Short answer: Yes and no. It depends on the type of blog you’re publishing, your blog objectives and how broad or narrow you define the word “topics”.
Generally speaking, assuming fairly narrow topic definitions, a blog can definitely have multiple topics.
What type of blog are you publishing?
I wrote about the 11 types of blogs here. I won’t rehash them here but generally speaking, a blog should have some cohesive aspect to it. Whether you’re publishing a niche site or personal/influencer style blog, there should be a common audience and/or overarching common topic.
I tested a multi-niche blog and it was a failure
A few years ago I gave a multi-niche blog a try. At first, it worked but then traffic plateaued and then started dropping despite continually adding content. By multi-niche I’m talking very disperse topics such as fashion, entertainment, music, technology, etc. There was absolutely no cohesiveness to it whatsoever. Read the case study here and how I managed to turn that experiment into a success.
Sometimes it’s not so easy to decide whether a particular topic is a good fit for your blog. It’s falls in the grey zone. I call these shoulder niches. Historically, I’ve published fairly broad niche sites. Take Fat Stacks as an example. I discuss SEO, blogging, content, WordPress and email marketing. Each of those are niches. However, it works because all those topics serve the same audience. For example, there’s a pretty good likelihood that someone interested in content marketing is also interested in SEO.
My fashion blog is broad as well. It covers all clothing, footwear and accessories for men and women. That site could easily be broken up into multiple niche sites but for now I like it more broad. It’s working. There is a cohesiveness to it namely fashion and apparel.
On the other hand I publish Cyclebaron.com which is solely about cycling. Granted, it covers mountain biking and road cycling, two distinct niches but closely enough related to work fine together on the same site.
Connected by topic and/or audience
There are two ways to tie different topics together on a blog. They are not mutually exclusive. Those two ways are by audience and topic. Often there’s a strong overlap. What’s the difference?
Audience: You publish content that serves a particular audience. It could well be that the topics are fairly different but because much of the audience is interested in both, it works. An example would be diet, weight loss and even health. Another example would be kids activities and recipes, particularly recipes geared toward family meals. Sure, there isn’t 100% alignment but it’s pretty good. And yet another example would be anything home improvement that can tie in woodworking DIY. It’s safe to say that people into woodworking are pretty handy and at some point would be interested in various home improvement projects. Again, not 100% alignment but strong enough.
Topic: The other multi-topic approach is by topic. This would be more obvious for the most part. IMO, footwear and apparel work together. Different dog breeds works. Chances are a reader interested in German Shepards is not interested in poodles but because they’re both dogs, it works.
How do you define topics?
When talking about multi-topic blogs or niche sites, we must discuss how broad or narrow the topics themselves are. You can drill down very far and all them different topics.
- Breakfast recipes, Appetizer recipes, dinner recipes and desserts are 4 topics.
- Pancakes, waffles, french toast are 3 topics under the breakfast recipes.
- Blueberry pancakes, apple pancakes, and buttermilk pancakes are three topics within the “pancakes” topic.
All of the above examples are different topics. IMO, even the broadest list would work just fine on a site. In other words, a website with breakfast, appetizer, dinner and dessert recipes would totally work.
However, a site dedicated to dessert recipes also works.
Taking it further, you could build out a successful website all about cakes.
A topic must be defined when asking whether a blog can have multiple topics.
What you don’t want to do is publish a website that covers recipes and automobiles. That doesn’t make any sense. Yeah, I’m sure some sites do it but generally, it’s not a good idea. You’re better off publishing two separate sites.
At some point, IMO, a topic becomes a niche. Along the way, it’s reasonable to call a topic a niche and a niche a topic. Baking cakes is a topic and can be a niche.
It’s often not terribly clear… you may have to flip a coin
Recently, I thought about adding the skiing niche to Cyclebaron.com. My reasoning was the “cohesive audience” argument. Some folks into cycling, especially mountain biking are also avid skiers. I know because I live in an area where there is plenty of both activities. I mountain bike and ski. There is audience overlap.
