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3 Ways to Define What Your Blog Is About

Posted By Darren Rowse 27th of October 2014 Start a Blog 40

What is your blog about?

It’s a question all bloggers get asked from time to time. How do you answer it?

It’s also a question I know many ProBlogger readers wrestle with – particularly when starting their blog.

What is my niche? Do I even need a niche? How do I define my niche?

Every time I run a Q&A webinar over on ProBlogger.com, I get questions around whether bloggers need a niche. I thought I’d put a few thoughts into a blog post and suggest three ways to define what your blog is about.

1. Niche

Lets start with the most obvious one – choosing a ‘niche’ to blog about.

Most bloggers I know would classify their blog in this way. I often do!

ProBlogger – at it’s most basic level is a blog about blogging (sad but true!).

Digital Photography School – it’s a blog about digital photography.

Everything that happens on my blogs comes back to these core topics – they’re very much niche blogs.

There are many other examples of great ‘niche’ blogs. For example Chris Hunter’s BikeEXIF.

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2. Demographic

Most ProBlogger readers fit fairly and squarely into a ‘niche’ but I know from experience that there’s quite a few of you squirming in your seat and resisting the urge to scroll to the comments section to tell me that your blog doesn’t fit into a niche.

Perhaps thinking about ‘who’ your blog is for rather than the ‘topic’ it is about is a better approach for you.

Over the last 10 years I’ve seen more and more bloggers developing blogs around a certain demographic of readers.

Gala Darling was one of the first I came across doing this on her blog (although there were others doing similarly.

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A quick look over Gala’s blog and you can see she’s talking about a range of topics – Style, Beauty, Travel, Self Love are 4 categories but over the years she’s talked about relationships, horoscopes and much more. While her blog doesn’t really fit neatly into a ‘niche’ Gala seems to have a clear understanding in her mind of who she is writing for.

There are many examples of bloggers targeting particular demographics. Some are focused upon men or women, others are aimed at a generation, others are aimed at a lifestyle.

3. A Fight

At this year’s ProBlogger Event in Portland Oregon Jeff Goins gave a talk that presented another way to think about what your blog is about that I know many attendees found really helpful.

He suggested picking a ‘fight’.

For a gentle shy guy like me, this at first sounded a little confronting – but as he spoke, I realised I’d already picked a fight in my blogging!

By picking a fight Jeff was not suggesting you attack another person or choose something to blog about that is necessarily controversial – but rather to centre your blog around a struggle in some way that readers might identify with.

While I’ve already mentioned above that ProBlogger is a ‘niche’ blog, I realised that as Jeff spoke that when I started ProBlogger it was definitely centered around a ‘fight’.

When I started ProBlogger back in 2004, blogging was seen as a very ‘pure’ medium that was supposed to be used largely for self expression. To suggest that blogs could be used to make money was something that polarised people.

Some argued blogs should never be used for commercial purposes and suggested that to do so would be to slimy/scammy and others doubted that it was even possible to make money blogging.

Starting ProBlogger was me putting a flag in the sand and saying that not only was it possible to make a living from blogging (I was almost full time at that point) but that you could do it without selling out or entering into sleazy territory.

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That was my fight and it turns out that while it was a little controversial at the time, a lot of others who shared my belief and who got some kind of inspiration from that same fight. Others gathered around that flag in the sand and ProBlogger gained momentum.

As I think about the three options of niche, demographic, and fight, I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong way to go about it. Each has its advantages and disadvantages but I do wonder if having a ‘fight’ might be a particularly powerful way to go.

A fight galvanises people and is something that you and others can get passionate about. These things are good for a blog.

Niches, Demographics and/or Fights?

The above three options for classifying a blog are certainly not the only ones, and I wouldn’t want to argue that they’re mutually exclusive.

In fact as I think about some of my favourite blogs, I see some that have niches, demographics, AND fights!

