Blogging about Blogging

The last 5+ years of blogging have been enjoyable.  I’ve learned a lot about social media, blogging, running and, of course, myself.  Through blogging, I’ve met incredible people and done amazing things.

If that isn’t the most cliché and kissass introduction, I don’t know what is.

Blogging about blogging

Just thinking out loud, like every blogger, I started by blogging for myself.   I never expected to blog five years later, and I never expected to enjoy it as much as I do.

Obviously, I’ve grown as a person since blogging.  I started LOLZ blog as a 20-year-old junior in college. Like any college student, I was confused with life, school, sports and training.  I began blogging as a way to document my personal journey.

As I continued to blog and connect with others, I even had a few readers.  I was no longer blogging just for myself because I had an audience. Whether I knew each individual in real life or not, I had readers.  My tone didn’t change, but it did make me think more about what I said on the internet.  Whether you delete something or not, the internet never forgets.

With or without readers, I blog for myself, but I also blog to share my journey in hopes someone can learn from me (both my success and mistakes).  

In blogging, twitter, facebook and social media in general, people enjoy feedback…that is why we do it.   

Would I blog as much if no one ever commented?  I’m not sure, I could have a personal journal at that point. 

I enjoy blogging, and it’s a fun hobby to have.  Life is too short to do things you don’t like.  Right now I like to blog and run…so I will make time for those hobbies. 

There is a lot more to blogging than write a post and make it public. 

It’s a lot of time, effort and commitment.  I’m far less “active” in the blogging world these days, but even the simple task of writing a post takes time.  Now there are so many platforms to promote and engage readers.  Those platforms were small or didn’t even exist five years ago.  Blogging has also become a huge advertising channel.  Sure it’s great to make money from blogging, but many people seek blogging out as a full-time income versus starting a blog “because they want too”.

Do I think it would be awesome to make more money from LOLZ blog?  Sure, but do I want to promote products every post or promote ANY product I don’t personally try or care for…no.

I don’t want to blog for giveaways, paid reviews and advertisements.  They have their time and place, which is not every post.

Six Lessons I’ve Learned From Blogging:

Not everyone will like you, and that is fine

Many people won’t agree with your training, writing style or for whatever reason they just don’t like you.  That’s fine! In a world where everyone is brought up winning a trophy and taught “you do no wrong”, it’s a harsh reality.  Don’t mistake not agreeing with hating.  Constructive criticism is something I value greatly.  We don’t grow as humans if we are told we are always told we are perfect.

Don’t lie to promote something

Lying to promote yourself, your blog or product is just dumb. What’s the point? As people and bloggers, we are allowed to change our minds about issues, products and life but not every other blog post.

People (and bloggers) grow apart

I’ve grown apart from several blogs I followed.  There are two blogs that were blogging when I began in 2010.  People change and grow, it’s fact of life. There is no need to read every single blog in the “blogging world”.  If a topic doesn’t interest you, then it doesn’t.  I’m sure several readers could care less about diner reviews, and that is fine!  Believe it or not, some locals only care about diners!  I never blog with the expectation that people care about any and every post. Believing that only sets us up for failure.  I don’t read every blog post by every blogger I follow either.

Blogging is not a profitable thing to do.

Unless you want to shill products you don’t care about or sell yourself out for trivial items, it’s not worth it. You aren’t going to become a millionaire from blogging.  To be honest, if you want to be a full-time blogger, you will also have to insert multiple ads, products reviews, and trivial nonsense that you or your readers don’t care about.    I’ve been contacted by several companies to promote things as adult diapers, maxi pads, vitamins that aren’t FDA regulated and even pet products.  None of those products match my blog, so I don’t promote them.  Sure I turned down money, but it’s not worth it to me.

I’m going to use my blog to shill out things that I could care less about.  I’ll promote products I like and my readers could find useful. It’s a big reason I’ve chosen not to be a full-time blogger.  I couldn’t take myself seriously if I turned my personal blog into a billboard for women’s hygiene products or other random junk.  Yes, they are important but not relevant here.

Just because you can use Google, does not make you an expert

If I am looking for an expert medical advice, I will seek someone who is qualified.  I read blogs because they are light hearted and fun.  I don’t read because I expect the blogger to be a medical professional.  Google does not make you as qualified as a nutritionist, dietitian or medical expert.  In this blogging day and age, it seems most bloggers are either a coach, online nutritionist or some sort of life coach.

