“You MUST have a niche if you ever want to be a successful blogger.”
Have you ever heard or read this one? If so, does it ever make you cringe? Or do you nod your head in agreement?
Personally, I cringe when I read a blogger must have a niche. Sometimes, I get mad and want to fling a shoe at someone. How dare these people tell me or other bloggers we can’t be successful with no niche? Um, BITE ME.
When I first entered the blogging world in August 2010, I attempted writing a food blog. Nevermind the fact that I was a wannabe foodie who had only a passing interest in all things food and was lucky she could boil water. I read somewhere that I had to have a specific topic. Not surprisingly, that blog failed.
Six months after I attempted that blog and subsequently dumped it in the virtual trash, I began a blog called The Coffee Pot Chronicles. With that blog, I had no ideas or goals in mind for what I wanted to write. It was a no niche blog. And I liked it that way.
During the first year of writing what I wanted (and with almost no success), I was often on the fence about whether I should narrow my topics. Guilt crept in as I looked around at niche specific blogs and saw what kind of success they were having. Then again looks can be deceiving.
When I joined local blogging groups in 2012, that guilt became even worse. Mommy blogs, cooking blogs, craft blogs. Little old me was writing whatever she damn well pleased. No focus. No direction. Just writing what made me happy. Or so I thought.
I ended up miserable. I felt like an underachiever because I had no clear focus, no direction and certainly no major goals. To this day, I still don’t. I’ll get to that.
At some point, I inadvertently put myself into a “housewife no kids” kind of a niche. I had no clue what the hell it was but there it was: The housewife who had no kids. That was what defined my blog. And again, I was miserable.
By late 2012 I decided I’d had enough. It was time to move on. Time to begin anew. Time to get out of the hole I dug myself into and try a different blog with a different name. And so, I launched this blog thinking I could escape the guilt of not having a niche. Nope.
During the first 3-4 months while struggling to figure out how to monetize, I still felt the pressure to narrow down my topics. Find a niche that worked for me and would be something I could keep up for weeks or months. So I sat down and started looking at what interested me the most:
- Writing: Perfect! I love to write so maybe I can write about writing such as the process or coming up with ideas.
- Wine: Awesome! I love wine so this could work as well.
- Food: Hmm. Maybe. I tried it once but it failed. I know more now though so MAYBE it could work.
- Blogging: I’m not an expert but I have opinions and a decent amount of knowledge. Maybe this can be my niche.
- Weight loss: Tried that with an entirely new blog. Didn’t work.
My levels of frustration were through the roof. I wanted so bad to be more specific, to say I actually had a niche and not just say “I’m a lifestyle blogger.”
What the hell is a lifestyle blogger anyway? I don’t have much of a life and I sure as shit don’t have style. I’m simply a writer with a blog. A writer who likes to write and just babble about whatever gets her going at any given time.
Some time in the fall of last year something clicked. I think it was around the time I did NaBloPoMo or within the weeks after I decided to bow out. I finally came to terms with being a no niche blogger. I stopped feeling guilty and started embracing who I was as a writer and blogger. I’m a no niche blogger and damn proud of that.
Do I have topics I write about more often than most? Absolutely. But I write about them because they’re my passion, they’re things that get me excited. Things that matter to me whether it’s thoughts about writing and/or blogging, photography, travel, or thoughts about things going on in the world.
When I stopped giving a crap about having a niche and let myself write freely without worrying about what others thought I saw my blog grow. Coincidence? Perhaps. But it could just be that once I allowed myself to be me and not waste time on doing what blogging resources said I should I became a better writer.
These days, I strongly disagree with the need to have and/or define one’s niche. If it works for someone, great. But this no niche blogger is doing just fine, thank ya much. To borrow and adapt a bit from the movie Blazing Saddles:
“Niches? We don’t need no stinking niches!”
Now, someone pass the beans and let’s a have a rooty tooty good time by the campfire. Or we’ll just sit back and have a glass of wine. Whatever works.