Bloggers Face-Off: Israel Lagares vs. Rob Cooper

By Daniel Scocco

It could be my personal opinion, but I think this is one of the best Bloggers Face-Off we had in a while. And the curious thing is that the two bloggers are coming from a niche that is as far from technology as you can go: health and weight loss.

Israel Lagares is best known as the Fat Man Unleashed. On his blog he logs his journey getting back into shape, and he covers all sorts of health related topics (including fitness tips for bloggers).

Rob Cooper, our second blogger, is the author of Former Fat Guy. Now that is one of the most realistic website names you will find around. Rob used to weight 500 pounds, and he lost 300 out of it.

Both those guys know what they are talking about, so if you like health, fitness or weight loss make sure to check their websites. Now to the questions!

israel fat man unleashed
Israel Lagares
rob former fat guy
Rob Cooper
1. How long have you been blogging? I have been blogging off and on for 3 years, but 1 year this month (May) officially on Fat Man Unleashed My website has been online since just before 1995, as formerfatguy.com since about 1998 and then blogging since 2004 with a self hosted blogger account
2. Why did you get started? I had experienced a series of weight loss failures. Every method I tried ended up failing, as they were temporary fixes. I would regain the weight and stop exercising. So I decided that I needed to document my journey in order to hold myself accountable. A few days later the site was born The website was initially a place to store my before and after photo’s because nobody believed I weighted almost 500 pounds and then lost 300 of it. It was easier to point them to a website than to carry my before pictures with me
3. Has it been worth it so far? Definitely! I have managed to consistently lose weight, exercise, and gain some friends Depends on what you mean exactly. Yes, I consider it to be worth it. I get emails all the time about how I’ve inspired others to take action on their health and their weight. They check in with me every so often to let me know about their progress and that inspires me to continue what I do
4. Do you make money with it? Income is generated from the blog in the form of affiliate commissions, direct ad sales, contextual text ads, and run of network cpm banner ads. It’s nothing to live off of, but a solid foundation has been built for years to come I do. I make enough to provide me the ability to work from home and not have to work a traditional job. I have a bunch of blogs that are strictly Adsense blogs but they’re strictly for creating income so that I can focus on four blogs in particular
5. Do you think that blogs in non-tech niches can be successful? Of course they can. I believe that with the right attitude and approach a blog can strive in any niche. Just look at fatmanunleashed.com, just kidding. Seriously though, it takes the right approach and consistency. You just need to make yourself known to those that want your information It depends on what you mean by successful. Each of us have a different definition of that. If I have a specific goal to accomplish from my blog in my niche, and I achieve it, then yes, I’ve been successful
6. What is the biggest mistake you did along the way? I think that focusing my commenting efforts on blogs that weren’t in my niche was a mistake. Why? It drove traffic, but that traffic was less likely to stick around or come back because it was about health and not whatever the niche was of the blog I commented on. Well, one for sure was to have my Adsense units below the fold. The biggest blogging mistake I made was the folder structure and naming convention of my self hosted blogger blog. I had NO idea what a blog was at the time or how I would be using it. I put it in a folder called “weblog” and then named it blogger.asp instead of index.asp. In other words, there’s no easy way to get to my blog by typing the name in. You have to type the full domain name / weblog / blogger.asp
7. Do you care for Google PR or Alexa? Actually, yes. Only because I know that people that judge my site care about those things. If a potential advertiser/reader thinks that having a higher PR or lower Alexa ranking is good, then it’s in my best interest to try and make those rankings be the best they can PR means nothing to me. If I’ve got a PR 5 or 6 but don’t get the traffic or page views, what’s the point. It’s all about page views and Alexa is what I’ve been focusing on since before the “Great Google Shakeup” over paid links
8. What is the best promotion technique you have used? Creating the Blogger Proof Workout ebook was very effective in gaining backlinks, traffic, buzz, and readers I’d have to say that contests in which I or a partner are giving away a product are the best promotion technique so far
9. Where do you see blogging in 2010? I think blogging will no longer be just blogging. It’s going to be writing for your site on the Internet. It’s going to be producing video reports. With the rise of famous blogs, I see major companies buying out individual blogs. Blogging is going to be mainstream, take what PerezHilton has done with his celebrity gossip blog and imagine that happening for regular news In 2010, I think mobile blogging is where things will be. Imagine a video conference where I’m leading a training class but instead of them in front of their computer, they’re outside walking, climbing stairs or actually working out, but watching the videocast from a mobile phone or other type device
10. Digg, Reddit or StumbleUpon? SU hands down! I don’t use Reddit. Digg is ridiculously difficult to be successful with. I used to be able to front page with some health articles, but not anymore. SU sends me consistent traffic, and some are more likely to actually READ the posts… Depends on the content I’m marketing. SU for fun stuff, short things, short attention. Digg for longer reads and where I’m trying to build up back links etc. Reddit does not cater to anything health related I’ve found
11. If you could read only one blog, which one would you pick? This isn’t fair man! I would have to say Problogger because I’ve actually learned from his posts That is quite possibly the hardest question I’ve ever been asked. I actually walked away and thought about this for an hour. I decided on www.naturalnews.com
12. What is the secret of your success, expressed in one word? Failure Action



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11 Responses to “Bloggers Face-Off: Israel Lagares vs. Rob Cooper”

  • David Shaw

    This is a good Blogger Face-off. Nice to see a new edge, and a look onto a non-tech niche.

    Would love to be in a face-off one day!

  • team ray

    i am in pretty good shape and love working out so this piece i can relate to. i see tech blogs gets all the push but fitness is a very good niche imho

  • Israel

    Thanks for the opportunity to face off.

  • OldSailor

    It is interesting to note that ‘failure’ and ‘action’ were the secrets behind their success.

  • Muscle Post

    Failure. Such a great choice for Israel, that’s what put him over the top for me. If we never fail, or never admit we have failed, then we can never learn from our mistakes.

  • Bagrep

    This is definitely the best Blogger Face Off I have seen in a while. It is nice that you show off their face off.

  • Himanshu

    Great work daniel. i am just trying to undersatnd what blogging is all about and i am not a techie so it was great to know about successful bloggers from non tech niche.

  • Sumesh

    Both have awe-inspiring reasons for blogging, and I adore them both. Subscribed to both blogs, hope to see great stuff in my reader.

    I’m not revealing whom I voted for ;). Kudos to Daniel for bringing more non-tech bloggers to the scene – I’d like to see more of non-tech bloggers in Bloggers Face-off.

    Stumbled.

  • Ali from TheOfficeDiet

    Great to see the health/fitness blogosphere making an appearance! I think blogging is really starting to move out of tech-dom into the mainstream … though I was impressed how long both Israel and Rob had been blogging.

  • video conferencing freeware

    I have read this post. This is very much true. Even I own a blog account on video conferencing. Video conferencing is indeed a great innovation in technology and communications. One day video conferencing will be like an ordinary house-hold item in the next 5-10 years.I will mention your post in my blog.

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