One year ago on May 26, 2011, I published the first post on Cash Flow Mantra and got 4 visitors (I bet 3 of them were me). I wasn’t sure that I knew what I was doing at the time and am not so sure that I know what I am doing now, but at least I continue to try. I would like to take a quick look back at this past year, and then look ahead to the next one.
First Year Stats:
Number of Posts: 156
Page Views: 30,100
Time on Site: 1:28
Current Alexa Rank: 199,732
Search Traffic: 39.76%
Five Most Popular Posts:
CFM Celebrating 100 Posts with Cash Giveaway
Now the stats are nice to look at, but don’t tell the whole story. Since starting CFM (which was my first Word Press blog), I have managed to start two more (although with writing assistance). I have met a lot of nice fellow personal financial bloggers online and hope to meet some in person someday.
I have also been able to make a little bit of money and pay off some debt on a business credit card and a business credit line. The public accountability and being able to share my personal trials and triumphs has been helpful for focusing on the task at hand.
Although I would love to have hosted another giveaway, it just isn’t feasible with the fact that earnings are way down. I still want to be prudent, but maybe things will work out for the next anniversary.
Goals for Year Number Two
Overall, I think I would like to roughly double many of the stats for the next year. Now I have been doing a twice weekly posting schedule due to the fact that I am working on 2 other blogs. That would mean the number of posts would likely only increase by 100. But I would like to double the number of visits and page views although I should be able to do more than that since I did start from zero on day one. Plus, maybe I will get to meet a fellow blogger or two in person as well.
I would also like to see the number of subscribers double. So if you haven’t done so, feel free to subscribe. I would like to see the time on the site stay over 1 minute. I know that at times, search traffic can be in and out rather quickly so figuring that search traffic will increase, keeping time over 1 minute is a good goal.
But no matter what happens, I hope to be able to inspire some good discussion and teach my readers about some things that they might not know about. I also want to learn a few things as well.
Thanks for reading, and I hope to have as much fun in year two as I did in year number one.
Well, I managed to make an extra payment on the Discover Card. I was able to make this extra payment because I took some of the money that I had made from blogging in March and moved it into my personal checking account. I did let it sit for a little while until I made sure that I was going to have enough money to keep up with my blogging expenses for the month of April and the next few. The reason is because I actually lost money blogging during the month of April.
However, I do feel confident enough that I can cover expenses for the next few months, so I went ahead and made the extra payment. It has always been my goal to develop my online opportunities using only my time and not any of my own dollars, and I have been able to do that. Of course, growth has been somewhat slow as a result, but that doesn’t matter as much to me as being able to bootstrap and create something from nothing. I am pleased to say that I have been able to make extra payments and pay off some debt as a result of blogging.
Future Discover Card Payments
My main blogging financial goal for this year has been to get the Discover Card paid off. With recent changes to blogging revenue, I have to wonder from where the funds for this goal might come. I could hope that things improve later this year, and they may. I am also working hard to develop my other online income sources, but that will probably simply help to pay for ongoing expenses. I will just have to see what the next couple of months bring.
I have considered using the money that I have gotten from recycling aluminum cans for making an extra payment. I have also considered using the change that I periodically roll and redeem for dollars to make an extra payment. Of course, I have also considered looking at the stuff that I own and having a garage sale. It would be good to kill two birds with one stone, namely getting rid of household clutter and make some money in the process. The only catch in this plan would be the time involved. I will have to see how this works out.
I am still committed to getting that card paid off by the end of the year. Half of the balance will be covered through the normal monthly payments that I have been making so as long as I can keep up with the extra payments, it should happen. For now I suppose, I won’t be making any major changes, but will have to monitor the situation to see if blogging income totally disappears or if this is just a slight dry spell.
Carnivals with My Blogs
I do want to take a moment to highlight those carnivals that featured an article from one of my 3 blogs. CFM = Cash Flow Mantra, GPM = Grand Per Month, and PT = Penny Thots. Be sure to subscribe to all 3 so you can get lots of great personal financial information.
When I first started writing online, I was frightened to start my own blog. I was intimidated by WordPress and the thought of self-hosting. I wasn’t sure that it made sense to pay for setting up a blog. So I sought out totally free options and made it my goal to only devote time and not any personal funds to any online venture that I might undertake.
One of those sites that I happened to run across in May of 2009 when I started writing online was HubPages. It provided me a “free” (or should I say “nothing out of pocket”) platform for writing. So I started writing while reading and learning about keywords, SEO and ways of monetizing a site.
I signed up for the Amazon affiliate program and earned a little bit of money by placing Amazon capsules in my Hubs. I also was earning with Google’s AdSense program. Things seemed to be growing rather nicely until the Panda update about one year ago. I saw traffic to my Hubs drop by more than 50% and earnings with AdSense drop by even more.
Panda Was a Good Thing
It turns out that the Panda Update was just the kick I needed to push past my fear and apprehension for starting something on my own. I was also affected by the shutting down of the eHow writer’s compensation program and could no longer make any money using that platform. So taking some of the money that I had sitting in the PayPal account from eHow, I decided to launch my own site.
I started out with Weebly, still afraid to go for it all alone and discovered that I enjoyed the blogging nature of writing content online versus a static site. Ultimately, Cash Flow Mantra was the result of this journey, and I must confess that I wish I had started sooner. It has been a great opportunity for me to meet fellow bloggers and interact.
My experience here has led to the formation of a second main blog, Grand Per Month. I know several of you read that one as well for which I am incredibly thankful and grateful.
More Changes Coming
Which leads me to the point of this post. There have always been changes to the internet landscape. It will continue to shift and evolve with an occasional earthquake hitting. Those that can adapt will survive. I intend to be one of the survivors. I am gradually making more money with the HubPages Ad Program and will be reinvesting those funds to hire writers for more blogs in the future.
In March, I will make just over $40 which will pay for about half of my paid content on Grand Per Month. By the end of the year, I expect it to pay for all of it. Then, I can start another blog or site and continue to grow. I think that it will pay to be diverse in numbers of sites and types of platforms as well as methods to obtain traffic.
Ultimately, my goal is to grow my online income slowly and surely obtaining a nice base. I view it as a marathon and not a sprint and have been planning for 5% monthly growth over the past 2 years. I have been hitting these targets and will do what it takes to continue to grow in a sustainable manner. I would like my online income to help pay off my debt more quickly as it has been doing. Making extra payments will help the monthly cash flow which is what this blog is about.
Fellow bloggers, what changes have you needed to overcome online?