I recently got a question on Twitter that I wanted to tackle in a longer format here on the blog. The question was:
@MarkoSaric do you have any advice for bloggers who don’t want to pick a specific niche, i.e. keep it broad? (apart from don’t do it!)
I responded with a quick tweet with the first thought that came to my mind after reading the question:
@PicklemanPoker just go for it. write whatever you’re passionate about but amend according to the feedback (views, comments, shares etc)
So let me now respond with a bit more depth.
First of all my advice would never be not to blog at all. Starting a blog has a great potential impact on your life, so I would never recommend anyone not to give themselves a chance of enriching their lives. No matter how uncertain they are about the name of the site or the topic or any other detail.
The optimal thing would be to know a specific niche topic you want to produce content about. It helps you focus and attract an audience as an expert in the specific field.
If you have spent some time thinking, brainstorming, mind-mapping or whatever other tactic you use, and you still cannot figure out a specific topic that you are passionate about and that you have a lot of content pouring out of you, you can start a more broad blog as well.
Monitoring the key metrics
There is nothing wrong in just keeping the blog with broad content, but if you have some bigger aspirations with the site it might be worth getting more focus into the content eventually. For me the key in this case would be to monitor the performance and amend your strategy accordingly.
Let’s say you have written 30 different posts during the first 3 months on a wide variety of topics and did your best in promoting and spreading the word about them, and you have some website data from Google Analytics or similar to analyse from.
I would be looking into what kind of posts were most read during the period. Can you see any trends or is there any specific topic or format (i.e. length, multimedia, structure) that seems to be working better than the rest? Working better would for me mean more visitors and longer time spent on site consuming the content.
I would also be looking at some other metrics. How many people have shared the posts in social media via Twitter retweets or Facebook shares and likes? How many comments have you got from people either in the comment area or in social media? Again look at the bigger picture and see if there are some trends in terms of interest from the general public for a certain topic or format.
Source of traffic is another very relevant metric to look at. Who sent you visitors and to what articles? You may find some interesting sites to cooperate with, or some forums and other communities you never even knew existed and that appreciate your advice and your knowledge on a certain topic.
Keep an open mind
Keep an open mind as you might happen to find that two topics mixed in your personal way create something very unique with a potentially large audience. Doing all this analysing might make your decision easier and you may find that the best answer to your question will be given by your readers in the form of data.