Tag Archives: blogging

Everything You Need to Know to Find Your Blogging Niche

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Finding your blogging niche is one of the best and most powerful ways to grow your audience and start making a profit from your little corner of the internet. Admittedly, I’m interested in LOTS of things (you probably are too) and I’m still working on whittling down what I include on my blog. However, over the years I’ve come to realize that my posts about books, career, travel/packing, and life management systems (like capsule wardrobes and meal plans) perform the best…and not just that…I enjoy creating them, too. They’ve become my own lil “lifestyle” niche! Sure there are other things I’d love to write and share about. But they’re better left outside of Finding Delight. 

So, what are some of the steps I took to find this mystical niche? Read on for everything you need to know.

I Looked Closely At My Interests And Passions

To find your niche, you first need to look closely at your interests and passions. You’ll feel far more fulfilled when what you’re researching and writing and SHARING align with what you love. So, one thing I did when trying to find my blogging niche was write out a MASSIVE LIST of everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that I was interested in, passionate about, or enjoyed doing/researching. Then, I went in with a few highlighters to start identifying some themes. 

I Looked At My Skills and Talents (And My Weaknesses Too!)

Next, I evaluated my skills and talents to figure out how to best use them for creating blog content. Of course you should love your niche, but you need to be good at it too. For example, there are a lot of systems I’ve successfully put into practice in my own life to eliminate decision fatigue. I would say I’m skilled at creating them. So I started working them into my blog posts. Not just because I enjoy coming up with them but I’m good at it.

Finding your niche means knowing your weaknesses, too. I love the idea of posting elaborate recipes on my blog (I even did a fair amount of recipe posts back in the day) but I’m just not that great of a cook. I don’t have the patience for taking process photos as I create a dish because cooking itself is already taking up all my concentration. I don’t enjoy it because I’m not that great at it! (I do think there are some exceptions to this wherein you blog about something you want to learn about a la Julie and Julia or if you’re charting a fitness journey. But overall I’d say steer clear of finding a niche based on a weakness.)

I Figured Out What Problems I Could Solve For Other People

I started to think about what problems people were facing and how my blog posts might be able to solve them. Now I know this sounds high and mighty but think about it! When you type something into the search bar of Google, what are you looking for? Usually a solution, right? It might be how to DIY a really expensive piece you fell in love with at Anthropologie or home remedies for seasonal allergies or even the answer to some obscure celebrity-gossip query.

Solving problems for people is a key aspect of your niche. It’s also an almost guaranteed way to increase readership. (When people are searching on Google or Pinterest for an answer–they might just click on YOUR solution!) But I also wanted to take current readers into consideration when evaluating the type of problems I could solve. 

I’ve conducted two reader surveys on my blog over the years. Both of which asked readers to answer,

“What challenges or frustrations are you facing in your life right now?”

Many of their answers went on to become topics I tackled in future blog posts!

[Related: Librarians solve people’s problems every day! USC has an awesome library science degree if this is a path that speaks to you beyond the world of blogging –  learn more on their website.]

I Learned From My Competition

Your competition can be used to your advantage. When identifying my specific niche within lifestyle blogging, I began to look at other blogs less as something to emulate and more for what I could do differently than them. What could I do better? Not really in a competitive way…or in a wishing them ill-will sorta way. But my life experience and expertise and passion are uniquely mine. So my niche and my blog should be uniquely mine, too! I want ALL of our blogs to succeed because of who we are and what we love. Not because we’re trying to tick a bunch of boxes of what a blog “should” include. Make sense?

I Constantly Experiment

When you think you’ve figured out your niche, run tests and experiments. No one needs to know about these tests and experiments…they’re just for you! They will help you to figure out whether your ideas are something that should be pursued in the long term. Whether your readers will love it, if your traffic will grow, and most importantly, if you will enjoy it. If you find some posts in the new niche are meeting all of the above — take note! And then look into ways you can double down on that sort of content. 

