Fifth year of blogging – Summary| Updated: |
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The Poor Swiss is now five years old! It is hard to believe that it has been so long already.
The fifth year of blogging is likely the one I did the less work on the blog. It coincides with my son’s first year, with very low energy and very little sleep and time.
Considering the amount of work I did, the blog did rather well. It is still worse than a few years ago in terms of traffic. But the quality is going up, and so is the income.
This article is a retrospective of this fifth year of blogging, and I share the numbers about this blog, what went well, and what did not go well.
The Poor Swiss in numbers
Let’s start our retrospective of my fifth year of blogging with some numbers about the blog.
So, here are the page views for each month of this fifth year:
This graph is not very clear. In October, November, and December 2021, I tried switching to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), so I lost continuity. Then, I realized GA4 was much worse than the current version, and I could not find half of the few metrics I used. So, I switched back to GA3.
Then, the big bump in June is due to changing how stats are tracked. The previous method was more heavily blocked by adblocker plugins. The new way is slightly better in terms of privacy and is less blocked.
So, the first conclusion we can draw is that the traffic was relatively flat from January to June. Then, July and August were pretty good again!
However, the traffic is still significantly lower than last year. Comparing the first six months of 2022 with 2021, the traffic is 35% lower! This is a very significant drop in traffic. Some months have twice less traffic as last year.
About 75% of my traffic comes from searches. Then, about 20% is direct traffic (GA does not know the source) and very little social and referral traffic. I have stopped tracking email traffic for my subscribers, so I do not know how that works.
While I do not know how much traffic is driven by email, I know that my email subscribers have grown well. Over a year, about 1200 more subscribers have joined my lists.
The blog now counts 414 articles in English and 274 in French. I am currently translating every new article into French. I have decided not to translate some of the older articles, for instance, my monthly updates. I may reconsider some of these articles, but I do not want to translate an article with little value.
The comments are doing well, reaching more than 9000 comments on the blog. This is more than 2000 new comments since last year!
If you want some comparison, you can read the summary of my fourth year.
What went well?
Let’s talk about what went well with The Poor Swiss.
Interactions with readers are still going well. I think this blog is achieving its goal of helping Swiss people with their finances. On top of comments, I receive many positive emails and many questions. While it takes a while to answer them all, it is good to hear positive feedback on the blog.
Another thing that went well this year is that I met some people in person. I went to Bern for a meetup in August. And then, I went back to Bern for a meeting organized by Selma. It was an excellent opportunity to discuss finances with like-minded people.
I also got two nice articles in the press (one in Bilan and one in La Liberté). It was really interesting to do these interviews. I do not think it made any difference to the traffic or audience, but it is still good to get the word out.
Writing is still doing okay but less than last year. I am sometimes having a hard time writing some articles. I wish I could have written some more in-depth articles. But it is difficult to spend much time these days writing long-form articles.
The income went well this year. I had some really good months. On the other hand, I had some really low months, significantly lower than last year. I have not done much for the income (I did not have time). But it increased by about 15%, which is quite nice.
Overall, the most important thing is that the blog is still helping people with their finances.
What did not go well?
For the second year in a row, I did not manage to increase the traffic on my blog compared to the previous year. And it is significantly lower than two years ago. However, this is not my focus anymore. I wish it could increase again, but it is more a vanity metric than anything. I will not go into detail on this point.
I managed to finish the translation in French, but the process was quite painful. The WPML plugin is the only plugin that is always causing me issues. And most of the time, the support cannot even fix the problem, only offering poor workarounds.
And this plugin works poorly with other plugins. This plugin is forcing me to have PHP code workarounds to make this work. I even had to fix things directly in the database. I hate WPML at this point. But I am stuck with it since I have not found any other translation plugin that could import my translations from WPML.
Fortunately, my wife has been taking care of updating the translation of articles, so this helps a little. And she is more forgiving than I am with crappy software.
So, overall, I would say that the main thing that did not go well was dealing with a bad WordPress plugin and not being able to increase traffic.
What changed during this fourth year?
During this year, nothing much changed on the blog. I did not get enough time to tackle major projects.
The main change is that the blog is now entirely translated into French. I have not translated every single article, but about two-thirds of the total. For instance, I have not translated old monthly updates since they are rarely read. From now on, all my articles will be published on the same day in two languages. And I also send the email in two languages.
