How Broad or Narrow Should Your Blog’s Niche Be?
One of the questions that’s come up a few times in the DailyBlogTips survey is how to select a niche, or how to fix problems with one. Usually, problems crop up because a niche is too broad or too narrow.
When I started out in blogging six years ago, the conventional advice was to choose a very specific niche.
Over the past few years, though, I’ve seen thinking on this shift. Most bloggers now suggest a slightly broader niche, as this makes it much easier to build a real business around your blog. Going too broad, however, is also a mistake.
Is Your Niche Too Broad?
Here’s an example of too broad a niche … in fact, this blog doesn’t really have a niche at all:
My blog covers travel, health, personal development, Twitter, and watercolour painting.
While you might personally have a very wide range of interests, it’s not a good idea to combine these into one blog. Even if you have no intention of making money, you presumably want readers – and they’ll want a blog with a focus.
- Choose a core topic (or two or three closely related topics) to focus on. For instance, it might make sense to combine health and personal development.
- Write down what your blog is really about. You might find it’s useful to use bullet points here. Imagine you’re explaining your blog to a friend or a potential new reader.
- Use different outlets for your other interests. If you have a blog on personal development, with a slant towards health, there’s nothing stopping you writing guest posts about watercolour painting.
Is Your Niche Too Narrow?
A very narrow niche might sound like a good idea, but in practice, it can be very tough to get traffic and readers. A too-narrow niche is also a common cause of burnout: you simply run out of things to say, or lose interest.
It might look like this:
Best brushes for watercolour painting.
While that could make a great blog post or even a great series, it’s not going to be an easy topic for a whole blog.
In my experience, bloggers often choose a too-narrow niche not because they’re passionately interested in it but because they hope it’ll make money. The truth is that a slightly broader niche will usually serve you better.
- Move one step up from your current topic. From best brushes for watercolour painting, you might choose to blog about painting tools (brushes, canvases, etc) or you might blog about watercolour painting.
- Consider buying a new domain. Perhaps your current domain name restricts your topics too much, and it’s time to find a new one.
- Rethink how your blog makes money. Very niche sites are often monetised with affiliate marketing or ads. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you might find a broader niche is easier to monetise in other ways (e.g. by selling products or services).
What’s your blog’s niche? Do you think it’s too narrow or too broad? Let us know in the comments!
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13 Responses to “How Broad or Narrow Should Your Blog’s Niche Be?”
With the great competition today from so many media companies it is hard to blog about a small niche without giving up eventually.
I set up a new website http://www.thoughtbrick.com in May with the intention of having a self improvement site covering all areas from skin care to meditation and creativity — it was way too broad, so now I’m just going to focus on meditation and personal development — much better. As you said — focus is key, although sites like lifhack.org work really well.
I just wanted to add that Pat Flynn mentions that sometimes being very specific in your niche can be very profitable, despite the fact that it will not attract a lot of traffic. The reason is because the people who will visit the website are be sure of what they want and are potential buyers. How do you take this comment? Thanks for sharing your ideas!
@Ryan — That sounds like a sensible mix, and I agree that personal development fits well with making money online (or indeed with anything entrepreneurial).
@Emily — It sounds like you’ve got a sensible niche; “online marketing” is obviously pretty broad, but by focusing on small businesses, you’ve got a clearly defined audience. I agree the “business blogging” field is pretty saturated!
@maxwell — What an interesting topic! I don’t think I’ve ever come across a blog on amusement equipment before (I didn’t even know the term!)
There’s no reason not to talk about being visually impaired, and about your impressive weight loss, in the context of helping readers get to know you a bit more and potentially inspiring them.
You’ve obviously got a broad audience, but I suspect the “amusement equipment” blogging niche is a lot less saturated than the “business blogging” niche. 🙂
@Helene — Thanks for adding that! Of course you can weave together more than one topic, though I think the more you add in (and the more diverse they are), the harder it’ll be for your blog to be a coherent whole.
