become more diluted than when I started.

        So I’d definitely recommend avoiding dividing the business if you can help it! I agree with what some other people have mentioned here… maybe a subdomain would work and have a main “headquarters” site. Or clearly divide each service / niche in your current site menu (i.e. add β€˜Books’ or something to your main menu and have all your book related stuff in there).

        Am very curious to see how you go – thanks for sharing with us πŸ™‚

  9. Ironically, I just blogged about the topic of whether a blogger can say what he or she wants whenever they want, so I get what you’re saying. I also agree about the focus, because it’s something I cope with daily. When I started, I had no clue, but thought I had a clear directive. However, it continues to evolve, until it’s exactly what I want. I hope to make money one day and to support victims of domestic violence financially. For you, it’s critical to maintain your business to generate revenue, but I think it’s just as important to keep it fun for you. Eventually we get there. It may take a little longer than we’d like. By the way, I love your blog! Hugs…Ro

    1. Ohh I’ll totally go check out your post!!

      You’re right that I also need to keep it fun for me. If I follow the logical path even if it’s not fun, then my business will actually suffer instead of grow.

  10. So I think the biggest issue I take with this is that you have a new design and I haven’t seen it >.<

    However, overall I know you've had two separate sites before, and I know that you ideally wanted to trim it down and condense things into an easier to manage space. Soooo, I have to say that even if you're not completely in a niche, if what you're doing makes you happy that's all that matters. I get that aligning yourself with a niche might help bring in more business or something along those lines – but at the same time if it requires you to cut back on some aspect of your blog/site that you really enjoy, or to create a separate entity for it that creates more work than you want to do (especially since you already do SO much) is it worth that?

    What works for some people doesn't work for all people, and the fact that everyone niches – not putting yourself in a niche might benefit you in ways that they don't have – you have access and the ability to help people who have multiple interests and not just ones solely tied to one thing you write about.

    It can go either way, as you know, but sometimes that niche that's supposed to "save" you or help you move forward, puts you in a hole that you realize isn't where you want to be and then it's THAT much harder to dig yourself out and re-position if you need to.

    I know it's a big conversation that's going on, and literally everyone is saying it's something you should do but I think in the end, deep down, it is dependent on what you think is right for you. If you want to talk about everything, talk about everything. If you want to section the blog into different parts, then do that – but people will be drawn to your site, to your services, and to you if you're true to what you want and what you do. No matter if that's completely within a niche, or if it's a little eclectic!

    1. I’M SORRY ANNA!! I get really weird about showing off half baked designs. Maybe I’m self conscious of them.

      You’re totally right though that it’s not worth doing something I DON’T want to do. That will just make me unhappy and if I’m unhappy then my business certainly isn’t going to grow. I believe that business growth aligns with how happy and passionate you are. If that happiness is gone, then the business will fade too. Or maybe I just made that up.

      Thanks for your insight Anna! You need to stop going on vacation—I missed your pearls of wisdom.

  11. Ashley, can I first off just say how much I love this blog post? College applications are currently putting me through an identity crisis- I’m supposed to fit into a box. Like, I need a tagline that will make college admissions people remember me. “This is the girl that loves books!” or “Oh, that’s the one who volunteers all the time” or whatever. I’m working on my personal statement and basically all I have is “Yeah, so I like books and helping people and science and oh, I’m thinking about going into medicine.”

    So I 10000% feel you on the struggle. I know people are giving you a million different suggestions above, but here are my thoughts. πŸ™‚

    I think you should keep it together. Niche-ing down may be super popular right now, but 1.) it doesn’t seem to be something you truly want to do 2.) things change so quickly these days anyways. Who knows, maybe in a few years, people will be saying your blog should focus on a variety of things. So, I think you stick with doing this for yourself. Personally, I think you’re doing something unique by keeping both elements together and embracing the bookish and the business. That’s actually what I’m doing with my personal statement- I’m meshing my interests in books and medicine and helping people together to create a unique, unforgettable identity for myself (or lol, trying to. let me say: it’s SO MUCH easier said than done. ugh.).

    If you want, maybe you could do a double post the day you do a bookish post? So if you wanna focus on the business stuff, just post a bookish thing and then maybe a few hours later, something business related so the top post is always something related to your business. That way, for a potential client, you have something business on top, but for your other readers, you have something bookish too. (Personally, I love reading all the different kinds of posts!).

    I hope I helped with my own struggles, haha. Ultimately, it’s up to you, but I think you should do what makes you happiest. <33

    Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life recently posted: 7 Snack-Book Pairings
    1. Thank you Aneeqah! I love the comparison you made to college applications. You’re SO RIGHT! They’re totally related. I remember that process and how it really felt like you had to be exactly what they were looking for and tick all the right boxes. *sigh*

      And you’re totally right about things changing quickly. I think I also read an article once about how you didn’t need to niche down according to topics. Instead, you could niche down according to beliefs or lifestyle.

      For example, maybe I don’t need to focus on people who just love books or people who are creative business owners or people who like to code. Maybe I could focus on friendly, introverted, tech-savvy people who like to help each other. That’s kind of what I’m doing, right?

      Best of luck with college applications! I’m sure everything will work out wonderfully for you. πŸ™‚

  12. Well, I’m of two minds here. I think what you are doing is fine by combining interests. I plan on doing that too, with my own personal website, a bit of book reviews related to a Catholic niche, posts related to spirituality, things of that nature with random things I think may interest readers, because it piqued my interest. However, on the flip side, I’m not running a blog for business purposes.

