What's Next for Running on Lentils

Next month will mark the two-year anniversary for this blog. When I started this blog, I had no real goals or plans. I previously had a vegan cooking blog and just wanted to blog about another topic. I'm happy that my blog has really grown with pretty much no work on my part, but now that I have more readers than a handful of my friends, I want to be sure that my blog remains interesting and informative to readers while also reflecting the direction I want to pursue. I'm planning the following changes for this blog, some of which were informed by looking at my web statistics to see what content people like most, some from direct requests, and some from being true to what I want to blog about. I'd love to know your thoughts on this!

1. Switching to Self Hosting

I like the Blogger platform, especially the ease of using and storing photos and interacting with all my other Google apps. While I'd like a little more flexibility with my layout, the biggest reason I'll be switching to self hosting is to enable comment notification so that you don't have to check back to see my responses to comments. Disqus can no longer be synced with Blogger, and there doesn't seem to be another way to enable comment notification.

2. A New Name...Probably

When I told my friend I was considering a new name for my blog, she said, "But you are running on lentils!" because she knows how much I run and how much I love lentils (lentil soup is my last meal request, by the way!). Running on Lentils definitely reflects who I am, but it doesn't really reflect this blog. I wrote up a whole post on my current thoughts on veganism but decided not to post it because it was just too long. The gist is that a vegan diet has completely changed my life for the better, and it's a part of how I live and not just how I eat, so in many ways it defines me. However, I would never tell anyone else to eat vegan (my husband is an omnivore!) because I believe that each person has to discover the eating style that's best for her. It took me three years of researching food production in the US before I decided to go vegan; prior to that I was really turned off by books and articles I read preaching why I should eat vegan. That's why you've never seen me promoting research in favor of vegan diets or against other diets, why I've never posted a "Why you should eat vegan!" post, and why I've never highlighted the horrors of factory farming that made me decide to go vegan. All that information is out there for people who want to find it. Forcing it on others from my blog platform will just alienate people and make me part of the preachy, self-righteous sect of the vegan community that I personally do not like. In light of all that, framing my blog as a vegan blog isn't really accurate, since it's not the focus. I've decided on a new name that better reflects the direction I'll be going with this blog. However, I'm still not 100% decided. Some friends I've told have been adamantly opposed to changing my name, and others have thought it makes sense. If I do change the name, I apologize in advance for asking you to change your bookmarks or add my new blog name to your blog reader, but I also have a plan for redirects that should help make the transition easier.

3. A New Direction

This blog will still be focused on running. But if you read my blog, it should be no surprise that I want to focus more on activewear. I love reading about all-things activewear, and unfortunately there aren't nearly as many blogs about activewear as there are about running. I never buy something now without first searching for reviews, and I think many women are the same way. My activewear content is by far the most popular, and it's something I want to grow. I'm planning not just reviews but also original content, both about activewear and running. And while I just said vegan isn't a focus for me, I'll still continue to post recipes and meal ideas occasionally, since nutrition and fueling are obviously an important part of running. I'll also continue to sprinkle other miscellaneous topics like weight maintenance, my dog, vacation, favorites, etc. into the mix about the same amount that I currently do.

4. A New Look

Some of my friends at work are snobby designers. (They would definitely agree with that assessment!) They believe that people who don't have degrees from particular design schools shouldn't call themselves designers, and they care greatly about things I roll my eyes at, like why condensed fonts shouldn't be used for body copy and why tightening leading by one point makes a huge difference. But I've worked on so many projects with them that I can see how very small details can impact the overall design, which greatly impacts the overall brand. They're going to help give my new blog a new look and feel that's in line with my new direction and name. I'm excited to see what they come up with!

5. A Tad Bit of Revenue...Maybe?

My ultimate goal with this blog is not to make money. I've been a writer and editor for my entire professional life until just a few years ago, when I moved into a project management role. I love my current career path, but I also miss writing. Blogging fills the writing itch for me. Another important blog goal for me is to make connections. I feel lucky to call many of those who've read this blog friends, both online and in real life. I would never have met so many awesome people and had the support and camaraderie I've had if I didn't have this blog. No one else in my life cares about running or activewear, so being a part of this community is extremely valuable for me! Another of my main goals for this blog is to be a part of the discussion and community, to support others as they've supported me, and to contribute content that may help others like other blog content has helped me. Blogging obviously takes a lot of time, and I'm not opposed to generating some revenue to cover my costs, but it's not a focus of mine right now. My other plans are more important to me. Maybe in the future I'll change my mind though. I'm not opposed to affiliate links because they're non-intrusive, so I may look at implementing them in the future. I'll let you know if I do. I'm on the fence about ads. My designer friends would definitely tell me that ads will clutter my page, and I know I'm often irritated when I see the same ad on every single site I visit. But at the same time, ads on blogs are so common now, and I wouldn't not read a blog because it has ads. So, this is a no for now, but I'm leaving the door open to pursue in the future.

What You Won't Find on This Blog

1. Product Reviews That Don't Make Sense for Me. I'm often amused at the requests I get from companies to review products that I would never personally use. Do solicitors even look at our blogs to see our content before they send us mail? I won't agree to review something just to get something for free, which is why you usually don't see product reviews on my blog. The only time I'll ever review something is if I'm personally interested in using it. I was actually just contacted last week by a company that is definitely in line with my interests, so I agreed to do a review.

2. Intrusive Design that Makes You Do Something. When I read a blog, I don't want to have to click on a pop-up window to get it to disappear. I can't see having something like that on my blog.

3. Design that Doesn't Work for Mobile and Tablet. I know a lot of blogs have moved toward a format for social media icons that puts them on the side of a desktop window. That's great. What's not so great is viewing that same window on a tablet, where the icons get bigger, move to the bottom, and block the text. I read blogs on desktop, mobile, and tablet devices, so I'll never implement a design that doesn't work well in all three.

Schedule of Posts

I've never had a set schedule for posts, and I think that works for me. I plan to generally post three to four times a week, but possibly more if I have things like reviews or recipes to share. When I'm in my peak weeks of training, though, I may only have time to post my weekly recap. If you don't already use a blog reader like Bloglovin, I recommend it since posts show up in your feed instead of  having to check back on each blog you visit.

I've already started to work on some of these changes, so you can expect to see the roll-out within the next month. Questions? Thoughts? I'd love to hear what you think!

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