How to Start a Fitness Blog in 7 Steps
Getting (and staying) fit can be a challenge. Over 70% of U.S. adults age 20 and over are overweight, and almost 38% are obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. To meet this challenge, a massive fitness market has arisen: the U.S. fitness industry has an estimated annual revenue of 3.46 billion dollars in 2018 alone.
With all this interest (and need) for fitness, there’s an equal demand for quality fitness information. This is where starting a fitness blog can be a great opportunity. Whether you’re a personal trainer looking to attract clients, a fitness influencer looking to build a brand, or a fitness product company trying to get more customers, starting a fitness blog can be a great way to do it.
Starting a fitness blog can be overwhelming, though. “Fitness” is a vast topic with lots of competition. A Google search for “fitness blog” returns 181 million results. It’s easy to see the sheer volume of people in this space and get overwhelmed. How are you supposed to begin? Is it even worth trying to compete in the fitness space?
In this article, we’ll help you answer these questions. We’ll also show you what kind of fitness blog to start, how to determine your fitness blog goals, and how to take your fitness blog from idea to website.[toc]
Why Start a Fitness Blog?
If you’re reading this article, then presumably you have some interest in starting a fitness blog. But have you gone beyond that initial interest to figure out your specific reasons? Figuring out why you want to create a fitness blog at all can help you get clear on the goals and topics for your blog. Having a larger “why” will also help you stay motivated when things get difficult or boring.
While there are dozens of possible reasons for starting a fitness blog, we’ve identified four reasons that tend to make sense regardless of your specific fitness niche or brand:
1. Driving Sales for a Product
If you’re selling some sort of fitness product, you need a way to get customers. Having a useful fitness blog can be a good way to accomplish this goal. Compared to paid advertising or other paid promotions, creating a blog can be an affordable way to get started marketing your product.
And once you’ve built up a base of quality content, you can get traffic to your website for essentially no ongoing cost. This doesn’t mean creating a high-quality fitness blog is free — it still takes time (your most valuable resource) as well as the cost of hosting, creating, and maintaining your website.
2. Driving Sales for a Service
Okay, so maybe you don’t have a fitness product. Perhaps you’re a service provider such as a personal trainer, wellness coach, or sports psychologist. These are also cases where having a fitness blog can be a smart marketing decision.
You could use your blog to write up case studies of past clients, explain your services in more detail, or provide general information that gets clients interested in customized, paid services. Creating a quality blog can also help clients come to you, instead of having to do direct outreach or other forms of advertising.
3. Creating a Platform for a Future Business
But maybe you don’t have a business yet. Maybe you’re just knowledgeable or passionate about fitness and want to turn that into a source of full-time or supplementary income.
You could grow the blog’s readership and influence to start and then ultimately monetize that attention through ads, affiliate marketing, partnerships with fitness brands, or even your own courses and products.
4. Holding Yourself Publicly Accountable
Lots of blogs started as just the author’s attempt to document a personal journey or struggle of theirs. While not everyone will be comfortable sharing their fitness progress in public (especially if it relates to something such as weight loss), being publicly accountable can be a powerful motivator for some people.
If you want a way to ensure that you’re meeting your fitness goals, starting a blog to keep track of your fitness progress could be the breakthrough technique you’ve been looking for.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Start a Fitness Blog?
When you’re getting started with any new project, it’s common to struggle with impostor syndrome and wonder if you’re qualified enough to talk about the topic at all. In the case of fitness, however, having the necessary qualifications can be a more serious issue than in other industries.
For instance, writing incorrect information about web design probably isn’t going to hurt anyone, but putting out inaccurate fitness information could injure or even kill someone in certain circumstances. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider what qualifications you need to write about a particular fitness topic (or at least make it clear that you’re not a professional, if that’s the case).
The most important qualification for creating a fitness blog is being able to communicate useful information to your audience. This could be training tips, product reviews, workout routines, or information on nutrition. As long as you know more than your audience (and are giving out valuable information) you’re good to go.
