(This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.)
EDIT: Congrats to Joanne for winning the $25 Amazon Gift Card! (12/02/2017)
I know, I know. You want to hear about the giveaway. If you really don’t care about anything else I have to say, you can click here to get to that section (so nice of me right?). But please. I think I have other cool updates to share if you just keep reading. I promise you’ll reach the giveaway section eventually! Lots of things have changed since my most recent blog update (which also happens to be the very first blog update). These are always fun for me to write, so I hope they can be beneficial and enjoyable for you to read as well!
Site Changes – Appearance
New theme! That’s right – I finally switched out of the default Twenty Seventeen theme that I started with. Personally, I actually liked that one, even if it was probably one of the most used WordPress starter themes. So why did I switch? Feedback. I am so grateful to the blogging community for giving me tips and suggestions these past few months. Someone emailed me that my website loaded really slowly on mobile devices. Others told me that my header was unnecessary and taking away from my content. (I will admit that the header image was huge. It was also a picture of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Which admittedly has nothing to do with personal finance either).
So, I decided to switch the theme. That was harder than I thought. I make fun of people who spend ridiculous amounts of time editing their Snapchat photos. But here I was spending hours switching up the theme to get it exactly how I wanted. I knew it was important to find a good fit, but once again I found myself looking for perfection. I eventually settled on the Huemann theme, which felt more like a business/magazine style blog. It felt right for a couple days, but then…it didn’t. My website was having an identity crisis. Or maybe it was me having one through my website.
I thought about switching back to my Twenty Seventeen theme. But then, the heavens parted. The light came down. And I saw with my very own eyes – the theme I had been looking for. As soon as I saw the Type theme, I knew it was the one. It’s simple. Maybe too simple for now. But I’ll get a logo soon. And maybe a header. Problems for another day. For now, it loads fast. It’s clean and minimalist. And I enjoy looking at my homepage now (weird right? It’s like someone who likes looking at their own reflection).
Site Changes – Content
When I first started writing, I didn’t really have a focus. I wanted to write just to write. I knew that I liked personal finance, technology, and a bunch of other stuff. So if you look into the archives you’ll find reviews of shoes, monitors, and even random “humor” articles. Well, I’m sticking my foot down now. I want to focus entirely on personal finance. Lucky for me, technology can still cross paths with personal finance. Look for some cool finance app reviews down the road!
Also, I’m planning on writing a book. Personal finance-related of course. The book has been started already so I’m committing to it. I will admit that it’s a daunting task. It’s difficult enough trying to write a post per week, let alone author a book on the side. The book won’t be anything crazy, but I think it’ll be beneficial for the blog and future readers.
I’ll keep you guys in the loop on how it goes in future updates.
What I Like
- I’ve been able to keep up a post a week. I don’t know how. Sometimes I hit writer’s block and I’m stuck staring at my screen. I literally count the minutes go by. But miraculously, I finish the article. And I’m very proud of some of my more recent posts.
- The Numbers. I’m growing, guys. It’s like when you’re trying to grow taller as a kid. Your mom tells you to keep drinking milk and one day you’ll grow. You measure yourself with a permanent marker on the wall every day and end up in the same place. And one day you just start to get taller. Here’s a look at my pageviews. I know pageviews don’t mean everything, and I’ll do a full breakdown of my blog stats once I’m around the 6-month mark. But this gives you an example of the growth I’m experiencing currently (note: I did fall off the radar a bit in September).
- September pageviews: 132
- October pageviews: 286
- November pageviews: 1292 (partial month)
- Organic search growth. Most of my hits used to come from social media. In fact, before mid-October, I think social media accounted for nearly 80% of the referrals on my site. Not good. I would get spikes of visitors after posting new articles across my social media channels. But it wasn’t sustainable. Now I’m getting a healthy amount of visitors (both new and old) each day. I hope to continue focusing on keywords and growing my visitors that way.
