My Number One Tip for Bloggers

Lots to talk about today, but let’s start with our regularly scheduled programming.

Lunch!

Today’s mid-day meal included a salad.

Eat Up

In the bowl:

Salsa

The chicken, salsa and yellow pepper all competed against each other for the star ingredient of this salad.

Pour Some Salsa On Me... In the Name of Love!

I loved all the different tastes and textures in this bowl.

Dessert was nabbed from the candy jar in my office.

Candy is Dandy

Yesterday the dumpy peppermint candies were replaced with chocolate and my coworkers and I have been riding a chocolate high ever since!

Onto your daily does of fashion until I can get the fashion page of this blog up and running…

Today's Look

  • Beige shrug with peach satin bow: Say What? (via TJMaxx)
  • Army green tank top: Forever21
  • Flare jeans: People’s Liberation
  • Beige bangle: Random booth in the mall (Yes, they actually got me!)
  • Army green suede pumps: Nine West

And now for some fun blogging talk that will hopefully interest you bloggers out there and will likely bore the rest of you to tears. For those of you totally uninterested in blogging, please enjoy this picture of Sadie. ๐Ÿ˜€

"Tennis Balls are WAY Cooler Than Blog Talk!"

My Number One Tip for Bloggers

Over the past few months, I’ve received an increasing number of emails from other bloggers or readers who hope to start up a blog. The emails contain a myriad of questions on topics ranging from starting a blog to growing a blog to finding the time to blog.

To be honest, I’ve avoided talking about this on my blog because I don’t feel like my blog is “legit” enough to really be a sounding board of advice. I absolutely love blogging and would whole-heartedly encourage anyone interested in starting a blog to do so, but I feel awkward giving advice on the topic since I don’t exactly feel qualified. Maybe I’ll muster up some courage to do so in the future, but for now I figured I would share the one thing I’ve always kept in my mind ever since I started Peanut Butter Fingers:

Create a blog you would want to read.

The blogs I most enjoy reading focus on living a healthy lifestyle, as mine does. But one thing that keeps me going back to my favorite blogs is the way they also let their personalities shine and give readers a peek into their day-to-day lives and relationships.

Most of the time, I breeze through posts that hone in on recipes but linger over ones where the blogger did something exciting with her girlfriends or went on an adventurous date with her husband. (Double points go to bloggers who saturate their posts with pictures of their pets!) To me, this is what I find most interesting to both read about and write about, so that’s how I frame my blog.

I address workouts, recipes and healthy living topics, which I also adore writing about and truly find interesting, but I honestly feel like the real essence of my blog comes from simply living. What did I do today that I found particularly amusing? What makes me tic? What random things excite me and make me laugh? This is my blog fodder.

I love reliving fun events in my life and blogging about random musings like love languages or debates I have with Ryan. These are things that I find interesting! I would hope that if I weren’t the one writing this blog, I would still want to read it.

In a nutshell, my one piece of totally unfounded and unresearched advice would be to simply be yourself and write a blog you would want to read. Chances are if you find it interesting, someone else out there may get a kick out of it, too.

Now I ask you…

If you could only provide one piece of advice to bloggers, what advice would you give?

Comments

  1. says

    Love this tip! Definitely true!!!

    I’ve only been blogging since October so I’m still a “baby” in this blogging world, but my piece of advice would be to allow your “voice” to grow. I feel that a lot of bloggers struggle in the beginning to write something that they think their audience will like. Write for yourself- your “voice” will develop and you will find your niche. I know I cringe when I look at my first few posts. I definitely did not have much to share and didn’t really know how to blog. I am still finding my “voice,” but my writing has gotten better and I’m more interesting (at least I think I am ;))

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    • says

      exactly. it’s hard sometimes. i think it becomes easier the longer you blog. once you realize your blog is YOUR space and no one else’s, it becomes easier to be yourself and talk about things you want to talk about, not just what everyone else talks about.

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  2. says

    Are all the Forever 21 tanks that long? I love the long tank look (and I promise I don’t suffer from the big-gut-making-your-shirt-short syndrome, even though what I write about on my blog might indicate otherwise).

    My piece of advice to bloggers: Write with personality, and make sure your posts have information in them. Otherwise, what’s the point?

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  3. says

    PERFECT advice!! i guess im at a point where I want to start talking more about my life.. but its hard opening up since Im quite fresh to blog world.. but im sure it just takes time for me to feel i can open up! i def think having a bloggers voice is important.. i write JUST how i would speak in person!

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  4. says

    Could not agree more!!! I love your blog because it shares topics I find interesting and fun recipes…but it also shares YOU. And fun things of your life. And just realness. That’s what keeps me coming back to blogs. It’s also what I hope to show in my own. :)

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  5. Shayla says

    Love your outfit today!! How do you like those jeans? I’ve been wanting to find a new pair that fits my curves and I’m wondering if those would do the trick?! Thanks! :)

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  6. says

    I really like this post. You gave such great advice! I just started my blog over the summer and I have learned so much since then. I really enjoy blogging and I love reading other people’s blogs, who like you said not only just focus on food and healthy eating but they show you about their life. I really enjoy reading about that :)

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  7. says

    My advice is to make sure you have your name somewhere on the front page easily visible. Since we all like to employ some sort of catchy name, it’s hard to know what the actual blogger’s name is. When I do know it, I automatically feel more of a connect :)

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  8. says

    Similar to what so many wonderful commenters have already said…

    Blogging is about sharing YOU. Sharing what you are finding, uncovering, discovering, enjoying and doing.

    I always try to imagine sitting down and chatting with a good friend when I write. :)

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  9. says

    Great tip, Julie! And stop it, your blog is TOTALLY legit! ๐Ÿ˜›

    One thing I am really working on is incorporating lots of good, colorful photos. Since my camera is on the “outs,” I am using my camera phone a lot and I find myself wishing my pictures were as crisp and awesome as some of yours! I’m sure it’s just a work in progress and I can work up to it, but I certainly know that I LOVE blogs with lots of great pictures.

    A question — how do you keep track of all of them?? I need to bust out the external hard drive I got last year for Christmas!

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  10. says

    I totally agree with your advice. It’s so true that you should write a blog that you would like to read. I test my own blog once every 2 months or so by reading back over some of my newer posts to make sure I still keep a voice that I love to read. Doing this has allowed me to also see how my writing has grown since I began, which is very encouraging!

    I also agree with Paula – humor is something that keeps me coming back for more. On my blog I try to mix humor in with thoughtful posts about my life – both past and present – and I find that my readers keep coming back for more, too!

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  11. says

    WHAT, Julie?! How is your blog NOT legit?!?! It’s amazing!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I love reading blogs where people show their personality, like yours! I think that is the most important thing- being yourself, and letting others see that :)

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  12. Elizabeth says

    SO true – great tip. If you are authentic and true to what you write, peole will want to come back to your blog over and over again.

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  13. Brooke says

    i absolutely LOVE your blog. it’s really funny timing that you write this post because i just started my own blog. as in yesterday just started. i feel like it mirrors yours a lot, but that is just bc that is the type of blog i like to read. hopefully as my blog grows so will its personality.

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  14. Brooke says

    i absolutely LOVE your blog. itโ€™s really funny timing that you write this post because i just started my own blog. as in yesterday just started. i feel like it mirrors yours a lot, but that is just bc that is the type of blog i like to read. hopefully as my blog grows so will its personality.

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  15. Caitlin says

    My advice would be to be yourself and just exactly as you said, blog about what interests you and excites you. My blog truely is just a online journal for me where I go to write, vent, and share stories. I love your blog and look forward to reading it every day!

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  16. says

    I LOVE your outfit today!! Can’t see the entire shoe but I think those are probably my fave part! (I’m a bit of a shoe-a-holic). I totally agree with your blog tip. After all, you’re the one that looks at, reads, and writes your blog every day, so you’ve gotta love it, right?! Have a great afternoon Julie! :)

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  17. says

    Ahhh I LOVE this post!!! And I completely agree with you. 100%.

    But not only should you write what you would want to read about…write about things you are passionate about! That way, you’ll attract readers who are genuinely interested in you and the same things you like, and relationships and community can be built from there! I know that there are blogs solely dedicated to just recipes… and I think they’re great, but I need a read that is more than just food. I like being able to see experiences and healthy living tips from others, too. And that’s why i love your blog!

    I just started my blog a few weeks ago, so I am still trying to build my readership. But to be honest, it doesn’t bother me that I hardly have any readers. I am doing this blog for ME and I am loooving that I can just be like “hey mom, did you check out my blog today? I posted another one about Happy” and then she gets to share what she thought about all the pictures I posted (she’s has zero clue on how to leave a comment, ha maybe one day!) Anyway… if you haven’t already, I suggest you check out my blog! I think you’d find it interesting since I talk about my actual life and the people in it, and my different goals…and of course I talk about my pup (I mean, the blog’s name comes from her afterall!) I have even dedicated a day to blog about her — Sunday’s are my “Oh, Happy Days!”

    That’s another point to make. I think having a blogging “schedule” is good if you want your readers to know when to expect a post. But on the flipside… you should postwhen you FEEL like posting and when you are able to do so… blogging shouldn’t feel like a chore… it’s all about balance, sharing and having fun!

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    • says

      awesome, awesome comment. i couldn’t agree more. it’s SO important to blog for YOU. don’t blog because you want to be popular or have a large following. you need to be driven by something way deeper… your own passions. well said!

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  18. says

    Byyyy the way, they let you wear jeans at work!!??!? You are SO lucky and I am completely jealous!!! Okay. I’m done commenting. I know I just left you a novel up above, and now an addendum. I will refrain until your next post…

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  19. says

    Very good advice! I always look forward to reading your posts – I love how you effortlessly tell us stories along with your day’s happenings.

    Since my blog is more of a recipe blog than a ‘here’s what happened today’ blog, I try my best to loop in stories with my posts. I feel it’s slightly more interesting than just saying, “I made these cookies. They taste great! You should make them.” :)

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  20. says

    Thank you so much for this wonderful advice. I’m brand new to the blogosphere, and I can use all the help I can get.

    Sometimes I worry that my life just isn’t interesting enough to write about. You seem to have so much to talk about, and you’re able to do it so effortlessly. I’m always impressed!

    You inspire me to believe I can somehow make my mark in cyberspace :)

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    • says

      my life really isn’t interesting! if you really break it down, i feel like i do what everyone else does… work, eat, sleep, workout & hang w/ my husband/family/friends. your life is more interesting than you think!

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  21. says

    Thank-you for this post! I looove reading your blog and have recently just started one of my own. This is all very good advice!

    My best tip would be to go beyond the basic workout and food routines and share about nights out and relationships. I really enjoy how your blog is focused on healthy eating and fitness, but also includes a lot of personality and other life experiences!

    Hopefully I can get mine to do the same :)

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  22. says

    My #1 piece of advice is take good photos and make them big enough to see on the blog. There’s a few blogs that are off topic from what I’d normally read, but if the photos are good, I keep coming back!

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  23. says

    I’m so jeal you get to wear jeans to work. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I completely agree. I wanted to have some focus on food (because duh, I’m obsessed like all of us), but find that when I talk about my pup, funny internet laughs I found, and funny happenings in my life, it’s just more FUN.

    Your piece of advice is the best one. The only thing I’d add is don’t be afraid to share pictures! I generally feel like I’m overdoing it on the picture front, but people like to see ’em. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  24. says

    That’s great advice. I think if you are truly passionate about whatever you are writing about, people will see that and keep coming back. I also think it’s important to read and comment on other blogs. It introduces you to the community and helps people find the blog!

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  25. says

    Great tip. I would agree in saying that being yourself would be my number one tip, because if your blog doesn’t reflect who you truly are, people aren’t going to believe it and you won’t be as passionate about producing it.

    The only other tip I would suggest is to POST GOOD PICTURES. Not even inherently professional ones, just BIG ones so readers can actually see what you ate, wore, saw, did….I like reading blogs that have lots of fun commentary but am most attracted to the ones with good pictures.

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  26. Gill (snaxandthecity) says

    your blog is of COURSE legit! i really find it much more real than a lot of healthy living blogs out there. i’m a new blogger and still finding my ‘voice’ – I am nervous still about sharing too much of ‘me’ since people don’t know i i blog yet – but they will! do you ever censor what you write becuase you’re worried about what your readers’ reaction will be? or do you just write exactly what you want?

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  27. Abbi says

    Been following your blog for a while and love it! Wanted to start a blog for a while, but didn’t know whether i’d keep it up or how to do it etc. but bit the bullet today and made one. Check it out :)

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  28. Emily says

    I love this post, especially since I am a very new blogger. I always loved reading blogs, but now I am working on making my own mark in the blog world. I think the best lesson is to be honest and genuine as a blogger. Some days, I really dread a workout. Other days, I decide that eating a pound of cookie dough is a good idea. And I want my blog to reflect those days, not just the ones where I’m “perfect.”

    Also, I really appreciate reading blogs where the author does not claim to be the “expert,” one where he/she invites readers to participate!

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  29. says

    I started blogging last April. I love reading lots of different blogs but at times I feel like my blog lacks focus. I suppose it’s alright to be all over the place. I think the most important part is for your blog to be a reflection of you. PS. I’m dying to go to the Orlando farmer’s market and winter park area you frequent. I’m in Tampa/St. Pete area.

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  30. ashley@quasichick says

    I love your advice and am going to take it! I am a new blogger, but try to include pics of my daughters and talk about things going on in my life :) Great tip!

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  31. Lauren says

    I agree – I love hearing about people’s lives when I read their blogs or just reading blogs that have their own spin in terms of motivation or being funny.

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  32. says

    Its tempting to go out and copy the style, writing, layout, content, etc. of your favorite blogs and its okay to use them as models of inspiration but give yourself plenty of time to find YOUR own voice and YOUR own way of doing things.
    While it is tempting to imitate someone else’s apparent “recipe for success” it will just look and sound hollow and fall flat if its not something organically “you”. If you are just after numbers, it will be evident and you won’t be blogging for the single most important reason : you! There is a transparency about blogging and if readers can tell you aren’t being sincere they won’t be too interested in coming back.
    Give yourself time to feel what’s right for you and try out different layouts, writing voices, subjects, etc. That’s how many of our favorite bloggers started out anyhow, just check their earliest archives for proof!
    If funny stories and pet or kid pictures, feel right and feel like “you” then do it; if it doesn’t feel right don’t keep doing it just because x blogger does it and she gets 2,000 hits a day.
    Maybe you like anonymity and should blog under a pseudonym; maybe you prefer a few meticulously styled larger pictures instead of a bunch of small pictures of little stuff; maybe you don’t want to show your kid’s face or whatever else.
    That way you blog about what you love and in a way that you enjoy.

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  33. says

    try new things! When i read blogs where the author does the same thing every day..and eats the same things every day and really has no substance to their blog..i just click to a new page..expand your horizons and have fun with life!

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  34. says

    That’s a wonderful tip..and really, it’s true!! Don’t try to copy anyone else’s blog- be original. Even if the content/style or what not isn’t 100% unique, make it your own and have your own “voice” that’s not fake or forced.

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  35. says

    TRUTH. When I first started blogging I tried so hard to fit into a certain mold and really just focus on food, and looking back those posts seem so dry now! I think a lot of my “voice” has come from experimentation with different posting styles, as well as from following my favorite blogs for months. Just like you said, it’s made me realize what I find interesting, and therefore what I want from my blog! I identify best with blogs that share a lot of their LIFE, not just food. That’s why I love yours- it’s always friendly, fun, approachable and full of your personality. You may not see it as “legit,” but I know I’m not the only one of your readers who thinks it’s one of the best out there :)

    My #1 tip for bloggers is to connect with other bloggers. It’s not necessary to become addicted to Twitter or have meetups every other day, but forming personal relationships through commenting and email really helps blogging be more fun. In order for so much computer time to be meaningful you need to have people to share it with!

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  36. says

    Great post!
    I’m on the shy side and have been thinking about writing about my life/husband/dogs etc a little more.
    I like to read blogs like yours because I feel like I get to know you…virtually. :)
    Thanks so much for the advise.

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  37. says

    I love your blog and since I’m new to the ‘blogging world’ I really appreciate all the great advice! You are the queen or making things personal and always being interesting. I only hope that someday my blog will be as great as yours is! Plus you and your hubby are so adorable!

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  38. Pixie says

    I think this post along with others comments have really hit the nail on the head. I’m in the process of trying to figure out whether to keep my blog anonymous or not. I think I’m timid to reveal to much because I’m worried someone I know would read it. Its not that I’m exposing any secrets but somehow the thought of admiting to my friends and family that I know I’m over weight seems scarry.

    I also think you’ve said it before, but not to focus too much on whether or not people are reading it. Don’t get discouraged because your readership is low. It takes time to build a fan base.

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  39. says

    First and foremost I think you are more than qualified to weigh in on what makes a good blog… a good blog! I love your blog and it was truly the inspiration to start my own. With that being said, I write my blog about my life… my husband, my animals, my friends. To be honest I look at my blog as my little live scrap book/diary that I allow others the pleasure to read and relate too!

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  40. says

    I JUST started my blog last Thursday, so, Julie, if you’re not qualified, I definitely am not, but I will still add my 2 cents! :) I think the thing that has helped me so far is not being shy about “promoting” my blog. I actually sent out an email to my friends and family with some information and a link to my blog, and I also asked them to forward the link to other people who they think would be interested. I have also shamelessly told some of my coworkers about my new adventure! I figure that if I can spread the word on healthy habits and influence one person to be the best they can be, I am on par. There is no shame when you are trying to do something good!

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  41. says

    AMEN to being yourself! I blogged for almost a year before I realized I was so NOT like most of the bloggers whose blogs I read and love.

    Something clicked in me a couple months ago, and my writing style totally changed (to reflect who I really am).

    GREAT advice, Julie!

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  42. Allie @ Healthy Balance, Healthy Life says

    I love this and completely agree! There are some things I feel like I just shouldn’t write about yet out of respect for others. To be more specific (and I think I can do this since my ex doesn’t read your blog) my ex and I broke up back in October but we live together and the lease doesn’t end until the end of May. I want to write about my new single life but I think it could be hurtful to him if he reads my blog (which he says he doesn’t but sometimes he knows things I did that I didn’t tell him but were on my blog!). I think I’ll probably have to wait to start doing “single life” posts until we’re not living together! Readers/Julie, what do you think?

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    • says

      i think that’s very wise and respectful of you! you can still blog about your single life, but i would also use caution when talking about random crushes, etc. since i’m sure you would find that hurtful to read if he was writing about something similar. that being said, if you meet someone you really, really like and want to date, he might feel miffed not being mentioned. totally your call on that one!

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  43. says

    The blogs I enjoy reading the most are the ones that are both informative and FUNNY! My blog is in its infancy and recently appears to have had a major growth in daily visits. However, some days are still hit or miss. I think the most important thing to remember is why you started blogging in the first place. For me, it was a way to stay motivated in my new lifestyle. To reach out and connect with like minded people and to hopefully inspire others. Comments on my blog posts are rare and although I know people read my blog, a comment from others fuels my motivation. I’ve been told from other successful bloggers that it takes a long time to grow a blog. I’ve been given some great advice and so far it has really helped me. Comment on others posts and be sure to include your blog link in the area provided. If the blogger needs a guest poster, be that person. Link to others blogs by adopting a theme they have created. For example, I recently adopted the What I Ate Wednesday theme created by Peas and Crayons. I try to submit something to Meg’s High Five Friday and so on. But most importantly, just as Julie suggested, be yourself!
    xoxo
    ~Lainee

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  44. says

    I agree. When I first started my blog I had no identity really. I’d been reading healthy living blogs for only a few months but I knew I had my own story to tell — how I lost 110 pounds and kept it off. I basically copied what everyone else was doing: food diary and exercise diary for each post. Except I got bored writing that. If I got bored writing it, who would want to read it?

    I changed my blog to writing about things I wanted to share and the page views tripled. Seems that people were more interested in reading things OTHER than a food and exercise diary type blog! I think it’s important to find your own voice, share YOUR story and the readers will come. :)

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  45. says

    I LOVE this post, as a new blogger it was great to hear advice from someone who has some experience. Also, I love that you love pictures of pets :) Ironically that was my post earlier today haha

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  46. says

    I’ve been surfing your blog site all morning and I absolutely adore it! You’re a true inspiration for other fitness bloggers! I especially like that you include a sneak peek into your personal life, which is what I have caught myself doing from time to time in my posts, but have always wondered if I was straying away from the meaning of my post by doing so. You’re totally right though, when we include a little bit of our personality or personal life in general, we make each of our posts unique as opposed to another by the book step by step guide to ‘6 minute Abs’. It’s amazing that you have taking your passions to a level where you literally work and do what you enjoy doing every single day with success! Thank you for sharing!

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  47. says

    I’d love to echo the other comments here to say yes, yes, and thank you. I’ve been blogging about horror film for a few years now and have found it incredibly fulfilling because I’m doing it purely for me. I know other bloggers who see it as a chore or find it frustrating, and at point, I wonder why they bother. My friend and I just started a fitness(ish) blog, and so I’m now entering a whole new online community. It’s great to see the same general attitude here, one of full support and truly entertaining writing. Thank you for posting these tips. It’s wonderful of you to share not only your posts (and beautiful Visla pictures) but also advice that can help the overall blogging community.

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  48. says

    I recently started a blog and came to yours for tips because I love reading it, so I figured you must have some good tips :) I love this tip so much because this is exactly the reason I enjoy your blog so much- I love hearing about your day-to-day life and your fun little adventures (not to mention Sadie’s shenanigans)!

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