Should you create a niche for your blog?
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This post is by Lauren of A Typical Atypical

We all know that the world of blogging is a strange and busy place, filled with everything from amateurs to professionals and a million shades of gray in-between. Making your own personal space in this great mêlée of opinions and photographs is a challenging thing, and nowhere more so than the cluttered environment in which lives the fashion blogger.

The literature out there generally reaches a consensus that to build a strong and interested audience you need to have a niche. You need to approach your topic from a new angle or position, have a totally unique concept, or build a peculiar design. You need a specialism, a qualification, and a function. In short, if you blog about life the universe and everything it seems likely that you won’t be heard.

From a pure point of view, thinking about SEO and link building, this is often sadly true. Having a keyword dense website on a particular topic makes you more likely to show up in searches, in much the same way that a highly relevant domain name will do your standing favours. Writing relevant external articles that link into your site or encouraging like-minded people to reference your work just builds on the effect. This strategy is diluted ten fold if your blog, like mine, covers topics ranging from shoes to thrifting to designer, passing cheese and pets in-between.

It seems that the technical evidence supports niches, the downside is that whilst having a unique position and defined speciality can help you, not everyone suits this way of thinking. This forgets that not only are people generally multitaskers with a range of interests, but that blogging isn’t just for other people. Blogging and writing for yourself, as a personal diary or set of rants about the world is your prerogative, and noone can slate you for not having a boring old niche.

That said, people with niches do tend to do very well. Look at lovely blogs like Already Pretty which focuses in on everyone being beautiful, Shoeperwoman which chats all about shoes, and Catwalk Queen which addresses catwalks and celebrity style. All of these have clear niches and do very well off the back of it.

So, how can you develop a niche if you like writing about all sorts of things? Well, if you are passionate about your blog getting noticed this is a sensible thing to try and do, so why not follow some of this advice?

  • Write around a general theme – party outfits, work clothes, all about tights… anything goes and there is bound to be people and companies interested in what you say.
  • Write about a specific topic – like Facehunter, this could be street fashion, catwalk shows, copying films stars looks.
  • If you don’t want to write about one thing, then why not develop an attitude that runs across lots of topics, like magazine sites Bitchbuzz and Domestic Sluttery. This is a great option if you have a style but not a genre.

If none of these suit you, however, then totally focussed writing may not be for you – and there is nothing wrong with that! I, personally, love writing for blogs and sites with a niche, yet could never begin to focus my personal blog enough. But that doesn’t matter, as my blog is my blog and I still manage to keep up traffic levels. Using your initiative and finding alternate ways to get people reading and returning is more important that doing what the blog experts tell you – so go wild, and be free!

Image by evilerin / CC BY 2.0

Comments

  1. Kionon says:

    Seems to me that this is a lot harder than it seems. Your readership will, in some way, affect your direction. I find that what I want to blog about and what my readers want me to blog about are not always the same. And my posts have branched out based on suggestions by my readers. I started off with a clear idea that I had two ideas and two only: my style, and the style of the people who live around me. Any additional genres I move into are in direct response to requests by my readers. Which I am only too happy to oblige.
    .-= Kionon´s last blog ..Alexander McQueen 1969-2010 =-.

  2. Jaime says:

    I think that personal background, experiences and expertise has a huge effect on how your site evolves… you just have to be willing to evolve with it.
    .-= Jaime´s last blog ..Lookbook: Rockstar Sushi Spring/Summer 2010 (Part 2) =-.

  3. Thanks for the article! I am in this exact position right now and trying to figure out to get people to visit my site, leave comments, and suggest what they want to read about…slowly coming along. any tips would be greatly appreciated!

  4. WendyB says:

    I wish I had more of a niche — and it would seem that I should because my blog is really supposed to promote my jewelry — but I wouldn’t want to read an all jewelry blog so I don’t write one. If anyone can sum up what exactly I do write about in three to four words, I’d appreciate that because I’ve been looking for an easy-to-understand label!
    .-= WendyB´s last blog ..Alexander McQueen Commits Suicide =-.

