Niche Blogging vs. General Blogging: Why a Multi-Passionate Approach Can Help Grow Your Blog

keep calmWhen people ask me for advice about blogging, the main question I get asked is:

Do I need to pick a specific topic to blog about?

Blogging experts often advise new bloggers to find a niche to build an audience and grow their blog.

I beg to disagree.

But I haven’t always felt this way. From my anonymous lifestyle blog in college to my book review blog that I ran from 2009 until early 2012, I’ve always found a niche; a community of bloggers who wrote on similar topics. I wrote content that fit into the neat little category I selected for myself and my blog.

It worked for the most part.

Other lifestyle bloggers regularly read and commented on my blog. Fellow book reviewers and authors frequented the pages of my book blog. There’s nothing wrong with niche blogging, but I knew it wasn’t for me. I still wasn’t happy with my blog.

You see…I felt cornered. I buried myself deep inside my niche and struggled to find my way out. The people who read my book review blog were interested in just that: book reviews. They weren’t interested in my running journey or my career in public relations. On the off chance that I did write about those topics, the posts weren’t as well-received as what my readers had come to expect from me.

When I sat down this past summer to rebrand my website and blog, I took a lot of what I’ve learned over the past five years of blogging into consideration. Perhaps I had just outgrown my niche and needed to find a new one.

I dabbled with the idea of a blog solely about my fitness journey (but the thought of taking pictures of all my meals and detailing every single one of my workouts bored me to death). I considered writing a blog about public relations and social media (but there’s already tons of those out there and I didn’t want to get lost in a sea of voices). I thought about blogging about my life as a young professional in the Philadelphia area (but figured that I won’t be a young professional forever and want this blog around for the long haul).

Ultimately, I decided….the hell with it.

I don’t want to have a niche blog.

I’m a multi-passionate person with many interests and I wanted my blog to reflect me as a person. I wanted to build a brand around my name and personality, not a specific interest or area of expertise.

So I set out to a build a blog where I can talk about whatever I want under the umbrella of forcing yourself out of your comfort zone to live a life that makes you truly happy. I’ve blogged about running a half marathon, getting over my fear of public speaking, my experience with awesome brands, writing and more. And you know what? It’s working.

Five months later, I’m extremely happy with my somewhat unconventional blogging approach.

One of my main worries when making a decision to blog about whatever I want was losing my audience and website traffic that I had spent years growing. I had built a name for myself as a book blogger and had a loyal following of fellow book lovers. Could I rebrand myself and continue growing my audience?

Yes.

I compared traffic to my website from the past five months to my traffic at the height of my book blogging and my numbers are virtually the same.

Of course, in the beginning, it was frustrating. I saw my subscriber numbers drop and my traffic waned a little. I knew that people who followed me for my book reviews might not be interested in my new approach. But that’s okay!

With hard work, consistent posting and promotion, my blog’s traffic is right back where I want it and continues to grow each month:

But most importantly, the people who have joined my new community are exactly the kind of people I want reading my content and want to engage with. I’ve opened the door to so many different kinds of opportunities and allow myself the freedom to explore any topic I desire. I’m no longer stuck in a corner, confined to one specific topic.

I know that I’ve set myself up for long-term success and growth when it comes to growing my blog and building my personal brand.

I’ve found my niche. And guess what? It isn’t a niche at all.

Do you blog within a specific niche or do you take a more general approach to growing your blog? Share in the comments below.

Comments

  1. I think you have a valid point. I was in a niched blog (living in France) and felt so cornered I didn’t want to invest anymore time into it until I rebranded myself. Knowing I wouldn’t necessarily always be in France and hoping to use social media to connect with those in my desired career path, I needed a change.

    I still am kinda niched but I think that my new angle allows for more flexibility. Art is a primary focus but so is “artful living” which can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Now my posts about food, life as a graduate student, life in France and professional/career posts fit nicely under that umbrella.

    I have to say, I love the direction you’ve taken your blog. I enjoy your motivation and passion which shine clearly through each post, and I also appreciate your professional insight. Keep it up!

    • PS I noticed the same fluctuations in subscribers and commenters with my change. No doubt I lost some readers (and because I’ve been too busy to post regularly I’m still working on building them up). Yet I share more in common with the subscribers in my new community. And I’ve doubled my Twitter followers in half the time. It’s been a good change!

