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Does your blog need to have a niche?

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does your blog have to have a niche?

Do blogs need to have a niche?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  A few years ago, I probably wouldn’t have hesitated to answer ‘yes’ to that question: both of my other blogs have very specific niches (shoes and fashion, since you asked) and so did every one of the big commercial blogs I used to freelance for. In fact, it was because of those blogs that when I decided to go into blogging professionally, I made the decision to start a number of niche blogs of my own, rather than have just one big site, covering a little bit of everything.

Back then, that was what people did if they wanted to make a living from blogging, and it made a lot of sense: when you stick to a certain niche, your content is very focused, your readers know what to expect, and you have the opportunity to be a leader in your particular field, as opposed to just one of many in the larger landscape of “personal” blogs.

There are definitely a lot of advantages to niche blogging, but there are some disadvantages too: the main one for me being that if I’m forced to stick to one specific subject, I very quickly run out of steam. I get bored. I start wanting to write about other things, and the fact that I’m not “allowed” to (because you can’t really start talking about what you had for dinner on a blog about shoes, can you? Not that I particularly want to talk about what I had for dinner*, obviously, but you get the picture…) starts to really frustrate me, and resent the fact that I’m sitting there writing about a subject I’m not particularly interested in any more, when there are 100 other things I want to say.

(*It was pizza, by the way.)

That’s why I ended up with 3 blogs: which I’ve gradually whittled down from a whole lot more than that. Every time there was a new subject I really wanted to talk about, I felt like I had to start a whole new blog, so I ended up with tons of them, and, of course, that doesn’t work either. Or not for me, anyway. What I quickly realised was that the reason those big blog networks I used to write for were able to run multiple blogs was because they had multiple people to do it. I just have me, and for me it just isn’t realistic to have lots of different webistes to update every day, to manage all the social media and email enquiries for, to monetise effectively, and so on and so forth.

Which brings me to this blog.

does your blog have to have a niche?

This blog has always essentially been a diary, and because of that, it doesn’t have a particular niche. I write about whatever I want to, whenever I want to, and although I do plan my content, and have some posts which always go out on certain days, it’s still just a little bit of everything. That works really well for me in some respects: it means that I never run out of things to talk about, for one thing, and I never feel like I have to “force” myself to write about something. On my shoe blog, for instance, although the posts are much shorter than the ones I publish here, they actually take much longer to put together: I frequently have to a lot of time searching for a shoe I want to feature, and then even more time trying to come up with something to say about it that I haven’t said a million times already – such is the problem of the ‘niche’ blog.

With Forever Amber I don’t have any of those issues  – in fact, sometimes I have to restrain myself from posting multiple times a day, just to be able to fit in everything I want to say. Which is great, of course, but lately I’ve been worrying that the lack of focus the site has is holding it back. I just don’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I look at other blogs, and you instantly know what they’re about: with mine you get this weird jumble of an outfit here, a beauty review there, and oh hey, let me just tell you about this hilarious thing my dog did last week.

(Er, there is no hilarious story about my dog, by the way. Sorry.)

Those sites are the ones that build readerships and communities: those are the sites that people follow, because they know what to expect from them, and they also know that every single post will be relevant to them. And then there’s me. I have some readers who are interested in fashion, and nothing else. I have some readers who are just here for foundation recommendations for pale skin. I have some readers who like the personal stories, and skip everything else. I have very few readers who are interested in everything, and while I know it’s unrealistic to expect every post to appeal to every single reader (even on a niche blog, that just isn’t going to happen), the knowledge that every post I publish will only appeal to a small handful of readers can be a bit of a downer.  I kind of feel like I’m trying to be all things to all people, and always coming up short.

blog tips and advice

So, where does that leave me?

I’m not a fashion blogger: I manage maybe two outfit posts a week if I’m lucky, and thanks to the crappy weather and lack of daylight (not to mention the fact that I wear the same things all the time), I would really struggle to manage more than that. Even if I did decide to just focus on fashion, I STILL wouldn’t fit in, because although I’m most often referred to as a “retro blogger”, I’m not really, and nor do I really want to be. ‘Real’ retro/vintage bloggers would probably turn their noses up at my ASOS dresses, modern shoes and non-vintage hair… but the fact is, contemporary bloggers would turn their noses up at me too, because I’m not a ‘trendy’ dresser, either. I occupy this weird no-man’s land somewhere between retro and modern, and I don’t see much of a demand for that kind of thing, so … yeah, I’m not a fashion blogger – or even a daily outfit blogger that anyone would want to follow.

