2018 in Blogging

2018 in Blogging

Around the end of the year, I like to reflect on both running and blogging. Typically around this time, I wonder if I want to continue my blog. Is it worth it to renew the $300 platform?

As it’s trended the last few years, blogging is dying.  Podcasts, Instagram, and other social media is taking over.  No one has “time” to read anymore. Not that I need anyone to read my blog.  I don’t have a coaching service or a product to sell, it’s just my life. The way the blog stays afloat is by the occasional sponsored posts as well as the sidebar ads.  To keep the blog running, it does cost about $300 a year.

blogging stats 2018

As you can see from the chart, my blog grew when I started in mid-2010, and then around 2015 began to fade.  Most people refer to quick and easy information now, and Instagram seems to be the platform of choice for race recaps, training, and whatever else. I don’t foresee myself writing long captions on instagram anytime soon.  A picture tells 1000 words, and I like to keep it that way.

I’m not sad or being negative; those are just the facts of blogging and my personal blog.  For me, the days of 1000 views regularly are gone, and that is okay.

So back to Blogging in 2018:

Most viewed posts

Tips for Morning Workouts

Blogging is Dying.

New York City Marathon Race Recap (3:07.15)

I Have a Fall Goal Race

Phoenix Half Marathon (1:22.03)

20 Running Podcasts to Keep You Entertained

What Will Happen in 2019?

I renewed my blog, so, for now, I’ll continue it.  I can’t say for 100% certainty that I see myself blogging through the entire year. I’ve said that every year, but truthfully I never know. Right now, I plan to continue blogging.  Maybe less, or maybe trying to find more sponsored posts to keep it worthwhile to keep going. I’ve thought about just going to newsletter format as well. A newsletter is cheaper and I could still have a record of race recaps and information, I could refer too. still something I’m very much contemplating but it would be a big change and a lot of work to get there.

In short 2018 didn’t change a lot. Blogging is dying. Instagram and podcasts are growing So I guess I don’t know what will happen in 2019.  Something completely new and different could happen in social media too.

Questions for you:

Bloggers and Readers, I would love to hear your thoughts on blogging, social media, and changes.

Why You Don’t See Many Negative Sponsored Posts

Why You Don’t See Many Negative Sponsored Posts

I’ll address the white elephant in the blogging room:

Sponsored posts.

As a blogger, there are many different ways to make money depending on your situation and wants.  This doesn’t include services like coaching or selling a product.  A few of those include sponsored posts, ads, campaigns, Instagram campaigns, affiliate links, and commissioned sales.  There are also Patreon pages which you can directly support or donate to podcasts or bloggers.

Why You Don't See Many Negative Sponsored Posts

The two I personally use are ads (you can usually see on the sidebar) and sponsored posts from brands.  The rest of the options aren’t for me, but they do work well for others. To add, if you start blogging to make money, you probably should choose a different career path.  I know plenty of people that make a full-time income from blogging (not selling a product, just themselves as a brand), but unless you are internet famous, you probably won’t make a ton.  Or you’ll work with a lot of brands all of the time.

Being internet famous is like having a lot of monopoly money and when everyone logs off or stops playing…what do you have?  A bunch of likes that don’t exist when you shut off social media…

Through blogging, I make enough money to cover the fees associated with having your own domain and to cover most of my race entries for the year.

Moving forward though, someone asked the other day why there aren’t many “negative sponsored posts.”

It would involve the following scenario:

Blogger and Company Talk and Agree on some sort of terms of an agreement (product, payment, whatever)

The company sends blogger thing to review (and maybe even pays the blogger for review)

Blogger bashes the company and says it’s garbage.

Therefore the company just sent and possibly paid someone for bad publicity.

The company might lose many potential customers because everything on the internet is true.  Even if that product might work for someone else.

I’ll tell you first, why you don’t see it here.

I only accept brands I’ve used for long periods of time and already like.  Some brands I’ve worked with before include Vital Proteins, Vitamin Shoppe, Runners World, even brands like Scott, and places for the military to get their hair cut like Great Clips.

I don’t try and set myself up for failure with a brand, or something I know won’t work. 

So now you must think, wow Hollie just has favorable luck with everything?

That is not the case!  There have been plenty of higher paying (for me anyway) campaigns I have turned down. While my blog does not garner the attention of $1000+ influencer “deals,” I do know, of course, they exist!