      • Jessica Lawlor says:

        LOVE IT. I totally agree. I clearly don’t resonate with book bloggers as much as I used to, so I’m happy to have found a new community, but embrace the people who have chosen to stick around too!

  2. It’s funny that you posted about this because I’ve been contemplating this with my own blog for a while now. I love books and always will but I have other things I’m passionate about too.. lately I’ve been visiting teaching blogs and since I’m on track to become one myself (someday! *crosses fingers*), I’ve been wanting to write posts that touch upon teaching topics. I don’t mind that my stats are less than stellar–I blog for myself and if anyone wants to stick around with me, that’s even better :)

    OKAY, longwinded comment over lol. Thank you for this post<3

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      My pleasure, Sandy! Glad you were able to relate :) If you want to write about teaching and your personal life, I think you should go for it!

  3. I am a personal finance blogger, but I also blog about everything else going on in my life. You are right!

  4. I found you through Your Super Awesome Life!

    I started off my blog with a niche, too, to talk about books and publishing, specifically. And it was SO boring. As much as I love those topics, they don’t entirely define me, and I started running out of things to say about them! I started loving my blog so much more when I just decided to write whatever the hell I wanted on it. ;)

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      I had no idea you found my through Your Super Awesome Life. I’ll have to thank Ashley for that :)

      Right?! I felt like my blog was boring too. I absolutely love your blog and the range of topics you cover, so you’re clearly doing something right.

  5. Thanks for this, Jess. As a new blogger (well, new if you don’t count high school livejournals we’d all prefer to forget :)) this is refreshing advice, since you normally hear the opposite. “Find a niche” is pretty pervasive conventional wisdom these days in ALL media — budding journalists and writers hear it all the time, and I’m guessing you might in PR and marketing as well. It’s nice to see someone succeeding by branching out.

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      I definitely hear that all the time in my full-time job and blogging in general, but I choose to ignore it :) Heading over to check out your blog!

  6. Well you know i”m part of the book world and I’ll be going on 3 years in that niche in June and I’m feeling really closed in. I KNOW I can add anything I want to my blog and am brainstorming ideas but I really am feeling limited these days. Like you, I feel like I have a lot of passions and it’s hard to fit them all in the niche I’ve made for myself. I also am feeling such a lack of balance in my life because my blog is such a huge part of it. It’s so book-centric which i LOVE obviously but I want to focus on other things too. So basically, I hear ya on all of this. Doing some soul searching of my own to figure out what I want to do next.

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      I can’t believe your blog is about to be three years old. Crazy!

      Can’t wait to see what you come up with next…remember, taking a break is OKAY if it’s going to lead you to better and bigger things :)

  7. I don’t have a specific topic focus for my blog but I would say in general it focuses on healthy living. I have been in a major blogging RUT lately though and really want to work to get myself out of that rut over the next few months!

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Good luck getting out of the rut! Blogging ruts are the absolute worst.

      It’s funny that you consider yourself a healthy living blogger, because I see you blog as so much more than just that!

  8. I definitely struggle with this as well. I consider my blog a lifestyle blog with book reviews, although for a while it was more of a wedding planning blog, and I am slowly posting the detailed weddings recaps too. But what I tell my self, is that the real theme of my blog is me. Either way I’m writing about things I enjoy, and as much as I want others to read it, as long as I’m enjoying it, that’s probably what matters in the long run.

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      EXACTLY! People come back to your blog again and again because they like you. That’s what I’m hoping to build here on this blog, as well!

  9. Hey there! I have the same experience. I started http://www.audacitymagazine.com about 10 years ago to deal with the lack of media coverage over issues that related to people with physical disabilities like myself. But then, I started http://www.audaciouslady.com to discuss topics in other areas of my life. Turns out that the second site has not one niche but several topics and I’m ok with that. Glad you’re also debunking the niche myth. :P

  10. I love this idea. I haven’t really thought about my niche much, but I do consider myself a healthy living blogger. I definitely feel that “defining” myself as such has limited me in who I connect with and with who connects with me. Being open about what niche you are a part of, or being a part of several niches at once, is obviously going to lead you to greater success.

    I love that you don’t let niches define what you write about or what kind of blog you have.

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Thanks Melissa!

      Having a niche can be incredibly useful- especially if you’re super passionate about what you’re writing about…I just wasn’t super passionate about any one topic enough.