I’m not a beauty blogger, either. I do love makeup, and I enjoy writing about it, but my interest begins and ends with the products that work for my skin/hair/style, and I have no interest or knowledge about anything outwith that. When I had my beauty blog (just one of those niche blogs I mentioned), I did briefly try making it even MORE niche, by making it exclusively about products for pale skin and/or red hair. The problem is, though, that as much I love makeup, I don’t buy enough of it to sustain a blog about it, and once I’ve found something I love, I just keep on using it forever (or until it’s discontinued, rather), which makes for pretty dull reading. ‘Real’ beauty bloggers write in-depth reviews and tutorials: they really know their stuff, and have something to offer their readers other than just, “Oh yeah, I bought this, and it was quite good.” So I’m not a beauty blogger, either.

Which leaves me with lifestyle. A couple of years ago, when lifestyle blogs started to become a “thing”, I thought I’d finally found my niche, and it was lifestyle. I was writing about my life, after all, so that makes it a lifestyle blog, right? Well, no, not really. When I look at the lifestyle section on Bloglovin, I see mostly recipes and advice posts – THAT’S what ‘lifestyle’ means to most people, and I… I write stories about that one time I phoned myself by mistake. I love eating, but I hate cooking, so recipes are out. I do write “advice” style stuff (if you can call it that), but it’s not something I’d want to do all the time, so… I’m not really a lifestyle blogger, either.

blog tips and advice

And the problem is… I don’t really WANT to be any of those things. Even if I did make the decision that, OK, as of tomorrow I’m going to pick a niche and stick to it, I don’t think that would work for me. As I said, I’d get bored trying to restrict myself to writing about the same thing all the time. I LIKE being able to cover a wide range of subjecst – to just sit down, as I am now, and write down whatever’s on my mind. It’s good for ME… but I’m just not sure it’s good for my blog, or that I can reasonably expect people to want to follow such a random jumble of topics.

What do you think? Do you think a blog needs to have a niche, or do you prefer a little bit of everything? 

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35 Comments
  • the Other Emma
    November 22, 2015

    Please don’t go changing
    I love all your posts even if they’re not particularly relevant to me because I love your style of writing. Plus I find sites that only cover one particular thing will bring me back when I see something I am specifically interested in but sites like this which cover a range of things bring me back all the time to see what has been posted

    • Angie
      December 2, 2015

      This is exactly how I feel! I enjoy your writing. Therefore, even if a post doesn’t pertain to me, I still like reading it.

  • Andrea@WellnessNotes
    November 22, 2015

    I like blogs that have a little bit of everything. In fact, I get bored of blogs that have strictly one topic and never veer from it. I read a fair amount of niche blogs, but I have found that the ones I stick with long term have a little “extra:” outfits plus a few life stories or a little advice, recipes plus some background, etc. It seems the pure niche blogs often do better because the can be easily included on lists, etc. Your blog is a favorite of mine because I love the way you write. So even if I’m not crazy interested in the topic, I always enjoy to read your posts…

  • Jennifer
    November 22, 2015

    I actually really love your blog for the fact that it doesn’t necessarily conform to a niche! I think what I especially like about this blog is that every post I read seems to feel personal and tells me more about you, rather than just the clothes you happen to wear or whatever the ‘main’ point was. I like that whenever I come to read a post, I generally come away with a little extra story. From a blogging as a career point of view, I guess there would be an advantage to a niche – it makes it easier to be predictable and a source for information. But I personally like to read blogs simply to find out about other people and their lives, and I much prefer it when I never know what’s coming next from a blog!
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

  • Elizabeth
    November 22, 2015

    Your blog actually inspired me to stop trying to find my niche about a year ago. I love how you write about whatever you want, when you want. Every advice post out there tells you to stick to niche no matter what but why? A blog is one’s own personal space… You can share whatever you want. Especially when, like me, you aren’t getting paid. So if I want to deviate from outfit posts (which in winter hell yeah I do) I’ll do just that.

  • Georgia
    November 22, 2015

    Random jumble of topics… Or diverse, relatable content? I read EVERY.single.post that’s published here for the exact reasons you state make you a … “generalist”, for lack of a better word 🙂
    I do read shoeperwoman.com but this blog I enjoy far more.
    Please keep up the great work. Sending good vibes from Germany.

