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.
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.
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 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:
- How I Live On Half My Income – And You Can Too
- Money And Confidence As A Way To Living Your Best Life
- 6 Lessons From Rich Dad Poor Dad You Should Know
- 15 Essential Frugal Living Tips [How To Be Frugal]
- 88 Life-Changing Money Affirmations To Attract Wealth and Abundance
Let’s quickly visualize my last year:
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!
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.