Is Finding a Blog Niche Necessary for Success?

Do you need a niche to be a successful blogger?

The short answer is no, you most certainly do not. But it’s a complicated question so let’s dig in deeper, shall we?

Before we get to digging though, can I just put a disclaimer here saying I happen to love the idea of a niche as long as it does not limit you.

I also love niche blogs – the bloggers focus on a specific subject of interest and become a voice of authority in that and so as a reader, I feel safe learning from them while indulging in their expertise and attention.

To top it all off, I am enjoying emotional and monetary rewards of an accidental niche myself so all in all, niches can be very good, but there is a bigger question I want you to explore first before you go running to find your perfect niche. So keep reading.

I remember how I detested the idea of finding a blog niche when I first started out. It felt too much like declaring a major in college, (and that turned out really well since I ended up letting others declare for me), it felt like I was limiting myself.

I mean, blogging was to be my way of letting my soul breathe after going through electrical engineering schools, except we would call them Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science instead.

Blogging was to become my escape from my awful reality in the corporate world, except we would call them corporate initiatives instead.

Today, blogging is my favorite way of expressing my thoughts and opinions and I have plenty of those in more than one subject area and fully intend on expressing them. Blogging is my path to discovering myself and I certainly don’t enjoy the idea of being put in a little tiny box that has a specific color, size and name.

bluehost_250Blogging is my way of exploring my passions, and I don’t know about you but I have more than one, and not exactly willing to compromise on any of them. So finding a blog niche is not exactly my goal here.

And blogging is my way of giving, sharing and offering my gifts to the world, and I certainly did not want to do that through a very narrow lens.

Perhaps it pays to define a niche first.

A niche is a specific focus area in a subject matter where you build your online business or content house and then attract a supremely focused group of search engine traffic your way.

On the other hand, how to be happy or how to travel are not exactly specific enough topics. You need to go deeper, you need to add specificity, you need to identify what aspect of happiness and travel you want to cover in your blog.

An example of a niche here would be how to find happiness in your 40s as a single man – there’s so much focus around women these day, hence my partiality to my male audience – or how to travel without checking in luggage. Now you are talking a possible focus area!

So I started Prolific Living without a niche but not without a focus. There is a difference between writing on several subject matters on your blog and being scattered all over the place. There is a difference between covering multiple passions and being unpredictable and unstable as a blogger.

Great, right? So what if I started my blog without a niche? Well, it would not make a good story unless I had some great success to share to prove, at very least to myself, that no, you are not required to have a niche in order to have a successful blog!

Since 2009, Prolific Living has grown fast with a strong loyal readership, and received a ton of attention and recognition. It managed to survive just fine but honestly, who cares about recognition? You wanna know if it makes money! The answer yes. It has for well over a year. It makes very good money but it is a platform for my business and my brand, more so than just a money-making machine.

So take heart, be encouraged that yes, you can be a very successful, even a professional and full-time, blogger without having a niche but with creating a unique brand that offers something of value to your readers. Focus on your branding first!

AweberI attribute the success of Prolific Living almost entirely to the uniqueness of its brand. More important than anything is your brand and what you stand for. Because what you stand for is the way that you connect with your readers and followers.

There may be hundreds of others talking about world travel, early rising, and a vegan diet, but why and how I have talked about those topics – as well as the fact that I have talked about all of them from the perspective of the same person – has made it unique and therefore, worthy of attention.

In other words, the subject matter you choose will carry less significance than your uniqueness, your brand identity, your true why for doing something and your style of expressing yourself through your writing voice and communication style. Those are the key areas to focus on, those are the main success factors in your blogging journey.

I also believe that because I didn’t exhaust myself in a narrow area, I now have a lot more motivation and energy to express myself through several pillars – holistic health, career and entrepreneurship, motivation and confidence-building – and each of them has the potential to grow much more than a single niche would have done. At least, that is my best guess; I suppose I will never know for a fact.

And that’s the thing – you too will never know with absolute certainty. You have to just decide your blogging strategy and go. You can only read so much, research so much, and be pulled in a million directions so many times.

One day, you have to stand up and say, ENOUGH ALREADY! This is what I am going to blog about because of these reasons and this is how I am going to do it. Then wait to see how that makes you feel. Wait for a surge of emotion to come and validate your decision.

Wait for it to FEEL right – yes, imagine an electrical engineer urging you to FIRST feel right before proceeding. Listen to your feelings!

You have to concern yourself LESS with the best chances of a blog succeeding if you focus on this versus that, and figure out WHY you are blogging and WHAT in this world you want to tell your readers and HOW you set yourself apart.

That message that is burning in your heart and bursting to come out, well, that may never fit in a niche, then what? It is a message that is unique to you, that is entirely yours, and thus by deduction, unlike any other out there, and you need to listen to it and write on your blog from that place and you are the ONLY you that can deliver that message, that belief, that conviction through YOUR writing voice and communication style.

Now the real question is whether you are willing to go for it?


Disclaimer: I have affiliate links in this post to products and programs I full and proudly endorse.

  • http://www.ameenafalchetto.com Ameena Falchetto

    I think your niche definitely found you Farnoosh – your voice is crystal clear and has a fabulous following which bears the fruits many crave …

    I think the idea that a niche has to be boring and limiting is wrong. You can still carve out a niche for yourself and cover a broad range of topics – they key to doing that is to:
    - 1. have a goal
    - 2. be totally clear on who you are (and embrace it)

    You do that wonderfully! So, all that to say, yes, you have a niche – the question is, did you find it, or did it find you? :)

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Ameena, hon, what a great way to put it. I read this hours ago and kept thinking about you – you are right, in a way, it is a niche for me and I think you are absolutely right. I didn’t “FIND” it that’s for sure – I gave up on finding it or defining it as you read in my post and just did my thing, completely gut-drive and from the heart and it came together.

      The idea of a niche does not have to be boring – If I implied that, I stand corrected. You are right. It may seem a bit self-limiting but creativity can certainly open doors to new possibilities within that niche.

      You are an amazing new inspiration to me recently and I am over the moon to get to know you and your work and to have your support. You have all of mine, I hope that goes without saying.

      Merci et avec pleins de bisous! :)

      • http://www.ameenafalchetto.com Ameena Falchetto

        Thank you Farnoosh! :)

        I think in all honesty that the goal is the most important thing – and once you have that, run with it, and really sprinkle your secret somethin’ on to it you find yourself in this delicious niche you carved for yourself.

        The idea that you choose a niche can work but for multi-passionate, creative entrepreneurs it’s limiting (and in turn becomes boring!)

        Loving this discussion! Thanks for such a thoughtful post!

  • Nadia Chaudhry

    Absolutely pumped me up! You don’t need a niche, you just need you. A focused you. Great read! Thanks so much.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Nadia, you have made my day. I am ever so glad that this helped you. If I can do anything else for you, you know where to find me. I am going to hop over and check out your blog now! Thanks for your comment.

      • Nadia Chaudhry (@NadiaChaudhry)

        I don’t have a blog quite yet. BUT I am preparing for a launch. Right now, I’m working on a freebie I want to give out. I’ve completed about 20% of it. So, I’ll let you know of it when I’m done!!

        You’re such a sweetheart btw!

  • http://crazyintrovert.com Glori (Crazy Introvert)

    Oh Farnoosh! This post made me feel warm and fuzzy all over. I feel so lost with my blog sometimes, even when money-making is the least of my intentions and I simply want a platform to express myself and connect with others like me, and perhaps find few clients along the way.
    I didn’t even know what a niche was in the first place. I learn as I go along and I love the whole process.

    Thank you encouraging me!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi again Glori, lovely to see you – well, money was not my intention either – it happens because I wanted to devote my whole life to this and it had to support me, but it has never been the driving force. So I hear you! So glad this was educational and do keep me in the loop on your blogging adventures.

  • http://www.ashmenon.com Ash Menon

    I think it’s not so much about having a niche as it is having an identity. There are hundreds of tech bloggers out there, but still some of them manage to stand out with their writing style, or dedication, or unique perspective and opinion.

    Ask yourself “if someone was describing my blog to his friend? What do I want him to say? “

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi Ash, by identity do you mean the same as brand identity which I talked about? I totally agree with you on that. It’s exactly the character traits that makes one stand out and another not so much. Great question, and it’s fantastic to see you after a long time. Hope things are going great for you! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Cassandra

    Farnoosh, THANK YOU so much for this post! Reading this was exactly what I needed! It has been so hard figuring out how to narrow down what I want to write about…so many bloggers that I communicate with or am learning from either through posts or courses say that having a specific niche is really important. Even with hearing this from so many different people, it just felt SO hard. It has been like my intuition has been yelling at me, “It’s not that simple…doing it that way doesn’t let you write about what you WANT to.” Reading your post made me think, “Aha! Now see, that sounds right!”

    Thank you SO much, my dearest friend!! :)

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi dear Cassandra, I really think if you are putting SO MUCH pressure on yourself to narrow it to a niche, where at the same time a part of you wants to start writing, then just write. Just start and let things come together and over time, you will find yourself in a unique voice and place. The most important thing, in your case because we have talked before and I know your situation, is to start! :) And you are most welcome.

  • http://marleeward.com Marlee

    Lovely Farnoosh,

    I’ve certainly battled with the niche or not to niche question in my own business, because my prior experience has shown me that starting narrow and moving wide (in terms of focus) shortens the time it takes for your target market to find you online.

    I think that is what makes niche so important. Because the more specific you are about the things you’re an expert or authority in the easier it is for the people looking for that type of info to recognize that you are what they are looking for.

    So for me, I think you do need a niche. BUT…I don’t think you can’t and shouldn’t arbitrarily choose it. If you don’t already have a narrow and specified area of passion to focus on, I think you have to let your niche evolve organically.

