Your Blog’s Message: Stick to the Plan
Are you passionate about many different things? Join the club. Humans are multifaceted creatures, and each of us has our own personal set of diverse interests. Hence, when a new blogger gets started, he or she may be tempted to create a “megablog” that touches on all of his or her interests.
When you create a website with topics scattered all over the place – or even one with well organized (although entirely different) subjects – you’ll have major trouble cultivating an audience. Internet users are fiercely jealous guardians of their time, so if someone lands on your site and can’t figure out your message, that visitor is likely to click away.
Settling on a Niche
If you’re just so darn excited about life that you can’t seem to nail down one particular niche, don’t sweat it. To get the job done, step away from the hardcore analysis and reflect on your day-to-day activities instead. For example, when you’re flipping through your smartphone while waiting in line, what news articles are you drawn to? What magazines immediately catch your eye at the grocery store checkout counter?
If you increase your self-awareness as you move throughout your day, your primary niche will begin to reveal itself to you. Still lost? Try this: don’t delete your browsing history for a week or two. Surf the Web as usual, then open your browsing history log after a couple of weeks. Carefully analyze the kinds of sites you visited the most frequently. You’ll begin to notice a pattern – you’ll find one topic you seem to return to day after day. That, my friend, is your niche calling.
Keeping Your Niche Happy
Once you’ve discovered your niche, it’s time to find your community. Since your topic of choice is something you’re passionate about, chances are you frequent many of the websites and blogs in your niche already. There’s your community.
When you begin posting on your blog, make sure you’re writing about the topics that readers want to see. Don’ deviate from your blog’s core message. In fact, you should strive to ensure it’s a recurring theme in every post you write. For ideas, return to your browsing history periodically – what kinds of articles have you been reading? If the title caught your eye, it probably turned the head of others in your community as well. Post about similar topics on your own blog, but make sure to bring your own voice and unique brand of analysis to the table. Never reword someone else’s stuff and post it as your own. Word gets around in a tightly-knit group, so be an individual.
Giving plays a huge role in building your blog as well. Both on-site and off, you need to spread the love as far and wide as you can. On your own blog, ask your readers some questions in your posts. Listen to them and reply to their comments. Acknowledge feedback and be flexible. No one wants to be preached to from a pulpit, so get down in the trenches with you audience and make yourself part of the discussion.
Now for the off-site part. An integral part of building your community is lifting up other blogs in your niche. That means visiting them frequently and commenting. It also means you should link to valuable posts from your peers that reinforce your blog’s message whenever you can. Your fellow bloggers will notice and return the favor – tenfold.
Managing Multiple Niches
If you simply can’t stand the idea of sticking to one niche when you have so many beloved interests, listen up. There is a way to have the best of multiple worlds, but you must be highly organized and methodologicalto pull it off.
Some bloggers do own blogs in multiple niches and manage to run things quite successfully. If you want to give this technique a whirl, consider a few caveats before you dive headlong into a theme-shopping binge. First, increase your output by learning to use your computer more quickly and efficiently.
Next, teach yourself how to manage your time effectively. Time management and compartmentalizing tasks is the way that successful entrepreneurs deal with multiple projects, as ClickNewz.com’s Lynn Terry so aptly describes in a post about juggling her various websites:
Whether you choose to tackle one blog or many, remember to stay on message at all costs. Returning visitors are returning because they like the theme of your content. Don’t switch it up on them after they’ve become regular visitors. Remember, when you mix a laser-targeted niche with a central message and throw in a heaping spoonful of community interaction, you have a recipe for a blog poised to rise to the top of your industry.