How important is niche?

How important is niche?

I’ve been asking this question for years.

And I’m still not sure what the answer is. Or if there is even one right answer for everyone.

One of my blogging goals for 2016 is to find my niche. But then I re-posted an old post called Quit being so hard on yourself! I read through some of the old comments and one complimented me on the broad range of topics my blog covered. That made me think once again – do I really need a niche? Do I really want one?

To answer those questions, I knew that I needed to ask myself a few more.

Why do I blog?

The answer to that is simple – because I love to write. And I have a lot to say. About a lot of different topics, apparently. I can express myself through pen and paper, or keyboard more easily than I can any other way. I try to talk and I get tongue-tied. But writing is a part of me. It’s as natural as breathing. My blog is my way to do what I love, and share that with others.

What do I want to accomplish with my blog?

Blogging is a way to improve my writing skills and to help develop my voice. Blogging has also given me greater discipline and helped to improve my writing habits. I also want to use the blog to connect with other bloggers because I do truly enjoy reading blogs.

What do I not want to accomplish with the blog?

I’m not trying to earn a six figure income with my blog. Never say never. But it’s not what I want. I don’t have a product to sell. I’m not trying to sell myself as a brand. There’s not anything wrong with those things, if that is what you want. But I don’t.

So, now I’m back to the beginning. Do I need a niche? Looking at what I want to accomplish and not accomplish with my blog, I say no. No I don’t need a niche. At least, I don’t need a blogging or writing niche for my blog..

What I need, and hope to find in the coming year, are more bloggers like me. Those who blog because they love to write, and want to connect with other bloggers. That’s the niche I need – the other bloggers like me who are also nicheless.

What are your thoughts on niche? Is it important for a personal blogger? Do you have a niche? Let me know in the comments?

Photo by Pink Pot Design Studio

3 good reasons to let a post sit

3 reasons to let a post sit

When I first started blogging, I wrote a post and published it immediately. I would go back to read the post later and see so many typos! It was awful! When I switched to hosting my own blog and installed WordPress, I learned about scheduling posts, and that was the best thing ever! I still felt that I should publish something almost as soon as I wrote it though. It took me a few years to realize that most of the time, it’s a good idea to let a post sit for a a few days, or even weeks, before hitting that publish button. Here’s why:

The post will be easier to proofread

When you first write something, it’s hard to proofread accurately. You’ll read it as you intended it to be written, often overlooking words that are misspelled or left out. If you wait a few days to go back over it with fresh eyes, the mistakes will be more obvious. It’s ok to have a few typos, everyone misses something, but I like to have as few as possible. And writing my post and then going back to proofread two or three days later has helped to minimize them.

If I do want to publish a post soon after I’ve written it, I will proofread it on the WordPress app on my phone. Something about reading on a different size screen makes the typos more obvious to my eyes.

The post will be easier to edit

There’s been many posts that I’ve written and later thought of things that I wanted to add to it, or I realized that there were some sentences that could’ve been left out or reworded to make more sense. Or maybe my tone was a little too harsh when I wrote my post in the heat of the moment, and I needed to tone it down. My posts always benefit when I have a few more days to think on what I want to write, and exactly how I want to get my point across.

You will have more time to work on SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. I’m still learning about this, but I’m doing three things that help my SEO, and all require a little more time between writing and publication. Not publishing immediately, allows me more time to look for good pictures to go with each post, and also gives me time to edit them. It also gives me more time to research other posts relating to my topic, so that I can link to them. And of course, I can also look through my own posts, so that I can back link to them too. All of these things are good for SEO.

There are times when you need to write something, and publish it immediately. Maybe there’s a news event going on that you want to comment on. And if you write your post but publish it weeks later, that would make you look behind on the times. Which wouldn’t be good for your blog. But most of our posts can really benefit from sitting in that draft folder a few days. My posts are always better for it, and yours will be too.

So what about you? Do you publish immediately? How long do you give before you hit that publish button? Let me know in the comments!

Blogging Goals for 2016

Blogging Goals for 2016

I have so many ideas and improvements that I want to make for the blog in 2016. And I love it! Working on the blog is one of my favorite things to do! And hopefully, writing about these goals and publishing them on the blog will help me stay on track.

Find a consistent schedule and maintain it

I don’t want to lose my blogging momentum going in 2016. So, I need to find a schedule that works for me. Right now I post three to five times a week. But I would like for people to know when to visit the blog for new content, and also what to expect on those days. I’ve been thinking about having a topic-a-day kind of schedule – Mondays could be posts on blogging, Tuesdays would be about books, and so on. It’s still a work in progress, but my goal is to figure out what works for me.

Increase my readership

This means that I will have to promote my blog more, which isn’t my strongest point. I need to Tweet my posts more. I also need to start taking the photos on this blog more seriously. I need to make them Pinnable, and make sure that I actually take the time to pin them.

And I need to continue “getting out there” in the blogging world, and commenting on other blogs, and building relationships with other bloggers. This part is at least more fun than the other parts.

Build a Backlog of Posts

This is so important! You never know when life can get in the way of your blogging. I want to make sure that I always have fresh content for the blog no matter what is going on. So, I’m going to make sure that I spend time writing four to five days a week. (It’s not always possible on days that I work.) I’m also going to repost some of my older posts throughout the first few months of the year to give me more time to write new ones.

SEO on older posts

I’m going to continue learning more about SEO, and going back and adding that to older posts. I know that there is more to it than just using a plugin, so I need to work on improving my SEO skills.

Find my niche

I’m still trying to decide if niche is important for a personal blogger. I’m leaning more towards yes, than I ever did before. I think it’s important to find similar type blogs, because it makes it easier to connect. Right now, I call myself a lifestyle blogger, but I’m not sure that that is accurate. That’s more for The Pioneer Women of the blogging world. In 2016, I need to decide what kind of blogger I am.

Buy a graphics program

I really miss making my own graphics for my blog. I’ve been using PicMonkey which is fine, but I find it hard to use. I always enjoyed using Paint Shop Pro, so I may try it again. And if anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears.

Design a Logo

Once I get my graphics program, this will be one of the first things I work on.

Learn to code and design my own responsive layout

This will be the second thing I work on. I know it will take some time, but I miss coding! It’s one of the things I love most about having my own website.

Develop my Brand

Part of my soul cringes at saying that. I’m a person not a brand. *sigh* But! I do agree that a blog should have a consistent look. And I want people to recognize something as my work when they see it. So, I will be studying up on branding.

Divide these goals into seasonal goals

When I think about all that I want to do for the blog, it becomes overwhelming. That’s why I loved Jenni’s idea of seasonal goals. If I concentrate on just a few of these each season, it all seems more attainable. So, for the Winter Season, I plan to concentrate on the first four of my goals. And knowing that I don’t have to worry about anything graphics related until Spring, takes a huge load off of my mind.

So, what are your blogging goals for 2016? Any tips for me in reaching mine? Let me know in the comments!