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I cannot believe it has already been one year since I started blogging. On October 10th 2017, I wrote the first blog post of The Poor Swiss. I have learned a lot of about personal finance in that year. And I have also learned a lot about blogging. Even though this was not my first blog, I still had a lot to learn. And I still have a lot more to learn now!
In this post, I am going to talk about my first year of blogging. If I say this year, it will the year of blogging, it will not be 2018 ;)
Recently, I have talked about the reasons why I am blogging. Now, I am going to share numbers about how the blog is doing. I am also going to share the things I did right and the things that did not go well. However, I still have a lot of work to do to improve this blog. I am hoping that it gets better over time.
The blog in numbers
Let’s start with the statistics of the blog over the first year. I am using Google Analytics to gather statistics about my readers. I am not very obsessed about them, I do not check them often, around once a week. Unfortunately, I do not have the statistics when the blog was self hosted, but they were really low.
The statistics are neither bad nor good I think. At least the number of users is still increasing. But it is increasing very little. I had much more success with my other blog in the past. I will need to figure a better strategy for this blog. Nevertheless, I still have around 1500 users each month. This is not too bad either. I should be more content with myself :)
The very high peak in May 2018 has been due to the mention on Rockstar Finance. Indeed, my post about my biggest investing mistakes got featured on Rockstar Finance. This brought a lot of new readers to the blog. Unfortunately, most of these new readers did not stay. And the things went back to normal in June 2018. But this is still great to get a mention on such a good blog.
The blog sources of traffic
On this first year, my traffic is well divided between referrals, direct and organic sources of traffic. Social traffic is very low, less than 10%. In social traffic generators, Twitter is my best source of traffic. It is followed by Facebook and then Pinterest. Actually I am quite impressed that Facebook is generating so much traffic. Because I almost do not do anything on Facebook. I really need to improve this since it seems that this can be a good source of traffic.
This post is the 103rd post on this blog. The first months of the blog, I published very little content. I mostly published monthly status reports. But this year, I have been able to publish much more than I thought possible. I am still sticking to the three posts a week schedule. This is almost 140’000 words published on this blog. Not bad I am guessing :)
These 103 blog posts have seen 470 comments at the time of this writing. This is a great number I think. In average, each blog post is seeing more than two comments. About half of these comments are mine since I answer to everybody who comments on that blog.
How much money did I make?
This question is very easy to answer. I made exactly 0 CHF in 12 months. In fact, I actually lost money on this blog. I have to pay for the domain, for the hosting and I paid one month of Tailwind. So far, I have not paid for any course for this blog. If I ever get some money from this blog, I would like to get into a few courses to improve it further. But I am not set on any specific one yet. I do not want to invest more money in the blog for now.
I do not have big plans for this blog. Indeed, I would rather have more readers than getting money out of the blog. I do not say I would not mind some income. But for now, I am perfectly happy with not getting anything from it. I am going to focus on improving the blog to get more readers.
Most popular posts
There is a lot of variations in popularity between the different posts in the blog. Some posts have done quite well while others have done poorly. That is quite expected. Now I have to learn from these popular posts to produce more of them. To sort them by popularity, I took the posts with the most page views. Here are the three most popular posts of the entire year:
- My biggest investing mistakes – How to avoid them : Since this post got featured on Rockstar Finance, it completely dwarfed the other posts in terms of page views. It is really impressive how much a single mention can make a difference.
- My new ETF Portfolio for Switzerland – Simplicity is key : People are really interested in portfolio ideas.
- My monthly personal finance routine – 11 things I do each month : People also like routines with a set number of steps.
I will need to find the recipe to get all my posts to have more page views in the future. And I would also like to get the recipe to get mentioned on Rockstar Finance ;)
Most commented posts
And some posts got a lot of comments while other got very few of them. I think comments are a very important metric as well. So here are the most commented posts on the blog this year:
- First six months of blogging – Lessons learned : I got a lot of comments about my blog after six months. I hope the one year anniversary will also bring lots of comments.