  5. Ondo Lady says:

    My motto on writing has always been this: write about what you know.
    .-= Ondo Lady´s last blog ..Fashioning February: TGI Friday =-.

  6. Sandra says:

    Such a great topic. I am obviously a niche – vintage. But even within a small niche, you can have micro-niches. The downside of having a niche is that your traffic will never compare to more general blogs. So even though you may be on page 1 of Google, ad networks and blogging communities may think you are too small.

    I think we are slowly reaching a marketing crossroads in blogging where smaller but targeted audiences are equally as important and numbers. At least I hope!
    .-= Sandra´s last blog ..Interview | Christie’s Director of Fashion & Textiles, Patricia Frost =-.

  7. Steff Metal says:

    Great post. I was lucky too in that my niche was so obvious when I started my blog. I’m a metalhead, I live and breathe heavy metal. I wanted to write about heavy metal, but not CD and gig reviews like everyone else does. So I write a Cosmopolitan magazine for metalheads, with fashion and lifestyle tips, and it’s getting more popular every day.

    I think having a niche, even if your niche is more related to your audience than your topics – “woman who like a certain style of fashion”, or “US women who adore European style” or something – is one of the major keys to blogging success, at least, it has been on all my blogs.
    .-= Steff Metal´s last blog ..The Metalhead’s Guide to Interior Decorating =-.

  8. Michelle says:

    Niches are one of those things that I find myself stuck on. It seems like the two big pieces of advice when it comes to blogging – “be true to your personal brand” and “develop a niche” conflict with each other…or I would think they would. I mean, I write mostly about fashion and style, but that’s not all I’m interested in or all I do. So when I want to write about other things I’m interested in or doing, what do I do? Not write it because it’s outside my “niche”? Write it because it’s my blog/personal brand?

    Sorry if this is a derail – it’s been something that’s kind of frustrating me lately!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..The Oil Cleansing Method: A Review =-.

  9. eyeliah says:

    I’ve been leaning more against the side of a niche on style symmetry branchng out my content to many different areas and topics. I find for me it makes blogging more fun and interesting and hopefully others will to. Then again, my street style site (that I used as the comment luv link today) is a total niche! ;)
    .-= eyeliah´s last blog ..Pierre Luc =-.

  10. erin says:

    on the one hand, being too broad might not make you super-appealing to readers, but being too focused on one topic might limit you. i think the best way to approach it is to find and develop your own voice. you might be discussing something everyone has been talking about, but if you have a unique take on a variety of topics, then you’ll probably attract tons of readers.
    .-= erin´s last blog ..long live mcqueen =-.

  11. I clearly follow some blogs that have a certain niche and enjoy them. I know what to expect from them and they deliver. I also follow blogs that cover many different areas and in general life. I enjoy those because they are fresh and I never know what to expect from them. I find pleasure in both. I truly am still trying to figure out my niche or reason for blogging. This is because I started it with just business (vintage clothing dealer here) reasons in mind, but it has blossomed into much more. So, I might niche myself. But, knowing myself, I am not a niche. So, if my blog relects the real me, it will not be a niche. It will be whatever is true for me on that day. And, I think that is OK. And, I don’t really care if anyone gets it really. Because, all I can do is be authentic and hope for the best.

    Christina
    .-= Fabulous Finds Gal´s last blog ..Figuring Out What Is Really Important In Life =-.

  12. Anna Jane says:

    When it comes to fashion blogging I can see it being a bit of a mistake to become too nichey. Sure, we already having handbag blogs, shoe blogs and street style blogs with plenty of followers, however for the novice blogger it’s probably best to start out with a broad subject range and tighten it up on account of what the readers want to see.

    Personally, my blog is mainly opinion-based – my opinions on trends, the industry, outfits, celebrities – it seems broad but I think having original ideas and strong opinions are necessary if you’re not going for an exact niche as such.
    .-= Anna Jane´s last blog ..Rest in peace, Alexander. =-.