  • Amy
    November 22, 2015

    It’s really funny that you’ve written this now because I’ve actually just rebranded my blog to give it more of a niche!
    I had been trying to write a lifestyle blog but realised that my lifestyle isn’t really that interesting, I don’t shop often and (like you) I use the same makeup over and over again.
    The posts that I enjoyed writing and that people seemed to enjoy reading were about work/life balance and general self help style advice aimed at women like me. So that’s what my blog is about now. It means I can cover a lot of the things I was writing about anyway but now I have a point. Now I have a focus.
    Your blog is great by the way. Your writing style is funny and personal and I genuinely care about what you’re up to. I’ve been following your blog for a few years now because I’m a pale skinned, red haired girl from Edinburgh who is married to a Tery (he spells it with one r!). This means that your blog has a kind of niche… People a lot like you! And there are a lot of people who will be able to relate to you and your life in one way or another. Keep doing what you’re doing I say. You have a real skill for it and done need to focus on your niche any more than that.
    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  • Annabel
    November 22, 2015

    The reason I love your blog is because you talk about everything. One day I’ll have a beauty review to read, another I’ll have advice on blogging, another just a story about your day and another an outfit post. You never get tired of writing and I never get tired of reading. Ever since I started following your blog, I’ve never missed a single post- I even read those about blogging and I’m not even interested in having a blog! The only posts I don’t like as much are the outfit ones, just because they’re usually a lot shorter than the others and I can’t get enough of your writing style

    Fangirling over, I swear*

    *I totally don’t. Sorry, not sorry

  • Fi
    November 22, 2015

    What they said above. And what Billy Joel said. (“Don’t go changing…”)
    X

  • Rotem
    November 22, 2015

    I actually love how diverse your content is, mostly because I love your writing. I truly think you can write about anything and make it interesting, amusing and approachable.
    I understand the difficulty on your part, but honestly – I will be really disappointed if this stops being a blog about everything and becomes a niche blog.
    By the way, in my own blog (of which I do not make a living, and which is purely there for my own amusement) I started with personal stories, and now can’t bring myself to write about anything else because it seems out of place. So I totally relate to the whole “getting tired of your niche” thing, and wish I will be able to make it more diverse.

  • Amanda
    November 22, 2015

    I actually read/enjoy your blog a lot more than others who are niche, because you do all the things and have so many diverse posts. I dont have fair skin or red hair, but I enjoy your beauty posts; I also dont dress like you at all, but I do enjoy your outfit posts and think your style is interesting and gorgeous. So many niche bloggers have shady business practices or become so commercialized they lose readability and most people cant relate. I would consider your blog a lifestyle blog with a twist, you are always very funny and open. Its such a fun read!

  • steph
    November 22, 2015

    I agree with everyone else who has already commented – don’t change! I started reading this blog after getting into shoeperwoman and I read pretty much every post (yours is one of the few I look up every day) even the stuff which I have no use for! Purely because I enjoy reading your writing (the outfit post with Terry the other day Is one of the funniest things that I’ve read In a long time!). I also think that the way you dress is very relatable. I love vintage style clothes and have purchased more than I care to admit to thanks to you!

  • Anca
    November 22, 2015

    I have a different blog for my recipes and my lifestyle blog is about everything. :)) I blog about a local Christmas market, a museum, 40 before 40 list, living healthy and a homemade body scrub all in the same week. I know my blog will not grow fast (or much) and that is fine for me, it’s a hobby and a dairy and I wouldn’t want to change it. I like your blog as it is, not knowing what topic you’ll going to write next makes it more fascinating.

  • Ida
    November 22, 2015

    Omg I can relate to this so much. I tries to niche down and it almost made me stop blogging. So now I decided to follow my own rules. Maybe people will like it and maybe they won’t but as it is now I don’t have that many readers anyway so at least I know it won’t hurt to give it a try.
    I love makeup but I’m not really good at it. I love clothes and shoeas but I’m poor so I can’t really buy anything new. I love to color my hair but I will never be one of those beautiful mermaid girls who people follow because of how lovely hair they have. So what’s left is being me, and I like me so maybe that will be enough.
    Also I reallt like your blog the way it is and I really wish I could find more lifestyle blogs like this one to read./love Ida

  • Claudia
    November 22, 2015

    I can subscribe to most of the comments above. I enjoy your blog exactly because you touch on so many topics and because of the way you write about them. I read them all irrespective of whether the topic is something that I am interested in or not. Maybe your niche is that you give readers a well-rounded idea about who you are as a person and your view on life. Without this sounding stalker-ish (I hope!), you meet people in life (online or face to face) who strike you as interesting at first glance, without you knowing them. People you’d like to get to know better, people who know exactly who they are and are fine with it. To me, your blog is mostly an opinion piece, like an editorial in a very good newsletter or magazine. You are curious what topic will be touched on next, you might agree or disagree with the opinion, but you can’t say it’s not a well argued one, giving you an insight into that person’s beliefs and opinions. It’s these pieces of content that kickstart my own thinking process.

