The blogs that I read day in, day out, are the very similar to the blogs that I first found 4 years ago; Daily Garnish, Hungry Runner Girl, Carrots N Cake, Fannetastic Food, Healthy Happier Bear. I originally found them some of them through a Food Blogging competition, and kept reading as I found fitness and trained for my first marathon.
The thing that all of these blogs have in common (other than being American!) are that they all show the author’s life. It isn’t just a factual resource, they share their day-to-day lives, their families, their trips etc. I feel like I know them – in a non-creepy way!
Over the past year or so, a lot of bloggers have moved away from this style of blogging, and post more informational, factual blogs; tips & tricks, advice, race recaps etc, this I find particularly true of British bloggers.
Whilst this may be better for SEO, search purposes and finding readers looking for a particular subject, I find they are not the blogs that I subscribe to. I read magazines for that type of info, I’m looking to blogs for real life, and how people stay fit and healthy in a realistic manner. I’ve found that often my most popular blog posts are the ones where I share my life, my struggles, my fears and my successes. They help create dialogue with readers.
I’ve had some questions recently about whether I find my blogging topic – Fitness and Health limiting in terms of what I can and can’t post. The answer is no. This blog shows my balanced life, it shows the burgers and fries, the cocktails and the parties as well as the long runs, the healthy breakfasts and the rooftop yoga.
With that said, what you blog has to be interesting for others to read. I have written posts where I’ve deleted it halfway through because I was boring myself! I know some bloggers would recommend that you stick completely to your chosen topic with no deviation, which is great if that’s what you want your blogs sole focus to be, however it’s your blog and you should be able to write what you like!
Remember when you write a blog post you should be asking yourself;
- Is this interesting? (what is the hook to keep reader’s engaged?)
- Is this helpful? (what is the reader taking away from this post?)
- Is this something I am proud and happy to have on my blog? (For me this means no PR written content or regurgitated press releases).
Stay on brand – be brand YOU!
Over the next few months and years, I’m going to be sharing my journey through University, returning to life as a full time student to become a Registered Dietician. There will still be running tips, race recaps, fitness classes on trial, but there will also be more of my life on show.
I’d love to hear your opinions on this, do you stick to very specific blog topics or is yours a story of your life? How do you decide what to blog about and what not to blog about?
For me, it has to fit my tagline….’things that make me go oooh’. Okay, sometimes those are a bit odd (I have a worrying obsession with healthy vending machines) and it means I have to turn down a lot of sponsorship but that’s what makes me happy to write about. I’d love to do more travel as that’s my passion but cant quite justify it with the tag. Maybe I should just do it anyway! The thing I do struggle with is post length. A busy friend once said to me ‘I always read your blog because it’s short’ but then google wants long posts. Who knows. Anyway, congrats on your course and looking forward to reading about your training…..
I think you could definitely include travel as something that makes you go oooh! Also there’s definitely a fine line between making it short enough that people will read, and making it google friendly. If in doubt, give the readers what they want is my opinion!
Essentially my blog is about running and eating, but I also feel it is important to fit my personality into the posts, and share information about me.
I know that the types of blogs that I most enjoy reading are those where the writer shares snippets of their lives with their readers. Not oversharing though. There is still a time and a place!
Agree about oversharing, and I have had to take down some pics that showed a bit too much of where I lived! Privacy/safety first!
I don’t ever have enough time to post as often as I’d like to, but when I do I blog about my fitness escapades, (the good, bad and ugly), rants and raves about what’s getting my goat or filling me with endorphins, and how I keep active when on holiday or trying to juggle training with real life and work struggles. I always try to be honest on my blog and not just another regurgitated product review and PR outlet. I’m excited to follow your studies and journey to becoming a dietician!
I love your blog Tess! YOu do a great job!
I have been thinking about bringing talking about my kids and parenting in general back into my blog but then again I had a ‘mummy blog’ for over 7 years and wanted a new one that was just about health and fitness and food and me. I can’t decide… somehow it feels like I want to write about them again 🙂
In general my rule is – I write whatever I want to write about and whenever I want to write and NOT for Google but for real people, and also for myself for later on.
I totally agree with you that the personal bit of blogs is what is interesting and what brings you back to certain blogs. Top 10 Tips to Run Faster kind of posts leave me a little bit cold. UNLESS it’s just the title that is a boring SEO one and the post is written from a personal experience with actual examples and stories 🙂
Totally agree with you! Haha yes the titles can be misleading 🙂
I try to only write posts that genuinely interest me or I think will be useful for my readers. If I try and write something that’s not genuine I can just feel a massive difference when I’m writing as it feels forced and unnatural – like you I usually end up deleting them. I love reading the American “share all” type of blog too, but in reality I share less than this. I like giving snippets of my life- the ups and downs- and hope my personality comes across, but I am also mindful of not sharing too much personal information as I don’t want to regret this choice in the future and also have to respect that people close to me in my life may not want me to do this either! I also find that if and when I do share more personal topics they are by far the most popular- I guess it’s human nature to be interested in other peoples lives!!
