The blogging world is a fickle game. To do it successfully requires a near constant flow of new content and monitoring of news and trends, exceptional adaptability, and of course, money. Like many sites did during the 2011 Google Panda rollout, Diet-Blog fell out of the search giant’s good graces, for no particular reason or fault of their own. Admittedly, it happened to the best of us. But he’s trying to get it back with a new domain. “If Google likes that, great. If Google doesn’t, too bad,” James Foster told us.
He’s the owner of the once-popular website Diet-Blog.com, which stopped producing any new content this month. Foster had to adapt to the fluid nature in which people consume media, and is fresh off the launch of his new web venture, HealthyEater.com.
In 2004, Foster bought a domain name and used a cheap server to fire out his opinions on the wishy washy culture of diet and weight loss publications. Diet-Blog became a hot spot for sharing opinions on fitness, weight loss, and food, but the financial and time demands of keeping a blog topical on a daily basis took its toll.
“Back 7-8 years ago you could have a blog with poor design, cheap hosting, and spend half an hour a day on it,” said Foster. “Nowadays you need a site that works on all devices, you need to have a fast server, so the costs are much higher.”
So he asked himself how he could keep people engaged with a small budget and meager staff. With Healthy Eater, his solution was to create less of a constant crawl of diet news and information, but more of a community where open-ended discussions are encouraged. To Foster, that concept allows people to fight through the frustrations of dieting, and is something the Internet has been missing.
“One of the great things about the early internet was openness; differing opinions, dissent, and the ability to find ‘real-world’ stories that might differ from what mainstream publishers would write about,” said Foster. “Nowadays we suffer from a ‘filter bubble,’ where so much of what we get exposed to is customized for us.”
When Foster ventured to put together a new team, he was careful not to hire medical professionals or nutritionists—”If that’s what you’re after, turn on the TV.” It’s a risky move one might say, considering leading sites in the space like Greatist.com, and ourselves, rely heavily on the credentialed expertise of our staffs.
Instead, his unique team consists of Dan, a man who’ll use his body as a testing ground for any new diet; Dawn, an intense personal trainer who specializes in CrossFit; and Ted, a well-seasoned chef with a masters in education.
“Helping people. Engaging with people. Finding real answers for people who are struggling with health and life. Having some great discussions. That’s what Dan, and I, and Ted are all passionate about.”