  • Brit
    November 22, 2015

    Please don’t change this blog! I agree with everyone who has already commented. I love this blog and it’s the only one I read regularly. As someone already said I enjoy reading every post despite not being interested in every topic, just because I like your style of writing. So just keep on you good work. Regards from Germany, Brit.

  • Myra
    November 22, 2015

    Ditto to all the comments above. The reason your blog works so well and what unifies all the different posts is your writing style, which is light hearted and funny, often brightening my day.

    You give your readers a glimpse into your life and your head, so many readers empathise with that as they recognise an authentic voice. On a personal level many of your posts trigger my memories of similar events/situations and dreams in my life.
    I think you are writing a post that epitomises the culture and zeitgeist of the 21st century.

  • Sarah Rooftops
    November 22, 2015

    I prefer a bit of everything. I feel like you get to know the writer so much better if you’re seeing more aspects of their life and while, okay, I’m MOSTLY here for the funny stories I always click through to your advice posts and occasionally discover something to do with fashion or pale skin that I might otherwise not have done (because I don’t read purely beauty or fashion blogs) – you never know when something’s going to unexpectedly resonate with a random reader. I know you write your blogs for a living but they still have to be FUN for you so I say: stick to writing whatever you feel like; don’t limit yourself and start to resent it.

  • Ruby Feldman
    November 22, 2015

    We must be kindred (blog) spirits….only difference is you have tons of followers, and get tons of comments…that aside, I have tried over and over to niche my blog and nothing truly worked for everyone or me all the time. Some followers like one thing, some like another…but it was too confining! I gain and loose readership each time, but that’s life in general right?
    I recently did it again, now branding myself a retro housewife in a modern world. My banner has me reading a cookbook…my daughter’s idea, not mine, so I have begun adding more recipes, they seem to be a hit…people like food porn. Sometimes I share fashion…my own…a mix of retro and modern. Recently been profiling small business owners, all women who create retro/vintage inspired items, and that helps fill in blanks. My photos are taken on my cell, and edited by me, unless a business owner sends me photos, so it has a very back to basics homespun quality. I don’t edit myself and I write like I think and talk, oddly enough I have begun to get better readership because of it, it’s real, I am real, and I think that’s the appeal. Not sure I ever will reach the masses as I once dreamed of, but for now it’s my little cozy part of the cyber world, and the welcome mat is out, the kettle is on and there is something yummy in the oven for anyone that wants to pop in for a visit.

  • Sandra
    November 22, 2015

    I love your blog! It gorgeous to read all your different types of articles. I can’t say which kind of blogpost I like most because all of them are great. Oh and I really love your writing style!!
    xoxo
    Sandra

  • Vickie
    November 22, 2015

    Echoing what everyone else has said – I like that you don’t have a niche! I’m interested in almost everything you post about, and your style of writing amuses me so that even posts that aren’t relevant to my interests are still worth a look. I found you because we have similar taste in repro vintage clothes (I have little interest in trendy fashion, and while I love vintage the ‘proper’ stuff never fits me well).

    It strikes me that you do have a pretty successful blog here, even if it’s not at the level of a more generic fashion/lifestyle blog that might appeal to the masses. Maybe start a more niche blog as an experiment, and see if you enjoy it? (Though… isn’t that what your other two blogs are?) By all means change if you want to, but don’t feel you should – you have tons of followers on here who like you fine just as you are.

  • Vickie
    November 22, 2015

    P.S. Did you write this hoping it would inspire comments? Because it totally worked 😉

    • Amber
      November 23, 2015

      I write everything in the hope that it’ll inspire comments 🙂

  • Lyn
    November 23, 2015

    Most important thing first : DON’T CHANGE! I follow tons of blogs and the ones I check out the most and really look forward to a new post (which sometimes means refreshing that blog multiple times a day, yes I know..) are the ones who write about fashion/beauty/recipes/travels/.. “A bit of everything” 🙂 (good example from an a-bit-of-everything-blog is lovedailydose.com)
    xox Lyn

  • Katryna
    November 23, 2015

    I love that your blog is a mix. It’s one of the most entertaining in my feed. Sure not every post appeals to me but I love that you have the variety to choose from. It’s kinda fun not to know what to expect.
    My blog has this problem too and I decided that the most engaging posts come when the author enjoys the topic, so does it really matter what ‘box’ it falls into?

