I'll admit, I'm no seasoned pro when it comes to blogging. Having only launched The Blonde Chiffon about three months ago, there's still a scary/exciting amount to learn. However, having spent countless hours scouring the web for decent blog advice, I feel compelled to address one of the biggest blogging misconceptions that any newbie blogger will run into:
Disclaimer: The above statement is complete B.S...here's why:
Who says you can only blog about one subject? - Do magazines only cover one topic? No. Though most publications have a main focus (think fitness, cooking, fashion, etc.), they often cover a variety of topics in order to appeal to a variety of interests. For example, a magazine may discuss fashion, food, fitness and celebrities all in the same issue. Sure, each section may relate back to a main focus (i.e. Women's Health may cover athletic-inspired fashion, healthy eating, fitness and celebrity exercise techniques), but the most popular outlets still branch out and include a variety of articles. This tends to keep readers more engaged with the content, because each page features something new. The same is true with blogging. Sure, there are many bloggers who hold to very strict niches and do just fine, or even gain tremendous popularity. However, I've found that many of my most frequented sites offer a variety of posts, which appeal to many of my interests. This means that I can visit only a few sites and still get all the content I'm looking for. So, nicheless blogs = lazy girl approved.
ON MY BLOGROLL: One of my favorite sites is Emily Schuman's Cupcakes and Cashmere. Emily discusses a variety of topics including fashion, makeup, hostessing and more. Check out her site here to see how a niche-free blog can work.
You're unique but, odds are, your niche isn't (and it's okay) - One of the most frustrating, yet common, pieces of advice I encountered when first launching TBC was the idea that I had to come up with a unique niche. There's a reason that there's so many popular fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers. These topics appeal to a large amount of people. Most of the people who preach this advice don't have unique niches themselves...and it's pretty damn hard to. I recently read a great post on Fragmented Splendour about blogging like nobody's reading. While I do believe it's important to consider your readers in the blogging process, Annabel couldn't have discussed the blogger niche better:
"I think it's so so easy to feel left out in the crowds, especially if you compare yourself to others constantly and try to be like the bigger blogs. It's easy for people to write advice posts and tell you to take inspiration but don't copy, build a niche, be unique, blah blah, that's all very well but there aren't enough niches in the world, unless you want to blog about lipstick, kung foo and deep sea diving all rolled into one. I'm sure you'd have waterproof lipstick down though girl. Finding your niche is hard," she said.
I couldn't agree more. You're already unique. Instead of focusing on creating a super specific, unique niche, try to come up with unique post ideas. Offer content and ideas that cannot be found anywhere else, and you will stand out from the crowds.
You don't need a niche to build a brand - If I were to play devil's advocate, I would say that establishing a niche could seriously aid in maintaining consistency and organization, especially in the early days of blogging. This is totally true. However, what trumps establishing a niche is building a brand. If you can successfully brand your blog (aka stand for something) you might not need a niche. If you do find yourself getting off track easily and blogging about seemingly random topics, a niche can help you to structure your posts more effectively. However, simply creating a dropdown menu of a few topics you want to blog about will naturally create order and organization on your site.
Do you think bloggers need to establish a niche to be successful? How has having (or not having) a niche affected your blog?