    That being said, why do people come to your blog? I think many people found you through bigger book blogs and the plugin, UBB. By talking about blogging secrets, book reviews, and basic blogging tips you help all types of bloggers, not simply your average, book reviewer blog. I come for the content, not the book reviews, but I don’t see that as a bad thing, because I keep coming back. (And I only recently heard about your blog in late July, which later encourage me to buy your themes, etc.)

    I think in that sense, your blog has a lot of value and it’s a niche blog for beginners and the book review community.

    What you’re worried about, to me it seems, is the bigger business aspect that would bring in bigger clients, with bigger budgets, like design clients. I read in an old post of yours, that you owned several domain names. Why not use one of those to create a separate blog for that clientele? I think the blogging advice, plugins, themes, things of that nature should stay here. But if you want to attract someone with more experience a different site for them may be what needed. You may want to focus on simply talking about code on that blog. I think for your more advanced bloggers, they can get something out of it, new business opportunities arise, and you still get to keep this little community you created here and post about things that interest you, while bringing in business by helping the needs of the niche book reviewing community.

    Also, don’t change the design to NoseGraze. If you have to sell it as a theme. I do agree with you, that you need to keep your brand somewhat consistent. You like designing, coding, so do that, but for the public and maybe limit design changes to once a year, but keep the icon the same? Something that stays consistent, otherwise, people may leave, because they see the new Nosegraze and don’t realize it’s the same person. I know I heard of Creative Whim long ago, but thought it was out of my budget. It seems like years later, I found you and it took a while to figure out Creative Whim is you.

    Just my thoughts. Best of luck. Your blog has been so helpful, so please keep that in mind, before making any drastic decisions.

    Liza recently posted: Goals & Updates – 1st Edition
    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts Liza. πŸ™‚

      You definitely nailed my struggle. It’s the fact that I really have two audiences:

      1) Bloggers in the market for pre-made plugins/themes (particularly book bloggers)
      2) People with bigger budgets looking for custom development

      #1 really refers to people on a tighter budget. #2 refers to people with a TOTALLY DIFFERENT (much larger) budget. It’s hard to squeeze those two markets into the same room since they’re just so different.

      I have thought about creating a second site/domain name but it’s a lot of work to maintain two online presences like that. That means two websites, two blogs, maybe two Twitter/Pinterest accounts, etc. It’s just a ton of effort to maintain two whole online identities like that. It’s definitely something I’ll think about though. I guess there’s no harm in giving it a try to see how it pans out. And if I can’t keep up with it, I haven’t lost anything other than some time.

  13. Firstly, I love ALL the things you blog about, and most of them apply to me, so it’s perfect. And I think that since you’ve got such a large following I’d say your readers are perfectly fine with your blog being a mix. Personally, I’m fine with just being mainly a book blog and creating other little blogs for occasional crafty things. I’m not really one to share personal things online so that has never really been an issue. I think branding for me might be though, in the future. I’ve had the same name/design for years and I really want to change it but I don’t think I will because A) it’s what people recognize me as and B) I spent a lot of money on it and I don’t exactly have regular income so I wouldn’t want to throw that away. I LIKE the design I have and will probably end up keeping it but it’ll always be that one thing in the back of my mind that I wish I had done differently from the beginning. And I do feel like it’s time for a change. But I’m thinking of starting a more serious crafty blog and hopefully I can use that as an outlet for my new design ideas.

    Alicia recently posted: Harry Potter Week BLOG HOP SIGNUPS
    1. Thank you so much Alicia! πŸ™‚ I completely understand your desire for change. And although I haven’t necessarily put a ton of money into my design (since I built it myself) I have put a lot of time into it, and really those are almost the same thing. So it feels like a waste when I’m ready to turn around and change it again, so I totally get where you’re coming from there.

      However, you have had your design for a long time now, so I don’t think it would be completely unreasonable to change it sometime in the near future. Maybe not now, but within the next year or few months.

  14. Hello ashley,
    For me, you are the great one whose blog i read everyday & i get motivate with your blogs. But today you are seem to be full of less hope, I think you are the best & whats the problem if you don’t have a single sentense for any one topic you are all rounder. I read your every topic’s bloc because i know that it will be useful for me in my future anywhere. If you think that some people don’t read your blog then i think at the time of subscription you should ask also for the topics what they want to read. May be it will be helpful……………………
    One more thing i want to say that whenever i see your post in my mail inbox i feel happy always.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Thank you so much Deepa. πŸ™‚ I’m so honoured that you read my blog every day and that they make you feel happy. I’m sorry today’s post was a little more doom and gloom!

  15. I love that you constantly redesign your website. IT SHOWS OFF YOUR SKILLS. I’ve been following you through two or three changes so far and I’ve loved them all. Keep changing! You’re not changing your name, in fact you consolidated that, so the visuals don’t matter so much. And a designer with an outdated design won’t show off their appeal so much. A designer has to have a kick ass blog, and you DO, and with it constantly being redesigned you’re showing what you can do when you do it just for yourself.

    As for brand identity, sometimes I feel like reading blogging tips and sometimes I feel like reading book reviews and sometimes I like to see your updates about life. That’s why I follow you. Sure, I’m not reading every single post, because it depends on my mood. But you’re unique – you’re not just a designing/coding blog, you’re a blogging tips and book blog and personal blog as well. You may not think it’s niche, but you’re actually selling YOU as a brand, not just Nose Graze. Multiple blogging topics is much more preferable to splitting those topics across multiple blogs. You can post more frequently. I follow you not just because of your book stuff but because of the coding and design stuff as well.

