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2016: State of Blogging + Top 10 Posts of the Year

It’s hard to believe that I have been blogging for over eight years now. I started my first food blog, Bakin’ and Eggs, back in 2008 and Peanut Butter Runner in 2010. It’s so crazy to see how much the blog world has changed during this time. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the back story, I started my food blog because my co-workers were always stopping by my office to ask what they should make for dinner and “do you have a recipe for…???”

Then everyone started asking how I cooked and baked like I did while also staying fit. “Healthy living” blogs were just taking off so I decided to try it out and start this blog to show my friends and co-workers how I did it. Peanut Butter Runner quickly grew in popularity, which I credit a lot to the uncrowded space at the time. I cannot even imagine entering the blogging world these days. I feel like I come across new, beautiful blogs every single day.

When I started out in blogging, I never anticipated making money from it and for the first few years, I didn’t. It was just a fun hobby that I did a few nights a week. Then ad networks became popular so I redesigned Peanut Butter Runner about a year in so that I could self-host and serve ads. For a long time, advertising was the primary way that I made money from blogging.

Then ad revenues started to decrease but sponsored posts and affiliate opportunities arrived on the scene. While I know that sponsored posts can be a touchy subject between bloggers and blog readers, it has been a great way for me to partner with brands that I think are a good fit for me and my readers. It’s my hope that you feel a good balance with sponsored content here and that I provide value to you when I do produce sponsored content. That’s why you’ve seen an increase in sponsored workouts, yoga flows and recipes.

While I never set out to make money from blogging, it’s been a tremendous help. I find that with every year that passes, I devote more and more time to blogging. Gone are the days of posting a recap of what you did and ate that day. Blogging these days requires much more strategy. You have to focus on SEO-optimization, taking beautiful photos, creating Pinterest-friendly graphics and writing content that is relevant for more than just the one day you publish it. This is called “evergreen” content. Once you’ve published the content, there is social media promotion to contend with.

On average, I probably spend more time editing photos, creating graphics and promoting posts on social media than I do actually writing them. And the writing and creating is my favorite part. I constantly feel about five steps behind the latest blogging techniques, strategies and trends. For example, have you seen the skyrocketing popularity of 60-second square videos? Yeah, haven’t even dipped a toe into that yet.

Blogging has changed so much that sometimes I wonder if I even want to keep doing it but then I take a step back and just stay focused on doing what I can do and what I want to do. The money I make from blogging is nice but I feel fortunate that I don’t have to rely on it as my primary source of income since I have my work at the studio with marketing and teaching. Blogging can stay in the hobby category for the most part, even though I spend a good 20 hours a week on it.

Let’s talk about content. It’s been really challenging for me to find the right mix of life/personal alongside things like workouts and recipes. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like I’ve finally found a good balance with that in the second half of 2016. It’s my plan to continue on with it in 2017. Expect to see even more recipes (I just really enjoy cooking), more yoga flows and yoga videos and the workouts you know and love. I’ll also keep sprinkling in the “day in the life/personal” stuff a couple of times a week.

Whew. When I started writing, I thought I’d write a paragraph about the current “state of blogging” but here I am 700 words later. As always, I’m always open to your feedback when it comes to what you want to see here and what types of posts you find relatable, helpful, inspiring, useful and/or entertaining.

In the spirit of content you like to see, here are the top 10 posts of 2016 that were published in 2016. My first Whole30 was a hot topic. I’m jumping back on the Whole30 train this January and inviting you to come along for the ride with me. It will start on Monday, January 9 and I’ll be posting details in the next couple of days!

Top 10 Posts of 2016, Published in 2016

  1. My First Whole 30: Results, What I Learned, How I Was Challenged and Advice
  2. Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowls
  3. On-Demand, Boutique Fitness with Aaptiv
  4. Recent Eats: Days 1-4 of My First Whole 30
  5. Overnight Banana Chia Pudding
  6. Recent Eats: Days 13-16 of My First Whole 30 + Thoughts on a Perfect Whole30
  7. Trader Joe’s Haul + Whole30 Travel Snacks
  8. Recent Eats: Days 5-8 of My First Whole30
  9. I’m Doing My First Whole30
  10. Spiced Zucchini Carrot Bread

Thanks for being here! πŸ™‚

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{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Kate December 29, 2016, 1:02 pm

    I just discovered your blog in the past month and it’s definitely become one of my favorites! I appreciate how genuine your content is and what a great glimpse you give us into your life. Looking forward to reading more in 2017 – happy new year!!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:42 pm

      So great to hear from a newer reader. I appreciate the time you took to comment and look forward to sharing 2017 with you!

