If you look up the definition of a blog in the Oxford Dictionary, it’s defined as “a regularly updated website, typically run by an individual, that is written in an informal or conversational style.” Originally from the phrase ‘web-log’, traditionally blogs were seen as an online diary; they started to rise in popularity as our obsession with social media, connecivity and reality took over the need for glossy interpretations of otherwise boring (but equally oh-so-fascinating) topics. A blog by its very nature is fluid, conversational and ever-evolving, but more and more I see the question arising of whether or not you should stick to a specific niche if you want to be ‘successful’. (Whatever that means.) If you read any kind of blogging advice, the first topic on the agenda is often that of finding your unique selling point – and sticking to it. But over the last few years, ‘lifestyle’ blogs have risen in popularity as we want to delve more and more into the lives of our favourite writers; just like shows including TOWIE and Made In Chelsea have boomed in popularity, our thirst for a snippet of realism and people that we can relate to isn’t going away anywhere fast. But is it better to have a clear niche and topic that you right about daily, or an overarching identity that evolves with you?

When we all started documenting our passions online, the majority of us were anonymous or hidden behind stock photos of our favourite products. However, over the years bloggers have become much more comfortable in front of the camera, showcasing their daily lives in a way that’s utterly transfixing – even if all they’ve done is pop out to the post office and polished off a burger. The content is very much what gets you to the blog in a first place, but the individual is what will keep you there; personalities inevitably filter through onto the page, making you feel like there’s some connection between you and the writer. It’s no surprise that we feel like we know the person behind the words, especially when we’re able to take a peek into their most intimate moments. Some blogs I read purely because I like the person that writes them… They could write about spam and I’d probably give it a good read; the more the blog becomes about you rather than the topic you’re discussing. 

There’s a reason we’re all told to stick to what we know and build upon it, as clear pillars really help readers know what to expect – and come back for more. Over the years I’ve dabbled in travel, music, fashion, food and more, but I know my readers come to LBQ purely for a bit of self-indulgence on their coffee break. I know you like to know what’s new in the beauty industry, what to buy, what to lust after and what to do to make yourself feel that little bit better (both inside and out.) It works for me to keep the focus of my site very clear and to keep posts streamlined; it also works for me to be able to understand the passion points of my readers and keep delivering more of what makes them happy. However, there’s no reason why you couldn’t combine your passion for multiple topics in one site as long as it’s really clear to your readers what you’re going to deliver. Clarity is everything.

Although I love lipstick and mascara, I’m also a coffee addict and a total Sci-Fi geek. If I started writing up a review of the latest Doctor Who episode or discussing Starbucks’ new limited edition coffee, you may wonder what the hell I was up to. My social channels provide me with an extension of my blog, naturally encouraging conversations around different topics that I wouldn’t necessarily discuss in a post. If you jump over to my Instagram or Twitter, you may well spot some pictures of cake or a Tardis; the great thing about these hugely addictive channels is that you can connect with like-minded individuals in a whole new way. If something doesn’t feel write for your site, Instagram or Pinterest may be the perfect platforms to channel other passions; the key thing is to not limit yourself and remember there are many different ways to connect.

When I first started this site at the ripe old age of 27, my interests didn’t extend much beyond a great cocktail and mascara that was going to keep up with me. Nearly six years later and I’m far more interested in health and wellbeing, in understanding superfoods and retinol, getting to grips with mindfulness and spending my evening with a colouring book. It’s ok for your passion points to evolve – and for your online space to evolve with that. I would never have written about night creams, wrinkle fillers or facial treatments before, but as my interests and needs evolve, so does my blog. It’s ok for you to decide you no longer want to write about Disney or glittery eyeshadow, in favour of investment workwear and home decor. The majority of the time your readers are evolving with you… But even if they’re not, it all goes back to proving clarity about what to expect.

It’s frustrating, but it’s true. One of the reasons I’m able to make a living from my site is because I have a really clear identity. I write about beauty, I’m in my 30’s and I know a little more than the average. Brands come to me when they want to reach an audience that’s similar to their own, or when they want to talk to well informed women that are willing to invest in great products. Admittedly, it’s much harder to forge brand connections when you cover multiple topics (I was only discussing last night that beauty brands obviously go straight to beauty blogs, and food brands tick boxes within the food blogging community, when actually there’s a lot of cross-over if they put the effort into finding a hook and making it work,) but equally lifestyle sites offer a fluidity that means there’s so much more scope for collaboration. There’s no right or wrong answer; it’s about what works for you and what your commercial (or non commercial) interests are.

I’m a firm believer in making your online space exactly what you want it to be. Yes there are ‘rules’, but rules are there for breaking. Nobody every got anywhere in life by following a set formula; the most successful entrepreneurs go out on a limb and try something new. At the end of the day, a blog should be fun – fun to write, fun to read. As soon as you’re feeling like you’re forcing content to flow, then it’s worth taking a step back and asking yourself what you *really* want to write about. Because if you love it, I guarantee that we’ll love it.

In my opinion, you can run a blog in one of two ways. You can either have a very specific niche, or your blog becomes more about you as a writer – your experiences, your passions, your thoughts. It’s hard to run a blog with conflicting interests (it’s unlikely to find many people with an equal passion for electric cars and exotic beers,) so in some instances it’s more practical to run two separate sites – for your own sanity, the clarity of your content and the enjoyment of your readers. But the important thing to remember is that it’s YOUR blog. In the words of Take That: do what you like.

What do you think about blogging niches? Do you believe you need a clear niche to be successful, or are you a fan of more fluid lifestyle sites that really get to grips with the author? There’s a great post on here that discusses this very topic too, so do give it a read.

