Health Blog Helper is Back

Don't be alarmed — your Google reader isn't broken. After close to a year without updates, there really is a new post on Health Blog Helper.

Where I've been

Ten months ago, I decided to stop updating this blog. I did it so that I could focus all my energies on my main blog, No Meat Athlete, which I sensed was on the brink of something big.

That, it turns out, was a smart decision.

I've worked incredibly hard on NMA since then. I've written and launched two ebooks, expanded the line of logo products, and grown the subscriber base to over 6,500 and the email list to near 10,000. Oh yeah, and the company now employs two other people, Susan and Ben, part-time.

I'm proud of all of this, but mostly I'm proud to know that my blog is no longer a just blog — it's my job and full-time business. It's a business that advances a cause I care about, but also one that pays the bills and allows me to do what I love for a living. And for as long as I can remember (probably ever since I gave up wanting to be a professional indoor soccer player when I was in the second grade), that's been my goal.

Anyway, I'm not writing this to brag. I'm writing it because as I reassurrect Health Blog Helper, the most important thing I want you to realize is that turning your blog into a business — a real, full-time business that earns you real money — is not some pipe dream that everybody wants, but nobody gets.

If you want it enough, you can make it happen.

Two and a half years ago, I didn't have a blog.

In fact, I could count on one hand the number of blog posts I had ever read, and I couldn't have named a single blog out there (well, maybe Perez Hilton).

But I knew I wanted to start a business, and to do something with it that mattered. Blogging seemed like the place to start, since it was free and anyone could do it.

So what did I do? I got a free WordPress blog, I Googled "how to get blog readers," and I started learning.

(I actually remember reading an article that said you needed five "pillar" posts. And that once you got to 500 readers, it'd be self-sustaining. Turns out it took a little more work than that. :))

Next, I looked around and found the biggest blog I could that was somewhat related to my topic, and it was Eat Live Run. Jenna had recently become a full-time blogger, so I emailed her and asked her something like, "How do you get your blog to be so popular?"

To her immense credit, Jenna wrote me back. And from her advice, I learned a little more.

Far more important than the advice she gave, though, was the encouragement Jenna gave me.

She told me that I could do it.

That was what I needed to hear. From someone who herself had done the very thing I wanted to, and surely knew what it took.

From that point on I never questioned whether or not I could turn this into a full-time gig. I just trusted that I could, accepted that I would if I kept working at it, and took every step required to get there.

Guess what? You can do it, too.

You have to be willing to learn and adapt, you have to be willing to work hard, and you have to be willing to hit "Publish" when it terrifies you to do so. But you can do it.

Jenna told me that I could do it. This is me telling you that you can do it.

How Health Blog Helper will change

When I started Health Blog Helper about two years ago, blogging was new to me. But even then, I figured other bloggers who might be less comfortable with technical stuff could use some help with the nuts and bolts: things like how to start self-hosting and how to get search engines to notice you. So I started it writing about those things.

That stuff isn't so interesting to me anymore. It's necessary, but it's only the beginning. And really, it's all stuff you could pay someone to set up for you, if you had a hundred bucks to spend on your site.

What's far more exciting to me now is the art of building a business with a blog. The stuff you can learn, but that you've got to do for yourself. Sure, it's a lot harder than just doing what you see everyone around you doing, but it's a lot more rewarding too.

I'm talking about things like:

  • How to create content that people care about and (this is important) serves a purpose
  • Why you shouldn't think of your blog as entertainment
  • How to get away from ad revenue and instead create products that you know will sell, because they solve problems that your readers have
  • The simple things you can do that make a gigantic difference in the way people value your opinion and care about what you write
  • How to build an email list and create a hugely valuable relationship with the people on it (example: my email list now costs me $150 a month to maintain on Aweber. If it didn't earn me a lot more than that, you'd better believe I wouldn't be paying it)
  • How to use social media to make your blog a brand, and find new people interested in your topic every day (in my niche, Facebook, not Twitter, is where it's at)
  • Productivity — how to avoid traps like checking email and stats all day, and form a routine that allows you to produce real, valuable work

That, and a whole lot more, is what I want to write about here now. I want to help you go from blog to business too.

So for that reason (and because I really miss writing about this type of thing), Health Blog Helper is back. It's hard to say right now whether it'll be two posts a week, one a week, or even a little less frequent than that. But it's back, and I'm excited about that.

If you want to come along for the ride, enter your email in the form below. You'll get updates whenever I post something new that can help you grow your blog into a real business.

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