Blogging for Health: Some Highlights (and Lowlights) to Help Get you Started

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Are you looking to start blogging about health (whatever the word health means to you)?

 

A quick Google search for “health blog” turns up over 1.3 billion sites, demonstrating just how much information is already out there.

 

So then how are you supposed to set your health blog apart from the others out there? This guide will help highlight some of the most (and least!) effective aspects of currently published blogs to help set you on the right path.

 

THE HIGHLIGHTS

 

  1. Organization

 

Born Fitness

 

This blog is by far my favorite in the way information is organized.

 

The categories (general topics of the blog) and a search bar are blocked off on an anchored column on the left hand side, while the right column, “Posts of the Week”, highlights one of the posts in each category. It is simple and doesn’t distract the reader from the main content in the middle column, while allowing several articles to be highlighted. While there are three columns rather than the two suggested by Heather Mansfield, it doesn’t overwhelm the reader and the block design is simple and clean.

 

Well, the NY Times health blog

 

The NY Times health blog also organizes its posts into several categories, even including some broad topics like pets. This really allows the user to quickly find the information they are looking for while keeping the homepage of the blog less cluttered. Their right-hand column highlights questions off of one of their interactive features, “Ask”, which allows users to ask health questions of the community of users. This function increases the amount of time people spend interacting with the site and the number of clicks each of these questions receive.

 

The lowlights: The Kitchn, Yoga Dork

These blogs can benefit from overall better organization, mostly as a result from the number of ads on the pages that detract from the main content. While the sites need revenue to keep the lights on, I feel like the lesson “less is more” is appropriate here. Less advertising might bring on more steady readers who are willing to come more frequently for the content, now that they can focus on reading it.

 

  1. Creating fresh content

 

One Medical Group blog

 

This blog does a great job about putting out fresh, relevant content. Very recently they put up a post about the counterculture favorite, Burning Man, and their 10 tips for staying healthy at the event. I feel like this is a great way to reach out to their target demographic- the tuned and plugged-in, health-conscious San Franciscan who wants to get away and get back to the counterculture roots of the city. They are also putting out several posts a week on a variety of topics. Some include MDs as guest bloggers and there are a variety of formats (including lists, provocative questions).

 

The Salt, NPR’s food and food science blog

 

NPR does a great job of including different content formats in their food & food science blog. Since they are primarily a producer of radio media, each post includes a sound bite, which I think is great for drawing in a different variety of people. The topic of food and food science is admittedly broad, but the information presented on the different topics is a way to bring in traffic to the site by appealing to topics that people may not otherwise think about.

 

The lowlights: Lift Like a Girl

 

Lift Like a Girl averages about one post a week on a wide range of topics, however to increase traffic to the site, I would recommend posting about 2-3 a week. This is a topic that is very popular these days and more articles that tag topics related to female lifters will keep Lift Like a Girl at the top of search engines. Newer content is constantly coming out in today’s world of easy blogging- you want to make sure that your blog is keeping up with it!

 

  1. Sharing

 

I wanted to shout out Born Fitness again here. Each article’s “tile” has options to share via ShareThis (a widget allowing you to increase sharing via various platforms), or via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, as well as the share stats. Sharing is a snowball effect- the more people who see it, the more people who share it. You want to make it easy to share so you can drive traffic to your blog.

 

We hope this is a helpful introduction to blogging for health!

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One thought on “Blogging for Health: Some Highlights (and Lowlights) to Help Get you Started

  1. I liked how you put together an informational post about how to set up a blog post. I thought your examples of good and bad posting strategies were really effective. My only constructive critique is related to the graphic at the top of the post, which seemed pretty large. Great stuff, Jersey!

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