A prime example of this would be Vanessa’s blog Style and Shenanigans (Vanessa is my wife) who has a blog about ‘style’ (niche), which is written for women (demographic) and has a fight. Her fight is that you can retain a sense of style despite having three little boys running around your home destroying everything (as we do).

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How Do You Define What Your Blog Is About?

Do you have a niche, a demographic or a fight? Or do you think about what your blog is about in some other way?

I’d love to hear your take on this!

PS: If you’re in the process of starting a blog check out our 5 step guide to starting a blog.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. The niche idea is something I think about a lot with my blog. While in general I write about living a simple life, I write about all kinds of things: recipes and cooking, little travel adventures, our life in NYC, and tips on living minimally and simply.

    That being said, sometimes I think I need to have a tighter niche, which I think will come in time. I just don’t want to limit myself too much, and figure most of my readers are women in their 30s who want to learn about simplifying their own lives.

  2. Interesting post Darren. I believe that my blog The Greening of Gavin, falls in to both the niche and demographic categories. It is primarily aimed at people who want to live a more sustainable lifestyle, but it has a handful of niche topics that I cover most weeks.

    Before I read your post I only thought it was a niche blog, so your post certainly helped me define my audience.

  3. Hey Darren, how a simple blog post title can be so thought provoking. My blog Menshealthcures.com is a niche blog obviously about Men’s Health, but is also serves a demographic- men between the ages of 45 and 65. I wouldn’t say my blog is about a fight or struggle men face, rather to be a source of natural, organic and holistic information to address men’s health issues.

  4. Great post and certainly food for thought. I think defining ‘what your blog is about’ is way more difficult that many people think. Blog direction can change as you discover what content people do and don’t like. It’s good to have a focus but also to remain open to the fact that your blog could evolve and change over time.

    I think that my blog covers all three, I have niche (equestrian), demographic (mainly women) and fight (enabling anyone, regardless of budget to shop the equestrian trend).

  5. I used to believe that you can only categorize any blog via niche only, but you explained beautifully that blogs can be classified into demographic as well. I guess unless you know your correct niche and demographic, you won’t be able to succeed in your blogging.

  6. Thank you Daren for a simple, yet thoughtful post. I am new to blogging and you are one of my mentors, even though you don’t know about it :).

    I constantly wondering about my niche because everyone is asking and talking about it. Now I feel a little more relief since there are other ways to look at it. My website is igoiseeilearn.com and I would like to write about all those areas: to travelers of all ages (i go); to share with people great destinations (i see) and to share with them about all the tips, tricks and how one can improve themselves while traveling (i learn)… and everything else along the way. Would that be too broad? maybe time will tell.

  7. Great post Darren.
    I have this fight to not to have to report to a office and working on the company terms.
    I have this dream to create multiple streams of income and earn enough for my fiancee to be a stay home mum to my future kids. Singapore’s cost of living is high.

    I blog about making money online through affiliate marketing, promoting “making money online” products.
    My website is still very young, hasn’t gain any traction hence I am not too sure who (demographic) will be reading my blog, but I write a imaginary person in mind.

    Ralph, early 30s, plans to marry his girlfriend, creating recurring income streams so that money is least of his worries so that he can spend his energy on his family and his community.

  8. Darren, can you believe that I finally determined how to define my site, Marcie Writes, after three years of blogging? It is my writing portfolio site but I blog about my favorite topics, some of which are not writing topics, but I’d like clients to hire me to write. After brainstorming and revising, I can confidently tell people what my site is about.

  9. Thanks Darren! I particularly appreciated your clarification on the idea of picking a “fight.” I have heard Jeff Goins talk about that but it didn’t click until I read your post this morning.

    My blog is about marriage – particularly helping couples learn how to love well when they communicate, especially when in conflict. My “fight” is against the continual stream of thought in our country that marriage can’t last for a lifetime. I believe it can and in fact is the best experience and outcome of marriage. I will fight this battle until I die – madly in love in marriage for a lifetime!

    Thanks again!

