One Year Of Blogging: My Reflections & What’s Next

Around this time last year, I decided to take the leap and start a blog. Now I already have one year of blogging, I can’t imagine how quick the time flew by! 

Naturally, I am not a reflective kind of person, so blogging is a good way to think about things when I would otherwise not. 

When I was thinking about the things I learned, I know it is a shitton. About myself, about finances, and about the world. In six months of blogging I already learned A LOT, so in a year of blogging it should be more right?

Today I will talk about the milestones, what I’ve learned, and my plan going forward. 

The Adventure

Honestly, I treat this year of blogging as a total adventure! The reason I started his blog is that I wanted a creative outlet, write down my thoughts, and track my journey to financial independence. 

Turns out, I love writing and I will wake up at 6 am every morning to write. WHAT? Yes, even when I’m not drinking coffee anymore I love it.

I love the fact that I can pick out what I write about, I can write whenever I want, and I get to chat with all those amazing people who are on the same page! 

As you can read in my about me page, the most important thing for me is to empower others to make changes in their financial life. The blog allows me to do this. 

It’s something that I’m extremely happy about that I started!

One Year Of Blogging - My Reflections and What's Next
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Radical Milestones

One year of blogging is great and it brings some milestones for sure!

First, let’s dive into the content that was most liked by you. 

The most popular articles are:

  1. How I Live On Half My Income – And You Can Too
  2. Money And Confidence As A Way To Living Your Best Life
  3. 6 Lessons From Rich Dad Poor Dad You Should Know
  4. 15 Essential Frugal Living Tips [How To Be Frugal]
  5. 88 Life-Changing Money Affirmations To Attract Wealth and Abundance

Let’s quickly visualize my last year:

one year of blogging reflections and what's next

Let’s get into my milestones in more detail!

14,000+ People Read My Stuff

There are 14,000+ PEOPLE who have visited Radical FIRE over the last year. Wow! 

I could never have imagined these kinds of numbers when I would start one year ago. I can’t even imagine how many people have been on Radical FIRE and read the things I have written. I’m blown away!

There is still so much to learn about blogging, which will hopefully increase these numbers over the next year. I didn’t focus much on marketing this year, most of my time is spent doing what I like the most – writing posts. 

I’m Focusing On My Joy – Not On SEO

When I started blogging I kept hearing that SEO was the way to get the most visitors to your blog without any effort. A few months of trying to figure it out, I have to say that it’s NOT without any efforts at all. 

SEO is hard, and I still can’t wrap my head around it. For now I do the Yoast thing, that’s about it. 

I am not doing any keyword research, I do not plan my content, and I do not track my Google rankings.

I could do better with all of this, but for now it is not a priority. 

In order for me to keep blogging, I should write about a mix of what I think people need to hear and what I want to write about. That’s the most important for me now. 

I’m simply focusing on my joy, which I believe will keep me in the game for the long run. 

My First Revenue

When I started the blog and looked at other bloggers, I quickly realized it was possible to make money with your blog. It is something that most people don’t get to do right away, me neither, and that’s totally okay. 

If you start blogging, it is hard enough to just keep going at times – without trying to make money.  You have to keep your head above the water and combine the blogging life with a full-time job. 

My personal focus has always been on posting three times per week and writing content that I love, which would lead to increased page views and thus revenue. 

With my full-time job, I can pay all of my bills without any issues. This means that anything from the blog would just be a bonus right now. 

For the last two months, I’ve been making a small amount of money. I’ve been paid out €30 in October and €30 in November, which is very exciting to see for me personally. I’m doing my best with the blog, but I’m not pushing my limits. I make sure that I have enough time left for my friends and family. 

Until now, my revenue streams are ads and affiliate marketing. I would love to get started on some sponsored posts, so if you have any resources for that you can recommend me – please let me know!

I know there is a big debate around ads in the blogging world. My two cents: as long as it doesn’t hinder the user experience too much, it’s okay. When I’m reading blogs I’m okay with it, bloggers pour in hours and hours on their blog. The least we can do is look at their ads. 

If you think ads are REALLY annoying, put on an adblocker so you’re not bothered by it. 

I’m very grateful for this first revenue, which symbolizes my effort paying off. It’s not much, but it’s enough to keep me motivated. 