    Much like you expressed here, it’s by finding your own voice, and integrating your why and who you are into what you do that enables you to find the niche that only you can own.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Marlee, so good to see you here – You and I have had this conversation many times and I love that you chose to express it here in your words. It’s a perfectly sensible articulation of how to think about niches in a smart and practical way – and sometimes it’s about just being patient and letting some time pass. I was telling Andy over lunch that the biggest thing is that this business takes TIME and if only we can ride out the waves and wait for our voice and our niche to find us, much like Ameena describes above, then it will come together. Thanks so much, Marlee for adding your ever brilliant thoughts here.

  • http://www.timelessinformation.com Armen Shirvanian

    Hi Farnoosh.

    We all know this is completely wrong. If you don’t pick some specific niche like talking about turtles that reside off the coast of Chile, you won’t make it on the internet.

    I read so many articles before about being so specific, and doing this and doing that, and those were missing the concept. For people with character and messages to send, the niche or details don’t matter. It is just the application of their effort.

    I can’t continue reading articles here because they are not about turtles that live off of the coast of Chile.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Too funny – Armen, how’s that role as a standup comedian coming along? You know I told you to think about it well over a year ago. :)

      Thank you for the thoughts and the validation and also for the compliments. I know that you are doing the same thing in your own way and there is nothing more powerful than our unique voice and our full expression of it in a way that can serve others.

  • Rhonda

    You KNOW I’m loving this post, Farnoosh! For several months, I was struggling with the whole niche thing. You described the feelings so perfectly! It felt so…not me. So instead, I found the “message that is burning in my heart and bursting to come out” and it is going to come out in everything that I do, from coaching to blogging to designing. Like Marlee mentioned, finding your own voice and who you are into what you do. Thank you for being such an inspiration!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Rhonda, I remember your Facebook updates and how you were just so struggling with it….. I really can’t see how you can go wrong by doing just what you described, my dear. And your clients are truly lucky to be in your presence. So so glad you found this post useful! :)

  • http://LifeinZD.com Z Egloff

    Hi Farnoosh,

    You are an inspiration to me! I started blogging less than a year ago. I’m still building a readership, and I’m allowing my blog to develop as it goes. My niche seems to be emerging as well: “spiritual humor” is how I describe it so far.

    Thank you SO much for encouraging us to follow our hearts. That’s the key!

    And a little SEO doesn’t hurt either! ;)

    Cheers,

    Z

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      You are ever so welcome, Z! You are still a newbie blogger! And I love it – spiritual humor – you have let it form without picking it first, that’s the natural process to it. It IS about following our hearts, and DITTO on SEO, Z, that’s so much more powerful than other blogging efforts like social media (That’s 3 years of blogging experience talking ;))! Thanks for stopping by.

  • http://www.3arn.net/ Abdul

    This was a great read, Farnoosh. I totally agree that a blog’s brandability can outplay a niche any given day. This is quite evident from most of the successful bloggers on the internet, and many examples can be seen of bloggers who have blogs focused on a variety of topics and yet they still manag to pull in a vast majority of readers. I’m not talking about the likes of Copy Blogger, but more along the lines of John Chow and Shoe Money.

    This is my first visit to your blog, I’ll be visiting again soon. :)

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Abdul, hello and thank you so much! Very good observation. Thank you for sharing and I like all those blogs although I should follow both more closely. What do you think their secret to success is, Abdul? I know it has at least in part due to great personal branding and the voice of the blogger himself…..

      • http://www.3arn.net/ Abdul

        Spot on, Farnoosh. These blogs have been around even before this MMO market even became as saturated as it is today. It definitely has a part in their personal branding and the ability of the blogger to give the readers exactly what they want to make sure that they keep coming back. :)

        • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

          Dearest Abdul, what’s the MMO market (forgive my ignorance) …. ? :)!

          • http://www.3arn.net/ Abdul

            I was referring to the make money online market. Sorry for using an industry jargon on your blog. :P

  • http://mysocialmediapromo.com IamRex

    Hi Miss Farnoosh,

    I just started blogging, and I still don’t have an idea where my blog is heading. Thank you for writing this very thorough blog.

    BTW, I just received your newsletter. Your minions are doing a fine Job.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi Iam, welcome to the world of blogging!!! It’s OK not to know, just keep at it, keep writing and you will be fine. Enjoy the process and put your readers FIRST! Glad to have you here.

  • http://betweenthetemples.com Chris Harris | Between the Temples

    This post really spoke to me and aligns a lot with what I think as well. My blog is more about airing out my thoughts on anything I feel inclined to write about.

    Like you I don’t want to be boxed in, which is why I have been unable to really narrow my focus. For now it is more important to write about what interests me than to put my blog into a niche that might improve search results.

    I haven’t been writing as much lately because I have been in thought on some of the issues you have raised. More and more I see my blog as a means to achieve self-actualization. So for now I am just going to let things flow as they come to me until I cement a voice and direction that I can be happy with.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Mr. Harris, hello again! Be sure to also read the additional comments here on this post – they add a really nice balance to what I had in the post itself, but I hear you I hear you – please don’t box me in either ;)!

      I am so happy to hear you are still thinking about some of what we talked about and if you still need to think them through, don’t rush. When you come up with the answers, you’ll be ready to pursue them and I’ll be more than ready to hear them, Chris. Sending you lots of good vibes and hope we talk soon.