My blog just celebrated its first birthday. The Financial Journeyman was launched on April 8, 2017. Time sure does go by quickly when you are having fun and interacting with great people.
When I launched this blog, I had very low expectations. My expectations were low because I never created a blog before. After I decided to create this blog, I did some research on how other blogs performed during their first year.
Many of the general posts that I read about initial blog traffic stated that traffic will be slow in the beginning. Some bloggers wrote that they received zero traffic for months. For some, the only person who read their blog was their Mom. That had me worried because I knew that I would be in trouble if I had to rely on my Mom to read this blog. Joking aside, I knew that creating a blog was going to take a great amount of time, effort, and some money.
Before I created The Financial Journeyman I never interacted on blogs or forums. They have always been useful sources of information. My approach was just to visit, read, and move on.
That approach had to change. I did not know anyone in the Financial Independence Community. To meet people and make connections, I had to start interacting with people who were sharing about their personal financial situations on various online platforms.
In a sense, I felt like the personal financial blogger who came in from the cold. This blog was not about tracking a transformation that followed a psyche change about money. I was already saving and investing for 20 years, close to being financially independent, and planning on retiring in 2028.
The Financial Journeyman was created to share what I have learned along this journey. It is written for those who want to achieve financial independence first and then plan for an early retirement. The content is for both beginners as well as for those how are already taking the required actions to make their own financial goals a reality.
Since my blog is anonymous, Twitter seemed to be the best option to start with. I keep my blog anonymous because I talk openly about my financial situation. There are some people like my boss and extended family who I do not want to know about the details of my financial situation. The other reason is that I do not want to be robbed. I read the book In Cold Blood by Truman Capote at a young age and I suggest it to anyone who has considered sharing about their wealth without protecting their identity. Twitter has been a great tool for growing traffic and interacting with other bloggers. In my first year, my list of followers has grown to over 2,700 people.
The Financial Independence Community
Rockstar Finance has been an invaluable resource. I have had three posts featured in the past year:
J. Money was kind to me and greatly helped to get my blog some traction. ESI who now owns Rockstar Finance is also a good guy and featured me as M25 in his interview series about millionaires. Being featured on those sites truly helped to get my blog some needed exposure among 1,500 other personal finance blogs.
Guest posting is also important for new blogs. It is a way to get introduced to new readers. My first guest post was on My Millennial Guide. Over the past 12 months, I have written guest posts on several websites including Chief Mom Officer, Keep Thrifty, Abandoned Cubicle, and for Michael Dinich. All those posts have helped introduce me to new followers.
It is fun to meet people and chat online. For me, however, I like to meet people in person. It is fun to hang out and talk with people who share the same passion for financial independence.
In the past year, I have started attending my local Bogleheads Chapter Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (120 miles away). At that group, I have had the opportunity to meet some nice people who welcomed me to the group. At the most recent meeting, I had the opportunity to meet Erin Arvedlund from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Erin Arvedlund might not be a familiar name, but she was the original journalist who broke the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme story while working for Barron’s Magazine. Yes, she is the real deal.
In November, there was a Rockstar Finance Meet-up in New York City. This was a chance to meet some of the best personal finance bloggers who live on the East Coast. At this event, I had the opportunity to meet Stefanie O’Connell, Josh Holt from Big Law Investor, The Luxe Strategist, and Liz from Chief Mom Officer. At that event, I also met another Pennsylvania Guy named Church who blogs at My Mattress Money. Like myself, Church is a big Philadelphia Eagles fan. He and I frequently chat about the Eagles and message each other during the games. It was fun to root for the eagles together on their way to a Super Bowl victory.
It seems like I am making new friends every week. A short while ago I was able to meet a financial blogger who lives near me. I had the opportunity to have dinner With Michael Dinich. Michael is a financial professional as well as a blogger. He is a generous guy. He and I are currently working on a few collaborations together.
My most recent financial meet-up was the ChooseFI meet-up in Philadelphia. There are many outstanding financial podcasts, but ChooseFI is one that I tune into almost every week. It was fun to expand my circle of friends even more. I had the pleasure of meeting Kait who blogs at Not Your Average Millennials. This was a very friendly and welcoming group of people who are working hard to reach financial independence. I am looking forward to hanging out with this group again.
People might think I am crazy to dedicate a whole Saturday to drive to these big cities to talk money with strangers. If I was not passionate about it, I would not do it. If I want to make new friends and expanded my reach, I need to put forth the effort and go to them. It is not different from any other personal or professional relationship.
This post is about a blog, so I guess I should touch on writing. My advice is simple. The first post is the hardest. I thought about creating a blog for a very long time. I decided that I did not want to one day reach old age and look back and wish that I had written.
It is a craft. It takes practice. It is difficult, but I am striving for progress.
Reading makes writing easier. You might be a personal finance blogger, or you might blog about something entirely different. Read other bloggers that are in your space. Read books, journals, and forums too.
Just keep writing. Dedicate some time to write every day. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Blog posts are short. Even longer 3,000-word blog posts are short compared to a book. I have found that diction is super important in blog posts. It is crucial to be as clear as possible. As a personal finance blogger, the logic is the easy part. The difficult part is capturing the ethos and pathos.
I post about 5 times per month. This is a part-time blog. On top of managing this blog, I have a full-time HR job where I manage the Recruiting for four different healthcare campuses in two different states. That job eats up a good chunk of my time and energy.
Every morning, I try to dedicate about 45 minutes for reading before work. Every evening, I dedicate at least one hour for writing and editing posts. My time is limited, so I need to be efficient.
Blog Performance Metrics
So, how has this blog performed over the past year? The Financial Journeyman was raked as the 15th fastest growing personal finance blogs over the past year. That statistic truly humbled me.
This is the third post about performance metrics that I have written. If you want to see some of the early stats, I wrote a six-month as well as a nine-month review. Below are some of the metrics for the 1st quarter of 2018 as well as my total metrics for the past 12 months:
- Sessions – 1,050
- Users – 724
- Page views – 1,859
- Pages/Sessions – 1.77
- Average session Duration – 1:23
- Bounce Rate – 71.14%
- Number of Sessions per User – 1.32
- Sessions – 980
- Users – 753
- Page views – 1,699
- Pages/Sessions – 1.73
- Average session Duration – 1:38
- Bounce Rate – 69.59%
- Number of Sessions per User – 1.30
- Sessions – 3,956
- Users – 3,289
- Page views – 5,370
- Pages/Sessions – 1:36
- Average session Duration – 1:09
- Bounce Rate – 84%
- Number of Sessions per User – 1.20
April 2017 – March 2018
- Sessions – 16, 537
- Users – 12,300
- Page views – 25,454
- Pages/Sessions – 1.54
- Average session Duration – 1:17
- Bounce Rate – 76.74%
- Number of Sessions per User – 1.36
There you have it. That was what it is like to be a blogger for one year. It is now easier than ever to create a blog. If there is a subject that you are passionate about, you owe it to yourself to write. You also owe it to others. People want to read about what you have to offer. It is a therapeutic process. It is hard but rewarding. It is your opportunity to share with the world. People want to read about an experience, direction, and what is possible for them to achieve.
It has been a pleasure to share this year with all my readers. I am looking forward to an even more exciting second year of blogging. When it comes to personal finance and especially investing, we do not know what is coming next. That is why it is important to have a plan and find trusted resources that you can stick with. My goal is to be one of those trusted resources for you.
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