For a year and a half I freaked out over my blog’s “niche”. I heard about niches and focuses all over the place and I am sure you do too – “You can’t get anywhere in life if you don’t have a focus! The narrower your focus, the larger your audience! DO IT NOW JUST DO IT!” Ah pressure! What do I want to do!?
I knew I wanted to have a blog, but I did not know what to focus on. So I wrote about everything.
I had a lifestyle blog, so I looked to other lifestyle blogs for inspiration. How did they do it? It seemed impossible, and I couldn’t decide on one thing to write about, and I was not gaining any readers, so I pretty much gave up blogging. Not too long ago, I was determined to get back into the game and decided to commit to something. I really sat down and thought about my passions. I loved making WordPress themes, design, writing about creativity, and teaching others, so I decided to redo my entire website to focus on that. I still thought this was too broad and consulted a few blogging friends via a Facebook group, and I got some amazing advice. This topic was narrow enough to have an audience, but broad enough for me to write about a variety of different topics, as long as I had a consistent brand. “Don’t focus so much on how specific you can get, but how you portray yourself,” they said. Someone also sent me this amazing article from Elle & Company that I absolutely love. I didn’t know much about branding at that time, so I did ALL THE RESEARCH and fell in love with the concept of branding, because it’s basically you in internet form. Isn’t that just so fun?? Here is what I’ve learned.
Branding is Who You Are
I realized something during my whole re-branding process – it’s really not about your focus, but about your brand and who you are. It’s important to have a focus on something, but a few things can blend together to create something amazing. Design, community. WordPress Themes, creative business tips. Travel, food. Whatever things you choose to write about, make it you! Your brand really is an extension of who you are because it’s how others perceive you. It tells them what they can expect from you. What do your colors tell your visitors? What about your fonts? Your photo? Your writing style? Is it funny, inviting, personable? Are you the innovative one? The experienced one? The supportive one? Think about the uniqueness you offer the world and integrate it into your brand.
I used to hear this phrase a lot as a teacher – “Your students may not remember what they learned but they will remember how you made them feel.” This applies so well with any type of business, especially if you are blogging. Blogging can be a very personal and impactful thing for you and your readers. Your product is important as well because you probably sold your soul to make that thing – but in the same way that students won’t learn from you if they don’t trust you or feel you care, your readers will not buy from you if they feel this way. Write in a way that shows you care and acknowledge your readers, and write with a voice. Be human. Admit mistakes.
Then you have your design… Design is just as important as writing in my opinion. If a website has a bad design, I’m sorry, but I’m out of there. It doesn’t look trustworthy or inviting to me. It’s kind of like seeing an old beaten down house – I don’t even want to go inside even if the inside has a ton of natural light, hardwood floors, and beautiful decor. Even if you have amazing content, it will not be read by as many people as it could be if your design is uninviting.
Before re-branding my website (and during), I started researching all of these successful blogs and thought, what are they doing right? How do they have so many visitors and loyal customers? I noticed 3 common themes. Successful businesses are have good design and are consistent in it, they communicate and connect with others, and they focus on their why and not their what.
Successful Businesses Have Great Design And Are Consistent With It
When visiting successful blogs and creative businesses’ websites, I would know what kind of company they are or what kind of person they are by just looking at their home page. The page makes you feel something with it’s colors, fonts, and images. It portrays who they are. That’s something I love about branding and having my own website – I get to display myself to the world in a visual form. That’s exactly what you want to do when you brand your website. What colors/fonts/design portray your personality?
These successful businesses I was researching also make sure their brand is consistent across their whole website and social media.
- creating your graphics (logo, header, images) with a similar style and colors
- updating your Facebook and twitter cover photos
- making sure your profile picture is consistent across all social media accounts
- pinning similar topics on Pinterest
- changing all your board covers on Pinterest to have a similar style or color scheme
If you do this and put out consistent content, people will eventually start to recognize you. Even if you have a lifestyle blog, it’s possible for your brand to attract many monthly visitors because of how it conveys you. If you are a lifestyle blogger, I really encourage you to look at other similar blogs and see what they do that brands them and conveys them as a person. Here is a good place to start!
Successful Businesses Communicate and Connect
Remember what we talked about earlier? Just like students in a classroom, your readers will remember how you make them feel more than they will remember what they learn. I believe readers will stay for amazing content whether you made them feel something or not, but if you offer amazing customer service on top of amazing content and communicate with all your visitors and other bloggers/biz owners, you will make them feel something. They will feel supported and accepted, and that gives them all the more reason to stick around.
What is Your WHY?
I am positive that you have seen Simon Sinek’s TED Talk about the “why of business”. Successful and innovative businesses don’t focus on what they do first then why they do it, they focus on why they do what they do, then they focus on what they do. In Sinkek’s talk, he mentions Apple. Why is Apple so innovative? They are just another computer and technology company. They have the same resources and talent. Why are they so insanely popular? It’s because they focus on the why and not the what. Here is a quote from Apple:
“Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”
Their why is to make everything beautiful, simple to use, and user friendly. What is the why behind your blog?
Do you want to help other’s reach their business goals? Why? Because you are going through that process and want to share what you learn to make it easier for others?
Do you want to support others through college? Why? Because it was a rough time for you and you want to make it simpler for others?
Do you want to grow a supportive and welcoming community of moms? Why? Because sometimes being a mom can feel lonely and overwhelming and at times you just need somebody to lean on?
Reflect on why you want to blog or why you want to start this business more than focusing on what topics to write about. The topics you choose are very important and are a part of your brand, and you need consistent content to have an audience. But focusing on why you are here in the crazy world of blogging and creative business will help produce that great content, and will help you stay motivated and gain momentum when you feel stuck.