Choose Your Blog Niche Carefully – Don’t Make The Same Mistake I Did

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Blog Niche

Image by ‘maclauren70′

Back in January, I started a new blog. Now, if someone was to ask me what exactly it was about, I wouldn’t know what to say. Neither would any of my friends or my actual blog visitors for that matter.  That may sound strange, but I think you will find that it is more common than you think.  I had fallen into the trap of rushing into start my site and not choosing my blog niche carefully – something that I came to regret!

A blog niche is very important as this is what defines your site.  Visitors will want to come and read your blog because it is about a certain subject.  This is why you should take care to choose your niche carefully.

In the following post, I will look at why choosing a blog niche that is perfect, both for you and your readers, is important and talk about my own experiences with my site.

Having A Blog About Something Is Good

When I first started blogging I used a free WordPress blog on which I posted articles on a wide variety of subjects (blogs, flash game sites and others). A while later I added another category on saving/making money on the internet. My site had a few email and RSS subscribers who received alerts if new posts were published.

Whilst I was happy with the work I had done, I wanted to take my site a step further, so I bought a domain name, self-hosting, got a free WordPress theme and began writing some articles.  I continued to write on the topics I had already been focusing on, hoping that I’ll get some traffic from my old blog and some from search engines (Google, Yahoo! search, Bing and others like that).

Having A Blog About Everything Is Not Good!

That was a pretty good start for my site, but I wanted to take it even higher so I added some more categories, including – ‘blogging’, ‘downloads’ (includes Windows programs), ‘games’, ‘social media’ and some others. Despite adding these new categories, I still didn’t fully know what my site was about (though I didn’t realize it at the time). I kept posting on all of those topics and was happy… at least for a while.

After a few weeks of blogging like this and not getting anywhere, I got in touch with some other blogger asking for their advice.  They recommended that I should try to narrow my blog niche down as soon as I can. Why? Well because…

You Can’t Build A Targeted Audience With A Wide Niche

Sites that have too broad a focus (writing on lots of different subjects) tend to struggle attracting traffic.  People should know exactly what your site is about when they visit your site.  If they are confused and don’t know what your main aim is about, then they are much less likely to remember you and revisit at a later date.

This doesn’t mean that what you have written will not be helpful! People will still find answers to their questions in your posts if your articles show up in their Google search results (or whatever search engine they prefer), but most probably you can’t turn them in subscribers because they aren’t interested in the other topics that you’re writing about.

Don’t Make Your Blog Niche Too Narrow

Blog Niche

Image by ‘Carissa Marie’

Whilst you shouldn’t write on a broad range of different subjects, you should also try not to pick a niche that is too narrow.  Narrow niches tends to mean that there are much less people who are interested in the subject.

For example, ‘Knitting’ as a whole subject may be too wide a niche to focus on.  ‘Knitting Striped Sweaters for Dogs’ would be much too narrow a topic to focus on as that may only interest a small minority. ‘Knitting Sweaters’ (of any type) would be a good balanced blog niche to pick.

You have to think about who is going to read and visit your site.  Make your category too broad and no one will be interested, whereas make it too small and only a handful of people will be interested.  You need to find the right balance of a subject that interests a large portion of people.

Remember, you can always grow out your niche in the future if it proves to be popular.

How I Narrowed Down My Blog Niche

You probably think that I ended up removing the new categories that I had added and left the ones I first had on my first site. Well you’d be wrong!

Since I optimized my site’s name and domain name for the “new” categories, I had to think of something new. One of my new categories was “blogging” and I had a couple of free WordPress blogs before this one so I changed my “internet related stuff” blog into a site that focused on “blogging” (keeping some categories on writing articles and site building tips).

What Changing My Niche Cost Me

I only wrote on the wide niche site for two or three weeks, and though not much, I was getting some traffic. Changing my niche probably costed me some regular visitors and subscribers, but it ended up sending me much more traffic in the long run.  Losing one or two subscribers may not be a difference for you but it is a difference for me because I care for every single subscriber I can get.

Of course you can change your niche as many times as you want because it’s YOUR blog, but I advise you – don’t do so!  It’s much better to get your niche right before starting your site and will save you a lot of hassle in the future.

What To Do If You Really Want To Write On All Of Those Topics

The best answer I can give is to create multiple blogs for each different topic you want to write about. This is more work than putting all of that stuff in one place, but you will definitely see the results.

A second option is that you can make a wider niche blog with different categories, but remember to post on each category at least twice a week AND make a separate email list for each of them.  Some of the larger sites do this (though they tended to start much smaller and grow their niche over time).  This way, people that are interested in technologies and gadgets (lets say) probably won’t be happy if they suddenly receive an email with a link to a post about knitting. And you won’t be too confused with emails if you will make separate blogs one day.