Every blogger has chosen to omit something from their personal space online

It’s smart.  When reading a blog, you don’t see the full life picture.  For instance, when my husband and I chose to live together a few years ago, it wasn’t as if I woke up and wrote a post titled “I’m moving” and shotgunned a move.  We had discussed it for a while but I didn’t announce it until it was final.

Maybe a person is struggling because they ended a relationship, maybe they are having financial problems, or maybe someone just doesn’t feel like sharing a personal tidbit.  Blogging is a fine line between sharing and oversharing.

I am a part of an important volunteer campaign that I’ve chosen to omit.  Does that make it any less important?  Absolutely not but it isn’t relevant to my blog.

Click to tweet: Don’t overshare.  The Internet never forgets.  

For better or worse blogging has come a long way since 2010.  It’s far more commercialized, and people expect to be compensated for their “time” blogging.  No one is forcing you to blog, and it should be something you actually enjoy.  Don’t start a blog if you think you’re going to become rich, famous or an internet sensation.

In any case, I love to blog, and I’m not going anywhere. 

Questions for you: How long have you been blogging?  How has it changed?  


63 responses

  1. You scared me there for a minute as I thought this may be a farewell post! SO glad it is not and YES to all of this. Definitely not profitable, but the perks are pretty amazing, not to mention the people (like YOU!) and 100% every blogger leaves something out. There are plenty of things I would love to share just to get them off my chest but NOPE, not going there!!! This is great Hollie and please keep sharing yourself with us!

  2. Fun fact: Your blog is the first one I became a regular reader of 😀 !! I’ve decided I’m better at being a blog reader instead of a blogger.

  3. I agree on the coaching thing…which makes me a little nervous since I recently left my corporate job in favor of a career in fitness. I don’t have grand dreams of becoming some big online fitness trainer…basically I want to get a stable job at a local gym (preferably the YMCA b/c I love their ethos) and help people adapt fitness into their lifestyle. Like you, we’ve chosen not to sell out and have turned down more products and company collaborations than we’ve taken. Free crap isn’t all that great if you won’t use it! I like your take on it all…I definitely have similar thoughts. 🙂

  4. Yes, yes, and YES. I was just reminded how not-profitable my blog is when we were doing our taxes last week. (There goes half of the small amount of money that I made, haha.) But I love the blogging community so much that it’s worth the work! 🙂

    I’ve been reading your blog for so long!!! It’s kind of crazy to think about how fast time has gone!

  5. Blogging has definitely changed a tonne in the last handful of years, and I kind of miss how much more simple it used to be. Now it’s all about social media and promotion, which I’m not really a huge fan of. But I seriously love blogging, and while it’s a lot of work and frustrating at times, it’s hard to imagine life without it.

  6. this is s great reminder for new bloggers–or bloggers like me who also does not want a blog full of ads and promotions of irrelevant products. I’ve been blogging for only 2 1/2 years, and i tend to steer away from blogs that are constantly pushing products you know the blogger is NOT using.

  7. I was so worried as I was reading this that you would announce that you’re done blogging, so I’m glad that you’re not going anywhere! This is all such great advice too. I can’t believe you’ve been blogging for so long!

  8. I concur with the first comment! (Although I’m a mostly a food blogger with some running thrown in) The UK is SO different! I’m in the UK and I only follow one UK food blog, Hungry, Healthy, Happy which is amazing! But I follow many many U.S. and Canadian blog as you guys just seem to be so much more open and honest!

    This is a great post. Blog because you love to. Not because you want to get rich from it. If some money comes along from what you love, all the better. But that’s not why I blog either. It’s for the passion of sharing my food and meeting some great people! 🙂

  9. I don’t have a blog because I choose not to share much personal information. I don’t think its for everyone. I follow only 2 blogs on the regular, yours and a friend of ours. Did you decide on AF Marathon in September?

  10. i actually can’t remember when i started my blog! 2012 or 2013 i believe? i agree that it isn’t necessary to include every aspect of your life on your blog — it’s healthy to keep things for yourself and not feel a compulsion to overshare. also agree with not feeling compelled to read or post out there! we all have our preferences and interests, and it’s normal to gravitate toward those.

