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Reflecting on 7 Years of Blogging

Reflecting on 7 Years of Blogging

Blogging has changed a lot since I started in August of 2010.  You can read my first post here.  Sure, I could correct several spelling errors in my first post ever, but it wouldn’t be as “authentic”.  So I leave it as my 2010 college self-wrote it.

If anything has remained the same in my blogging, it’s that I don’t have the best grammar or spelling.  I spell check, but there is always something.  If you have ever held a conversation with me in real life, you know I talk a mile and minute, and my blog is pretty much the same.

But Back to Blogging in General… 

I feel like a crabby, old fashioned blogger even saying that blogging has changed so much.  When I first started blogging, it was just that.  Blogging.

There was no Instagrams, twitters and people did not make facebooks for their page.  You just wrote stuff and hoped someone subscribed through email.  After you posted an entry, you moved on with life.

Now blogging is more competitive and social media is far more advance.  You don’t write something and move on.  You write something, link it to all of your social media, multiple times, promote, promote, promote and maybe promote some more.  By the time you finished pushing your master piece of writing, it’s time to promote the next one.  It’s no wonder blogging can get so damn tiresome.  The least time-consuming portion of blogging is writing the post. 

Hey you!!!  Have you subscribed to my internet? 

But here we are.  I often reflect on blogging.  Many bloggers who started much later than I did make a full-time income from blogging.  They do the ten (thousand) step process of blogging, great content, and whatever else it takes.

siteheader1.jpg

The first LOLZ header is 2010.

That is their choice but blogging full time has never been mine.

Is it great to make money from something you work hard at? Of course.  The majority of the money I now make through blogging pays for the 10,000 races I run each year with it…but that is really it. I don’t make a full-time income and I don’t spend hours on content creation and sponsored posts.

An early header

Part of the reason begins with I won’t promote products I don’t personally stand behind. I can truly say I’ve used and enjoyed every product I’ve promoted on this blog.  Throughout the last 7 years, I’ve probably turned down close to 5,000 dollars worth of sponsored posts (whether money or product) because it doesn’t reflect my life or interests.

If you blog full time, you make more money by taking more sponsored posts.  You can’t “love” everything so you cannot like and use every single product you promote.  It’s a fine balance of blogging about product, life, and whatever else.  Too many sponsored posts and you are a fraud.  Too few sponsored posts and you eat ramen for dinner.  That sort of balance doesn’t interest me.

Plus, to be honest I don’t sit still well.  I don’t like sitting at home, I’m usually boring, and I don’t like to people, socialize, and network every moment of my life.  I just like to run, eat at diners and talk about various topics that pop into my mind (like reflecting upon blogging).

So How Has Blogging Changed Since 2010?

First, as I just said I’m not a professional. Many bloggers, social media experts, and internet users know far more about “how blogging has changed”.  I can tell you what I’ve noticed in the last several years.

From about 2010-2014 blogging thrived.  Page views were high.  There were months in 2013 and 2014, I would get 50,000 page views on LOLZ blog.  I wasn’t even a popular, superstar blogger, so I can’t imagine what others got!  But people were visiting blogs!  Blogging was booming!  There wasn’t a lot of excess social media.  Just people and blogs.

I remember when I first started my twitter, I kicked my feet.  Everyone had a twitter, but I didn’t find it appealing or necessary.  I was finishing my junior year of college, barely staying afloat in Spanish class and dreaming of math equations and proofs.  Then I started a twitter, and it’s still probably my favorite platform.  You can follow people and things and not be creepy.  There isn’t anything you really can’t follow on twitter at this point.

In 2014-2015, Instagram was starting to evolve and pop up.  More people had instagrams, but the captions were short.  I would Instagram everything.  My coffee, flowers, dirt, a pineapple sitting on top of a cup.  Then I would filter the $hit out of it pretending I was a professional photographer.

Now you can find Instagram captions that are longer than some blog posts.  As Instagram continued to grow, blogging began to fall.  My blog that once got 50,000 monthly views now gets about 20,000.  

In the recent few years, several of my favorite bloggers shut down their blogs.  Also, blogs that used to post weekly went to 1-2 times per month. Few people blog but more people used Instagram!  My reader has dwindled for several posts daily to 1-2 per day that consistently update.

Now in 2017,  the Instagram trend is still growing.  With the addition of Instagram stories, which I occasionally use, it’s more fun and more live. As Instagram grows, I do find myself attempting to take more quality posts (all from my trusty phone).  Personally, I like to follow friends and look at pretty photos.  So I’m trying to mirror that.  Will I ever take out a loan and buy some fancy camera.  No…

Just after college graduation header

So where does that leave the mother hen old lady LOLZ blog?

