This guest post is by Karol K.
There’s a popular trend on the internet these days among people who have taken upon themselves to lose some weight. I’m talking about starting a weight loss blog.
The idea in itself is perfect. You get a place to document your progress, talk about the things you’re doing, get additional motivation by interacting with other people through comments (also great for getting additional tips from them), and finally, you’re making your journey public, which is sure to improve your success rate all by itself.
There are some problems, though. The weight loss blogging space is really heavy on purely promotional sites, deceptive sales messages, or even scams desired solely to earn some quick money.
All this makes it really hard to build a credible brand that stands out from the crowd.
That’s why I decided to create this quick tutorial to show you some things you can and should do ASAP, as well as other practices that are better left alone—unless you want to be mistaken for a spammer.
The light side of the force
Before I get to that, let me take a minute to list some people who do this the right way. Here’s the light side of the force (so to speak), just as an example on how weight loss blogging should be done.
- MindBodyGreen.com: MindBodyGreen was founded by Jason Wachob, Carver Anderson, and Tim Glenister—all wellness experts and enthusiasts. Their team is one of the best in the business. From top yoga instructors to wellness gurus, and weight loss experts, there’s something for every interest and ability level on this blog.
- NowLoss.com: A very successful blog in the weight loss niche by Andrian Bryant. NowLoss.com now helps over 1.5 million monthly visitors look good naked by losing weight, getting curves, and/or building muscle. NowLoss.com is the #2 weight loss website in the world behind commercial giant Weight Watchers.
- WorkoutsForHome.com: In her blog, Susan invites us to join her in Operation Awesomeness and lose weight fast, right from home. She is here to teach you everything she knows about becoming awesome…
- Does This Blog Make Us Look Fat: A blog founded by Rebecca Regnier—an Emmy-winning television journalist and author of “Your Twitter Diet,” available on Amazon. The blog’s mission is to teach you how to lose weight in a way that’s suitable for you individually (whatever weight loss steps you take, Rebecca supports you).
- A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss: A blog where you can join Erika in her journey from 330lbs to personal trainer. Everything she shares comes from her personal experience. An great blog with lots of personal touches.
Now, let’s focus on how you can join the ranks of these quality weight loss blogs.
Do use your own name and personality
These days people don’t have that much trust reserved for websites talking about weight loss. With so many poor affiliate blogs around—blogs publishing low quality content purely to promote other products through affiliate links—you never know who’s for real and who’s in it just for the quick buck.
One of the common things such marketers do is that they never use their real names. Instead, they showcase some lame brand name, like LoseWeightTacticsBlog, or something.
The easiest thing you can do to differentiate yourself from this crowd is to prove that you’re a human being by using your real name. Then, go one step further and display some actual photos of you (either taken by you or your friends; nothing too professional-looking).
When your audience sees your face on the blog, they will know that you are a real human being who genuinely cares about the content they publish.
Whenever you want to endorse something (a product or service) be careful about promising any kind of results. This is something spammers do every day. They publish loads of promises, great looking success stories, and even fake before-and-after pictures.
People are very careful now when it comes to believing any sort of promises. Whenever you say that something will bring massive results you’re immediately becoming suspect.
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t endorse anything. But do it only when you are absolutely sure that the product is of great quality. You have to experience the results yourself, otherwise you won’t be believable.
Do pick the right name
This is about the name of your site.
Now, you can take one of two possible paths here:
- Get a custom domain at godaddy.com (or some other registrar) and your own hosting account.
- Register your blog at wordpress.com and get a free subdomain.
Both approaches have their pros and cons. The first one is obviously more expensive. You have to spend $10 a year for the domain, and around $6 per month for hosting.
But what you get in exchange is better credibility and a more serious look from the get-go.
The second path is quick and cheap. You can set up a new blog within minutes, but its address will end with .wordpress.com.
This is up to you, but make sure to go with a good name. Whatever you do, don’t make it seem spammy. For instance, WeightLossTacticsBlog is spammy. MagicWeightLossToday is too. LosingWeightWithKaren is not. There’s no rule of thumb here. Always go with your gut feeling.