    Besides, you HAVE carved yourself a neat little niche as the go-to girl for book blogs.

    AND the most important thing is, if you enjoy it, why change?

    Nemo @ the Moonlight Library recently posted: Zodiac Book Cover Game
    1. Haha you’re right—it does show off my skills!

      You do make an awesome point about selling ME as a brand. I guess I get so caught up in visuals that I forget a brand is more than just looks. It’s also who YOU are and what ideas you represent and feelings you invoke. That kind of stuff doesn’t require a design. I guess in a way, my content is my strongest brand.

      Thank you! ♥

  16. I think all bloggers ask the same questions as you do. I know I think about them a lot. My blog is mainly focused on books, but I wish to focus it on one genre only, because everyone says it will drive more traffic. On the other hand, I love to mix it up and read everything.

    I think you made your brand. Maybe not visually (I personally still see a butterfly whenever I think about your logo), but your brand is also the way you write and the way how you constantly improve your website.
    I like that you change themes a lot. I’ve got the same itch, and I don’t have time to do it that often. But I think it’s good advertisement for your services. ‘Look what I can do…’ πŸ™‚
    As for the topics, I am interested in almost everything you write. I like books, I like blogging tips, reading about life in other countries and about business as freelancer.
    I hope I helped you a bit.
    So, my vote is – don’t change anything. Except theme of course. I can’t wait to see the new one. πŸ˜‰

    1. You’re totally right about my brand. I guess my content is my brand. I get so caught up in the idea that a brand is a logo and visuals that I forget there are other sides to a brand. Brands are also about content, feelings, emotions, and personality. I have those things!

      Thanks so much for your thoughts, Dragana. πŸ™‚ I appreciate your input!

  17. I totally understand what you mean! Sometimes I often wonder whether it’s right to brand my blog as a book blog when I talk a lot more than books. I share my travel experiences, personal posts and I debate on a lot of general topics and issues. Sometimes, when I make my monthly wrap up posts, I discover that I have more non bookish posts than reviews and discussion posts. I often debate on whether I should change my focus, but I also can’t help but hesitate.
    Well, enough about me! πŸ™‚ I personally admire your blog and how you’ve made a brand and name for yourself in the blogosphere. Your blog is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about self hosting and plug ins, so if you ask me, I’ll tell that you have achieved quite a lot in establishing your name and brand!

    Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales recently posted: Make sure before you accuse - the world doesn't revolve around you
    1. It’s nice to hear that I’m not alone! πŸ™‚

      A while ago I declared that I wasn’t really a book blogger. I started calling myself just a blogger, without any specific title. Maybe you could do the same? You can still be part of the book blogging community, but if you don’t really feel like you’re specifically a book blogger then you don’t need to call yourself one!

  18. Oh Ashley, I’m so sorry you’re in this catch 22. I completely understand what you mean though. I’ve started following a lot more bloggers who focus on business and blogging and marketing as it’s something I want to focus more with my own blog, BUT, at the same time, I don’t want to lose my bookish roots. I still do reviews, and people are interested in them, and so far, those people are interested in my blogging post too, BUT, if I had a business, I think I’d be shooting myself in the foot big time, but that’s me personally.

    When it comes to design, I would say it’s your blog, do what you want, but I’d try and keep a solid logo at the minimum you know, so even if colours or style change, you are recognised by that. You’re name itself is fabulous and I know you a mile away, it’s such a great name, but in the year or so I’ve followed you, you haven’t had a solid logo – preference maybe, but it could be a problem in the future if you’re really wanting to streamline business and blog.

    I personally love what you do here, I like that you keep things new and fresh and I love that one post might be a blogging tip, one might be a review, one might be something you love, you’re blog is more about the blogging and business life to me, you teach people how to nail the perfect look, rock unique features and get into the nitty gritty of being a leading lady freelancer, and that’s fabulous. Sure, a tagline is sometimes important, you don’t need a tagline, just a solid idea of what you do. Maybe look at what topics you discuss most and focus on them when creating your ‘brand’ or tagline – writing about other topics is just a bonus you know? Go with what feels right, but don’t let it bog you down, Nose Graze is whatever you want it to be.

    Amanda @ Nellie and Co. recently posted: You Shouldn't Trust Blogger Stats - Use Google Analytics!
    1. You’re so right about the logo. I always tell myself that I’m going to keep the same logo, but I can never follow through with that. The problem is that when I create a new design, I build out a design that’s in my head and when I do that, the old logo suddenly doesn’t fit with the new style, you know? It just doesn’t work in the new design. So that’s why I scrap it and make a new one.

      Logically, I should probably re-build the design around the same logo each time, but then that dictates where the design is headed and it might go in a direction I’m not particularly interested in.

      Does that make any sense? LOL.

      Thanks so much for all your thoughts, Amanda! I often talk like I’ve totally got my shit together, but sometimes I just freak out and I’m like, “WHO AM I AND WHAT AM I DOING????!!” I guess we all have our little meltdowns now and then.

  19. I really enjoy the mix of posts you have here. For some reason the topics of books and blogging go well together. Most of my favourite blogs post a little of both. I can also understand the need to split things in order to bring in more clients. I have no advice – but if you did split your blog I would follow them both and I think others would too.

  20. For any rule in business, there’s someone breaking it and succeeding anyway. I used to have my business and author sites separate (on top of my book blog, ouch), but it was too much to handle. Sure, I have different readerships on my personal brand. BUT. I also have different email lists. So I email my writing/editing list when I have related posts, and I email my readers when I have a new book out.