@David — I think you give excellent advice too. 🙂 Music is a great example, because people emphatically DON’T all love the same things!
@Jason — I’d make the blog about one or the other, unless there’s a sensible way to combine them. I know nothing about plant hire or designer furniture — but I’d imagine that they’d have different (if slightly overlapping) audiences?
I have few websites and I’m planning to start a blog. I was wondering what niche should I choose. My sites are about plant hire and designer furniture. Should I blog about the same stuff? Any thoughts?
Good advice! Working in the music business, I often hear “Everybody from 8-80” when I ask a band who would like the music they do. And, of course, when you try to please everybody, you please nobody. 🙂
I think when choosing a niche, you want to be somewhere where you’re not the only one, but not so general or in a market so big that you’ll be forgettable.
Another approach a blogger might consider is the following:
Why not tie our favorite topics to the core of our blog?
The example you mentioned in your post (“my blog covers travel, health, personal development, Twitter, and watercolour painting” LoL) could be well transformed into one that covers 2-3 of these topics, e.g. landscape watercolor painting with travel, as well as travel and/or painting as starting points for personal development, etc. (ok, Twitter doesn’t fit that well with these, but — who knows…)
There are many different angles from which to approach a given topic, and sometimes we can weave them together in a pretty unique way.
My earlier blog focuses on my teachings plus few lifestyle tips. In essence, I could call it a lifestyle coaching blog. When I started to see I could not contain my interest in it. I opened this new one focusing on Technology and Blogging. They are both relatively new. One is less than a month old. And I hope to see them grow. I believe!
According to my experience middle path is the best.You need to choose niches and keywords that get enough no. of searches(at least a couple thousands every month) but don’t have too much competition.
Another factor is how lucrative your niche is.There are some niches where you get paid several dollars per click.So you can make nice amounts of money with them even if they have low search volumes.
Hello; This is an important topic. Knowing how to convert what you are passionette about into the topic of a successful blog is crucial to its success. My blog is there to promote my website where i help people sell amusement equipment. I’m currently writing a series of posts about how to prepare for selling your amusement equipment online. Next, I plan a series about how to purchase equipment safely. And I am hoping to turn at least one of these in to an ebook either as a free gift or as a for profit product to be sold on my site. I am also almost totally blind and have recently lost over 240 pounds from gastric surgery, so sometimes these subjects will also be mentioned if they play into my journey towards becoming the recognized expert in the field and a success with the business. And I have had to gradually expand my target audience from carnivals, circuses, and amusement parks to include family entertainment centers, party hire companies, themed restaurants, shopping malls, and traders villages. Recently, I have even noticed that there are zoos and aquariums, city parks, county fair grounds, cruise ships, pumpkin patches, and other agri tourism businesses own a ride or two for kids to enjoy. And the baseball stadium in seattle and the toys r us in new york city both have 100 ft. tall ferris wheels on site. so I have definitely had to expand my target audience even if i started with a wide niche the worldwide amusement industry. thanks for the great post and take care, Max
It sounds like what Ken Evoy says 🙂
Even some quick researches with Google keyword tool can be a good road map in terms of choosing the right blog concept.
Thanks for reminding some souvenirs.
I focus on taking small businesses and making their numbers boom through online marketing. There’s still (surprisingly) a lot of folks who don’t understand the full power or the range of the online world, and don’t seem to ‘get it.’ As far as niches, we focus onto online marketing and the techniques which are necessary to make businesses popular. We’ve often thought about narrowing that to ‘business blogging’ though that field is incredibly saturated. What do you think?
I focus on making money online, cash gifting and personal development. So far so good. Long ago I focused on cash gifting; a bit too narrow. Over the years I integrated my inspirational writings into my work because self help plays a huge part in making money online.
Get super specific, even when you branch out. Relate each category to the other in order to avoid confusing your readers. Transmit a clear, consistent message to keep your audience.
Thanks for sharing 😉
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