What should a blogger do to make sure he or she will be guaranteed to pick a blog topic that will attract readers regularly?
When I started this blog 19 years ago, I read lots of guidance about choosing the perfect blogging niche. But then I decided to go a different route. I didn’t pick a blog topic that was narrow. In fact, I picked multiple topics to cover here.
Should I have stuck with a single, specific subject? Some might say yes. In fact, some very successful bloggers who make large amounts of income from their sites insist that finding the perfect niche is one of the key rules of blogging.
Good for them.
It’s not that I think they’re wrong. I just don’t happen to agree that in every case, a blogger much pick a blog topic that can be called narrow.
Looking for a ‘perfect’ niche?
If you believe that you have to scoop out a small segment of a topic for your specialty, you will find plenty of suggestions.
WIX came up with a list of 120 blog niche ideas. Who knew there were 120?
Bluehost has an article about finding the perfect niche as well. I’ll pull one quote about finding that perfect niche:
This is the foundation that everything else you do is going to be built upon, and you need to make sure that your foundation is poured in concrete and not built on top of a house of cards.
They want you to believe that you can’t be successful unless you pick a blog topic that is just the right one.
I would argue that this depends on your own definition of success. I don’t make an income from this website. In fact, I never have and I expect I never will. But after 19 years, I’m still going. I am still growing an audience. I even still meet and exceed blogging goals.
So to at least some measure, I’d call this blog successful. My definition might not match yours. But then, you see, that’s the whole point.
What works for me may not work for you. But by the same token, what works for you — or those blogging gurus who make up the so-called rules — might not work for me, either.
Why I went a different route
I don’t claim to be a genius. Nor do I claim that my way is the only way anyone should ever do it.
But I looked at what is often the first piece of advice when you see an article about choosing the perfect niche. That guidance generally says you should always be authentic, you should always write about what you’re passionate about.
That’s when it hit me.
I’m not passionate about just one thing. I’m passionate about several things. At times, I’m more passionate about one thing and then at other times, a different thing edges that other thing out for a bit.
So I write about several topics here: blogging, grammar, life, TV, faith, social media, tech and journalism. The “life” category is sort of an umbrella category for general topics that don’t more properly fit into one of those other sections.
Someone might ask a perfectly reasonable question: How did I know people would want to read through different topics to find one they liked? I didn’t. I didn’t know that anymore than I would know that enough people would be happy with a single topic I chose had I decided to pick just one.
No one knows for sure what will work and won’t work until you get out there and start posting. Even then, you have to work to cultivate and build your audience. They never come quickly. It takes time. You have to be patient. You have to give it more time than you think is reasonable.
That’s when you only begin to see if you’re going to achieve any measure of success.
I figured that if no one cared about grammar, they could find plenty of other topics to enjoy. Same with blogging. Same with faith. And the same with TV.
I like a mixture. It’s not that I won’t visit a blog that’s focused on a simple topic. But if that’s the only topic and it’s not something I’m terribly interested in, I probably won’t stay long.
I’ll offer one more confession. Even on sites that focus on a topic that interests me, I still don’t care about every single post. I like variety, yes. But even in a topic I am passionate about, I may not be passionate about all of it.
I think most people are that way.
I know what my most popular posts are
While I don’t check them every day, or even every week, I look at analytics. I like to know where my readers are going. It turns out that my most popular category here is grammar. Does that mean that if I had it to do over again and could pick a narrow niche, grammar would be the choice? Maybe.
But after 19 years, it seems silly to try to reinvent the wheel now.
Even so, while the majority of my top posts fall into the grammar category, some of my most popular individual posts — the ones at the very top of the list — aren’t necessarily about grammar.
If I look at my top 20 posts, for example, 14 or 15 might be from the grammar category. But two or three in the top five might be from different categories.
That tells me that on this blog, with my writing style and the way I present content, maybe that narrow niche idea wasn’t necessarily the only way to do it.
Maybe, just maybe, when I decided not to pick a blog topic that be narrow, I made the right call after all.
You have to do what works best for you. No matter what the blogging rules might suggest, or what those blogging wizards out there may insist it the only way to do it might be, on your blog, you get to make the decisions, not them.
Do your best to choose wisely!