But don’t be afraid to drop something that hasn’t worked and move on to the next experiment. You might decide you want to start reviewing brunch locations everywhere you travel to…and then find you’ve started resenting an activity you once enjoyed. Or what about a crochet tutorial that you spend hours photographing and uploading…only to find it got 5 views? 

Not everything will work, but you won’t know until you try! And you can always move on to the next great idea!

What steps did you take to find your blogging niche? Any content ideas you love in theory but just didn’t work in practice? SPILL! 

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Looking for a Second Income Source?

Y’all know I love ballin’ on a budget, right? Well, one of my favorite tips to give fellow budget ballers is, “DIVERSIFY YOUR INCOME STREAMS!” Luckily, there are lots of ways to achieve this. Read on to discover some of my favorite suggestions on how to earn extra money…

Freelance – There are so many options for freelancers today. All you need to do is a quick search online and you will find tons of websites designed for freelancers. Many of them work like this: Someone looking for a job to be completed will post a listing, and interested parties will make an application. If your application is accepted, you submit your work and the money will hit your bank or PayPal account. If you have skills that can be put to use over the web — such as writing, photography, or web design–this could be a great fit!

Start a blog – A blog won’t make you money overnight, but if you have something you are passionate about (a niche!), starting a blog is a great step towards generating income in the future. Once your blog is going, and you’ve built up an audience, there are a number of ways to make money — from sponsored posts to affiliate marketing.

Invest – Another way to make money is by investing. However, this is not something you should dive straight into. Take the time to read feedback, such as these thinkorswim reviews, which enlighten you to various brokers and investment products so that you are informed on the pros and cons. Before you can invest, you need to make sure you are aware of your attitude to risk and that you only invest within your means and your comfort levels.

Share economy – The share economy is booming…and for good reason! You could drive for Lyft, deliver Instacart orders, or rent out your spare room on Airbnb. But if these aren’t for you, there are other ways to earn a bit of cash while also helping out others. Evaluate what you have and consider if sharing might be of value to someone. For example, if you live in an area that is close to a lot of businesses, you could look into renting out your driveway.

Sell your belongings – Last but not least, it is likely that you have some stuff in your house that you aren’t particularly fond of anymore, nor do you need. You can sell these items online to make a little easy money. Need some inspiration? Check out this video — 


Looking for a second income source but not sure what would be a good fit? Let’s bounce around ideas in the comments! Or feel free to shoot me an email.

Do any of you have any “wins” when it comes to diversifying income streams that you’d like to share? If you do, drop ’em below! 

mid-week round-up

What are you up to today? I’m looking forward to the leftover broccoli soup we have stowed away in the fridge, and taking FULL advantage of the fact that every season of E.R. is on Hulu. (Chet’s never seen it!) Oh those lazy, winter weeknights in. Have a great day, and here are some links I think you might enjoy…

Sharon Stone laughed for literally 10 seconds after being asked if she’s ever dealt with sexual harassment.

Thousands once spoke his language in the Amazon. Now he’s the only one.

What would you do if you thought you had 15 minutes to live?

The best apps to fuel your blogging business.

Weirdly want to buy a pair of pajama jeans. Has anyone ever tried them?

52 places to go in 2018.

The story behind Little Golden Books.

These would be nice to keep tucked under your kitchen sink.

How Old West theme parks lie about America’s pioneer past.

This productivity notepad set is super adorbz!

The lives nurses lived outside of hospitals during WWI.

The island where Washington State sends its sex offenders.

mid-week round-up

Hi folks! Sorry for the radio silence but the past week has been crazy! Last Wednesday, it started to become quite clear that Hurricane Irma was going to make a direct hit on Florida. After the 11 am models came out, showing the possibility of a Miami landfall, we loaded up the car and hit the road. The traffic was insane! And gas and hotel rooms were scarce. (You can read where we ended up spending the night on this Instagram post.) About 28 hours of driving time later, we FINALLY reached our destination. Crazy to think we were part of the largest mass evacuation in U.S. history. The devastation in Florida will be long-lasting and I’m so grateful we had a safe place to go to weather the storm. Now we’re just waiting around to make sure our return trip is as uneventful as possible. (There are lots of reports of road closures due to flooding and gas shortages.) In the mean time, here’s what I’ve been reading…

An Australian snake may have evolved all-black scales to cope with pollution.