      I love your blog though and even though you consider yourself a healthy living blogger, I see so much more than that!

  11. Niche blogging is far better then general blogging. As a tech blogger, i knew i have a specific subject to follow. General Blogging is like unordered world. Easy to write but without feeling a thrill :p

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Clearly, I disagree, per what I’ve written in my post, but I’m glad that niche blogging has worked out well for you! :)

  12. I agree with you. Putting a blog in a niche limits the amount of content a person can write about,except media and tech blogs. I’ve only had my blog for about three weeks and I’ve spent considerable amount of time pondering what niche I should go for, when I have so many interests. Generalizing a blog allows a broader audience to reach out to and participate with. And it allows a person to have many niches to write about.

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Hi Denzil, Thanks so much for your comment! :) I’m glad you were able to learn a bit from my post and am happy to hear you agree about not falling into a niche. Best of luck with your blog!

  13. I’m so glad I found your blog. I have been toying with the idea of starting a general blog to talk about all my interests. But all the experts seem to say only a tightly focused niche blog will get traffic, so I just didn’t know what to do. I just needed to find someone with a general blog that is working well. Thanks.

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Hi Mary! I’m glad you found my blog, as well! :) Niche blogs can definitely be successful and may have a higher likelihood of success, but I’ve always done my own thing and it’s been working out pretty well for me. Best of luck with your blog!

  14. I’m so happy to read this article. I love many different things, so it drives me crazy when I read about only being able to do well with niche blogging. It’s impossible for me to only write and share about one subject. I think it’s great seeing someone with a general blog doing well. :D

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      I’m glad you found the post helpful, Nassira! I love blogging about multiple things since I have so many passions! Best of luck with your blog!

  15. Hi jessica
    You are 100% right. I have blog with multiple niche.Before reading your post i was little confused about my way of blogging is right or not? now im very clear that i can continue on General Blogging. Thank you.

  16. I totally agree with your approach Jessica and in fact I am following the same model. I was fed up of gurus saying that you must go the niche route otherwise your wasting your time. to me this felt alien because you are multi-dimensional in nature and restricting yourself to a single niche felt suffocating to me. the audience you cater for is also have multiple interests and some of the things you write about they will read and some they will not.

  17. I am in total agreement with you Jessica! My approach at first was focused on one marketing platform within my own niche site. Eventually I decided to grow in a more “general” aspect of the same niche and it worked tremendously! Thanks for the post, I am going to share this!

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Hey David,

      Thanks so much for your comment! I’m glad it resonated with you. Heading over to check out your site!

  18. I started a general blog about various topics that interest me and I want to keep it, but I keep reading a niche blog is better. I stumbled across this article of yours and will for sure keep my blog the way it is. Niche blogging will become boring for me overtime I feel. Great advice thank you!

  19. I started as a general blog, splited it in 3 niches, after that in 2 and now back to general. Takes so much time to manage more blogs, it’s a lot better to stick on one and write whatever you like.

  20. From 2009 to 2010, I maintained a blog that primarily focused on transit, which I still remain passionate about. However, making it only transit-specific not only limited my ability to broaden the scope of what I wanted to talk about on my blog but also I did not wind up liking the format as much as I hoped for.

    My current blog was created in April 2010 with the purpose of the site being that it not focus on any one particular subject. The general approach became a better arrangement although its current incarnation with far more regular postings didn’t go into effect until June of this year. I’m still thinking of more ways to improve upon it; so far, I enjoy my current format more than ever before.

  21. Very well described about niche and general blogs. Thanks for this great work.

  22. Hey, this was a great read! You have views quite similar to mine. Even I was suggested by many a people to pick up a specific niche but I could simply not accept this idea. I started blogging because I wanted to share and a picking up a specific niche was something not meant for me. That’s why I considered general blogging. My new blog : http://www.finixpost.com talks about a lot of topics and I don’t care if it works or not. (It will work!) But, I am happy that I am doing what I want. :)

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Thanks for your comment! I’m glad your new blog approach is working well for you and making you happy. That’s the way it should be! :)

  23. Wait, I just found this post from your end of the year post Jessica, and I’m obsessed. I’m still very much working on building my blog audience and brand — mostly due to a sorta crazy schedule — but from the beginning I knew I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself. So that’s where my blog name and everything came from. Great post, love it!

