Is a Niche Necessary for a Blog's Success?
Writing: a personal connection or a branding scheme?
I have read many articles about writing on Medium, the biggest blogging site on the internet today. They’re quite useful for those who want to skyrocket to success and want concrete evidence and genuine advice on how to make it on an exponentially growing platform.
Most of these articles strongly advised picking a niche. It makes sense to do so; focusing on one topic (broad or particular) builds reputation. It makes your readers come back for more, knowing what they’ll find.
If you blog about coffee making, your loyal readers may find it confusing if they click your profile and find you writing about skincare or nutrition. If you have been sticking to one topic, it’s a bad move to dive into other topics unrelated to your niche.
But I don’t have a niche. And I hate having a niche.
Why? Because having a niche constrains me. I like writing about everything — politics, society, religion, language, literature, art, writing, war, history, fiction, and poetry (when I’m in the mood). Is that a bad thing to do?
Numerous bloggers recommend having one niche. A niche-focused blog has a bigger potential to reach readers who are interested in that topic. When you pick a theme for your blog — via visuals, language, and niche — you teach your reader that your blog is home for what they like to read.
If you blog about sports, readers will come back to your blog to read about sports every time. They won’t come back on a daily basis to read a once-a-month article on sports, squeezed in between a dozen other articles on a wide variety of other unrelated topics.
You have to be known for one thing (ideally). That’s how you grow loyal readership over time.
I believe it’s just fine to play around with more than one niche. Famous bloggers interviewed by Jonathan Fields have two opinions on this matter:
Pick one niche and stick to it. This way, you’ll dig deep into the subject and become a trusted source for everything about this topic. Doing so will make you develop one thematic blog for one subject. On the other hand, if you create a dozen blogs, each dedicated to a different niche, you won’t be able to produce quality content for all of them. At one point, one blog will rise to the top (in terms of readership), and the others will fluctuate and possibly die off.
Stick to one blog, essentially, but you can write in different niches as long as they are somewhat related to each other. Health and fitness include exercise, diet, skincare, bodybuilding, mental health, self-improvement, and anything else.
I like blogging about politics, society, education, mental health, self-improvement, and really anything that piques my interest or pertains to me in some way or another.
I must admit that I do like the idea of maintaining several blogs simultaneously. That’s why I created The Political Corner, in which I write about all-things politics (focused on the Middle East), and The Libocratic, for miscellaneous topics. But I also know that it isn’t possible, and the content I produce will eventually not be of good quality. And if I don’t post in one for a couple of weeks, readership will drop to zero. Maintaining one blog is hard enough. You have to do research, writing, editing, and marketing all by yourself.
Why I Don’t Stick to One Niche
I could argue that I do have a niche. I like titling it under changing the world, but that’s far from reality. Sometimes, I’ll write for fun. I’ll write extensively researched articles on politics, history, and religion one week, and I’ll write lighthearted fiction the next.
I write short stories, poems, and articles about politics, history, diplomacy, literature, art, education, etc...
A website is your home. A blog page is the guest room, where readers can sit down and enjoy quality brain food. Sometimes I’ll serve my readers with thought-provoking pieces about changing education and breaking the norms of the not-so-modern school system. Other times I’ll give them a thorough history lesson with citations from relevant literature.
I don’t want to be known, really, for writing long analyses and readings of US politics, or as the controversial “let’s change everything about society” type of guy. I want to provide provocative pieces that make my readers think. To make myself think. At times, I’ll start writing a story with a strong biased argument, only to find out — after in-depth research — that I’m in the wrong. And so I scratch the idea. Or even better, I’ll write an article and present two opposing arguments on the same topic.
Why do I write?
A lot of writers like to think of themselves as educators. Good for them. They’ve gone off to school or worked in a field for years or decades, and they have something to offer—trusted quality information.
I’m still 20 years old. I’m still learning every day. Writing, for me, is a way of learning. If I want to know about U.S. interventionism, I don’t just go read about it off the internet. I write an article about it.
I like to think of writing as a more efficient way of learning. Instead of just reading about it, I also write about it so that:
I learn new things more actively. When you write about something, you get a sense of knowledge and experience on that topic. You embed in your subconscious that you know what you’re talking about. That’s essential for internalizing the information that you’re trying to learn.
I educate people and provide unbiased, informative content for them as well as myself. If I read something worth sharing — something that people should know about — I prefer to write a story about it, adding my own touch on the matter.
I can come back to it when I want to refresh my memory. Just by rereading it, I can still feel some sort of connection to the subject, because I was the one to write it.
Essentially, I write because I want to make a difference in the world. And to make a difference, I have to touch on many subjects and ask every question I have to get to the right answers. If that means I have to connect politics to education to society to war to history to even nutrition, I will find a way to make it work.
I’ll invent a new niche for what I do.
Written by Tarek Gara on Medium.