    Knowing who your audience is is half the battle. If you know who they are and you provide valuable content to them, they’re smart enough to stick around even when they’re not reached in every single post. If I don’t want to read it, I ignore it. That’s cool.

    For what it’s worth, I think you have a pretty strong brand. Perhaps not visually, since you keep changing it (ha), but I know that when I buy from you, I’m going to get a great product from an extremely knowledgeable coder/designer, and that I’m going to get awesome support. It’s why I recommend you to others and why I continue purchasing from you. And in the end — that’s what matters most. Do you deliver? You do.

    Evolution is a natural part of business. Your name, face, and themes+plugins will be what people remember, not necessarily what your branding elements are. As long as you communicate the quality of your work and people have a way to connect with you no matter your design (i.e., a picture of you), you’re solid. Let money talk. If you’re successful, you’re doing something right.

    Amanda @ On a Book Bender recently posted: Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey {Kelly’s Review}
  21. With all of your passion and skills, I would like to suggest that you poll your audience on why they come to your blog. What’s their need? Find out what the majority of your audience looks for when they come to your audience. Then, of those results. See if the #1 and #2 item are complementary. Does #2 enhance #1. I’ve been reading your posts for a while. Coding is definitely your passion but I come to your blog to see what you are up to in that area because you don’t necessary send out messaging for coding, you send out messaging about how you got there. It’s inspirational. The tips are cool and because this is somewhat of a personal blog, it’s also written with personality. i wouldn’t want to see you lose that element. It’s engaging.

    I will say, I had someone send me a harsh note to tell me that my blog was not clear and sending multiple messages to different audiences. I had to clean it up and I took down a lot of stuff until I figured out what people wanted and whether or not I wanted to to be the one to give it to them. When i looked into my audience, I realized it was mostly if not all authors. I looked at my blog as ‘media’ but in essence it was a resource to start and I wasn’t giving them something to go after. I was worried about how I was going to get them an audience through my blog but what they needed was the knowledge to do it themselves. I possess that and so while I’m still posting reviews. I’m also going to post tips and experiences that authors can use to enhance their reader’s experience.

    Traci G recently posted: E.Y.R.E.: All You Need is Words
    1. I think one of my biggest problems is that I’m very opinionated when it comes to blogging, but I feel like you need to follow different rules if a business is involved.

      For example, when it comes to “normal” blogging, I’m a big believer in “do whatever you want”. I believe that a blog is YOUR space and you should do what makes you happy with it. That means blogging about what you want, when you want, and not necessarily letting your readers dictate that.

      Although your blog may not grow as quickly if you follow this method (rather than follow your audience), I firmly believe that it will make you happier and that’s the key to long-term sustainability.

      But then when a business is involved, it’s not just about having fun and loving your blog any more. And that’s when I start to question everything.

      1. My thoughts, exactly — blogging & business are hard to mix! (though, I hear it’s worth it… still trying to find out for myself! … I only made the switch to attempting to monetize my blog this past March 2015).

  22. Here’s what I think. Not that my opinion matters in the grand scheme of things, but honestly here’s what I think of your blog.

    I originally came here because I had a question about blogging YA books vs. Erotica books. Can they be on the same blog etc. I hunted the question in google and Nose Graze was the first thing that came up. Once I got here I posted a question, which took you a matter of a couple of days to answer. Then I hunted down (on Nose Graze) another post you made which gave me step by step instructions on how to make the move from Blogger to WP, which was another thing I had on my mind. After that I not only switched to WP, but got a new blog name and domain and web hosting all found on Nose Graze (Creative Whim). Then I wanted a new web design… didn’t have to go anywhere else for that. All here. In addition to all of this helpful information and services I get to read book reviews and other really truly interesting posts on a variety of topics including some of your personal things like your wedding. It made you “real” to me and not just a resource. A real live human being who works her ass off for her career… and finds time to be personable.

    I personally find Nose Graze invaluable to me. I love the idea that it’s not just “A book blog” or “A Blogger/WP tutorial blog”. It’s a one-stop-shop where I can find pretty much anything I’m looking for. I think it’s actually pretty cool to have someone who’s just looking for a review on a book you’ve read and once they’re here find a plethora of other things you can do and end up putting you on their list of blogs to follow because the resources alone are fantastic.

    I personally thing it’s a good thing that your blog is not defined as “A ______ blog.” It’s sooooo much more than any one title.

    You are Ashley… and I personally adore you and your blog of all trades.

    1. Thank you so much for all your kind words and insight Carrie! Your opinion matters a lot to me and I’m so glad you shared it.

      I definitely see your point about being so much more than one title, and normally I’m SO ON BOARD with that. It’s just hard for me to accept sometimes when I see other business owners blogging left and right about finding your niche and narrowing your focus.

      If it were a simple case of blogging (without a business aspect) I’d say screw the rules, because that’s definitely what I preach to other people. Do what you want, love it, own it, and you’ll succeed because of it.

      But when a business is at stake, it makes me question everything. I feel like I’m not qualified to say, “do whatever you want,” because when you do that you’re not just risking blog traffic. You’re risking your entire income and that’s scary!

      However, I think you’re right that my blog can be a wider range of topics and I just need to own that. As Stephanie pointed out, it’s not like my blog traffic is declining or anything so maybe I’m just overreacting about nothing. πŸ™‚

  23. I personally love your blog! While I originally signed up for blogging tips through email, I feel as though there are so many other posts that you post that I want to read. So now I also follow you through Bloglovin so I can see everything. I love that there are so many different things that you offer here!