That being said, having formal qualifications can help boost your credibility when writing about certain topics. For instance, you should probably have a degree in sports medicine if you’re going to create a blog about it. And any kind of workout advice involving dangerous equipment or movements (such as powerlifting or rock climbing) should always come from someone who’s certified to give advice in those fields.
If you aren’t qualified to write about a particular topic but having a blog related to it would still serve your business goals, you’ll need to find (and pay) qualified professionals to write the articles for you.
In some cases, formal qualifications are less important. If you’re just starting a blog to document a personal fitness journey, then you don’t need to be a fitness professional. The very fact that you’re an amateur or beginner can help make your blog more relatable to potential readers.
Regardless of your qualifications, include a disclaimer when writing about any fitness topic. Tell your readers that they should consult with a doctor, certified personal trainer, or other relevant fitness professional for advice on their personal situations. It could also be helpful to speak to a lawyer about the specific language you should use to limit your liability.
7 Steps to Start Your Fitness Blog Today
Okay, so you’ve figured out your reason for starting a fitness blog, and you’ve determined that you have the necessary qualifications (if relevant). Now, you’re ready to start creating the blog itself. This can seem like an impossible task; there are so many options and things to consider.
To get your fitness blog up and running, however, there are only seven key things that you need to do. Follow this step-by-step guide and your fitness blog will be live faster than it takes to train for a marathon.
1. Choose Your Fitness Blog Topic
Since fitness is such a large and competitive industry, you’re never going to stand out if you have a “general” fitness blog where you write about whatever topic you feel like. This strategy can work for large, established fitness media sites with recognizable brand names, but it’s not going to work for you (unless you’re a fitness celebrity that already has a large following).
Therefore, it’s crucial that you choose a specific topic to focus on for your blog. This may seem limiting, but it’s actually empowering. Having a specific topic makes it easier to come up with topic ideas and figure out the best way to promote your blog (which we discuss below).
Here’s how to choose your fitness blog topic:
Start With Your Goal
Your overall goal for your blog will help you determine the topic to write about. If you’re looking to drive sales of a product, you’ll want to choose a related topic for your blog. For instance, if you sell yoga mats, then creating a yoga blog makes sense. The same goes for a blog to promote your services. Are you a personal trainer? Then create a blog giving training advice related to your specialty.
If your goal is to build influence and gain an audience to monetize later, it can be a bit trickier to pick your blog topic. We suggest going back to your qualifications, as well as what interests you.
Creating an audience doesn’t happen overnight, so pick something you can commit to writing about for at least a year without any financial payoff. If you pick a topic just because it’s trendy or potentially lucrative, you may give up before you can see the financial payoff because you weren’t interested in the topic to begin with.
Identify Your Target Audience
In addition to a topic related to your goals, you need to define your blog’s target audience. Once again, be specific. “Men’s Fitness” might work for a gigantic magazine on newsstands at every grocery store, but it’s not going to work for your fledgling fitness blog. Instead, get even more specific. Here are some example target audiences for fitness blogs:
- Single men under 30 looking to lose weight
- Women over 60 looking to slow age-related physical decline
- Middle-aged first-time marathon runners
Notice how these audiences include both demographic information (age, sex, marital status, etc.) and the audience’s goals (losing weight, slowing aging, running that first marathon).
Don’t worry if your audience sounds too specific. You can always expand it later as your blog grows. Likewise, don’t worry about picking the “perfect” audience to start with. As you create content and engage with readers, you may find that your target audience is different than you originally imagined. Don’t worry about that; embrace it. You’ll never learn these lessons if you don’t get started.
Research Competitors for Inspiration
“Competition” can seem like a negative thing, but it’s actually the opposite when you’re starting a business or blog. Having no competition can mean that no one is interested in the topic you want to blog about. And even beyond that, competitor blogs can be a great place to find ways to differentiate or improve your own blog.
This is why we suggest that you research competing blogs when choosing a topic. We are not suggesting that you copy the competition; at best, this will lead to mediocre content, and at worst, a plagiarism lawsuit. Likewise, you shouldn’t let the competition intimidate you. It’s easy to look at a well-established blog with hundreds of thousands of readers and think, “I could never do that. Why should I bother at all?”
This is the wrong way to view competitor blogs. Instead, you should look to them as inspiration. They can show you what is possible with hard work, persistence, and proper strategy. As your blog grows, they can even become sources for potential partnerships or guest posting opportunities.
2. Find a Domain Name That Fits Your Goals
Once you have a topic, you need to pick a domain. “Domain” is just a fancy term for the online address of your website. For example, this website’s domain is “startablog123.com.” Domains are made up of the actual name of the site (this is technically called the “sub-domain”) and an extension (the “top-level domain”). Sticking with the same example, the sub-domain for our site is “startablog123,” and the extension is “.com.”
All of the above is helpful terminology to know when you go to find a domain, as you may encounter some of those terms. A good domain name (for any blog) should be the following:
- Easy to pronounce
- Fairly specific
Notice that we did not include “clever” or “funny” in our list of criteria. While these can be nice to have, they can often come at the expense of a domain that is easy to remember or pronounce. Your blog may exist online, but you’re going to end up talking about it out loud at some point or another. In cases like these, you don’t want to have a domain name that no one can spell, pronounce, or remember.
In addition to the above criteria, the following are also nice to have:
- “.com” extension — It’s what people naturally type when going to websites (despite the dozens of other available extensions).
- No hyphens or foreign characters — Hyphens are hard to remember, and foreign characters are hard to type. We know this is Anglo-centric, but it’s the reality of the internet as it exists today.
- No double letters — This goes back to the idea of making your domain easy to remember. For instance, “Fitness Solutions” can sound like a great name for a blog, but when you type it into a browser you can see that its double letters make it easy to misspell: “fitnesssolutions.com.”
Even once you’ve found the perfect domain name, you need to accept that it’s probably going to be taken. Over 1.5 billion websites currently exist, with the number increasing by the second.
Luckily, it’s fairly easy to determine if a domain name is available. You could just type the domain name into your browser, but that won’t always tell you if someone owns the domain. A better solution is to go to a domain registrar such as GoDaddy or Hover and type your domain name into their search bar.
This will immediately show you if the domain is available, as well as how much it will cost to purchase it. And if the domain isn’t available, these sites will also show you variations of the domain that are.
For instance, here’s a search for a possible fitness blog URL on Hover’s website:
In this case, the domain was available. If the domain you want is available, buy it ASAP. Buy it yesterday. Seriously, if you’re following along with this article and the domain you want is available for purchase, stop reading and buy it. Domain names go fast.
If your domain name isn’t available, try creating some variations on the name. In the example above, we added the phrase “for beginners” to find a domain. You can also experiment with plural variations. Maybe “kettlebellsforbeginners.com” isn’t available, but perhaps “kettlebellforbegginers.com” is. You can also vary the word order, such as “beginnerkettlebell.com.”
One other quick note: You may search for a domain name and see an option to “Make an offer” or something similar. We suggest you don’t waste your time with this. If you see this option, it means that someone owns the domain and is hoping to sell it for a profit. And trust us, they’re not going to part with it for just a few dollars (or even a few hundred dollars in many cases).
Likewise, we don’t recommend paying lots of money for a domain that is available. This could make sense for some established brands with large amounts of capital. But for the average person starting a blog, there are better ways to invest that money, such as improving your existing skills related to fitness or even hiring a designer to improve the functionality and look or your website. If you build a quality blog, the domain won’t matter.
Don’t pay inflated prices like these.
Finding a quality domain name isn’t hard. It just requires some creativity, patience, and acceptance that domains such as “fitness.com” are already taken.
3. Choose Your Blogging Platform
After you’ve chosen and registered your domain name, you need to pick a blogging platform to use. There are a variety of options available, all with their pros and cons. Here are some popular blogging platforms we recommend for beginners:
- WordPress — This is the classic blogging platform option. It’s flexible, free, widespread (powering around 30% of websites), and requires no coding know-how to use. That being said, it can still take some time to learn how to use and install, and it also requires you to purchase a separate hosting package. Therefore, a WordPress site might not be the best option if you want to start a blog quickly.
- Squarespace — A newer entrant to the market, Squarespace has become a viable alternative to WordPress for users who just want to put together a blog and not worry about separate hosting or purchasing themes. It isn’t free, but it is affordable, with plans starting at $12/month when you choose annual billing. You’ll also get a free domain name as part of the annual billing plan.
- Medium — Odds are, you’ve at least read a blog post on Medium. Medium functions like a blog, in that it allows you to write and publish articles online. It’s easy to use and also free, making it an enticing option to get started blogging. It’s not something we recommend for serious blogs, however, as it doesn’t allow you full control of your content or many opportunities for monetization. But it can be a way to get started with a blogging habit if you’re not ready to commit to a full blog.
In the end, the best blogging platform is the one that gets you to start blogging on a regular basis. This will differ from person to person, and that’s okay. Don’t get so hung up on comparing different blogging tools that you lose sight of your original goal: creating a quality fitness blog.
4. Decide on Your Content Plan
Now that you have the tools to put your blog online, you need to create a plan to make sure that you write and post regularly. In the beginning stages of a blog, it’s especially important to put out content on a consistent basis. For one thing, it gives you the opportunity to experiment with different types of content and topics. If you’re not producing content regularly, you’re missing out on the chance to get feedback from your audience.
Your audience has something to look forward to when you create content on a regular basis. Sure, there are popular blogs that publish on an irregular schedule, but these are the exception, not the rule. The majority of successful blogs put out content regularly.
So how often should you post? The exact frequency is less important than being consistent. Don’t commit to publishing something every day if you can’t do it. You’re only setting yourself up for failure. It’s far better to write a quality post once a week than to write mediocre posts each day just because you feel obligated to the arbitrary schedule you originally set.
As well as posting frequency, you should figure out your general post length. The most accurate answer to “How long should my blog posts be?” is “As long as necessary,” but that’s not helpful as a beginner. In practice, we think you should aim for posts that are 1500-3000 words when you’re starting out.
If that seems like an impossibly large amount, feel free to either start with less or publish less often. We’re no longer in a time when short, fluffy content is acceptable. Of course, there are exceptions: Some posts just need 500 words to explain them. But most of the time, a short post just means that you’re not being comprehensive enough.
So how do you make all of this happen in practice? You need to create a publishing schedule. When you’re starting out, this could be as simple as a recurring event on your calendar. As your blog grows, you may find that creating a more detailed editorial calendar is useful (especially if you hire or collaborate with other writers). Once again, the specific tool is unimportant, so long as it keeps you publishing consistently.
If you’re struggling to stay motivated to publish on a regular basis, you could also up the stakes a bit by adding extra accountability. Tell a friend you’ll pay them $100 (or whatever amount is uncomfortable) if you miss a post. Or use a tool such as Beeminder to automatically charge you money when you don’t post on schedule. These measures may seem extreme, but they can be very effective.
5. Create At Least One Month of Content Before You Launch
With a publishing schedule in place, you need to create something to publish. But hold on: don’t go and launch your blog with just one post. If you do this, your blog will look brand new. This can harm your credibility. Furthermore, starting with just one post can make it difficult to build momentum in the first couple months of your blog’s existence.
To combat this, we suggest creating at least one month of content before you even launch your blog. This amount of up-front work may sound intimidating, but you can take as much time as you need to create the posts. If it takes you longer than expected, that’s okay: You just learned a valuable lesson about how long it actually takes you to write (without the stress of having to actually publish that content on time).
But what sort of content should you create? After all, even if you have a clear topic for your blog, there are thousands of possible posts you could write. While this is true, there are five types of tried and true blog content that work well for fitness. Some of these may work better than others for your specific niche and audience, but all are worth trying. Here are the five types of fitness content we recommend trying, along with examples of each:
Fitness is not an abstract, intellectual topic. It’s a physical practice that exists in the real world. Therefore, tutorials are a valuable type of content to create when writing about fitness. If you’ve ever read a “how-to” article, then it’s probably a tutorial. Tutorials generally have step-by-step instructions, as well as pictures and videos to help illustrate the points discussed.
Example: Beginner Bodyweight Workout
In this beginner’s guide from Nerd Fitness, author Steve Kamb breaks down how to do a workout that any beginner can accomplish without equipment or specialized knowledge. He starts by outlining the routine:
Then, he gives some advice on the finer points:
In addition, Steve includes a video demonstration of the workout:
This is a pretty basic tutorial, but it makes sense given the beginner audience. Beginners don’t want lots of technical terms or workout variations. They just want something accessible that can help them achieve their goal: getting fit.
Product Reviews and Buyer’s Guides
While lots of fitness routines are possible without any equipment, many require products. And if the goal of your blog is to help sell one of your products (or the products of an affiliated company), then writing reviews or buyers guides can be a valuable form of content for both you and your audience.
When writing a buyer’s guide, you need to be concise, thorough, and as objective as possible.
Let’s start with the concise part. If someone is reading a buyer’s guide, they don’t want fluff. They want you to get to the point: which product should they buy, and why? There’s no need to give a long history of the product you’re discussing or talk about all the colors it comes in (unless that’s somehow relevant).
At the same time, you should be thorough. People often read online buyer’s guides or reviews because they don’t have the opportunity to try the product first-hand. So your article should simulate that experience as much as possible. Talk about how the product feels in your hands, what it smells like, and how it will help your reader achieve the results they want. Use lots of photos, as well as videos where it makes sense.
Finally, be objective. If you write a comparison of different products that’s obviously biased towards one you sell, then you’re going to lose credibility with potential buyers. Save those kinds of comparisons for your sales page. It’s fine to mention your own products, but do so in a way that’s fair to competitors.
This guide from Fitness Test Lab helps readers through the kettlebell buying process, covering the types, sizes, finishes, and specific brands of kettlebells on the market. We love how detailed this guide is. It systematically addresses common questions about this piece of fitness equipment. Just take a look at the table of contents:
It also includes lots of pictures to illustrate each section. This is especially helpful when trying to decide between different kettlebell sizes:
Finally, the guide mentions a variety of products in an objective way:
Mindset and Philosophy
Fitness is a physical activity, but anyone who’s trained seriously knows that the hardest part of it is in your head. This is where articles on the mindset and philosophy of fitness can be handy. What are the mindsets that set great athletes apart? How do top coaches approach their training? These are the sorts of questions you can answer in these posts, which focus more on the “why” than “how” of fitness.
This article from strength training site T Nation is a textbook example of how to write about mindset. It sets up an intriguing premise (top 10 ways to do X) and then proceeds to elaborate. One other thing to note about this article is that it’s based on advice from experts in strength and athletic importance, which helps boost its credibility. If you can do this with your own posts, we highly recommend it.
If you’re selling any sort of fitness service, then case studies are an invaluable marketing tool. They prove that you’re not just talk, that you can get real results. And they also help potential clients see what it’s like to work with you.
The key to an effective case study is to focus on the transformation that your services bring about. Describe what the person you’re talking about was like before, what problem they had, and how you helped them overcome it. Seeing the success of others is key to helping your readers visualize their own success.
This case study from personal trainer Lucy Munn breaks down how she helped a previous client accomplish her goals. Note the format: it’s concise yet descriptive. It’s shorter than most of the other types of content we’ve discussed so far, but it makes sense in the context of Lucy’s site. She has three other client case studies on the same page, which combine to show the breadth of her experience.
The specific demographic details about the client also help make the study more relatable, since a potential client reading it can visualize themselves in the former client’s position.
The final piece of content to consider for your fitness blog is the interview. Interviews can be a great way to drive traffic and boost your blog’s credibility, especially if you can get an interview with a recognized industry leader. Of course, that can be a challenge when you’re first starting out, so we recommend that you interview people that are less well-known (but still experts in their fields).
The key to an effective interview post is editing. You should not include every single word the interviewee says, as it will be boring and difficult to read. Instead, you should distill their best points into the article, adding your own words for context. If that sounds too difficult, then you can also just use a Q&A format. Even in these cases, however, you’ll still need to do a small bit of editing to keep things concise and clear.
In this interview from Yoga International, Kathryn Ashworth has a conversation with yoga expert Sariane Leigh about how she got started with yoga, her mission as a yoga instructor, and other topics that would be of interest to the blog’s audience.
This interview broadly follows a Q&A format, as you can see below:
Finally, the author does a good job breaking up the interview with images and blockquotes:
This is key, since interviews can easily turn into impenetrable walls of text if you aren’t careful with the way you format them.
Never Stop Experimenting with Content
The above types of posts are just a few to inspire you to get started. Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to them. You should experiment with any format that you think will help your audience. Recognize that this process of experimentation will continue for as long as your blog exists; it’s the best way to keep your content from becoming stagnant.
6. Determine Your Promotion Strategy
The hardest part of creating a successful fitness blog is writing amazing content, but it isn’t the only key to success. You also have to get that content out to the world. Here are a few promotion strategies that work especially well for fitness blogs:
- Instagram — Fitness is a very visual subject, making it perfect for a visual social media platform like Instagram. Post excerpts from blog posts or visual content inspired by blog posts to increase awareness of your blog and brand. Follow other fitness blogs and influencers on Instagram to get some inspiration for your own Instagram marketing efforts.
- Write for fitness publications — If you can get accepted as a contributor to other more established fitness sites, then they will usually allow you to include a link to your blog in your author bio (or even within the articles you write, in some cases). This works best if you already have some great articles on your blog.
- Email marketing — Email may seem “old-fashioned,” but it still works as a marketing channel. Whether it’s just to alert your followers of new posts or as part of a larger marketing strategy, don’t neglect the value of email marketing as a fitness blogger.
Ultimately, the best way to get traffic is to write the best content on your subject. If you do this, Google will naturally send visitors to your site for free.
7. Don’t Expect Immediate Results
Anyone with experience in fitness knows that there’s no such thing as instant success. You have to work hard to build muscle, train flexibility, lose weight, or accomplish whatever other fitness goal you have. The right guidance can accelerate your progress, but there’s no substitute for hard work and patience.
The same is true for building a fitness blog. Even with all the best practices in the world, building a blog takes time. You need to be consistent to see results. Be prepared to work on your blog for at least a year before you gain any real attention. It is possible to go viral and grow faster than that. But just like the latest “miracle” supplement or workout routine, the results you get from virality are rarely sustainable.
Finally, you should understand this: a blog is not a business. A blog can also be a great way to promote an existing business, but it makes no money on its own. In the same vein, a blog can be a way to establish expertise and gain attention that you can monetize through services, advertisements, sponsorships, affiliate commissions, or products. But the blog itself is not the product.
In fact, having a blog costs you money. It won’t cost a lot of money if you’re following the advice we’ve given you, but it isn’t free. Don’t start a blog if you need to make money now, or even within the next few months. There are plenty of other ways to do that, and blogging isn’t one of them.
We don’t say this to discourage you. We want you to succeed. We want you to make money, grow an audience, or accomplish whatever goals you have for starting a fitness blog. You should understand, however, that it will take time. It will be frustrating. It won’t always be fun. But just as in fitness, if you can persevere through the difficulties, the payoff will be that much more satisfying.
Get Your Fitness Blog Into Shape
As you can now see, starting a fitness blog is not a decision to take lightly. It isn’t complicated, especially if you follow the steps in our article. With this guide, you can have your blog up and running within the next month. We hope we’ve shown you everything you need to know to stop talking about starting a fitness blog and start building one.
If you’re looking for more information on how to start a blog, grow your audience, or make money online, then we suggest you sign up for our newsletter. We’ll send you a weekly email with the latest tips on blogging success, as well as exclusive promotions and discounts.
We wish you the best in your fitness blogging career. If you have a message worth sharing and the qualifications to back it up, the world should hear it. We can’t wait to see what you create.