When I started blogging, I looked around to see what the experts recommended and, time after time, they said to have a focus for my blog. Write about one topic. One. Have a niche for your blog and you’ll get an audience that knows what to expect and that will respect your blog.
So, I did. My blog focuses on writing, books and reading. That’s it…ahem. I do comment on my daily life from time to time and tell readers about my dogs and other funny bits, but the majority of my posts are on topic. I try to follow their advice but, now, after a while, I started wondering…is that good advice?
Here‘s a post by Jessica Lawlor who argues against the ‘experts’ and leaves her blog unfocused.
What do you think? Is that a necessity for a blog? Do you as a reader turn away if you find a post that’s not on topic? Is that too rigid? Do you follow that idea with your own blog or are you more relaxed about it?
A blog is supposed to be a fun place to let your thoughts flow, no matter what the subject might be 😀 I think you have to decide as an individual what suits you best and how you want your blog to be. I don’t think what experts say on it should matter, they aren’t you and they aren’t your readers.
I personally love the posts you write about your dogs, for example 😀 But then I also really enjoy your writing posts!
What do you do, Harliqueen? Do you stick to writing about books or do you go where the wind takes you? 🙂
Actually, looking at my blog, I do only blog about writing and reading 😀 But then, that’s only ’cause it suits me as a person 🙂
There are some writer’s blogs I follow who post 90% about their life, but I still follow their blogs because it’s nice to connect with others.
You’re right. Its nice to connect and life stories do that. Thanks for answering, Harliqueen!
I think blogs with more variety are more appealing to me personally. It can focus on one topic, but I’d prefer if the topic were broad. Like my blog? It’s about me. I’m a singular topic. But I’m all pretty varied in what that entails for my blog. I’m one-part Army, one-part writer, one-part photographer, one-part traveler, one-part opinionated shithead, one-part a million other things…
Blogs that focus too much on one little tiny aspect of something actually bore me. And I actually get excited when a very focused blog posts something “off-topic.” I feel like it gives me a glimpse at the real person behind the blog and not just some weird blog robot or something haha.
Variety is the spice of life after all. Thanks for that input, Sierra!
My niche was a multi niche from starters, as my blog is called “Science Fiction, Transmedia & Fandom” which are my primary fields of research (with gender studies being included on a regular basis). I am lucky that my leisure activities and my research ones are similar enough that I can write reviews in between talking about my projects and that it loosely fall in the same big and plural niche. I didn’t expect children media to become so important, but it works. In the end you could say that I have a niche and yet not one, as I don’t focus on one single thing or field. I think that the blog reflecting who you are and what you do is the most important element.
That makes sense. If your focus is multi levelled, then it makes sense that your blog would be too! Thanks so much for the comment, Natacha!
My blog is pretty broad and bit scattered. Every time I make an attempt to narrow it down it seems to resist. I guess that’s just the way my mind works. People who have a great idea for a narrowly focused blog should follow it. For the most part, though, I think a blog should be built around what the blogger wants to achieve and the way their mind works.
Ah…thanks so much for that insight, Trent! I think you’re probably right!
I focus on my writing and self publishing journey, but I’m not afraid to let it wander. I believe readers, of both blogs and books, connect with people. I don’t want to be so rigid to my purpose that I alienate people. I’ve included posts about pets, cooking, looking for mushrooms, and a few from my soapbox. I have no idea whether I’m right or not, but it’s what I do.
Do you think it’s working? Do you get positive feedback?
I get regulars who comment. In my opinion, it’s working well. My blog is slowly growing with a follower or two per day.
I haven’t had the rush that comes with being freshly pressed. Many of those followers don’t stick around anyway.
And the ones you’re getting seem truly interested. Makes sense! Thank you for answering back!
My blog is somewhere in between. There are a few consistent topics with a section for each but I do blog about other things. I don’t think there’s away to separate writing from the rest of my life, so without the context, I’d be trying to write in a vacuum. In general, though, it just depends on the author’s preference. Both approaches can work if the blog is consistent and well written.
Thanks, Rose. It seems that the answer varies depending on the author of the blog!
This is such a great question! I started a positive themed blog to help me keep a positive outlook on life and to reach out to others with that same desire. It is my way to counter negativity. However, I find myself following many blogs that are so different from my own and I sometimes feel limited in what I should post. I’ve recently been thinking about starting a second personal blog, one where I can post on any topic that’s on my mind without having to worry if it’s outside of my niche. Some of my favorite blogs do not have a niche.
That was exactly why I asked. Is it limiting? Should we broaden the focus? Thanks so much for your thoughts!!