I look at every single offer that is given to me.  I’m not going to ever choose something I already know I won’t like…that’s dumb.  (just like I’m not going to go to a diner with 0 stars but 1000 yelp reviews…LOL).

Here are a Few Recent Examples of Things I Turned Down that Would Have Been Negative:

On several occasions, I’ve gotten requests to post already written blog posts.  Prewritten content isn’t a big deal, and I’ve been happy to post prewritten content if it makes sense.  I turned this particular post down because of the material.

The content was about losing weight.  While many people do need to lose weight and exercise, that isn’t that focus on my blog.  My blog isn’t about losing weight, and that isn’t the tone I want to set.  The company was going to pay me $200 to just copy and paste into my blog.  It was a lot but for me, wasn’t worth it.

A few months ago, I turned down a campaign for the promotion of an app having to do with babies.  I have no children, but because many of the readers do, the brand thought it was a good fit.  It didn’t make sense, and it makes more sense for someone who has children to blog about that!

The last and best example is recently I was sent free activewear as well as a monthly subscription to a brand (about $50 per month).  On the website, the workout and lounge gear looked nice and something I could use.

When I received the activewear, it wasn’t the style wasn’t for me. I emailed the brand my honest feedback and exactly what I planned to blog.

I actually didn’t workout in or wear the apparel at all.  In the email, I also said I wouldn’t be posting photos of me wearing the attire because I wasn’t my style nor the style I wanted to portray.  I was more than happy to send the clothing (with tags) back, and they could use it for someone who is a better fit for the style.  Instead of taking a few photos and making a few extra dollars, I sent the clothing back.  I don’t have any regrets about that.

My point is, that is why you won’t see too many negative sponsored posts.  For me personally, I don’t accept every single campaign.  I won’t promote anything I don’t like or use.  Do I have to absolutely LOVE something like a free haircut to the military on certain days?  No, but do I think it’s an awesome gesture, of course, I do.

I am fortunate that I don’t rely on blogging as my full-time income or job.  From this post, it sounds like I’m given dozens of opportunities every day, but I can assure you I don’t! Unless you are one of the top bloggers, blogging is not a luxurious job that generates an easy and high paying income.  I blog because I like to share my story and things I’ve learned along the way.   It’s nice to make money and cover the costs of blogging, so it remains a freeish hobby, but I cannot see myself pursuing trying to “grow” and making it fulltime.  (I appreciate those who have worked hard to do so though!)

I don’t have a question today, but more of opinions on topics like influencers sponsored posts and making money as a blogger. 

 

Blogging is Dying.

Blogging is Dying.

Blogging is Dying.

There I said it.

I’ve actually had a document on my computer titled: “blogging is dying” for a couple of months now.  Past that, I haven’t continued the post.  Maybe I was waiting for the best moment to post it, maybe not.  Either way, blogging is slowly dying.

I’ve contemplated writing this post for a while now, but I don’t know where to begin.  It’s probably a mismatched bunch of words that don’t flow together but when is that anything new?

So here we go:

I started blogging in 2010 when blogging was beginning to grow.  Everyone was blogging!

It was the new thing to do instead of writing a Facebook update that was 10 pages long.  I think in 2010, I followed close to 20 blogs.  I was captivated by their writing, and it ranged from runners, to triathletes, to even a chocolate blog (you know).

I followed people with similar interests.  Most people were posting at least a few times a week, if not more.  To be honest, I think most blogs posted daily, which I did too!

2012-2014, continued the trend and blogging continued to grow.  As the years went by, new social media was created.

There were so many new platforms:

Instagram: To take photos of everything you did!

Twitter: To write short burbs and updates about life!

Facebook pages: When one facebook isn’t enough, get two!

Pinterest and more (to save blogs, recipes, and whatever else you’ll read or follow up on!

I remember kicking my feet at getting twitter…ugh another thing, I couldn’t keep up.  I ultimately got most of them, except for Pinterest, because I just pin cat memes.

Then 2013 was a big year for me.  I moved four times: New York to Virginia to Texas to New Jersey.  I ran my first marathon, and moved in with a boyfriend at the time who put a ring on it (yes Tim).  It was the year where I had no idea what I wanted to do.  I lived off of savings, made some money blogging, and just job searched like any early 20 year old.