    Mark

  10. This sounds simple, but it is very difficult. What is my niche is something I am struggling with too. I think we all do. My site is about documenting what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur.

  11. Good one Yes Niche is First like Keyword research if your keyword research is good Focus Only on Your Topic try to give content no other give that’s way viral your blog people love different ideas.

  12. Kandy Hobdy Davis says: 10/28/2014 at 5:02 am

    Great succinct article, veryclarifying. My blog is artnpoetry.com . My niche is life solutions for urban pioneers. My fight is…
    It doesn’ t have to be this way.
    Peace, I am glad you are here.
    Kandy Hobdy Davis

  13. Kandy Hobdy Davis says: 10/28/2014 at 5:03 am

    Sorry on the misprint of very clarifying. Could’ t find edit on reply space. :)

  14. Hi Darren,

    What an amazing ideas you’ve shared in this post. I know no one can do the same or can’t expect from other who can write this post better than you!

    Thank you for sharing how to define blog :)

    -Mustafa

  15. For about two years, I blogged thinking I was focused on a niche. Recently, with Jeff Goins Intentional Blogging Challenge, I realized that I was really writing to a demographic. This has really been a liberating factor for me in my blogging. Thank you for this post.

  16. After torturing myself trying to define what my blog ‘The Good the Bad & the Italian’ is about, I’ve solved the problem. I write for a ‘nichographic’. I’ve just invented that term as my writing straddles two things: food memoir (niche) and mostly women (demographic). That’s as close as I get to pigeonholing myself!

  17. Thank you for this great and informative article. It is simple and understandable. This is waht I am looking for, I should know who are my target audience and what blog niche should I have to succeed. this article will give every blogger a direction on how to blog, what to blog and what is the purpose of blogging. Thank you so much for this.

  18. Great, thought-provoking post! I think my blog is angled to women, mostly because I am one so that’s where my experience is! I resonated mostly with what you mentioned about the “fight”, blogging about authenticity was always about sharing my battle with showing up honestly in life and the more I do it, the more others join the war. Thank again.

  19. Great article! I am currently easing my way into the blogging world. I will use many of these tips as an outline for my future blogs. Thanks!

  20. Great post, Darren. These 3 points highlight all successful blogs. The reason niche, demographic and fight attract audiences is because they all focus on a common audience need. This is what makes blogs, like yours and your wife’s, successful. Thanks again for the post.

  21. Hi darren. Of the three points you explain really helped me to build blog niche authority.In spite of this i wanted to build blog with niche specif based on an explanation article that you wrote down. Build blog niche is very hard and need hard work to be an blog niche better. Thank you darren

  22. Hi Darren,

    Thanks for these interesting perspectives on how to classify / identify what one’s blog is about.

    I have seen the fight concept working incredibly well for various people’s blogs. I’ve seen huge popularity for particular bloggers who talk about problems they face while traveling or their lives dealing with a troubled/difficult child or repeatedly exposing their ‘negative’ emotions like fear, self-doubt or misadventures.

    I personally don’t get anything out of reading about those kinds of topics & situations, but apparently A LOT of people love them because those blogs are soaring. I guess people can identify with others’ plights?

    Personally, I’m much more interested in fun, exciting, uplifting and wonderful experiences. So I’ve never been able to understand why such blogs & bloggers become so successful. I think you’ve just clarified it for me. Thanks.

    cheers, Lash

  23. Thansk Darren for this great post.
    I am your big fan and reader.As i am a student but i want to read info articles provided by you.I love to learn more about twitter and blogging.

  24. One thing I’ve learned in terms of blogging and internet marketing “only for content marketing purposes” is to mildly tussle with other bloggers online for a moment just to get some viral buzz going about your site. People are quick to read blogs , articles, and webpages about online verbal matches between bloggers or website owners. This can possibly be good for business, if you play your cards right.

  25. My blog is about dog training, and for me it’s a lead generation method. with little help of SEO and SEM :)

  26. Great Post,very well written and analyzed article as always.Very informative..! Thanks for sharing this useful information.Totally worth reading this post.thumbs up….

