Blogging Tutorial

by HEAB on October 13, 2010

Hello my almond butter loving friends. If you're new to HEAB, you may like to subscribe to my RSS feed or receive my posts via email. Thanks for reading!

I often get emails from new food bloggers inquiring how I got started, and I always like to offer my advice as I was a new blogger not too long ago myself. :)

1) Find your own little niche. There are so many blogs out there, and you need to make yours somehow stand apart from the others. Ask yourself what do you enjoy about the blogs you read yourself – what keeps you going back to them again and again? How can you make your blog special?

2) Comment comment comment – that’s how most people found me in the beginning. I always comment on other blogs logged in as Heather Eats Almond Butter. People see my blog name and click on it. I still try and read/comment when I can, as that is what got me some traffic in the beginning. Plus, I still learn so much from other blogs!

3) Try and keep your posts short. More pictures/fewer words. No one wants to sit down to a novel. Also, try and post at least once a day. If you don’t post regularly, your readers are going to lose interest.

4) Photos – good pictures are key.  I try and take all of mine with as much natural light as possible.  Also, you don’t need a fancy camera to take great photos.  Click here for some helpful tips on using a point and shoot camera, and you can click here for an informative post from Zesty Cook on how to take good photos.

5) Personally, I would recommend using WordPress over Blogger. It’s not as user friendly, but much more professional looking, and I know many bloggers that have switched from Blogger to WordPress but rarely the other way around. I would also recommend taking “WordPress” out of your URL if you want people to take your blog seriously. I blogged for free at WordPress for almost two years and simply paid the small annual fee to have “WordPress” taken out of my URL. However, I recently switched to self-hosting so that I could have more freedom with my homepage content. Once you get in your blogging groove and get some good posts up, think about getting a more professional design/layout done for your blog. Cory from Zesty Blog Consulting designed mine. He does great work and is reasonably priced.

My blog is not my job.  For me, it’s just a hobby, but if your dream is to get out of that cubicle and blog full time, then I highly recommend this business e-course.  After reading it, you’ll be filled with ideas on how to grow your blog. I certainly was.

Hope this helps!

{ 170 comments }

Jessica @ How Sweet October 13, 2010 at 9:56 am

Being unique, different, entertaining, and most of all – CONFIDENT IN YOUR WRITING! – those are the things that keep me going back to my favorite blogs!

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday October 13, 2010 at 9:57 am

I come back to blogs that are well written.

Clare @ Fitting It All In October 13, 2010 at 9:58 am

Thanks so much for the new bloggie tips!! I sometimes struggle between trying to THINK about what people will want to read vs. writing about what’s on my mind and what I WANT to write about!

I go to my favorite blogs for fun new recipe ideas and also the ones that bring up discussions and topics that are particularly relevant. Issues we all deal with but that don’t often get talked about!

S @ extremebalance.net/blog October 13, 2010 at 10:01 am

It’s funny—I can’t put my finger on exactly why I’d read one blog over another when they’re not VERY different…. so I guess I’d say personality? And I’ve stopped reading blogs when it didn’t feel like there was give-and-take between the blogger and the commenters, too.

Good looking, good writing, good photos, and that little extra something works for me!

Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) October 13, 2010 at 10:01 am

awesome tips heather!!! i am going to do my best to put them to use. :)

rachael@peace, kale, and yoga October 13, 2010 at 10:03 am

Thanks for the great tips!

I go back to blogs that shine with the blogger’s energy:)

Just our of curiosity- what type of camera do you use?

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 11:22 am

Rachael,
I use a Canon PowerShot A630: http://www.amazon.com/Canon-PowerShot-Digital-Camera-Optical/dp/B000HAOVC6/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1286986832&sr=1-3. It was a Christmas gift from my family 4 years ago, and I love it! :)

Natalia - a side of simple October 13, 2010 at 10:04 am

Thanks, Heather, for the links and great tips! I like to frequent blogs that are more personal and aren’t afraid of humor. With you, though, I was sold right away because of your unique food combinations ;)

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 11:24 am

Natalia,
Thanks – good to know someone appreciates my food combos…are you reading this CD?!? ;)

Alex @ Spoonful of Sugar Free October 13, 2010 at 10:06 am

Thanks so much for the tips! I’ve been looking for ways to get more readers :)

I go back to blogs who give good, healthy recipes, that are not too long of posts, and are personal in their writings and humorous!

Laura October 13, 2010 at 10:07 am

Let me think…I like reading blogs of people who have similar interests/tastes as me and who make living more NORMALIZED. I have trouble reading blogs of people who eat only RAW foods or are really restrictive because A. it’s triggering and B. it’s just not feasible!!

Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin October 13, 2010 at 10:08 am

Creative recipe/meal ideas keeps me going back to some of my favorite blogs, as well as feeling like the bloggers are “friends” because they show their true self through their blogs.

Lauren at KeepItSweet October 13, 2010 at 10:08 am

so helpful, thank you! i continue to go back to the blogs I like because if the blogger personality and good content

meg October 13, 2010 at 10:08 am

I love blogs where you can learn a little about the person’s life. It is great to hear their stories on how they lost weight or got healthy, but it is even more fun to hear about how they live their life! Thanks for sharing yours :)

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 11:25 am

Meg,
You’re welcome – thanks for reading about it. :)

Lisa October 13, 2010 at 10:12 am

I re-visit blogs that are telling me stories! I like reading about/seeing food/recipes, but if there’s no story to go along with it, I don’t usually keep going back. I don’t watch TV very often, so I “miss out” on reality tv and sitcoms—but I find it so interesting to follow the stories of real people and families. I used to only read blogs of people I knew (I already cared about their story), but now I have a list of blogs I go back to everyday to see what happens next!