- Social Media. With that being said, I still focus on social media. I’m received around 40 new followers on my Facebook page in the past month and around 70 new twitter followers. I very recently started an Instagram page as well, so hopefully that will bring in a new audience. Looking to keep up the healthy growth here as well.
- Comments. I realize I love when people comment. I like the ideas they bring and the fact that they came all the way to my blog and wanted to give their own thoughts and opinions on something I wrote. But it has been really hard to get people to comment. Recently, I’ve received more and more comments on my posts. So I guess it really does take time. Writing on interesting stuff seems to help too!
What I Can Improve
- Email Subscriptions. I’ve read in so many places how critical it is to grow your email subscriber base early on. It’s been very difficult to do so. I’m not sure what a good number is, but I’ve had around 4 new subscribers over the past 1.5 months. This is something I definitely want to grow. I also switched over to using MailChimp to handle my email campaigns. I want to focus more on providing additional, useful content for my subscribers.
- Posting Schedule. As much as I was happy with keeping up with the 1 post a week, it’s been stressful at times getting a post out. I don’t want to ever rush content for the sake of following a schedule. After reading that some bloggers have posts ready to go for the next 6 months, I realize that I need to have some backup posts available. I don’t know how I’ll do that, but hopefully one day I’ll get there. With the busy Holiday season coming up, I know I’ll need it.
- Researching Blogging Strategies. I try to look at other articles and posts on the weekends. So far this month, I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus. I can definitely work more on this. There’s a wealth of knowledge and free information out there.
- Time Spent. I feel like I can be more efficient with my time. Maybe I’ll start tracking/logging hours for the different blogging related activities I do. I just feel like I’m…slow. I’m sure I’ll improve over time, so not too worried here!
I really want to thank everyone who’s given me feedback and constructive criticism on my blog. I’m very open to new ideas and suggestions, so definitely keep them coming! There will always be room to learn and grow here. So if you think of something that I missed where I can improve, please let me know!
I should call this Fund FinKong2018, but I’ve been told to hold off on the puns. There’s just so much you can do with a name like mine.
So, I follow a lot of other personal finance bloggers. And for the past month all I saw and read was about FinCon. It seemed like the ultimate networking experience for personal finance bloggers. I was so excited reading the experiences of the bloggers had gone. They definitely know how to hype up a conference. When I told my fiance, she called me a nerd. Oh well!
The crazy thing is: Next year’s conference is in my city. Orlando. If that isn’t fate, I don’t know what is. I want to pull the trigger so bad and just commit to going. But I instead I am challenging myself. I want this blog to be able to fully fund my FinCon ticket before I can go. Silly? Maybe. But I’ve made that my goal.
So far, I’m affiliated with BlueHost and Birch Finance. I’m hoping to find other opportunities down the road to monetize the blog. But for now, I’m going to keep on trying to pursue that goal. I’ll have a monthly blog income report in the future to show my earnings progress towards my FinCon goal.
In the spirit of the Holidays and giving season (and to celebrate my 25th blog post!), I wanted to show my appreciation to all my followers and supporters. I’ll be giving away one $25 Amazon Gift Card.
All you have to do is subscribe to my blog. If you’re already subscribed, you’re set. Easy right? In fact, I’ll add the link right here if you do wish to subscribe:
The drawing will take place on December 4th. The winner will be announced in an update post and I’ll contact them by email. If you have any questions about the giveaway, please feel free to contact me directly.
So…that’s a wrap (one thing’s for sure, I’m getting really good at these endings)! Lots of cool things happening in the future. I’m excited for the direction of this blog. And thanks again to all of you for taking the time to come visit. It still amazes me that just a few months ago I was sitting around finding excuses to not start blogging.
I’m open to all sorts of feedback in the comment section below. Feel free to share anything. Blogging struggles? Words of advice? Encouragement? I’m all ears. Thanks for stopping by and taking interest. And best of luck if you’re taking part in the giveaway!