15 reasons I am a rubbish blogger

A recent glut of review posts made me feel I was the only running blogger not asked to review a pair of trainers for Millet Sports. After spending a few minutes feeling sorry for myself, I realised that although I’ve been blogging intermittently since March 2013, I’m still a rubbish blogger.

I am a rubbish blogger because…

1. I don’t have a blogging schedule or planner. Seriously, what on earth is a blogging planner? Is it just a standard diary with ‘Blogging Planner’ embossed on the front cover in gold letters? I’ve already got a standard diary and a running log. Do I even need a blogging planner?

2. I’m an inconsistent blogger. Some months I’ll write 2-3 blogs a week, other months I’ll hit a blogging slump and my blog will gather virtual dust. Apparently readers like regular updates; personally I prefer quality over quantity.

3. Apparently my blog statistics etc aren’t great. Serious bloggers are obsessed with their blog and social media statistics. My blog averages about 100 page views a day. I couldn’t give a toss if someone unfollows me on Instagram. My Facebook page is followed by the not so grand total of 18 people. After almost 12 months this is quite frankly, rubbish!

4. My website design and layout is crap. I look at other people’s blogs and think that they look really professional. I look at my own blog and think it looks crap. Perhaps one of my New Year’s blogging resolutions should have been to update the layout of my blog?

the-phd-runnerNot the most professional looking blog in the world…

5. My blog name is out of date. I completed my PhD ages ago so I should really update the name of my blog from ‘The PhD Runner’ to something slightly more relevant. I’ve been umming and ahhing about updating the name of my blog for ages. I’ve even made a list of potential new names e.g. ‘The Brummie Runner’, ‘The Running Academic’, ‘Run Brummie Run’ and ‘The Balanced Brummie’ but that’s as far as I’ve got. To be honest I find the whole idea of renaming and re-branding my blog slightly overwhelming.

6. I live in Birmingham. I receive invites to fitness classes and events in London on an almost daily basis. Great! I’m yet to receive an invite to a class or event in Birmingham. Perhaps there is a perception that people outside of London don’t work out or run? Guess what PRs; there is life outside of the M25!

7. I’ve no idea what SEO, PA and DA are. Although I know what the acronyms are short for, I’ve got no idea what they actually mean. My Domain Authority (DA) is 21 and my Page Authority (PA) is 34. What?

8. I’m rubbish at commenting on other blogs. While I’ll spend ages reading other running blogs, I’m rubbish at commenting and providing feedback. Sorry! I’m determined to comment more on your posts in 2017. However, if you use Disqus, as a WordPress user I’m unable to comment on your blogs. I’ve no idea why.

9. My photos are terrible. Some of the running and fitness bloggers I follow have progressed from selfies to professional looking running action photos. I’m still stuck with the not so awesome combination of terrible selfies, ‘action’ photos taken by my very reluctant friend, and not very flattering race photos. I guess the camera doesn’t lie. At the age of 37 with grey hair and a muffin top, my photogenic days are behind me.

kenyan-hillsAnother slightly out of focus ‘action’ photo…

10. I’m not actually very good at writing. I’ve realised that although I’ve got a PhD, I’m definitely more of a numbers than a words type of person. I’m pretty certain that my old English teacher would award most of my blog posts with a C- grade. Can someone explain the current obsession with ‘gonna’ or ‘wanna’??

11. I don’t read through my posts before hitting publish. My method of publishing a blog post is as follows… Type waffle in Word, copy and paste waffle from Word into a new post, justify waffle, add some photos, write captions for my photos and then hit publish. I never, ever check my blog posts for typos. After accidentally typing brothels instead of boreholes in a report I wrote a few years ago, perhaps I should start?

12. I’m far too outspoken and honest. If I don’t like the way a brand promotes a product on social media, I’m not afraid to speak my mind. A couple of summers ago, several running brands worked with the same smallish group of London-based bloggers. One week these bloggers were promoting one brand of trainers, the following week the same bloggers were promoting a different brand. Confusing. Where did their loyalties lie? Do only 15 runners run in London? No! Why not give other running and fitness bloggers the opportunity to promote your products? I’ve learnt that when it comes to blogging, honesty isn’t always the best policy.

13. I like to test out my products thoroughly before reviewing them. On the rare occasions I’ve been sent products to review, I’ve spent weeks and in some cases months testing out each product. I’ve no idea how anybody can recommend a pair of trainers, running clothes or accessories after only one run? Some PRs don’t like being made to wait months for a product review. Sorry!

14. I hate oversharing my content on social media. To be a successful blogger you have to be willing to share your blog posts multiple times on several social media channels. I’ll generally share my posts once on twitter, Instagram and on Facebook (when I remember) and that’s it. I’m afraid that if I promote the same blog post multiple times I’ll piss people off. Perhaps I need to be brave and to promote my waffle on social media more?

15. I’m socially awkward. And finally and perhaps most importantly, I’m socially awkward. Like really socially awkward. The mere thought of attending a blogging event makes me feel slightly nauseous. Last year this resulted in me turning down invites to the Running Awards and to a couple of other events.

I really must try harder in 2017!

Have I missed anything? What do you think I could do to improve my blog? Please be honest, I won’t be offended.

What do you think makes a ‘good’ blogger? Personally, I prefer good content over professional photos.


17 thoughts on “15 reasons I am a rubbish blogger

  1. Helen says:

    I think you’re a good blogger and you’re one of the ones I really enjoy reading.

    I know some PRs get annoyed with me sometimes as I can take a while to review a product, but I want to be able to test it properly.

    Got to confess to being a stat junkie – but I also do blog management and outreach for others, so I need to know…plus I find it interesting, I’m geeky like that!


    • Emma says:

      Thanks for your lovely comments Helen; it means a lot receiving positive feedback from one of my favourite bloggers. Perhaps I will just keep on doing what I’m doing. One of most recent reviews was a couple of months overdue. After a slight delay in getting back to the PR – I genuinely had no idea what my measurement was and couldn’t find a measuring tape – got injured and was unable to run for several weeks. I did let the PR know that my review was going to be slightly delayed. I do get the impression that PRs and brands are used to bloggers producing almost instantaneous product reviews, I’ve genuinely got no idea how some bloggers have got the balls to write glowing reviews of a product they’ve tested once. Don’t get me wrong, I would definitely be a stats junkie if I could install Google Analytics. At the moment I can’t, this is probably a good thing.


  2. Maria @runningcupcake says:

    I much prefer reading yours than the sort of “professional” ones (especially full time bloggers- most of them have such boring lives and the posts are just full of reviews and recipes promoting one ingredient or something). I once got to review Quest bars, and they were not my kind of thing at all- I emailed the company asking if they still wanted my review, and they did, so I think I was diplomatic, but I didn’t say that I liked them, because I just can’t lie. I get a few invites for London things every now and then, and I am close, but often they are in the day, or at 6pm, and I can’t get in that quickly after work- I sometimes have to say “I do work full time..” because I think some of the PR people assume we all sit about in Starbucks all day.
    I don’t even know the page views of my blog any more- I used to get a monthly email from google (which I understood part) but it stopped going and I have no idea how to start it again. But then my blog is for fun really, and for me to ramble on about running to people who (hopefully) find it interesting, versus my friends who politely listen for a minute!
    The blogs I prefer are honest (and that doesn’t mean sharing everything, but just being truthful about things you are posting about), and give an insight into their lives. I don’t just want to read a training diary. I like your dry sense of humour- keep it up!


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Maria! I recently stopped following and reading a few of what were my favourite running and fitness blogs. Virtually every post was either a product review or a recipe promoting some impossible to find in my local supermarket ingredient. Coconut flour I’m looking at you! I’ll have to read your Quest bars review, I don’t think I’ve seen many not so positive product reviews. I almost get the impression that some bloggers are so afraid of upsetting PRs and brands they won’t write negative reviews. Earlier this week I received an invite to a pilates class in London, as I’ve never tried pilates I’m actually quite tempted to attend the class. You are right though, most PRs seem to forget that some bloggers do have other commitments.

      I tried to install Google Analytics, discovered that my blog wasn’t compatible and then decided I don’t really need any extra data. I only know my (apparently very inaccurate) page views because I’ve got the Word Press App on my phone. Like you, my blog is for fun. I only started blogging as an outlet for my running related ramblings. I don’t think most of my family and friends are even aware that I have a running blog. They got fed up hearing about my running injuries and racing woes years ago. I always do try to be honest but don’t share everything. I decided not to write weekly Cambridge Half Marathon training updates because like you I find reading training diaries quite dull. By the way, I had no idea I’ve got a dry sense of humour. This probably isn’t always a positive personality trait!


  3. AnnaTheApple says:

    I think you’re blog’s great! Some (maybe all…) of the bigger blogs are just full of sponsored posts, adverts and guff that I could read in a magazine, I like blogs that are “real”. Like I can tell you’re a genuine person and I can fully empathise with the stuff you talk about. You’re a normal person and I like that – I want to read about fellow runners like me 🙂
    My blog design is very basic and my name is odd. I wouldn’t worry about it! I think it looks fine. No horrifically annoying pop ups demanding me to sign up to a newsletter.


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Anna! I’ve always tried to keep my blog ‘real’ although perhaps at times my posts and observations have been slightly too honest. I love reading your blog because you come across as a really genuine, likeable person. I don, however, experience occasional food envy when you share photos of ribs and tasty looking puddings. I did find a slightly more professional looking blog template on Pipdig (I think it’s the Viva viva theme) but realised I can’t update my blog unless I upgrade from WordPress. It’s all quite confusing and I’m pretty lazy so I will probably leave my blog alone unless I think of a more relevant name. By the way, I don’t think your blog name is odd, it’s really relevant! Don’t get me started on irritating pop-ups. I could dedicate an entire ‘rant’ to irritating pop-ups.


  4. Tess @ FitBits says:

    You’re not rubbish at all. You’re honest and real, and haven’t been sucked into the influencer hype. We don’t all have the time or money to invest in proper blog design, website management, community management, outreach, marketing etc. oh and the actual blogging bit… it really can be a full time job! And it’s really hard to get paid for it. As long as you still enjoy writing it, that’s all that matters. BTW I’m also crap at commenting on other blogs – but I’m changing it from now!


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Tess! I’m definitely more of a waffle than an influencer and I’m proud. I let my academic research do all of my influencing. I won’t start another blogger versus influencer debate; the last one got slightly heated. I did find quite a professional looking blog template on Pipdig, but quickly discovered I’d have to upgrade my WordPress account to be able to install it. If I ever get around to changing the name of my blog I’ll upgrade the design at the same time. I’ve been offered payment for posts and reviews a few times but have always said no. Probably another blogger fail! I do enjoy writing, so will probably try to post a couple of times a month. Be prepared for more slightly random comments now that I’ve worked out how to comment on your blog.


      • Tess @ FitBits says:

        Yay excited for random comments 🙂 Re the reviews and sponsored posts, I choose carefully as I don’t want to tie myself to write about too many products, but I like to collaborate with brands on a meaningful level, on stuff I’m interested in trying out of curiosity, or partnerships that work both ways with content creation etc. It’s a fine balance!


  5. paddlepedalpace says:

    I don’t think your rubbish! 100 page views a day is pretty good- it’s more than I get!
    Agree than renaming your blog is a bit overwhelming, but I did it and I’m really glad I did- the new name suits me much more.
    Glad you were able to make it to the Duncan Goodhew swimming event in London that time- it was good to meet you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma says:

      Thanks Lucy! Whenever I think of a new name for my blog I write it down before I can forget it. There are so many running/fitness blogs out there now, that quite a few of my ideas have already been taken. The whole process is quite overwhelming and I suspect I might end up paying someone to do it for me. I really enjoyed meeting everyone at the Duncan Goodhew swimming event last year. You’ve reminded me that I need to start swimming on a slightly more regular basis if I’m going to take part in Swimathon again.


  6. Alana says:

    Hey, I guess it depends why you blog! If you do it to log your training, for the creative outlet of running etc., then how does it make you rubbish?! I think you are being too hard on yourself, but as a fellow blogger I understand how it can feel like everyone is obsessed with the stats. I like that you are keeping it real, that will be why your readers return!


    • Emma says:

      Hi Alana, thanks for reading and commenting on my slightly negative blog post. Why do I blog? I originally started my running blog when my family and friends told me that they were fed up with me constantly talking about running. People started to follow my blog, so I continued blogging in the hope that other runners could learn from my (many) running mistakes. I also enjoy writing occasional ‘hints and tips’ type posts and sharing my experiences as a back-of-the-pack runner. As a stats geek I’d love to be able to understand my blogs’ stats more. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to become a blog stats expert at the moment. I’ve definitely always tried to be honest in my blog and hopefully by sharing my not so glamorous running photos I’m keeping it real.


  7. ilona says:

    Hello Emma. I found you via the MSE forum. After reading your 15 reasons I’m surprised you want to continue blogging, you don’t seem to be enjoying it very much. How about writing a new list, 15 good reasons why you are going to carry on, look at it from a positive angle.

    I agree with you about the product reviews, I refuse all requests. I don’t accept freebees, guests posts, advertising, or sponsorship. Unless you actually need the money it brings in, why bother with the hassle. I started my blog eight years ago, have posted almost every day, I get 6 – 7 thousand page views a day, and haven’t made a penny from it. I blog because I enjoy it.

    Your blog is pretty upbeat, I like your honesty and sense of humour, it looks fine, and it is a reflection of you. Keep on with it, shorten your posts if you don’t like writing, your photo’s are fine, don’t jump to anyone else’s tune, do it for you.
    Best wishes,


    • Emma says:

      Hi ilona. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment on my ’15 reasons I’m a rubbish blogger’ post. The positive feedback I’ve received from my slightly negative post has made me aware that I’m not such a ‘rubbish’ blogger after all. I love your suggestion and will list all of the positive reasons I will carry on blogging. At the end of the day I love writing, and use my blog as a way of giving myself a break from academic writing. Over the last 12 months I’ve stopped reading a number of fitness and running blogs. These blogs were interesting to start with but are now pages and pages of product reviews and sponsored posts. By the way 6000-7000 page views a day is seriously impressive and no doubt a reflection of the fact your blog isn’t just page after page of sponsored content. Finally, thanks for the positive feedback on my photos. Quite a few people have said that they love my photos as I share my not so photogenic running photos.


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