    A just watched a baking blogger I love and follow (Sally’s Baking Addiction) realize that she also wanted to post about photography. I only follow her baking posts through email, but at the top of her website you can click on which site you want to be on (even on my cell) and the email is split up like yours. Both forward to her one Facebook and Twitter account also. I think it looks fabulous and there’s a little bit of a line between the two. I think what you’re doing works great, but thought I’d mention it. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Jen! πŸ™‚ That was a great example about the baking blogger—thanks for sharing!

      Maybe I should introduce more subscription categories on my blog. Right now I have All Posts, Blogging Tips, and Book Reviews, but I could also add more for Business and Coding. Then I can give people even more options. πŸ™‚

  24. Ah Ashley! To be honest, I’d totally read whatever you post because it’s just so informative and helpful! I honestly don’t think there’s a need to contain Nose Graze into one category because it’s your personal space; you can do whatever you want with it! I think there are certainly people out there (like me!!) who are interested in everything you write, and even if there’s some we’re not entirely interested in, we will still stay in tune for the rest that we’re interested in because you do have great content πŸ™‚
    Just like how we can’t really fit ourselves into one category or tick off one box, we don’t have to do that to our blogs either! A diversity of posts makes things interesting, and just as long as your content is great, people will be coming back for more!
    Alternatively, maybe you could have a sort of email plugin for people to choose what kind of posts they’re interested in and then when you post a post in that category, they’ll receive that email? I’m not sure how feasible that idea is though… That as well as combined with the fact that sometimes other posts may interest them, but traffic will be less because they’re not receiving email notifications for those posts?
    I’m sort of going through the same thing that’s happening to you right now; my interests have changed and I have a different idea of how I want to blog and even have a different idea of where I want Feathers In Her Head to go as well. I’m more and more interested in lifestyle and fitness, and I’ve been unable to make time for reading lately, which is why my blog is stagnating in terms of content. I’m still playing around with ideas, but I think it’s time for a change for me πŸ™‚
    I’m definitely looking forward to that new design as well! πŸ˜€ I really liked this one though; it’s so clean and professional and when I first saw it I was DROOLING. I can’t wait to see what else you come up with!!
    All in all though, I’d tell you that do whatever you want for your blog, whatever feels right, whatever you’re most comfortable and happy with. It’s your blog, and you’ll make it rock your own way! πŸ˜‰

    Emily recently posted: Dreaming Bigger
    1. Thanks a lot Emily. πŸ™‚

      My email subscription right now does let you choose between All Posts, Book Reviews, or Blogging Tips, but I’m thinking I should introduce two more options: Business and Coding.

      I think it’s great that your interests are expanding into lifestyle and fitness. I’d love to read some of your fitness posts, as that’s something I’m getting more involved with as well. πŸ™‚

      The new design I’m working on is a HUUUUUGE departure from this one. (At least it feels that way to me.) Sometimes I literally sit here for hours, staring at this new design, questioning whether or not I actually want to use it LOL. I’m so indecisive!

  25. I can’t say much on the business side of things, but I don’t think your blog has an identity crisis! You can really fall into just two general categories: web and books. I consider the coding, design, wordpress, businessy stuff to all fall into that one category. And then you have book reviews!

    Again, I don’t know if it’s “hurting” your business to have this setup, but I truly think it works and you do a great job of blending everything!

    Lauren @ Bookmark Lit recently posted: Series Review: The Lying Game Books 4-6 + Novella
    1. Thank you Lauren! If my business weren’t involved then I think I’d be 100% okay with where I’m at. I’m constantly telling other people that their blog is their own personal space and they should do what comes naturally. There are no rules, there are no cookie cutters, you don’t have to only blog about x (like books). Do whatever makes you happy with your blog and own it. That’s the key to long term sustainability.

      So it’s probably weird that I’m even freaking out about my own blog, but I think when you add business as a factor, it becomes much scarier. It’s not just a matter of being happy and enjoying my own space… This is also my income—my life. It’s how I pay my bills. So sometimes I worry that I can’t just do whatever I want; I need to follow the “rules” that it seems like everyone else agrees on (“find a niche”, “narrow your focus”).

      But it’s been massively comforting to get your support and everyone else’s. Maybe I don’t have to follow by the “rules” after all. πŸ™‚

  26. I’ll preface this by saying I’m in no way, shape or form a PR/Marketing expert, but hearing your problems, here’s what came to mind:

    Design: I think you can get away with changing your site design often because it showcases new skills, but I think you could achieve continuity by having one brand icon and/or logo design that stays consistent throughout.

    Blogging topics: I think you’ve already somewhat addressed this in that you allow people to pick what topics they want to follow when subscribing to the blog. However, I think the bigger question is: do you want this to be a business website with a blog or a blog with some business pages? Right now, I’d say your design and site organization reflect the latter. If you want to put the main focus on the business, I’d make that the home page and put a blog link in the menu (like most author websites). In that case, it would still make sense to have blog posts marketing your work, but it wouldn’t be front and center on the site, so it would make sense and give you plenty of freedom to write about non-product related matters as well.

    Hope that makes as much sense as it did in my head. (It rarely does, but we try. ^^) Good luck!

    1. Thanks Kel! I totally get what you mean by maintaining the same icon/logo. Honestly, it’s something that I’ve tried to do in the past but just failed at massively. My problem is that when I create a new design, I go with a look that I feel passionate about. And when I do that, the old logo no longer fits with that image. It’s 100% out of place. So, realistically, my options are:

      1) Have an out of place logo (not even really an option, in my opinion. It would just look bad!).