Rachel @ Suburban Yogini October 13, 2010 at 10:12 am

As a yoga teacher who works for themselves rather than out of a big studio, working life can be a little lonely sometimes and the yoga and healthy living blog community are a real source of inspiration and support – and that’s why I keep going back!

Clarkie October 13, 2010 at 10:16 am

My favorite blogs are the ones that feel personal. I love humor and when they tell stories. When I click on a new blog post, I already have a personality of the blog that I am going to in my head, and every post is just a continuation of that story.

Cindy October 13, 2010 at 10:16 am

gosh good question. Personal FLAIR and interest…something fresh always grabs my attention.

HUMOR. and good pics. Plus I TOTALLY agree with you on good lighting.
I struggle with that because M-F I am at work and not home till dark and my evening shots RARELY come out nice. drives me insane!

Thanks to you AND your brother for the give away!!!

Sara October 13, 2010 at 10:18 am

What gets me to keep reading is good story telling. Honestly, if I’m getting sucked in to a blog, it’s because the posts are written in an interesting way.

eatmovelove October 13, 2010 at 10:19 am

You really are one of the most giving people aren’t you? :)

Well – I think blogging can just be to blog, to write, at times…it doesn’t have to be about how many people are going to like you or read you, or how to increase “traffic”…I think it should be about what YOU, the blogger, wants it to be I guess…

And if someone doesnt’ want to read it, they don’t have to!!

With that said, I like blogs that don’t just detail what someone did that day, what class they attended, every last morsel eaten…I don’t know, I like to know the person though or find something new I guess!

Carolyn @ texaseats October 13, 2010 at 10:20 am

I seem to follow blogs that have a personality that I can connect with.

Matt October 13, 2010 at 10:20 am

I think the key to having a great blog is to write about YOU. Following what other people are writing is not interesting. I like to read blogs with unique personalities who aren’t afraid to post about themselves.

Janetha G - meals & moves October 13, 2010 at 10:20 am

Great tips, HEABS! I actually just started commenting with my blog title in the name. Although, I am fairly certain I am the only Janetha in blog land ;) I think it is important to talk to your readers as you talk to your friends in real life. Don’t try to be something you are not.

Have a great day!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 11:29 am

J. G. @ Meals and Moves ;) ,
I could not agree more!

Heather @ Side of Sneakers October 13, 2010 at 10:21 am

Great tips! The things that keep me coming back to blogs are good pictures & a sense of humor that shines through ;)

Jess @ atasteofconfidence October 13, 2010 at 10:22 am

I like to read blogs where there is info about the person’s life! – for example, I love hearing about heablet!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 11:29 am

Thanks Jess…I like talking about her. :)

Holly @ couchpotatoathlete October 13, 2010 at 10:23 am

At first, I go to certain blogs for the beautiful photographs or great recipes. But, after a while I get to “know” the person and I enjoy reading about their life!

lindsay October 13, 2010 at 10:25 am

This could not be a better timing! Just tried to download windows live write and needed some more spice to help with blogging. THanks friend!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 11:30 am

Lindsay,
Welcome. :)

Amalia October 13, 2010 at 10:27 am

Blogs get me first thanks to the design. I love beautiful and simple, minimalist designs that really let the pictures shine through. I love HUGE pictures in blogs. Then the writing style. Even if the blog is about somethign boring like, golf, if you have a witty, funy anf fresh writing style, I’ll go back to read your blog. And finally the content. I love blogs abour food (specially sweet!) and about nutrition.
I love yor blog Heather ;)

-Amalia
http://buttersweetmelody.wordpress.com

Chelsea @ Strawberry Sweat October 13, 2010 at 10:28 am

I read blogs where I can identify with the blogger–if your blog comes off as too perfect, I am less likely to read it. I want to see the person/personality behind the blogging!

Christin L. October 13, 2010 at 10:33 am

I have quite a few blogs in my reader, but when I’m short on time there are only a handful I follow regularly (4-5), and yours is definitely one of those! What brings me back to the ones I love the most are either divine storytelling (a la Mama Pea), hilarity and similarities to my own life (Meals and Moves and Green Dog Wine), or deliciously different recipes, like yours. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve built up an internet friendship of sorts with a few of you, so I feel more connected and want to continue to follow you and your life! I am STILL working on starting my own blog. I have my name registered (purplebirdblog.wordpress.com) but I’ve been so busy with massage therapy school and working full time that I haven’t had the chance to develop it yet. Hopefully soon though! :)

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 11:31 am

Christin,
Yes, soon I hope – I already love the name. Thanks so much for reading – I’m honored I make your daily cut. :)

Michelle @ Chasing Ambulances October 13, 2010 at 10:34 am

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, but I love the wordier blogs! I’m a sucker for good writing, blogs that get a bit more personal & deep, and someone that I have things in common with.

Maggie @ Say Yes to Salad October 13, 2010 at 10:44 am

Positivity usually keeps me coming back! Also good pictures and not being too wordy. I tend to skim or unsubscribe when people get too chatty ;)

Lindsey Ferguson October 13, 2010 at 10:47 am

What an informative post!

What keeps me coming back to my favorite blogs is both a theme and variety. I know what to expect, but there is always variety in the posts.

Tara Brewster October 13, 2010 at 10:53 am

The blogs I follow are almost exclusively a.) comedy blogs or b.) blogs about food and/or baking or c.) blogs about someone’s life or stories about things that they have done or things that have happened to them. There are a few others sprinkled in there, but that makes up the majority.

Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) October 13, 2010 at 10:54 am

You are always so helpful! I think blogging is very visual so I like pretty pictures! I also will go to blogs with not so great pictures if the content is good and informative.