First Year In Review

I’m excited about the growth that I got to experience over the last year! I know I’m not the fastest growing or best performing kind of personal finance blogger – and I’m totally okay with that. There were some moments where I was thinking about quitting, doubting myself and what I would bring to the conversation. 

Sometimes I took the time to step back and regain my enthusiasm again. 

The Number 1 Thing That I Learned

In the beginning, I started hustling hard. Soon enough that got the best of me and I got tired of it. Spending every free minute of your time on the blog is not the best thing to do. 

In the end, I lost my motivation and became sluggish. 

Then I decided that perfect should not be the enemy of good, I would not let that happen. 

I have learned a lot from this. Publishing blog posts before they were finished (are they ever?) or not posting on Instagram for months are only examples. I’m okay with that. I can’t do everything at the same time and I don’t want that. 

I want to spend my time where I feel the most pleasure. 

If I am in this for the long term, I should follow my pleasure to prevent burning out. I’m still putting in the work, but not pushing myself to my limits anymore. 

That’s my number one tip for you: do what feels good for you, follow your joy, and don’t overdo it. Yes, you should try to push yourself, but if you want to keep at it for the long run you should not overdo it.

Putting My Words Into Practice

As you may know, I’m currently taking my mini-retirement in Central America. This means I’m traveling full-time and my time for the blog is minimal. For November and December, I decided to not stick to my content schedule because that time could better be spent relaxing with my friends. I only published about one post per week. 

In the beginning, I had a hard time with that. What if my traffic would crumble and you would not come back to read more of my stuff? It all turned out fine, I’m feeling peace of mind and the blog is still doing great. 

My Plan For The First Year

While I didn’t think about a plan for the first year, I reverse-engineered what I did throughout the year.

Please keep in mind that this is adjusted to my personal preference. If you have a blog, not everything that works for me will work for you. I challenge you to try it, of course!

The things I did:

  • Keep a posting schedule. When I committed to my posting schedule of 3x per week, that has helped me tremendously. I feel like I have this commitment with you and I can’t let you down!
  • Figure out social media. Some social media platforms I was already familiar with, like Instagram and Facebook. Others like Twitter and Pinterest took some time to figure out. My strategy is to figure out one social media outlet first, before moving on to the next.

    I’m currently active on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Instagram is somewhat in the background. These are the main four social media outlets that I use at the moment. 
  • Figure out affiliate marketing. The moment I noticed that people could make money by promoting services they use and like, my attention was drawn. Affiliate marketing was something tough to figure out, so I purchased the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. This helped me tremendously and now I’m starting to make some affiliate marketing income with this. 
  • Bring my own perspective to the table. There are many blogs that write about the same thing, again and again. I for sure have my fair share of listicles, but I’m always looking to add my own perspective. In this way, I’m hoping to establish a connection and start a conversation.

My Plans For The Second Year

My plans for year one already got me quite far, I’m happy with the things that I’m accomplished and I can’t wait for what year two has in store for me. 

Things I’m planning on doing in year two:

  • Sticking to my content schedule. I will evaluate where my content schedule in 2019 brought me before I continue with my content schedule for 2020. For most of 2019 I posted three times per week, which will be my goal for 2020 as well. 
  • Figure out more social platforms. Great that I’ve figured out Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Now on to Quora and Reddit. I’ve heard many great things about those platforms, but I’ve never personally used them. It will take some time, but I’m planning on figuring them out. 
  • Scale my affiliate marketing. I love affiliate marketing, it’s basically promoting a product that you love. 2019 has thought me the basics of affiliate marketing, let’s go in 2020 focusing more on that! 
  • Get on the HARO train. If you haven’t heard of HARO, check it out! It’s called; help a reporter out. HARO sends an email where content creators ask for people to contribute to their article – and anyone can respond to the query. I have to say that I didn’t have any positive experience with it, since the only opportunity I got didn’t link to my website. BUT I’m sure that with time those experiences will come.

Other than that, I’m entirely open to all the amazing things that are coming my way. I’m not expecting any income explosion any time soon, as I am not focusing solely on gaining income from Radical FIRE.

All In All

Pfew, that was a big recap. THANK YOU if you’ve read all of that. Overall, I’m very happy with the first year of blogging and I can’t wait to see what the second year has got in store for me!

How did your first year of blogging go? What are your growth tactics? If you have any other questions for me, please let me know in the comments below!