In 2014, life settled down a little bit (not much, but enough).  My husband and I got engaged, settled in NJ, and I finally set a half marathon PR.  2014 for blogging was probably my “biggest year”.

What does biggest in blogging even mean?

Most page views?  Most engagement?  Most money made?

All three!

blog stats

Then in 2014, a lot of things on the internet changed.  Social media channels began to grow, and many runners turned to Instagram to document and give running advice.  I tried to go that route with long blog post captions but quickly realized I liked Instagram for taking photos of pretty places.  It isn’t my personal preference to write a novel caption about how inspired I was to get out there.

I run and come home.  I don’t have an inspiring story about every run, I just get out there and do it.  I’m just a woman in the Garden State trying to make it look cool. I don’t like to post half-naked photos and don’t like to give advice about running.  I don’t want my account to be running only and don’t want to create a separate Instagram account for my personal life either.

My Instagram is my life whether I have a blog or not.  It isn’t limited to running, because my life isn’t limited to running.  Maybe I’ll never have a niche, but that is fine.  My blog talks more about my training and life, while Instagram is just photos and short captions.  A couple of weeks ago, my husband I celebrated our anniversary. Not running, but part of my life.

View this post on Instagram

Celebrating our 3 year anniversary.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

Anyway, with the growth of Instagram and other social media, came the slow fall of blogging.

It isn’t just blogging that has fallen, and many running publications have ceased too.  For instance, Competitor magazine only exists online.  Runners World was acquired by Hearst.

This post isn’t too bash anything or anyone.  It’s just to briefly explain what I’ve observed in the last several years.  It’s not the only view, and for some their blog has gotten bigger, which is great!

In summary, social media such as Instagram has grown.  People would prefer free advice versus paying, and to be honest, people don’t want or have the time and interest to read blogs anymore.

So How do You Support Blogs?

The easiest way to support any blogger or let them know you’re reading is occasionally comment (and no I’m not begging for comments).  Commenting or sharing posts/articles are two big ways to support bloggers without doing much.

Many people have told me in person, “love your blog” and to be honest I’m shocked they read.  Sure, right now I average about 500 page views a day, but I rarely get more than 1-2 comments per post, so I have no clue who reads, if anyone!  No one is a mind reader.  I don’t expect anyone to read, but it’s always nice to hear from people who are.

I will still blog because I like too.  I’ve stopped blogging every day, but I’ll continue to blog.  This post is not meant to be negative, or put anyone down.  It’s just the trend i’ve noticed throughout several years of blogging (which of course different people notice different things).

Questions for you:

How long have you been blogging? Is blogging dying? Discuss?

(Running) Podcasts I’m Loving

(Running) Podcasts I’m Loving

After going through entirely too much Amazon Prime, Lifetime movies, and Netflix, I’ve turned to the next form of entertainment.  For the most part, I listen to podcasts while running on the treadmill, or as background noise while I’m at home.   I don’t like to sit (or run) in silence.

Here are a few Podcasts I’ve Been Enjoying Recently:

Lindsey Hein’s: I’ll Have Another

I’ve followed Lindsey for years on Twitter (maybe one of the first people I ever followed?).  She has had everyone from bloggers, to professional runners (like Desi).  Lindsey’s podcast is very casual, and you feel as though you’re hanging out with friends, going for a run, or going to a diner…

C Tolle Run:

C Tolle Run is an Olympian herself, and every single podcast has me glued to my headphones absorbing everything.  She usually interviews professional runners and elites.  One of my favorite podcasts she has done was actually with the high school superstar: Drew Hunter.

Man Bun Run:

I actually had the honor of meeting Riley at the Runners World Festival last year.  He is one of the most down to earth and casual bloggers I’ve met.  Man Bun Run flows well, and it’s very relaxed.  I always pick up some interesting information from each episode.  There are multiple podcasts, and it’s just not professional and well-known runners.  You can learn something from anyone, and many podcasts I went in not knowing who the interviewee was!

Ali on the Run:

Ali on the Run is the newest podcast for me so far, and I haven’t listened to a lot of episodes, I have found each one intriguing. I like how calm and her casual interview style.  I appreciate how candid and open Ali is with all her guests.  She wasn’t afraid to ask Nick Symmonds last week if he went on a date with Paris Hilton.

BibRave Podcast:

The BibRave Podcast talks mostly about running and racing.  I haven’t listened to all (I believe there are about 75 episodes), but it has the most extensive variety dedicated to running.  Instead of covering elite or interviewees lives it focuses on topics nutrition for new shoes and gear, runners, and best races.