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Sarah! :)

      It seems like your blog is going really well, despite your lack of time, so kudos on that!

      I’ve pigeonholed myself before and when I lost interest in that topic, I basically stopped blogging. I didn’t want that to happen this time, so I went with a theme that could grow WITH me. It’s worked out pretty well, so far.

      Can’t wait to read more of your blog in 2014!

  24. Any way to monetize Nicheless blogs? :D

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Hey Tahsin! I’m honestly not sure. I don’t currently monetize my blog; I just use it to showcase my writing, build a community and land clients through my work on here. Good luck!

  25. Firstly; I would love to say way to go on saying to hell with the ‘rules’ of being a blogger. It’s something that I have struggled with because I know for a fact that I am more than just one facet. I know that there are authorities on several subjects at once. And I am tired of hearing the same old BS of get into a niche (or a corner) and build within that niche to prove your authority on the subject. This post has definitely validated my opinion on the matter.

    My wife and I are doing a blog together, we each have our own interests, and we have some that we share. For us to blog together on a singular subject would be like watering down the booze more than it already is at any saloon. I know which niches we could get into on our own; but then we wouldn’t be blogging together would we?

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Hey Ley!

      YES. Thank you!

      I love that you and your wife have a blog together- how cool! Can’t wait to check it out.

      Thanks so much for your comment.

      • I apologise for the delay in responding; work life has been rather hectic for me. When it comes to this post here; it partially inspired this post. So far I have enjoyed lurking in the background reading your newer posts rather than starting the dig of reading all your older posts.

        Thanks again for the uplifting moments.

        • Jessica Lawlor says:

          Heading over to check out your blog now, Ley! Feel free to dig into the archives, if you get bored :) But happy to have you reading, nonetheless!

  26. I also felt a bit limited and am much happier now. It’s refreshing to see other bloggers taking this approach. I mean, to each their own, but it’s nice to see others to go against the grain. :)

  27. Great article Jessica. I started a blog 3 weeks ago (yeah, really:) for Kenyan women living abroad…since I’m one I thought I would write about my stories first before I could give them any value. but now readers are telling me they love these stories which are funny and inspirational. And I have 52 percent male readers. My readers (few he he)are from all over the world…Just yesterday a guy from Norway was telling me how he loves the articles. So I’m totally lost now. I’ve been reading all the general blogging rules for months now but I’m realizing you may have to break them and be true to your voice. I’ve broken so many, I really don’t know what I am doing but I have to go on. Thanks for your refreshing article…it’s good to know some people don’t even try to monetize their blog! That is stressing me out!!

  28. I think the next generation of blogging is general and niche blogging is just for internet marketer’s out there. After reading your blog i am now thinking if i will do the same thing as you do, i want to create my own personal blog and name that blog after my name. what do you think?

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      YES! I definitely encourage it- it has worked really well for me, so far. It takes time to grow, but over time, I think it has been worth going against popular Internet marketing advice. Good luck!

  29. I totally agree with you, non niche blogs can also work good. I have a blog which doesn’t focus on any particular niche, I just talk about every topic that I know.

  30. I am glad to see that there are people believing in general blogging. I started a niche blog years ago and I did not post for a long time as it was not very motivating to write only on the same topic. I then started a general blog without restricting myself about what I write and it has been fun. Creating this writing habit with the general blog helped me to continue and grow the niche blog as well. Thank you for your post Jessica.

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Hey Michel,

      Thanks for your comment!

      I definitely believe in general blogging and it has certainly worked for me for almost two years now. Glad to hear it’s also working out well, for you!

  31. I, as a blogger, shared the same belief as you. I didn’t even think or care about niche blogging from the very beginning (I started 3 years ago). I’m happy when I could just freely express myself through writing for whatever topic it is I’d like to tackle with. But I like it most what you said about finding your own niche, just like what’s my philosophy as a blogger, which is not a niche at all.

  32. This is interesting and a great write-up. It is funny because I feel the same way. This is why I named my blog/site after me. I think going for a niche blog and specified site name, makes you feel obligated to blog about things on topic to the site name/blog. Where as basically like you said, I blog about what I want, and don’t have to stress over small things. Whether it be about marketing, or even aliens lol. I decided this route for freedom and not feeling obligated to a specific niche. At the end of the day traffic is traffic and people finding you content on the net obviously means they are interested in the subject. So in short atleast in my opinion niche blogging isn’t needed. You can be yourself and blog about whatever you want and still find the same audience and those interested in what you got. Keywords are keywords and don’t matter who’s site they come from. When your content is found it is found lol.

