Are you struggling to stay motivated with your blog writing about the same thing again and again?
Or are you flitting around between lots of different topics, trying and failing to find one thing you want to write about?
In the old days of blogging, bloggers were often advised to be very specific – define a niche on a very narrow topic (e.g. “iPhone covers”) and become the expert in that particular narrow field.
Thankfully, things are more relaxed these days. Many bloggers have a fairly broad remit, and it’s become far more common to think about having a niche demographic than a niche topic (which I wrote about on ProBlogger way back in 2007).
Of course, bloggers still need some sort of niche. It’s hard to think of any successful blogs that cover every single topic the blogger could possibly be interested in.
But if the path to finding your niche is a little rocky, don’t worry because…
Plenty of Bloggers Don’t Succeed with Their First Idea
There are lots of bloggers out there who took a while to find their niche. Perhaps you’re one of them.
My blog received less than 20 visitors a day. My newsletter did not exist. I had been blogging for years, but couldn’t connect with an audience, let alone create a product they might buy.
before he finally gained traction with a three-step strategy.
Other bloggers try several niches before finding the one that’s a perfect fit for them. Johnny B Truant started out writing about weightlifting and running for diabetics, used to set up WordPress blogs, and now runs the publishing business Sterling & Stone alongside Sean Platt.
So if your blog seems to be growing very slowly, or you’ve tried out a couple of niches that just weren’t right for you, take heart. It’s an experience many, many bloggers have faced.
When I began blogging in 2002, it was out of curiosity. It wasn’t until a year later that I started my first photography blog (a camera review blog thatI later re-launched as Digital Photography School). And during 2004 I started a lot of different blogs – it got up to 30 at one point. I launched ProBlogger in September 2004, and it wasn’t until 2005 that I went full time. (You can read the full story here.)
Finding Your Niche
There’s no magic way to find the perfect niche for you. But here are some questions you might like think about that could help you choose.
- What have you already tried in terms of blogging? Were there any aspects of it that you particularly enjoyed? Maybe you had a blog about meal planning that you struggled to feel interested in, but loved writing a post about cooking alongside your kids.
- What blogs or magazines do you read? Could you write about similar topics?
- What topics can you imagine yourself talking about or writing about for years to come?
- What sort of blog would feel like “you”? If your current topic seems like an uncomfortable fit, something you wouldn’t want to talk to your friends about, then maybe it isn’t right for you.
I know many bloggers feel they don’t want to confine themselves to a single niche.
If that’s you, maybe you’d find it helpful to focus on your audience instead of on a particular topic. For instance, you might want to write for “parents” or “retirees”, covering multiple topics that would be of interest to that audience.
For more help finding your niche, listen to my podcast on how to decide what your blog should be about, which covers 15 great questions to ask yourself.
Are Your Early Blogging Efforts Wasted?
If you’ve been working hard for months or even years on a blog only to decide your heart really isn’t in it, you might find it very hard to let go.
It can feel like all those words and all that effort to grow your mailing list or to increase your pageviews were a waste of time.
But there’s a different way to look at it. All that work was vital in getting you to where you are right now, and none of it was wasted. The skills you learned, from setting up WordPress to crafting great blog post titles, will be a huge help to you with your next blog.
(If you decide to start a completely new blog, rather than changing direction with your existing one, you might also want to look into selling your first blog.)
When Thomas Edison was working on his nickel-iron storage batteries, he told a reporter, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.
Hopefully you won’t need to go through 10,000 blogs before finding your niche. But you may well need to try out a few wrong paths or false starts before finding the best way forward for you.
Is it Time to Change Direction, or Start Something New?
As you’ve been reading this post, you may think your blog just isn’t a good fit for you anymore. You’re struggling with motivation to write there. Perhaps you got into that niche because you thought it would make money. Or perhaps you picked a topic that interested you a couple of years ago, but is no longer something you find engaging.
Is it time for a change of direction? You could refocus your existing blog. Or you could launch something completely new.
If you’re going to start a new blog, check out these podcast episodes:
- Do These Things Before You Launch Your Blog
- How Many Live Posts Do You Need When You Launch Your Blog
Even better, you can work through our (completely free) Start a Blog Course. Sign up here and get started straight away.
If you’re going to refocus or even relaunch your existing blog (especially if you haven’t written much, or anything, for a while), listen to our podcast episode on how to relaunch a dormant blog.
Finally, if you’d like a hand brainstorming about your new niche, come over to the ProBlogger Community group on Facebook. (Start your post with the hashtag #ask, so we know it’s a question.) We’ll be glad to help you.
Image credit: Tim Mossholder