The consequences of getting this wrong can be serious. If people see your blog’s name as spamm—as a hidden marketing pitch of sorts—they won’t believe a thing you’re saying.
Do build credibility
As I said before, trust is the rarest commodity in weight loss blogging. If people don’t trust you, they won’t listen to your advice, and might even find it hard to believe your stories.
There are some ways to boost your believability rate, so to speak, and your trust:
- Use your real name and display pictures of yourself (already discussed).
- Try storytelling and sharing personal insights. This is where you get to describe genuine stories that are taking place in your life (related to weight loss, obviously). People love stories, and it’s the ultimate way to prove that you are real. If people can relate to what you’re saying, they will surely pay attention. Make every post you publish personal to some degree.
- Display trust elements. “Trust elements” sound fancy, but what I mean is quite simple. Whenever other website mentions you in one way or the other, put their logo in your sidebar and label it “Websites talking about me” or something similar. The point is to prove that other sites see you as a real, credible person. If you don’t have any of those yet then don’t worry, the day will come.
Don’t talk only about good things
One of the main giveaways that we’re dealing with a weight loss marketer rather than a real person is the fact that each post only touches upon the positive side of things.
As in life, in weight loss, too, there are good and bad days. Good and bad products. Good and bad people.
You can create much additional credibility when you share a message that’s not that positive, but is still 100% real.
Only the strongest people are able to share a negative story and be confident about what they’re saying at the same time.
Don’t use too many ads
Advertising is the most intuitive way to monetize a website. Essentially, I’m not against advertising. If there is a possibility to earn a couple of bucks from your blog then I believe you should take it.
However, be careful not to make your blog overloaded with ads. Such situation will bring your credibility down very quickly. Just one block for AdSense ads (or any other provider) in the sidebar is really enough.
Do publish only real reviews
You can skip this if you’re not planning on publishing any reviews. If you are, keep reading…
The main problem with reviews online is that a big chunk of them is simply fake. Every day countless marketers publish reviews of crappy products without even having those products in their possession.
This is especially visible in the weight loss space where, as we all know, there are hundreds of products available … pills, diets, training programs, training equipment, DVDs, you name it.
That’s why if you’re going to write a review, you should remember a handful of things:
- Always list the bad sides of the product (there surely are some).
- Provide pictures of the product taken by you (or better yet, pictures of you using the product if that’s possible).
- Get in depth to the core benefits the product delivers.
- Don’t quote any of the information from the product box or the official website.
- Give an honest final opinion.
Do publish different types of content
Most of the time, spam-bloggers publish only simple 400-word blog posts providing no actual advice. You can differentiate yourself pretty easily by looking at the topic of blogging much more broadly.
Some examples, besides the traditional blog post:
- Your progress update. If you’re on a weight loss program yourself then you can share your weekly progress updates. I guarantee that your readers will love those.
- “Meal of the week” or something like that. Provide a complete recipe.
- “Task of the week.” This is where you can set a goal for the week and update your audience on how well it went. For instance, your goal could be to exercise at least 20 minutes a day.
- Interviews. If you can have a talk with someone knowledgeable about a given weight loss-related topic, your audience will surely be glad you shared this.
- Reviews, as discussed above.
- Off-topic posts. This is where you get to connect with your audience more broadly, by sharing something that’s not related to weight loss, yet still relevant to you as a real person.
- “Ask the readers.” This is where you ask a question and your readers respond through comments. Then you can round up the most interesting answers and publish them in another blog post. You have to have a big enough audience to make this work, though.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think about using a blog as a way to document your weight loss story? Are you a weight loss blogger? What tips and advice can you share?
Karol K. teaches how to save on the popular Flex Belt, and discusses the basics of TRX training (learn more). He contributes articles on fitness training, working out, and losing weight in general. He also enjoys writing occasionally for WeightLossTriumph. He’s a fan of healthy living and being in shape no matter what. In his personal life, he proves that one doesn’t have to struggle to be healthy.