Monday, June 27, 2011

Fitness & Health Blogger Conference

Par for the course, I am the last of the Sweathogs to post my tale from the Health and Fitness Blogger Conference I attended this past weekend in Boulder.  Let's just pretend we're saving the best for last....truth be told, I pulled a intercostal rib muscle sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning and I am pretty much flat on my back with a ice pack strapped on (more on that later).  Totally sucks and the worthless muscle relaxer isn't doing it's job other than to make me nauseous. Writing coherent sentences has been the last thing on my mind the past couple days.  Not that coherent writing has ever been my forte...

The conference was an overwhelming wealth of knowledge.  We heard from presenters on branding yourself, sponsorships, becoming a brand ambassador, working with PR firms, using publishers versus self-publishing if you want to write a book, stats and why they're important (if you want them to be), blog A-listers, social media, dietary myths, the Presidential Challenge, search engine optimization and a billion other things.

I walked away on the first day with one single thought:  My Blog SUCKS!

Truly!  I left feeling like I have been blogging in the stoneages and every time a new presenter got up to give us more info to clog my brain, I'd turn to Jason with a puzzled look and hear him say, "I already do that." 

Yeah, whatever Mr. Social Media Networking man - at least I live in Colorado!!!  We're too busy in Colorado enjoying being the fittest state in the nation to worry about how many points we have on Klout!
Teasing aside, I definitely do need to make some changes to the blog, but I'm not sure where to even start, so I'll let this stuff absorb some and then start flooding Jason's inbox with countless questions...since, you know, he's the already done it guy.  When I started my blog 2 1/2 years ago, it was solely for the purpose of my then-trainer and I to dissect my thoughts and peel back the layers to my fitness.  Later, when the trainer was long gone, people started finding my blog and it became a place where I just wanted to share my running journey with everyone...and make some great friendships and laugh along the way.  I still want that, but now I think I need to implement some changes.  Hopefully for the better.  Fingers crossed I don't go manic.

But aside from all the info at the conference, I was able to meet up with some awesome bloggers, who I now consider all friends. ...or as Jason calls us, the Sweathogs - I'll try to sum up the best part of the weekend in bullets, and pictures:
  • Friday morning, I picked up Jason at his hotel and having a couple hours to kill before we met the rest of the group, we headed up Boulder Canyon and walked a bit to Boulder Falls

  • We then met up with the infamous SUAR; my misery-loves-company injury buddy, MissZippy; and a new blogger I had never met, Clair, who was simply awesome.  We all met in downtown Boulder for a little Cajun lunch. 

  • Friday afternoon was filled with blogging topics Jill knew nothing about!
  • All that learning, a well-deserved a trip to the hotel bar was in order....
  • Saturday was more blogging topics Jill knows nothing about. 
  • The best part of the day was lunch, of course.
    Sweathogs doing what we do best: eating and laughing
    Clair loves her Med pizza
    And Beth loves her wine
    And a quick good-bye pic of Amanda (misszippy) and I
    Y'all knew it was gray and white day, didn't you?
    All in all, it was an excellent weekend (well, aside from my intercostal muscle tear - which, if you've ever had one you know how much agony I'm currently in...the heel has nothing on this sucker)!  I learned a lot and formed some amazing friendships with lasting memories. 
Now, time to think about the blog some ....and fix my back so I can get back to running....

In the meantime,

Why do YOU blog?  Or are you in need of some changes, any changes?  Do you care about your stat numbers and traffic?  I'd love to hear what your blog means to you.

Until strong, friends!  Me, I'll be icing my back for the next few days so run a few miles for me.


Paul said...

Hi Jill,

Hope ur feeling better a bit now.

One reason I write a blog to hopefully help somebody else with their running the same way other bloggers have helped me.

I also write it as a diary of sorts..I know that years from now I will enjoy reading it and relearning from it. ;)

Generally, I don't care about farts, free giveaways, twitter, fancy graphics, overly phantasmagorical motivational fantasies and general glitz..but humor is always good..okay maybe a fart or two once in a while 8)

Product reviews can be interesting but it's a mixed bag. (too many darn products! )

I'm always on the lookout for nuggets of hard practical wisdom that I can glean without finding them out the hard way myself...of course, they are also different for everybody.

