When You Struggle To Find Your Niche

When You Struggle To Find Your Niche

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.

Always,

Amanda

Amanda

Most days you will find Amanda at home with her two little boys, reading good books and making messy art. Other days you will find them all at the church while she works alongside her husband in their ministry to the next generation. Her blog is the place where you will find her sharing her thoughts, reflections, and experiences – a little glimpse into the story the Father is writing out on the pages of her life.

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  • http://www.momsmustardseeds.com/ REBECCA BRANDT

    This spoke to me so much! I am not a ‘niche’ other than encouraging others in their walk. But my life – is not a niche – every day, every moment is different. Thank ou for this reminder….

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      You are so right….life is not a niche. That is the important thing to remember as bloggers.

  • http://twitter.com/TheMaryBonner MARY BONNER

    Oh WOW! Thank you!! Just about the time I think I have defined what I want to do with my blog, something throws me a curve. This speaks volumes to me…thank you very much Amanda! VERY MUCH!

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      I am so glad that you were encouraged Mary!

  • http://www.kmlogan.com/ KM LOGAN

    I was a niche-less blogger for awhile, and I grew very unhappy with my blog and changed it. It was seriously all over the map, and I wasn’t getting any subscribers. My new blog is basically devotions for Christian women, no homemaking, no blogging tips, no extra stuff. Now whenever I get a hankering to write something that isn’t in my niche I do a guest post. I’m seeing more growth this way by focusing on one thing. For me it was about building a brand as an author though which makes things in my case totally different.

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      That is awesome that you were able to find your niche and that you are seeing more growth in your blog. And you are right, being an author, brand and platform is important.

  • http://twitter.com/MyWordsHisGlory JESENIA MONTANEZ

    Yes! This is one of the reasons I struggle to write because I feel like it has to “fit” in my blog or else it won’t work. Just like you, some of the blogs I faithfully read, have no niche. Thanks for the encouraging words.

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      I feel the same way. I get so many great post ideas and then put them on the shelf because they don’t necessarily fit in with my other posts. No more!

  • Pingback: WHEN YOU STRUGGLE TO FIND YOUR NICHE | ALWAYS, AMANDA()

  • http://www.barefoothippiegirl.com/ BAREFOOT HIPPIE GIRL

    I don’t have a niche blog. But then I don’t have a niche life. So, when people ask me what I write about-it is a little bit of everything that has my heart. Fitness, organization, cooking, home schooling, history, God. My blog goal is to glorify God and minister to my readers. Anything that fits in those parameters in fair game for posts. Maybe I never will have thousands of daily views, but who cares?

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      Love your perspective!

  • JENNIFER

    Thank you for this. Sometimes I stress myself out, trying to pinhole myself into a “niche” that doesn’t quite feel right. Then, I end up feeling frozen, not writing at all! It’s a horrible cycle. Also, I feel like the title of my blog means that I should write about certain things, so I don’t write about things that are often laid on my heart. Again, a vicious cycle. I definitely needed this reminder today. I think it was a blessing in disguise that I lost all of my posts recently and had to start over from scratch this month!! Time for new beginnings!

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      I know that frozen feeling very well. I hope that your fresh start gives you new freedom!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=666555285 ELISA PULLIAM

    Great post, Amanda!

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      Thanks Elisa!

  • DEE

    Yes! Thank you Amanda…I feel like one of those first gen bloggers. I just write, and then when I look back over the months, I see a general direction of what I like to write about. I am joining you and the other ladies here with a new approach…thanks for breaking all the “rules” and writing this for us ;-)

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      It’s so funny because I am such a non-rule breaker in “real life”, but when it comes to blogging, I really am having to find my own way. I am glad that you were encouraged by the post!

  • RAYLENE TORMANEN

    Love love love this! Thanks for the encouragement- I tend to break blogging rules :) I love writing my niche-less posts! And I love reading yours… Niche-less blogs grab my attention the most!

    Have a great week!

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      Yay for niche-less! :-)

  • PROPHETSANDPOPSTARS

    Hey Amanda. Thanks for this post. It is exactly what I needed this morning. Great reminder (which I seem to need every half hour) that it’s the heart that matters. Have a fantastic day.

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      I am so glad that you were encouraged! It truly is the heart that matters!

  • http://www.facebook.com/melissa.fields.wallace MELISSA FIELDS WALLACE

    Thank you for sharing! I stress myself out sometimes overthinking things. I am always at peace when I just write what God has put on my heart.

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      Yes! Following God and living in that peace that obedience brings should always be our aim as bloggers.

  • CHELSEA FARNSWORTH

    Amen. Amen.

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      Thank you!

  • http://www.embracinggrace.org/ AMANDA@EMBRACINGGRACE

    Great Post! Thanks for the encouragment!

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      Thank you Amanda!

  • http://www.asimplehaven.com/ JENN AT A SIMPLE HAVEN

    Perfect timing. Writing out of our passion is always a good idea. I needed the reminder today. Thanks, Amanda.

