Why Choosing a Blog Niche Might Not Be a Good Idea

Why Choosing a Blog Niche Might Not Be a Good Idea

By Guest Author

jetty

There are a few pieces of advice that tend to come as standard when you look for help with blogging. “Write compelling content”, “network in your niche”, and “stay consistent” are probably the most common words of wisdom you’ll receive. “Pick the right niche” ranks right up there with them as well.

Choosing the right niche, in the case of blogging, usually just means that you should pick a topic you’re passionate about, which also happens to have a large audience. It’s advice I’ve given myself throughout the years and I still see it on many blogs today.

Yet, I just don’t think it’s relevant anymore.

After more than 15 coaching calls in the last month, I had the realisation that this advice just isn’t helping people, especially with 10 of those calls involving my client stressing out about which industry they should be blogging in.

“Should I define myself as a blog on Lifestyle design or Personal Development?” and “Will people know what I mean by Creative Marketing?” were just some of the related queries that I received.

I instantly replied with “Don’t worry about it” which not only helped bring these people some relief, but also touched upon something that I think everyone should think about. In my opinion, choosing your blog niche – in most cases – just doesn’t really matter anymore.

Defining yourself is a waste of time

I used to run a blog which covered my journey of going from college dropout and leaving England at 18 to working for a big marketing agency in Cape Town where I didn’t know one single person. It was a site that not only grew to thousands of subscribers very quickly, but a site where I worked very hard to define what it was about.

I wanted everyone to know that my blog covered the topic of personal development. Yet, the only place I actually mentioned personal development was in the title tag (to increase search engine rankings for that phrase). The sites’ name, PluginID, didn’t really give much away, and neither did the “Plug into your identity” tagline.

Looking back, my focus on just writing about “personal development” actually hindered me in a number of ways.

The first way being that defining myself was a total waste of time, and probably is for you too. There are simply far more important important aspects to blogging which should be occupying your attention. The most important thing you can do is get the essentials out of the way and then just start writing.

A blog is nothing without its content.

Whether you define yourself as a personal finance blog or a financial advice blog doesn’t really matter. It only matters if you would change your content based on that definition. Nobody is going to look at your blog and think it’s about health if all you write about is money.

Your content is going to show what your site is about; you don’t have to stress about defining it.

Thankfully, there is…

A much better alternative

I can’t write an article which takes out one of the most recommended fundamentals of blogging and not replace it with what I believe is a far superior alternative. Instead of stressing about which direction you’re going to take your blog and the angle of your content, just simply ask yourself “in which way do I want to help my audience?”

That’s it.

Do you want to entertain people?
Do you want to give them the latest news?
Do you want to help them make more money?
Do you want them to become better copywriters?
I can’t answer this question for you, but it should be pretty easy for you. After all, your blog wouldn’t be much without an audience. What do you want to provide for them?

With this one question, you can accomplish a number of things a lot easier.

Content

No longer do you have to worry about whether a certain article fits under the category of ‘personal development’ or whether you’re writing something that your audience doesn’t care about. You simply focus on whether the information you’re providing helps you help your audience.

My aim with ViperChill is to give people the best advice I can about internet marketing and building remarkable websites. I don’t stress if a topic choice is going to be relevant to my readers because I’m always publishing content with that aim so the majority of the time, it just naturally will be.

This question gives you more content ideas, helps you decide if an idea is right for your audience and allows you to twist content ideas from other industries and make them more relevant to your readers.

Audience

Another reason people worry about which blog niche they choose is because they want to make sure they’re attracting – and keeping – the right website visitors. The great thing about this question is that it allows you to build an audience that is laser-targeted.

And as most of you know, a laser targeted audience is exactly what you want if you ever come to monetise your website. Although there are other factors besides what you write about that attract a readership – such as your content length and post frequency – it’s still the biggest factor in growing a blog which can make you money.

Value

The only reason people ever read a blog is because of the value that it provides. That value can be in one of hundreds of forms, but it always exists. For instance, the value I receive from Daily Blog Tips is information which helps me become a better writer, which in-turn helps me to grow my business.

Another blog I love, TechCrunch, provides me not only with boredom relief when I’m not sure what to work on next but also information on the newest social media sites I may be able to utilise. Knowing how you can help people through your site is the exact value that you’re providing to them.

As long as you continue to put out content that is inline with your aim, then you’re constantly giving your audience what they want. That’s true providing true value.

If you’re still not convinced, answer me this: Is it easier for you to tell me how you want to help people, or easier to tell me which category your blog fits under?

