Hey all, we made it!
Next week marks the 1-year anniversary of the launch of Money Saved is Money Earned!
Where has the time gone?
It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year. Although we’ve learned a tremendous amount and made many strides this past year, we know we’re still just beginning to transition from a baby blog to a toddler blog, and that we still have a long way to go.
With that being said, we thought we’d mark this occasion with an update on our progress for our blogger friends, occasional readers, and all of you that have been following our journey from the start.
So without further ado, here’s a look at where we stand, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.
Nuts and Bolts
Let’s begin by taking a look at where we stand at the end of our first year.
Since launching the website on March 7th, 2018, Money Saved is Money Earned has put out 58 posts including this one, along with two award posts.
Along with our own content, we’ve featured 5 exceptional guest posts as well as 4 posts in our Personal Finance Bloggers of Color series. We even wrote a guest post for Mr. Thrifty on the value of co-blogging!
In addition to the content on our own site, we’ve participated in 9 interviews on other blogs and our stories have been cited in several other articles. We’ve also had our articles featured multiple times on Women Who Money, Rockstar Finance, Campfire Finance, and the Money Mix.
Not bad for a year’s worth of work!
We’re Still Here!
By far, the biggest success is that it’s been a year and we’re still here!
Between 95-99% of blogs fail within the first 6 months, and it’s something we’ve seen in the short time we’ve been blogging.
Blogging is MUCH harder than people realize, and most don’t seem adequately prepared to handle disruptions that can throw your blogging journey off course. The fact that we’ve even made it to our 1-year anniversary means we’re part of the 1-5% who’ve stuck around.
We Have Substantial Content
Yet another success was that we’ve been able to publish 58 substantial financial posts over the last year, at least once a week, without fail.
One thing you always see discussed as a tip for blogging success is the ability to consistently post new content. It is also recommended that articles be at least 1,000 words long for better ranking. We’ve been able to do both of those things throughout the last year, and it is starting to pay dividends.
Our ability to consistently publish substantial articles is being reflected in our organic traffic. We’ve had the good fortune to begin to rank well in Google searches for several of our posts, which has brought us constantly increasing organic traffic.
At this time, we typically receive between 40 and 80 organic hits a day, and our overall organic numbers have increased every month that we’ve been blogging.
In addition to the articles we’ve put out and our organic growth, we’ve also been able to maintain a large bank of articles. We began building our article bank months before launching the site, and it’s a good thing we did. In fact, our article bank is part of what has allowed us to continue consistently publishing content despite what life has thrown at us.
At this moment we have 21 articles waiting in the wings, ready to go should we need to fill a gap in our topic schedule or in case of events inhibiting our ability to write new posts.
We Attended Our First FinCon!
Without a doubt one of our favorite parts of our blogging journey was attending FinCon18 in Orlando.
It was such a wonderful opportunity to geek out about money with thousands of like-minded individuals. We met many internet friends (hey Fred, Bob, Penny, Amy and Vicki!), and made some new ones (hey Val!).
Some other great things about FinCon was the opportunity to meet brands, attend speaking sessions, learn valuable new information about blogging, and collect a ton of swag.
While we won’t be able to attend FinCon19 this year due to a conflicting work schedule, we would definitely recommend it to anyone hoping to stick around in the personal finance bloggersphere.
If you’re still on the fence, you can read about our FinCon experience here.
We Made Our First Buck
One of the outcomes of attending FinCon18 was that we were able to nail our first collaboration with a brand through a sponsored post and make our first substantial money.
We were contact by Survey Junkie, one of the brands we’d spoken with at FinCon18, and we agreed to do a sponsored post for $200.
While it’s not a lot compared to what many bloggers make, we were excited to land our first major collaboration and make some actual money.
The last major success we’ve had over the last year is simply that we’ve continued to grow.
Blogging is a difficult, and often discouraging, line of work. It takes a lot of time, persistence, and patience to begin to carve out a place in cyberspace.
With so many other blogs, and so many big players, it can often seem like you’re pounding your head against the wall and going nowhere no matter what you do.
Blog growth is not necessarily a linear trend, but despite all the ups and downs, we do appear to be trending in the right direction. Over the last year we’ve continued to grow our social media followers, email list, organic views, and daily page views.
Overall, it appears as though we’re starting to gain some traction, and more importantly, beginning to really get our content out there so we can help more people achieve success with finances.
The last year has been mostly positive, but blogging hasn’t come without its challenges.
One of those challenges has been sustaining momentum. As already mentioned, blogging is difficult and growth is not necessarily linear, which means you could be putting in tons of work and not necessarily seeing a lot come of it.