  • Kacy
    November 24, 2015

    This is a great post and I’m so glad I found your blog (I think from a Facebook blog group, shame on me for not remembering which one) because I love your relatable writing style and variable topics. My blog doesn’t have a niche either, rather several “interests” that I blog about in different ways. I used to have a health/lifestyle blog that was much more of a diary, but I quit it after it started to feel too forced and often too personal (I was getting married and felt awkward about the idea of posting the details of my wedding day). I enjoy trying to write about more structured topics on my new blog, but often find myself wanting to write more personal things as well. It’s a struggle, but I love blogging so it’s worth it to try to navigate. Thanks for all of your posts!

  • Ghalia
    November 24, 2015

    I can’t say what a blog “needs”, as I am not a blogger myself, but, for what it’s worth, I’ve read every single one of your posts from this blog and Shoeperwoman (stumbled upon your blogs back in 2010, and enjoyed your writing so much that I went back & read all previous posts from those two blogs, & I’ve been following all your blogs since).

    Forever Amber is my favourite, even though I am crazy about shoes and love your fashion sense, specifically because it’s a diary-type blog, more than anything else.

  • Trona
    November 24, 2015

    I don’t think a blog necessarily has to have a niche, however, I think it has to be good at covering everything (which I think yours really does, btw). I tend to do a lot of product reviews on mine and even I get bored doing the same thing over again so it’s nice to have a mix of stuff. I much prefer blogs that have a mix of content, all my favourites cover a good variety of topics xx

  • Suzy
    November 24, 2015

    I’d still call you a lifestyle blogger because you blog about general lifestyle – regardless of whether you blog about recipes or not. I define myself as a lifestyle blogger too… my niche is that I’m blogging from abroad (Portugal) and primarily for women 40+. I love doing what I do because, like you, I blog about whatever I want, whenever I want and that’s just fun, right?
    Suzy x
    http://www.suzyturner.com

  • Luc
    November 24, 2015

    Well, I think this is Forever Amber’s strength!! It is a little eclectic, and I love that. I must say most of the other blogs I read daily are more focused, but in fact that only makes me like yours all the more. I think you currently have the perfect mix.

  • Kirsten
    November 25, 2015

    Amber,

    You hit the nail right on the head with this. This post was right up my alley. I completely agree with you. In my blog I want to freedom to write about anything that I want. I love that you are honest with what you write and I agree with your points. Keep on blogging and have a wonderful day! 😀

  • Gemma
    November 25, 2015

    I have this problem a lot too. When I started my blog I wanted it to be a “fashion” blog, I sold vintage clothes and wanted to write about how to make them fit into modern trends, but almost immediately I started writing long rants on random things and my life. Then I got more and more “vintage” but when I started running and playing Roller Derby I started another blog to talk about that, and now I don’t really have enough vintagey things to talk about half the time and find I don’t really care. If it wasn’t also my job I wouldn’t care, but I feel like I’m stuck with the vintage label a bit and have to try and crowbar it in!

    I think one of the reasons I like reading your blog is that you seem to write about similar things to me, which are the things I’m interested in! An outfit here, some make up, what’s on Netflix. Maybe “30 something women with no kids and average lives who like clothes and make up” is a niche?

  • Gillian
    November 29, 2015

    Please don’t ever change, Amber. Please.

  • Holly
    November 30, 2015

    I’m new to blog reading and have enjoyed your chatty style. It feels like running into an old friend and being able to connect again. I like a little bit of everything. Your pictures are fresh and inspiring. Talking about the weather you experience is like being able to travel-and I loved your posts on vacationing in California.
    Keep doing what pleases you and don’t worry about pleasing others.
    If you need to embed more links to profit from this blog; I’ll click through a bit too.
    Thanks for sharing yourself. I love feeling like I have a friend again in Scotland. (My first pen pal was from the land of my ancestors.)(There is even a Thomson plaid.)

  • Deva
    December 7, 2015

    Trying to fit my blogging, social media activities, etc. into a specific category is one of the most frustrating things about these platforms. I never feel like I completely fit into a certain category and I don’t exactly want to, but that’s sometimes bad for exactly the reasons you described. It usually makes me feel like I have no hope of ever building up a reliable audience. (Let’s forget the fact that I haven’t blogged regularly in over a year…)

    Sometimes I start an account to post certain types of things but soon want to branch off into other kinds of things. I actually like this blog a lot because there’s more variety. Maybe I don’t love every single post, but there’s always something new to see, and it’s a lot easier for me to relate to than the carefully curated always-perfect lifestyle bloggers that I don’t follow because I just can’t connect with their content.

    I hope that made sense and didn’t end up sounding insulting. :/

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