      2) Create the new design around the logo (but then I wouldn’t be able to follow new styles that I’m passionate about and it would definitely take some of the enjoyment out for me).

      And I’m just not super excited about either of those options.

      I know it seems like a silly thing, but I really do struggle with it. I’ve actually done it several times where I’ve created a whole new look and then tried to incorporate my old logo, but it just looked horrible.

      I have thought about incorporating a static homepage (it’s actually something I’m toying with for the new design), but I really like how you asked the question about a business website with a blog vs a blog with some business pages. And honestly, when you lay it out like that, I really do want to stick with the latter.

      I think the problem I have is that I never set out to make money with my blog, it just happened accidentally. And even now, it’s not that I want to make buttloads of money. First and foremost, my blog is just an awesome space that I love to connect with other people. That’s the #1 thing is it for me. And it does make me money, but I don’t want my blog to become a second priority (with making money at #1). That just doesn’t sit right with me.

      Rather than having an amazing business that happens to be driven by a blog, I want to have an amazing blog that happens to also make me money.

      You gave me a lot more to think about, thank you Kel! πŸ™‚

  27. When you slowed down on the book reviews and such, I was sad. I liked you as a normal blogger, but I know the time for that is getting smaller and smaller.

    I see the dilemma of having your blogging and business on two websites, lots more stuff to maintain. I don’t mind the mixture. I see your brand/niche as “Ashley – The all around blogging/wordpress expert.” So seeing personal posts, book reviews, business, and whatever else is fine with me. I am use to it. It’s not conventional but who cares? Does your brand/niche have to be so specific. Can’t you create a whole idea of a non-brand brand/niche? Change your website every 5 seconds, talk about whatever the hell you want, just be Ashley. Your niche/brand is Ashley, the fucking amazing owner of Nose Graze. And you know what Nose Graze is? anything it wants to be. Don’t follow the rules on this one unless you see it affecting you majorly somehow. I think right now, the effects are small, both bad and good.

    Jennifer Bielman @ Bad Bird Reads recently posted: Review: They Call Me Alexandra Gastone by T.A. Maclagan
      1. Wow… PERFECT advice! { “It’s not conventional — but who cares?” } EXACTLY!!! I am always “preaching” to be authentic and do your OWN thing — don’t follow the crowd! Yet, when it has come to whether/not to niche, I keep feeling the “need” to follow the crowd… Thanks, Jennifer, for the awesome reminder!

  28. Great post! Personally, I don’t see an issue with the different topics. I look through and read the posts that I want and ignore the ones that I don’t. I don’t read many of your book reviews, because we read in different genres. That’s okay. I do read most of the WordPress posts. I comment on some of them, but not all. I say, do what you want, but that is just my opinion.

    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted: A Kiss of Blood Audiobook by Pamela Palmer (REVIEW)
    1. Thanks so much for your insight Melanie. πŸ™‚ I’m totally fine with my blog being like that, where people read what they’re interested in and skip the others. I think I just always have this fear in the back of my head that some people will get fed up with skipping the posts they don’t want and just unfollow me… but I guess that’s an unavoidable part of blogging. You can please everyone and you shouldn’t expect to be able to. You’ll gain people and lose people along the way—that’s just how it is.

  29. I’ve actually always enjoyed reading your posts! I like that you have great tips for bloggers and that you enjoy reading. I always am open to reading about ways that I can improve my blog so even if I can’t implement them, I keep them in mind for the future.
    I think the rebranding thing might be an issue but if you keep something like the logo consistent, then I don’t see why you can’t change your blog design. And finding your own niche isn’t that big of a problem. I think the coding and web design thing is all kind of one category and the books and reading are another. I mean, you are a web designer that loves books so I don’t think you should have to hide a certain part of you for your brand.

    1. You make an awesome point about keeping the logo consistent. But sadly I have a major problem with sticking to a logo haha! My designs have been so radically different each time that the previous logo no longer fits into the new design, if you know what I mean. So that’s why I keep changing it. Maybe I need to invest some time in creating a more universal logo.

      1. What I keep thinking, as I’ve been reading through the comments — and hearing your response about your logo not ever working with your new designs — is that, perhaps you need to find a logo that represents YOU (yourself), instead of your business / blog? Something that’s true of you and your core values and personality …

        Because, in the end run, your blog and/or business is always going to have the same ONE thing at its core: YOU! You are the author of it! So, that part will NEVER change. πŸ˜‰

        I’m taking some of this from a post I read, via Pinterest, recently, about choosing your brand colors. The author of the post said to look at your all-time favorite colors — the ones you’ve always been drawn to in every aspect of your life, whether it’s clothing choices, home decor, websites you love, etc. Look for those colors, and then use THOSE as your brand’s colors. That way, you won’t get tired of them, and want to do away with them. And, for me — as a “multi-passionate” who is ALWAYS getting bored with things and moving on to others — this was perfect advice! Because, yes, there has always been ONE specific set of colors that I’m always drawn to in everything: blue, green, brown, cranberry. Always… in everything. πŸ™‚

        Maybe your logo could be something like that, too?

        Just a thought.