While it is a huge pain dealing with the bad translation plugin I am using (WPML), I am happy about the final result. Overall, the French part of the blog now represents about 15% of the traffic. This is good since most of the content is relatively fresh.
One relatively minor change was improving the color scheme on the blog. I have changed the colors of the headers, the buttons, and the links to match nicely. It is a small change, but I think it makes a nice difference.
There are also some changes that you may not even have noticed. I have updated many articles throughout the year to ensure they are current. I have also improved small technical things on the blog. And finally, I have also improved the visuals on some of the articles.
But overall, the blog mainly stayed the same.
Most popular articles
We can see which were the most popular articles on the blog during this fifth year. This list may not be accurate since I have lost more than three months of analytics, but it should still be a good sample.
So, here are the three most viewed articles:
So, here are the five most viewed articles, in order:
- Wise vs Revolut
- Updated Trinity Study
- Best Phone Plan in Switzerland
- Online shopping in Switzerland
- Buy ETF with Interactive Brokers
These are old articles that have done well since their inception. I am a bit of Wise vs Revolut doing so well because I do not think it is that great. But I like that my article with updated results for the Trinity Study is doing well.
I would also have liked it if there had been one big hit from the fifth year. But none of the articles from the fifth year made it into even the top 20.
If you have any suggestions for an article, I am always interested!
The next year of blogging?
Overall, I plan to keep the same plan for this blog next year. I will continue to write one article a week (if I can) and update older articles so that the information on my blog is not outdated. I think it is essential to avoid bad articles, even when several years old.
I will not try to push marketing for the blog. Marketing and promotion are something I do not enjoy at all. If I get contacted, and opportunities present themselves, I will pursue them, but otherwise, I will not do anything. I want to focus on things I enjoy and forget the others.
I have several ideas for projects for next year. I have no idea whether I will work on them, but if I get time, I will likely work on them. They are in no particular order.
- Translate the blog into german. Since the entire blog is now translated into French, the next logical step is to translate the blog into German. It makes sense to try to reach the largest region of Switzerland.
- Redo the home page. My home page is not looking great. I would like it to look more professional and have a picture. But I still want to display recent and featured articles because that is what people expect. However, my design skills are terrible, so I do not know how I will achieve that.
- Write an e-book. I am thinking of writing an e-book (several ideas). It could either be a free e-book like the current one about managing money or a paid e-book that would be sold directly on the blog.
Let me know what you think about these projects.
Your point of view?
This blog is for you! I want to get your point of view on this blog!
What do you think I should focus on next year?
What do you think went well or did not go well during the fourth year?
And do you have anything you would like to have on this blog? Any suggestions for articles?
Considering my time on the blog during this fifth year, the blog is doing okay. The traffic was not great, but the income was good.
And I think the blog is achieving its purpose of helping people with money. I have some good interactions with readers. I even had the chance to meet people from the finance community on two occasions.
I have some projects lined up for the future, but doing them will depend on how much time and energy I will have left next year. If the situation does not change, I will unlikely do any of these projects.
What would you like to see happen during the sixth year of the blog?
What do you think of my blog? Do you like the direction it is going in?
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24 thoughts on “Fifth year of blogging – Summary”
Hi Baptiste! I’m a long time silent reader, I love your blog so much! I moved to Switzerland three years ago and religiously read all through the relevant articles and it has been so helpful. I follow your advice on almost everything. Something I found myself looking for (but I don’t find) is an article about life insurance. Not the crappy third pillar life insurance, instead a “normal” life insurance, where you just pay premiums, if nobody dies, you never see the money (and I would be totally fine with it). I want to choose one but prices are so hard to find, don’t know where to start or how to choose, and I think there could be other people in a similar situation where they would like to have if they have a family or children.
Thanks for your kind words, Giulia!
Thanks for your suggestion, I will add an article about life insurance on my list!
Quick suggestion for an article on currency exchange services which could be interesting for expats and other people who need to convert amounts between various currencies. I am personally using a Geneva-based company called Telexoo which is better than the Migros bank rates but I know there are many options around and an overview could be useful.
The problem is that it’s very difficult to obtain the rates for Swiss banks. For any amount large than 1000 CHF, I recommend IB.
But that’s a good suggestion and I will put this on the list.
I just started to be an active follower of your blog, and you’re doing a great job!
I wonder if a translation in German of your blog will increase the traffic or if it would be just time consuming for you – I mean, have you been able to analyze if when translating the blog in French the traffic increased? Just wondering if there is an actual language barrier (as then maybe the Italian translation will follow?)
