I’ve been “blogging” for over 2 years now, which is really crazy, as the old saying goes…time flies when you’re having fun!
But what I really can’t believe is just how much perspective a person can gain in just one year.
Only 12 months ago, right around this time, I was still floundering around posting rather random articles on whatever health topic came into my crazy little Nutritionist’s head.
Just take a peek back at my old stuff and you’ll see what I mean… TOTALLY RANDOM!
I’ve spared you the worst-of-the-worst because some of my oldest stuff has since been deleted. Those posts were just plain embarrassing!
Old school bloggers may say that’s messing with the history of your blog, but I say it’s really about saving face. I mean, I’m trying to get people to take me seriously about my craft!
But why did I start health blogging in the first place, you ask?
Writing has always been an interest of mine, and it came pretty naturally whenever I would sit down to write my signature Health Action Plans (HAP’s) for nutrition clients, Women’s Health Programs or talks for corporate & community groups.
After building my nutrition & wellness business, and working as a Nutritional Counselor for many years, I missed being at home with my little ones. My Mom had always worked outside the home and I longed to be THAT stay-at-home Mom (SAHM).
But then that old feeling crept up again.
I needed to be doing something that fulfilled my deep passion for promoting women’s health education and besides, all of the hormonally-challenged women of the world needed me dammit!
Solution? Be a health blogger and a WAHM – a work-at-home Mom!
But what the kale did that actually mean? Unlike many bloggers who start a blog as a hobby, I had every intention to turn it into a business and to MAKE MONEY from it!
Turns out I wouldn’t get a clue about any of it until I had already been “blogging” for over a year. Please recall above note about randomness. Sigh.
Here’s a post I wrote this time last year: 20 Lessons Learned in One Year of Blogging.
WARNING! It’s not entirely serious – unlike this VERY serious post.
But what have I learned in this past year, and what would I do differently if I started my blog all over again? Let’s seriously find out.
7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Health Blogger
1. You do NOT need to be a One Woman Show
Sure you CAN do it all by yourself – but you don’t have to, and you shouldn’t!
I’ve always been a rather impatient I’ll-just-do-it-my-damn-self kinda gal. Classic Wonder Woman complex. (can’t you just hear the “Ching!” of my golden bracelets?)
Well, if you’re afflicted with a similar complex, you need to put that persona in your back pocket girl, and figure out what your Zone of Genius is, as the Founder of The Wellness Business Hub, Lori Kennedy would say.
Then consider outsourcing what is not part of that zone.
For me that was website development, and some other technical stuff like e-commerce logistics. You should have seen my site a year ago, that I had basically created myself. In a word: ICK.
My site was revamped in 2016 by Main Street Creative – these guys really know their stuff!
2. Your website is a powerful marketing tool, not just a pretty place for people to land
That last point causes me to reiterate this: if you’re not a web developer – get help with your website. Period.
This is one thing that if you do it right the first time, you’ll save yourself SO much time, money and frustration later down the road. Trust me.
My site is built on WordPress.com (here’s why you should too) using a custom theme that my web guys built, and I just love it! It really represents me, my blog, and my brand.
Which leads me to…
3. You and your blog are your brand, so be consistent
Nicole of UniquelyWomen.net says,
“Branding does not necessarily mean just having a logo, instead, it’s more about the appearance of your blog and your social media template. You should consider the fonts, colors, graphics, AND your logo.
That said, branding doesn’t stop there. You need to make your blog stand out from the crowd. It’s about creating a great experience for your readers. This is done through connecting with people online, through your blog posts, and your feed on social media.”
Hand-in-hand with branding is CONSISTENCY.
I’ve made huge mistakes by flip-flopping all over the place with random health topics, unrelated (but oh-so-cute) images & graphics, and generally having no clear idea of how I wanted people to “see me”.
Remember that when you’re blogging for business, you want to position yourself as the expert in your niche – like health & hormones for women 35-55 as was my case.
This will not only be reflected in how & what you’re writing about, but in the consistency of your message, and that includes the appearance of your blog itself, and your social media.
4. It will take some money up front to get started
I was convinced that I could do it all on the cheap (like not paying for website help!), but I only ended up costing myself more time and money in the end.
It may feel counterproductive to be putting out money, when there’s no money coming in yet. But as the biz saying goes – you’ve gotta spend money to make money!
I don’t care what any blogging guru out there tells you (you know those bloggers who are killin’ it blogging about blogging), you’re gonna need to front some cash to gain traction online and to get things moving forward.
You can still make smart financial choices for your blogging & website needs, but be sure to set out a budget, even a small one, right from the start.
5. Treat your blog like a business & have a plan
This was lesson #5 from my Year One Blogging post, and it remains one of my greatest regrets that I did not take my blog (as a business) seriously enough, and take the right measures to monetize it right from the beginning.
If you’re serious about blogging to make money, then you’ve got to get clarity, and put in the kind of effort that it takes to do so!
Have a business plan in place, and write down some short-term, as well as long-term goals for your blog, like what exactly do you want to get out of blogging in the first 6 months…in the first 2 years?
6. Keeping a schedule and being consistent is key!
Again, randomly throwing sh*t at the wall to see what sticks is not a useful strategy, and will put you into a serious state of blogging overwhelm – of which I’m sure you have plenty of that in other parts of your life!
Save yourself a few tears (because there will be some!), and find an organizational method that works for you, and stick to it.
For some that’s good ‘ol pen & paper lists, or digitally keeping track of things on apps like Evernote, or for others it could be highly detailed Excel spreadsheets. It just has to make sense and work for YOU.
I find using an editorial calendar is imperative as this lets me know what posts are due to be published, and that I’ve got a certain number of them written in advance. I now like to plan out my posts on a month-to-month basis, usually based on the launch of a new product or program.
I find that giving myself deadlines, and posting regularly (same day each week), even when I’m the Boss Lady, is critical to blogging success. Again with the consistency.
7. Have an opt-in and start an email list right from the beginning
Ever heard that the money is in your email list? #truth
So start it from Day One. You don’t want to miss any opportunities to capture a potential client and/or potential sale.
Sure, at first your email list will consist of your mother, your best friend, and maybe a few friends who are just doing it to be nice and supportive of you. But then it will grow!
Here’s another point: be patient. Your blog, your email list, your social media following, and all other measures of blogging success (like your bank account) – will grow!
However, the ONLY way to get that subscriber list growth is to have a hook – something that will entice your ideal client to want to give you their preciously guarded email address.
I basically ignored both of these principles in the beginning, because it just felt too hard and somewhat of a why bother?
But trust me, they’re both critically important to health blogging success!
If you were curious, I currently use MailChimp to collect subscriber info and send out my newsletters. It’s a decent free (or low-cost) option, but there are so many now.
Should YOU start a blog – specifically in Health & Wellness?
The short answer is YES! I would strongly encourage it, especially if you’re just starting your health & wellness business. In fact, it’s essential to any online health business these days.
You might be thinking that the internet is so saturated with articles and content that are in your same niche, and that there’s no point to contributing more of the same.
However, an SEO expert once told me, “the internet is a big enough sandbox for everyone to play in.”
Besides, not only does your ideal client want useful information from you, this will help you to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Plus, search engines LOVE fresh, high quality content.
So go get your blog on baby!
About the Author
Krista Goncalves, BSc, CHN, RNC is a Registered Nutritionist, Health Writer & Women’s Health Expert.
While she’s still incredibly passionate about writing on the topics of women’s health & hormonal balance, she’s even more fired up lately about helping her fellow Health Practitioners to rev up their online businesses! She recently transitioned from being a Nutritionist – to exclusively researching, writing and producing content for other Health Practitioners. For more about why she switched gears, check out her article on Why I’m Not a Nutritionist anymore.