- Updated ETF Portfolio for Switzerland – Bonds and dividends : I had several very interesting discussions on my portfolio here.
- 5 Things I hate about Switzerland : I was really good to hear about different perspectives on Switzerland than mine
It is interesting to note that the most commented posts are definitely not the most popular in terms of page views.
It is really good to have discussions with my readers. I hope I will continue to get many comments on my blog. I enjoy any kind of comments. Even if you do not like (or agree with) what I write, I would like to hear about it :)
What was your favorite posts on this blog ?
Biggest blogging mistake – Read other blog reports
One thing I really regret doing is reading other blog reports. This is the most discouraging thing you can do. I have read many blog reports where people claimed more views in their first month than me in one year. The worst is hearing about someone who made a lot money or had a lot of views in its first month blogging. I do not doubt that some people can do that. But I am quite skeptical about some of these blog reports out there. I feel that some of them are quite inflated.
Some of these posts have good advice. But overall, it is really not helping to read them. It will just drag you down. I am more motivated on my blog since I stopped reading these other blog reports. Since I stopped, I am becoming more optimistic about my blog. Every month, I am just trying to make the blog better than it was last month. I am hoping to see some long-term growth of the blog.
A few things changed on the blog over time. In the beginning, the blog started being hosted at wordpress.com. Then, I migrated the blog to bluehost. Then I realized that bluehost is not a company I wanted to work with. They are not professional and are not doing a good job at all.
Therefore, I migrated the blog to SiteGround. So far, I have not had any issue on the blog with SiteGround. But I am being more careful than before. It has only been a few months. But they are definitely better than bluehost, no doubt about that. And not that it is difficult.
Over time, I also made some changes on the blog to improve it. I have started to use Jetpack to replace some of my plugins. I wanted to make it more simple. And I also improved the performance of the blog a lot. Performance is actually something I really like to optimize. There is still room for improvement but it is much better than at the start.
I decided to include featured images for each of my posts. At that point, it was for Pinterest. I am not actively using Pinterest right now. But I really like these featured images. And I will use Pinterest again in the future.
Next blogging year
In my next year of blogging, I want to improve a few things on the blog. To start, I really need to improve my social media strategy. I am not a huge fan of social media. But it is important for blogs. It is not enough to write a blog post, it is necessary to make it known. And I think it is an interesting exercise for me. A lot of people have told me I need to get more social in real life. So I am going to get more social in online life ;)
First of all, I need to improve my reach on Twitter. I am thinking to use a WordPress plugin to help on that. Then, I want to start working a bit more on Facebook. And I also want to get back to Pinterest. I will have to see how I can do it without Tailwind. I have no idea yet how I am gonna do it ;) Of course, I am not going to do it all at once. I am going to try to improve each social media one after another.
There are also quite a few changes that I want to do on the blog to improve SEO and improve the quality of the blog in general. Some of the old articles need some review. I need to proofread them and complete them. I also need to check my categories again. Moreover, I will also clean up my theme even more. I feel it is a bit bloated now with too many links and too many things around. So, I want to make it more simple for people to find what they are looking for.
I did not set real goals for the blog now. But I would like to improve the number of page views each month. I would also like to improve the quality of all my posts. And I would like to have more followers on Twitter and on the mailing list. And I need to resurrect my Facebook page.
How would you improve the blog? What would you make differently?
Overall, I am satisfied with my first year of blogging. I still like writing new blog posts a lot. I would never have thought I would write so much on this blog. And I have been able to help a few readers to improve reduce their fees. I think that is the most important thing. I am hoping for some growth next year and I plan to do many changes on the blog that should help on this path.
And this blog helped me a lot. Since I started this blog, I made a lot of research in investing and money in general. I am still not an expert at all. But I am much more knowledgeable than before. And the state of my finances is increasing really well. I will get even better!
In the goals of next year, I will definitely include some goals for the blog. I will also try to continue to post regularly on this blog. My next big step for his blog is to improve SEO and social media. I would like to bring new readers to the existing blog posts.
I have to ask you: What would you like me to write about ? Do you have any advice for me ?