At the end of the day, only you decide on what goes on your blog.  But if your aim is to drive traffic, I would strongly recommend that you focus your niche.  It certainly benefited me!

Have you changed your blog niche or thought about it? What was your experience of doing this  Please let us know by leaving a comment below!

About Deina Kotāne

Deina runs PublishTheInternet a site that publishes articles on writing, SEO, useful tools and share site building tips! You can get in touch with Deina on Twitter.

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    I changed my blog topic a few times Deina although I did not change my niche. I had to find clarity in what I did, releasing on my personal development posts to make room for sharing tips to help people generate cash online.

    Find clarity in what you do and finding a niche grows easier.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Ryan

    • Deina Kotane

      Hi Ryan,
      Changing your topic can harm your blog much less than changing the whole niche. It may be even good sometimes to change your topic a bit.

      • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

        Hi Deina,

        Thanks again for writing this great post for us and sharing your personal experiences. It’s always good when people can relate to writers, which I think many will be able to do with your post.

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Ryan,

      You make an excellent point! Clarifying a niche can be just as important as picking the niche in the first place. Someone could have picked the best niche in the world, but if they fail to make that clear to their readers, they will struggle.

  • Andi Leeman

    Hi Deina, interesting post, to change niche after starting sounds daunting. Blogging can be a lot of work but to change direction can take a bit to implement but it is good to find something to focus on otherwise you can lose clarity and motivation and you can feel like your are stumbling around in the dark.

    We recommend people to spend as much time as possible trying to figure out what niche they should start blogging about before they start. I guess for some it could be hard thinking of a narrow niche to start with and starting to write posts for a wide niche blog could be good with the thought of narrowing down to a topic within the niche that is showing more popular over others. Then you can focus your blog better.

    Starting and doing something can be better than sitting around thinking and not doing, at least you will have something in front of you to track and help decide which way to go.

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Andi,

      Yes, it’s much better to start a project like a blog, rather than sit around thinking about it. You can only start to progress after making that first step, mistakes are part of that process. I made a similar mistake when I first started with one of my first sites, but I learned a lot from that experience which helped me with future sites.

  • https://www.facebook.com/MissClairT Clair Trebes

    Hi Deina, This is a great post, I think a lot of people will probably be able to relate to you thoughts and advice on this matter.

    For me personally I spent a lot of time getting clear in my own head on what i was going to blog about before i started, and in actual fact I am REALLY glad I didn’t just dive in with my first idea, because my business now and that idea couldn’t be on further ends of the spectrum, and like Andi said below, the work that goes into a blog is huge – so changing mid way would have been an issue i want to avoid at all cost.

    It is really great to read your story and see how you’ve managed to do this, because action takers are the biggest money makers so for some people this approach could be the one, for you start learning the minute you start working so its all relative in the end.

    Striking the right balance of niche specifics is important – too general is too wide and too focused is not often wide enough! … and to think people think blogging is “really easy” … all these things to consider!

    Clair

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Clair,

      I think a lot of people have a similar experience that Deina had, especially when starting their first site. There is SO much to get your head round with blogging, that it can be a bit daunting at first. It’s pretty easy to go in blind without knowing the long-term effects that your initial decisions will have.

      Striking the right balance is definitely important. You don’t want a niche to be too big nor too narrow, you want it to be just right. I guess you could call it the “Goldilocks Niche”.

  • alexwhalley

    I think that if you’re going to start looking at changing or redefining your chosen niche then you need to stop and ask why. I say this because it is knowledge and passion that will ultimately win in a contest of motivation, and so changing your niche is going to remove these factors from your situation … And now where does your motivation come from?
    And no, money and social interactions will only carry you so far.
    If you want to blog about multiple topics under the one umbrella then go for it. It’s the way you monetize and how you implement that sales funnel that really counts at the end of the day.
    Disclaimer: my argument can be supported simply by looking at what sort of sites did well after the last update. The natural linking that occurred as a result of such varied topics resulted in some very good domain authority, and you can’t argue with that.

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Alex,

      You make a very good point! It is one thing narrowing down your niche to make your site easier to understand, but if you are just narrowing down for financial or social gain, it will only carry you so far.

      There are some great examples of larger umbrella topic sites that cover lots of different subjects that do very well online. I do think that the majority of these started much smaller, but it does show that sites can expand to be much larger over time if you approach it the right way.

  • Hasan

    Nice.. so much learned from this article. I’ll write a post about niche! :)

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Hasan, Glad you found the post helpful.

  • Rosanna Aranaz

    Thanks for this! Am trying to make my current blog cater to a very niche market…those that love fashion and technology!

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Rosanna,

      Fashion & Technology are very good niches to get into, but it is probably a good idea to narrow it down a bit. You may even be better running two separate blogs and interlinking between the two. That way, you have two narrow niche sites.