  13. Laumika says:

    I’m not really aware of the collections or fashion trends, but when I started to study fashion design I was looking like mad a web where they thought me how to make patterns and sew. And I never could find a real good one, seems like a big secret. So I was for a couple of years reading a lot of books about this topic and also looking in the net. (I still hadn’t find a good one) I used to find people that posted they had make a dress or a skirt, but not how. So I decided my blog would be share with people like me my little knowledge of patterning so you always have a page where reading how to make something or someone willing to help you out with it.
    .-= Laumika´s last blog ..Las Pinzas =-.

  14. Jenny says:

    What a wonderful article! I’m excited that this article addresses the need to be joyful in what you blog about. It seems very shrewd and very business minded and calculating and smart to develop a niche, but it’s antithetical to the freedom I want to feel, or at least be under the illusion of having, when I blog. I love blogs that are expansive and sassy and cross spoken/unspoken boundaries, but I also know that I frequent blogs that have a niche because I’m interested in that particular topic. It’s so difficult to suss out! But I know if I sat down and said, this is the niche I want to develop, it would feel so awful and strange and unnatural to actually try and consciously develop that.
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..267. Poll and Giveaway Results =-.

  15. Zenobie says:

    These are interesting tips and good things to keep in mind, however, if my blog were ever to become successful I would want it to become so on its own merit, not as a result of me tailoring my style. Many bloggers carve out niches for themselves organically, and without prior thought. The good thing about blogging is that you are not confined to one particular topic as you would be if you wrote for a magazine for example. I guess it all comes down to what you want from your blog.

  16. I’ve been trying o find a niche for my blog for months now, but I can’t quite get it right. I am working on a new idea now though, to be unveiled soon :) It does feel like everything has already been covered though.
    .-= Rosie Unknown´s last blog ..What I Wore: Slightly Gothic =-.

  17. @Fabulous Find Girl
    I started the same way – blogging as a marketing tool for my vintage business. But then it took on a life of it’s own. You are now officially a blogger!

    I think voice is very important. It’s important in any medium. If you can’t distinguish yourself in some way, either by specific topic, or identifiable voice, you’ll be lost in the crowd. But I think being part of the crowd is ok too.

  18. My motto…To thine own self be true.. Your truth to style may be your own unique Style DNA
    .-= Style Revolution´s last blog ..I Confess.. I’m A Baghag =-.

  19. Great topics!
    At the first time I blogged about everything that were interesting for me, but then I figured out that my interest become pointed to some niche, so I started a new blog for it. I noticed that it’s much easier to grow a blog with a niche…
    .-= FashioningFaith´s last blog ..A Sneak Peek!: Vela’s Pre Spring 2010 Collection and Pearl Daisy’s February 2010 New Offers =-.

  20. Agree with what everyone else has said! Definitely write about what you know and enjoy! I love fashion and economics/public relations, a strange combination. But that’s what I write about and people seem to like it.
    .-= Madeline Veenstra´s last blog ..Eva Internazionale =-.

  21. Maggie says:

    I can’t imagine creating a blog without a focus in mind. In my opinion–why? Mine is niche–music/fashion. I’ve noticed through research that there also aren’t a lot of blogs like mine that focus on music and fashion, and actually know what they’re talking about in the music section.

    I wanted to create a fashion blog for quite a while, but I wanted it to be about something. When I figured that out, it really came into place. It’s great because I know exactly where to promote my blog as far as websites, and what other sorts of fashion bloggers would be into my blog. I also do have a certain niche style that comes with music (I try not to define by one genre) so I know what my readers will really like as far as fashion goes. For the most part they do like what I like, but it does follow a general theme.

    Finding a niche is a great idea. I guess my knowing one and learning from IFB’s archives helped me in the promotion dept because I’ve only been up for a few months and my readership has expanded quickly.

    I sound ultra-excited about this, but I think a niche is always the way to go. People always think making something all-encompassing is a great idea, but it just makes things too vague.

  22. Maggie says:

    I must also comment that someone said this seems too “calculating.”
    This is what people have done since the beginning of time. You have to catch a reader’s attention somehow. View it as a writer with that opening line–You base everything on the opening line.