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  1. Pam Scalfi
    November 19, 2015 / 5:05 pm

    this is eye opening. Great read as always! I personally think you should do what feels right, and thats what I am doing :)Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

  2. Anca
    November 19, 2015 / 7:07 pm

    I think blogs within a niche are easier to grow. On my food blog I write only about food, mostly recipes. On my lifestyle blog I talk about everything else… slightly similar to your example of cars and beers. In the last week I blogged about cars (F1 museum), list of 40 before 40, home, working from home and a homemade body scrub. It's not specific and I can understand why it grows slower, but I enjoy it and I do it as a hobby. Anca @ ancaslifestyle | UK

    • Hayley Carr
      November 20, 2015 / 10:32 am

      Totally agree – when readers know what to expect, they come back. It's much harder to grow a blog that's very fluid, but the other side is that the readership is very dedicated I think.

  3. Tiffany Legg
    November 19, 2015 / 7:35 pm

    Great read. I totally agree with your points. It's good to have a focus, especially if you want to build up your readership – but I also think it's good to mix it up with a little bit of whatever you fancy! Tiffany Tales – A British Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  4. Charlotte
    November 19, 2015 / 7:41 pm

    Such a great post!Charlotte //

  5. beccagiveslove
    November 19, 2015 / 7:42 pm

    I love this post, so refreshing and helpful for new bloggers like myself!becca | beccagiveslove

  6. Lauren Powers
    November 19, 2015 / 8:44 pm

    I completely agree. It is your blog, so you can therefore blog about whatever you choose. However, keeping it of a very similar content will likely keep your viewers interested. Great post!Lauren x |

    • Hayley Carr
      November 20, 2015 / 10:30 am

      Thanks Lauren x

  7. A Little Dose of Makeup
    November 20, 2015 / 2:22 am

    Loved reading this post! I think consistency is key!xx, A Little Dose of Makeup

    November 20, 2015 / 3:00 am

    This is such a refreshing read – thank you! I've been having a blogger identity crisis and wondering what the hell to do with my blog, or even whether to give up, so this has given me some thoughts. xxJust Me Leah

    • Hayley Carr
      November 20, 2015 / 10:30 am

      Glad it helped!

  9. Kasi
    November 20, 2015 / 3:47 am

    I remember loving blogs more back in the early days, when it was more of an online blog. You could really get to know the readers and I had a lot of fun with it when I was a teenager. As everything got more specialized I got bored with it. Now I love the diversity of content on a lot of blogs these days!

    • Hayley Carr
      November 20, 2015 / 10:30 am

      I guess the benefit it that there are now so many blogs, that you can fill your boots across the web – rather than just with a handful of sites. There's always something new to read!

  10. 2catsinjapan
    November 20, 2015 / 5:24 am

    I agree that having a clear niche is very helpful, both for the writer and the audience.However, the problem is that so many bloggers choose their niche based solely on one criteria – how fast they can turn their blog into a profit making platform. Whether or not they are actually knowledgeable in the field or passionate about the topics seems irrelevant.Sad but true.

    • Hayley Carr
      November 20, 2015 / 10:29 am

      Very valid point. I think a lot of beauty blogs exist purely to get free things because that's an easy option; I also see a lot of lifestyle bloggers deciding to do more beauty because 'that's where the money is.' (An actual quote from an actual blogger!)

  11. Angela Spicer
    November 20, 2015 / 11:36 am

    I've tried narrowing my niche many times in the past, but I have to accept I'm not going to be tied into one niche, it's just not me.

  12. Glam O'Clock
    November 21, 2015 / 12:56 pm

    Niche blogging is everywhere online at the moment. I am not sure if it's a real thing or a trend to be honest. I think we are all unique in our own way no matter if we all cover the same beauty products. I love reading different opinions and seing that same lipstick shade on different person. I think the writing style, the design of your blog and the writer's history makes a blog unique and you don't necessarily have to be in a niche to interest an audience and have a great return 🙂 XxAlly |

  13. Jabeen Waheed
    November 25, 2015 / 9:46 pm

    Great points! I have an entertainment and celebrity blog so it's been a bit more difficult getting it to stand on it's feet!Jabeen x

  14. Tracey H - Naughty Forty Diaries
    November 26, 2015 / 8:55 pm

    Great post, which raised some great points. (Which I shall ponder on)I do like blogs that show a personality, like your talking to one your friends. I go back to hear about them and what they're up to as much as the product / venue etc they are reviewing. Tracey

  15. Francesca
    November 27, 2015 / 10:13 pm

    Iv found the longer IV been blogging my niche has naturally found itself. Originally I thought of my blog as lifestyle with books beauty and fashion but my love for reading has pretty much made it a book blog. Sometimes just letting your niche develop organically is the best thing to do.

  16. The Sunday Mode
    November 27, 2015 / 11:08 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this post, I personally think as long as you stick to producing content you're proud of and would read yourself then that's what's going to keep things authentic and if you 'grow' from there, then that's brilliant. I think sometimes bloggers feel pressured to find a niche so they stick themselves in little boxes, but that's far too constricting an idea for me. Honestly as long as I'm happy with my blog content, I feel satisfied. I suppose it's all about how we all define our own versions of blogging 'success.'

  17. Majean G
    January 27, 2016 / 1:21 pm

    I enjoyed this post because it has been on my mind for awhile. I've heard time and time again that I need to have my niche but I like a lot of things…hence me having a lifestyle blog. Really great points and it has eased off some of the pressure I've been putting on myself and eventually I think it will work itself

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