On gender specific toys and stereotyping children.

If you’re in the market for a studio apartment in Budapest, this one is ADORABLE.

30 Autumn blog post ideas to curb your bloggin’ writer’s block.

Seven days of heroin. This is what an epidemic looks like.

27 of the best books to read this Fall.

Perfectly imperfect. (Cents of Style sent me this bracelet recently and I love it!)

People are shaming Kate Middleton for her pregnancy and it’s actually so offensive.

If you’re a Southern gal or guy gone vegetarian and have a hankering for comfort food, this cookbook has got you covered.

How to enjoy working on the weekends.

What Dreamers gained from DACA, and what they stand to lose.

To understand rising inequality, consider janitors at two top companies, then and now.

P.S. A couple Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Book Review: The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger and Weekend Uniforms: Dressy, Casual, and In the Middle.

March Resolutions – How Did I Do?

Happy April, Finding Delight readers! This year, I decided to approach my New Year’s resolutions a little bit differently. I wrote out all the months in my  journal and have filled in things I want to work on in 2017– 2 items per month. Not every item is filled in yet. I want to give myself space to grow over the year, to not set my resolutions in stone.

My hope is that, once something is set into practice for a month, I’ll continue the habit throughout the year.

I’d like to share results and thoughts at the end of each month because accountability. (You can check out past months HERE.) Here’s how I did in March…

March Resolution #1. Up my comment game on other blogs. 

I read, or at least scroll and skim, a RIDICULOUS amount of blog posts each week. As I mention in my very first post ever, I’ve been a fan of the medium since the early days. I had an online journal in the early aughts and, when that faded into obscurity, I followed several lifestyle bloggers with cult-like consistency.

When I was settling on resolutions, I tried to find a balance of betterment within every aspect of my life. So when I reflected on how I could make positive changes in how I approach blogging, I realized I need to stop being a lurker and start joining the conversation. (Not to mention, according to The Secret, you get what you give. And I’m tryin’ to get more blog comments, too. #keepinitreal)

So in March, I joined a few blogger Facebook groups and have tried to engage with folks as much as possible. We trade comments and brainstorm collaborations. It’s been a lot of fun!

There are still a TON of blogs I visit on the regs that I don’t often (or ever) comment on. I hope they’re happy to let me continue lurking. Haha!

Going forward: I’ll continue to stay active in the blogger groups I’ve joined. I’ll find a few non-group, new-to-me homies and resolve to comment on their posts with regularity. I’ll respond to the comments on my own posts when I want to keep the conversation going!

March Resolution #2. Keep fresh flowers in the house. Don’t scrimp on the anticipation aspect of travel. 

Yes, I switched this resolution mid-month. Whoops! But hear me out… When planning out each month’s resolutions in my journal I thought committing to a nice grocery store bouquet of flowers on the regular would be a worthy pursuit. Fast forward to every time I went grocery shopping in the first week or so of March and I realized I needed to scrap this idea. As I picked up and put down bouquets and mulled over price tags, I came to the conclusion that these colorful blooms just wouldn’t bring me enough happiness to justify their expense. And I’m ok with that.

So! Did I accept defeat and call it quits on having 2 resolutions for March? NOPE! Back to the drawing board.

Knowing that I had two upcoming trips in April, I chose to work on something that I’ve recently noticed about myself. I’m not so good at the anticipation aspect of travel. It’s like I know I have an upcoming trip but I tell myself NOT to think about it until the time draws near. This means I’m missing out! According to a 2010 study,  just planning or anticipating your trip can make you happier than actually taking it.

I think shying away from anticipation is a holdover from college speech & debate. We traveled to so many tournaments throughout the year that there wasn’t really enough time to put a whole lot of thought into the process ahead of time. We just packed our suitcases and off we went. And then we did again the next week.

