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Blogging 101: Content

by Meghann on December 19, 2008

Blogging 101

Due to some positive response in my comment section on my thoughts of what makes of breaks a blog, I have decided to write a four part blogging series on what I think works. I will try to keep these as positive as possible as my fear is offending others.

Please keep in mind I have no intention of offending others as I write these I am simply going off of my experience of what I believe makes a great blog. Trust me I do not think I have a great blog, I am still constantly trying to improve upon it just as I am sure others out there are doing the same. It’s something we all learn along the way. I’m sure if you go back to some of my older entries you will see I have already learned quite a lot from how different it looks when I first started.

Part I: Content

What’s a blog without words?

Whether it be writing skills or what is being written about, the written word is essentially what causes readers to stick around. Nobody wants to read someone constantly complain, just as nobody wants to read someone who is constantly rejoiced. Readers want to read what’s real, and being real means having up and downs. Nobody’s perfect and if you pretend to be no one is going to believe you. One of the many bloggers I read recently refused to be a positive blogger and instead has taken a negative turn. I quickly grew tired of the constant negativity and deleted the blog from my Google reader. It’s ok to have a bad day every once in a while, but constantly dragging every down is a little bit of a bummer. Both extremes of happy and sad are annoying, it’s all about balance. Be sad one day, but grow and move on. Be happy the next and remind everyone that life is still good.

I know in my particular genre of Healthy Lifestyle blogging, there are plenty of blogs out there that are identical to the next. The trick when starting a blog is to think slightly different then the rest. The favorites of the blogs I read grasped my attention by stepping outside of the generic realm of food blogging and found a niche to make their own. For instance Caitlin’s blog is dedicated to healthy living, but it also chronicles her journey as a bride as she stays fit and happy while planning a beautiful wedding. I used to love Jenna’s slogan on her blog where she stated “Surviving pastry school, while still trying to fit in my jeans.” That line and her story is exactly what kept me coming back. Those are just two examples of blogs that have a niche in the healthy lifestyle market.

When I created my blog I was trying to decide what would make me stand out among other bloggers, so I looked to my story as inspiration. I was a recent college graduate who was overcoming my new steady lifestyle so I decided that should be my niche. I did not know really any other blogs that were aimed in that direction so I felt safe in originality. I know there are so many others out there in my same situation and I wanted to show them that being in the real world does not mean you don’t have time to live life. I had found my market.

As far as actual content, when I was simply a reader the blogs I enjoyed most were those who gave a look into their personal lives. With the recap of food and fitness they would tell stories of their day and little musings on the world. This makes bloggers relatable and feel more like friends then the blogging celebrities I saw them as. (Yes, I think of some bloggers as celebrities and would probably squeal and ask for their autograph if I met them in real life…lol…)

I decided on the three posts a day approach simply because those were my favorite ones to read. I was bored at my old job so I would constantly be checking all of the food blogs through out the day and my favorites were those who updated after every meal. They kept me entertained. This was essentially how I became a big fan of Tina’s blog. She updated enough times to hook me in so that I was addicted. I also found with my first attempt at blogging that posting all of your meals in one lump slum was a bit boring to write out. I feel the three posts a day approach gives me a little more creativity. Granted, I still love reading those who post once a day and that does not stop me from being a huge fan. It was just a personal preference I decided on.

I have always been a creative cook in the kitchen. My kitchen creations have been getting strange looks since I learned how to use the stove top. What I enjoyed about Kath’s blog was her constant creativity and new recipes. I knew with my blog I wanted to show my creativity in the kitchen as well and thought even more outside of the box to keep people coming back. I first found food blogs because of the great healthy recipes out there, so I knew I wanted to have that be highlighted as well. A lot of bloggers out there are cooking for multiple people and I didn’t see many singles cooks out there, this is how I found my Perfectly Portioned of One niche. This was something that developed in my blog which I did not originally start out to focus on, but they were such a big hit I went for it. Content develops over time, once you start its easier to decide a direction to go.

I hope you enjoyed your first installment of Blogging 101. Please keep in mind this is strictly my opinion and my thoughts as a reader turned blogger. These are just ideas of how my blogging style came to me and what I think works. Every blog is different and it’s all about how each individual blogger feels.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. I’m interested to hear how others feel what in the way of content works for them.

Check back over the next few days for the rest of the series. Including:

  • Part II: Design
  • Part III: Photos
  • Part IV: Marketing
1 Tina December 19, 2008 at 11:36 am

Excellent post! Thanks for the shout out too! 🙂

2 Heather Eats Almond Butter December 19, 2008 at 11:43 am

Good tips. Thanks! I like reading the shorter posts more often, but I don’t do that on my own blog. Weird. I should work on that 🙂

3 Erica December 19, 2008 at 11:52 am

Great post! I agree with the too negative stuff. I use to love reading a certain blog but the author has become sooo negative and complainy (I think complainy should def be a word ;)) that I can’t handle reading any more! I am excited to read your photos post! I need a new camera and to work on my pictures …A LOT! I’m usually so hungry/excited to eat once I’m done cooking that I take pictures and I’m like ohhhh whatever 😉

Hope you’re having a good Friday!