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Thomas! I’m glad the post resonated with you and that the general approach to blogging has worked well for you so far!

  33. Even I am a Blogger with the Exactly Same thought But I fear the SEO of the Blog Being Affected… :(

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      What do you mean? How would the SEO be affected? Is there a certain term you’re trying to rank for? I don’t have that particular goal, so maybe I just don’t understand, but my SEO still seems to be pretty good.

  34. I am so happy to find your post. I thought i was the only person with this on my mind. I did have many niche blogs in the past, but it always came to a point where i felt cornered. So i just recently started a new general type blog where i can freely express myself and give others good & helpful information!

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Hi Jey! Thank you so much for your comment. You’re definitely not alone! I had a niche blog before and like you, felt totally cornered, especially when I stopped having time to read…therefore, I had no blog content! I realized I had dug myself into a hole. Glad to hear the general blogging approach is working for you!

  35. I’m really glad I found this. I found it through Dana Sitar’s Tweet. You give me hope for my blog!

  36. Another option that I didn’t see mentioned is the in-between: a non-niche blog with regular/consistent niche features. That’s what I’ve gone with, and it’s worked out pretty well for me

    • Jessica Lawlor says:

      Hey Nic! Thanks so much for sharing this other other option! Super smart and I’m glad this strategy has been working out well for you!

  37. When I tell you that this post hit me EXACTLY where I am, I am not kidding you! I have been in angst for months on how I could blog, productively and make money, by writing about the topics that interest me; writing, running/health, working online. I just recently re-washed my site to start from scratch and build a solid web property with the things I know. I’ve read LOTS of different blogs that warn bloggers to NOT blog on multi-topics within one domain. Very discouraging…although that’s where my heart was leaning. Then when I ran across your site and saw that you’re doing JUST THAT I was so excited! Monetizing a site with multi-topics is also not hard if you know how to weave in affiliate programs and do clean reviews that add value to the reader. So although I had this idea, I couldn’t find a model “out here” to see if the application of the idea really worked, until now. I like the way you’ve done your site because it’s clear to the reader what it is that you do, but you also have other sides of your life that you share on your site and those topics don’t clash with your main focus. Love it! My goal for my site is to show other mompreneurs like myself how to maximize their online marketing efforts, complete with how-to’s, videos and courses. Now, I feel much more comfortable blogging about working from home as a writer, running past the age of 40 all while drinking a green juice smoothie!!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Got niche? Jessica says there’s no need one for one! [...]

  2. [...] Niche Blogging vs. General Blogging: How a Multi-Passionate Approach Can Help Grow Your Blog: If you’re struggling with choosing or sticking to a topic for your blog, my latest post explains why I think it’s okay to blog about whatever you want, without sticking to a specific niche. [...]

  3. [...] Niche Blogging vs. General Blogging: Why a Multi-Passionate Approach Can Help Grow Your Blog [...]

  4. [...] names and themes, everything from a personal blog to a book review blog, I felt confined. I had cornered myself into a niche I was no longer passionate about. I took a break from blogging to figure things [...]

  5. [...] Jessica Lawlor puts it nicely: I’m a multi-passionate person with many interests and I wanted my blog to reflect [...]

  6. […] blogs are harder to rebrand. More than one blogger reported: when they wanted to change their focus, readers reacted not very well. And it’s logical. Those […]

  7. […] I realized all this, I embraced my lack of one niche.  After reading about the other end of the spectrum about how a niche blog isn’t necessary, I decided what the heck. Let’s just go with […]

  8. […] 7. Niche Blogging vs. General Blogging: Why a Multi-Passionate Approach Can Help Grow Your Blog […]

  9. […] a dedicated fan base with niche blogging isn't always the quickest path to success, but it's one of the surest. The great thing […]

  10. […] down because I had no idea what I wanted to write about. Then I remembered a post that my friend Jessica Lawlor wrote last year where she compared niche blogging and general blogging. Like me, Jessica had a lot […]

  11. […] new bloggers to select a niche for the best chance at getting noticed in a sea of other blogs. I personally ignore this advice. When I started my blog almost two years ago, I knew I wanted to blog about many topics: PR, […]

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