Jessica F October 13, 2010 at 10:56 am

I come back to blogs that have personality. If you make me laugh or connect with you some way, I will keep coming back. Sharing a part of who you are in addition to the focus of your blog is key for me.

Heather October 13, 2010 at 10:56 am

An authentic voice always — always — keeps me coming back to a blog.

alyssa October 13, 2010 at 11:01 am

Honestly, for me it is the pictures and creative concoctions :-)

Kristin October 13, 2010 at 11:03 am

Personality, useful information and interesting recipes. Photos are great, and definitely help illustrate the interesting recipe. Something about seeing it makes the connection for me. Thank you for sharing your secrets!!!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 11:34 am

Kristin,
You’re welcome. :)

Helen Andrews Gabay October 13, 2010 at 11:10 am

Oh my god that’s Scotty!! (It’s Helen from B.A.). KRAZY!! I’m supposed to get a blog going on behalf of the attorney I work for, so I’ll have to check his book out!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 11:33 am

Helen!!!
Hi! So good to hear from you, and yes, look at Scott…all grown up. ;) Hope you, your hubby, and pup are doing well, and definitely check out Google Juice. I think it could really help you.

Liz October 13, 2010 at 11:14 am

I prefer the blogs that include information about your own life. The ones that simply post recipes get boring after awhile.

I equate reading blogs to reading a good book that never ends!

Paige @ Running Around Normal October 13, 2010 at 11:17 am

What a cool book concept!
I love blogs that are short, to the point, and only have one or two subjects to talk about. I dislike going to blogs that are all over the place and I get overwhelmed just by reading the title!

Liz @ Tip Top Shape October 13, 2010 at 11:27 am

I like ones that have recipes. I love to cook so I always get excited when I click on one of my favorite blogs and they have a recipe posted.

caronae October 13, 2010 at 11:29 am

I remember when I started my blog I emailed you and asked questions/advice! You sent me such a sweet email back and it made me so happy. My blog has definitely grown since its inception nine months ago but it is still relatively small, and I kind of like that. In the next few months I am aiming to switch to my own URL (I bought Caronae.com a few weeks ago — how cool is it that my URL gets to just be my first name?!?!) and get a personalized layout. I’m excited for those changes.

The blogs I keep coming back to have one thing in common: personality. It is not just “this is what I ate today” or “here is this incredible unique recipe I came up with”. It’s about stories and relationships and details. :)

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

Caronae,
So cool…I wonder who owns “Heather.com”? ;) Best of luck with your future blogging – can’t believe it’s already been 9 months since you started. Time really does fly. Enjoy the rest of your day. :)

Andrea (@ Puppy Dog Tales) October 13, 2010 at 11:35 am

Thanks Heather. Great post. Your brother’s book sounds awesome…hope I win. I honestly go back to the same blogs because I like to see how real people live, function, cook, eat, etc. It’s the real-ness that keeps me coming back (if that makes any sense). To see that I’m not alone in my cooking, exercising and healthy living endevours and that everyone has struggles at times.

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Andrea,
Makes total sense. :)

Katie October 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

This is a great post Heather! I especially agree with the more photos/less words. I struggle with that sometimes myself. I like to talk/type! ;)

Even though I agree with all these things, what really gets me going back is the bloggers personality. If someone makes me laugh out loud while reading, I’m a reader for good.

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Katie,
I’ve always thought your blog posts were perfect in length, and I love how you always included a little comic or something to make me smile…oh, and singed pumpkins are always a nice touch. ;)

SillyGooseMama October 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

Is Google Juice as good for you as green juice?

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm

SillyGooseMama,
Haha – YES! :)

Couch Potato Critic October 13, 2010 at 11:46 am

I keep going back to my favorite blogs because their writers are funny, interesting, and have something meaningful to say. Most of the blogs I follow are book blogs — they keep me hooked up to my word IV tube, and help keep my reading juices flowing. They help me find things I know I’ll love, and convince me to try things I wasn’t certain of loving. And even if I don’t end up loving it, it gives me something to write about in MY blog, and discuss with others.

Mary @ Bites and Bliss October 13, 2010 at 11:54 am

I agree with these, of course. Especially the keeping posts short. Personally, I don’t like to read through a lot of words and I know most bloggers don’t either. There’s just not a lot of time to stop and read a whole blog while there’s sooo many other blogs to visit if you’re still in the “comment comment comment” part. Somedays it’s hard not to type a lot, but for the most part pictures should be the main event.

Stephen Siu October 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I come back to blogs that pay attention to their readers and produce tailored content and personalized responses to comments

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Stephen,
I agree. What’s the point of putting yourself out there and trying to help others through your blog if you don’t interact with them? My blog would not have gotten very far without any readers, and I feel like I’ve become good friends with so many of them – definitely the most rewarding aspect of blogging in my opinion.

Jennifer@ keepitsimplefoods October 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I’d love a copy of Google Juice! Fabulous! I tend to gravitate toward blogs where I feel confident in the knowledge of the blogger and find the content interesting and creative. Great photography helps too.

Ashlee (AshandLewPlus2) October 13, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I keep going back to my favorite blogs for inspiration! I love reading about food and other people’s workout routines because they inspire to keep up with my exercise routine and to get creative with my food!

Namaste Gurl October 13, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Thank you so much for the tips– Definitely needed as I need more blog readers…..