  11. I have to say… if someone asked me to promote adult diapers, I just might do it, if only for the novelty! 😛 Okay, I’m (mostly) kidding about that.

    I haven’t even been blogging a year, so not much has changed for me yet, except my own personal blogging. Looking back on my earlier posts, I think I’m already a better blogger than I was, which is nice to see.

  12. I’m amazed how much my perspective on blogging has changed in my 2 years. The product shilling drives me crazy but if you want to full-time blog I guess that’s what has to be done to pay the bills. I’m with you and am not interested in that. Products that I genuinely like and would use are great but I’m not willing to sell out for a few bucks.

  13. I’ve only been blogging for about two years now. I struggle sometimes with how much to put out there. I don’t mind if people know things about me, even pretty personal things, but they don’t need to know everything. That said, I also want to make sure that I come off as genuine, not just putting the good out there like I have nothing bad that happens either. I appreciate that you only put things out there that you believe in! Keep doing what you’re doing Hollie!

  14. So cool! You made great points. I started my blog just over a year ago and I did it because I want to one day write a book and having a blog forces me to practice my art! I’m passionate about the process even more so than ever having that final product (a book) so it works out well for me.

  15. So first, I’m sitting here going, holy crap, 5 years ago I was a junior in college.. excuse me while I barf . But I’m totally loving this post! ESPECIALLY the Google does not make you an expert thing – I think there are a LOT of people, bloggers and non, who need to learn that and fast.

  16. My favorite part of blogging is definitely still the personal connection. I LOVE getting a reply to a comment. Sometimes I get wrapped up in the numbers and such, but I realize that that has no eternal value. Actually caring about people, I feel like, is definitely the reason God gave us blogging. I just forget that too often. I”m glad that God is a loving Heavenly Father and keeps reminding me of that everyday when I get discouraged over ‘number of pageviews.’ It’s not about the page views. It’s about each person who has an eternal soul who I get to interact with on the blog. Thank you for the reminder Hollie! I needed to read this. Blogging is AMAZING, and I’m so thankful for it.

  17. One of my least favorite things about people who are paid to blog though is that they have less personal posts. I follow a lot of blogs who are bigger bloggers and they’ll share their daily lives but leave all the struggles out. It drives me crazy. Then they’ll post every once in awhile, “We have our struggles too. We fight like all couples. Everything isn’t easy.” Well, TALK about those things! Those are the things that make people relatable. But then again, I think I have a different approach to blogging. I don’t care who reads it. I would love to make money off of it but don’t care at all if that ever happens. I think it’s okay to complain about your marriage because hey, it’s real. Who DOESN’T get annoyed by their spouse? Who doesn’t wish they had more money? Who actually likes having to work all the time? Things that are “real life” make bloggers appealing and I’ve found very few that really get into that and I LOVE them! Then again, I definitely have omitted certain things (mostly about my past) because the world just doesn’t need to know that. I do like blogging though and have been doing it since I was 14, so I probably won’t stop anytime soon!

    • I definitely agree Liz. I feel like those types of posts make someone less real and relatable. Plus it’s hard to relate to someone who stays at home most of the time.

  18. I’ve been blogging in one form or another since….2007? Yikes. That’s a long freaking time. I’ve learned a LOT of lessons over the years about what to share and what not to share. I’ve also moved on from certain blogs as they’ve changed, and I certainly don’t expect everyone to love every post I write. *shrug*

  19. Very nicely put! Blogging without expectations is how it should be done! Or rather, blogging only with expectations for yourself!!

  20. loved this post! My favorite part about blogging is reading about other people’s stories. I always find it fascinating when you stumble upon someones page and they are going through a similar situation or struggle as you and you instantly feel a connection with a complete stranger. I personally use my blog as a way to document my progress as far as fitness is concerned and to share my knowledge in this subject that interests me so much.

  21. I started blogging last summer as a way to both log my fitness/weight loss progress and a way to talk myself through all the ups and downs and obstacles between me and my goals. It’s been super helpful (and cheaper than therapy!) to actually see my thoughts organized in black and white objectively, and it has been really nice to be able to share the blog with people I’m close to so they can get a better understanding of where I’m at mentally and emotionally- as an added perk it also saves them from having to hear my talk incessantly about running or the gym which I’m sure is quite nice for them as well. 🙂

    I’ve grown to the love the amazing like-minded community and all the interesting perspectives and advice that people have! I’ve definitely learned a lot and grown as a person by participating here.

