Choosing blogs to read

Linking up with the Thinking Out Loud party! 

About 3 or so years ago I got into reading Healthy Living Blogs. When I first discovered them, I fell hard. I would read every single post by my 5 favorite bloggers, word for word. I would read the comments, but never comment myself. I was so excited to find bloggers who talked about things I was interested in- nutrition, health, cooking, fitness, etc.

 Now that I am a blogger myself, I find myself gravitating towards different blogs. I’ve discovered not only the kind of things I really enjoy reading, but the kinds of things that I feel good about reading.

Here are a few questions I ask myself when reading various healthy living blogs:

(Keep in mind these are my own personal preferences)

-Do I feel good after reading this blog? 

Does this sound familiar? Do you have certain blogs or social media accounts that you stay away from because they make you feel worse about yourself? Sometimes it is hard to put a finger on what it is exactly that makes me feel badly, but I know the feeling that I want to avoid. Remember that it is easy to paint a picture of perfection online. It’s easy to feel a little down on yourself when reading that someone else just followed an “easy” 10 mile run with an awesome grain-free/organic/every-vegetable-under-the-sun salad and you managed to sneak in a one mile jog. Find blogs that you relate to or that inspire you in a positive way!

-Do they engage with their readers?

I realize that it isn’t feasible for every blogger to reply to every comment they get, but I like to see a blogger responding to some and especially responding to questions (within reason). Commenting on others is another way to show appreciation. To me, a big part of blogging is building community, so I find it disappointing when a blogger shows a lack of consideration for readers who take the time to comment.

-Do they practice what they preach?

Alyssa wrote an excellent post (link) about how she personally feels about this, but I think it’s a great way to evaluate other blogs too. We aren’t perfect- we all can be accidental hypocrites from time to time, but is it a pattern? Does this blogger preach “balance” even though they never have dessert or hardly take a rest day? Does this blogger preach trusting your body and intuitive eating but still consistently report the calorie count of what they eat? These are the types of questions I consider.

-Are the real and open? 

Do I find this blogger relatable? Do they share the not-so-good along with the good? Do they seem to do things like me, such as eating cake from time to time and contemplating life? I think this is the one that separates the blogs I go to just for their recipes and the blogs I like to read from beginning to end.  I appreciate bloggers who have the tendency to overshare and show vulnerability.

-Are they consistent? 

Posting frequency isn’t that important, except that it is hard to get to know a blogger when they don’t post often. However, the consistency I care more about is the writing style. When a blogger is all-over the place with posting styles, the blogger tends to get lost in it and not really shine through. Finding a voice in the blog world is so important. It’s okay to be inspired by others, just be sure to keep your own voice when blogging. A lack of authenticity can be easy to detect.

Lastly:

-Do I think they support a true healthy living lifestyle?

This one is completely subjective and probably treading into waters that can seem judgmental, but this one is simple for me. If I see a blogger promoting unhealthy habits, I’m going to stay away. I think it is totally cool to talk about your struggles with maintaining a healthy mindset (we’re human!), but I prefer bloggers who strive for a healthy, balanced life.

So you tell me-

What do you look for in a blog?

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49 thoughts on “Choosing blogs to read

  1. Yes to all of these. Not the most interesting reply, I know, but you pretty much summed up my “guidelines” for choosing blogs. I’d probably – taking a risk of sounding snooty here – add proper grammar and a sense of good writing here. Not saying my posts never contained typos but really bad grammar is a no for me. It decreases my reading experience.
    Back to yours: feeling good after reading is a huge one for me that also means I’m currently not following any fitness-focused blogs because I can’t exercise and don’t want to feel like a lazy bum when I’d actually enjoy working out.
    Engaging with readers … super important and still something I need to work on. I often reply in my head immediately but by the time I get to my laptop/can use the internet it’s lost. But I still try because I appreciate this from others bloggers, too.

    1. Ah I’m a self declared queen of typos… I just go too fast! I’m doing my best to get better about it, but I often times embarrass myself (especially in comments!) thanks for the reminder of how much it does matter!
      I am reply In my head a lot when it comes to emails/text messages, so I understand that!
      I’m glad you’ve learned to avoid the posts that make you feel bad. I don’t post much about exercise because it is not my area of interest per say and I don’t find reading posts about it that interesting either!