Everybody likes race reports...they are always entertaining. I always suck these up and I find these are very popular entries on my blog as well.

I do like to see people visit my blog and I hope they enjoy reading it...but I would write it even nobody read it.

I like your blog precisely because of your figured out how to be a fast runner (i.e. learned a lot) but also got injured. (you are not superhuman). I hope to learn a few things to do and perhaps not to do.

I do wish there were more blogs by runners over 50, I hope if I wait long enough that will happen 8).

Amanda@runninghood said...

Hey girl. first off, hope you're feeling better. My mom had this happen a couple weeks ago or something similar and she was in so much pain...made me sad that I couldn't do anything.
Love the picture of you and Amanda at the end here. You both look beautiful.
I would leave this conference feeling overwhelmed too. There is so much I don't know. The truth is...yes, at this point I do care about traffic ( I guess) and stats. I at least care that people read my blog. I want my blog to lead to something else. I'd like to connect, network, etc. and hope that something will come out of it. I've always had ideas for writing a book, leading groups, sharing my voice in this world...not sure where to go or what steps to take but I"m certain that a conference like this would be good for me. Although, I would come home with overload and feel completely stressed out until I was able to process it all. I'm ready for the next step for sure. I've only been blogging 8 or 9 months so there is so much to learn for me! Thanks for this post Jill...I enjoyed it greatly and it got me thinking. Hugs to you!

Coy Martinez said...

You know, I started my blog because my friend Janice had one. I was an English major in college and always got A's and kept journals as a young girl so I figured while I was thinking about running maybe I would share my thoughts. I think at the end of the day I love it for it letting me share with others the same road we're all walking down....running down :)

termite said...

i started my blog to tackle dyslexia disorder. (i didn't start reading till age 11) strange as it sounds, i went on to obtain a Masters of Physics. but reading and writing were two different things all together.

i love my blog. i love the friends i've made threw it and getting to know them threw theirs. as far as the traffic goes, i'm not all that interested. i mostly attract people from New Orleans and distance runners. oh... and people who love to eat. :-)

i love your blog, chica. never change a thing. and *never* change your oh so cool slate blue background. i luuuuuuvvvvv it.


Karen said...

I blog to give my schedule-free existence some order. I blog to entertain, inspire, and for my own personal record of my adventures. I don't really care about how much traffic it gets, just as long as someone is reading, even if it's just one person.

I love your blog! As a new reader, I haven't quite gotten to backtracking and find out how you got injured in the first place, but I will soon :)

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Why do I blog? It's cheaper than therapy and my family(besides my husband) hates to hear about me talk about running that I love so much. I do pay attention when someone leaves by subscription or by followers but I try to not take it personally. I do a lot of house cleaning of blogs I read as well so I understand. I would like to really update the blog and make it all "fancy" but I 1) don't have the funds to pay someone, 2) would love a logo but don't have the funds for that either. So there ya go.

I hope you feel better soon!

ajh said...

Feel better SOON.
I loved reading about the conference. I went to Jason's blog and loved the way he did his title letters. Truly awesome. Emily has switched her blog up and talks about stats and stuff.
Do people do this to make money on blogs? Make it more of a job type thing? To support a job?
I like my blog to meet - both virtually and in RL - like minded people. No one in my real life wants to talk about running, biking etc. to the degree I want to and that need gets satisfied through blogging. I feel people truly care and offer you support when needed.

Adrienne said...

Wow, if you think your blog sucks, then mine is dismal!

As for why I blog-even it its out of style-it's to connect with like minded individuals, as well as hopefully share my love of my sport and everything related to it to those
just getting into it. It's a nice outlet and connection point; I think it has some aspects superior to Facebook, personally!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

What a great group of bloggers you got to hang with. jealous jealous jealous!!

I blog for many reasons. I want to share, inspire and learn. I want write. I want to see where my blogging can take me. Esp. if my life heads in the direction I think it is and my daily life will allow me to have a lot more time to dedicate to serious writing.

So dish! What did you learn? What bloggers really stuck out to you in "real life"? dish!!

Julie said...

OHHHHH NOOOOOO!!!! Not rib problems! I'm soo sorry! This just sucks! I really hope it feels better soon. I keep thinking this getting old(er) is for the birds!

Glad you had a good time at the conference. Sounds quite overwhelming, but meeting new bloggers is always fun.

Mike said...

Ouch, sorry to hear about the rib!

I started blogging because my family and friends didn't really want to hear about my triathlon journey. I needed somewhere to "talk" about it.

Terzah said...

I'm kind of glad I was out of town for the conference--it would have been fun to meet some of you guys, but I can do that on my own. I started my blog to be held accountable for a goal and because I like to write. I am not a brand. I am not a product funnel. I'm just a woman who likes to run and wants some other people to talk about it with. My 25 followers are the best.

I won't lie--if cool companies start sending me free stuff, I'll review it and do giveaways, but I have a job already. I don't want this to be one too.

And I agree with what some others said above--I think your blog is one of the best as it is. If you make changes, please don't make them to please anyone but yourself! 'Cause I already like what you're doing. :6)

Caroline said...

I started my blog just 8 mos ago. the main reason was to keep a journal of my journey leading to my 1st half marathon. then I got a follower and another..and now 136
I now have friendship through my blog and I get advices and support and this is the best part of having a blog. I don;t look at the traffic and the stats. if I get a new follower I will go look if they have a blog and go read about them, if I loose followers I dont try to figure out who it is and why they left. I just think I am not interesting to them and it is ok with me.

I do like yours. I would not change it.

Anne said...

Oh no, hope the ribs heal quickly...I've broken ribs from coughing and I know the pain!

I started blogging because a friend told me I should write about my running with asthma. Now I blog to track my journey until hopefully a full marathon...and I enjoy reading others' blogs to gain knowledge and be inspired :)

I love your blog and I've always enjoyed reading how you cope with the curve balls life has thrown your way over the last year!

Teamarcia said...

I hope the ice is easing the muscle pain!
I started blogging as a creative outlet and honestly its pretty freeform and seat of the pants still. I don't look at stats. I don't care what the popular posts are. I say what I wanna say, if people don't like it, they don't have to come. I never wrote it in anticipation of anyone other than me reading it. But I've met so many wonderful friends thru it that i never anticipated. That has been the most valuable aspect for me.

ShutUpandRun said...

So fun to be with you my fellow sweathog and your blog does not suck. I think we all are just trying to figure out how to make it more of what we want it to be.

Hope the damn muscle pain subsides soon. That sucks the big one and you didn't need this on top of everything else!

Jenn said...

Intercostal muscle tear-WAAAH!! Ow ow, why, hope you feel better, keep smiling, dammit...Did you break a mirror or something?

Glad you had a great time at the conference!

Honestly Jill, my blog is primarily just a big old vent hole for me. I care very little or not at all about stats and traffic. I also care very little about making it more organized or using it as any sort of tool to enlighten others... When I started this blog, I felt if I could make one or two connections in the running world to fill a little void there in my personal life, I would be happy. This has happened and for that I am overwhelmingly thankful!! Of course this is not how I think everyone should feel about their blogs because then I wouldn't want to read any-ha! but it's how I feel and I really don't desire to change it! I'm certain my blog "sucks" as I talk about deer heads and hotdish but it fills EXACTLY the need I have at this time. As you can see by my spillage of unorganized thought here, I need some help-ha ha!

I've always loved your blog, you know this! One of my first and forever one of my favorites. I am SO excited for you whatever avenue you choose to take with it and you know I'll always jump on your posts! Love you and there is a chance I may be heading your direction in August if I can get our schedules to work out here. Heal your back so I can knock on your door and you can go for a run with me:)

Kate said...

Um, your blog does NOT suck, Missy!! I love it.

I hate that you're hurting. Booo. I hope it gets better very soon.

My blog is a lot journal, because I love being able to look back and read where I was, what I've done, how far I've come (or sunk). It's part training log/accountability. It's a very nice circle...I blog about things I do, and sometimes I do things just SO I have something to blog about, so it inspires ME to get moving and try new things. And I've definitely come to love the community of bloggers I've met online. And there's more to it, too, but that's a blog post in progress, so I guess you'll just have to wait for it. :)

Yes, stats and feedback matter to me. Sometimes too much. And I know there's sooo much more that I have to learn about blogging.

Liz said...

Sorry to hear about the rib thing. That sucks, but your blog doesn't! I hope you don't change it too much. I must email you to thank you for all the information you sent me about the heel thing - it was so kind of you. Hope you're back running soon. Take care!

The Green Girl said...

Oh, Jill. I am so sorry to hear you are in so much pain. ::hugs::

I'll be honest, I'd love to make money off my blog but I'm not willing to make a significant financial investment up front - which, I realize, limits me.

Jennifer said...

Sorry you are feeling baaad! I hope it gets better soon!

I love blogging, but it's for me, if others read and respond that's a bonus! I love the community and the network and get a boost from reading about and writing about the experiences of the non-pro(and some pro) athletes that share their experiences. For me the commercial part would just ruin it.

Glad you had a great time at the conference and can't wait to see what you come up with! XOX

Suzy said...

Oh dear, get better! It is no fun when you are hurt.

Jason said...

I am ready when you are to give you an extreme blog makeover. It isn't that hard to do and doesn't take that much time to be honest.

It was awesome meeting you and Canyon Falls was great.

Marlene said...

Your blog does not suck! But I giggled at that b/c I think I would have the same reaction if I spent a weekend surrounded by such hardcore bloggers. :)

Karen said...

Hope you are feeling better... BTW your blog DOES NOT SUCK :) I always compare mine to others and Lord knows there are some pretty nice ones out there!

I started the blog just to have somewhere to log my training as I prepared for my first marathon. Then my Dad started reading it so I felt like I had to kee going for him since he always commments on how much he enjoys it (HA HA).

funderson said...

Sounds like you had a great weekend! I blog because I like to write a bit AND my friends and family like it to stay updated. New friends that I've not met are bonus! I don't give a half a hoot about stats or traffic. I barely know what you're talking about.
I hope your back is better soon! Granny-back stinks..big time...

lindsay said...

You probably have to actually blog to know about blogging... ;)

Jk you know I love you! And I love your comeback to Jason. Colorado >>>> Texas.

I started blogging to log my training... Then I started getting followers and made friends and now I blog more about life & running. The just-training posts are boringer... I've never gotten caught up in my stats. I don't know how to do all that stuff... I just try to act like I know what I'm doing, is it working??

Big Daddy Diesel said...

- I hope your feling better

- I blog because no one around me wants to hear about my races, training and so worth, at least with blogging its a common interest that binds us

Tri-Living...Together said...

I'm dripping with envy.. I was so close to you all.. :(

Anne said...

I hope that rib muscle heals soon. And don't change too much on your blog. I love it - and you - just the way you are.

(And, no, I don't pay close attention to stats on my blog. I guess that makes me a bad blogger.)

Running and living said...

Oh, Jill! Do we have to put you in a bubble? Dang, girl, you need at least one year with no injury, given what you've been through this past year. Can we agree you paid your dues? Hope you feel better soon!

Why do I blog? Mostly for myself. I started out as a way to journal, than the blog got bigger and I started to censor myself bc of work. I do reviews when I am offered, but I do not seek them. I have met great people via the blog, which is awesome. Good luck with the next step. Just stay true to yourself. I think many times when people want to make their blogs bigger they sell part of their soul!

Yolanda said...

I blog to share my small world, to share the joys of running and healthy eating and hopefully be encouraging as well as gain encouragement.

Thanks for asking-

Chris K said...

I have no interest in any of that stuff. None. I get a traffic report from sitemeter every week about my blog and don't even read it. I'm serious. I don't/won't do product reviews and my contests never require more than just making a comment. I don't actively seek followers or traffic.

I blog because it's fun and I get to meet cool people like you. That's it.

Mark said...