  27. I have no idea what I’m doing. My blog seems to go off on tangents, and my 3 subscribers and I just go along for the ride. Maybe it’s time to figure out my niche.

  28. Thanks, Darren!

  29. I am an admin on a campaign for MOJ site. I produce a reasonable amount of content, this mostly pages so I don’t think it quite comes into the category of BLOG. Nevertheless I think of it as if it is. It is a niche, I attract on a bad day 400 plus unique visitors on a good day I have peaked at 16,000. I often read articles like this hoping to glean how to be more consistent. I would really like to get a good handle on the social networking aspect of things. Given the limited budget I work with, this may or may not be the right option. Nicely presented article and from the comments, the folks here are obviously knowledgeable enough to pass on a few tips. Look forward to increasing my knowledge, apologies for the essay

    Cheers

    Patrick

  30. This has been really helpful. I think what I was doing wrong is trying to get in a market that’s already saturated. I’ll try to find a niche and make my blog better. Thank you!

  31. Hi Darren,

    Awesome article. I will definitely share your advises. No doubt, that both the niche and demographic categories are important things. I am your loyal reader.
    Many, many thanks.

  32. This is very helpful because I’ve been just writing on my blog without a reader in mind. You definitely inspire me to think about this. I have about 6,000 friends + followers on a personal page and they are 70 women and 30 % men who are in the spiritually minded category. My blog is writing about the mystical realms of awareness, meditation, and spirituality..

    I really want to just focus on that now, rather than facebook, and maybe my writing will move into more self help category. Most read what I write just for inspiration rather than learning something.

    I feel alone in this blogworld because I see most are blogging things that are helpful and informative. If I evolve, that will be where I go while retaining my poetic style.
    Thank you!

  33. I know about the niche of blogs, but about demographics this is new to me. Now I came to know the niche and demographics are more important for a blog. This article is useful for me. Thanks a lot for sharing this article.

  34. Hi Darren, I talked with a blogger friend recently about niche and she was of the belief that she didn’t have one, but I suggested lifestyle was her niche. Do you think all blogs have a niche whether or not the consciously choose one?

  35. Most blogs would easily fit into the first category, “niche blogs” and that I think includes my own blog. I generally write about making money online in Kenya, but who knows what idea I might have in the future? Only a blog post can really tell you what it is all about.

    Cheers!

  36. I really enjoyed this post and it’s pretty timely as only the other day I found myself jotting some notes about my blog niche.

    My blog is a craft blog (DIYs) written mostly for women, but also promotes small creative businesses/gives small business advice along with positive lifestyle posts. I think it’s nice to have a niche but also a bit of variety to keep things fresh for readers.

    Maybe I’ve got it all wrong but I think it works!

  37. Nice article. yes, it is important to let your visitors know what your blog is about. You need to provide the information the visitors came for and then tell him how he can benefit from the content.

    Regarding the third point about the fight, I think I am not clear about it. Can you tell an example of a fight for a legal website blog?

  38. Thanks Darren.. Such a Helpful article .. now i will my blog’s niche and will start doing work with it..

  39. Ah man, this helps a lot. I’ve been struggling for so long with what my blog is supposed to be about. I went with the http://www.myname.com domain, so it doesn’t immediately scream niche at someone. Then it has my writing portfolio for freelancing, but I also wanted people to get a feel for who I am from the blog. The Gala Darling example helped me realize that I can blog about freelancing, lifestyle design, personal development, etc as long as I understand who it is I’m writing for. Thanks, Darren.

  40. Thank you, Darren. I’ve been blogging two years and still learning so much. My demographics are women 35 and up. I say that, but once in a while a man will say how much he enjoys my blog which always surprises and pleases me.

    I write about my life and issues other women (and men) have — growing older, having young adult children, having a long-running marriage. My traffic has been growing slowly but I still have so much to learn. Very glad I “liked” you on Facebook.

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