Having completed six hectic and successful months on this blog, I have been reflecting on some of the aspects around this part time hobby/activity that is becoming more serious for me by the day. My last weekly blogging post looked at the characteristics required for successful blogging, and this week I look at the related topic of what motivates my blogging and keeps me going. Here are my top five “blogging” motivators:
- Reader Interaction via comments and feedback - Whether positive or negative, receiving comments is a great motivator. At it’s simplest, it shows that people are reading your articles and what you write is worthwhile enough for them to post a comment. The best types of comments are ones where a reader says that you have helped them in someway. It is also great to receive positive or constructive comments because it validates that you are going in the right direction and keeping readers engaged. Even critical or negative comments (that are not blatant personal attacks) are good because you can learn something and improve on any weaknesses. Comments are the interactive heartbeat of most blogs and for me the biggest motivator of all.
- Traffic and Readership growth – Like most bloggers I love to check my blog statistics and it can be somewhat of an addiction at times. It has definitely been very cool to see my traffic and readership grow over the last few months, far exceeding my expectations. As the readership for this blog grows I find myself taking this blog much more seriously and feel more motivated than ever to ensure I keep writing good quality, entertaining and useful posts. The last few months of blogging have also exposed me to areas like SEO and different channels of traffic to try and maximize the potential of this blog. This part may be boring for some, but definitely interesting and motivating for someone with a semi-technical background like I have. The key thing to remember though with blog traffic is that it has spikes and troughs and as long as the overall traffic trend over the longer term is up, then all is good.
- Links and mentions from other bloggers– Why are the Oscars and Screen Actor Guild awards the most prestigious award shows? Because these awards are voted on by fellow professionals (actors) in the same industry. Similarly getting favorable mentions and track backs from other bloggers is always a great thrill and motivator because these are my fellow professionals and colleagues in this (online) industry. In particular a link back or mention from a prominent blogger you have admired, is a big endorsement and gives you the sense that you have “made it”. There is also the whole SEO aspect where the more link backs you get the more popular your site becomes in the various search engines – always a good thing. As an aside, one thing to remember is that as your blog grows; pay it forward to new personal finance bloggers who are trying to grow and do write good quality posts. Whenever a new personal finance blogger drops me a line, I am happy to review their site (within reason), share a few comments and provide some “motivation” for them.
- Show me the money ($$$). Even though I make no secret that this is a for-profit blog that I hope will generate a decent amount of alternative/side income one day, bringing in the dollars in is not my biggest motivator. It is a nice yardstick to measure the progress of my blog and its contribution to my bottom line (net worth), but if this was my biggest motivator, I would have stopped blogging along time ago. This is primarily because the time/effort I spend blogging far outweighs the monetary returns when compared to how much I earn working in corporate America. As I have heard, it is more profitable to work a part time job at McDonalds, then to run a blog with less then 10,000 readers a month. Given most bloggers are below this mark (especially in the first few months), money cannot be the biggest motivator to keep on going because it is simply not worth it. There is no doubt my revenue is growing (more details on this in my next passive income update post), and it is a great feeling to generate a reasonable amount of cash, but to keep the posts coming and stay interested points 1 to 3 are the key drivers for me.
- Blog Networks – The social side of blogging. As your blog grows you will find hundreds of similar blogs in your niche, particularly in the personal finance arena. If you are fortunate, you will be able to start a number of mutually beneficial blogging relationships which will contribute to all of the above points in terms of motivating you. Despite blogging being seen as a “solo” profession, it is quite social and to succeed and find motivation you do need the support of other bloggers – not to mention regular readers and commenter’s.
Over time, like any profession, running a blog will have its fair share of good and bad days. There will be days where I will feel like quitting and think all this is too much work (for little reward), but then all I need to do is look back and see the success, impact and feedback have had from blogging to date. As long as I am motivated and have the desire to learn, I can continue to improve this blog. Thanks to all the current and hopefully many more future readers, for reading this blog and motivating me to do even better.
Appearances and articles of note
Another week and another feather in the hat. I received by gold certification badge from Seeking Alpha (a well known investment news site), and a very nice honor I think. You can click the seeking alpha badge, on the bottom right of this page, to see my investing profile and recent articles I have published there. Also check out some of the other personal finances communities I am member of. In particular, check out PF buzz, a new Digg style site created for personal finance bloggers by Pinyo from Moolanomy. There have been lots of positive reviews about this site, and suffice to say it is of high quality and getting more popular by the day. Join it now and promote your money related articles or just see what has been voted the best in the personal finance blogosphere.
Due to the long weekend and subsequent delay in publishing this post, I appeared in two editions of the carnival of personal finance (CoPF) over the last week. Last weeks edition was hosted by Broke Grad Student and featured my article on The A to Z of good personal finance (Part 2). Yesterday’s edition of the CoPF was hosted by That One Caveman which included my post on Six sure fire ways for students to ruin their financial future. PF Buzz‘s blog hosted the Money hacks carnival and featured my article on Characteristics required for successful blogging.
While researching the topic of this post, I found some related articles that stood out and are worth reading if this topic was of interest to you.
- The Dough roller provides 50 Ways to Make Money Blogging. I have used a number of these, but some are new. A comprehensive list worth checking out if you are interested in monetizing your blog. He has written some great SEO (Search Engine Optimization) articles which are perfect for those new to this concept.
- Kimberly Palmer of US News published a series on blogging as a way to earn money. Best part of the series was that she provided real life examples based on interviews with several financial bloggers.
- If you want to get more insight into the minds and habits of some big time bloggers, check out a great Q&A series that Wise Bread is running on Women of Personal Finance. To date four well known bloggers have been featured with a number of great questions asked and answered.