I’m thinking of getting an advisor as well as maybe switching to word press as I really don’t like the results of blogger. I need help with my design layout, as well. MAN, there’s so many things I need to do/ help with on my blog. Hopefully it’ll get there as I feel like I’m talking to air most of the time :)

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Namaste,
My brother advises. :) You should contact him – he’s awesome, and I’m not just saying that because we’re related. I do think he could really help you!

polly October 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I go back to blogs that I actually feel like I’m friends with the author. :D

That is the hugest things for me. I just love the bloggers I read and guess I figure why read about somebody i don’t actually care about? hehe That sounds harsh but you know what I mean. I am a smoosh heart girl and life moves so fast, we might as well invest in real friendships, and some of those can be via the internet and the occasional hug in REAL life. XO

I love your blog, Heather peach, because you are real. You are loving and you see life as a gift, not a job. Your body has gone through all sorts of crazy things in life and you love and care for it because it’s a gift, too. You have a compassionate heart, interesting taste buds (hehe) and a joy that just draws people in. I love ya, girl!

Enjoy this beautiful day. Just had lunch with my cousin and did a lil’ shopping for my girl. She needed pajama bottoms for her youth retreat!! So fun to shop for pj’s!

XOXO

p.s. yup, I am one of the silly gooses who actually switched from wordpress to blogger. :P

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Polly,
Your new blog looks awesome – so peachy and clean. I lurve it. Your new designer did a great job – and it doesn’t have that “blogspot” look at all, you know what I mean? You know what else I love about Yoga is Yummy? The fact that you always relate a few words of wisdom to your readers in each post. I mean you’ll have a beautiful photo of some raspberries with almond butter and then relate some story about how you interacted with the berry picking lady and how you just loved her and that makes me love you and want to love others. You always lift me up…in every single post!

natalie (the sweets life) October 13, 2010 at 12:46 pm

great post! i return to blogs with fantastic content. vague much? :) but the definition of that varies!

Anne October 13, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I return to my favorite blogs b/c they are current, well-written, entertaining and I am always learning something new. They have a balance of images and copy and are well-designed and easy to navigate.

Jennifer@ knackfornutrition October 13, 2010 at 1:03 pm

The inspiration that I get from blogs always keeps me coming back!

R @ Learning As I Chop October 13, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Thanks for the tutorial. Definitely helpful!

Alayna @ Thyme Bombe October 13, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Hey, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, this seems like a good opportunity to chime in! I really like blogs with great writing. I don’t like posts that are really picture heavy (like 20+ pics just for breakfast, and all of them being different angles of the same thing) as much as ones that are insightful. I really like personal musings too, not all posts have to be completely on topic. Health is about more than food and exercise; I want to learn about social, family, emotional, and relationship health too!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Alayna,
Thanks for reading my blog and for your comment – good input. :)

emily (a nutritionist eats) October 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I like seeing different things on the blog (not just the same oatmeal every day) and beautiful pictures don’t hurt!

Diana (Soap & Chocolate) October 13, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I think 2 things bring me back to my favorite blogs: 1) photography (though not a deal breaker if it’s a weak point–Lord knows mine isn’t what it could be) and 2) similar taste in food. If I know a particular blogger consistently comes up with things that sound delicious to me and therefore are likely made of things I already have in the kitchen, I’ll be back. (Hi, HEAB.)

I’m so impressed by Google Juice!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Hi Diana. :)

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) October 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm

“Try and keep your posts short. More pictures/fewer words. No one wants to sit down to a novel.”–
God I have learned that. I am constantly trying to tell myself to SHUT UP. Pare myself down. 2 pics, not 5. 1 paragraph not 4. I think to myself, would Heather ever write this? No you wouldnt I answer myself most times. So I try to constantly pare down b/c you’re right, no one wants a novel. And also, novels take a long time for the author (me) to write and no one wants them anyway.

Fabulous tips and when I started my blog about 18 mos ago I had been reading yours and you had already achieved quite a foothold and I remember you told me all this, in a very personalized email, way back then. I will never forget how gracious you were. It’s like I couldnt believe the amt of TIME you took to write me with me, a virtual stranger…and now, I we have this friendship. And we both spend inordinate amounts of time in our days writing to strangers and helping them…paying it forward. Or paying it back. however you wanna look at it :)

On other matters..your brother and my husband should talk! Scott does internet marketing, social media with an emphasis on SEO and he is a virtual company and somehow I think that at least they could be good contacts..I will tell Scott to look at this post and see if it’s worth exchanging emails :)

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Averie,
Yes, I remember you contacting me before you started your blog…so funny to think about that now, and trust you have more than paid me back in kindness with all of your baby advice. Seriously, I look around at all the stuff I’ve accumulated for the HEABlet and a lot of it was influenced by you as well as all that stuff I DIDN’T need to buy. So, thank you for that. :) And yes, I think our Scotts should talk!

Megan (Braise The Roof) October 13, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Your brother’s book sounds so informative! I’ll definitely buy a copy if I don’t win!

I go back to blogs usually for one of three reasons: pleasant layout, good voice and style and content!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Megan,
Scott’s book is great. Thanks so much for thinking about purchasing a copy!

Abigail @ Goodtothinkandeat October 13, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Gosh Heather this post is so timely! I’ve been reading your blog for nearly a year and I find it so inspiring. I was trying to muster the courage to write to you to ask for advice but this post answered most of my questions.

I am having trouble finding exactly what my niche is, but since I just started the blog too weeks ago I am not too worried. It seems like most food bloggers are a bit older than I am (22) or at least in a different life stage. I just graduated from college and am an avid foodie, but occasionally I’ll have pizza for breakfast or gelato for lunch or oatbran for dinner ;) . I think what makes my blog different is that the tone is young and somewhat irreverent. We’ll see how it turns out.

Thanks for this incredibly helpful post!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Abigail,
You’re welcome. Give yourself time. When I started blogging, I had no idea what my niche would be either. Gosh, I thought I would run out of things to say after about a week…but I guess I didn’t. ;) Best of luck to you. Thanks for reading and never hesitate to email me with your questions!