4 Andrea [bella eats] December 19, 2008 at 11:58 am

Fun!!! I love reading your insight, I’ve been really trying to decide on a direction for my blog and these Blogging 101 posts will be so helpful!

Happy Friday! 🙂

5 seecourteat December 19, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Great post. As a new blogger, this info is very helpful!

6 VeggieGirl December 19, 2008 at 12:24 pm

WONDERFUL tips, Meghann!! Can’t wait for the next information installments!! 🙂

7 melissa (nyc) December 19, 2008 at 12:34 pm

amazing post. I definitely find one post a day challenging, enough, but I wouldn’t really say I am a food blogger, so maybe that’s okay.

Very well written! Looking forward to #2.

8 caitlin December 19, 2008 at 12:40 pm

ooo good idea!

i would add that:

1) its important to break up text with paragraphs…. one loooong paragraph post is hard to hard.

2) grammar is important, too!!

3) and i always write a post and then go back and deleted like half of what i just said. too long is too much, sometimes!!

9 caitlin December 19, 2008 at 12:41 pm

also, crap. this means i need a “new direction” in two weeks!!! LOL

10 ksgoodeats December 19, 2008 at 12:42 pm

This is a great post! I agree with a lot of the stuff you said – not too much negativity, relate-ability, etc. all great points. Can’t wait to see the next section 🙂

11 Meghann December 19, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Great Point Caitlin! And also the imporantce of bolding and itallics.

12 ttfn300 December 19, 2008 at 12:49 pm

there are many different kinds of blogs, so it’s important to figure out what’s important to you!

looking forward to the next sections 🙂

13 Amelia December 19, 2008 at 1:01 pm

This is great info. So glad you decided to do this! I’m looking forward to the other parts.

14 laughinglindsay December 19, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Wow. I think you nailed it with this post. I’m addicted to you guys’ blogs because they ARE different. I relate to each one for different reasons. Each is like a story and each day is a new chapter. I’m so much like you Meghann, I’m single and I’m always cooking for myself.
I’m still finding my footing with my blog so I appreciate your advice. Couldn’t have come at better timing!

15 Kelsey December 19, 2008 at 1:22 pm

awesome!!!

16 Erin December 19, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Wow you’ve totally thought it out! I’m impressed!

17 sweetandnatural December 19, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Love the insight!

18 eatingbender December 19, 2008 at 1:53 pm

This is impressive! I agree with you on many points and think that you definitely know what it takes to keep people coming back. For instance, I will be coming back to read your next installment 😉

19 Krista December 19, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Great tips. Meghann! I’ve been wanting to get more commenting on my blog, but haven’t been sure which route to take. I’m sure your tips will help me in the process!

20 Lindsey (Mrs. LC) December 19, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Awesome post, so glad you’re doing this blogging 101! And I’m glad you’re breaking it up too, way to hook people in to come back for more! haha 🙂

21 Missy (Missy Maintains) December 19, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Great post!! I will take this all into consideration since I am somewhat new to blogging!

http://www.missymaintains.blogspot.com

22 Amanda December 19, 2008 at 3:03 pm

haha is it weird that I am trying to guess who the negative blogger is?

23 chandra December 19, 2008 at 3:22 pm

Oh no, I’ve been pretty blah lately, I hope I’m not your crabby blogger you speak of!!

And crap… now I feel like I need to step it up with my blog a bit and find something interesting about myself to keep people reading!! Eek..

🙂

24 Amy December 19, 2008 at 3:26 pm

I totally aggree with all of your insight on blogging & content. I honestly sit around and analyze blogging a lot, so this is right up my alley! For instance, I almost treat food blogs as if they were food-network tv shows. we are all little “hosts” with our own food philosophies, and we gotta get the viewers (readers) to tune in! Great post, again 🙂

Cant wait for the next one. Let’s write a book together!

25 Maureen December 19, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Great tips! Thanks for posting this is a world of help to the rest of us bloggers. I like your creativity – both in writing, and in recipes/eating!

26 ErinE December 19, 2008 at 4:21 pm

great tips! I look forward to reading the next parts of the series

27 Angela December 19, 2008 at 6:29 pm

Awesome post!! I love it and I totally agree with all of your points.

The hardest part for be, was thinking of a way to do a blog that was NEW and fresh and not simply another food blog. I put all my hobbies in one place- food, fitness, fashion, beauty ,and cooking and I decided that I would be happiest this way!

I too enjoy the 3 posts a day- and the blogs I read most frequently do the same.