From my point of view, you could increase your traffic by targeting young professionals (maybe using some social media such as linkedIn?).
Then, just to drop some ideas, it would be great to have a post on the impacts of marriages on taxes (I know it can be complicated as it is different canton by canton), to have your suggestions at which age you think a person should start the 3rd pillars / investment, and which % of the salary do you think it should be consecrated for savings / investments etc (maybe by age group, as priorities changes), then, I don’t know if you follow politics, but it could be interesting to have your point of view on the financial impact on some popular votes (I understand that is can be touchy to share personal opinions, but maybe you could share just facts (for example the impact of Amendment to the Federal Act on Withholding Tax)- but I don’t know if this will drive the blog in a direction that is very far from what you’re doing right now )
In any case: great idea to write a book!
Thanks for the hard work, very useful for all the poor swiss :-)
Thanks for the feedback!
I got a small increase in traffic with the French translation, but it’s not a huge difference. My wife is helping me with the translation part, which I hate (dealing with the plugin is horrendous).
Not sure it would be much higher with German, we will find out.
The idea of multiple languages is also there to help more people.
I hate social media :) It’s already a hassle to keep a Twitter account for the blog, I am not going to expand more. But I know I am missing out.
Thanks for the article idea, this is very valuable!
Firstly, thank you for your hard work for this extremely instructive blog.
You asked for ideas for next year: You mentioned that you could meet some people from the finance community. I think that you also built your own community with this blog. Have you ever though of meeting your community in person? A bit like what book writers do in book shops when they release a book. I am not talking about the autograph part, but more about the discussion part. Other actors in personal finance / development like Dror could also participate to discuss about specific topics, in front of the community, and also hear from them.
I do understand that it requires a lot of effort to organise such event, and you said that marketing and promotion is not your favorite thing :) I just wanted to drop that question/idea here.
Thanks for sharing your idea!
Doing a full event is not on my list. It’s way too much work. What I was thinking is doing a small meetup in a restaurant where people could come and discuss. I want my investment in time to be spent discussing with people, not organizing an event.
That is great news! But beware of the popularity you may encounter with such “small” meetups. Keen to attend one of these in the future.
I am not sure I am as popular as you think!
Agreed! I read your articles with great interest and as much as I wished I could invest in real estate like you did, I’m already happy to see that some of my strategies (wether big or small) are similar to yours. Either way, thank you for all the work and everything you share/explain/review.
Thanks for your kind words, Zoé! You have to start small and be consistent if you want to achieve your goals! Good luck!
Alway follow your blogs and although not everything is relevant for my situation, I really appreciate your efforts to keep us updated on all things financial.
In terms of new subjects, I would be interested to read your comments on the recently published work that shows that the 4% pension withdrawal rate could be too high. As I understand the original work was based only on the US stock market, whereas the new work covers a wider number of stock markets for the same period. The new work suggests that a withdrawal rate of 1.9% is now more relevant. Unfortunately, I cannot find the original report again. As I am coming up to retirement this is a real focus of my attention. Many thanks
If you find this work again, send me an email, that would be great. This is something that interests me as well.
1.9% seems extreme to me. Some people are tryin to make headlines by making it even lower, I have read a (bad) article about needing to go to 0.5%…
I will try to look for these articles and debunk them (or confirm them, who knows…).
Yes thank you for doing this work. It is so useful !
Thanks, Charlotte! I am glad i’ts useful.
Thank you Baptiste for this blog.
5 years of managing a blog with all your activities around, it says a lot about your discipline. Well done.
If you write an ebook, make sure it is fully compatible on the Kindle….:) My favorite tool for reading.
Good luck in your 6th year.
Good point about the ebook! It should definitely be Kindle compatible :)
Keep going Baptiste! You did such a great job and I would say that most of the time, if I’m looking for anything related to financial in Switzerland, I always have a quick look if you treated the topic on your website. Thanks!
Thanks a lot for your kind words, Francisco!
I follow your blog since over a year and i really enjoy and learn from it. You analyze the topics very well and your writing is understandable and easy to read. While I can imagine it’s frustrating that traffic is not increasing – your are certainly delivering a lot value to us, your readers. A big thank you for your efforts and I hope you will continue :-)
Totally agree with Roger. Very well written and helpful blog. Please continue. :-)
Thanks for your kind words! I am glad I am delivering value to you! In the end, that’s what matters, even if it’s not easy to quantify :)