I started my main blog in 2011. After years of trying to put everything on one blog, I decided to split up my main blog into three different blogs, including this one. If you want to know why I did that in full, you can read the post here. In it, I touched on why splitting them up was a good thing, but now I want to focus on what happens if you have a blog that is too diverse in topics.
Contrary to the old adage, you can have too much of a good thing…and let me explain why.
Problem 1: The Reader Who Doesn’t Stay
Imagine you are going to Wal-Mart. In this analogy, Wal-Mart represents the internet. It has everything you need. There are two types of sections at Wal-Mart: the item-specific section, like the kitchen department, and the clearance section which is a mish-mash of whatever is on sale.
If you want fruit, you walk to the produce section. If you want a new TV, you go to electronics, right? Easy-peasy. Many of us pass by the clearance section, glance at the mess and unless something especially catches our eye, we move along. Sure, sometimes you can find a rare gem in there, but you have to dig. While there is a definite psychology behind the clearance section in real life it does not translate online.
Your blog is either a neatly organized section of bedding and linens, or it’s a mess of whatever the Wal-Mart employee deemed needed to be reduced for quick sale.
Too many options = blog reader passes you by.
Problem 2: The Reader Who Doesn’t Buy
OR maybe your blog is like Target. It has a little bit of everything and people don’t mind all the choices, but as a Target (or blog) owner, you want your customers to buy the AirFryer in this week’s ad. In this analogy, the AirFryer is your CALL TO ACTION…the thing you REALLY want your reader to buy/do.
But as you walk in, what is the first thing EVERYONE does…go to the $1 section. You do. I do it. We all do it. We ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’ over the shiny gold and pink polka dot box for $3 we just have to have. Nearby is the kitchen section, but wait…let’s go look at the jewelry first. Then, the Clearance children’s clothing. Since we are already halfway through the store, might as well go all the way around.
Two hours later, you’re sitting on the floor in front of the organizational bins wishing you had measured the area you thought about organizing the other day. You check the time and realize you need to get dinner on the table. Then, you remember the AirFryer, but decide your cart is already full and you don’t want to put anything back but you don’t want to spend any more money. Your AirFryer will have to wait for another day.
Too many options = not getting your reader to do what you want them to do on your blog.
While both analogies might have their holes, you get the picture.
Many blogs with lots of topics do well. That’s true. I don’t want to negate that fact. But this day of blogging, with over 200 million blog posts being written each day people still only have 24 hours in a day. Just because there is MORE information does not mean there is more time to absorb it all.
People are trying to do more in less time. It’s like a person who just needs to rush in the store and buy something. They don’t want to hunt for what they want, they want to get in and get it. Long gone are the days of 2008 when the internet was still in it’s infancy and blogs were a novelty. Your blog not only has to be spectacularly designed and organized, but it needs to be specific. Trying to do it all on one blog will hurt your blog, not help it.
5 Ways Having Too Many Topics is Hurting Your Blog
Too Many Topics Kill the Message
Bloggers have a message. In fact, we usually have many messages. While I’m not suggesting that every single topic become a new blog, you have to make sure that all your topics are actually cohesive. We want all the topics to work together…not against each other.
For Jesus-Blogger.com, my goal is to bring blogging advice to the Christian blogger. While much of my blogging advice might help any type of blogger, I believe that Christian blogging has it’s own nuances that need to be pointed out. I wanted to create an environment for other Christian bloggers to receive advice that didn’t just take into account their physical, mental or emotional needs…but their spiritual needs too. Still, general blogging advice without a specific Christian focus fits into the topic of Jesus-Blogger.com, so there is no need to create an entirely separate blog for that. But if I wanted to start writing about recipes, I need to create a new blog.
In Elite Blog Academy, one of the first modules is about defining your focus and developing a solid navigation. Long-time blogging veteran, Ruth Sukoup, recognizes that FOCUS is an essential foundation on which to build your brand.