One Year Of Blogging - My Reflections And What's Next

12 thoughts on “One Year Of Blogging: My Reflections & What’s Next”

  1. I’ve enjoyed this post a lot.
    I identify myself with most of your thoughts about blogging. It’s been almost 6 months since I started mine, futuroh.es
    For me, the most tough part is to stay away from checking everything every day: mailchimp campaigns, affiliate income, visitors and views.
    I don’t see myself as a SEO guy. Like you did, I learned soooo mucho about SEO. But sooner than later I realized it takes too much time to fully optimize a blog. So I just barely follow the main guides and advice from Yoast, and that’s all.
    I write way less than yo do. A couple times per month. Because blogging may be exhausting. And above all, I’m a father of a toddler and I love my family, friends and hobbies.
    Blogging gives me the opportunity to write about the things I love. To help others to invest and take the most out of their money.
    But after all, I try to transmit the idea of being critical. To build your own opinion about life. And enjoy your time doing what you love, no matter what.
    So thank you for this inspiring article. It’s been my pleasure to read it.
    And I wish you all the best for the years to come.
    Cheers!
    Alberto.

    Reply
    • I checked out your website and I liked it, my Spanish is a little rusty but it’s great to practice that way! It can be hard to stay away from checking all the numbers, at a certain point I’ve just decided that that will not be my focus.

      It’s important to spend your time with family, friends, and do what you love! It will be great to write about the things that you love, also documenting your financial life so that your kid can later know all the things you know 🙂 I think financial education is one of the most important things you can get from you parents, so you’re doing a great job!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving this wonderful comment Alberto!

      Saludos, Radical

      Reply
  2. Great to see the website performing so well! I started a blog at the start of 2019 and have found it to be quite handy in the fact of keeping momentum / focus on those all important savings rate! It’s almost like a ‘good pressure’ to have from other FIRE savers dropping by the odd comment here and there.

    Good luck with the 2020 goals / affiliate marketing – hope that works out!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your kind words Jase! I love the good pressure that comes with writing the monthly update and it keeps you on top of the game as well. Hope your 2020 goals will be as good as your 2019 ones, keep it up!

      Reply
  3. Wow, congrats on your one-year milestone M! I’m right behind you (January 1st is my blogiversay). I’ve had similar struggles and have drawn similar conclusions in regards to avoiding burnout.

    You did so well with your posting schedule. I was only posting once a week and now only posting once a month! I don’t know how you mostly maintained a 3x/week schedule. I’m so impressed.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and numbers. It’s fun and interesting to read about another bloggers’ experience. I hope you enjoy the holidays in Central America and that 2020 will be a healthy, successful year for you!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your kind words Chrissy, I can almost congratulate you on your blogiversary! I enjoyed the holidays a LOT and I’m happy to be back again to see family and friends. I hope you have lovely holidays and that 2020 will be your best year yet!

      Reply
  4. When I see those numbers I think that I made a mistake somewhere with my blog, several mistakes.
    14,000 visitors per year? Really radical 🙂
    Congratulations!

    Reply
  5. Congratulations, M! I just stumbled upon this write-up while doing my 2019 reflection blog. I’m just a newbie and I guess I was looking for inspiration on how I can make my 2020 any different from my previous years. I actually went back a decade ago when I was writing my pre-2010 reflections.

    I always tend to forget myself so I’d like to begin 2020 by being good to myself. And a sort of self-happiness list. A short entry but means a lot: https://www.travelingpinoy.com/posts/a-decade-of-reflection

    Reply
  6. I’m a bit late to this post but looks like you are rocking it!

    I have been blogging (still weird to say it) for a few months now and I love reading these kind of posts. The blogging world is hard to navigate with tons of things to learn. Every day I find something new that I’m clueless about haha. I guess that’s what makes it fun though.

    I am now mainly focusing on creating content at a manageable schedule (once a week), slowly figuring out Twitter and making meaningful connections in the FIRE/PF community.

    I have been blown away by how much fun I’m actually having. Never thought it would be this way. It’s like a journal on steroids I guess.

    Again, thanks for this post!

    Cheers

    Reply
    • Thanks Backpack Finance! Yes I agree, blogging is a road to learning tons of things while you’re working towards your goals. It sounds like you’re doing a great job, having fun is SO important if you want to keep going. A journal on steroids sounds accurate lol. If you are ever stuck or feel like you want to bounce some ideas off someone, I’m also on Twitter or email! Cheers

      Reply

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