My blog is pathetic! I have no tech skills whatsoever! Yet I sure enjoy the journaling aspect of my blog. Instead of how I used to log my runs and thoughts on paper I use my blog. Plus I am big on leadership skills and I like to impart experience now and then...

TX Runner Mom said...

Sorry about that pulled muscle, ouch! Sounds like to conference was great. As for why I blog, I just hope to inspire others to run and stay fit. I was the least likely candidate to pick up running or do tris (especially tris!!!!), but I did it and benefit so much from it. I figure people will see my blog and think, "jeeze, if she can do it, I can!", lol!

Molly said...

sorry, this is not a sucky blog.

but pulled muscles do suck, so I hope you're feeling better now!

I started blogging as a way to figure out my feelings going from a working mom to a stay at home mom. Stats aren't that important to me, because I don't know how far I want to take it, it's part of my life, but not my whole life.

Ulyana said...

Hi Jill, Thank you for your comment! I missed blogging and missed your comments!

Your comment gave me goosebumps. Good thing, PT's are not qualified to recommend surgical treatment!!!! Plus, ankle fusion is such a "last resort" thing, it's not even funny!!!! My reaction was "what the heck, her PT needs to keep his/her mouth shut". (Not to be aggressive, or anything, lol)

Aka Alice said...

Hi Jill,
I don't often comment, but I read your blog pretty regularly. I agree. It doesn't suck.

I think there are two kinds of blogs/bloggers...those who want to gain readership and make some money, and those who blog for personal reasons. I'm of the latter variety. I like to run. I like to write. I blog about running (and my life), that's it. I tried to go the money route once, but there were too many "rules" about where advertisers wanted to be placed...if, when, how I could do product reviews (if I even wanted to), and how often I had to I stopped...

You know what they say; my blog, my rules. I like it that way.

But I am now intrigued about what I don't know about blogging :-)

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

i have made changes consistently to try and grow my blog because I would love to pursue writing more full time...that being said there are a lot of people doing all the things they say at these events and have blogs with no content. You have a lot of readers because we love who you are and what you have to just keep that in mind as you implement many great new things for more people to love you

TNTcoach Ken said...

Fred Flintstone here. I think about updating and upgrades but then I remember that blogging is for fun........

Johann said...

Sounds like some great info from the conference. I will definitely qualify as "the one that knows nothing". I blog because I love to share my experiences and thoughts with people. I think people enjoy reading something about running in South Africa. I basically just do posts and don't think much about all the other stuff. I'll hopefully learn it all from you now. Hope you are better and running already! All the best!

Kandi said...

I blog for fun and to meet like minded people. I don't have a lot of readers but I don't mind. I check my stats on occasion but mostly just to see what people google to get to my site. I have no intentions to try to market my blog to anyone though, that's not what is important to me.
Hope you start feeling better ASAP!!

Black Knight said...

I hope you feel better.
A great meeting with good blogger friends! Wonderful pictures, thanks to share.
I blog because I enjoy to share the adventures with runners of all the world.

Julie said...

I am so jealous of your meet-up! What fun!

I originally started blogging to keep some friends and then family in the loop of what I was up to and in anticipation of doing a figure/body building show that never happened. Along the way, I found some friends who enjoy the same things I do and now I love the interaction between athletes/moms/people who make me laugh...blogging has definitely become a fun hobby for me.

I usually don't worry about stats and such but sometimes think that if I'm going to bother to write...I might as well have some readers...ya know? :D

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Ah Jill, I'm sorry you are in so much pain. :( Thinking of you.

I bet the conference was info overload!! I'm excited to see what you implement/change or share with your readers!!

That had to be a blast with your bloggy meet-up!!!! What a fun group!!

Small Town Runner said...

Hope your ab is repairing and feeling better!

Your blog doesn't suck. At least you aren't schizophrenic about whether you want to be public/private or anything like that!

Sounds like a great meetup Jill. Real people in real life rarely disappoint. :)

Why do i blog? As a bit of an outlet- to bounce ideas off of other runners, and to learn from other runners. I also blog for the encouragement it gives at times (if I am being totally honest here), and the help I can provide other runners, ...I don't blog for business, or I'd be SUNK.

have a great 4th!!!

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