There are some high school graduates that walk off the stage, diploma in hand, knowing exactly what they want to do with their life. They enter college, declare their major, and go on to have the successful career of which they dreamed.
That was not me.
There are some bloggers who start a blog knowing exactly what they want to blog about and they go on to have the successful blog of which they dreamed.
That was not me either.
I started out writing about attachment parenting and that turned into natural living and a little bit of crafting and then my kids got older and I became interested in education and homeschooling, so I wrote about that. I also dabbled in photography and decorating and DIY. But then I wanted to give myself room to write more about faith and motherhood, so I started a new blog and declared myself a writer. And then I was thrust into this whole new world of writing niches and genres and I found myself occasionally (okay, often) at a loss for words, just wanting to share a few pictures of my kids.
Welcome to my blogging identity crisis.
Most blogging courses or ebooks will tell you that identifying your niche is one of the first steps to successfully growing a blog. And that makes a lot of sense if you know that you want to write about one of your specific passions or interests and leave the rest of your life out of the public eye.
But if you are like me, and you tend to write about the big picture of your life and your family and what the Father is teaching you as you observe His hand at work in the everyday, trying to choose a niche can feel rather stressful and burdensome.
Some of my very favorite blogs have been around a while and are, what I would call, niche-less bloggers. In fact, many of my top blogs break all the rules. They have very disorganized categories or (gasp) no categories at all, they have no tagline, they have a vague About Me section, and some of them don’t even have a Facebook Page. They seem to be doing everything wrong, and yet myself and thousands of other readers never miss a post.
I think we can learn a few lessons from the first generation of bloggers.
They started blogging before there were e-books and online courses and conferences on how to grow a blog. They blogged before blogging became all about branding and niches and platforms and networking.
They started blogging simply to have a creative outlet in which to write and to share their voice and their lives, and as a result, their blogs grew in this grass-roots, organic sort of way. I love to look through the archives of some of these bloggers to see how their blogs have evolved and changed over the years as they gave themselves the freedom to write out of the season in which they were living.
If you are struggling to find your niche, I encourage you to try a new approach:
- Stop over thinking it and just write. Write about what you are passionate about right now. Write as the Holy Spirit prompts, even if it means you are writing about something that you don’t consider your niche or expertise.
- Stop looking to other blogs to define yours. You are a unique creation of God and your personality and your life and therefore your blog are also going to be unique. Don’t be afraid to let your blog be the first of it’s kind!
- Break some rules! If your tagline is stressing you out, don’t have a tagline. If you are obsessing too much about the name of your blog, just use your real name. Focus more on content and less on branding, and soon your blog will speak for itself.
After a while of giving yourself this kind of blogging freedom, your niche may simply find you.
Or maybe it won’t and we’ll just link arms and be niche-less bloggers together.
And that’s perfectly okay.