  30. I’m going through this right now with my blog name. When I first chose it, I wasn’t totally sold on it. Now, I’m considering changing it. Honestly, it’s probably a good time to do that since I don’t have tons of followers. It’s just become clear to me that my blogging is much more about me than anything else and I’ve felt sort of locked into specific topics the way I have it set up. I just want it to be all me and what I’m interested in rather than focused on a niche or my job. Don’t be surprised if I buy a new domain in the next month or so. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

    1. I’m sorry you’re going through this too, Laura! It’s a tough spot to be in.

      I actually changed my blog name once a few years ago, so I think I know a lot about how you feel. Changing a blog name isn’t something you want to do too often, but I think everyone gets a free pass to do it at least once, so try not to stress about it too much. Plus, I’ll help you set it up to ensure that your old name perfectly redirects to your new one, which is exactly what you want!

      Just make sure you take your time with this transition. Don’t rush it. You want to really think about this new name carefully, then maybe even let it sit in your mind for a few weeks just to be 100% sure that you still love the name weeks later. Know what I mean?

  31. I personally like your mix because I mostly read your blog for the personal and bookish stuff, but I also enjoy your coding tips and business posts because one day I aspire to learn and do those things as well! But I can see how having a more business focused site could help you earn more business… but I think you might lose some of the people who are more in it for getting to know you personally and the fun side of things. Of course if you did two websites, then you would get both types of followers but with extra work… It’s definitely a tough question!

    Jade @ Bedtime Bookworm recently posted: 2015 ARC August Goals
    1. Well I don’t think I would ever make my blog 100% business with no personal. I hate blogs like that! I think no matter what the primary topic is, the readers will always have a desire to get to know the blogger on a more personal level, you know?

      But your’e right—two websites would be a ton of work. I’m not sure I can commit to that. Running one is hard enough!

      Thanks so much for your thoughts Jade! πŸ™‚

  32. I mean, obviously blogging as part of a business is different than just doing it for a hobby, BUT as someone who’s been following you for quite a while, it honestly doesn’t bother me when you post a variety of things. I mean, sure, I don’t read all of your posts from start to finish (I hope that doesn’t sound awful! I do love Nose Graze.) because they may be about a thing I have no knowledge/interest in. But just because you posted one thing I’m not 100% into doesn’t mean I unfollow or lose interest in Nose Graze entirely. I mean, maybe you’re reaching a wider audience than you might if you had a more narrow focus? *shrugs*

    Renae @ Respiring Thoughts recently posted: Tyrannosaurus Renae: or, I’m not a hip young blogger anymore
    1. Thanks Renae!

      I have some really opinionated thoughts about blogging when it’s just done for fun (no business aspect). I’m all about doing what you want, when you want, and not letting your followers dictate your content. It’s YOUR space and should be what YOU want to do. That’s the key to sustainability and long-term success.

      But I think when a business aspect is involved, I’m afraid that I can’t just make up my own rules… because it’s not just meaningless page views that are at stake, it’s my CAREER and my INCOME and that makes it scary, you know? And then I get even more worried when tons of business owners are blogging about how you need to “find a niche” and “narrow your focus” to become successful. I actually can see what they mean because the thing that launched my career was having a super narrow niche (book bloggers). That’s how my whole business started! Then over time I started branching off and now I’m worried that I need to stop doing that or my whole business will collapse.

      If everyone did what you did (read the posts that interested them, skipped the others) then I think I’d be totally fine. But I’m worried that most people will be like, “Well half the posts don’t interest me so I won’t follow at all.”

      Maybe I just need to stop thinking about this too hard LOL.

  33. I know exactly what you mean. My blog has been bookish only, but from the end of this year I will be moving and experiencing new things including travelling internationally. I would really love to blog about travel and life in general – but… is it all too much for one blog?
    PS I love your blog and am interested in all the topics you blog about so for you I’d say keep it altogether.

    Sue Holmes recently posted: I’m a Sisterhood of the World Blogger!
    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Sue! I actually think the topics you’ve proposed would go brilliantly together. I think it would make your blog feel very much like a “lifestyle blog”, which is really popular these days. Travelling, reading, and life might sound different, but they all fit nicely under a “living and loving life” umbrella.

  34. Blog identity is something I’ve struggles with for years. I started my first book blog back in 2009 and it went well for me. But then I started wanting to include other topics like an easy meal I just made, a new cd I loved, my latest beauty haul or what I thought of the latest movie. I was lost on how to incorporate those things without losing my followers who only wanted to see bookish posts. I tried 2 blogs but as you said, it was so hard to maintain them both and I ended up combining them. I took a break from blogging and an slowly starting back up again & trying to find the right mix & balance of topics.
    I have been following you & NG for years. I remember when you had nothing but bookish posts! You gave me some great recommendations for books. For all the loyal followers like me, we’d be here no matter what you decide to do with the blog. I love all the business posts & blog tips. Do what feels right to you and blog unapologetically about whatever you want. Your love for what you do will shine through and people will keep coming back to see what you have to say. Now, if only I can make that advice work for me lol

    Avanti Ciera recently posted: I'm A Soldier In Ollie's Army
  35. I was struggling with that when I decided that I wanted to blog about other things too but those are kinda all over the place compared to my focus on books. It’s not so much a division between business and personal blogging, which is a bigger mountain to climb in your case but in the end I decided to keep the focus of my book blog (Word Revel) and set up an accompanying blog for everything else (Life Revel). Both blogs have links to each other and have complimentary designs. I’m not sure if you want to split Nose Graze that way and come up with a new blog name for your personal interests but that might be a solution.

    I think the more difficult problem to address is social media presence. Do you want to continue maintaining one Twitter account for everything ranging from business to personal matters? Or do you want to separate them from now on, so you can keep stricter business hours and separate your “me-time”?

