I’m Thinking Out Loud about what I’ve learned, what I’ve gained, and some of the highlights of my first year blogging as Chocolaterunsjudy. Actually it’s 364 days . . . tomorrow is my blogoversary.
I’m going to run down a few stats from the blog, why I blog, and what I hope to do with the blog going forward.
My first post
Starting a blog had been on my mind a long time, but I don’t know what possessed me to actually push the publish button on my first post on 6/3/15: A runner is born. It was short and sweet.
Just like I don’t really know what possessed me to start running, only I don’t know the date I started.
Since that day a year ago, I’ve run 2 more halfs (and am now up to 10 states) — one was a new PR and one most decidedly was not. I also ran my first 15k. I met my first blogger aside from Darlene and have hopes of meeting quite a few more in 2016.
I have often wondered why I couldn’t have started blogging just a few months earlier — I missed meeting so many of you at ZOOMA Annapolis last year!
I also figured I’d just post a few times a week until I got my bearings. But there are so many great linkups out there, I started posting and just couldn’t stop! Linkups I participate in regularly:
- Weekly Wrap
- Tuesdays on the Run
- Wednesday Word
- Thinking Out Loud Thursdays
- Friday 5
- The Ultimate Coffee Date
Thanks for reading & commenting
This isn’t my first blog, but it’s the first blog (aside from work many years ago) where I was successful at connecting with my peeps.
If you’ve taken the time to read and comment, it means a lot to me. It’s cool if you just read, too, and if that’s the case, I hope I’ve either made you feel better, educated you, entertained you, or just made you smile.
Many thanks to my top recent commenters:
- My friend Natalie
- Darlene @ My First 5k & More
- Paula @ Never a Dull Bling
- Karen @ Fit in France
- Ali @ Hit the Ground Running
And here are some of the wackier search terms that landed folks at the blog this year:
- Yoga and space dogs (no clue)
- Very long Lola pho (porn meets soup? Again, no clue, other than we have a Lola)
- Dolly adjust the sails (the last part was one of the quotes I used for Wednesday Word — I think it’s from a Dolly Parton song, but still an odd search)
- My sprained ankle family blog (again, no clue, I didn’t sprain my ankle & this is not a family blog)
Your Favorite Posts
Here are the top ten posts from my first year of blogging:
- Do you save the best for last or dive right in?
- Traveling with food so I can enjoy food
- My idea of meal prep
- Is the Garmin Vivoactive right for you?
- 5 Things I do everyday
- The food-running cycle
- Taking the chocolate out of Chocolaterunsjudy
- 5 Favorite Postrun Snacks
- 5 Top Race Swag
- Be Your Own Coach
Apparently my food posts are popular. Hardly shocking considering how often I write about food. Small wonder a previously failed blog was about food and cookbooks.
Getting my ideas out there
One thing blogging has given me: an outlet for the crazy thoughts in my head. I like running because, unlike a lot of people, it helps me to not think so much. I spend most of my days by myself (with the furkids), so I tend to also spend a lot of time thinking odd thoughts.
Mr. Judy doesn’t always care to hear my crazy thoughts, but I can almost always find someone on the Interwebs to listen.
My running village
My SIL recently asked me why I blogged. She really just couldn’t understand why anyone would spend so much time on something that doesn’t connect you with others and pays nothing.
I hope someday to change the latter, although I’m not sure I ever will. The former — well, that is definitely one of the main reasons I’m still blogging — the awesome friendships I’ve formed with people I’ve never met and might never meet — although I’m working on it.
And suddenly everyone is asking me when I’m coming to their state. The answer is I don’t know! It’s not like there’s a big plan, even though I like to plan. We did concentrate on the states we could drive to, but we’re rapidly “running” out of those.
Yes, I like to plan, and yes, I even have some ideas of which halfs I might do in 2017, but I had ideas about 2016, too, and in the end I didn’t do a single half in 2016 I originally thought I might.
Or at least, they’re not on the plan.
A few things I’ve learned
It will take time to get to know other bloggers. For the longest time just keeping names straight was really hard for me — after all, I know a Debbie, a Deb, a Deborah.
I’m sure for months my comments may have come across as needy, too. I can be that way when I first meet someone. Pick me! Notice Me! Like Me!
Over time I really got to know a few bloggers, and I get to know more and more as time goes by. As I wrote above, I truly think the other bloggers are the best thing about blogging.
I think to have a successful blog (and I’m still not really sure I put myself in that category) you need three things:
- Passion for your subject
- Post from the heart
- Getting involved in your blogging community
I won’t do a giveaway just in the hopes of getting new likes. If I have something to share with you, I definitely will. But I’m way more interested in interacting with other people than just getting some likes that will never interact with me.
Start free. Well, I’m hoping that one won’t come back to bite me. In the past, I’ve just jumped in and done a paid site. None of them took off. This time I started with a free WordPress site.
I’ve heard that it’s hard to move to a paid site from free WordPress, and there are things I want to do that I can’t do with a free site, but after one year I’ve only used up 30% of my storage space.
Not bad for no investment.
And today I’m breaking another “rule”: posts with graphics and photos do better. Sometimes it’s a choice between getting a post up and creating a graphic. Sometimes the graphics lose. And speaking of graphics, Picmonkey and Canva are your friends.
Where will CRJ go?
Seriously, who knows?
In some ways I’d like to back away . . . just a little. Post a little less often, read and comment on other people’s blogs more, write better quality posts.
Everytime I think about posting less, though, I try to figure out which linkup I won’t participate in and quite frankly I get so much out of all the linkups I can’t decide which one I’d drop!
Will I ever post more vlogs? Yes, if I have something to say. And obviously nothing has struck me as being so important that it requires taping myself talking to you recently. Maybe the recovery post if I ever get to it. Sometimes things have to rattle around in my head a long time before they come out here.
One thing you can rest assured of: I will continue to share with you all my passions. My primary focus will always be running, but I put chocolate and my own name in my blog name, after all.
I’ll continue to share photos of Lola and Giz, my fashion finds, my food, and whatever else catches my fancy.
And maybe I could earn just a little money from the blog in the next year? Pretty please? Enough so I can consider going to paid host?
You know, if you don’t put it out there, it won’t happen. You still have to do the work, but sometimes just writing it down makes it more real. And possible.
Why did you start to blog?
What do you think is the best thing about blogging?
What are your goals for your blog?
I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her: