Yey! I couldn’t believe that it’s my first year blog anniversary already. Time flies so fast in blogging especially if you’ve forgotten about it. That’s what happened to this blog. I created it and then got lazy as f*ck while telling myself tons of excuses and BS on why I shouldn’t blog.
I’m due to renew my hosting account by the end of May 2020 and technically, my blog has been online for one year on that day. However, I did not really blog for the entire year. Here’s what happened –
One Year Timeline
May 31 to July 14, 2019
I bought the domain on Namecheap, hosting, and set up a WordPress blog. Studiopress theme and the necessary plugins were installed. Afterward, I toyed with the layout and other stuff. And then I wrote and posted my first ever article on June 6, 2019.
To increase the exposure of my posts, I set up various social media accounts for my blog. I created a Facebook Page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts.
I wrote my first blog post on June 6 and then continued writing and posting articles from June 7 to July 17, 2019. Within that time period, I wrote 15 articles for June 2019 and 2 articles for July 2019.
Social media posts were automated by IFTT and some were manually posted. I did not do any backlinking effort and I did not engage myself with the wonderful community of FI bloggers.
July 15, 2019 to April 16, 2020
I got lazy as f*ck. My online selling gig kept me busy. Things were going great with my hustle until the lockdown was announced here in my country.
If I’m being honest with myself, I actually had a lot of spare time in those 9 months that I did not touch my blog. Yes, it’s true that there were days when I was really busy with my online selling hustle.
But, there was also A LOT of idle time (A LOT) that I spent binge-watching random videos on Youtube and Netflix. I also spent a lot of those times just hanging out with friends and chatting at cafes.
When the two-week lockdown was first announced, my income stopped immediately. I was actually ok and I was not that bothered.
I thought, “Naaah, it’s just two weeks. What could go wrong?”
I spent my first two weeks in lockdown cleaning out my storage area and sorting out my inventory. Some improvements were made to my postings such as new pictures and I also updated the descriptions of some items.
“All is well,” so I thought.
And then, an extension of the lockdown period was announced, I felt sick to my stomach. I know my small gig will not survive this prolonged quarantine period.
“Oh f*ck! What am I gonna do?” I asked myself.
I kept my calm and browse the internet about what the other hustlers are doing. And I also checked out blogs to read about what they are planning to do in order for their gigs to survive this pandemic.
Then, I remembered something… I have a blog! A blog that I did not bother myself with for 9 straight months.
April 17 to May 13, 2020
Since I have nothing else to do at home, I opened my blog, updated all the plugins, and created my first article after a long hiatus. That article is of course pandemic-related since it’s what we are all facing today.
I realized, that instead of sulking and beating myself up because of not being prepared for this kind of situation, I might as well get up and do something productive instead.
This situation made me understand that there’s a lot of things that I have no control over. But there are also certain things that are within my control, such as, my reaction to the situation.
And so, I started writing articles. From April 17 up to today, I have written 24 articles including this one. I also started engaging myself with other FI bloggers on Twitter. A lot of my time was also spent reading and leaving comments on other people’s blogs.
I also had my blog listed in four personal finance blog directories. Three of them have accepted my submission and I’m still waiting for the other one to respond.
There has been no backlinking effort done yet except for the directory listing. I feel that it’s still too early for that. And aside from getting listed, I also added Google Adsense on my blog just to see what it will look like.
I also tweaked my layout a bit, added a header, adjusted the color, etc. I find myself spending more time tweaking my blog instead of writing content. It fascinates me. It’s like a robot toy that you can do a lot of customizations with.
Note: Just ignore the ads on the right side. LOL! I don’t know what it is.
Blogging Stats Surprises
As I write my first blog anniversary post, I thought that I might as well check my Google Analytics to see what happened in the past year of blogging. And I was surprised.
As I have mentioned earlier, this blog was idle for nine months. So technically, I have only been actively blogging for three months. What surprised me is finding out that there was traffic even if I wasn’t blogging at all.
I know that the number is not that big but I’m still surprised because I really thought that it’s zero. During the 9 months of an idle period, this blog had only 17 articles, no backlinks, no social media engagement, and no plugin updates.
Aside from checking the blog traffic on Google Analytics, I also checked Google Adsense which I installed last month and I got $0.05.
My optimistic self says, “It’s better than nothing right!” And my hustler side says, “You gotta work harder and smarter bro!”
Another surprise was when I saw one of my posts on the first page of Google. It’s a long keyword though and I was not expecting it to be on the first page. For that keyword, most websites dominating the search are, of course, owned by the banks themselves. What a surprise!!!
This is good news right?!? I must be doing something right! This article was first posted only last April 22, 2020. It’s just less than one month from today.
This keyword will not make me rich though because it’s not a competitive keyword and it’s not a highly searched keyword in my country.
And also, we don’t have an affiliate program for credit card services. But if you’re from other countries (like in the US, Canada, or any country in Europe), try ranking for a similar keyword and let me know what will happen.
2nd Year Blogging Plan
Oh, man! I’m excited! I really didn’t think that I will reach my first year blog anniversary! It’s like a game!
I used to play a lot of Resident Evil games using my cousin’s Playstation console. If you’re a millennial like me, you might be familiar with Resident Evil and Playstation (it sounds old school now that I’m saying it).
With Resident Evil, aside from killing zombies, you have to fulfill tasks and solve puzzles in order to move on to the other areas of the game. You have to constantly update your weapons so you could beat the zombies and the zombies’ big badass bosses. You also have to go back to a certain area wherein you have to save the game.
There are lots of clues scattered in different places to help you finish the game. These clues are sometimes in form of letters, video messages, etc. Actually, it’s like any other computer game I’ve played within the past (except the zombie virus story plot of course).
So, just like the game that I love playing so much, in order to be on top of this blogging game, I realized that I need to increase my firepower and solve puzzles in order to achieve the goal. And those weapons and ammunitions that I need are:
More Valuable and Helpful Content
One of the reasons why I created this blog is to learn financial independence and to help myself achieve FI. In the succeeding months, I will definitely write more content that readers will find valuable and helpful in their pursuit of financial independence.
I will strike a balance between what I will write for myself (like this post) and what I will write for the readers.
The key thing that I always keep in mind when writing is – value! Does my article provide value to whoever is reading it? Or am I just wasting your time?
In order for me to find out what the readers are looking for and searching for (what is valuable for them at the time of search), I will be using keyword search tools. I will be sharing how I will do this in my next posts.
I’m constantly updating the template of my blog and all the non-article contents such as the buttons, widgets, and graphics. My goal is to speed up the loading time which I’ve read to be one of the main priorities for reader experience. I’ll also try to improve the visuals to help improve readability for people like me.
Some people couldn’t stand reading blocks of text (like me) and there need to be certain visual breaks in the form of graphics, pictures, etc. I’m planning to use my own pictures probably by the end of this year.
I love using stock photos because it saved me a lot of time. And I’m also thankful to everyone who shared their photos for free. It helps newbies like me who don’t have many resources to start with.
Also, it helps us improve the visual quality of our content.
However, using stock photos all the time seems to be not the best way to go if you want to grow your blog. I often see multiple blog posts online that use the same stock photo as I did for some of my posts.
Using stock photos all the time affects your branding because sometimes, visual people associate a blog with the photos that they’ve seen.
And it’s hard to be remembered if there are ten other blogs that used the same photo on a similar blog topic. I’m also planning to post stock photos to free websites in order to give back to the community.
SEO Optimized Blog
Content is still and will always be the King! People find our blogs because they’re searching for something that could help them answer a question or solve a problem (and sometimes to entertain them).
However, I believe that SEO should always sit side-by-side with content. People will not find our blog posts if they’re not SEO optimized.
