File this under things I can’t believe: as of last week, I’ve officially been blogging for 10 years!
When I first started my blog, I was in the middle of taking prerequisites and applying to grad schools to become a Registered Dietitian.
I had just moved back to DC after teaching English in Prague for a year and was ready to make a career change (I was previously working in the communications/PR/writing world in DC).
Since starting my blog, I have:
- Moved from DC to NC (in August 2010) to pursue my Masters of Public Health (MPH) in Nutrition at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Moved back to DC (in May 2012) to complete my summer and fall dietetic internships
- Gotten married! (October 13, 2012)
- Graduated with my MPH in Nutrition (December 2012)
- Passed the exam to officially become a Registered Dietitian! (February 2013)
- Started my own nutrition counseling private practice (AnneTheRD.com) (February 2013)
- Run my first full marathon (November 2013) – and later my second, the LA Marathon (March 2014), and third, the Marine Corps Marathon (October 2016) + well over a dozen half marathons
Somewhere in all those years my blog turned into a large part of my career – not something I necessarily planned, but something I’m grateful for. (If you want to read more about blogging as a business, check out this post: How to Make Money as a Blogger.)
I thought it would be fun to do a little Q&A/”greatest hits” post in honor of the 10 year blog anniversary, so I asked you guys if you had any questions for me (via the blog + on Instagram stories).
Here’s what you wanted to know!
Enjoy – and if you have any other questions, I’m happy to answer them in the comments.
What are your all-time most popular blog posts?
I actually have a blog post about this already: My Top 9 Most Popular Recipes + Posts. Check it out!
(I just double checked and that post is still accurate except that my Mix + Match Stir Fry Recipes post has now made it into the top 9 – Pinterest is excited about that post apparently!)
I also shared a post last year with my personal recipe faves from over the years: 9 Blog Recipes We Make Again and Again.
How did you overcome fear of getting started?
I thought about starting a healthy living/food blog for about a year before I actually did, and I was totally kicking myself for not doing it sooner! But I was nervous about the time commitment (back then healthy living bloggers posted 7 days a week, some more than once a day – whoa) so I put it off for ages.
I was also busy with my very first blog, which was a travel blog about my experiences living and teaching in Prague. It was mostly just for family and friends but it was a fun way to dip my toes into the blogging world.
When I moved back to the US, it took me about 5 months to get up the courage to start this new blog because I felt like I had to have the perfect post to kick things off with – some awesome recipe or deeply insightful musings or something.
But in the end, one day I just woke up and said: “If I don’t do this now, I never will. My first post doesn’t have to be super special, I just have to start.”
So I did! Here’s my first blog post – kind of random, right? I always feel more inspired and energized by new projects in the fall so it makes sense I started my blog in the fall, too.
For the first few years I had my blog I posted 7 days a week and I can’t even imagine doing that now. I eventually switched to 5 days a week (just weekdays), when I was doing my full time grad school internships, still doing some grad school coursework, AND planning my wedding, and just didn’t have a minute of extra time to breathe.
When Riese was born, I went down to 4 days a week… and then at the start of this year I decided it made more sense to post 3 days a week, which is my current routine – Monday/Wednesday/Friday.
It feels like a good balance and I’m sticking with it (for now, at least)!
What posts from over the years are you most proud of?
Ah, I love this question. I have a few.
First, this very personal post: A Tale of Middle School Bullying, because it was tough to write but it felt important to share.
I’m also very proud of some of the nutrition-themed posts I’ve written over the years, because I hope they have helped others. Here are a few:
- Why I Don’t Recommend Whole30 (controversial, but I stand by what I said)
- Why the Low Fat and Cholesterol Diet Craze was a Huge Fail (still ordering fat free lattes and eating egg whites? read this)
- 7 Common Nutrition Myths (that you shouldn’t be fooled by!)
- How to Get Rid of Sugar Cravings
- Why You Should Throw Away Your Scale
Have you ever considered writing a book?
I’ve been flattered to be approached a few times with pitches (mostly re: cookbooks, but also once for an Intuitive Eating themed book), but at the end of the day it just hasn’t felt like what I wanted to throw myself into.
I spend so much time working alone on the blog that an extra time-consuming side project that had me doing MORE solo work just didn’t feel like a good fit. As an extrovert, I want side projects to help connect me with other people in person. 🙂
What have been your favorite brands to work with?
I’ve had the privilege of working with a ton of great brands over the years, but a few all-time faves of mine are the following because of a combination of awesome products + awesome people at the brands + long term partnerships that meant we really got to know each other.
- Cabot Cheese (their sharp cheddar rocks my world, and I’ve done a lot of fun fitness-related partnerships with them, too – I love their commitment to fitness and health! I had the opportunity to attend 3 of their awesome Cabot Fit Team trips where other bloggers and I ran a cool New England race. See also: 2013 Cabot Fit Team Trip to Maine + Cabot Adventures in Maine in 2015 + Middlebury, VT Adventures with Cabot in 2016. Matt and I also got to run the Charleston Half Marathon with Cabot, and I was able to put together a team for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in 2016 and 2017 thanks to Cabot, too!)
- Brooks Running – I was one of their blogger ambassadors for 6 years (!). I had already been wearing and loving their shoes for awhile so I was thrilled to come on board when they invited me back in January 2013. In addition to getting to test out a lot of great apparel, we also had a really fun ambassador trip every year and everyone I met from Brooks was always really cool and genuine. I was happy to promote them! They sadly didn’t renew my contract this year (which is totally fair, because in 2017 and 2018 I wasn’t doing much running due to pregnancy and then postpartum), but I still <3 them.
- The Watermelon Board – I’ve worked with them for years and love their team and of course the product! 😉 In addition to sharing lots of fun watermelon recipes on the blog, I also ran the Marine Corps Marathon with them in 2016 and have done the Marine Corps 10k with them a few years now too – Matt and I are excited to run it again with them next month!
I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting but those are just a few that immediately came to mind. 🙂
What’s the coolest sponsored trip you’ve ever done?
I’ve been fortunate to get to do a lot of cool trips over the years thanks to the blog! You can see all of them over on my travel page, but a few all-time faves are:
- An adventure-themed press trip with the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism (adventure/outdoorsy trips are the best and this was even more awesome because it was in the DR! Recaps: Running in the Dominican Republic + Dominican Republic Trip: The Food + Dominican Republic Trip: The Adventures!)
- An “adrenaline-themed” press trip in Quebec, Canada – incredibly beautiful AND a super fun, adventurous itinerary (recaps: Exploring the Outaouais Region of Canada: Day 1 + Day 2 + Day 3 + Day 4)
- Running the Reach the Beach 200 Mile Overnight Running Relay with a team of blogger buddies thanks to New Balance was also amazing (recaps: 12 Bloggers, 200 Miles. + We Did It! + Leg 1 Recap + Leg 2 Recap (“The Banana Diaries”) + Leg 3 Recap: Reaching the Beach!)
- And one more big fave was a trip with the Westin in Beaver Creek, Colorado because Matt got to join me on that one which was a special treat! Westin hotels are awesome for runners because of their run guides and their running gear rental offerings – so cool.
I’ve done a lot of cool food-focused trips as well, but the adventure/outdoorsy or running-focused ones are always my absolute faves. I just love a good adventure and active travel enjoyed in beautiful scenery. 🙂
Where do you think blogs are heading? Will they still be a thing in 5 years?
This is an interesting question and I honestly have no idea! Blogging has changed SO much in the 10 years I’ve been doing it.
When I started my blog in 2009, Twitter was the main social media channel that bloggers were using – and everyone used it more to chat vs. as a giant link share like it is now. Instagram wouldn’t exist for a few more years, and neither would Pinterest. Facebook was certainly a thing but it was wasn’t business-focused like it is now.
The creation of Pinterest and Instagram in particular, as well as sites like Tastespotting and Foodgawker, I think really changed the game in terms of how good everyone’s photos needed to be to get noticed/continue to get traffic.
In the old days, you could post a less than perfect photo and it didn’t matter – everyone was there for the content, and blog posts were a lot more casual/less polished.
Now, so much more of it is visual, and everyone has shorter attention spans and more competition in terms of so many blogs/influencers to follow, too, so it feels like there is more pressure to make posts polished because those are the posts that will get ongoing traffic from social media later on.
I sometimes miss blogging in the early days because it felt a lot more casual and connected – everyone was part of a big community and I was a lot more silly and open on my blog than I think I am now.
That said, I do try to still do a lot of casual/lifestyle content on the blog without great photos/polished everything because I know that you guys still appreciate the less fancy stuff. It’s just that you have to do the fancy stuff too now or else you get no traffic from Google or Pinterest. 😉
As for whether blogs will still be a thing in 5 years, I definitely think they will, but I think the focus will continue to be on social media to support blog efforts. It will be interesting to see what the new big social channel is in 5 years!
Do you see yourself still blogging in another 10 years?
I have no idea! I just take it day by day. As long as I’m still enjoying it, and as long as it is still bringing in solid revenue, I’ll keep going – but the content may shift as I get older and my interests and what I’m willing to share change.
Only time will tell. 🙂
How is your blog different now than you envisioned it 10 years ago?
When I first started my blog I think I planned to do mostly food (hence the title), but then it quickly morphed into a lot of running/fitness stuff and life stuff, too. I found I really liked writing about fitness and travel adventures in particular, and I started getting more into running, so naturally my blog started to include a lot more of that content, too, versus just the food/recipes.
I still love mixing it up and switching up the content here on the blog – and I’m glad you guys seem to enjoy that, too, because clearly I can’t be limited to just one topic. 😉
Thank you for joining me on this trip down memory lane!
And now, I will close with a question for you guys:
How and when did you first find my blog? What keeps you coming back?
Thank you so much for reading, sharing comments and advice, and for making this a happy and inspirational place for others to come to. I wouldn’t still be here without all of you!
p.s. Want to start your own blog? Check out my how to start a blog post!