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      Yes! Writing out of our passion…something we need to always remember!

  • http://www.abbytalsma.com/ ABBY TALSMA

    Thank you for this. I am new to the blogging world, and am already overwhelmed by all of the how-to and must-do posts I have come across. How refreshing to be reminded that I began this process because I love to write.

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      Yes! Please don’t get bogged down in all of the how-to’s. Let your love for writing be your driving force!

  • http://babyrowe.blogspot.com SABRINA

    The timing of this post Amanda?!?! Thank you :)

    I am about do to the big leap from free to self-hosted blogging. As I’m wading through the murky waters that is tag line/blog name, I realized that not all blogs have one. Yet, they’re ‘successful’ or well-known and well-read.

    I was not going to bother with a blog name/tag line right now. To see point #3 in your post was added confirmation for me.

    Blessings!

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      I just got rid of my tagline too! I feel so free!

  • http://www.brownpaperandstrings.com/ JAMIE H

    I love it, Amanda!

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      Thanks friend!

  • GAY IDLE

    Love this post, Amanda! It is very encouraging to me to know that you don’t have to follow all the ‘rules’ to be a successful blogger.
    blessings,

    Gay
    http://www.gayidle-captiveheart.blogspot.com

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      That’s right! Like I said, most of my favorite bloggers break all the blogging rules!

  • http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/ BARBIE

    Thank you Amanda. I’ve been struggling with finding the perfect tagline for my blog. Perhaps I won’t have one? Thanks for the encouragement.

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      I went through a couple of taglines and then finally got rid of mine altogether and it feels good!

  • KIMBERLY AMICI

    I have been blogging consistently for less than a year and still trying to find my niche. I have an idea but still flushing it out because I have a lot of ideas and have been know to go in many directions. Thanks for the encouragement and the permission to not be so hard on myself for still figuring it out,

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      Kimberly, you are not alone. Even the bloggers who have been blogging for several years will tell you that they are still figuring it out!

  • http://twitter.com/Missindeedy MISSINDEEDY

    This was SO stinkin’ encouraging! Thank you thank you, Amanda. This line, ” as they gave themselves the freedom to write out of the season in which they were living. ” leapt right out at me. I love it when the blogging community encourages each other to write from the heart without worrying about what our favorite bloggers may be writing about. That comparison thing can be such a joy stealer. Such a great post!

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      Thank you so much! You are so right about the comparison thing being a joy stealer. Comparing myself to others is something I constantly have to keep in check!

  • NANCY@THEREISGRACE

    Oh, this is so good, and exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you!

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      I am so glad Nancy!

  • http://www.talesofwhimsy.com/ JUJU AT TALES OF WHIMSY.COM

    Amen! I completely agree.

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      Awesome!

  • JULES ROTHACHER

    Thanks Amanda! This was liberating. I have been stressing feeling like my blog was all over the place. Categorizing to no end trying to feel organize & on purpose. I have even considered spending more money and time to launch an new blog to compartmentalize my faith/family/parenting posts and the crafts/DIY/how-to/recipe posts.Thanks for letting me hear its okay to just write when everywhere else is telling me to find my 1 thing!!!

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      I am so glad that you feel liberated! That is excellent!

  • MINDY

    Thank you, this was very inspirational and needed!

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMedlin_ AMANDA MEDLIN

      Mindy, I am glad that you were encouraged!

  • JOANNE

    This could not have come at a better time! I have been wanting to start blogging since the beginning of this year but have been struggling with getting started. After reading several posts about it and “Blogging for Dummies,” I bit the bullet and just posted something on Blogger. Maybe a niche is something that evolves; if you over think it, you may never start. Thanks for posting this.

  • APRILLE

    Amanda I love this post! It’s so me! I really am a fairly niche-less blogger and honestly I love it that way. What I write about really depends on what i’m going through. Sometimes it’s heavier faith stuff, sometimes it’s just funny pictures of my kids. But my stats stay steady (if not grow) and my faithful readers seem to enjoy it. Thanks for being real!

  • LEAH

    Loved the part about your niche finding you- that is exactly what happened to me!

  • SARA

    This is great advice. But what if you really do not want to be recognized? Maybe your blogging could affect whether you are going to get a job? Many people are judgmental. Is it really a good idea to put your face and real name on your blog?

    • SHANNON BURT

      I learned that you need to keep it a little vague for identity purposes and not be dropping the F-bomb in everypost. If I need to drop the F-bomb I do it in my car or when no body is home lol. It’s good to put up a face though a pic of you to let your audience know your a true person and not a robot like 75% of the people out there.

  • SHANNON BURT

    I just wanna say this post is kind of a fresh breath of air for me considering I have been on info overload for too long. I guess my question is though is it possible to make a couple hundred a week without being a scam artist and keep it wholesome like milk.?