Unlike most money bloggers, I’ve not talked much about the blog’s progress with you. I’ve reasoned you’re here for thoughts on personal finance and investing, not for updates on my tiny media empire.
On the other hand:
- It’s January, a time for New Year plans
- I want to keep regular readers in the loop
- Monevator is finally getting some traction
- Some of those other bloggers have many more readers than me, so they must be doing something right!
So here’s a run through how the blog is going, and what to look out for in 2010.
Monevator: Where are we now?
Monevator is now over two years old, although it was only in mid-2008 that I really committed to regular posting. It remains a rare UK-based money and investing blog.
As 2009 began, I aimed to write at least three posts a week, including my weekend reading digests, and I nearly always did. Readers seemed to approve – RSS subscribers grew from about 30 to nearly 700 over the course of 2009. (The number dropped in mid-late December, as I think all my readers have jobs!)
You can see this step change in the following graph:
A 20x increase in subscribers in a year is gratifying, and I’m proud of every one who signed up. It’d be fantastic to do the same in 2010, but I suspect that may be wishful thinking!
In terms of visitors, I’m still not at a stage where I’d feel comfortable sharing numbers. I don’t want people to think of a number and Monevator until that number is a decent one, which gives a hint that I don’t think we’re there yet.
I can reveal that monthly traffic tripled between January and November, however, before tailing off for Christmas:
What about making money from blogging?
I really didn’t start Monevator to make any money and good thing, too, as for a long time I didn’t. However in autumn 2009 the pitiful Google Adsense income started to become mildly less pitiful.
There’s still a very long way to go until the site pays for my time, let alone makes a profit: Monevator revenues are about 5% of my total annual income.
While Monevator will likely always be a labour of love, I do need to make a little more from it, as the 10-20 hours a week it eats up undoubtedly curbed my earnings elsewhere in 2009.
More money, more posts, less waffle
Believe it or not, I’ve tried to write shorter posts all year.
One trick I discovered was splitting large posts into series, as I did with the focus on investing in bonds. But I need to be more disciplined.
I will always write 1,000 word articles – maybe every week – but it’s not sustainable for every article, either for you, my long-suffering readers, or for me.
Those longer articles can take 3-6 hours to write, and it probably feels like they take the same amount of time to read sometimes!
In an ideal world I’d write more pithy 500 word articles like my blogging chum Oblivious Investor, or the fabulous Frugal Dad. Writing shorter articles will also enable me to write more personal finance and income-related posts. The focus will remain on investing, but I always planned to have a wider brief.
I’d also like to sometimes highlight an interesting story, with a link and an opinion. This is how blogging started and it’s the mainstay of many blogs, but I’ve been too precious to do it.
I’d like to find time to cover some financial services, too, like cashback credit cards, brokers and savings accounts. These can be a useful heads up for you, and they offer a chance for me to make an affiliate commission if you follow the link, which is how all the U.S. money bloggers cover their costs.
Obviously I’d only say I liked a product if I liked it, as anything else would be shooting myself in the foot!
More community on Monevator
I added comments to Monevator in mid-2009, with mixed success.
A few regular commentators pop up now and again, as well as a couple of bloggers like my new chum Financial Samurai, but there could be more.
I’m not sure how to improve this. Many US blogs have lots of comments that are just other bloggers spreading their name, but a handful such as The Simple Dollar have a big base of readers adding real insight. I think Monevator would benefit from the same, but we seem to be a shy bunch.
It may be that the UK is already well-served by the likes of Money Saving Expert and The Motley Fool, but I’ve a few things to try out before giving up.
New for 2010: A ‘product extension’!
Nifty business jargon, eh? Yep, I’m going to push the Monevator brand envelope thing-ummy this year. You just watch me think in a blue sky outside of the box.
I think it’s most likely to be a Monevator book, but I’ve also had an interesting approach about a podcast, and I’ve even thought about Monevator TV.
Goals and targets for 2010
If you read my article on making New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll know I believe in turning vague hopes into actions.
- Post every weekday, plus the weekend reading roundup
- Write more (but not exclusively!) shorter posts – at most 3 a week
- Do at least two longer posts a week
- Take Monevator into new frontiers
- Improve community by helping promote discussion
Targets (all by end of 2010)
- Monthly visitors to triple
- RSS subscribers to reach 5,000
- Posts to have on average 20 comments after two weeks
- Blog income to be 20% of my total income
How you can help (please!)
If you’d like to see me hit these targets rather than fall on my face, I could use your help:
- Comment on any post that takes your fancy
- Suggest relevant friends subscribe by RSS or email
- Updated: Use the Tip’d, Digg, Stumble and other buttons below if you like a post
- Spread the word by re-tweeting @Monevator links on Twitter
- Email me any ideas or thoughts you have
Thanks in advance for anything you can do – and also for reading and just being around. I would probably keep writing without any readers (in fact, I used to!) but it’s infinitely nicer now.
Oh, and for the record this article was 1076 words. Damn, 1080 now. Gah! The new regime officially begins tomorrow.
Note: If you have any thoughts on how Monevator can scale dizzying new heights in 2010, please let me know in the comments below.