My thoughts on blogging…we don’t have to fit into categories

22nd September 2015

My thoughts on blogging...we don't have to fit into categories

I always have difficultly describing my blog when someone asks what I write about.

“It’s kind of a lifestyle blog, I guess. I write about my life. Or just anything really.” is my standard answer.

When it comes to picking a category for my blog I almost always pick “Lifestyle” because 99% of the time “Personal” isn’t an option, and I would hate for my blog to be categorised as “Other”. I mean, on Bloglovin’ you can’t even see blog posts from the category “other” on the Explore and Find Blog tabs. But don’t even get me started on Bloglovin’.

Needless to say, I don’t like my blog, or myself for that matter, being slotted into categories.

There are lots of different types of blogs out there, many of which do not fit into the standard categories that Bloglovin’ uses. In fact, I feel like Bloglovin’ is influencing the type of blogs we write. If you don’t fit into one of their categories, does that mean you are blogging about the wrong things?

It certainly doesn’t. You should blog about what ever the hell you like. If you don’t want to blog about beauty or fashion, then don’t. If you don’t want to blog about just one specific topic, then don’t. Haven’t got a niche? Who cares! Half of those bloggers who say you need a niche wouldn’t know what a niche was if it smacked them in the face.

But it’s not just Bloglovin’ who are, perhaps unintentionally, forcing us into specific groups.

I recently read a post about problems only bloggers understand. The majority of the post was very sterotypical of a beauty blogger, relating to problems such as not having enough storage space for all your beauty products, or always needing to swatch every lipstick in Boots. Obviously this doesn’t apply to me; a blogger who only owns two lipsticks. And I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way.

In addition, I’ve been to quite a few blogging events and meetups, and a large focus of these events is the goodie bags (although they aren’t the reason I go to blogging events!). You get home from your day, open up your bag, and notice the large quantity of beauty related products.

I’m not complaining, or at least not deliberately, but sometimes I feel like people assume that all bloggers are beauty bloggers, when really we are not. I also sometimes feel like people think that all bloggers are in it for the freebies, or trying to turn it into their full time job, which a lot of bloggers are, but we aren’t all the same. You can’t tar us all with the same brush.

We don’t all like the colour rose gold. We don’t all live in Pinterest worthy houses. We don’t all take photos of everything. We don’t all idolise Zoella.

We are all individuals, and so are our blogs. So stop trying to make yourself fit into a category, and don’t ever feel pressured to do so.

I’d like to end with the question: What category does your blog fall under? Just kidding!!!

But seriously, what is your opinion of the use of categories in blogging, or in life in general?

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Other posts in the “My thoughts on blogging…” series include:

Greed and Dishonesty | Returning Comments | Product Reviews and Being Original | Staying true to yourself

If I owned Bloglovin

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  1. I just label my blog as “personal” and leave it at that because I blog all over the place with no specific content in mind except for what I want to write about, haha! Sometimes I write about games, sometimes books, sometimes food, and so on. With the exception of my upcoming food blog/website, I really cannot stick to one “subject” for my blog. It’s too hard since I’m just interested in so many things! Sure, what I blog about isn’t always “personal”, but they are all my own personal opinions, so I’ll just label my blog as that.

    • Holly

      I wish there was a “What ever the hell I like!” category!!
      Because of this pressure I used to think that I would specialise and just blog about one topic, but I realised it would be so boring for both me and my readers.

  2. Cat

    I think categorizing blogs have put unintentional pressure on people. In the past, I’ve seen people who wanted to quit blogging because they felt like they were boring people by writing about their life instead of a specific subject. Like many others, I like reading about people’s lives! I don’t think people should feel like they have to find a niche or that they can’t mix things up on their blog.

    I feel like categories should be seen more like tags. Instead of trying to figure out which single category your blog fits under, you should just tag on things you write about. I always call Silent White a personal blog even though I write about photography, food, and video games sometimes. I also have a blog that is only about cosplay. Sometimes it’s nice to separate out things that are a single subject, but I think that should be done by choice, not because you feel like you have to in order to fit in.

    • Holly

      I feel the same as you. I love reading about people’s lives, regardless of their interests. And I love to see some sort of variety on blogs rather than seeing the same content everyday.

      I totally agree! Tags would be so much better!

  3. I agree. I don’t understand why bloggers are so keen to add pressure so much pressure on them. I am frustrated too that so many think bloggers want freebies and goodie bags at events. I would rather spend time in a seminar instead of getting a beauty item I will not use (I use only vegetarian beauty products). At the moment most seminars are expensive and in London and this makes them even more expensive. It’s a shame.