Maintaining momentum has also been tough because we both lead busy lives. Tawnya is a full-time teacher and Sebastian engages in a great deal of volunteer work. With such busy schedules, it’s often difficult to find time to maintain day-to-day blog tasks, writing articles, promoting, and reaching out to brands.
Needless to say, with so many things to manage in running a blog, as well as balancing life and work, there have been several times where non-essential blog tasks have taken a back seat.
While we know that we’d likely be further along in our progression if we’d been able to dedicate more time to non-essential tasks, we also know that blogging is a marathon and that if we keep at it long enough we’ll get there eventually. We’ve also been good about regrouping every couple of months and refocusing our efforts to regaining momentum.
The last year has seen a constant period of adjustment and compromise, where we’ve had to find a balance between our ideas and goals and finding the time to accomplish them. What we’ve had to learn and accept is that we can only do so much at a time.
Traffic growth has been a positive for us, but it remains a challenge as well.
Any blogger will tell you that traffic is hard to come by at first, and that it takes a while to build up steady traffic. So, while we’re pleased with our growth, our traffic is still nowhere near where we want it to be.
Some of that is a product of how new we still are, some of it is because we can only post once a week, and some of it is because we haven’t been able to dedicate any funds toward advertising.
Another area of challenge related to traffic is the tug-o-war between writing posts that have little keyword competition (and thus will allow you to rank and get organic traffic right away) and writing posts about things you feel passionately about.
Although we’ve stumbled upon some low competition keywords, we haven’t done a ton of keyword research yet, and have focused more on topics we are passionate about.
Moving forward, we plan on continuing to write about things of interest to us, but to also begin focusing more on keyword research to see if we might be able to better blend the two.
Although we’re being patient and our main goal is to help educate others about finances, we do want to turn our brand into a nice side hustle. As such, we have done some monetization and plan on doing more.
However, monetization has not been a strength, nor has it been a focus over the last year, and it has showed.
We were only recently approved for Google Adsense, and have nowhere near enough traffic to qualify for one of the bigger ad networks. We’ve also dabbled in affiliate marketing but have yet to have any success. As mentioned earlier, we did land a sponsored post a few months ago but it has been our only major collaboration to date.
We know we’ll begin to make more money the longer we keep at it, but monetization is definitely an area we need to learn more about and focus on if we hope to turn this blog into a side hustle one day.
Reaching Our Target Audience
The last major challenge we’ve faced over our first year is actually reaching those who need our information the most.
The blogging community has been extremely supportive of us, but other than a few features on aggregate sites and our organic traffic, the vast majority of our readers are other bloggers.
Don’t get us wrong, we love our blogger friends, but other personal finance bloggers already know most of what we’re talking about. Personal finance bloggers already have their money lives in order or are well along their way in correcting money mistakes. Sure, you can learn a great deal from other bloggers (I know we have), but they aren’t who we set out to help.
Thus, while reaching those who need this information most has been a challenge, we can rest assured that through continued growth, Google ranking, promotion, and other means we can begin to help those who need it most.
If it Isn’t Broken, Don’t Fix It
Looking forward to our second year of blogging, there are many things that are working and that we plan to keep the same.
We’ve found that posting one substantial post a week is working well for us, and so we’ll keep doing it. We’ll also keep building our email list, followers, article bank, and hopefully, our traffic.
Most importantly, we’ll continue to be a supportive member of the personal finance blogger community, and to put out content that will be useful to others in succeeding with money.
Aside from sticking with what’s been good, we have some BIG goals for year two.
First, we want to start focusing more on collaboration with brands. While many bloggers have brands come to them, we’re still new enough that we need to reach out to them, and that’s what we plan on doing.
Next, we’d like to be guests on a few podcasts. While we’ve participated in many interviews and series on other blogs, we have yet to appear on a podcast, and we feel like this is a natural next step in putting ourselves out there.
Speaking of putting ourselves out there, we also have a goal this year of participating in our first speaking engagement. Speaking and presentations have been a goal of ours since starting the blog, and we’d like to make speaking a large part of our business. Our plan is to start small, with community centers and local schools, and then work our way up to paid speaking engagements.
Last but certainly not least, our biggest goal this year is to write a book. This is another goal we’ve had for awhile, but it’s taken a back seat due to the amount of time and effort that goes into writing a book. Our hope is to eventually become published authors, and we plan on dedicating a portion of this next year to that endeavor.
Moral of the Story
Our first year of blogging has already come and gone, and what a journey it’s been.
Although we’re still learning and new in our journey, we take great pride in the fact that we’ve made it this far.
Blogging is like the stock market. The progression is a series of ups and downs, but the overall trend is always up if you stick around long enough.
We’re excited for what the future holds and look forward to continuing to grow and learn as a part of this community.
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