But now! I’m leaning into the planning and anticipation of travel. Googling, asking for recommendations, packing lists, “to-do before I leave” lists, etc, etc!

Going forward: I won’t try to trick myself into thinking my trips are spontaneous…I’ll relish in all the happiness they can give me before I even embark!!!

Alright friends, let’s keep things going in April!

How are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions going? Three months down! Tell me how you’re doing in the comments below (#accountability) or feel free to email me – ebeth.berger@gmail.com – if you’d like to keep it private. You got this! 

P.S. Need help sticking to your 2017 goals? Check out this post. Oh, and “Like” the Finding Delight Facebook page! I’d love to have ya!

In Search Of: More Delight! (+20 ways to find it)

Hey guys! The other night I was clicking around on a few favorite bloggy-type sites (as ya do) and was struck by how many bloggers feature lists of cool things they want to do in the coming year or before they turn a certain age. What a great way to challenge yourself to mix it up. Plus, the added benefit of blogging = a)accountability, but also b)sweet content each time you check an item off the list!

Basically my blog was green with envy and I needed to hook her up with a list POST HASTE! But wait a minute, I thought to myself, we’re already 2.5 months into the new year and my birthday is FOREVER away. Can I really just put together a list like this on a random Tuesday??

Short answer: Yes. When you write the blog, you make the rules.

Long answer: I created this blog to encourage myself to keep looking for, and FINDING, delight. Actively searching for life’s unexpected pleasures is something I try to do on the daily. But making a list of things I expect to bring me joy works too. I don’t need to feel bad about not having an “occasion” to set myself up for delight. I can just make a list and start checking things off!

So here goes…

  1. Visit the Miami Seaquarium – Planning to check this one off THIS week!
  2. 10 Day Ballet Challenge 
  3. Rent a Surrey Bike
  4. 24 Hour Digital Detox 
  5. Mini Near-to-Home Vacay/Stay-cay – Don’t need a day’s drive to justify renting an Airbnb for the weekend. 
  6. Take a MOOC – Totally left-field subject matter encouraged. 
  7. Go on a Boat Tour or Day Cruise – Zip past Miami mansions and watch the sunset over the skyline or BETTER YET…head to the Bahamas for the day. 
  8. Complete a Whole 30
  9. Dine at a Posh Indian Restaurant
  10. Finish a Loom Knit Project
  11. Go Geocaching 
  12. Play a Super Involved Board Game 
  13. Plant an Herb Garden
  14. 30 Day Pilates Challenge
  15. Make a 3-Layer Birthday Cake
  16. Memoir Month – Challenge myself to read as many as possible before the calendar page turns.
  17. Support the Performing Arts at FIU – A night at the theater or ballet? Yes, please!
  18. Create a Piece of Art for Hanging 
  19. Visit a New City
  20. Eat Conch Fritters – When in Rome! 

I’m so excited to get started!

What’s on your “In Search Of: Delight” list? Do any of the items above strike your fancy? Which would you most like to see a blog post about? I’d love your thoughts!

Finding Delight in 2015!

end of 2015 selfie

2015 has been an absolutely amazing year. So much happened (!!!) but I still can’t believe we’ll be on to a new year in just a few short hours. I’m so excited for everything 2016 holds in store but for now, CHEERS TO 2015! The year I saw my brother marry the love of his life. The year I watched my sister star in a musical she wrote. The year I cheered as Chet earned his PhD. The year I got engaged. And the year I packed up my Subaru and moved down to the very southern tippy-tip of the U.S. of A. I’ve made so many wonderful memories this year with my friends and family.

Having a blog is such a cool way to look back and reflect on all the neat things going on in my world over the past year. I’ve never been too great at life documentation. The commitment of keeping up a scrapbook seems over-whelming. I’ve tried to pour my heart out to diaries and journals to no avail. At the end of the day, I like writing and creating for other people. Not just myself. So, thank you! Thank you for checking out my corner of the internet once in a while. Thanks for reading what I have to say! It means the world to me…and it encourages me to write things down, cherish my memories, and feel blessed with good fortune.

