I don’t mean ‘know everything about your subject‘ I just mean know the subject you mean to write about.
How many multi-subject blogs do you read avidly? Humour sites don’t count! Even news sites, which may well cover anything and everything, arrange their content in to clear sections.
So what’s your subject? If you can’t answer right away then don’t you reckon you have a problem?
How will new visitors to your site understand your intentions? Yes, the ‘About‘ page is incredibly important, but if a new reader can’t tell what the heck your site is about from the front page, then they’ll have no reason to fall in love with your stuff. They’ll go elsewhere and find a site that clearly and obviously matches their wants and needs.
Having a niche is OK – those people who love translation spelling mistakes will adore your Chinglish blog; those people who adore Eighties stuff will love your Smash Hits magazine covers (that you’re been naughty enough to scan in…). Niche sites get attention, and can be seen as the authority within the niche, although if you want to get traffic and a larger audience your subject should be wider than a niche, perhaps wide enough to allow you to digress once in a while. But in any case, you yourself* need to know what your subject is. You need to have a clear idea of what falls within and without your subject. And like I said, this isn’t about being an expert in your subject matter, it’s just about being clear about what your subject is, and communicating it.
Think of Mastermind. “My name is Wedge and my specialist subject is communications, my time starts… now.”
My subject is communications, and my focus is online communications, written communications and internal communications (within a company). My subject has a wide enough scope for me to digress into ‘good writing‘ and even ‘better blogging‘ but you won’t find me discussing adverts or film trailers (not unless I dip into marketing…).
So, do you know what you’re writing about? Please do share your Mastermind specialist subject and your web address :)
* Yes editors, I know this is a superfluous tautology, but it’s for emphasis.