Totally agree about not sharing too much personal info especially about the people close to you! It’s definitely something I try to think about but maybe should be more at the forefront of my mind. Thanks for sharing Jess x
This post has come exactly at the right time (it might also be one of the few times I’ve actually commented on another blog as well!). I blogged consistently about by work between 2010-2013, then stopped, as I moved on to other projects, and thought about starting a more personal blog. I’ve started, stopped and restarted a ‘personal’ blog countless times over the past 2 years as I just couldn’t decide if people would want to read the ‘personal’ stories and I didn’t think I had enough ‘useful facts’ to keep a blog going. I found a lot of resistance from non-bloggers or non-blog readers about why you would want to post personal stuff – I think some people see it as a sign of vanity. However, I’ve found a lot of useful information within ‘personal’ posts – life tips, travel tips, restaurant tips – so this past weekend I decided to give it a go and just post what I want to post when I want to post it. It might not be the best for SEO or traffic or any of those things – but then I’m blogging for me as a hobby and not for any of that!
Hope marathon training is going well.
I’m so glad!! Blogging should be enjoyable, and you should be able to write what you want to write 🙂
I hope my blog will always be one of those “me” blogs. It is my life in words and pictures. Sometimes I’ll try and offer tips and advice to my readers, review products and make travel suggestions, but I want the underlying theme to always be “this is me, this is my life, these are things I’ve learnt and have found useful”. I hope that comes across and that others enjoy that personal biographical style.
Looking forward to continuing to follow your journey as you go back to Uni x
Yours is awesome!! You do a great job Zoe!
I am returning to blogging after a couple of years of taking a break. I too have noticed that the blogs I used to love to read – and the kind that I plan to keep writing – are becoming a rare breed. I’ve decided that I’m going to keep doing what I love and blog about “Live in Balance.” I’ve rebranded from being “just” a food blogger because I was developing an unhealthy relationship with food. So I still post recipes from time to time, but I also post about what it’s like losing 100 pounds, training for my first marathon, and finding tips that I think might be interesting. I enjoyed reading this post and am a new reader! (found you through #fitfluential)
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you stick around, and definitely think that they are becoming a rare breed! 🙂
I have a question as someone trying to find their blogging “niche”. 😉
Do you feel like you have a separate runner/fitness “personality” that you have to show in your blog/social media or do you feel like you can post/like/discuss your “personal” (ie non-fitness/running) things or other interests on these outlets? For example, right now I have a separate Pinterest/Instagram for running/fitness and another for mostly non-running stuff but I find it annoying to keep up two separate accounts on each thing, but on the other hand I don’t want to bore my friends who are not runners with running talk or bore people who are looking for running info with a post about German/Language learning (my second passion!) or a picture of my cat, etc.
One of the things I love about your blog is the combination of everything! It’s great to see how running/fitness fits into real life!
I actually use all of my social channels as personal channels, reflecting a lot of running as it’s such a huge part of my life, but also travel, trips with friends, eating out etc. Similarly, my Pinterest has a lot of different boards (including a Hen Do board!)
I am a non- blogger. This reason why I love your blog is exactly because it is realistic. The fact you can document how you can for being a #fitgirl into real life inspires me to lead a more active life because I take encouragement from you. Looking forward to the next chapter in your blog as am sure it will just build on your success x
Thank you so much Sarah!
I find your blog to have a perfect balance between being personal & resourceful. As a freshly made blogger I am just trying to find my voice in the blogosphere – I would love my blog to be educational and inspiring as well as to be a space where I can express whatever I feel like that time. I only wish mine would become as balanced as yours!
Wow thank you so much! Good luck with your blog. x
This is a great reminder for me, as I’m just starting out. My blog is mainly about restaurants and recipes (anything food really!) but it’s good to remember that the posts I love reading the most are ones that show a bit of the blogger’s life!
I think a lot of us like that type of post!
This is really interesting to read, as I actually feel the opposite. I started out reading a lot of American blogs but found them too full on – posts 3 times a day, and sharing every detail of their lives. This isn’t a criticism, I know it’s made some of them hugely successful! But personally I prefer a more “balanced” approach – sharing thoughts and opinions helps people to relate, but sharing information too makes it more accessible to new readers I feel. I really like the way you do that by the way! 🙂 And congrats on your Uni place, I’m really looking forward to hearing about your studying. I’m doing a FutureLearn course at the moment on Nutrition – it’s run by the University of Aberdeen and is really interesting! X
That’s so interesting Beki! I guess thats why different people read/like different blogs! Glad you’re enjoying your course!