    While I first came across your blog through the book blogging community, it was actually the coding and design content that made me come back. It’s relevant to anyone who blogs but I liked how you geared it towards book bloggers. Since you’ve broken away from being a book blogger and aim to be more inclusive of your interests, maybe it’s not so crucial for you to reduce your personal content. It’s much more varied now, differentiating you from others. Plus, there is the option to subscribe according to one’s preferences, which is pretty neat.

  36. Love this post, it speaks to me as someone who’s had oh like a million different blogs, give or take a few lol. I have a slightly different problem-I keep trying to keep my blog’s focus to one thing, then I get bored with that thing and then delete the blog…and then a few weeks later I start a new blog with a different, narrow focus and blog about that topic for a few months….and then delete it repeat repeat repeat sigh….

    Earlier this year I deleted my book blog (Finleyjayne.com) because the book blog world is so darn saturated and repetitive-I was getting sooo bored! But, I couldn’t stay away and here I am again with another blog and another focus :p

    I actually enjoy your blog theme changes-you keep your name and site address the same, so there’s nothing wrong with changing the visual up every once in a while! And I enjoy your blog because of your voice-frankly you could blog about anything and I’d still be a follower πŸ™‚

    sara recently posted: WIAW #4 Epic Calorie Day
    1. I remember your book blog!!

      Maybe you need to have a more generalized personal blog if you keep getting bored of narrow topics? Have you considered that?

  37. I’m also in the process of figuring out my identity for my blog. I look at other bloggers who have similar lifestyles as I do (ei: librarians/book lovers, etc.) and they have GREAT topics posted on a regular basis and I can barely come up with something clever in my wrap-ups. So, I’m feeling you’re pain, sister! And I use Bloglovin’, and Pinterest, and Twitter to scour for ideas on things I should talk about, but I’m just at a point where I don’t know if I should just stick to the reviews, or try to slither a way in by another POV πŸ™
    Good luck,
    – Krys

  38. I feel your pain Ashley, I’m in the same boat! I decided awhile ago to divide my business into 2 sites, each tailored to completely different audiences.

    Every couple of years or so I gravitate back to loving design more and focus on that site, then do a complete 180 and start focusing on dev again. The result is that one site (and accompanying social media) is always getting neglected. The other thing to remember is that you start to juggle different email addresses too… and 2 different brandings for your billing system, project management system… argh!

    Anndd some customers get confused when they see the other website and wonder what that’s about. Essentially my brand has become more diluted than when I started.

    So I’d definitely recommend avoiding dividing the business if you can help it! I agree with what some other people have mentioned here… maybe a subdomain would work and have a main “headquarters” site. Or clearly divide each service / niche in your current site menu (i.e. add β€˜Books’ or something to your main menu and have all your book related stuff in there).

    Am very curious to see how you go – thanks for sharing with us πŸ™‚

  39. You took all of the words right out of my mouth! I’ve been going through the same. exact. thing. Earlier this year I decided I was going to start posting more of whatever I want, which includes blogging and business, but also movies, TV, music, and books. Well, since then I’ve found that I kinda want to sway back to posting mostly about business and blogging. My blog also has no clear brand or look, not only because I change all the time — but since I can’t even figure out what I want to write about, it shows through in my branding. I cannot figure out what to do, and it feels like such a waste of time to keep thinking about it! If you ever figure this out I’d love to see a post about it.

    I think what I’m going to do is separate the two. I agree it may be hard to manage but I feel like it’s for the best.

    Tanea recently posted: 7 Ways to Revive an Old Blog Post
  40. Oh my word, I could have written almost this entire post! You sound JUST LIKE ME!!! <3

    I am what's known as a "Multi-passionate" or "Renaissance Soul" or "Scanner" (see puttylike.com — she calls us "Multi-potentialites"). We have "too many interests to pick JUST ONE". πŸ™‚

    As such, I, too, have the HARDEST time "branding" myself… I cannot stick myself in one "box", and be done with it. And goodness knows, I've TRIED to keep one design for longer than a short while… it never works. I get bored, and want to switch things up again! LOL

    I've recently figured out that I *need* to be a "Lifestyle" blogger… meaning I can add all of my favorite things into one site (books/reading, blogging, writing, small business, psychology, and more!), while still having it feel somewhat "okay"… AND, I figured out that –at least for now– I will offer services to ONE segment of people (bloggers) … but that might change in 6 months or so, and I'll focus on another aspect of my "lifestyle" blog. πŸ˜‰ Don't know, yet, if this will work as a strategy, but it's what I'm going with to "end the craziness" that's been in my head, of late. πŸ˜‰

    PS… Feel free to email me! I would love to get to know you better (only found your blog this morning)! I love new friends, especially when we share so many of the same interests! πŸ˜€

    Jenn recently posted: In Progress…
    1. Hi Jenn!

      It’s so awesome that we’re in the same situation! *high five* I love that you saw yourself in this post. πŸ™‚

      It’s great that you’ve been able to find yourself as a “lifestyle” blogger. That sounds PERFECT for you!!

      I guess as long as you’re finding happiness in the moment, you’re doing something right. Even if your blog feels like it’s all over the place or you don’t know where you belong, try to be happy. Do what you want and I think you’ll find comfort in that, even if you feel oddly disorganised while doing it! Haha!

      So lovely to meet you!!

      1. Thanks, Ashley! And, great to meet you, too! πŸ˜€

        The comments on this post have also been uber-helpful! I’m SO glad I found your site, today! (once via Facebook, and now via Pinterest!)

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