Christina @ ilovefetacheese October 13, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I feels wrong to comment now that you told us we should comment to get viewers, teehee. But I’m still doin it! I totally agree with everything you said!!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Christina,
Commenting works – it really does, BUT I should have included that the actual comment makes a difference to both the blogger receiving it and other readers. For instance, your comments are always thoughtful, and I can tell you actually read the post. When I get a “Looks delish!”, I wonder if the commenter even read my post. I only try and leave comments when I have something interesting to say, and so please know I appreciate your sweet (and thorough) comments. :)

Christina October 13, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Haha I totally know what you mean. I try to do the same – only leave comments on things I REALLY want to say. Otherwise I just feel repetitive of what other comments have said (Your blog and several others get 50+ comments a day!) PS. I can’t wait for HEABlet to arrive!! :)

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Christina,
Me neither…less than 5 weeks to go! :)

Abby October 13, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Heather – do you know whether it’s possible (and easy) to transfer your entire blog (with all the material there) over from blogger to wordpress? I also worry about the possibility that readers (not that I have many!) won’t follow me over.

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Abby,
I never started out with blogger, but I do know several that have made the switch including http://www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com and http://www.fitnessista.com. So, they may be of more help to you. I think if you let your readers know well ahead of time that you’ll be migrating to a different blog server that you won’t lose any. Just give them a heads up and then make sure to do a post on blogger with your new wordpress address.

Scott McIntosh October 13, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Hey Abby, I just worked with Lindsay who blogs at http://LifeLivedFully.com. We converted her blog over from Blogger to Wordpress and it was a pretty straightforward process. All the content transferred well and anyone who went to the Blogger version was redirected to the new WordPress blog automatically. Email me when you are ready to make the switch and I can walk you through everything.

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan October 13, 2010 at 1:58 pm

The blogs I like best are either very funny, very heartfelt, or very easy-to-read (i.e. short, “easily digestible” [pun intended] posts). :) What I DON’T like are judgmental, holier-than-thou, or pity-party bloggers.

Thanks for this giveaway! How cool that your brother wrote that book!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Thanks Amber – it is pretty cool, no? Very proud of my little bro. :)

Stefanie October 13, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Great post and information. :) I look for nice pictures and personality in blogs. They have to be interesting or I won’t come back. I like blogs that make me feel like the blogger is telling me the story in person and there personality is in the writting. Thank you.

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather October 13, 2010 at 2:32 pm

It really varies from blog to blog but definitely creative recipes and funny content or new workouts keeps me coming back.

NoHandle October 13, 2010 at 2:32 pm

My way of starting to blog was to do guest spots on an established blog, done by someone I knew well. In fact I have listed her blog with this post. Starting this way lets you get into the rhythm of writing regularly without the pressure to do so. There was also a sanity check by the blog owner that what I had written was worthy of publication. That works for me. As time went on, I wrote more, got my confidence, and now am just about ready to “leave the nest.” Reading the other blog entries also helped develop a style that fit the topic.

As has been mentioned, pictures really help. So does making the post a short story, with begining, middle and end, and a bit of a plot. Story telling is a powerful way to exchange ideas. But the important part is to write and keep writing. Write enough and there might be a book or two in you.

Best of luck to all, NoHandle.

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm

NoHandle,
Thanks for the input – very good advice. :)

Lauren October 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Definitely writing style, recipes, and product suggestions.

Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm

I definitely agree with all of these. I also like blogs that share more of who they are as a person too. I come back to those much more than ones that just post food/workouts/ect with no personal touches.

Nic at The Fit Writer October 13, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Humour, great writing, a strong voice and – of course – a topic I’m interested in :)

A Teenage Gourmet October 13, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Thank you for this post, Heather! I’ll come back to it when I make the leap to a self-hosted blog. :)

I forgot to tell you that I love the pepita seed butter! “Pumpkin Pie in a jar” is the perfect description for it. Thank you for you gift. :)

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Teenage Gourmet,
So glad you are enjoying the pepita butter – the perfect condiment for fall. :) Sounds like you made it home safe and sound. Hope you’re not too overwhelmed making your college decision – you’ve seen so many good schools!

A Teenage Gourmet October 13, 2010 at 6:09 pm

In all honesty, I could not be more overwhelmed! Vanderbilt is my favorite school of the five that I visited, and I’m currently pondering Early (binding!) Decision, due November 1st. =O

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Sami,
Sorry you’re so overwhelmed, but I’m really excited that Vandy is your #1 choice right now…however, no pressure. You’ll make the right decision, and everything will work out as it should. You’re in my thoughts and please keep me posted. :)

Cat October 13, 2010 at 3:46 pm

The eloquent visual evoking wording about a recipe or dish that certain writers just *nail* that makes me want to RUN…not WALK to the store to get the ingredients to try a new recipe. That is the #1 reason that keeps me coming back! Any new foods or nutrition tips are just the virtual icing on the cake for me!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Cat…like coconut flour? ;)

Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy October 13, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I think being able to see a glimpse of another person’s life is what makes me keep going back to read blogs. It’s very similar to how I like to look into people’s houses at night when driving past — haha. That makes me sound creepy, but I just want to see how other people are living! :)

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Stacie,
I do the same thing. CD calls me nosey, but I call it curiosity. ;)

Lori October 13, 2010 at 4:00 pm

I’m not sucking up, but I must say your blog is the only one out of 6 blogs I subscribe to that I look forward to reading. I will click on your new post on my blackberrry wherever I happen to be as I LOVE recipes healthy cooking, learning about balanced eating and the controversial fat intake topic. I also related to some of your personal struggles and it helped me feel not so alone and freakish thinking I am the only one that wigs out over what I’m going to eat in a day and don’t like to be thrown off kilter being invited to restaurants I know feeding into the SAD. I’m not the only one running off my calories, wondering when I’ll be pregnant. What keeps people coming back is relating to you the blogger.
I have lost interest in some bloggers that don’t show their true selves , don’t have empathy and are all ego. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Lori,
Thanks so much for your input…makes me want to keep being nothing but myself in posts, and sometimes, I need to be reminded of that. :)

Carbzilla October 13, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I follow bloggers I can relate to. We usually have to have a few things in common to get me to stick around.