  2. I’m with T 😉
    You really did a great job summing up my list too. I love blog writers who write Day in the life posts because they feel more real than the ones who only post recipes or workouts.

    1. Agreed. I think the bloggers I love aren’t motivated by making money for the most part. Don’t get me wrong, I get it can be a business, but I don’t get a sense of community from them.

  3. Definitely on board with these. I think being open is so important to separate a blog from reading an article – I like blogs that give good facts and tips, but it helps to either see them incorporating or integrating them into their lifestyle for a personal approach.

  4. You and Heather are on a similar wavelength this week – and weirdly enough I was thinking heavily on this yesterday. I’m noticing some blogs just haven’t been making me feel good after I read them – so I need to ask myself why I am? I’ve been really surprised by the blog world in general. I used to just read for food/recipe stuff, but now I’m way way more interested in the person, their regular day to day experiences and their thoughts. We can learn so much just from others’ experiences. I love getting a sense of their sense of humor! We are all so unique and that is to be celebrated.

    1. Being a blogger is so different than being a reader, in my opinion. I feel a bit of a social responsibility as a blogger and I am rubbed the wrong way when it seems like others are not.
      I’ve learned so much from you, so I can definitely agree with that last statement!

  5. I totally agree with all of this 100%. One of my biggest pet peeves is bloggers who don’t comment or respond to their readers. Obviously my blog isn’t huge so that’s not difficult for me to do, and I understand some blogs have a ton of work to do, but engaging with readers should be the main reason you blog anyway. It should be their top priority in the blog world.

  6. I don’t know if I look for “healthy living bloggers” rather, I love to read blogs about daily life that I can relate to. I like to watch weight lifting YouTube channels for that same reason. Sure, I don’t weight lift and they do, but a large part of the channel is just daily life. I will really only keep reading a blog is the author comments back. I think that is crucial to keeping me engaged. I don’t care if they read my blog, but at least a word or two back is just nice.
    I feel like I follow two types of blogs for specific reasons. The first is what I mentioned above, I like the daily life and relatable quality. The second type are usually about running or recipes and I hardly comment on those because I don’t want to get to know the author, I just want to learn from what they are posting.
    Your blog is in the first category for me 🙂

  7. Being open and honest are so important in a blog. It’s also something to keep in mind when looking at Instagram, too! I think we are all predisposed to only posting the best photos with the perfect filter, and we are hesitant to post anything that falls below that expectation. Even when it comes to food – only posting photos of organic/vegetable/whatever “healthy” foods and not the cake or candy we also enjoy (cause that’s good for us, too!). It’s tough to step outside of that comfort zone!

    I laughed out loud after reading this line: “someone else just followed an “easy” 10 mile run with an awesome grain-free/organic/every-vegetable-under-the-sun salad.” If I ran 10 miles I’m getting an egg and cheese bagel to go along with that salad…let’s be honest…alllll the carbs 🙂

    1. Yes I think Instagram is definitely a huge place for false expectations! Sometimes I worry that people may perceive I eat treats not in moderation, but it’s worth that risk for me if I can show balance to others!
      Lol right?? Give me that bagel!!

  8. I love this, Kate! I have a bunch of blogs that I loved reading a few years ago but now they kind of feel icky to me. I think that starting my own blog has completely changed the way I see and read other blogs – in a good way and a bad way.

  9. I always try to find blog where blogger sounds familiar for me. Like, we must be friends if we live close, but we live in different country so I read your blog instead 😉 Also, sometimes I am shy for commenting because my English is poor. But some topics are so good, I can`t be silent.

  10. This is great! I’ve actually been thinking about this, too, and have cut out some of the blogs and IGs I used to follow for various reasons. Mostly because I don’t feel they’re truly healthy, they seem disingenuous (everything is sponsored or a shill for a MLM product!!!), or they get rude/defensive with their readers
    I hope I am an authentic blogger. I have so many different ideas circling my head that I tend to jump from subject to subject! I still struggle to find my identity as a blogger.
    I wish I had more time to comment on other blogs, but I make sure to reply to comments on my posts because engagement is important to me. I would use up all my phone data if I commented on every awesome post I read, so instead I try to quickly share a link on Twitter or FB. I feel like other blogs – even the big ones – should do the same.
    Mostly, I read bloggers I relate to (lots of mom blogs lately, but not exclusively), who write coherently (typos here and there are ok – we all do it!), and who actually have something TO SAY. I think that’s why TOL posts are my favorite!