I blog for so many reasons. I love the diary aspect. I can pull up old posts every now and again and actually smile at my own words and pictures. I love when complete strangers enjoy hearing about my life. It’s nothing elite or perfect. In fact quite the opposite. Just a girl who likes to run and somehow manages to train for marathons even though injuries and life tend to get in the way. I love to remind myself and others about being positive and feeling blessed even after going through tragedy. It’s the one thing I never skip out on. I might skip a run but never a blog post. 🙂
You know what’s funny. I had a blogger dinner last night – just met up with two bloggers here in LA and they were asking me about SEO and I simply said… I don’t do it. I don’t pay attention. I don’t care.
I would much rather come up with a quirky blog title that is NOT SEO optimized at all, and be true to myself… Then succumb to the boring “Top Five XXXX’ type titles that are just SO NOT ME! I don’t care if I lose out on traffic, I care about entertaining… That’s it!
This is wonderful. And it’s funny, I still follow the few original bloggers that I found when I first started. I love content that’s relateable and honest – it can be editorial with personal flair 🙂
As a blogger I’m first and foremost about the art of crafting a post and staying true to telling the story of my own quest to lead a healthy lifestyle like writing about healing my injury, what I ate that day, or my career choices. I’m really open about my hopes, dreams and fears on the blog. As a Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer I often find myself compelled to write about a topic I’ve been getting a lot of questions about. The blog then becomes a merge of the two and I’m happy with that. Great topic!
I agree that if you are writing something you think is boring, others will find it boring as well! I share some personal/lifestyle details of my life but not all of it. Some of life is meant for living and not for the whole internet to know. Also I don’t feel pressured to follow a schedule or post X times a week. If I only have 1 good post for the week, that’s it. It’s not my job, just for fun! I read those blogs that you do too-I also like people like Carrot ‘n’ Cake because it’s not too wordy. Lots of photos and to the point which means it’s easy to stay updated on. Unless I really love the topic or blogger, I’m not reading a ton of text.
I think you’re right Lauren, if you don’t have something interesting to say, don’t say anything at all!
In this article you raised some really good points and this makes me think about my blog and whether I am actually writing about things that my readers are interested to hear. Sometimes, we as bloggers don’t really know whether we are writing good stuff, at least that’s how I feel as I don’t get that many comments.. I write about things that I am passionate about but I believe it would be good to get some feedback from others to tell me whether I am doing something wrong. This may be a bit cheeky to ask (as I know you are busy) but if you have 1 minute of spare time, would you mind quickly checking my blog and let me know what you think? I would really appreciate it.
I really look forward to reading about your University life, so exciting!
Hi Petra, your blog looks great! My only comment would be to add a picture of yourself to your blog homepage! People want to see who the blog is written by 😉
Thanks so much Charlie for checking my blog! Really appreciate your tip, I will work on that as soon as I have some time.
“I’m looking to blogs for real life” – I couldn’t agree more, those are definitely the posts I most enjoy reading and as a blogger, writing about myself is more appealing than writing magazine style posts.
Agreeed!! Thanks for reading Leona!
I’ve been blogging for almost seven (yikes!) years, and I can’t say that I know what SEO is. I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never blogged to “grow my blog” or anything like that. Blogging for me is about the community and relating to other people, not about being popular or growing my readership. I tend to find when people start to write for these purposes, I’m not as interested in what they have to say. Bloggers start posting too many tips (they’re not experts!) or sponsored posts, and it just seems too fake. I’d rather have real life than something to grow a blog or make money.
I stopped reading many of the “big” bloggers because I couldn’t relate to them. It’s great for them that they were able to build a business through their blog and not have to work, but I can’t relate to that. It’s hard for me to take fitness and nutrition tips from someone who doesn’t have a job. (I realize blogging is a job, but if you work from home and set your own schedule…) It’s easy to spot when someone is posting just to post – making a big deal out of something insignificant is off putting to me because it’s not real life.
As for what I write about, I write about what I want. My most successful posts (it’s all relative) are the ones I truly care about. A forced post just to get something out there never does well, which is very telling.
Love this post! Working in social media, I know all the “tricks” to grow my blog…and have zero desire to use them. I enjoy blogging as just an outlet for me separate from work, etc. I hate those tips-type posts, too. If someone’s going to learn something from me, I’d rather them learn through my storytelling.