Margie October 13, 2010 at 4:50 pm

The blogs that I frequently visit are not “cookie cutter” blogs. A lot of blogs on the web today are built from the same mold. It doesn’t always have to be about what you ate at every single meal and what race you are training for. The bloggers that express a unique take on life are the ones that I pay the most attention to.

Erika @ Food, Fitness, & Fun October 13, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Thanks for the tips! I take all of my pictures outside too – it just looks so much nicer. (Plus, I hate the “yellow” look of my pictures when I take them inside.) :-)

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Erika,
Yes, the yellow look…hate it too!

Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple October 13, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Those are some really great tips. I can’t put my finger on what has me going back to read certain blogs over and over again. It varies.

For some, it’s the food photos and the personality that shine (HEAB, KERF, Eat Live Run).

For some, it’s the recipes and the funny writing (Eats Well With Others for both, Foods for Long Life for the recipes and photos).

For some, it’s the thought-provoking topics, weekly roundups, and interesting other tidbits (Cheap Healthy Good).

Finding your niche is key. And decide your goal too. My niche is Frugal, Healthy, and Simple food. For the working mom. But it’s also not a flashy blog with great writing where I make money. My content tends to be more along the lines of recipes or “how to throw a few things together into a meal”, with the occasional post on how to save money on produce, or how to budget for a month. I *like* garnering discussion, but it’s not my day job. In fact, my blog is *mostly* an on-line cookbook of my successes. And it certainly shows.

I’m not much of a writer (I am an engineer, after all). Not that I *can’t* write, I just don’t take the time to. So when people write really well? I do enjoy it.

Cat October 13, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Heather….YES to the coconut flour! ;) Love ya!!!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Cat,
Hehe, I thought so. Miss you!!!

Stacie October 13, 2010 at 5:21 pm

What keeps me coming back are recipes and pictures and variety. I agree too many words is a turn off in most cases. I also get bored when posts start all looking the same.

Annie@stronghealthyfit October 13, 2010 at 5:50 pm

I keep reading blogs because I love being connected to so many other women who care about health! They inspire me every day.

Victoria (District Chocoholic) October 13, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Love this “If you look closely, you can see our back patio in almost every shot. Our house has horrible lighting at night, and so all of my dinner pictures usually look pretty blah.”

My kitchen gets no natural light, and I’m always hauling stuff out to the balcony to be photographed. My neighbors probably think I’m crazy.

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Victoria,
Hehe – glad to know I’m not the only one. The other day, I was outside photographing my breakfast only to realize that I wasn’t wearing any pants – just a T-shirt and underwear, and our house backs up to some condos. I’m pretty sure all the tenants living there thought I was already crazy with all the food photos, but now I’m probably knowns as the “naked crazy lady”. ;)

Ana October 13, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Nice tips Heather! I have my blog since 2005, but it is mainly to talk a bit about me and to post my recipes, it is nice to find out more details about the blogworld. I have been wanting to improve my blog for a while, I just need to find time to do that – something that makes me sad as I love my blog and I feel that since I started posting less I did lose many of my friends/readers.
I really need to get back into my blogging groove!
Ana

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Ana,
I can’t imagine being a mom, going to school, and trying to blog, but I know you can make it work. If nothing else, you could have Matheus guest post for you – boy has GREAT taste in food! ;)

Megan @ Healthy Hoggin' October 13, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Thanks for the tips! I often prefer blogs that feature healthy food and personal musings on their daily lives… and I usually keep coming back to the ones I can personally relate to! And posting once a day is a must!

Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble) October 13, 2010 at 7:05 pm

I love intereresting, different posts- and fabulous recipes! That keeps me going back every time :)

xo
Kris

*Andrea* October 13, 2010 at 7:50 pm

i come back to blogs that share my tastes in food and offer fun recipes that are easy to recreate! i also love the new products i would never try without hearing from a blogger and the comments! such as tj’s peanut flour, maranatha/justin’s nut butters and chobani! they’re now some of my favorites

Mallory October 13, 2010 at 8:01 pm

you know i pride myself on being different and having a i dont give a f*ck attitude most in part due to the confidence i got from recovering from anoreixa.

however, the reason, drive and desire FOR my blog is to get the word out, and try and depict to others how i did it. as much as i hate reading other ED recovery blogs, i will never be able to reach them if they dont know who i am. it also hurts that most arent willing to accept what i think about eating disorders and the pity potty and those who do dont comment but email or text my cell phone.

i cant force the change of the ED treatment mantra but i can be the change i wish to seek so i guess i shoudl start commenting on recovery blogs again?

PS- I MADE HOMEMADE COCONUT BUTTER AFTER WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!! omg i used my ninja(mini food processor) and in like 10 mins i had WARM coconut butter, a lot more runny than the store bought stuff for 3$!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Mallory,
Personally, I’ve always loved your attitude. There need to be more honest people like you out there, and so I say love those girls in any way that you can, and hopefully they will start to listen.

Glad the coconut butter worked out for you – CD and I are obsessed with the chocolate version! :)

Thetreadmilldiaries October 13, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Very helpful advice for those of us that are newer to blogging. I know that I’ve been working to ‘figure’ things out this year – so I appreciate any help I can get. Thanks! :)

Jill October 13, 2010 at 8:17 pm

I come back to your blog often because I love the content, you make me feel like I personally know you. Also it is very informative and well put together!

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Thanks Jill – that means a lot as I don’t always feel so well put together these days. My brain is so scattered – the other day I wore my yoga pants backward as well as inside out ALL DAY! So embarrassing.

Nicole October 13, 2010 at 8:20 pm

I come back to blogs that I can relate to, that are well written, that don’t seem fake, and whose author I can trust. I feel like I was a dedicated reader to so.many.blogs, commenting and emailing and showing my support on my own blog. But then it got to a point where I wasnt getting any support back…it was like I was just another name being looked over. But with you and Polly, for instance, I never felt that way. You made me feel like my comment was just as important as anyone else’s and that made me feel appreciated. When I only have someone comment on my blog solely because I commented on theirs, (meaning they don’t read mine unless I read theirs) or when I go out of my way to answer their questions, get involved in deep conversations in the comment section, or link back to something awesome they wrote in their blog and get nothing in return, I lose interest. That’s why I only read maybe 4 or 5 blogs now.
I’m not as good as others with keeping up with posting (I’ve gotten REALLY lazy lately) but I don’t comment for the readership as much as for the friendship. That’s more important to me than anything else.

On that note, LOVE YA!! XOXO

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Nicole – such good input, and yes, I feel like I’ve really developed some close friendships with girls through commenting and reading their blogs. I especially love it when they send me random emails just to say “hi” and check up on me…definitely more important than focusing on getting more readership. :)

Dana @ my little celebration October 13, 2010 at 8:38 pm

I always go back to blogs that have lots of personality and delicious recipes.

Rhoni October 13, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Oooooo, this is a fun one! It’s probably the recipes, if I’m honest. But there is something about peeking in on someone’s daily routine that satisfies my nosiness gene. I got it from my mother. :) Love you HEAB.

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Thanks Rhoni. CD always jokes that I’m nosey, but I tell him, nope, just curious. :)

lindsay October 13, 2010 at 9:14 pm

aww heather, i am so proud of you..not only have you been successful in changing your life on so many levels but your blog is helping so many people..all becasue you used your struggles to help others!
and btw, SCott is a freakin’ tech genius–he’s helping me right now and I owe him. HUGE.
no need to reply,preggers. just wanted you to know i was so proud.
xoxo

HEAB October 13, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Lindsay,
Love you. :)

Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama October 13, 2010 at 10:15 pm

The blogs I read are exclusively food blogs and there are two things that keep me coming back to a blog. Equally important for me are unique and accessible recipes and a strong voice. I like stories, but not too over-the-top.

Paige October 13, 2010 at 10:22 pm

I started perusing blogs as a way to find recipes and ideas for my transition to a vegetarian lifestyle– I keep going back to the blogs that I follow because I find the people interesting and sweet :)

alexi @ the5rubalcabas.blogspot October 13, 2010 at 10:34 pm

LOVE this post… thanks for the info!! :)

Lola October 13, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Hi girly wirly!! It’s me Lola, lol ;-) I still read your blog and it’s been waaaaaaaaay too long since I’ve commented, so, here I am :) I think about you often and the little heablet too. I have been meaning to ask, (since I am the queen of gluten free:) a while back you said you are trying to eat more GF now and I’m wondering why you decided to do this? It always interests me to hear peoples answers to this question when they are not *required* to make the change, but do so willingly. (If it’s too personal you can facebook me about it too).
BTW- when the heck is your due date? Oh and yes, I would love to check out your brothers book, how smart is he! Ok love you chicka <3

HEAB October 14, 2010 at 7:47 am

Hi Lola, Always good to hear from you! :) I’ve read research stating that if women avoid gluten and other possible food allergens during their third trimester, then their babies will be less likely to have food allergies, but I’ve also read that the fetus should be exposed to gluten, dairy, eggs, PB, etc. There is so much conflicting info out there, and so I’m just trying to eat more of a variety of foods and not go overboard on typical food allergens. :)

Brandi B October 13, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I go back to blogs to find recipe ideas and comfort in knowing I am not alone in my crazy search for health!

Deliciously Suite October 13, 2010 at 11:23 pm

This honestly could not have come at a better time. I just started my blog this week and I’m completely in the newbie stages of things. I discovered blogs through reading comments on other blogs (that how I found you!). I go back to blogs for the recipes. I love seeing someone put their own twist on a classic.

Esther October 14, 2010 at 4:29 am

I love websites that are entertaining to read and not just a diary of what the blogger did all day. I want to take something away after reading an entry. recipes and outlook on food, events people are also interesing when written in a fun creative way.

Emily Elizabeth October 14, 2010 at 6:58 am

I enjoy the interaction, learning new things (tips/tricks), and the inspiration for new recipes. And of course the blogger’s personality and lifestyle (or stage they are in life) is important. I don’t enjoy reading blogs written by college students for example since I’m not at that point in my life anymore.

Thank you so much Heather for posting this! You have actually been a huge factor in my decision to start a blog recently (I bought the domain name on Tuesday – so now I have to do it!). This is extremely helpful!

HEAB October 14, 2010 at 8:00 am

Emily,
You’re welcome. So excited about your blog – please let me know when it’s up and running.

Kathleen October 14, 2010 at 8:08 am

For me I think it always comes down to the content. I love seeing the food pics, but I also like getting an inside look into the blogger’s life. I love hearing about the HEABlet, the plans you and CD have about raising her, WHY you eat the way you do etc. I don’t comment often, Heather, but I love HEAB and read it each and every day. You are such an inspiration!

HEAB October 14, 2010 at 8:09 am

Kathleen,
Thanks so much – what a nice comment to receive first thing this morning. Hope you have a good day! :)

Lindsey October 14, 2010 at 8:09 am

Thanks Heather! I love reading your blog!

Felicia (a taste of health with balance) October 14, 2010 at 8:41 am

Thanks for all the tips heather! i think photos are the best part of blogs, and i love when bloggers put so much thought and effort into capturing a great photo so we can enjoy it, it really makes a difference!

Devon (Fast Foodie) October 14, 2010 at 9:04 am

A unique perspective that is well written. I have to be engaged by the story that a blogger is telling and I think that really comes down to the blogger’s voice. So when I say well written I really mean that the blogger’s voice is consistent, interesting and clear.

Lauren @WWoB October 14, 2010 at 9:08 am

I keep coming back to my favorite blogs (which most certainly includes HEAB) primarily because of open conversation. I love that despite the fact that you have a very successful blog, you still take the time to write back to comments! (On a comment discussion on my blog about the article and big blogs, like 5 other women cited you as a blogger who gets tons of comments and traffic but still responds to the respondable-comments!)
And the secondary reason is the content. If its awesome, Im comin back!

HEAB October 14, 2010 at 11:30 am

Lauren,
Yeah, I never understood why some bloggers don’t interact more with their readers. I mean what’s the point of blogging and putting your story out there to help others if you don’t reach out to them, especially after they took the time to read your post and leave a comment or write an email. Thanks for letting me know you appreciate that. :)

Corey @ The Runner's Cookie October 14, 2010 at 9:18 am

I keep coming back to blogs that I can relate to and inspire me!

Gwen October 14, 2010 at 10:03 am

I love an engaging writing style, a bit of whit and personal anecdotes. I love getting glimpses into other people’s lives (it’s fascinating!). I love blogs that challenge the way we think, seek to inspire positive change in the world and encourage dialogue between readers. The most successful blogs seem to build a virtual community where people know and care about those that they have never met!

Laura October 14, 2010 at 10:55 am

The recipes/food creations… I always go back to the blogs that have the good ones! Oh yeah, and ones that use a lot of nut butter ; )

HEAB October 14, 2010 at 11:31 am

Laura,
Yeah, the nut butter posts always seem to draw people in. ;)

Krista (kristastes) October 14, 2010 at 11:08 am

I like (foodie) blogs with recipes that are not too complicated – where I can pick up 1 or 2 random ingredients on my way home from work and be all set to make a feast :)

charlotte October 14, 2010 at 11:12 am

Aiieee… every time I read stuff like this I realize that I’ve been doing everything wrong. SO MUCH room for improvement. I think my biggest mistake was not looking at my blog as a business from the very beginning. When I first started it was just for myself and a few friends and then it kind of exploded. I was not prepared AT ALL to manage all the business aspects and so I do think my progress has stagnated because of it.

Anyhow – thank you for the tips! And for the info from your brother – he is one smart cookie! Must run in the fam:)

HEAB October 14, 2010 at 11:29 am

Charlotte,
I feel the same way – I never expected my blog to be read by more than a handful of people. I’m so grateful for the readers and traffic I get, but it has definitely become a small business, and it’s really hard to keep up with the latest techie stuff out there. My brother is always giving me tips, but most days I really just want to write about my life and not worry about the numbers so much.

Katrina October 14, 2010 at 11:37 am

To me, it all boils down to the genuine-ness (is that a word????? ) of the blogger. Some people NEVER comment back, read the comments, or take the time to visit and comment on blogs of their most loyal commenters/followers.They get snatched from my reader when I can tell they don’t care about anything but the numbers and stats.

Grace @ Front Porch Yoga October 14, 2010 at 11:53 am

After reading blogs for a while (mostly blogs where I share similar interests with the writer), I start to get to “know” the blogger, and I guess I check back in frequently to see how they’re doing…kinda like having lunch with a friend. It’s a virtual community that I can learn and grow from…so much inspiration!

Neena October 14, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I love the pictures, personal stories, and of course the food! Which is what I love about your blog!

amber@SAHM's musings October 14, 2010 at 12:32 pm

What keeps me coming back? Fun pictures, humor, tips, recipes.

Lea @ Healthy Coconut October 14, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Thanks for the tips Heather. I love your blog and I always learn something new from it. I also love your readers and their suggestions and informative responses.

I read blogs that have contents that interest me, healthy food, fashion, travel, photography… BUT what keeps me coming back is when I have interaction the blogger and they have a genuine response, then the blog I read just seems more personal.

I feel that I have that with you Heather. You are accessible and seem so down to earth and always helpful. I think you would be great being a motivational speaker or life coach of some sort :)

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List August 3, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Wonderful tips, Heather!! I have GOT to get work on my pictures (among other things), but I do ENJOY blogging so much. Thank you!!

Megan @ Odds and Hens March 5, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Hello Heather! Thank you for these wonderful tips. I’m in the early part of my blogging journey, learning as much about myself as the power of social internet. Your blog is inline with my style and I look forward to spending more time perusing and learning. I am also a big fan of nut butters and like to travel with my own supply if going to a nut butter dessert… :) Thank you again and if you have time and are willing, I would love your feedback about my blog set up, delivery and content – definitely working on fewer words and more pictures but a happy medium always. Have a great rest of you week. M

Karli October 5, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Awesome pointers! Thank you!

HEAB October 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Karlie,
Welcome – hope they help!

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