I still have a long way to go when it comes to SEO. And I’m still learning a lot especially when it comes to striking the balance between SEO and readability.
Here’s a quick tip that I’ve learned in the past few weeks. Search Google with the keyword that you’re trying to rank for. Read the top five posts on the first page of Google and notice what they have in common. Observe the style of writing, choices of words, and tone. If other people can balance SEO with readability then it’s not a unique skill. It’s a transferable skill that anyone can learn.
And also, I’ve been reading tons of posts about this topic and I’ve been watching tons of SEO vlogs as well. Like in any other business and in life in general, change is inevitable.
The stuff that I know now might not work tomorrow. Things get obsolete fast, especially in technology. If I can’t adapt to changes, then I will fail miserably in any endeavor that I decide to go for in my life.
I don’t have any clear-cut plan yet on how I intend to monetize my blog or if I will monetize it. For now, I’ll just leave Adsense on my blog while thinking of a monetization strategy that best suits me.
I feel that affiliate marketing is the best way to go but it will all depend on what the second year of blogging will look like.
I spent the first year (or 3 months depending on how you want to look at it) learning how to build a blog. The second year will be the year to learn how to drive traffic and how to monetize.
I will be sharing all my learning on my blog as I go along.
One of the reasons why I started to blog is to engage myself with like-minded people. And in my first year, I think I was able to achieve that.
This blog helped me connect to fellow FI enthusiasts, FI bloggers, and to my fellow hustlers who are working so hard to improve their lives.
I’m so done and over with limiting myself with the only conversations available to me in my physical location.
In the shortest period of time that I’ve been on Twitter and the FI blogosphere, and even if I only had short conversations with some of you through blog comment exchanges and Tweets, you guys have helped me improve my mindset for the better. Thank you!
Are you also new to FI blogging? Feel free to share some tips and recommendations that have worked for you in the past?
Matt @ OMB says
Congrats on making it to a year, even if you sputtered a bit. You did the hard parts – lots of people get lost just getting things off the ground. Keep it up
Thank you very much Matt!
Reverse The Crush says
Congrats on reaching the 1 year mark, Thrifty Hustler! Even though you only blogged for 3 months, it seems like you set up everything right if you are ranking on Google and seeing traffic. Congrats on seeing some Adsense earnings too. In my view, any earnings is proof of concept. If you can make $0.05, it’s possible to increase that with more traffic. My first year was like that too. Then I started seeing $5 and $10 from Adsense in a month. Then it jumped again this year significantly. So keep it up. I like your plan for year 2. I look forward to following your journey.
Thanks Graham! I’m also excited for the second year. 🙂
Get Rich Brothers says
Love the enthusiasm and renewed drive to build your blog. Keep up the hard work—I can assure you you’ve never wasted any of my time spent reading your writing.
Like you, I’ve really never spent much time looking at the SEO side of things. I really opened my site to give me a place to write and share some ideas with others in the financial community. It’s been great o learn from everyone along the way. I can definitely say it has made me a better investor to be accountable to everyone I am writing for.
Looking forward to your next year and beyond.
Thank you Ryan for the kind words. I still have a lot to learn in SEO 🙂
Backpack Finance says
Congrats! Looks like you have a good plan in place for the future. I’m 6 months in the game and definitely have a lot to learn. What I am realizing is that in-order for me to keep going for a long time, I need to pace myself.
I prefer going slower but ensuring I don’t burn out. The optimal schedule for me is 1 post a week and engaging with 2-3 other bloggers every day. Through comments on their blog or Twitter.
If I start pushing through more than that it will start becoming work and that’s not what I’m after.
I guess every blogger has something else which works for them.
Cheers and good luck!
Thanks for dropping by. I agree proper pacing is important. This isn’t the only thing I spend my time with so it will be tricky once the lockdown is implemented since I will have to take care of my other gigs.