I promise to keep posting in 2016! I hope you’ll swing through (and say “Hello!” if you do). But now, as we close the books on 2015 here on the blog, I’d like to take a look back at a few of my favorite posts from this year!

15 favorites from 2015:

Life Lessons: Handwriting A memory of a childhood decision inspires me to take a more assured path to self-improvement.

No-recipe Recipes Meals to turn to again and again when you’re too lazy to get fancy but too awesome at ballin’ on a budget to hit up a restaurant.

4 Career Building Tips for the Newly Hired How to make the most of your big kid job.

Restaurants are not Food Culture A lot of my year was spent working on the local food scene in Lexington; this post was inspired by the people, places, and food I encountered along the way.

My Reverse Bucket List There are tons of things I still want to do but sometimes it’s fun to reflect on the things I already have!

Photo Diary: Wedding in Savannah, GA Andy and Dawn get hitched!!!

We’re engaged! Chet asked me to marry him (on his own birthday no less!) and I SAID YES!

We moved to Miami! I left behind The Bluegrass State and now our home is in The Sunshine State.

5 Tips for Writing Killer Emails Sometimes you just gotta address your pet peeves via a blog post!

Showing off my new home workspace! Now that I’m working from home I thought it was important to create a functional and rad work station.

Full. The Musical My sister is a bad-ass. That’s all there is to say!

It’s my birthday!!! (+50 facts about ME.) I turned the big 3-0 this year and also shared some little nuggets about myself for y’all to enjoy.

I stopped paying women compliments on their appearance and here’s what happened. This was my most read post of 2015!

November Stitch Fix Stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a whole LOT of selfies in front of a full-length mirror…what can I say, I love Stitch Fix!

Delightful New Orleans Wedding Our dear friends Carrie and Ganer tied the knot and we had a blast celebrating their love.

And a few awesome guest posts: 

DIY: Peppermint Christmas Wreath Katie Nedvidek showed us how to make an adorable holiday wreath on a budget.

In Defense of “Go Set a Watchman” Katie Berger shared her thoughts on Harper Lee’s new book.

I talked to a woman for 4 hours on the train. Rachel Wigginton told a super touching story about an encounter with a stranger.

mid-week round-up #44 Adam Swanson took the reins for a link lovin’ Wednesday feature.

Cooking up a taste of home. Sheryl, Ashley, Katie, and Carrie tell us the foods they prepare for a little taste of home.

Happy New Year, my loves! I hope you find lots of delight in 2016!!! ❤

On Writing: A First Attempt at Self-Reflection.

typewriter

As you may have noticed, Finding delight. and writing in general have taken a bit of a backseat for me these last few weeks. Long work days, with long play days (I’m trying to enjoy Summer to it’s fullest while it lasts : ) interspersed as well, fill up my calendar to bursting. I figured this step away would be a great time to reflect on my writing. I strive to continue to grow and remain, as ever, a life-long learner. Here is a current assessment of my writing–

I’ve always felt an intense need to know the stories of others. Perhaps due to some innate, busybody quality so deeply ingrained in my curious person I seek them out without a moment’s hesitation. Or maybe, and this is certainly the more forgiving explanation I tend to hope is true, it is within these narratives I collect that my own story gains meaning. Yet peering down a dark, forgotten alleyway in someone else’s story in search of clues to create your own is troubling.  I once saw a newspaper cartoon sum up the marketability of our stories rather aptly. Two bookshelves were shown in the memoir section of a bookstore–one labeled “People with lives way better than mine,” the other “People with lives way worse than mine.” As a reader, these subsections are comforting. Escapism and reassurance. Self-help and self-congratulation. But as a writer, I end up wondering; how can I tell my own life without touting my privilege or weighing the tragedy I’ve encountered against others’? Will anyone peer around a corner in my life and, startled, run right into themselves?

