One of the first things any new blogger must do is decide on a topic or niche. This post will help you determine whether your blog topic is specific enough (or too specific), and how to get it just right to set yourself up for success.
You Can't Be Everything to Everyone
One of the things I’ve learned over the years of blogging and running my business is that you don’t get anywhere by trying to please everyone. It may sound counterintuitive, but being much more specific in who you serve can actually get you more readers and customers.
Why? Because when you focus on a broad topic, people won’t necessarily feel like they’ve found the “right place” when they land on your site. They may come to your website for a blog post about growing succulents for beginners, and they’d happily stick around for more succulent-gardening-related advice, but instead they find posts on baking and your pet dog. You’re not giving them enough of any one topic, so they head off to find another blogger that will!
On the flip side, if they come to you for a post about growing succulents for beginners and find more posts about taking care of succulents, making unique succulent arrangements, and propagating succulents, then they’re far more likely to stick around, read more of your stuff, subscribe to your email list and buy your ultimate succulent-growing guide. In short, they’re far more likely to become raving fans and not just passers-by.
(Yes, some bloggers write on a wide variety of topics under the category of “lifestyle blogging”. It can work, but there is still a cohesive personality and message tying all of the content together. However, for most, niching down to a more specific subject is the best way to grow in the beginning.)
By the way, my blog naming worksheet will come in handy once you have your niche and want to find a name that fits. Click the button below to download it…Click here to download my free blog-naming worksheets and checklist
Convinced of the benefits of niching down yet? I hope so! Here's how to do it…
3 Questions to Help You Evaluate Your Topic
If you’re not sure whether your niche is specific enough, try asking yourself these three key questions:
1) How Many Words Define Your Topic?
If you had to put a name on your niche, what would it be? The chances are that if your market can be described in 1 (or sometimes 2) words, you are trying to please too many people. For example, if your niche is “gardening” or “vegetable gardening” then that’s probably too broad to stand out. If instead, it’s “indoor vegetable gardening” then that’s a much more targeted market. Bear in mind that this isn’t a hard and fast rule, it’s just a good starting point!
2) What Would a Stranger Think?
Next, think about how an absolute stranger to your website would think about your topic. Would it be clear to them from a quick browse what your topic was? Or would they be confused when looking at your most recent posts? (If you don't have a blog yet, think about some of the posts you might write.)
3) Are Your Most Popular Posts Related?
If you already have an established blog, check out your analytics and take a look at your most popular posts. Are they all on the same topic or subject? If not – if your top posts drawing the most traffic are all talking about different things – your topic may be too broad.
How to “Niche Down” to a More Specific Topic
If you’ve realised your niche is too broad, then it’s time to tighten your focus. Choose one topic instead of several. If you’re already noticing a trend in the posts that get the most attention, or that you write more of, then it might be easier to choose a tighter focus.
If you’re stuck, though, here are a few ways to come up with ideas:
- Combine Your Interests: Make a list of all of your interests and see whether they can be combined. If you love to travel and are passionate about the environment, then you can easily combine the two into an eco-friendly travel sub-niche.
- Look at Books & Magazines: Take a look at the chapter titles and contents of books and magazines to get more specific topic ideas (this makes great inspiration for individual blog posts, too!)
- Define Your Purpose: You could also come at it from another angle, by defining your purpose or target audience and letting this shape your niche. For example, if you know that your big “why” is to help 20-something women become more confident, you could combine this purpose with another interest to come up with a sub-niche like solo travel for 20-something women or promoting body confidence through self-care and healthy living.
- Check Your Competition: Checking the competition can be dangerous, so be careful not to get bogged down in comparisons! Instead, I want you to look at a few of your competitors within your broad niche topic and ask what it is about their website that makes it more specific. Is it who they are targeting? Is it their humour? Is it the way they deliver the information? It’ll give you a few ideas, and you may just find something about your personality and delivery that stands out against all of them!
Potential Drawbacks of Niching Down
Before I end this post, I just want to address a few of the possible drawbacks of niching down. You may be worried that you’ll get bored, or even that you’ll run out of topics. This is why it’s important to choose a topic that you’re passionate about. As long as you’re passionate, you’ll actually find that a smaller niche can really help you come up with great content ideas. You’ll no longer be limited to just scratching the service, you can share everything you know! And don’t forget that your niche can evolve and even change with time. You’re not stuck forever!
Hopefully, the idea of niching down makes sense to you now, and you can move ahead with confidence knowing that it really can get you more traffic and grow your business a lot faster than trying to be everything to everyone!Need help coming up with a name for your new blog? Click here for a free worksheet & checklist