Having gained a first class BSc Honours degree in Sport & Exercise Science from Loughborough University I decided that I wanted to turn my passion into a job and went on to study the Post-Graduate Diploma in Nutrition & Dietetics in Leeds to become a Registered Dietitian. After qualifying and whilst working full-time as a dietitian, I then chose to take on an MSc in Health Science before specialising as a bariatric surgery and diabesity dietitian (which is what I work as full-time now!).
I read beauty and fashion blogs for many years, I was keen to ‘give something back’ and get more involved with the online community. I’d also become tired of reading mis-leading and even wrong advice about nutrition online and noticed that not many dietitians had joined the blogging community. So, I posted my first blog post in January 2012 via my old (free!) blogspot domain and haven’t stopped since!
I relaunched my blog in a different layout, under the domain of nicsnutrition.com and nicsnutrition.co.uk in May 2013 and that's when the traffic really started to increase (I now receive over 50,000 unique visitors a month) - along with a growing number of followers on social media - I'm currently at over 30,000 across Twitter (@nicsnutrition), Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, BlogLovin' and Google+ which I think really helps with blog hits!
Finding the Time to Blog
After finishing my MSc, which I researched and wrote in my own time, I was craving a new hobby and my blog pretty soon filled the void! I joke that I spent 90% of my ‘free time’ working on my blog, but it’s true. I still work full-time as a dietitian and then blog in the evening and at weekends. I love every minute of blogging and creating videos so don’t see it as work or a chore. I’m lucky to work fixed hours during the day so I know that I have both the time and energy to work on my blog afterwards. I'm on holiday right now as I type this actually (!!) - I don't think I ever stop!!
The Great & Not so Great things about Blogging
The best thing for me about blogging is seeing my healthy recipes being made by other people and hearing about how their lives have changed. The other week I received an amazing email from someone who had lost 5 stone in the last year and she was saying thank you for all of the honest and credible advice. It’s feedback such as this that keeps me blogging!!
It's also amazing to be recognised by organisations such as UKBA and I was thrilled to be shortlisted last year for best health blog - although I think this year I will go for the food and drink category as well! I met some lovely bloggers at the awards ceremony earlier in the year and it was great to hear from industry professionals who help bloggers turn their hobby into a job - which is what I would love to do!
The biggest challenge for me, and perhaps the 'not so great thing about blogging' is my lack of technical knowledge. A friend helped me to redesign my website in 2013 and I’ve had to take multiple trips to the Apple store to understand how to film and edit my YouTube videos! I learn new things almost daily and this Sunday I've actually been invited to a photography course which I'm really excited about (I wouldn't have been invited if my blog wasn't widely known about!).
There is no secret but I guess my tips are to be yourself, reply and interact with your followers (both on your blog via comments and on social media) and really listen to what your followers want. I noticed that my recipe pages were getting many more hits than my other blog posts and so when I relaunched my website I focused more of my energy on that! Another tip is to ask for your website domain to be published alongside any media quotes that you may give.
If you're reading this blog post and wondering if you should start blogging then my advice is to just go for it! There’s no time like the present and you have nothing to lose.. you can always delete or amend a blog post if necessary. I've loved seeing my blogging skills develop of the last 2 years and I can't wait to learn more!
Nichola Whitehead is a UK Specialist Dietitian, Blogger & Vlogger. She uses her website NicsNutrition.com to show how healthy living doesn’t mean boring lettuce leaves and aims to empower others into leading a lifestyle based on the 80/20 rule.. if you’re living your life 80% healthy then you can afford to indulge (guilt-free!) for the other 20%!