    • Holly

      I am also quite selective over the beauty products I use because my skin is so sensitive and I’m really prone to outbreaks, which means that the vast majority of products I get for free in goodie bags I end up binning or giving them away to friends and family.

      I much prefer events when I can learn something. I’ve been to a photography workshop and a lecture on small businesses, which I found so valuable. I do enjoy just general meetups but I don’t get as much out of them.

      There was a seminar style event in Liverpool but it’s been postponed. The guy who organises them is really strange so I’d avoid events organised by him.

  4. LOOOOL I laughed out loud at your question. I can’t express how much I agree with this post. I am sick of people telling me that if I need more visitors I need to get into some niche. You read The Nectar Collective right? I remember when Melyssa used to write about her dog and her adventures in Japan and now she got all these writers to do other columns on her blog and it’s all business oriented. In my opinion, some of the articles aren’t even that great and it’s like she’s just leeching for SEO. I think I’m just mostly sad because I was there ‘before it changed’. I know you and I have changed what we’ve written about but at least we still write about whatever we want to write, not try to niche-up. Or whatever (I made that word up haha).

    I always categorised my blog as Personal but when I said that, your average joe/jill would think that I wrote about strictly personal stuff and all about me. :/ I didn’t get it. It occurred to me that my blog was more of a lifestyle blog. I don’t want to be wedged under some Fashion category even though I write about fashion. I’ve tried to explain in my recently updated sidebar welcome message that I write about anything that could appeal to a wide audience. Music, fashion, web development, general stuff. I’m so sick of people suggesting I should write for some niche.

    JUST LET ME WRITE WHAT I WANT TO WRITE.

    I’m also reluctant to attend blogger meetups because from what I have seen, all of them try to get ‘professional-looking’ photos for their blogs and they have workshops for really mundane, and IMHO, stupid stuff. Most bloggers are just bloggers, not web developers like us, and I don’t think they were around when the notion of a blog was an online diary. Now it has changed (sadly) and become some kind of get-your-business-going ordeal, and I will forever fight for people like you and I who want to write about their life experiences and share them instead of being shoved into some particular category.

    It’s nice that blogs exist that focus on certain topics, but there should really be one created for people who write about life experiences and ‘miscellaneous’ things (THOUGH, I do not want it to be called ‘miscellaneous’), or at least let us pick multiple categories. Godddamnittttt.

    Looks like I just answered your question XDDDDD

    • Holly

      I smiled the whole way through reading your comment!

      I recently listed to a podcast that featured Melyssa from the Nectar Collective and she briefly mentioned her past and what she use to blog about. I always find that these business related blog, written by people who use to blog about other things, are very generic and the content is predictable. Most of the time they don’t have any education in business so they just write about what worked for them, which of course don’t work for everyone. Everything is just common sense.

      I also have that ‘I was here before it changed’ kind of feeling about many blogs.

      The category system on Bloglovin’ is so flawed. You end up seeing posts about food in the fashion category because some bloggers want to ‘branch out’ but can only fit in one category. I really enjoyed the blogger event I went to that was a photography workshop, even though I already knew how to use my DSLR. But most of the speeches at events are so generic. I cringe when they start talking about SEO and clearly they haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about.

      • ‘Everything is just common sense’ – I totally agree with this. A lot of those business blogs are just full of ‘tips’. Actually, the same goes for general lifestyle blogs about makeup and skincare. Like duh you want to wash your face every day. And obviously you want to use a natural conditioner…! All these websites seem to copy each other, which is why we always get the same thing when we do a search on the internet…

        I hope you can find some more focussed meetups! That SydCSS meetup I have been going to is good because it focuses on CSS. We have other meetups in the area specifically for PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, etc. I hope you can find something that piques your interest. Unfortunately I think the blogging ‘game’ has changed and no one will think the same way we do unless we make a cult or something. LOL

  5. This is so true Holly – I couldn’t agree more. I was asked recently if I “beauty blog” and I was like, “No, I just write whatever on my blog, not always personal things, not always fashion, not always lifestyle things….” It’s just hard to categorise blogs, I do feel it makes some people force themselves to write a certain way or post a certain blog because they’ve been labelled a certain type of blog.

    I was having dinner with my friends recently, I told them about how I was into blogging again after having a long hiatus on it. They were like “Oh so you’re like Zoella now?” No, no I’m not???? XD

    • Holly

      People just assume that all bloggers are beauty bloggers, which is crazy because when I started out there was no mention of beauty products anywhere!