Too Many Topics Make the Reader Work Too Hard
Readers are lazy. I’m one of them. In a day of mass information, we skim blogs and online articles for the gist. For example, I homeschool. If I want information about homeschooling, I might visit a certain blog of my fellow homeschooling friend. When I go there, all I get is homeschooling. This blog becomes my go-to source for all my printables and advice.
If I come to a blog that talks about homeschooling and recipes, I might be okay with that. I can understand how a homeschooling mom appreciates a quick meal. But if you start blogging also about finances, human rights and how to cut hair, I might leave your site for another homeschooling site that I don’t have to sift through.
You might argue that your blog is a one-stop shop. but I’ve found over the course of my own blogging career, unless you somehow standout as a celebrity in your own niche, the one-stop shop is a one-way ticket for your reader to leave.
Too Many Topics Reduce Sales
When I spend money, I want to make sure I’m getting the most quality bang for my buck. I want to be sure that the person I’m buying something from is an expert in their field. Why would I want to buy something from a “jack of all trades” when I could buy it from a master?
I’m much more likely to buy a WordPress theme from Restored316 whose focus is selling themes for WordPress than I am from a blogger who blogs about family stuff. If I buy a theme from Restored316, I know she focuses only on WordPress themes. So, I know if I have a question, her main focus is making her WordPress theme buyers happy, not juggling WordPress themes while also trying to sell a course on something else.
Again, since I started blogging in 2007 (but more professionally since 2011), there has been a shift in blogging from the blogger who blogged about everything from mommy-topics to financial topics, all on one blog to blogs with a much more narrow focus. And for some this all-in-one model still works. If it works, it works. No argument.
But if you are finding yourself unable to make a sale or meet enough sessions to apply for Mediavine, then maybe consider narrowing your focus or splitting up your blogs in to multiple blogs.
Too Many Topics Hurts SEO
Google is smart. But Google only reads text. Google doesn’t see images. It doesn’t get “vibes.” And it doesn’t understand anything but information.
Google doesn’t necessarily understand the link between homeschooling and recipes. And he’s concerned about the user doing the searching. He wants to give that user the most relevant top three websites for the search. If your site isn’t as focused as someone else’s site, then you will be kicked lower down the totem pole.
While this might change in the future, currently Google is focused on three things:
- The frequency and location of keywords within the site
- How long the site has existed
- The number of other pages that link to the site in question
If your site is full of topics related to finances, you’ll rank high when I search for “how to make a budget.” If your site has been around a long time, you’ll rank ever higher. If everyone sees you as authority and links to your site, you’ll likely be at #1.
This is why when you search for recipes, you get sites like “AllRecipes.com” or “MyBakingAddiction” first. Google rewards focus.
Too Many Topics Reduces Ad Revenue
If I go to a recipe site, in the sidebar I’ll likely see ads for things like a Cuisine Art Mixing Stand or a coupon for Pillsbury. Because I’m in the cooking mode and I might be going shopping for groceries soon, I might click on those ads. This is high-quality advertising. It’s targeted for your audience.
Ads are delivered based on client/advertiser relationship. Everyone wants the best experience. Mediavine recommends diversifying your content a little, but within reason. Food blogging and travel blogging go hand-in-hand because when you travel, you eat! But food blogging and car blogging don’t have this relationship. By having a fewer topics, you allow advertisers to pay a premium to be displayed on your site in multiple different areas, but not so many that you reduce the quality of the ads shown.
Think about it from an advertisers perspective. If I am selling craft supplies, I want to be featured as an ad on craft/DIY blogs. If you are a homeschool blogger who does crafts, I’m cool with that too. But if you are an recipes blogger, I might agree to advertise on your site, but for less money per impression.
If your blog is struggling, you might find some relief in the idea of reducing your blog to focus to a narrower field of interest.
As with any changes to your blog, pray about it and release the decision to God. Let Him show you if niching down is the right choice for you.
Many people may find that they are happy with their multi-focused blog, and that’s fine. If it works. It works. But if it’s not working, maybe change it up, wait six months and see if you are seeing the results you desire.