  • Pam December 29, 2016, 1:17 pm

    Jen, as a long time reader, I feel like you follow your intuition and hit the nail on the head on almost every post! I love your yoga posts, the pups, the workout challenges as well as the balance you portray with your nutrition. Whole 30 inspired me to accept the challenge and I almost made it the entire 30 daysπŸ˜œπŸ‘Thank you for the transparency and honesty. I was especially touched reading about your thoughts on your brothers death. It brought back memories for me and allowed my healing to go even deeper. My prayer is that you continue to follow your heart.πŸ’šπŸ•‰

    • sabrina December 29, 2016, 5:15 pm

      I agree, 100% – you are such an inspiration to me mentally and physically.
      I want to join you on Jan 9th – I LOVED your Whole 30 recaps and as you suggested, bought the book and have already made some changes.
      Your hard work is greatly appreciated.
      Blessings to you and your family – may 2017 be a peaceful year for you!!!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:42 pm

      Pam – can I tell you what a gift it’s been to connect with you through this space? Thank YOU for your encouragement and support through it all. Life is full of ups and downs and I’m so appreciative for all that have stuck with me as I’ve learned not only more about blogging but about myself. This journey is never over so I’m excited to stay on it with you guys. And thank you for the note about sharing about my brother. It’s been a challenge for me to open up like this but it’s also something I have felt so called to do and couldn’t NOT do.

      Love to you in 2017!

  • Katy December 29, 2016, 1:27 pm

    Jen,

    I’ve been reading for years and yours is one of only two blogs I have stayed with. I think it’s for the variety your blog brings between personal stories that I can resonate with, recipes that I enjoy and workouts that inspire me. Keep following your intuition. It’s good!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:40 pm

      Katy – thank you so much for sticking with me. I definitely plan on continuing to share in a way that is true to both my feelings and my passions and interests.

      Lots of love to you! Happy New Year!

  • Fiona December 29, 2016, 1:37 pm

    I love your blog!! I have noticed quite a few bloggers recently saying that they are struggling to keep up with all of the “fads” but I think the balance that you have going here is perfect. I am always excited to read everything from your weekend recaps to your new recipes and your sponsored content is always genuine and not forced. Keep it up because its great! So excited to see what 2017 has in store for you, happy new year! πŸ™‚

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:38 pm

      Hi Fiona – I appreciate the feedback and encouragement. I’m also looking forward to a fresh, new year and eager to see what it holds.

  • Jenna December 29, 2016, 1:48 pm

    I am a long time reader of your blog and love it! I think you do a great job of mixing up content topics and your recipes are some of my favorites. You seem genuinely interested in the content you create and share and that is what keeps me coming back as a reader. Looking forward to more great recipes and posts in 2017!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:36 pm

      Hi Jenna – thank you so much for reading and for the feedback. I’m glad to hear that you’ve found that my recipes to work for you! I so believe that if you stick with what you love and you can’t go wrong! Happy that comes across here!

  • Sana December 29, 2016, 2:02 pm

    I am loving more of the life and personal bits. Keep sprinkling a few in πŸ™‚

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:34 pm

      Thanks for the feedback and I will!

  • Jessica December 29, 2016, 2:45 pm

    Been a loyal follower since Bakin’ and Eggs. Thank you for still blogging! <3 Always appreciate your content, especially recipes, puppies, yoga, running and strength training. Would selfishly love more posts on meditation, since I'm building a personal practice as well as a corporate meditation and mindfulness program. Are you still working on creating a regular meditation practice? How did the challenge go (or not go)?

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:34 pm

      Ahhh! Jessica! Thank you so much for sticking along for the ride. I’m so grateful to have you reading and for your kindness.

      RE: meditation. I have to honestly say that my challenge fizzled out after the first few weeks but I have picked it up again as I have found guided meditations to be a life saver throughout the holiday season.

      I plan to keep pushing forward with growing my meditation and mindfulness practice in 2017 so I will definitely plan to share some of it here.

  • Claire December 29, 2016, 3:01 pm

    I have read your blog for years, and I think you have definitely achieved a balance between sponsored posts and unsponsored content. You do a good job of selecting sponsorships from products that you might actually use anyway, so it comes across as genuine. Also, as a side note: I coach track at the high school where I teach, and all of my athletes love to loathe your 1000 rep workout (we use it for days it is too icy to go outside). Keep up the awesome work!

    • sabrina December 29, 2016, 5:18 pm

      I agree!
      Love everything about your blog…you are a huge inspiration to me.
      I’ll be joining you on Jan 9th – Whole 30, here we come!

      • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:30 pm

        Thank you so much for the kind words Sabrina! πŸ™‚

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:32 pm

      Hi Claire – thank you so much for taking a moment to comment and share your thoughts. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy my blog and also find the partnerships I choose a good fit. LOVE the note about the 1,000 rep workout! πŸ™‚

  • Jen December 29, 2016, 3:05 pm

    I first found your blog back in 2010 and i have been a faithful reader ever since! Here’s to an awesome 2017!!!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 29, 2016, 7:30 pm

      Thank you so much for sticking with me. Lots of love to you!

  • Holly December 29, 2016, 8:30 pm

    Hi Jen! It’s hard to believe I’ve been reading your blog for several years now. I don’t always comment but love to keep updated on your workouts, food, life and, of course, dogs πŸ™‚ I tried my first yoga class because of you and your blog! :). Thanks for sharing your recipes and life on here. I’m sure it’s not always easy but it is much appreciated!

  • Maddie December 29, 2016, 10:25 pm

    Keep sharing your light, Jen. You are the best you there is. Xoxo

  • Erika December 29, 2016, 11:20 pm

    Hi Jen! I’m a long time reader here. I started reading when you had both blogs but were in transitioning to PBR. Thanks for all the time you spend on your blog. I really do enjoy it and you’re always on my favorites list. Some of my favorite types of posts are: if we were having a glass of wine/coffee/latte and any special fitness endeavors like your half training. I’d love to see more Q and A sessions with readers (like you used to do in videos). Thanks again for all you do – I appreciate all the time you spend sharing with us. Here’s to a wonderful 2017!

  • Casey the College Celiac December 29, 2016, 11:20 pm

    It’s definitely amazing how involved blogging is nowadays. I love writing, but sometimes I definitely wish all of the social media work would do itself! Great job finding your balance. I think remembering why we started in the first place always helps.

  • Alaina December 30, 2016, 1:43 am

    I would love more yoga posts! I currently live FAR away from anything resembling a yoga studio (or even a decent gym) so rely on internet resources- old Dave Farmar podcasts, tutorials, etc. I went through 200 hr teacher training this hear so I could grow my personal practice but sometimes still get in a rut of the same flows over and over. I love when you share interesting flows on your PowerYogaFlow Instagram!

  • Alaina December 30, 2016, 1:44 am

    I would love more yoga posts! I currently live FAR away from anything resembling a yoga studio (or even a decent gym) so rely on internet resources- old Dave Farmar podcasts, tutorials, etc. I went through 200 hr teacher training this year so I could grow my personal practice but sometimes still get in a rut of the same flows over and over. I love when you share interesting flows on your PowerYogaFlow Instagram!

  • Jill December 30, 2016, 6:36 am

    As a local reader, I absolutely loved your Charlotte Marathon training group/FB page. I hope this continues through 2017 as you train for other races.

  • Katie H December 30, 2016, 8:29 am

    I discovered your blog about 3 1/2 years ago when I started dating my current boyfriend. He owns two CrossFit gyms and he was talking a lot about Murph and I had no idea what either of those things were! So I did a google search and found a blog you wrote specifically about Murph! I was immediately hooked and subscribed. I look forward to each and every post. I ate sweet potato bowls after every long run during my Half Marathon Training and I’m making your Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars tonight for the fourth time this holiday season! Thank you for sharing personal stories as well – I think we can all relate.
    Have a great weekend! Happy New Year!

  • Jodie December 30, 2016, 8:44 am

    Love your blog. Love your recipes and thanks for linking to your first blog, I have already seen quite a few recipes from it I would like to try.:) I am looking forward to your posts in 2017. I will join you on whole 30 plan in January:) .

  • Emily My Healthyish Life December 30, 2016, 8:45 am

    I can’t believe it’s been more than four years since I started reading your blog. To this day it’s still one of my absolute favorites. Your way with words (and variety of content) keeps me not only entertained, but informed and inspired. Thank you for sharing. And yes, you nailed a good balance πŸ™‚ xo

  • Joy December 30, 2016, 9:10 am

    Longtime reader here and I have to say that the whole time I was reading your post, I was thinking, “Please don’t stop blogging.” Glad to see you’re not! You’re one of my absolute favorites and I always love to read what you write.

    I love the mix that you’ve settled into over the past year. The posts I’m not as interested in (recaps of what you eat), I just scroll through.

    You’ve been through so much this past year and my heart goes out to you. I can’t imagine how wonderful it was to spend that time with your niece at Christmas. I hope she is helping you heal.

    I look forward to 2017! Keep up the great work, Jen. I always appreciate the time you take to write such thoughtful posts.

  • Sarah December 30, 2016, 9:36 am

    Even in just the short time I’ve been blogging, I’ve felt the pulls for evergreen content and seen the changing landscape. 8 years is a long time – wow! I think you have the perfect balance now, where you let readers into your life but you also have useful tips/workouts/recipes that will always be relevant.

  • JennyV December 30, 2016, 9:51 am

    I’ve been following your blog since 2010 when my husband and I lived in Charlotte for a very short time. For some reason, I thought this was going to be a post saying you were cutting back or whatnot — I was like, ‘Nooooooo…..!” ha πŸ™‚

    I really enjoy the variety of content that you provide. It is never stagnant as it combines daily living, features, yoga flows, workouts, and of course… dogs πŸ˜‰

    Happy New Year!

  • Julie Running in a Skirt December 30, 2016, 10:00 am

    I’ve enjoyed connecting with you in blogging this year! Here’s to more fun in 2017!
    Love that balance on the site!

  • Stephanie December 30, 2016, 12:27 pm

    Thanks for your commitment to your blog! I love reading it daily. I am going to join in on the Whole30. Need to drop eating chocolate every day, often before lunch! Thanks again!

  • Tracy December 30, 2016, 12:42 pm

    Love your blog and always enjoy reading your posts! Keep on doing it right! I think you have a great balance. Look forward to reading in 2017!!

    Happy New Year, Jen!

  • Michelle December 30, 2016, 12:56 pm

    I look forward to reading your blog every day. You write about the most interesting things even if it’s recent eats (which I actually love πŸ™‚ or your pups, workouts…everything.

    I’m joining you on Whole 30.

  • Korri December 30, 2016, 2:16 pm

    I love your day in the life posts along with fashion and beauty “stuff”. Love to see this content continue moving forward!! Happy New Year

  • erin December 31, 2016, 6:48 am

    I think that you’re doing an awesome job with balancing the content. my favorite posts are about your life, running, and all the recipe posts. I’m hoping that will also shift for me into connecting with more of the yoga posts this year. most importantly, your blog is one of the very few that has continued to stay try to you. that’s so clear to see. you are a reflection of it and it comes from within. thank you for putting your life and your thoughts out there for us all to read.

  • Jill January 2, 2017, 4:22 pm

    I love your blog- I’ve been reading for a few years and I use your workouts all the time. I also like reading a mix of workouts and personal blog topics. My workout partner always knows when I have brought a “PBR workout” to the gym we will be sweaty and happy by the end of it, and usually a good amount of sore the next day!

  • Tara | Treble in the Kitchen January 3, 2017, 1:45 pm

    I love seeing blogs evolve πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see what you have in store for the new year…and good luck in your whole 30!!! πŸ™‚ Happy new year and happy holidays!

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