      I’d hate to be compared to Zoella, haha!!

  6. Michelle

    I just put it under “blog” because honestly, it’s really about personal things in my life. I guess I’m one of the few that do that all the time. My blog is my outlet to the world and with my own thoughts. We really don’t need to label ourselves and put ourselves into boxes. That’s not the human condition nor how we should treat ourselves. Do what makes you happy and do what you like to do on your blog, because it’s your blog and no one can tell you how to run it.

  7. The problem with me is I’ll blog about Games and such but I do it in such an unorganised (and often uninteresting) way that I never feel comfortable labeling myself strictly as gaming. It’s a personal blog where I talk about all kinds of stupid stuff, I guess?

    My biggest issue with labels comes in music where you fit music into genres and they have to fit there. I’ve always been fairly devout about my hating that and being vocal about it as well, and I guess in the same way that applies to things like blogs and otherwise.

    As far as beauty blogging goes, I never wear make-up. I’d love to try but I never learned and really I’m not sure it looks right on me. My face is weird, so the idea of the ‘free swag’ from beauty blogging and stuff is neat, but at the same time… I suck at it so why try to force myself into that role either.

    • Holly

      Gaming isn’t a category that Bloglovin’ supports, which makes so sense as there are quite a lot of gaming bloggers out there.

      Music genres are confusing, especially when one band might produce music that fits into many genres. It sends iTunes into a fit!

      I don’t really enjoy buying or wearing makeup, and I’m certainly no good at applying it! I always use to think getting free makeup would be awesome, but I’ve certainly changed my opinion on that.

  8. This post had me laughing so much. I’m a …. wait for it … don’t hate me please …. “beauty” blogger!!! Or am I? Certainly as a Makeup Artist I started out to be and definitely my blog name Andrea’s Makeup Artistry would suggest so. But I got bored of just talking about beauty (and I love beauty!!). Also I have enough storage for my makeup and don’t feel the need to swatch every lipstick in Boots (ha ha!) honest … so what does that leave me to blog about? Well despite the name – whatever I want – including fashion (despite being 40 yrs old!), life, books, holidays, family and yes beauty:)

    I do feel I’ve boxed myself in now with my blog name and that I had thought more carefully at the time. As for meet ups and events, whilst some may get brands onboard that then go on to contribute to the goody bags, I do think that as bloggers we should also try to arrange more informal meetups. Where we are just meeting each other – to meet and to chat – not to see brands and not to have goody bags. Maybe each blogger could volunteer to talk informally about a certain aspect of blogging (not stood up at the front of the room or anything, just sat within the group).

    Bloglovin would be best to allow bloggers to tick several boxes and even make their own up, when it comes to defining their blogs.

    • Holly

      Don’t worry! I don’t hate you, haha!

      Even the most famous “beauty bloggers” have started moving away from beauty and started talking about food, home decor and what ever else they like. It’s like they’ve realised there’s only so much you can say about lipstick! I do like informal meet ups, but it’s almost like some bloggers will only attend an event if there is something in it for them, like a goodie bag full of random stuff.

      Recently I’ve been wanting to attend a blogging event to talk about coding and building confidence in bloggers when handling code, because I work as a web developer I feel like nobody ever talks about this at events.

  9. Susanne

    I’m getting crazy about these categories! Or, more correctly, about this category “lifestyle” blog that seems to have popped up during the last two or so years, and that doesn’t say anything at all about your blog. 99% of all blogs that categorise themselves as lifestyle blogs are beauty, make-up and fashion/outfit blogs and nothing else. Maybe some food, home decor, but then they do reviews of beauty products anyway.
    Really I think there is no way to find other kinds of blogs anymore because all kinds of blog directories are flooded with these makeup blogs. Fine for those who are into that sort of blog but it’s like all other categories are also flooded by the same kind of blogs. Then categories are rather useless.

    I’d like to see a “real life and I don’t write for money” category.

    • Holly

      The category “lifestyle” is just a way of classifying bloggers who write about life, which is basically anything. Personally, I think it’s very ambiguous.

      It’s got the point where if I visit a blog and all I can see if makeup then I just leave. I can pretend to be interested in something I’m not.

      I would LOVE to see that category!

      • Susanne

        Yes, but I don’t think those lifestyle bloggers ever write about life! It’s always lipsticks and product reviews. So these days I kind of leave when I see something categorised as “lifestyle blog” because well, I just expect it to be something I’m not interested in. And I’m exactly like you, when i see a blog that’s only makeup, I leave the page. I can’t see how anyone likes reading about makeup in post after post.