    1. Too many sponsored posts have ruined a lot of blogs for me… It’s like they forget why they started blogging.
      I understand not being able to comment on everything. I do the same. I try to at least comment on most!

  11. I LOVE this, because I do love reading about blogger’s daily lives. I find them interesting. I love relating to their struggles, their ups, and downs. I love wishing their loved ones, ‘Happy birthday,’ and I’m so grateful that Bloggers Gonna Blog has pointed me to some of my FAVORITE blogs. You are one of my favorite blogs Kate, and I’m constantly learning from you.

  12. This is great–I have recently stopped reading certain blogs I used to read for the fact that I didnt enjoy reading them anymore!
    I notice when there are a lot of typos and when people always do really long posts. I must say, I too want to see people commenting back!
    I’m glad I found this blog because I really enjoy reading it!

    1. Yeah, for a while I read certain blogs out of habit then I realized I could be spending that time reading and getting close to bloggers I really relate to!
      I am glad we found each other! I apologize in advance for my terrible tendency to write typos 😉

  13. The first question solidifies it for me. I used to read a lot of blogs that honestly left me feeling guilty for my own lifestyle. Nothing on them at all because they aren’t intentionally doing this! It’s just not something conducive to the life I’m trying to live right now.

  14. This couldn’t have come at a more timely time! I actually just left the BGB community for that reason – I found it slightly tempting to follow every single blog and just seeing a ton of posts that didn’t leave me feeling too good about changes I knew I needed to make for my own health – and made me feel guilty or bad for eating a packet of crisps or resting Rsther then running. Helps to know I’m not alone or crazy for getting affected!

    I guess another thing I’m learning is that the blogs. Follow will probably change as I change my interests and what I write about. Currently, though, you’re one of my favorites and I’m hoping that continues to be the case!

    1. You are definitely not alone. I don’t think we always realize how much things we read us effect us half the time.
      I am so glad that I am one of your favorites. I try to be honest and open always!

  15. I think these are all really great questions. I’ve never consciously asked myself questions about following a blogger, but there have definitely been blogs and social media accounts that I’ve had to unfollow because they either do not make me feel good, or they do not seem “real.”

  16. So true, I couldn’t agree more! We are all human and life isn’t perfect–I love a blog that can express the bad with the good!

  17. I love this, and thank you so much for including my link!! I look for authenticity in blogs- I love reading about a person’s life: the good AND the bad! It shows us that we’re all human! I also look for more than just reviews on products and daily eats, I love reading about life beyond food too 🙂

  18. What a hard question. I guess I agree with you that I appreciate honesty in blogs, and vulnerability. But I also appreciate blogs that have a sense of humor. I good serious, vulnerable post is wonderful, but my favorite blogs make me laugh, too. : )
    Also, good recipes. I know they say photos are everything in the food blogging world, and maybe that’s true, but it’s when I try the recipes and they turn out great that I go back to them over and over again.

  19. As a fitness professional I love reading healthy lifestyle blogs that are both personal, but that don’t swing in a crazy direction. I have commented openly on a few that step over the line from telling their own experience to promoting things they aren’t qualified to do. I think part of being authentic is being real about what kind of “advice” you can give.

    1. Great point! I struggle a lot with how to approach situations that I feel go over line. Part of me feels like it is not my place, but I worry about all those who see it!

      1. I feel like if we’re all part of a community, that it’s all of our job to “police ” the community and make it a great and safe space for all. Speak up when you see wrong or questionable and it opens the discussion further. …that’s my opinion.

  20. I love this! I definitely look for authenticity in blogs. That means sharing good AND bad, and I find that if a blog *just* has recipes or workouts, I’m much less inclined to visit it. I want to know about the fabulous meal you made or workout you did AND all the other stuff happening. Maybe that’s because I’m nosy (hey, I’ll admit it), but I think it also has to do with the fact that if I think someone is killing every workout and eating perfectly presentable food all the freaking time, I know I can’t relate to that person. The rough edges allow for so much connection, and I think that’s super special.

  21. I really needed to read this, sometimes I find myself questioning why I read certain blogs and have recently started to narrow in on a few I really like whilst discovering more blogs from which I can actually learn and grow as well as become part of a community of like-minded people. These are some really useful question that I will definitely start asking myself on discovery of a new blog. Thank you 🙂

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