Will I continue to social media in year of blogging?  Probably.

Will I continue to use all of my social media?  Once again, probably.

Will I get a Strava?  No, I can’t even remember to charge my Garmin.

I will continue blogging about life, running or whatever else happens.  I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, next week or next month (LOLZ to think about next year).

I don’t commit to anything.  I don’t know what curves life will throw.  I can’t guarantee, I won’t completely stop blogging for whatever reason but I have zero intentions today…not sorry I love talking too much. 

Questions for you:

What is your favorite social media platform?

If you blog, how long have you been blogging for?

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A Recap of 2016 LOLZ Blogging

A Recap of 2016 LOLZ Blogging

I’ve been blogging since 2011, and it’s changed a lot.  When I first started blogging, I used to pretty much be able to tell you every running blogger out there.  That’s because there weren’t that many.
Thinking out loud, now with the internet explosion, anyone, and everyone blogs.  That’s not a bad thing, but many blogs get lost in the sea.  Plus with so many different social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, it’s easy to just microblog from those too.

So in 2016 what went on with LOLZ blogging?

Believe it or not, I blogged less in 2016. For the most part, I stopped blogging about my personal life. Maybe I grew up, or maybe I finally realized no one cared what my favorite color was.

I kept my blog focused on running, more gear related posts and of course diners.  Occasionally, I blogged about life too, but it was mostly running related.  It’s not that I don’t have a personal life, but due to my husband’s job, there are a lot of things I can’t share on the internet.  My life does not revolve around running but my running blog pretty much does…

Plus many of my friends don’t run and don’t use a lot of social media, it’s not appropriate for me to post about them via the blog and to be honest, half the time my life isn’t terribly thrilling.  I run, work and come home.

So what happened in the world of LOLZ blogging this year?

Since it’s my primary focus, I recapped running here.

In Actual Blogging:

Number of posts: 276

Most Viewed Posts: 
Asics FuzeX
Losing Toenails: A Runners Rite of Passage? (From 2015)
Dropping 9 minutes from my Half Marathon Time

Top Referrers (Where did people come from?)

Random places on the internet
Twitter
Facebook

blogging referers

Looking Back:

Honestly, I love blogging, and I enjoy it.  I put a lot of time and effort into blogging, and I plan to still keep doing it.  It’s not my full-time job, and I doubt it will ever be.  Due to the nature of social media and how much self-promotion you must do now, it’s very hard for anyone to make a full-time income from blogging.

I promote products that I like and have used.  Personally,  I cannot imagine promoting brands and companies I cannot foster relationships with. Would I like to make more money blogging?  Sure but who wouldn’t…There is a lot of balance with that.

I would be lying if I didn’t say several brands lost my respect as a customer based on bloggers they chose to represent them.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your mindset, there are hundreds if not thousands of bloggers now.  The internet is saturated with bloggers vying to work with brands.

But that is the nature of blogging!  At the end of the day, I’m fortunate enough to shut my computer down and not worry about followers, blogging or the internet because it’s not my full-time job.  I respect people who want to do that, but that is not the lifestyle or career for me.

In 2016, my blog posts, stats, and views went down, and I’m fine with that. In 2017, I predict as a platform blogging will continue to decrease.



blogging stats

Many bloggers will go the route of microblogging on social media platforms versus lengthy blog posts.  I won’t be excluded and I’ll be both amazed and proud of myself if I reach 276 blog posts next year too.

I always find it fascinating to see where people are from so here are some of the top countries!

blogging info

Questions for you:
How has your blog evolved and changed this year?  
What is your favorite social media platform? 

The Differences of Non-runners and Runners

It may be hard to remember, but there are people in the world that don’t run!  The life of Runners and non-runners is drastically different.  I can remember a time I didn’t run and can relate to all of these.  Thinking out loud, every person, athlete or not, has a routine.

The Differences of Non-runners and Runners

How do runners and non-runners stack up against each other? 

Budget

Non-runners: Non-runners save money for a lot of different things: happy hour, the newest technology or even a great wardrobe.  Whatever if it is, they put away money to do the enjoyable “fun things”.

Runners: We save money for new shoes, new workout clothing and of course races.  Don’t forget the newest GPS watch.  The smaller the watch, the more money it is.  Without these things we can’t do what we love!  Right?

Beauty Routine:

Non-runners: Non-runners know how to make their features look great.  They spend an hour preparing for the day and look flawless every single day. They have time to hit every last detail, all while looking through the best wrinkle cream reviews to boot. Each outfit is perfect.