I think it depends on what your goal is for your blog. If you’re out to get the maximum number of followers you can, maybe it’s a good idea to listen to the “experts”; I don’t know. Personally, I’d rather follow blogs where I have the sense that the posts are “real”, and that there’s a person behind them, not a robot working to a schematic. I don’t mind the occasional personal posts at all – if I see a post on my reader where I think the topic isn’t so interesting for me, I’ll skip it, but I’ll come back and read the ones that sound interesting. I have to manage my time, and if I miss some great posts, so be it.
On the flipside, I don’t really mind whether people read all of my posts or only some of them. I began my blog mainly to set up an online presence (just in case this writing thing works out!), but I’m having fun posting about things I like. My blog is about me and my interests (the main one happens to be writing), but life/family/writing comes before my blog and I’m not doing it to cater to someone’s idea of what I should be doing. It’s nice getting more followers, but getting those is not my main goal, and if I see a notification that someone started following me whose posts are about how to make money with your blog, I think, “Nice for you, but you’re not really interested in my posts, you’re following me to get me to look at your blog, and my time is too precious for that.” (Those people are probably the “experts” telling you how you should blog.)
After about three months of this now, I’m starting to get a sense of which blogs I really enjoy reading (like yours! I even like the dog posts!) and which bloggers read mine and occasionally even comment. Rarely I’ll be inclined to write a technical post that isn’t intended for my main “audience” but it’s one of the facets that makes up what I am. So I guess my point is, I enjoy blogs that are about the blogger, not about their readers, therefore I make my blog about me, not about maximising my followers. I can live with that 🙂
You’re not alone. I find that most answers today have been to follow the blogger, not the focus. Thank you so much for the input!
I think it’s nice to have a healthy balance. I enjoy blogs that have a clear theme – books, reading, writing and poetry are my personal areas of interest – but I also like to see something a little different every now and then; something that perhaps gives us a small insight into the person behind the blog 🙂
A mix. So it’s not a robotic posting. Thanks, Callum!
My bog does have focus. My life, which consists of reading, writing, stories, what I am discovering, cats, Other Half, knitting…
I think it is perfectly okay to blog about something random. Keeps it fresh and interesting. Catches new readers possibly.
And it makes it more authentic and not as ‘fake’. I would have to agree!
I am much newer at this than you, but I have two separate blogs…one on the topic of healing from deep depression, the niche for my upcoming book, the other just general I have way more fans on my general blog if that means anything.
Two blogs…that’s a lot of work!! And a lot of rewards. Thank you for that input!
🙂 you’re welcome. I’m just learning how to seriously do all this.
Me too!! 🙂
I know what you mean Taylor, before I started my blog I was reading a lot of suggestions from experts. Eventually I just said “to heck with it” and started Inky Tavern. My thoughts were that I was going to focus it on me and the things that I like the most (which happens to be writing).
And it’s been working for you? I get from your answer that you were authentic with your blog. That seems to be the best recipe for success and what most people are suggesting as a focus. So interesting. Thanks so much for the comment, Desiree!!
I believe that it’s working. I’m just really happy that there are others who are willing to read what I write. 🙂
Diana and spent hours talking about this when we were deciding how to set up our blogs. One of the reasons I have one that’s pretty well-niched and another that can write about anything at all is because I wasn’t sure. I could write a post or two about why we set things up the way we did.
Here’s what I think, now that I’ve seen how it worked out. It doesn’t pay to have a narrow focus, but you can’t just be all over the place. What you need is a content spectrum. Part Time Monster’s content has the best balance of the three, I think. The Writing Catalog started out too narrow, but I’m adjusting it. With Sourcerer, the unfocused approach has worked better than expected, but our traffic is very unpredictable.
I agree with the comment upthread that it depends on your goal. Our goals were pretty clear at the beginning, and for the most part, we’re meeting them, but it’s taking three blogs and a dozen people to do it. And our smallest blog is the one with the best-defined niche, but it’s also the one that gets the fewest updates and the least original content. So, I can’t really say at this point. I’m really interested in the question, though, and thanks for that link to Jessica Lawlor’s article.
Just based on which of our posts have done well and which haven’t so far, I’m inclined to think things like personality, usefulness, humor, and your taste in images are more important than finding the niche.
I hear you. I wondered about that exact question. I don’t think we’re alone because of the interest the post generated. A lot of people suggested what you’ve just mentioned: humour, personality. I think you’re completely right, it has to be a content spectrum that works for the author. Not that easy to define or find.
Not easy at all. What we finally did was sit down and think about all the people who either expressed interest in reading the blogs or contributing, and decided to write about the things we talk about offline with those people. Our setup is partly to present all this different stuff in a way that’s appropriate, and partly because we decided that one blog with Diana and I sharing ownership that talked about all that stuff in one place would never have the distinctive personality a blog needs.
Ahhh. That makes sense! A good idea!
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Thanks so much for sharing my post here! 🙂 Appreciate it.
You’re so welcome! 🙂
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