You can ruin a great recipe with too much of a good thing.
Too much salt, too much sugar, too many eggs or too much flour can ruin everything else already in the bowl.
The same can be said for too many categories on your blog.
When you first start blogging it is easy to add categories for your posts. But before you know it they can multiply like too much batter in a cupcake pan. Yikes!
If you’ve ever baked cupcakes you know there is a happy medium. Too little in the cup and you get a tiny, cute little cupcake without much substance. You have to eat a whole lot of those babies to be satisfied. Too much in the cup and the thing puffs up and overflows and takes over everything else around it.
When you get it just right you have nice, uniform cupcakes that are easy to frost and everyone can enjoy. The same can be said for categories. You need to have the right amount
So, how do you know when enough is enough?
A good rule of thumb is five to eight main categories. No blogger, including you, should be writing about more than eight main topics on a blog. You can’t write about that many subjects and be good at all of them.
Family, faith, food, fun, furniture, football, false teeth, and falafel makers. I joke but look at that list. The longer it got the more outrageous it became.
The same thing happens to you. You start out with 3 or 4 really solid topics then branch off into what really should be subtopics, or left to the experts, and before you know it you’ve got batter up to your eyeballs and it’s out of control.
It’s time to step away from the bowl of categories.
To be worth keeping, they need to pass the test of three – expertise, mission, and categories.
Your area of expertise should be encompassed in your mission and your mission should be the defining factor for your categories.
What do you write about, and why?
Who do you serve with your blog?
What topics do you specifically speak to that your readers can count on you to give them solid information about?
What five to eight headings can you place those under?
Remember, your goal is to create a delicious blog that people want to come back to over and over again.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say I wrote 100 posts about blogging and then threw in a post about enchiladas and set up a category for recipes. It would be very strange for my regular readers. They know me and my blog for the great info I share about blogging not cooking.
But, perhaps you are looking for a recipe for enchiladas. When you find my post and love my recipe that’s great for you and for me but I know you’re not coming back because the rest of my blog is about blogging. The association with recipes doesn’t jive.
A post about enchiladas to may pass one or two of the test of three criteria because I may really be an expert at making enchiladas and I now have a recipe category but it fails to meet the mission test. I don’t blog to give my readers recipes. I blog to equip them to become successful bloggers. See how that works?
Knowing your mission is imperative. If you haven’t determined that yet, let me suggest getting started with this great Pinterest board dedicated just to mission statements. This is going to take more than ten minutes so add it to your long term list and get started.
Let me also speak to niche here. Many of you are saying, “Yeah, but I’m not a niche blogger. I don’t want to be limited to just a few topics.” To that I say, fine. But you still can’t be all things to all people. At some point you are going to have to look in the mirror, accept your limitations, and hone in on what you are genuinely good at.
Be really good at what you are really good at. Then, when readers think of those things they will think of you.
There are too many choices out there these days of people who DO have niches for readers to think of you for something you’ve only written about once or even a handful of times. If they do come to your site it might be just for that one thing because all the other stuff you’ve got going isn’t what they are looking for. That’s not delicious.
Ultimately, your categories need to be refined. They need to pass the test of three and they need to be specific to your blog and your mission and your area of expertise.
It might be painful at first, but the result will truly be a welcome treat for your readers.
Do you have any questions? Please ask them in the comments. I’ll be happy to help.