My Attempts to Narrow My Focus
By CM Strawn 1/28/21
My Search for Answers
So, I’ve been running this blog for a little over two years and have yet to settle on a niche. Since I have several interests, I don’t want to get locked into a single subject for fear of boredom.
But this keeps me from choosing one topic and making important decisions.
Using my single blog to write about various topics makes the website unorganized and unattractive.
And according to the smart people, a generalist approach to blogging doesn’t attract a large audience. They say that selecting a specific topic to write about is the key to a successful blog.
The idea is to gain credibility as an expert in a single area. By building trust and confidence from actionable posts, people will want to buy your product or service.
However, ProBlogger, Darren Rowse was able to discover his niche by starting a personal, generalized blog. He experimented with a variety of topics and discovered that he liked to write about a few popular interests.
By narrowing his focus to popular interests that aligned with his own, he was able to monetize his blogs into a profitable business.
It should be noted that his general blog is no longer active.
One idea put forward by Darren Rowse was to host a website for each topic of interest instead of one general blog. For me, it feels like this would become top heavy almost immediately. But with organization and discipline, this idea might work for me.
Research has led me to some good resources about narrowing focus. One is by Ryan Robinson who has an excellent article on choosing a blog niche. It’s long but worth the read.
Another resource is from Adam Connell. He points out that knowledge of the target audience is essential to choosing a blogging niche.
Sebastian’s advice is to start with a general field and start dividing it into sub-niches until there are several specific topics to blog about.
He says that a profitable niche is a combination of skills, experience or knowledge, and market potential. Market potential is an elaborate way of describing the number of possible buyers who might be interested in a particular product or service.
This market potential is discovered through the use of keywords. Tools for finding popular keywords can be found at AdWords Keyword Planner, Wealthy Affiliate, and Jaaxy. There are other keyword tools out there that can be found by searching the web.
Keyword tools reveal the number of searches that have been made for specific words and/or phrases related to a topic. This can be translated to the amount of interest and, therefore, the number of potential buyers.
Is Publishing a Website a Good Idea?
Not choosing a niche has prevented me from promoting my website. One reason for my hesitation is irrational fear of getting locked into something I will lose interest in.
As a result of my generalization, I have a small audience. (And I’m grateful for each one of you.) But I fear I am serving no one but myself by not narrowing my focus.
People look for answers to problems when they search the web. They use words in their search box that target the niche that has the most potential of supplying those answers.
Building a website tailored to the interests of people seeking answers to specific questions will help a website be found more easily. That means that choosing one topic or niche is absolutely essential.
Then building a website about that niche is the next step. The amount of time needed to build the website would be determined by its complexity.
A simple website for blog posts would not take much time and wouldn’t require help. However, a website promoting a product or service offered for sale would be more complex. Assistance for this type of website would probably be necessary.
This is an area that must be considered but is beyond the scope of this article. It must not be neglected, though.
Exploring My Interests
It’s difficult to decide on what I am more interested in. The area that I have the most passion for is Biblical studies.
There is a large readership here, but I lack any kind of formal training. All I can do is offer my opinion on what a passage means.
There seems to be a lot of opinion floating around the web about Biblical topics. I don’t want to add to confusion here.
I believe that everyone must read the Bible for themselves. This is the only way a person can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and understand His offer of salvation to the individual.
And monetization in this area is not an option for me.
Another great interest is scientific and technological developments. Again, I have a profound lack of education in either technology or science.
The best that I could offer is observations and opinions. These would be personal with no real substance which would be of no use to anyone.
Paranormal activities are another area of interest, but only where Biblical realities are corroborated by scripture. I’m afraid this would conflict with conventional theology.
This is an area where treading lightly is required. Since I resemble a sasquatch in a crystal glass shop, it is best that I avoid this area.
The question I must ask myself is, am I willing to invest in the necessary time to research then write about subjects that I have no formal training in.
I love to research so there would be no problem searching for relevant information about topics that interest me. If it’s a topic that is not interesting, I have a little more trouble focusing.
This is why choosing a niche that interests me is so important. And this is also the root of my irrational fear. Would anyone else be interested in the niche that I choose? I guess every decision requires taking risk.
Evaluating My Experience
For over thirty years I have made a living as a truck driver. I have enjoyed the work, but it has exacted a heavy toll on my body and on my family.
There doesn’t seem to be much interest in trucker stories. At least, I haven’t found any. Maybe I haven’t been looking.
Law enforcement has absorbed ten years of my life. While there is widespread interest in police related articles, my interest in this area is low.
I have spent many years trying to overcome the conditioning and training that I received. It has been difficult being normal after years of anticipating a life-threatening situation at any moment.
Writing about it brings back memories and emotions that I want to forget. This is obviously not an option.
Carpentry is work that I loved doing. The drawback is that I only spent three years as a framer. My experience here is hardly worth mentioning.
Two years I spent as a welder was work that I loved. But circumstances ended that career.
With little experience and living in an economically depressed area of the country, welding became a memory.
In review, my experience provides little fodder for blog posts. That leaves me with little to nothing to write about, it seems to me.
Making Hard Decisions
Making a decision on what to write about is a quandary inside of a dilemma. Deciding is difficult.
Choosing one will essentially eliminate the others. Multiple websites seem the only reasonable answer to this conundrum.
But how to post articles regularly on different websites and still have time to eat, sleep, and bathe is the trouble.
There is only one solution to this entire quagmire. Make a decision and stick with it.
Making the decision will give me the push I need to make regular, well researched posts. That means a plan must be made and time set aside for these different niches.
A learning curve will be unavoidable. Getting the necessary information and establishing the routine to manage these sites will require time. The curve can be shortened by making a start and learning as I go.
The last thing I want to do is publish meandering prose that neither the reader nor myself is interested in. So, the quality of my writing must also improve.
This will require practice. And what better way to develop skill than to write and post regular blog articles.
What I have learned from writing this article has been cathartic for me. I’ve discovered that I have been making excuses to not decide and take action.
Decisions are difficult but they must be made. Once made they must be committed to.
If after a reasonable trial it is discovered that the direction is wrong, changes can be made.
Halting excessively in the valley of indecision results in a hopeless spiral into oblivion. The remedy for indecision is to do something, even if it’s wrong.
Mistakes can be mended. Inactivity is lethal.
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