About the Author: Glen Allsopp is the owner of ViperChill.com. If you liked this post, you may also enjoy his guide to WordPress SEO.

5 Ways to Eliminate About Page Anxiety

This is a guest contribution from Natalie Gowen.

Today I’m talking About Pages. Or, rather, I’m talking about About Pages. Either way – please don’t go screaming from the room.

Yes, your About Page is one of the most important pages on your site. Yes, it can make a deep emotional connection with your readers. Yes, your About Page can grow your readership and increase your business with tremendous effectiveness.

And yes! About Pages are the hardest pages to write. If you suffer from About Page Anxiety, you are not alone.

Getting clients to hand over About Page content for their website is the most dangerous part of my job. It’s like taking candy from a baby – where the baby is a starving lion and the candy is a fresh gazelle.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can stand up to About Page Anxiety. You can write a compelling story about your site. You can tell writer’s block to go bother someone else. You can be the proud owner of an About Page that sells you and your blog and convinces people to keep reading.

All it takes is 5 simple elements:

1. Tell your readers why they should care.

When a new visitor comes to your About Page they want to know one thing – what’s in it for them? Answer that question and you also give your readers a reason to dive deeper into your site or add you to their bookmarks.

Your benefits can be real or intangible, either way – be clear about what your blog offers. For example:

You’re a humor writer and a mom – readers care because a good laugh brightens their day, and hey, at least they’re not cleaning poo-based finger paint off the walls.

You’re a business coach – they care because their dreams are like a frozen computer and you can teach them how to reboot.

You’re a fitness blogger – they care because you provide daily motivation to move a little bit more than they did yesterday.

Starting off your About Page by focusing on your reader is the best way to spark a connection.

2. Give them reason to believe you.

Giving people a reason to care about your blog and sharing the benefits you offer can lead you to make some pretty big claims. Using the examples from above:

The humorous mom can make her readers problems fade into the background with a few minutes of laughter.

The business coach gives hope that a side gig can become a full-time job.

The fitness blogger sells a vision of his reader’s future self, the one that can jump off the couch and keep up with the kids.

To help your readers believe you, they need to trust you.  Do you have a degree? Are you featured on top blogs in your niche? Do you have clients that adore you? Is the proof in the (social media) pudding?

Your About Page is the best to explain enough about yourself that readers know you’re not just blowing smoke.

3. Get personal

Your readers will come back for the benefits you provide, but they will connect deeper if they can tell you are a real person, with real struggles and real victories.

Getting personal doesn’t have to mean divulging every last detail about your life. If you want to retain some privacy, let your personality show by sharing:

  • Your values
  • Your interests and hobbies
  • Your goals, hopes and dreams for the future

Most of all – make sure you include a good, clear picture of yourself. It’s always easier to like someone if you can see their eyes.

4. Be available

Don’t play hard to get.  After all, blogging is about connection – so be reachable. If someone really resonates with your purpose and wants to reach out, let them. You can make it easy:

  • Using your website’s email forms
  • Sharing your email address as an embedded link
  • Adding links to social media and connecting off the blog

5. Extend an Invitation

Readers on your About Page have knocked on your door. Are you going to let them in?

Like vampires, first-time visitors to your blog need a specific invitation to go deeper into your website or come closer to becoming your client. Otherwise, they’ll close the browser and will soon forget all about you.

The best invitations are extended as a Call to Action. CTAs are traffic building, business-growing workhorses. The key to an effective CTA is to:

  • Be direct
  • Be relevant
  • Be simple

If you’ve covered the first four About Page elements, you’ll be surprised what readers will do.  They’ll follow you on social media, join your email list, read more posts or even buy your products. You just have to ask.

The Long & Short of About Pages

When you break it down, your About Page should be pretty simple. Whether you write in first or third person, it doesn’t really matter. If it’s long or short, that doesn’t matter, either.

At the end of the day, if you’ve covered the 5 main elements let your About Page be uniquely yours and kick About Page Anxiety out the door.

Natalie Gowen is a brand and marketing strategist for creative and passionate entrepreneurs. As part of her mission to eradicate boring About Pages, she’s the author of the e-course and workbook,About Page Mashup 

Weeks 6 and 7

I’ve been very distracted these last few weeks with problems.

A major one has been, and still is, getting a Google Adsense account. It appears that I cannot submit www.terencekierans.com/blog, because “the URL must not have a path (example.com/path) or sub domain (subdomain.example.com)”.  The PtS support desk advised that since www.terencekierans.com is redirected to www.terencekierans.com/blog then submitting www.terencekierans.com will be fine.

This I did, and there is a blank advertisement above my opt-in form. However the adsense.com page still infers that my account is under review. Obviously more research is necessary.

Another problem reared its head using Google Chrome to display http://simpletrafficsolutions.com/jvblog/your-affiliate-link/ , so that I could get my Clickbank ID whitelisted; the relevant form didn’t display. PtS support to the rescue, and after clearing the browser cache the problem was solved. The message I received from Clickbank, confirming that my account had been added to the appropriate white list, requested I use the Hoplink http://82086hq44ueubx5oieuvzeho99.hop.clickbank.net. This links to http://webinarwithjohn.com/3stepsuccessblueprint/ not “Simple Traffic Solutions“. Following the instructions in the Week 6 video I used http://XXXXX.simplets.hop.clickbank.net replacing XXXXX with my Clickbank ID. Clicking on the resultant advertisement results in the message “This link was created by an affiliate of the ClickBank network who is not authorized to promote this product.” PtS support – here I come.

 

The Three Week Gap

I am now up to Week five of the Internet marketing course “Partners to Success“.

There have been a few hiccups along the way with delays injected by family holiday, computer problems, and a bout of ill-health. Excuses, excuses, excuses… .

My reading of “Bloggers Roadmap” has not progressed any further, but I have read some interesting stuff by “CopyBlogger“. Yet to be put into practice of course.

I have caught up on a few “OptimizePress” tutorials but have only added one more video from “Niche Experts Secrets Exposed” — Search Engine Rankings of Your Own Pages.

Week four of my course included:

  • Setting up Social Media accounts,
  • Installing Social media Icons,
  • Adding the sidebar code to display and link the icons.
  • Setting up WordPress “Comments“,
  • Setting up a redirect from my site to my blog.

Not too happy with this in the event that I want to create a “cornerstone” page as strongly recommended by “CopyBlogger” in his “Content Challenge” which I am now three days behind on.

Are these examples of the “Shiny Object Syndrome“?

I’ve also applied for a Google Adsense account, part of Week five of my course.

One of the steps I must take is to follow the advice offered by Danny@Mirasee:

Go through your email subscriptions, and prune the list, until you’re down to just a handful of the most trusted sources. And as you’ve probably heard me say before, I hope we make the list, but if we don’t, this is still good advice that I hope you’ll follow.

Part of creating space for greatness is eliminating the noise that can fill it before you even begin. So take some time this weekend, and create that space.”

I’ve made a start but must improve my focus if I am to succeed.

I still have to decide upon my niche, about which I will be blogging.

Day 3

The content of Day 3 is the third and last of my homework (mandated) posts for this week of the course.

I haven’t come very close at all.

Since the “Day 2” posting I don’t seem to have made much progress with the homework assignment. My reading of “Bloggers Roadmap” has only progressed to page 62.

I have not viewed any more “OptimizePress” tutorials since the last post, and viewing “Niche Experts Secrets Exposed” has now only covered videos 1-6 inclusive.

The three more videos viewed were:

  • Break Down of Niche Experts
  • What Happens to Niche Experts, and
  • How to Become THE ‘Go To’ Expert in YOUR Niche.

The content of this last video is somewhat daunting since it recommends reading a minimum of five books, and preferably 30, in the coming 30 days  meet the standard of “Expert”.

However, to expand my education in the vital area of defining the niche for this blog and my Internet Market, I have read “The Niche Report” by Terry Markle, a collection of unique articles written on niche marketing. In addition, I am a series of articles by Neil Patel on blogging. Since so much emphasis  on this subject in the current lessons from Partnership to Success I felt it a worthwhile shift of focus away from the core subjects of the course.

Neil is the London born, Seattle Washington-based entrepreneur, angel investor, and analytics expert. He is best known for his work in digital marketing, and as the cofounder of the analytics companies KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg, and Quick Sprout. The sequence of blog posts in Quick Sprout certainly make for informative and educational reading, and worthy of deeper study.

 “Day 3” of the Partnership to Success has just arrived in my mailbox. I have been seduced away from writing this content to have a sneak peek at what lies ahead. Most of it makes reference to using Aweber. However, since I already have an account with GetResponse it looks like I can skip Step 1. The rest of the steps will keep me very busy, especially since it is only two days before we go away for our Christmas holiday, and “Day 4” will await me on our return. I know, too, that two of my virtual business clients will have material for me to deal with before Wednesday.