Runners: Runners have mastered the ability to shower and put on makeup within 10 minutes.  Did they just workout on the treadmill or are those fashionable leggings? The world may never know…Good thing fashion has evolved into a lot more comfort.

Eating on the Go and Snacking:

Non-Runners: Non-runners can go hours without eating.  Forget to pack a snack? That’s fine, they just hit up the vending machine and are ready to go. 
 Life doesn’t revolve around snacking and being rungry all of the time.  If a meeting goes late, oh well!

Runners: Our non-running friends know us as the vending machine to go.  We have more snacks in our bags than a mini-mall.  Are you craving an apple or a chocolate bar?  We have both.  Runners are never without snacks because you never know when the stomach will start talking.  When Runger hits, you have approximately 5 minutes to get us to the nearest supply of food, or you will see rage that you have never seen before.

Weekends

Non-Runners:  After the work week is over, non-runners often catch up with friends by going out for happy hour or dinner. They have a few drinks, dance and let loose.  Most of Saturday and Sunday is spent relaxing and catching up on other hobbies.

Runners: Runners look forward to the weekend too! It’s either race weekend or long run weekend!  Either way, we are waking up earlier than a weekday.  We spend Friday night cuddled up in PJs, watching a movie and in bed sleeping before 9.

Weekend Brunches:

Non-Runners: Non-runners wake up anywhere between 8 and noon.  After a well-rested sleep, they meet friends at a neighborhood breakfast spot. It doesn’t matter if it’s crowded because nonrunners are just waking up and going out to eat.  They aren’t starving yet.  Of course, our non-running friends look gorgeous and spent a few extra minutes getting ready for brunch. Heck, they might even fill up on mimosas beforehand! No wonder they are so happy waiting hours for a table!

Runners: On the weekend, runners wake up well before the weekday. We get our long runs in and before we know it, it’s time to eat, and we are just trying to make it there on time.  There is nothing more cringeworthy than waiting for brunch after a long run.  A messy bun, somewhat fashionable workout clothing and an old pair of sneakers are our signature brunch look.

Question for you: What is something you do that your “non-running” friends might not understand? 

 

Hillsborough Star Diner

Last month, I was able to go the Hillsborough Star Diner with the famous Jon L and Jenna.  Unfortunately they came into town the day after I found out I had both a fractured foot and food poisoning.  Since they were only in town for a couple of days, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see them.  My husband happened to come home early, so he tagged along too.

Me Jon Jenna

Atmosphere: A 
The Hillsborough Star Diner has a unique vibe to it.  It’s not an old metal building but more of a rustic restaurant.

hillsborough star diner

Photo via Hillsborough Star Diner website

The inside is a typical diner.  There are plenty of tables, booths and a bar.  Each of the tables is spread out, and you don’t feel as if you’re sitting on top of anyone.  We sat in a large booth in the back tucked away.

Service: A
The waitress was one of the quirkiest of any diner I’ve been too.  She was hilarious, and it was evident she loved her job.  She was great and made recommendations, funny jokes and refilled everything we needed.  She made a joking comment about my coffee saying “yeah someone orders coffee with whipped cream once every 5 years”.

Coffee: A
The coffee was perfect.  I have no complaints, and it was the local Lacas brew from Pennsauken.  The waitress refilled it often, and it tasted fresh.  I have no complaints.

Hillsborough Star Diner coffee

Food: A
There were a lot of items on the menu, and they pretty much served anything a diner normally does.  Since I had just gotten food poisoning, I decided to stick with something I knew and ordered a Greek salad.  The salad itself was delicious.  There was plenty of salad dressing, and the piece of salmon was bigger than the salad. I could have used a few more greens, but it was fine.

Hillsborough Star Diner salmon

Cost: $
For my coffee and salad, the cost was $14. The price was good for the quality and size of the food.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back? 
I liked the Hillsborough Star Diner and have no complaints; I would go back. It was inexpensive, the quality was great and the waitress was one of the best of any restaurant.

Summary: 
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Cost: $5-15
Overall: A

Question for you:
What’s the best waitress you’ve ever had at a restaurant?

Summer Loving

It’s been a while since I’ve done a traditional “Thinking Out Loud” style post.

With the start of summer, I thought I would include some of my favorite things and thoughts.  These are all products I’ve been using frequently and all things I like.  I’m not being paid to promote anything although if there is a season 5, I would love to be on Orange is the New Black.

So what am I loving?

