Blogging is a great creative exercise, a great way to help other people, and a great way to make some extra money. Since I’ve been blogging for a long time – I started in 2013 – I’ve learned a lot. I’ve written well over 1,000 blog posts, I’ve made a fair amount of money over the years, and I’ve helped a lot of people through writing about my health experiences. (I’m not making that up – I have a lot of comments and emails from people telling me that I’ve helped them.) I know that you can do the same with your health blog, so I want to share my experience in the hope that it will help new health bloggers.
“New” can be mean that you haven’t even published your blog yet or it can mean that you’ve been blogging for less than a year. Wherever you are in your journey, please know that these are tips that would have applied when I started blogging in 2013 and that will apply in 2030. These are not tips that will always be applicable, basically.
Now that I’ve said that, let’s get into the tips.
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12 Tips for New Health Bloggers
Use an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar is a calendar where you keep track of your blog post dates, categories, and topics ahead of time. Basically, you decide what you will write about on what days in a calendar format.
Editorial calendars help you be more organized as a blogger and not stress every time you need to figure out what to write about. They help you make sure you don’t post about really similar topics two days or posts in a row, which keeps your readers coming back since they know that you’re going to write about new and interesting thing every post.
The biggest thing I wish I had done from the beginning is use an editorial calendar. It has been incredibly helpful in a wide variety of ways, and that’s especially true for health bloggers. We often need to do more research for our posts, and planning ahead is crucial to do that. Plus, you might want to write posts for various awareness days or months, and you need to know when those are in order to do it.
Try a variety of tools and strategies to find what works for you
Not every strategy out there is going to work for you and your blog. That’s okay! Something that can help you is trying a variety to see what works. Starting in 2015, I started trying 1 strategy for growing my blog per month. I did this because very few tools are something you do or change once and then it makes a big difference. Doing that strategy for a month helped me really figure out if it worked or not.
That being said, in the 6 years since I started doing this, I tried at least 60 tools or strategies. They weren’t all helpful, but they could all help some blogs. Not all strategies are helpful for every single blog. Plus, these strategies often need to be used for weeks if not months in order for them to work.
Every year since 2015, I’ve written posts with a huge variety of strategies and tools for growing your blog. You can check them out below, or get the free ebook filled with strategies here.
Use free tools and strategies while you figure out what is worth paying for (for your blog)
Some of the things in those posts linked above are paid, but a lot of them are free. I strongly suggest using free things as much as possible while you figure out what you personally need that has to be paid for. Blogging can be really really expensive, especially if you pay for everything that is sold.
For example, I’m not a fashion blogger, so I’m not going to shell out money for a DLSR, and if you’re starting out a health blogger, your phone probably works for your camera.
Similarly, this post is a free resource, almost like a free version of my ebook. (Almost – as close as you can get before a paid resource.)
Basically, use free tools like Canva before you buy something like Photoshop. Figure out what you specifically need for your blog that has to be paid for. Don’t spend money on things you don’t necessarily need!
Remember that you don’t have to master everything for blogging right away
No one is expected to be an expert right away, so don’t put that pressure on yourself.
Blogging takes a lot of skills, which a lot of people don’t realize before they start. So don’t worry too much about being an expert.
Here are some skills you will cultivate as a blogger:
- Photo editing
- Social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.)
- Scheduling social media
- Email marketing
Don’t expect yourself to be an expert on all right out the gate!Advice for new health bloggers Click To Tweet
If you’re serious about blogging, look for a self-hosted platform
If your blog is not self-hosted, you do not own your content. So once you’ve been blogging for a few months and/or you know for sure you’re going to keep blogging, look for a self-hosted platform.
Self-hosting costs money. It is not cheap, which is why I didn’t do it at first. Or for the first few years. In fact, I waited until I won a contest where the prize was getting set up with self-hosting and having all of your content transferred from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress. Because in addition to the price, it can be complicated to switch.
There are several website hosting platforms, and I use self-hosted WordPress. I explain 8 different platforms in this post, and review WordPress if you’re looking for more information on my experience with it.
Always include a disclaimer when writing about health
This is a legal thing. All bloggers need to protect themselves legally, but it’s a bit trickier for health bloggers. Because people might be taking health advice from you, if you’re not a licensed medical professional you need to say this in any posts with health advice.
A Self Guru, who is a lawyer, says that disclaimers “limit your liability surrounding the content that you create […] a proper blog disclaimer lets your readers know that the information you are providing is for informational and educational purposes only and includes language in there to reduce your legal liability in case of harm to the other person” (x).
My go to disclaimer is: “I am not a medical professional. In this post I share my personal experience. Any advice from medical professionals is described as such.” It’s straight and to the point!
Your newsletter is super important because it might be one of your only audiences that you can guarantee you can reach. Additionally, the readers who are subscribed are often your readers who are most interested in your content.
Your newsletter can bring you more traffic and it can make you money. But it can take a while to build your audience, which is why you want to start building it ASAP. You can send them new blog posts, give them sneak peaks of your content, make them free downloads, or something else all together.
You don’t have to go with a paid newsletter platform! There are several free newsletter options. I personally use MailerLite. They have what’s called the ForeverFree plan, which is for less than 1,000 subscribers and less than 12,000 emails per month. Since I send emails weekly – and only occasionally more than that – it was perfect. I’m not sending 12 emails a month! But even the free plan has awesome forms, landing pages, newsletter templates, and more.
Once you’ve written and published at least 14 posts, be sure to promote a blog post every day
The reason I say 14 posts is you don’t want to inundate your social media followers with the same posts over and over and over again. But basically, just because you don’t have a new blog post doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote your blog.
I try to share posts that are at least a month old, but since I’ve been blogging since 2013, I have a lot of posts to promote. If you’re a new blogger with few posts, then I might not go with that strategy just yet.
Additionally, while I promote new posts in Facebook groups for bloggers, I don’t promote old posts in Facebook groups. This is because lots of those groups ask for you to promote new posts, but also because I don’t want to annoy my fellow bloggers in these groups. However, if someone asks a question, and I have a post that answers that question, I will share it in the comments as a response
Join networks for health bloggers specifically
“Networks” can mean a couple of things. One is about networks for networking, such as the Chronic Illness Bloggers group on Facebook. (It’s one of my favorite Facebook groups!) Facebook groups like this help to get your blog shared and to get more followers on social media.
Another meaning of “networks” is about ways to make money from your blog. I super suggest. you join the WEGO Health network! It’s a great way to learn more about how to help people with your blog and social media, and they also have an incredible amount of paid opportunities.
I talk more about how to make money from your health blog in my ebook for chronic health bloggers.
Remember that your integrity as a health blogger is integral
This is true for all bloggers, but especially for health bloggers.
At the end of the day, your value to others comes from sharing helpful information. You can only be believed if your integrity is intact.
It’s completely understandable for bloggers to want to make money, so ads and selling products is all good. But it if appears that you have an ulterior motive to your blog, if you’re sketchy in some way? You can lose all respect.
People will read your blog and share your posts if they trust you.
If they don’t trust you? You can lose everything. You can be sued, lose partnerships, be banned from groups, you get the picture.
So basically, if you lose your integrity? You’re done.Tips that new health bloggers need Click To Tweet
Be sure not to spread inaccurate information
This goes into my previous point, but a part of your integrity is to not spread inaccurate information. There are a couple of reasons why.
One – Spreading inaccurate information can hurt people. Even if you include a disclaimer saying that you’re not a medical professional, people might take your advice or treat your blog as a medical resource. If you include information that you think is true but actually isn’t, someone can get hurt.
Two – Like I said, your integrity is important. If you spread inaccurate information, then you’re jeopardizing your integrity. Spreading inaccurate information once can be really damaging forever. Even if (maybe especially if) it’s an accident.
This might seem obvious, but it’s still something that needs to be said.
Do. Not. Plagiarize.
I had a situation a few years ago where someone straight-up copied my posts and published them to their site.
Basically, they copied whole posts, including the images I made for those posts. This is especially important to know because Pinterest is my biggest source of traffic and they used my images – optimized to get the most traffic possible – to get traffic to their site, their post that was actually my post. And at the very end of each post, they linked back to my site, but they didn’t have my permission to reproduce my content. That was plagiarism/copyright infringement.What new health bloggers need to know Click To Tweet
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