I started blogging on 12-04-2008, so by my reckoning I have been blogging for exactly one year today. For those of you that are keeping score and computing batting averages, here are my stats
- 327 posts
- 2076 total comments
- 137,823 total unique visits
- 316,000 total page views
- 913 subscribers
Why if only I had a dollar for each post 😛 I think the only interesting thing about these numbers is that if you divide page views by unique visitors, you get 2.3 which is as far as I have been able to gather is moderately high. I reckon this comes from those few that come here and then proceed to hang around for 3 hours reading 80+ posts or so. Incidentally, I take that as a compliment 🙂
I have been asked why I started blogging a couple of times. Now, there are two reasons to why anyone would start blogging and those reasons are to make the blogger rich and to make the blogger famous. I have certainly failed to become rich having consistently turned down all offers of buying links (sorry if I didn’t get back to you) and never bothering to set up the means to pay the government a part of more profit. I have not become famous either. Perhaps infamous is a better word 🙂
Actually the reason was that I wanted to create a more permanent and useful record of my writings. Prior to starting ERE I had been blogging on myspace for quite a while and even had a small fanbase or people who liked to disagree with whatever I was saying. However, I discovered that blogs also existed outside of myspace. Since then I have discovered that many other things exist outside of myspace such as reality and having a life 😛
At the time, I had been calculating my “number” (click the link to see my very first post) quite religiously. I could at any date tell you exactly what my number was and what passive income that translated into. I had also come across these so-called personal finance blogs. They looked interesting and I figured I could write something like that.
When I started I had still not read more than a couple of personal finance books which of course makes me eminently qualified to not give you any kind of standard advice.
I quickly discovered a few laws such as the three-month rule that says that most bloggers last less than 3 months. I think the reason is that given one post a day most people have less than 100 different things — quite a lot actually — to say on any given topic. Apparently I had about 150 things to say so I lasted almost 5 months but around April/2008 I began to realize that I was running out of material. I therefore decided to take a break. Of course if you are a problogger, breaks are deadly. Readers are very fickle and quickly develop habits expecting you to post everyday at 8am and woe on you if you miss a post. Thus if you want readers viz. eyeballs viz. ad-revenue, you better post consistently and often. Luckily I had the freedom to take breaks and I still take them from time to time.
Another thing I have noticed is the tendency for blogs to turn into magazines once they get large and popular. This is no accident. If you set out to outcompete something taking up a niche, you are destined to become just like what you replaced (this is a very general observation). Hence probloggers have a tendency to turn into journalists. They lose their edge and they start writing for the masses taking care not to offend anyone or be too controversial. (During the past year I have had exactly two people call me a moron (a few more off site as in “That ERE dude is a moron”). Obviously, I reckon they have the poor judgment becoming of an idiot and thus I deleted their comments 😀 ).
The echo-chamber effect is also well-known. The echo-chamber is the effect where one blogger writes a post after which other bloggers write about the same thing over the next few days. I try to avoid it but it is not always easy. Coming up with something truly original is hard. The best way to avoid it is to simply postdate such an article by several weeks (unless it’s timely).
The most scary part about being a blogger happened just a couple of months after I started when a reader told me that he had sold his house and his car because he had been inspired by my writings. Something of a similar magnitude has happened about a handful of times later on and I surmise that there are also people making chances who are not telling me about it. Although people naturally are responsible for their own choices, I always feel a bit scared on their behalf. It is like handing a nuclear weapon to a politician: What if he does not understand the power he is suddenly wielding? Then again, banks are freely handing out credit cards and mortgage companies are freely giving out — well perhaps not so much more right now — mortgages, so am I any worse for saying that doing such things are a bad idea and that a, in my opinion, better alternative exists? I don’t think so. Yet, I still find myself reluctant to give specific investment advice.
As my final comment, I should probably unequivocally state that I AM working on a book (and talking with an editor, so I’m not operating in a complete vacuum 😉 ). I have hinted at it in the comments section earlier, but I have never directly admitted to it in a post. It is still a draft and maybe only 50% done, but I hope this explains why I am not posting 100% consistently sometimes vanishing for days. For those who read my earlier posts and compare them to my later posts and think “Man, this guy is getting boring/senile/normal…” (whatever your favorite derogative is — I think mine is “people” 😉 ), the reason is that I have been saving the best/most researched writings for the book and mainly posting interesting things that do not quite fit on the blog. It is a lot of work.