The article I wish I read before starting to blog

68 thoughts on “The article I wish I read before starting to blog”

  1. Wow! Super motivating post. I get regular ‘low-points’ while working on my blog. I see other newbie bloggers with thousands of views a month and then I just don’t seem to progress. Just have to tell myself to keep going (I also started blogging about Politics but realised it could get complicated lol)

  2. You nailed it, Steve! I jumped into blogging almost 6 months ago due to a love of personal finance, a desire to be part of the community and share our story, and accountability. When I started, I honestly had no idea blogs could be “businesses”… and I’m glad I didn’t.

    Seeing a blog as a business can be great, but it isn’t my focus and the business side can end up distracting me from my real goals. I am always relieved to see others write or say that its okay to run your blog your way. I think I need to remind myself of that several times a week!

    1. When I first started blogging, it never occurred to me that people make a living off of this stuff either. Of course, that was like 10 years ago, too. Far fewer people were doing that than today.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Hahaha very funny and insightful at the same time. Will be making sure to treat my blog as my 2nd baby going forward πŸ™‚ .

    Hey Steve, make sure to check out my blog please. Since I’m blogging anonymously, my mom wouldn’t be able to find and read my blog πŸ™‚

    99to1percent recently posted…Blog Report for First Month Plus 4 Rookie Mistakes

  4. Thanks, Steve. Very helpful reminders in there. I try really hard to remind myself that I’m blogging because it helps organize my thoughts and because of the community aspect and not for the money. Nevertheless, when you see stories about people making tens of thousands a month it’s hard not to get caught up in dreams of Scrooge McDuck swimming pools of money. Posts like this help me remember what really matters and to just focus on the content and the community and forget about the rest.

    1. Thanks, Andy! Yup, I agree that it’s easy to get distracted by those who make a ton from their work. Happens to all of us, believe me. But, that’s them, not you. Focus on killin’ it and things will start to develop! πŸ™‚

  5. I think the most important point is patience. Those I got hundred thousand views a month overnight are very annoying because they set false expectations. You’ll be one of the few if you hit 10 percent of that in the first year. It’s about the writing not the money because if money is your goal you won’t survive that year.

  6. Steve – I’m still a newbie and this is some incredible useful info. Thanks!

    I got into blogging because I felt I had PF knowledge that I wanted to pass on. The biggest surprise for me has been the welcoming community of other bloggers.

  7. Wow in love you post. Great writing too! They say blogging makes you a better writer, you can tell here. I’ve certainly noticed it in the 2 months my blog has been around. I like this line “Other bloggers are your friends, not enemies” truth! We’ve got to make the pie bigger. So much of what goes on now is about just grabbing a bigger slice. People seem to forget that any slice in a growing pie is enough.

    Anyway, I really enjoy your blog and your entire take. Keep on truckin’

    1. Thanks a bunch, Handy Millennial! Very much appreciate your thoughts! And you’re right, the more than you write, the better you’ll get. The same thing happened to me as well. πŸ™‚

  8. Blogging has to be the most deceiving income source ever. It looks so easy, and yet to do it right takes so much work.

    At the end of the day, you have to love to write. If you’re only in it for the money, it will be painfully obvious in your writing.

    If you’re only after the money, there are so many faster and more direct ways to make money online.

  9. This is good information, thank you for the encouragement. I’ve been at it about a month and do love the behind the scenes part of blogging. My day of highest page views wasn’t even the day of a post. It was when I nominated a town for an award on Twitter and that’s something I can’t do everyday! Just trying to learn and grow and enjoy the ride. Thanks again!

  10. Everyone else has said all the nice things I would say. I’m just here to assume the bear on the park bench is you and that you’re bringing that costume to FinCon18 just in case Route To Retire needs a little adventure.

  11. I am one year into blogging this week, and feel like I have learned all these lessons. However, the ideas would not have been so crystal clear, if I had tried writing them down. I’m still looking for one of those big spikes. Good stuff.

  12. Write because you love to write! Write because you genuinely want to HELP people. Write from the heart. Write transparently. Money may follow, or money may not. That’s ok, because you’re writing because you love to write. Great post.

    BTW, I love to write! πŸ˜‰

  13. I think my mom is still my biggest blog fan πŸ™‚ She promotes the heck out of it and I don’t even pay her (hmmm… not a bad way to pay lower taxes on blog income though…).

    I had a friend that picked my brain before starting a political blog. I kindly tried to steer him away from it. He lasted about 6 months then gave it up. What he wrote was interesting enough if you were into Freedom Caucus punditry but just not something that seemed to be fun long term. And it’s not really helping anyone. No one ever said “hey, you really gave those dirty Democrats/Republicans/Libertarians/Communists the what for, and now my life is better off because of it.”

    In contrast, I think the FIRE/PF blogspace is phenomenally helpful for a huge range of folks. Lots of actionable stuff in there. Life changing stuff.

  14. Good one. I’m now 3 years in and still get lack luster traffic. I never was in it for the money and as of today, I only write when I have something want to say. I know sucks for SEO, but again, wasn’t in it for the money.

    I do get consistent traffic to some of my calculators, they kinda took on a life of their own through Pinterest.

    I guess my blog is not so much my baby, but more like a pet snake. Feed it once a month and don’t expect any love in return πŸ˜‰

  15. I wish I knew all this and also that it can be way more work than you think it will be. Not that it’s bad, but just that you will likely spend more time on technology, research, and social media than you probably imagined.

    Love the personal finance community and appreciate all that you do for it, Steve!

    1. True that, Amy. Running a blog IS a lot of work if you really want it to take off and receive lots of traffic and maybe, just maybe, bring in a small income. It’s not easy, that’s for sure.

      Thanks for the comment, Amy!

  16. Great post! I did it half assed for 8 months and quarter-assed for another 3 but have been learning and creating original content (even thought it might not be the best) for the last 3 or 4 months. You’re spot on about getting rid of the “Me against the world” idea. That’s counter productive and dropping that has helped me become even more of an expert in my niche. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

  17. Great advice, Steve! Very spot on, especially your first point. You really have to like/love to blog because it’s a lot of work. It’s a time suck. It takes effort. So if you don’t love blogging in the first place, then it will end up becoming a chore. And who enjoys doing chores?

    1. Not me! Yup, blogging is a labor of love, at least at first. And for some of us, it’ll always be a labor of love, and there’s nothing wrong with that. πŸ™‚

  18. Nice reminder that we’re all in this together, thanks Steve πŸ™‚

    Blog traffic can make you crazy if you focus on the numbers too much. I try not to look at specific days too often and instead look at trends over a longer term. I started blogging because to share what I’ve learned about money and because I enjoy writing. I never imagined all the other day-to-day tasks that come along with it!

  19. Aha! Now I finally understand! — my mom doesn’t read my blog and THAT’s why I don’t have any readers! πŸ˜‰

    All kidding aside, good stuff here Steve. Very useful stuff as always.

  20. Hi Steve I think I have to agree with you … I have been doing a blog now maybe 3 weeks … and you should only do it if you like that kind of thing … and think your blog maybe useful to others … the time involved in it is daunting … though it is fun creating and publishing something … even if only your friends and mother would like it… most blogs don’t go much farther than that …. if you want more money than do overtime, a side gig freelancing or invest in real estate or something like that … anyway I am still having fun blogging for these past 3 weeks … so perhaps it suits me …. but I could be doing side gigs if money was the issue … Michael CPO

  21. Great post. While i dont obsess about traffic or followers its definally something I look at. Seems like month by month the traffic increases. A spike like you mentioned would be cool but yeah i might be let down once the traffic dissolves. Good to know before it happens! Cheers…

  22. So may truths here! I didn’t start blogging to make money but that is exactly what is happening!! Ok, ok, not in the form of monetization or affiliate links, but because I am passionate about what I am writing. Though I haven’t made money from the blog itself, I have made connections and friendships that are far more valuable than my words. Those connections often lead to opportunities and while I don’t have any yet, I am hopeful that they will come. Even if they don’t, I have a stable of awesome people to learn from and bounce ideas of off and they are there regardless of the traffic spikes and many many dips. That’s worth a whole bunch in my book!

  23. Well put Steve! You nailed it. This should be a required pre-req for bloggers – especially in the PF space πŸ™‚

  24. Very nice post to help manage expectations about blog performance.
    I tend to follow the Simon Sinek model of “Why” when I started blogging. If my fresh college grad adult kids read and execute 80% of the plans and methods outlined in my blog and the rest of the FI community, I’ve closed the circle of influence of teaching them personal finance and career management. If I happen to capture a few other readers along the way and help make a difference, then I’ve got double prizes. As for monetizing the blog, perhaps, but value has be delivered first and consistently.

    1. I think you definitely have your priorities straight. Value first, monetization second. Those who pursue the opposite have a steeper battle to prove value, ironically enough.

  25. I notice that people that make big money from their blog have been blogging for years. Obviously, it’s not a quick answer to a second income.
    My personal passion is financial planning and I love researching and writing about it. I’ve been promoting my book and blog through live financial planning workshops in local libraries and a local bookstore. The turnout has been decent, people take notes, and everyone is fully engaged. Being a CPA and CFP gets me street cred and the information is definitely needed.
    I’m looking to do more live presentations and if the blog generates income, I consider it gravy.

    1. You’re right, it tends to take quite a while, and it also depends on how much work you want to actually put into your blog for the purposes of monetization. It certainly works for some people, that’s for sure!

  26. Ha! How true is all that. I still cannot figure out why some posts draw heaps of attention and others (that I think are really important!) do not. Oh well.

    I still have not monetized yet as I think it is too early with only 15K hits a month.

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