Cardio: 

Lately, I’ve loved the pool.  I can probably guarantee, once I’m running again I won’t go too often but right now it’s been okay and kept my cardio up.

swimming

Entertainment:

Orange is the New Black: Last Tuesday, Lindsey interviewed me for her Podcast: “Can I have Another”?  She mentioned I should get into the Netflix show: Orange is the New Black. Before last week, I had heard of the show before but hadn’t seen an episode…then I watched one episode last Tuesday.  Followed by season 1, season 2 and season 3.  Now I’m just starting season 4 so you can see how that went.  Being sick and unable to run has its advantages (I guess).

Podcasts: Obviously I like Can I have Another by Lindsey.  She’s interviewed a bunch of interesting and fun people.  I like listening while getting ready for work on Friday mornings.  Even if you aren’t a runner, you’ll enjoy the conversation.  I feel like I’m just hanging out (or evesdropping) on someone’s conversation.

Food:

I’ve basically been eating anything with Calcium and Vitamin D: As I mentioned earlier this week, both my Calcium and Vitamin D levels came back in the normal range.  That being said, I’m still attempting to get as much as possible without overdosing or getting a kidney stone.  Luckily for smoothies, milk and cheese.

Sunwarrior sent me a few samples of their latest meal replacement shake powders to try. While I’m not running, 160 calories is a nice snack.  The new Illumin8 mix has a blend of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.  It’s not a full meal, but it’s a good pick me up in the afternoon.  I’ve been blending them with ice, milk, cocoa powder and sweetener.  For one of them, I added leftover beets which surprisingly tasted great and made me feel healthier.

Sunwarrior Protein Illumin8

After trying the samples they sent, I think I’m going to go purchase more.  I like the taste, and extra protein is not a bad thing for me right now.

 

Workout Related:

I’m doing all of my walking around in the Asics Quantum 360.  I nicknamed the shoe, the tank because there is so much support and cushion.  I ran in it for a while but because it’s the most cushioned shoe I’ve ever owned in the forefront, it got the promotion of moving from my running shoe to my only shoe.  asics quantum

This weekend I plan to run in the newest Asics Cumulus.  I love my Saucony shoes, but I need a shoe with more cushion in the forefront right now.  Who knows, the newest Hoka Clifton 3s are wider and actually fit my feet..so they might make a cameo on LOLZ blog.

So that’s what I’ve been up to and enjoying the last few days. 

Questions for you:

What have you been enjoying lately?

What is your favorite recipe? 

Bloggers Guilt

As bloggers, we often find guilt of not creating content daily.  Or when we have an off day, it shows through the blog.  Tone can often be misjudged through text and sometimes posts don’t come out as anticipated.

Bloggers Guilt

For running blogs like myself, my blog is a chronicle of my own running, training, and personal life.  It’s filled with the highs of PRs and the lows of bad races or injuries.

But it’s not a full picture of my life.  A blog is not the complete picture of anyone’s life, and it shouldn’t be.

This past month I’ve been in a funk.  It’s included a lot of things such as my personal life, running and blogging.  Thinking out loud, it started around the time of my hamstring injury and continued into a downward spiral from there.  

I found myself asking:

What will I blog about when I’m injured?

What if I skip blogging for weeks?

What if my blog becomes boring and whiny because I’m injured yet again?

Why does it even matter?  No one wakes up thinking: “the first thing I want to do is read blogs.”  If you do, that’s a whole different topic of unhealthy behavior.

Unlike elite athletes, celebrities or professional bloggers, I’m not making a living from LOLZ blog.  My life and means to survive do not come from blogging.  Like any blogger I find myself fearing the lack of content, being “too boring” or criticism for how I’ve chosen to live life.  Just like the comparison trap, it’s something self-inflicted.

My times aren’t going to win the US anything.

My reviews of shoes or diners won’t make or break a company.

And my blog probably isn’t going to provide you any medical advice.

My blog is just a chronicle of my life, the good, the bad and the ugly (like when I thought bangs were a good idea or dyed my hair blonde).

I chose to put my blog and life online, at the end of the day I’m just an ordinary, average person.  Putting anything online opens you up for feedback both positive and negative.

So what’s the point of this post?

It’s a reminder to myself, to anyone that at the end of the day, blogging is blogging.  Your life does not revolve around a single hobby, whether it’s blogging, running or something else.  It’s important not put all of your eggs in one basket.  Comparing yourself to anyone (including yourself) isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Questions for you:
Bloggers: Do you ever feel bloggers guilt?
What is the last thing you felt guilty about?

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?  

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