However, it’s not a slam dunk. I think it would work but my problem was the domain name was too narrow with only “cycle” in it. It could look odd to visitors to see all kinds of skiing content. For this reason I decided against it and launched a separate skiing/snowboarding niche site. I ski a ton so it’s a decent niche for me… even though it’s seasonal (I’m not keen about seasonal niches… but in this case it offsets the seasonal cycling niche).
Your domain name matters
My example with Cyclebaron.com illustrates that IMO, domain name matters. If your domain is fairly narrow, you might want to restrict the topics to that domain as I did. This also hammers the point home that you don’t want to choose narrow domains. I kinda broke my own rule with Cyclebaron.com. I typically choose much broader domains. Had I to choose again, I’d go with something intimating “extreme” or “adventure” sports to encompass biking, skiing, etc.
What if the domain doesn’t suggest a niche?
I like these domains. Perhaps you opt for domain names that are for purely branding purposes. Over time the site defines the domain name. Consider “Looper” or Fat Stacks. Neither domain name suggests a niche at all. The content over time defines what the site is about. These “brandable” domains are great because they can provide you plenty of “topic latitude”. However, they can be dangerous because you might fall into the trap of overreaching topic-wise (like I did). My experiment going into many totally unrelated niches was done on a non-specific domain name.
Can you blog about two very different topics?
Yes, you can but you should probably publish two separate sites. I do. I currently have 20 niche sites underway all in different niches. There’s definitely some overlap but they are all different.
I caution you about expanding into multiple niches though. It’s harder than it seems. It’s fine launching a few sites with 10 articles to age but you really should build up one site so that it can provide you a full-time living first plus spit off sufficient cash to finance the next site. That’s the path I took and am glad I did. In other words, I’m glad I didn’t try to grow four sites at the same time. I’m certain I would not be earning as much now had I tried to juggle multiple niche sites during the early years.
If the two topics are related by audience or umbrella topic/niche, then blogging about two or more topics is totally fine.
Speaking of topics, how many categories should a blog or niche site have?
There’s no simple answer to this. My largest site with over 9,000 articles has over 20 categories. The category count has grown over the years. On the other hand, my second and third largest sites, having 900 and 500 published articles respectively, have only 5 categories each. I doubt I’ll add more categories. There’s seemingly unlimited number of article topics within those five categories.
If you’re looking for a set number, 4 to 8 categories will usually do it for a blog or niche site. Beyond that you can go with sub-categories or tags (I prefer assigning tags).
Is it okay to restrict a blog or niche site to one topic?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, this year (2022), I’ve launched a handful of more focused niche sites. Historically, I’ve gone quite broad but now I’m diversifying my strategy with more narrow niche sites akin to Cyclebaron.com. I’m going after niches that are hobbies/pursuits that I do (i.e. cycling, skiing, etc.).
There are strong arguments in favor of more focused niche sites but also arguments against.
Pros of focused niche sites:
- Grow authority within the specific topic.
- Potential for a lucrative email newsletter and affiliate revenue.
It can eventually be more or less done and serve as a nice cash cow in your portfolio (almost truly passive income).
Cons of focused niche sites:
- Limited growth and revenue potential.
What’s the best way to choose a multi-topic blog name? Examples…
If you’re certain you’d like to grow a multiple topic blog or niche site, choose a domain name accordingly.
For example, if you want to publish a website on every possible type of recipe, don’t go with “DeliciousDesserts.com”. Instead, your domain should be more broad such as “RecipeMaestro.com”.
What if it’s two distinct topics? Should the blog name incorporate both topics?
Take my cyclebaron.com and skiing niche conundrum. Could those two niches be incorporated into a domain name? Yeah, the could. BikeNSkiNinja.com would work. Another could be TrailsandSlopes.com (a little too generic for my liking). Another could be “DownhillTiger.com”. Both mountain biking and skiing are downhill sports. I could also go more abstract with “GravityGuru.com”.
Speaking of abstract, I like coming up with domain names that veer toward the abstract. Your about page can explain the thinking behind the name. Fat Stacks is a perfect example of this. On its own, it could mean many things but when I say it’s a website about how to make money blogging… “how to make fat stacks of cash” it makes sense. In fact, it’s one of my better names. It’s relevant. It’s highly brandable. It’s memorable.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.