As I’m seeking to incorporate my own story into my writing much more than ever before, not always as the subject of- but at least the framework for-, I find this familiarity with the stories of others to be both a strength and a weakness. I know how to tease emotion to the front of the page. I have an understanding of what readers find compelling. I am honest. But I worry about relatability. I worry about form and length. And most detrimental, I still believe I can make the words and thoughts of another more beautiful than I can make my own. The reader is my best friend and my greatest enemy. I concern myself with people’s perceptions and approval before the first word hits the page. I’m not going to bullshit and say I would write for no one, that is a lie. I want everything I write to be read. I write FOR readers. In the end, I believe this audience awareness is an asset.

All of this being said, there is no particular aspect of my writing which keeps me awake at night. Yes, I could stand a refresher course in grammar–specifically commas, my writing teacher brother so sweetly pointed out. (I can’t help that I love them.) I have a penchant for writing as if my words will be spoken not read. Sometimes my style is anything but succinct. But I’m not losing sleep over any of these assessments. I know they can be rectified with practice and patience. What keeps me awake at night are my ideas and brainstorms. I lie in bed going over all the directions a topic could go, the sentences that could snap, the sources I could pull from. Even the perfect wording to an email comes to me as I settle in and keeps me restless in the dark for hours. For far too long these thoughts were overwhelming and resulted in little more than daydreams and conversation fodder. But more and more, I am learning to just wake up and write.

In the coming weeks I shall explore what this assessment means for me as a blogger and will attempt to work towards regaining some consistency with my posts. I am working with a Writer’s Group for accountability purposes (which is super nerd-alert exciting for me) and camaraderie. My current goal for the next week is not just to WRITE but to work towards a more organized process. Any writers out there? What are your favorite organizational tips? I’d love to try my hand at some of your ideas or discuss them with my new writer’s crew. : ) 

 

 

In the name of transparency…

laddertothemoon

I’m not awesome at cooking and have never cooked my way through an entire cookbook in order to get awesome. I haven’t radically changed my diet to mirror neolithic, paleolithic or WWII times nor am I actively trying to shed pounds. I’m not training for anything. I don’t live in a gorgeous neighborhood in some hipster city or spend all my time going to concerts and flea markets. I’m not sartorially gifted. I haven’t taken any symposiums on HTML or photography.

I live in the real world. I have a full-time job and responsibilities and seasons of Netflix to watch. I don’t have time to do Pinterest projects every day of the week. I’m also kind of lazy and not independently wealthy. I like simplistic, sustainable approaches.

I feel like this “lazy girl” (read: simpler) approach to all of the above (learning, healthy living, cooking, discovering, decorating, dressing, business) is a voice lacking in the blogosphere. We all have busy lives, so why shouldn’t we focus on doing less in order to live more?  So, if you’re cool with this lazy girl’s commitment to life-long learning and search for the good life by way of an easier lifestyle then I think that’s what I can give ya. Some “smart laziness” if you will.

I really like the idea of maintaining a “lifestyle blog” for the breadth of editorial possibilities that can fall under the umbrella of “lifestyle.” But I’d like to highlight ways in which we can make our lives easier and happier. Cheaper and less stressful. I’d like to LEARN how to live a more thankful and productive life by writing about what’s working and what doesn’t instead of telling other people how to be. I’d like to share knowledge and books and adventures.

Basically, I just wanna write about the shit I wanna write about. Because I like to write and would love to get better. Because I want to have a greater purpose behind new tasks and research. Because I’m seeking a mental and creative outlet to supplement my day-to-day. Because sometimes I miss having an audience.

(Andddd….in total and COMPLETE transparency, if you’ve ever had any sort of online blogging presence and I know you even a little, I’ve probably read it because I’m a big internet stalking weirdo. So, I may as well return the favor and let you creep MY life for a change.)

I think that’s quite enough of the introductory, boring stuff. Let’s start the real fun tomorrow. : ) I’d like to devote Wednesdays to a mid-week round-up of links I’ve recently found and would like to share. So, check back tomorrow!

(Painting: Georgia O’Keefe, Ladder to the Moon. 1958.)