    • Zenobie says:

      I can’t speak for that person but like I said in my comment it’s all down to what you want from your blog. If you want the whole blogger fame thing then it’s probably a good idea to implement a plan of action. That said people are smart and will see through any obvious planning. I say just go with it, post frequently, write about what you love and the rest will just fall into place.
      .-= Zenobie´s last blog ..New York fashion week part I =-.

  23. meghan says:

    No, not a “fashion” blogger, but I do see too many blogs that can’t find focus. We seem to have too much focus. Not 100% why bloggers would want to create something that there are already 100 of already… :)

  24. This is a great article and I definitely can relate to the problem outlined in the the article. Building traffic to my site has definitely been challenging, but I’ve been overcoming it slowly but surely. Once people visit a few times and see that I really am a niche…providing shortcuts to fabulous living, they come back. But I think people have to visit a few times to get what the site is all about since some days I give fashion tips, some days travel tips, some days entertaining, some recipes, saving money, etc. I have a few blogs like Athroholic on my feed that are clearly niches, but I think lifestyle blogs are fab too. I guess when you have a clearly defined niche blog it is easy to target readers, but the broader your scope, the more difficult it is to market yourself.

  25. Louise says:

    This is a great article … thanks. I post generally about vintage and vintage inspired fashion, with a few books and current fashion items thrown in. Having a niche definitely helps build readership, and then your readership tends to shape the way you write then too. Everyone loves receiving positive feedback and comments, and one of the loveliest parts of blogging is engaging with an audience with similar interests from all corners of the globe.

  26. haha, it seems like I fit into the last group about Attitude :)
    .-= F (For All The F’s)´s last blog ..: The Thing About The Rules Of Style =-.

  27. Jessica says:

    This is such a tough one, as evidenced by all of the previous comments. I started my blog as a “shopping blog” encompassing beauty, fashion, accessories, shoes, you name it. Basically, all of the things that I love. But I have definitely wondered many times whether I really need to refine my focus.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Sale alert: Banana Republic =-.

  28. Sally says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, doll! I’m so glad to hear that my blog reads as a focused one … I do try to keep it that way, but sometimes the mind wanders.
    .-= Sally´s last blog ..Accessory Organization on the Cheap =-.

  29. Linda says:

    The most popular fashion blogs tend to be more broad, but when you are just starting out, it helps to focus on a niche. People will come to your blog because they can’t find that content elsewhere.

    My two main websites (http://stealherstyle.net & http://hayleyfashion.info) are both very specific, not just to celebrity fashion but to specific celebrities. Surely there are more people interested in posts about Ashlee Simpson’s fashion, but there are many blogs covering this already. I rank much higher in google for my posts about Sierra Kusterbeck, singer of a not very famous band, and fans of hers read my blog regularly for these posts. Perhaps as my blog gets more popular it would be beneficial to cover more mainstream celebrities, but right now I am getting far more traffic for the niche.

  30. julia says:

    such an interesting topic – it really makes me reflect on my core audience and what my niche may be -
    .-= julia´s last blog ..Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week F/W 2010: Milly, Brian Reyes =-.

  31. Urooba says:

    Interesting article; made me think.
    But I’m one of those without a niche, I believe.
    I’m a relatively new blogger and as much as I convince myself my blog is for me, and it really does not matter if I don’t have traffic and an audience and followers, I in actuality, would like all that.
    Even as a hobbyist ‘style’ blogger.

  32. great interview with lots of good insight!

    thanks for the motivation going into the weekend …where i usually conceptualize my posts for the following week!

    xo
    eva
    .-= Eva // evoluer´s last blog ..IFB // Links à la Mode // April 8 =-.

  33. Crislex says:

    I am still trying to find my niche, I do not know who to direct my audience to. I just usually have an idea of what I want to blog about and find the right images and post it. I think my goal is to just write about fashion that appears in the NOW, and then up and coming trends…The only problem I have at the moment is trying to get followers/subscribers.

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