Why Your Lifestyle Blog isn’t Working (and How to Fix it)

by Ashley Barnett
*Some of the links below may be from our sponsors. My full disclosure statement.*

There are a ton of lifestyle blogs out there and most struggle to gain traction. If your goal is to grow your lifestyle blog there are some key things you can do right now to make a bigger impact.

The main problem is that the topics are so varied that a single reader struggles to find topics that interest them. The best thing you can do to grow your lifestyle blog is to narrow your topics and clearly define your reader.

What is a Lifestyle Blog?

I feel like every new blogger wants to start a “lifestyle blog” — but what exactly does that mean? Honestly, not much. MediaKix defines a lifestyle blog as “A lifestyle blog is best defined as a digital content representation of its author’s everyday life and interests.”

What does that mean?

It means a lifestyle blogger creates content inspired by their life and then puts that content out into the world in a digital fashion. (Instagram, TikTok, blogging, podcasting, YouTube, etc.)

Typically, the topics are quite wide – everything from adoption to zodiac signs. I think that when a blogger doesn't really want to pinpoint a topic they just call it a lifestyle blog and stop there.

And therein lies the problem.

Why Lifestyle Blogs are Hard to Grow

There was a time in blogging when personal diary type blogging was popular. You could write about whatever you wanted and still gain a readership — but that is not the case anymore.

Today, if you want to stand out on the internet people need to be able to quickly understand what they will get from your blog. You have to have a specific topic. What problem do you solve and who do you solve it for?

Too Much Competition

According to Hosting Tribunal, there are 10 million blog posts published per day. 10,000,000 per day. That's five times more posts than in 2012.

That's how much more competition there is out there today. If your blog is about “everything” then you really are competing against all 10 million. But if you choose a niche then your competition is much smaller.

A personal finance blog isn't competing against a makeup blog. They are only competing against other personal finance blogs. And vice versa.

But if you write about personal finance, parenting, travel, and fitness then you are competing against every blog in each of those niches. You've grown your competition by four times!

There is no way you can do all those topics better than someone else can do one.

Think about it this way. If you wanted budgeting tips would you rather get it from a site that specializes in finance or from a site that wrote about ab workouts yesterday? Or if you were an advertiser looking to reach people who enjoy working out — would you rather advertise on a site that only talks about fitness or one that also gives investing advice?

Don't Make this Decision Based on Unicorns

So often people hold up successful lifestyle blogs and say “See, lifestyle blogs can be big”. Yes, but look more deeply. How long have they been blogging? Were they always lifestyle blogs or did they start with a smaller niche and then expand once they were established?

If they have been blogging for 10 years then they started when there was MUCH less competition. Or if they started as, say, a parenting blog and then slowly added other topics as their kids (and their readers' kids) grew up then that's also a totally different strategy than starting out as a lifestyle blog.

And of course, there are unicorns. I have no doubt there are lifestyle blogs out there that popped up overnight with huge followings. But those are literally one in a million.

Define Your Reader

Still want to create a lifestyle blog? Ok. Then my best advice would be to narrowly define your reader. And I mean narrow.

The goal of any successful blog is that all of your posts will be of interest to your reader. If you are going to have a wide variety of topics then you must narrowly define your reader so that you can ensure that all of your articles will be interesting to them.

If you don't, then even if a new reader finds something interesting, they won't stay because nothing else grabs them.

For example, “women” would be way too broad of a demographic. That's half the world! Women are not all interested in the same things. A parenting article might grab some women, but not all of them. A post about the perfect 5-minute workout might grab other women, but not all of them.

Instead niche waaaay down.

Think about things like:

  • age
  • marital status
  • do they have kids?
  • ages of their kids
  • income level
  • own a home or rent?
  • job type
  • favorite color
  • favorite brands
  • how do they spend their day?
  • etc

So instead of “women” you might end up with something like “Married, 25-30-year-old mothers of toddlers who work full time, have a household income of $75,000, and rent their home.”

There we go! That's something. Now we can really gear articles directly to this avatar and increase the chances of keeping her as a reader. If she likes one of your posts, there is a good chance that she will find others she likes.

For example, if you were giving decorating tips to this reader you wouldn't include remodels or other things you can't do in a rental. Or if you were giving travel tips you wouldn't suggest things that are hard to do with little ones.

Also, by niching down like this, you just got rid of a bunch of competition. You are now only competing with other blogs who target this specific reader.

Although, I still recommend narrowing your niche.

Narrow Your Niche

Writing to your specific avatar about a specific niche is the best way to stand out. People want help — but they don't want generic help. They want the answers to their questions to be geared specifically for them.

So if you can narrow your reader and your niche, you really have something.

Think about what interests you the very most. If someone knocked on your door right now and asked for help with something in their lives — what thing would you hope they asked about.

For me, it was budgeting. 10 years ago, I would have been thrilled if someone had knocked on my door and asked me to help them create a budget.

Today, it's blogging. If someone knocked on my door today and said “I have this blog. I really want to make a go of this, but I'm struggling to grow. Will you help?” I'd be like “Heck, yeah!”

What is it for you? That's the niche you should target.

Why This is So Hard

Niching down is really really hard. It feels like you are cutting yourself off from opportunities. I know.

What if you could have gotten that reader/ affiliate/ interview/ link if only you had more XYZ content? But here's the thing. Not setting yourself up as the expert in any one thing is what is cutting off your opportunities.

There will always be someone else who is specializing in that topic, and they are more likely to get that opportunity than a generalist.

Related: 5 Unexpected Results from Starting a Blog

Will I Run Out of Things to Talk About?

You also might be feeling like you will run out of things to talk about. You won't. I know it feels like you will but trust me, you won't.

If by some chance you do — you can always expand later. If you have truly exhausted your chosen topic and there is literally nothing else to write about then you have my permission to expand your topic slightly.

But this will never happen. If you have chosen a topic that you are passionate about you will never run out of new things to say. If I can write 1,000 posts on budgeting, you can write 1,000 posts on whatever your topic is too.

What About All the Other Things I Want to Talk About?

What about all the other stuff you want to write about? Skip it.

Does that sound harsh? Maybe, but here's the thing — your website isn't about you. Your site belongs to your reader. It's a business.

Everything you do should be in service of your reader. Your goal is to help them as much as you can. And you can't help everyone with everything. To help some people to the best of your ability you have to decide who you are going to help and what you will help them with.

Should I start a second site for the other topic I'm passionate about?

No, you shouldn't. It takes a ton of work to make a blog successful. Doubling that would make it much less likely that either site will ever make money.

Choose the topic you love the most and dive deep. Become the expert. Help your ideal reader as much as you possibly can with that topic. Be their hero.

Summary

Blogging is hard and there is a lot of competition. Growing a lifestyle blog isn't easy because for every topic you add, you are adding in a whole bunch more competition.

Picking one topic will reduce your competition, establish you as an expert in your topic, and help your reader out so much more than you ever could have before.

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