Finding my stride

Blogging

(Note: Hello to everyone who’s reading this post via Darren Rowse’s Hightly Effective Blogger series on Problogger. I’ve modified the layout to a list format to make the content more readable. Thanks for visiting!)

1. Use a mix of long and short posts: I’m glad to say that since refocusing the topic of this site entirely to finance two months ago, I’ve finally hit a regular posting pace that I think I can work with: one or two posts a day, save on weekends, and if two, one that’s more lighthearted, with a more serious one related to investing once or twice a week. I find the shorter, pithier posts attract readers from PFBlogs.org and feeds, and my more in-depth posts are being picked up by Google and other search engines. While my readership still wanes a bit on the weekends, this little diversification helps me maintain traffic more than if I had chosen only one or the other to do.

2. Write ahead of time. I also take the weekends to think of topics to write about for the coming week and intersperse those with any interesting news items I find from Fatwallet, the WSJ, the Economist, or other finance-related publications on an ad-hoc basis. Writing ahead of time on the weekend also has the added benefit of allowing me to revisit and edit my posts before publishing them, something I’ve found is necessary especially when writing about more complex topics such as value investing.

3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. But learn from them. My blog wasn’t always this way. When I first started this site earlier this year, my ambitions were waaaay too high to be attainable. My criteria for posts — which I aimed to have all original content and be lengthy — might have been a bit too academic and obscure for the average visitor, and as if that wasn’t enough, I also wanted to translate them into Spanish and Chinese as well. I love languages, but unfortunately, I found out quickly that I wasn’t not trilingual enough and versed in foreign finance terms to be able to do that efficiently.

Rather than give up, I decided to admit my limitations and continue on with my experiment in blogging. In April, I finally got up the courage to start publishing a feed and ask for inclusion on PFBlogs.org, a feed aggregator dedicated to personal finance topics, and went back and tagged all the relevant links on my posts.

4. Be creative, be transparent, and experiment! For fun and to see how I’m doing, I also added a little graphic to the left sidebar to go along with regular monthly updates on the valuation of this blog, in the spirit of a monthly close process. It’s been fun to see my traffic and earnings grow, though the latter has been at a much slower rate, of course. It’s also a way for me to keep up with the changes and additions I’ve made, so I can tell what has or hasn’t been successful.

5. Celebrate small victories. With the changes mentioned above that I’ve made, this month, it looks like my visits will be well over 1,000, and I’m finally included in Alexa rankings, though at a 7-digit figure. Still, these little changes that keep me going and convince me I’m progressing.

6. Tools and feeds have multiple uses. The aforementioned PFBlogs.org has not only been a big help to build traffic and get the word out on my site but also a great resource for my finance education and for generating new ideas as well. One area of finance that I know nothing about is real estate. There are more than 30 real-estate blogs listed there, so I’ll be doing lots of reading when the time comes to revisit the housing market. I’ve also found a few investing blogs of interest and am amazed by how many people are willing to be candid with the public about their efforts to become debt-free or improve their finances. Also, the comments that have been left on my own investing-related posts have helped me maintain my interest in learning about value investing.

In summary, I’d definitely call my experiment a success so far.

My next steps are to participate in more carnivals and interact more with other personal finance blogs, and as always, build more high-quality content, content, content. I also aways welcome advice from more experienced bloggers if they have any to share! Thanks for reading.

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