  22. Great post! I certainly don’t begrduge bloggers who endlessly shill products or cover their page in ads – hey, it’s your space, so do what you want with it! But that’s not the right path for me. Not everyone will like every blogger or every post, but the ones that keep me coming back are the ones who are capable of making a connection, don’t act like they know everything about everything, and have their own voice. That’s really all I look for.

  23. I started blogging in 2012 and learned real quick it’s hard work! I created my blog so I could keep family updated on what we’re up to and I started to really commit to running. For a while I stopped because I thought no one was reading so why keep it up? Then I got pregnant and knew I would like to look back and have these memories so I started writing for myself again and it feels so much better!

  24. I love this post! I definitely agree that bloggers grow apart. I started blogging in 2009 and definitely have found that to be true. Right now I don’t have any ads on my blog but if I do eventually choose to add them it won’t be a major thing that takes over my whole blog.

    I think I’ve learned that it’s important to blog for you and just be yourself.

  25. You make such a good point when you say that we shouldn’t mistake not agreeing with hating. I think it’s easy to be oversensitive, especially since tone cannot be translated through comments!
    I think the hardest thing for me is self-promotion. It just feels so awkward! Yet it seems like the crucial way to grow. Eek.
    If someone’s blog is so polluted with ads it slows my computer down, I’m way less likely to read it!

  26. These are all really good lessons! I’ve been blogging for only a few months and I mostly started it so I could document thoughts about running and trips I’ve been on. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I loved reading other people’s blogs and finally bit the bullet and started my own. I didn’t realize how quickly I would connect with other bloggers. That’s definitely the best part.

  27. First, congrats on making it five years as a blogger! That’s pretty impressive (and twice as long as me). And I really enjoyed your thoughts on blogging and the lessons you’ve learned. Before I started my blog I was definitely one of those people that thought it wouldn’t take that long or be that hard to just write a couple of posts per week. Ha! It’s just a lot more time consuming than it looks like it is. I mostly follow fashion blogs so we don’t have the medical expert issue as much, but there’s certainly been a lot of change even since I started blogging.

  28. I’ve been blogging for what feels like forever and have had a couple domains, but TSP is only a little over a year old. I hate reading blogs that only do product or book reviews…gross! I never want to be that blogger. I would like to make some income, but that’s because the stuff I blog about is my passion not because I am trying to make money. Connecting with other bloggers and readers is the best part of blogging! Sometimes people forget that.

  29. I dabbled a bit here and there in blogging in college (I think on two or three free WordPress accounts, ha) and started my current one about 18 months ago. I love how blogging connects people! Especially when I moved from Indiana to Seattle, blogging was a community that stayed the same.
    Oh, the product shilling. I can’t believe companies contacted you about adult diapers! I’m a creative type so if I try to make money, I really want to it to come from a product I create because that’s so much more than making money, it’s about providing value.

  30. It’s pretty amazing how much has changed since I started blogging 3 years ago. I started reading blogs right around the time you started blogging 5 years ago and I don’t remember there being nearly as many sponsored posts and online coaches. It just wasn’t a thing back then. The market is now completely saturated with people looking to monetize their blogs, and while that’s great for them, it’s not why I blog. I love the friends I’ve made online and if it weren’t for that, I doubt I would have kept it up for this long.

  31. I liked reading this. I agree with you! I didn’t start blogging for anyone other than myself. My goals and lifestyle changed when I started running. I needed a way to document that and hold myself accountable. So I have. I also have taken breaks. When going through my divorce I stopped blogging a little, and continued not too when I started seeing my guy. I needed the time to focus on my life, blogging wasn’t going to hold me accountable at the time. So now that I am doing it again, I am still doing it for me and my accountability but have noticed a change in bloggesphere. Some bloggs have went more commercial, some are trying too hard to create new traffic and I can’t stand to read them anymore. While others have grown yet remained unique!

  32. Love this – especially the part about not everyone liking you. It goes both ways – you many not care about a topic someone else writes about, and someone else might not care about what you are writing about. There is nothing wrong with that – it’s just life!