Finally, I asked twitter if they had any Podcasts and here are a few more.  I haven’t listened yet so I can’t speak from personal experience!

 

  • I’ve been enjoying Human Race on my run recently, but sadly it seems to have ended!

Alicia M Eno ‏Recommends:

So here are just a few.  Podcasts have picked up in the last few years so there seems to always be more coming out.  Which is great!

Question for you: Running related or not, do you have any Podcasts you are like right now? 

 

Facebook Ads: Are they Worth it?

Are facebook adverts worth it?

facebook like

On facebook you can pay to have posts and ads inserted into more mini feeds.  You can manipulate the algorithm for more views to your facebook and blog post.  It isn’t a secret either.  Pages that pay to boost posts are labeled as “sponsored” on the mini feed.  On a boosted post, More people will see the post and it will drive awareness to your website and facebook page…but is it worth it? 

I help a personal friend with her coaching page.  She is a great coach and someone I would highly recommend in the South Jersey area.  We have played around with facebook adverts to boost her page and client base.  It has been working rather well.  She has signed more local runners and the page boosts have helped her build her community.  I couldn’t be happier for her!  It made me think, how would a facebook advert post for fueledbyLOLZ blog fare?

Unlike coaching, I’m not really offering anything.  I’m not offering coaching or a product.  I’m not offering the secrets to stay injury free, healthy or breaking news.  By reading my blog you are not eligible to win millions of things.   I just assume people put up with my poor grammar and spelling because they can find a LOL in there somewhere.

FueledbyLOLZ offers morning amusement with your coffee.   That is what I offer and probably will continue to offer. 

I decided to do an experiment and spend a whopping 20 dollars to boost one of my recent posts.  For my experiment, I chose a post many people responded well with without the boost.

Running on the Cheap: 

Basically a post about why Running doesn’t have to be expensive.

There are many cost options but I chose the 20.00 option.  It costed $20.00 for an extra 1000-8,000 people to view the facebook post (not my blog post but the facebook post (with the link attached) to be inserted into the minifeed).

You can pay more for more views.

Just because you boost your post, it doesn’t guarantee will see it or that they will like your page at all.

It doesn’t guarantee they will click the link to your post.  The only thing a paid boost guarantees is that the post will be inserted into at least 1,000 mini feeds (it could even be the same persons mini feed 1,000 times).

For instance (spoiler alert) when I payed 20.00 for a fueledbyLOLZ advert, about 6,000 people viewed the post.  The post itself, received 176 clicks to LOLZ blog.

facebook ad

The post was inserted into 6,082 feeds and I received 172 clicks to my actual blog.  It cost 11 cents for each feed it was inserted in.

The real question: Was it worth it?

First I must ask myself this: What did spending $20 to promote my post get me? It got me 176 extra clicks to my blog.  What did those 176 extra page views get me?  Possibly new readers or possibly readers who like the page but never read the post…it got me 176 clicks.

What did I learn?

I thought a paid boost would receive more interest or “boost” than 176 clicks (I’m not upset or sad, I just thought it would).

Overall Thoughts: 

I can’t tell you if it’s worth it to pay to grow your blog.

If you are offering a product or service, it makes sense to use facebook to advertise.

If you want to grow your blog and following then it makes sense.  Is it the best way to grow your following?  No probably not but if you gave enough money, you could probably gain hundreds of facebook likes and new readers

At the end of the day, having more or less facebook likes, twitter followers, blog readers doesn’t change who you are or your blog.  I might occasionally use facebook adverts again.  I don’t think it’s something I would use frequently but I can see how it would help bloggers trying to “make it big” and make money (FYI: I’m not sure what making it big means in blogging….).  If your main goal is to grow your blog and profit, then perhaps this is a route to experiment with.  For me I have no interest in blogging for a living and main source of income.  I can barely write a coherent 600 word post.

In cliff notes: You’ll probably get a few extra clicks from boosting your posts.  For blogging purposes, it doesn’t make as much sense to use.  If you are offering a product, service or something of value than it makes more sense to use.   For me I’ll spend 20 dollars on a bunch of coffee next time.

Questions for you:

Do you use facebook adverts? 

Facebook users: What do you think about facebook ads?

 

%d bloggers like this: