Home Blog Why Nobody Except Your Mom Reads Your Fitness Blog

Why Nobody Except Your Mom Reads Your Fitness Blog

Written on April 20, 2011 at 2:32 pm, by Eric Cressey

I got an email from Dean Somerset a while back asking if I'd be willing to write up a post for his blog about how I built up a popular fitness blog myself.  I thought it over, and while I like Dean and enjoy reading his blog, I really didn't think I was the right person to write such a piece.  There are folks who are much smarter when it comes to behind-the-scenes stuff that goes in to running a blog - from WordPress updates, to HTML formatting, to SEO optimization.   And, there are certainly folks out there who have monetized their blog far better than I ever will.

That said, I do feel that there was one incredibly valuable point I should make to the aspiring fitness bloggers out there:

If you don't have good content, your blog won't get consistent traffic.  It's really that simple.

I started this blog in early 2006 with really no idea what I was doing on the technology side of things.  I loved my job and was passionate about teaching - and writing gave me an avenue through which to do it.  Sometimes, I wrote about what I knew well, and sometimes, I wrote about topics where I wanted to improve - and researching them and teaching them to others was the best way to get better in these areas.  Before I ever hired someone to make my site look pretty, I'd built up a solid following of people who knew me purely for my content, enthusiasm, and accessibility to readers.

A trend I see with "rookie" fitness bloggers nowadays is to design a spectacular site from the get-go and devote all their resources to SEO optimization, pop-up ads, Google Adwords, and the like.  Unfortunately, these efforts are sabotaged by these bloggers' poor grammar/spelling and, more significantly, a complete lack of valuable information to offer to readers.

In any industry, you look for commonalities among those who succeed at what we do.  For ease of calculating "success," let's just use Alexa ranking.   You can learn more about it (and download a free toolbar) at www.Alexa.com, but for the sake of brevity, just understand that it is a measure of the popularity of a website.  Get more hits, receive more inbound links from popular sites, and have people spending more time on your site, and your Alexa rank will go down (a lower number is better).  Google is #1, Facebook is #2, Yahoo is #3, and so on.  It’s not a perfect measure by any means, but when you are dealing in the top one million sites or so, it’s generally accepted to be pretty good. I’m lucky to be at around 96,000 right now, and have been as high as 89,000 in the past.

If you’re in the top one million or so, you’re likely doing some very good traffic – and certainly enough to monetize your blog.  My buddy Tim Ferriss’ blog, for instance, currently has an Alexa ranking of 5,953, and he’s an absolute ninja on the entrepreneurial side of things, with two New York Times bestsellers and ownership stakes in the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, and several other companies.  He’s a success, in part, because every single one of his posts (and books) provides outstanding content that readers not only enjoy – but pass along to their friends.

Translating this message to the fitness industry, look at a guy like Charlie Weingroff.  He might be one of the few guys out there who understands technology less than I do, and there is absolutely nothing flashy about his site.  To be candid, it’s pretty basic.  You know what, though?  Charlie is an extremely bright (and strong) dude with a ton to teach, a passion for teaching it, and a knack for relating complex information in a user-friendly manner.  I don’t think his blog has even been out for 18 months, yet he’s ranked around 827,000.  And, he’s used his blog to make his expertise known, build a loyal following, and launch a successful product (which is outstanding, by the way).

There are several other fitness bloggers who’ve become “top one million” success stories purely with content.  John Berardi dominates with Precision Nutrition (54,000), which has been built with science, integrity, and an ultra-personal touch to great content all along.  My business partner, Tony Gentilcore (321,000) kicks out great content and entertains people like crazy.  My good friend Mike Robertson (125,000) is an awesome teacher and genuinely great guy.  Ben Bruno (314,000) innovates like crazy to build a following, and Chad Waterbury (509,000) only recently created his own web presence and has used content to quickly ascend the ranks.  Nate Green (202,000) is an excellent writer who has carved out a great niche for himself and built a great following at a young age because of his unique content.  Mike Reinold (412,000) has built a great following in a smaller internet segment (physical therapists) with consistent content featuring up-to-date research, attention to many different clinical perspectives, and a specific focus on upper extremity dysfunction.  These guys all offer something others don't.

You know who hasn’t built a big following?

  • The random fitness dudes who send Facebook friend requests to my wife because they have mutual friends – and these guys want to build their lists.  I’ve yet to meet a single one who is in the top 2 million.
  • The “fitness business guru” who emailed me four times, called my office twice, and snail-mailed me once (each of which was ignored) to try to get me to promote his product, which he guaranteed would make personal trainers “rich.”  His website ranked at higher than 6.6 million – which essentially means that he has zero traffic other than himself (and he’s probably just checking in to see if he’s gotten his first hit yet).  Instead of focusing on content (and moving out of his parents’ basement), he’s putting the cart in front of the horse and trying to sell a product on a topic (success) that he doesn’t even understand.
  • The random dude who wants to exchange links with me or be added to my blogroll so that he can improve his rankings without doing a thing, much less providing some value to me (or society in general).

The only thing that's worse than sucking at what you do is sucking at what you do and spending time and money to draw attention to it.

I started out thinking that this would be a short, to-the-point, blog, but as I now realize, that one little point was actually a very big one.  Pretty websites and behind-the-scenes tinkering are undoubtedly important components of taking an online presence to the next level, but the truth is that they don’t matter a bit unless the content that accompanies them is useful and entertaining.

If it’s not, then you’ll have a hard time even getting Mom’s attention.

Looking for more information on how to get your name out there in the writing world?  Check out some great information from three guys - Lou Schuler, Sean Hyson, and John Romaniello - who have been there, done that. They collaborated to create a great product, How to Get Published, that focuses heavily on writing success in the fitness industry.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a deadlift technique tutorial!


38 Responses to “Why Nobody Except Your Mom Reads Your Fitness Blog”

  1. Rick Kaselj Says:


    Great post.

    Excellent point about content.

    I have never looked at my Alexa ranking, hmm, I am at 682K, cool.

    Other tips for people:
    – Blog at least once a week
    – Read or listen to Crush It, it will give you a great start on things
    – Don’t expect much until you get to 50 posts

    Rick Kaselj of http://ExercisesForInjuries.com


  2. Erik Says:

    Right on Eric!

    Great post. It goes to show that valuable content is the most important thing. If you can provide that then people will naturally want to see what your doing.

    Great Post!

  3. Greg R. Says:

    Make sure you walk the walk, before you talk the talk.

    I’ve been making it a point to do more in the flesh: seminars, coaching, certification, internships etc.

    My blog, or lack thereof has suffered, but like you said…if your not going to do the things you gotta do to generate good content then nobodies going to read it.

    This motivated me to step it up!

  4. Sam Leahey Says:

    Content is truly king.

  5. Dean Somerset Says:

    Thanks for this Eric!! It’s always good to get the knowledge from someone whose not simply trying to sell you their system of getting traffic or finding a way to monetize THEIR site, especially someone in the fitness industry.

    Awesome post!!

  6. Kellie Says:

    Nice! Timothy Ferriss was the first blog I ever read and it’s still top notch. I honestly only read a few fitness bloggers (you mentioned most of them) because I want to log onto someone’s blog and learn something I don’t already know.

    I’ve actually had a blogger contact me to guest blog on my blog (say that 10 times fast while drunk) and then ramble on about how my site isn’t page ranked and blahblahblah.

    Funny because not a single reader of mine worries about that.

    Anyway, good show.

    BTW, I promote your stuff on my site because I think you’re awesome. 🙂

  7. Kellie Says:

    I just checked my Alexa ranking… 683,159 and I’ve only had a blog since October 2010. My mom doesn’t even know I have a blog, so does that mean I’m in the cool club?

  8. R Smith Says:

    Tak about dropping some knowledge… This is quote of the year material: “The only thing that’s worse than sucking at what you do is sucking at what you do and spending time and money to draw attention to it.”

  9. Niel Says:

    I agree content reigns supreme. Although I’ve seen not-so-hot blogs being advertised and given traffic despite having average content and/or a lot of ads.

    While the lackluster won’t make it, you can find some who – unfortunately – are able to build a big following.

  10. Ralph Says:

    Excellent, Eric.

    Having been in the internet/marketing world for years… I say to everyone asking me about Google ranking: content, content, content (incoming links don’t hurt either…which come with good content).

  11. victoria Says:

    great post iv written about six to seven blog, my purpose is to educate people and impact their lives. i read your newsletter daily and i buy lots of thing you endorse . so you are very right about the content it takes effort , dedication , and passion to write a good blog . keep on the good work.

  12. Elliott Says:


    My posts are loaded will grammar and spulling errors. But I think I make up for it with entertainment 😉

    It was cool meeting up with you last week Eric.


  13. Mahesh Says:


    I’m a SEO blogger and I think content is pretty important. With regards to this, you must also consider proper optimizations of keywords, your post titles, images, etc. This will help search engines to recognize your articles more clearly and you can rank well.


  14. Mike Westerdal Says:

    Great points Eric…and it was great seeing you up in Boston last week. You shoud have come bowling with us. Dave Jack wound up winning.

  15. Damon Says:

    Great post! Thanks for putting out some great advice and I agree about the importance of good content. I want to gain some knowledge or laugh a little (Tony Gentilecore’s blog) if I am going to take the time to read a post. I know I have a long way go in blogging world……

  16. Isaac Wilkins Says:

    Spot on, Eric.

    The real thing I see that separates a successful blog from all of these far too common, rarely visited ones out there is that the good bloggers know who they are and, most importantly, who they’re speaking to.

    The internet is a very transparent place. People are searching for information, but they’re also searching for entertainment and that voyeuristic connection with the producer of content. Successful bloggers don’t try to be someone else. They own who they are and just throw it out there (hopefully with some sense of direction). Nobody wants to read another “Top 5 Snacks at Work” article consisting of almonds, Greek yogurt, cheese sticks, fresh fruit, and Moon Pies (banana-flavored for the fruit!). That doesn’t keep people coming to a blog and sharing it with their friends.

    Now: “A Snapshot of My Lunchbox” with good things, something funny, and a cool, unique bit of info that sets you apart? That says that this person is interesting and I should keep track of them.

    Well, ok, I don’t keep track of people who write about their lunchbox unless it’s a Bacon Explosion (Google it) or something truly amazing. But I’d be a lot more likely to than the first title I threw out there.

    Good post,


  17. Jini C. Says:

    Finally! Someone brought up spelling! I can’t TELL you how many fitness blogs, newsletters, sites, etc. (some who you mentioned), that misspell words. It makes us in the industry, look like meatheads. Yes, an occasional typo is no big deal but a page full of them? It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in…you just lost your credibility.

  18. Greg R. Says:

    I would add that imperfect action beats no action 😉

  19. Joe DiStefano Says:

    I don’t have a successful blog but at least I haven’t friend requested your wife… hahaha awesome post.

  20. Jim Says:

    Well, this post made me feel good! Checked Alexa and was very happy to see a solid rating! Woo Hoo!

    Just keeping writing about what you love, all while striving to get smarter and better, and I’m sure the traffic will come. In the least, you’ll be having fun along the way.

  21. Brian Utley Says:

    Great post, Eric. I’ve been chipping away at my blog for about a year and have my Alexa in the 370,000 range. There have been times when I’ve tried to overdo it with learning SEO only to realize that Google is pretty dang smart and will continue to change their algorithms to stay ahead of all the “SEO experts”.

    Like you said, it all goes back to your content. Provide value, and do so consistently. The popularity and traffic will take care of itself.

  22. Andy Bennett Says:

    Eric–You’re certainly right that content is most important. However, the content also has to be easy to see. Some sites hit with you with ads that obscure any content that might be there. No one minds that someone is selling a product or service, but if it seems that that’s the only thing there, people won’t come back to look for content. If the title of the blog post or article is not visible when the site first opens, I’m not going to take the time to even scroll down.

    I read yours regularly!

  23. Dominic Munnelly Says:

    Excellent post Eric and i think for me the message is provide excellent content and communicate your message with a touch of humanity and humour


  24. Russell Says:

    Great post Eric. I agree with every point you make in the article but most of all thank you for supplying a good list of some of the best fitness bloggers around.

    I always enjoy reading John Berardi, Mike Robertson and Nick Tumminello’s stuff but will now go and have a look at a few of the other people you have mentioned like Charlie Weingroff.

    A few other fitness professionals that you havnt mentioned here but I also like listening to their thoughts are Mike Boyle and Alwyn Cosgrove.

  25. deb roby Says:

    You make valid points here if all a blogger is going for is Alexa ranking. (and let’s be serious most of you guys are). But looking at your list I had to ask one question:

    Where are the WOMEN of fitness? Do you stick to only reading the men thinking we have nothing to offer?

    Do you know about Stumptuous who has been blogging strength and fitness for years?

    Or Britain’s fabulous Gubernatrix?

    Or do you believe that fitness really is a boy’s club?

  26. Paul Says:

    Hey ERic i am a great follower of your work..especially maximum strength ,and I found assess really really helpfull..
    But on this i am not going to agree with you much being in the internet marketing field for about 3 years now..i’ve seen and read it all..And what I think isthat consitency in applying seo ,content and link building is what really matters..its just like training in the gymm..Its combination of different things to make leaps and bounds in progreess..
    Just content or just seo alone won’t suffice …and the alexa ranking you speak so highly isnt much of anything really..It can be easily tricked into showing ranks well below the 500000 mark..
    Just visit my link ..this site was created 3 years without any sort of knowledge or basis on seo ..I just gave good quality and most importantly needed content …and just by that I had some good followers backing me up …though itstill didnt get me any monitary value .Now if I had implemented some seo who know things might have been different..Well you know what I am trying to say here …Cheers

  27. Fredrik Gyllensten Says:

    Very good point, content is still king!

  28. Brian Says:

    Your title caught my attention because I just created a blog so that my mom (and other close friends) can watch me get into shape and help modivate me along the way.

    I have no clue what I’m doing and really don’t expect to get a following but I’m having fun and learning along the way. Thanks for the advice!

  29. Laura Says:

    Ha ha … a nice write up … so many people think that because they stick it out in a gym for a few months they are ready to blog … and they blog on with some crap … out of their text book … and ask you to “like” it 😀 😀 😀 😀
    I think one has to come up with a good original idea that does not already sit somewhere on youtube with other how many copies of the same thing
    Having said that, I had requests for a blog … from clients … so you never know … guess you need to do something for the audience you know … and if your mum recommends your blog to her friends and they happen to lie it maybe that is not such a bad start ..

  30. Laurie Says:

    I appreciate your blogs.
    I love Ben and Tony. Ben finds everything I want to read and Tony cracks me up!

  31. George Says:

    I think it is hard to have this discussion without including this. 🙂


    (US Alexa Rank for theoatmeal.com: 1,369)

  32. Jim Says:

    Great tips here Eric! It’s kind of funny today I have seen about 4-5 different posts on facebook promoting this same product. It’s great to see guys already established helping the new guys/gals out.

  33. Boris Bachmann Says:

    My blog is ranked at 4,000,000 – I kick ass.

  34. Eric Cressey Says:

    Well, it’ll jump a little bit from me linking to it HERE, Boris!

  35. Conor Says:

    Great post! I like a little flash but if you bore the shit out of me or act all arrogant I can’t be bothered reading your blog. The thing that keeps me coming back to your blog Eric is that I always learn something and you always make the glass seem half full for the aspiring trainers out there.

  36. Glynn Loeb Says:

    Wow…interesting how many comments on this subject! A heck of a lot more than I’ve seen regarding the usual topics: strength training, nutrition, etc. A nerve has been hit!

  37. Bill Moore Says:

    ERic, good info, I am not much for writing and blogging, I do enjoy reading good info. after 25 yrs in this biz I have some knowledge to share.

  38. Trainer Drew CSCS Says:

    Nice post. I’m so sick of reading bland blog posts from some of my competitors that are keyword stuffed and hardly make sense. While I spend most of my time training my clients in person, I’m also working to build my online presence. Although my blog is certainly not the prettiest, I don’t have many posts and it generally takes me longer to complete my posts. As a certified strength and conditioning specialist with a health science degree, I’d rather put out high quality scientifically based information.than a bunch of keyword stuffed crap. Thanks for the great inspirational content to continue on the right path.

  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series