One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed between the bloggers who have gotten really successful really quickly and are making fantastic profits from their blogs, versus the bloggers who have been around a lot longer but only ever seem to take teeny tiny steps in the right direction but never really get anywhere is that the bloggers who ‘make it’ are the bloggers who know their niche.
Now, if you’re reading this article then the chances are that you already have a blog and you’re here because you’re looking for help and advice on how to take it to the next level. And if your blog doesn’t already fit nicely into a niche then you might be worrying that you’re never going to be able to make that happen. But please don’t worry lovelies, today I’m going to help you decide whether or not you actually need a niche, and share my formula to determine what it should be if you do.
TO NICHE OR NOT TO NICHE. THAT IS THE QUESTION
And what a question that is! Personally, I can see the arguments for both sides.
On the one hand if you keep your blog focus fairly broad then you feel like you have much more freedom with what you actually blog about. There’s more chance of your content appealing to more people and the likeliness of you getting bored or losing interest in your topic is obviously going to be a lot less than it would be if you were blogging about just one specialist subject. And of course your blog will evolve and grow along with you.
Which are all fabulous reasons, right? So why would you even consider niching?
Well, if you do decide to niche down then you can start to position yourself as an expert in your field. You will be able to focus on creating really valuable content for a specific sort of person, and your blog will probably grow much quicker because these specific people will be over the moon that you created this awesome content just for them. And because you write about just one specific subject you’re much more likely to become the go-to blogger for those interested in what you’re writing about because they won’t have to sift through a load of unrelated content to find what they’re looking for. I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that having a niche improves the overall experience for your readers!
And then of course there’s the fact that it’s way easier to monetise a blog when you are an expert who has a stream of loyal readers hanging on your every word. Trust me on this one guys.
SO, SHOULD YOU OR SHOULDN’T YOU NICHE DOWN YOUR BLOG?
I would say NO if you just want to be part of a community of like-minded people. Having a hobby blog is fantastic and if you’re writing about whatever you want to, whenever you want to, then like I mentioned before you’re unlikely to lose interest in your blog and will nurture it for many years to come. But that’s not to say you can never make any money from it. There are always companies looking for bloggers to write sponsored posts and put ads in their sidebars.
You might even go on to become a bit of a web celebrity! Use your blog to promote yourself and your brand. Use it to show off your writing skills and your images etc. Because you could go on to write a book or a column in a magazine. You could even end up being asked to appear on TV. But in the long run it’s unlikely that a blog without a niche is ever going to be a blog that makes a regular monthly income equivalent to a full time wage. And that’s the sort of blog I’m wanting to talk about today.
If you want to start making some serious money from your blog however then YES you most definitely need to think about niching down. Now is the time to start thinking of your blog as a business and stick your business hat on. You’re going to have to make some tough choices and that starts with deciding just what your niche is going to be!
HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR BLOGGING NICHE
I know that some of you are going to be freaking out right now. You’ll be sat reading this and thinking “Oh, but I like to talk about fashion and beauty and cooking and eating out and absolutely everything else that I love.” This is where you need to ask yourself ‘Do I want a blog that makes money or do I want a hobby blog?’ And if you want a blog that makes money lovelies then it’s time to bite the bullet and you’re going to have to niche!
The reason you need to niche down is because to create a successful blog that gets lots of traffic and makes lots of money really quickly and reliably it has to actually help people. And by this I don’t mean it needs to help everybody a little bit. Oh no! It needs to help specific people in a specific way, and it needs to help these people a lot. Think of it this way – if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one!
These days most of the money made through a successful blog isn’t through advertising like it would have been a couple of years ago – it’s actually from products and services that bloggers create themselves. And to be able to create products and services that your readers are going to want to buy, you need to address a problem for them and that’s why I’m saying that you need to niche down. But which niche to select?
Well, I’ve got a little formula for how you figure out what niche you should be serving! All you need to do is click here to download and print off a copy of my ‘Determine Your Niche Worksheet’ and you’ll have it sussed in no time. The worksheet should look a little something like this:
Now, in the first column I want you to write down every single skill you have. No matter how big or small it is, write down anything you know you’re particularly good at. This could be something from your job, something you’ve studied or something you’ve learnt at home from behind your computer screen. It can be anything as long as it’s something you’re naturally really good at and enjoy. Maybe you’re great at crafting or teaching or building things?
In the second column I want you to write down all the things you’re passionate about. I would suggest listing your passions as things you would do if you had the time and you’d do even if you weren’t going to get paid for them. After all, that shows true passion!
And in the last column I want you to list all the people you’re interested in helping. Easy as that. Because what a niche really is is a combination of one of your passions and one of your skills (which sometimes naturally overlap anyway) which are then used to help a certain type of person. But please, please, please don’t specify that certain type of person or people as ‘women’. The third column needs to have at least two to three words describing the type of person you want to help otherwise your target audience will be too broad.
Once you’ve filled in the 3 columns spend a few minutes looking at it to see if you can spot a great combination of the 3 that will end up becoming your niche. I did this exercise with a friend the other day and once she’d written her list she noticed that the type of person she needed to serve sort of ‘jumped out’ at her from the paper!
If you still need a little push in the right direction then I would say that the person you want to be blogging for is probably the sort of person you would want to hang out with or that you genuinely want to help. This is because you’re going to be spending a lot of time online interacting with these people, and if you don’t like them or genuinely want to help them then you’re going to find it really, really draining.
Have a good think and see if you can find your niche. And let me know in the comments below if you found my formula helped at all. I really hope it does!
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Thanks for reading guys.
*PS: For those of you worried about alienating some of your existing readers if you niche down, please don’t. Just because you focus on helping on specific person doesn’t mean the people who don’t 100% fit into that genre will just disappear. They could still find some value in what you are doing too. Good luck!
© 2015, Louise Smith. All rights reserved.