As a blogger who writes about money, I often draw parallels to money and life. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized how closely improving a blog is to improving personal finances. Here are just a few ways that I’ve noticed:
Start with one thing
When I decided I wanted to write a personal finance blog, I had to pick what I wanted to write about. I wanted it to be more focused and detailed than my previous blog and I knew that I had to write about what I know. Since I know nothing about investing and I am certainly not qualified to give tax advice, those were out. I thought about it and realized there is one topic where I know I’m an expert—me! I decided I would talk about my relationship with money. That would be my thing. And people seem to relate because now I get more traffic in a day than I used to get in a week!
Money tip—Just like with blogging, you need to pick one topic and focus on it. Trying to do too much at once will make it confusing. If you’re in debt, work on getting out of debt. If you’re behind in savings, build them up. And so on. Just pick one financial thing.
In order to grow my blog, I needed to find a network of people just like me. I reached out to other personal finance bloggers to guest post, I joined a forum, and I started commenting and tweeting all over the place. Doing so led to increased traffic and—finally—comments on my posts! Engaging with other bloggers has kept me motivated and inspired, and I know that when I’m struggling, they’ll pitch in to help. By networking and getting my name out there, I’ve been able to drive more traffic to my site.
Money tip—Don’t go it alone. If you’re paying off debt, find a friend, family member or online group to keep you motivated and encouraged. If you’re trying to embrace a new, frugal lifestyle, engage your friends in some of your newfound frugal (or free!) activities like game night or pot lucks. It’s a lot easier to give up when you have no one to rely on.
Learn what you don’t know
I knew I wanted this blog to be more successful than my previous one. To do that, I had to learn not only the basics of blogging but I had to learn a good deal of behind the scenes information like design, SEO (search engine optimization), plug-ins and basic coding. I had to educate myself in all the things I didn’t think were important for blog growth and success, even if it meant stepping into areas that make me uncomfortable. Learning these aspects of blogging has allowed my blog to grow and look way better than previous efforts.
Money tip—When it comes to managing your money, if you don’t know something, ask. For instance, if you don’t know how to create a budget, ask someone who does. If you don’t know which online savings account to open, ask someone who does. Educate yourself in the basics of personal finance by reading blogs, books, online articles. Information is the best way to set yourself up for future financial success. Like the old commercial used to say, “The more you know…”
Set your own measures for success
It’s hard not to look around the web at the hugely successful blogs or the blogs that seem to explode overnight into mainstream success. It’s even more difficult not to compare your own traffic to theirs (I know because I’m guilty of it). However, doing that is a surefire way to lead yourself into blogging fail. You will not measure up (because most people don’t) and you will convince yourself to quit.
Instead, set your own measures for success. What would it take for you to consider your blog successful? Is it 5 comments a day from people you don’t know? Ranking #1 for a search term? Getting “Freshly Pressed” (bloggers who use the free WordPress platform know what I’m talking about)? Having an advertiser or sponsor pay you? If you’re achieving success—as you’ve defined it—than you are a successful blogger.
Money tip—Don’t judge your progress according to someone else’s. You never know what’s going on. For instance, I used to listen to Dave Ramsey’s podcast and get upset and frustrated that I couldn’t pay off $50,000 in 6 months. Often, those people would have something to sell and that’s not a reality for me. I had to set my own goals and measures for success. If it took me a bit longer, that’s fine. I still got there.
My blog is not huge by any means. But it’s a vast improvement over previous efforts, and it’s something I’m extremely proud of. Just like my finances. I’m not a perfect financial expert but my budget and bottom line are much better than they used to be thanks to help from my money manager software.
And I consider that a success.