Angela
http://www.ohsheglows.com

28 Angela December 19, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Oh and I am adding you to my blog roll, I love your site!

I can’t wait for the other installments. 🙂 Esp. marketing! hehe

Angela

29 Kristina December 19, 2008 at 7:01 pm

Great tips! I’ll definitely keep these in mind for my own blog as well.

30 Maggie December 19, 2008 at 7:13 pm

This is a great idea 🙂 Can’t wait for more…

31 Hangry Pants December 19, 2008 at 10:05 pm

I definitely agree that frequent updates are important. I hope to post a couple times a day now that I am not student teaching anymore. It just wasn’t possible being in the classroom, ya know?

32 Rachel December 20, 2008 at 1:36 am

I love this idea, and I can’t WAIT for the post about taking good photos. I’ve been trying to think about how to write about that without offending anyone – it’s hard, I know. But I think you’ve got the right idea.

33 Elina December 20, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Thanks for the tips! I am totally addicted to all the blogs you referenced – they are definitely really good for all the reasons you’ve listed! 🙂

34 Elina December 20, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Oh I agree about posts several times a day… it just makes them shorter so people don’t feel like they’re reading a novel. That’s one thing I’m struggling with because I can’t post that frequently. Any ideas on how to avoid posts that are too long for readers to concentrate on? I think I need to not post every single meal, but many of them are just so good that I can’t just delete those pictures! 😀

35 peenboymn December 27, 2008 at 7:31 am

Thanks, a very informative site here, i will definately be back.

cheers

36 Amy January 8, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Meghann, you are very smart.

I don’t want to offend anyone either, but my blogger pet peeve is incorrect grammar, spelling, and general misuses of the English language. In my opinion, writing words like “sssssoooooo” and ending nearly every sentence in an exclamation point makes the blogger seem unintelligent and ditzy. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but I feel that constantly reading writing like this is diminishing the English language.

When something is well written, I relish it and it helps me become a better writer myself.

37 Goldie June 2, 2009 at 7:39 am

Hi Meghann

This is just such great info.

I was originally inspired by you and Caitlin. I loved loggin ni daily to find out what was going down with you guys. I love anything health and fitness related. I have started my own and it shows that I’m a true newbie to all this!

I’ve taken these points on board and will be applying them to my own blog.

Thank you

38 Julie @savvyeats September 10, 2009 at 11:39 am

I love your Blogging 101 — its been super helpful as I’ve started up my own food and fitness blog. Your blog was my original inspiration to start my own, and once I read about the Healthy Living Summit, I knew I’d have to start a blog myself!

39 Teri February 2, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Thank you so much for this post – so helpful! I was referred to your site from Carrots ‘n’ Cake and I instantly added you to my Google Reader. I love your posts! I just launched a new website and now I have lots of things to improve based on your tips (i.e. get my About Me page finished ASAP!) 🙂

40 Lexie February 21, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Eeeee I just found these blogging 101 tips. So helpful! Thanks for posting!

41 ladybugbeauty July 29, 2010 at 7:05 pm

good advice, thanks.

42 Tracy Gardner October 13, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Meghann, these are such amazing tips! I am also getting into blogging and inspired by Tina @ http://www.carrotsncake.com, Heather@ http://www.heathereatsalmondbutter.com and your blog and many others! Myself I am a Holistic Health & Nutrition Coach, Certified Natural Health Professional and Certified Personal Trainer just launching and thrilled to be living out my passion now at the age of 41. I work with women on weight loss, emotional eating and sports nutrition. I love the blogs that are personal and share meals – they make my day. I appreciate your posts about getting started. I created my first blog post this week and just doing a 2nd one. This next few weeks is crazy as I am speaking 3 times in 3 weeks so lots to do so plan to really pump out more on a regular basis and I like the 3 a day idea. Some days will depend on clients so I am sure it will evolve but I really enjoy it and inspired by all the incredible women and blogs out there! Appreciate all you do!
Tracy Gardner
http://www.NutritionLifeSpa.com
Tracy Gardner recently posted..Healthy Living is meant to be a permanent lifestyle not a temporary fix!

43 Leslie April 26, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Funny thing, I just emailed you about advise on my blog and I run into this entry!

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your expertise with us!!

Leslie S.
Leslie recently posted..No power- no problem

44 Nichole (eat & be pretty) May 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm

By far the best blogging advice I’ve seen thus far. Thanks for giving us newbies a flying chance!

45 Dannii July 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Great tips! I shall definitely take them on board as I try to get my own site off the ground 🙂

46 Paige @ Healthy Hits the Spot March 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Just found your blog! Thank you for the tips! I am looking and looking and looking for tips on self-hosting, and how to switch from WordPress.com to .org… I can see this is going to be a ride (but well worth the switch!!)
Paige @ Healthy Hits the Spot recently posted..Chicken Parmesan.

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