  33. My blog started out more as a personal blog and has grown to a running blog. I am sure some readers don’t care for that, but looking at analytics and comments, those are the posts that are getting hits. Plus it’s a big part of my life and what I like to write about.

    I went on a trip with some friends to a race this weekend and we talked about blogging. I told them that I don’t ever just make stuff up, but you are right that sometimes you have to omit things and you never can say 100% of what you feel because the internet never forgets. It is better safe than sorry.

    For me, a lot of sponsored posts can ruin a blog. I start to think that maybe that blogger’s other interests and likes, even if not sponsored, may have some sort of secret sponsorship behind them? It takes away a little of the trust. I occasionally receive free race entries or products (rarely!) and I always disclose that. It happens a lot less now that the local running store whose team I was on has closed.

    I’d never recommend a product that I didn’t like or believe in personally, either. I’m sure being a Rock and Blog ambassador is cool, and it’s great for those who are involved and like that. Personally, I would never apply for that even if it meant free race entries and discounts, because I just prefer local charity races. Same with Nuun- that’s great that they have ambassadors, but I don’t drink that normally… wouldn’t want to be an ambassador for a product I don’t use.

  34. I wish I had known about your blog years ago! I have a few I follow religiously, and mostly it’s people who I could see myself wanting to be friends with in real life. I get so much inspiration from blogs (especially your blog! Makes me want to set some new running goals stat!!) and learning about people’s struggles and accomplishments. I started blogging in November, and it was mainly because people kept asking me things like what do you make for dinner or how do you manage work and a baby (the exciting things in life and the short answer is not very well) but I’ve always loved to write and it’s been SO much fun! I’ll probably never have a huge audience or any sponsors, but I already feel like the world has opened up and, like so many people above have said, I’ve gained so much from just a few months of this. 🙂

  35. Since I’ve only been blogging about a month, this post and all the comments were really interesting to read! I enjoyed reading about how everyone started and why they blog. Mine is to keep me focused on my goal of becoming a RD and give me a place to talk about fitness and healthy living without driving everyone I know crazy. If I’m able to make money from it someday, that’d be awesome but that’s not why I’m doing it. I do hope though that I eventually get readers other than my parents!

  36. Blogging is such an interesting thing, isn’t it?! I think you were the first blog I followed, and I’m so glad we still both follow each other :). It has been a blast to keep up with you and your life over the years, Hollie!

  37. These are great tips, and lessons you’ve learned over 5 years – thanks for sharing! I think it takes time for new bloggers to develop their niche, so at first, they may be trying to appease all audiences. You are so right, though, blog for you and write for you. So what if not everyone comments or relates to it? Likely, there are others who will.

  38. Isn’t it funny how you could be a totally different person now than you were a few years ago writing but one wrong click and you’re reading a post like “Who on earth wrote that?” The internet really doesn’t forget! Good reminder about blogs not being profitable. I know quite a few that make decent money doing it and I just have to remind myself that that is a HUGE commitment and it takes a lot of time/effort — I’m not doing anything “wrong” by not going that route. Writing is just fun for me 🙂 And regardless of how often you pop up in the blog world, it’s always nice to have you!

  39. I have now followed you for two years and I have only commented once or twice. But I HAD to comment on this because I absolutely love it. First of all, my husband and I run a business in NYC in the spring and fall and I love reading your diner reviews. I love diners and love going to NJ and upstate NY on the weekends for long runs and diners!

    I have grown out of love and in love with blogs over time. Some that I loved or thought I needed to follow I have recently tired of. Those who choose to tweet constantly and plug products to get free things or make extra money, lose me pretty quickly. I prefer genuine and I firmly believe that you can build a blog and business if you are genuine and patient. People are smart and they will see through what your ulterior motive is. Excellent (and genuine) post!

  40. Great post!

    I’ve been blogging for a very long time, since the Livejournal days. But my current blog has been going on since 2011 – 2012 is when I went to self hosted.

    I do not write about my work life – no ones business and really, it isn’t what I want to blog about anyways. There are also too many people “in real life” that know about the blog, including fellow co-workers.

    I get the really weird emails too. I ignore most of them.

  41. I’m so glad we met through blogging! Your blog is one of the few (like, two or three) I started following way back when and continue to read. Keep doing what you’re doing–and thanks for letting us tag along on your journeys!

%d bloggers like this: