#HLSBlogNewbies Recap


We’ve all been there in the beginning of our blogging journeys; feeling like a newbie in a sea of veterans.  If you’re at the start of your own blog career, you don’t want to miss this Newbie Q & A Discussion session.  Join the conversation with blends at all different blog-ages, shapes and sizes.  Courtney Horan from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life will be leading the session, joined by a duo of wonderful women: Alicia from The Wannabe Foodie, and Chase from The Chase Project.  These girls will facilitate your questions and bring important topics to the table for the whole group to participate in together.  Share your struggles and successes, ask your own must-know questions and get advice from bloggers who have been there.


General Tips Shared Throughout:

  • Prewriting posts can be helpful to set up a schedule.
    • If you have a windows computer, get windows live writer. STAT.
      • allows you to edit posts offline, keep drafts, and VERY user friendly.
    • For macs, try ecto or marsedit for similar managing.
  • Use language you would normally use – it will attract readers!
  • Re-read your draft and edit. Make sure everything is relevant to your post.
  • Long posts and short posts both have their place
    • You have to find what works best for your blogging voice
      • Write and post, write and post until you find your voice and rhythm. It will come in time!
    • If it’s a long post, photos are often appreciated by readers.
  • If you don’t blog regularly, it is okay!
    • you have to find what works best for you in the various seasons of your life and blog
    • it’s okay to grow and change your blog in time, too. We’ve all done it and will continue to do it as we grow ourselves!
  • Get involved in a blogging network
    • Local Blogging Friends
      • Create a group! Check out the #HLSBlogLocal recap for more!
      • Carpool to events and races together
      • have blogging workshop time together
    • share frustrations and help one another in blogging situations
    • bounce ideas off one another
    • help your friends grow their blogs, and your friends will help grow your blog, too.
  • Comments aren’t everything.
    • some of the highest viewed posts don’t have very many comments at all.


Do you use your last name on your blog?

  • Take your time making your decision on sharing your last name on your blog.
    • Don’t forget you may be Googled by prospective employers.
    • You don’t HAVE to identify who you are. Your blog can have any level of anonymity that you wish.
      • It’s completely up to you what you want to share, but please consider professional connections you currently have and may have in the future.

What about sharing information and content about your family and friends?

  • Always get permission before posting photos.
  • Remember that you don’t have to share every moment of your life – keep some things private, especially if your friends or family don’t want to be shown on your blog.


How do you introduce friends and family to your blog?

  • When you launch your blog, you don’t have to tell all of your family and friends right away.  Take some time to build your blog and get comfortable in your voice and share it with your loved ones when it feels right.
  • They may think it’s weird or funny at first, but they will get used to it. Blogging is becoming more and more popular – it is becoming the new normal.
  • They may start a blog themselves, in time.
  • Some friends and family members may want to be a part of your blogging – suggesting recipes, and wanting to be part of the experience

What do you do when you get negative comments or feedback?

  • It really depends on the situation. So far it has been a case by case basis.
  • If the comment isn’t constructive, don’t give it the time.
  • If the comment is specifically nasty for no reason, Chase suggests saying “sorry to disappoint” and move on.
  • If you want to respond, ask a good friend to edit your words and make sure you are respectful and won’t regret sending your response.
  • Reaching out to the blogging community to gain support when feeling blue about negativity is KEY to getting through it! So many people have BEEN THERE!
  • Remember, your blog is not for EVERYONE.  It’s like a specific flavor of gum – some people will always take a piece when it’s offered, others will pass. It’s OKAY if people pass on becoming your reader/follower.


How did you become self hosted/redesigned ?

  • You can have a domain name without jumping to self-hosted.  Some suggest taking the leap and doing it all at once.  Others found success doing it in pieces.
  • Courtney had help with Savvy Blog Services. But long before she became self hosted, she had her header designed – visuals are important!
  • Depending on how in-depth and detailed you want a redesign to be, will depend on how much it will cost you.
  • You can take it on as a DIY project.  Check out the #HLSDesign recap for tips!
    • Heather swears by Microsoft Paint.

How did you start advertising and making money on your blog?

  • Katy Widrick has great content on ad networks to consider.
  • Consider Foodbuzz if your content is food-heavy.  Heather recommends Blogher, like woah. Chase uses Google Ads and likes it because it allows her to blog about any subject.
  • Build relationships with brands.  There are always new opportunities and ways to make money out there. Check out the #HLSBrandTalk recap!
  • What are you doing in real life that you could use to make money through your blog?
    • personal training
    • graphic design
    • write an ebook


Tips for gaining more followers and readers:

  • Comment on other blogs, but DO NOT comment for the sake of commenting.
    • Contribute to the conversation
    • Share when you have something specific to share.
  • Interact with other community members who have similar interests as you do on social media.
  • Share links on Twitter and Facebook.
    • Generally we see a greater reach with selected links shared rather than automatically posted ones.
    • Be selective with the links you share with various audiences.
      • Create a fan page for your blog so you don’t bombard your friends with links to your blog.
        • Chase put links on her personal Facebook page which friends will most likely enjoy.
  • Make business cards for your blog and leave them in local business.
    • Introduce yourself to business owners and network!


chCourtney writes the healthy living blog, Sweet Tooth Sweet Life. Her interests in healthy living, fitness, food, fashion, and living life to the fullest, show that a healthy, balanced lifestyle is attainable for anyone.  Courtney is a personal trainer with a new online training business, Courtney’s Total Body Wellness! She knows how to make exercise FUN, and loves balancing out delicious and healthy meals, with fun sweet treats, proving that a little indulgence now and then is totally acceptable. She never deprives herself of her favorite indulgences, but is constantly striving to maintain an overall healthy attitude about food, fitness, and life.


Alicia is the blogger behind The Wannabe Foodie. She is a fulltime graduate student who spends her free time reading, cooking and training for half marathons. She went to her first Healthy Living Summit last year and had a blast meeting new people and making connections. She blogs about running, recipes and her dog (Butternut Squashington)



Chase Leist is a veteran Group Fitness Instructor with a passion for boosting self-esteem through healthy living, nutrition and exercise. Chase is a life-long athlete who has competed in many races including marathons, half-marathons and triathlons. Staying active was never a challenge for Chase, but learning to fuel an athlete’s body has been the focus of her recent efforts. A foodie at heart, Chase has learned to transform her body by transforming her food.

Chase blogs regularly at The CHASE Project. Chase is both her name, and an acronym that stands for “Choose Health And Self Esteem”. She believes healthy living is a choice, one that is made day after day. When not training for races, blogging or teaching classes, Chase enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.