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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?