Perhaps, by the time I make my next posting I will have decided upon a niche in which I can become, or am, an expert.

Day 2

This is the difficult part, for me. Writing suitable content that won’t be boring, that relates to me, and will be of interest.

The second week of the Partnership to Success course has provided some extra threads for me to follow. For example, OptimizePress is providing a video series to teach me how best to use it. When I tried to view the videos on Google Chrome, my default browser, I got the same result as when I wanted to view the OptimizePress Welcome video. This was the following:

Unable to view video

After some research, because the OptimizePress help desk merely suggested using another browser, I found that I could view them in a Google Chrome page if I opened them in an “incognito window“.

Of course, viewing these takes time away from the core elements of week 2, but I felt that since OptimizePress would be used, extensively, in this course then the more I understood how to use it, and what options it had, the better.

Another item dragged me away from deriving content for this blog, and reading the “Bloggers Roadmap“. This time, after installing a number of plugins I was unable to get access to my WordPress system using wp-admin. A request for help sent to the hosting organisation, D9, provided the information that the installation of the “Woo Commerce All-in-One SEO pack” was causing the problem. D9 deactivated it, thus solving the problem.

When I purchased the “Bloggers Roadmap” I was given, as a bonus, access to the “Niche Expert Secrets Exposed ” course. A total of  ten videos, two pdf’s, the “Content Creation for Those Who Can’t Write” course (another few videos), and the “Niche Domination” course (seven audio files).

It has been a difficult exercise to schedule everything into the one week so that I felt I was getting on top of everything. To summarise what I have achieved out of all this, so far:

  • OptimizePress Videos
    • How You Can Launch NEW Sites in Minutes
    • Skyrocket Your List Building, and
    • Your Fastest Route to Getting Help & Support

(While I’m writing this another video has arrived from OptimizePress)

  • Niche Experts Secrets Exposed
    • Introduction
    • Breakdown of Niches, and
    • Breakdown of Niche Expert
  • Bloggers Roadmap – page 31/80

All these, of course, need fitting into a 24-hour day when I am still running my service business, and preparing for Christmas when we will be spending five days at the Dunsborough Wyndham Resort in the south of Western Australia. It looks like I will have to revise my targets before week 3 of the course arrives.

Read Day 3, when I publish it later this week, to see how close I have come.

Internet Marketing Course Progress Report

I’m now well into the second week of the Partnership to Success course, which has concentrated on setting up this blog using OptimizePress. I had used an earlier version of this specialised software in a previous, unsuccessful, foray into internet marketing so I was reasonably familiar with it.

OptimizePress makes the creation of marketing sites a breeze. It enables the semi-automatic creation of:

  • Blogs,
  • Sales pages,
  • Membership portals,
  • Landing pages, and
  • Sales funnels.

The tasks in the course this week focussed on the basics of installing and activating OptimizePress, and the addition of a number of plugins to WordPress, namely:

  • All in One SEO,
  • JetPack,
  • Links Manager, and
  • ShareBar.

Additionally I was shown how to obtain the blog header you see proudly shown at the top of this page, and install it. I just had to specify a few parameters and forward a photograph to GFX-1. By being enrolled in Partnership to Success I was able to get a reduced price. I received this header banner within a day.

Two lots of homework this week:

  • Read the Bloggers Roadmap, and
  • Make at three post creations of a minimum of 400 words before the end of the week.

As an added benefit of obtaining the Bloggers Roadmap there is a set of training videos which of course I had to start watching in addition to making a start on reading the book.

I installed the Bloggers Roadmap in my PC Kindle using a piece of software I could not go without, although it has nothing to do with internet marketing. It’s called “Calibre—E-book management” and is an open source e-book library manager which can be installed on Linux, Macintosh and Windows (later than XP) platforms.

Calibre features the following categories:

  • Library Management,
  • E-book conversion,
  • Syncing to e-book reader devices,
  • Downloading news from the web and converting it into e-book form,
  • Comprehensive e-book viewer,
  • Content server for online access to your book collection, and
  • E-book editor for the major e-book formats.

I used it to convert the Bloggers Roadmap to a Kindle format, the big advantage now being that because PC Kindle synchronises with the versions of Kindle installed on my laptop and smartphone, I can read this book wherever I happened to be.

You can download it, if you wish, from http://calibre-ebook.com/ . I don’t get any advantage from your downloading it other than knowing how useful it would be for you.

Now to clean up this blog by deleting all the short posts made in the last seven days.