Back in May of 2007, I wrote Top Ten Ways Personal Finance Blogging has Helped Me. With nearly 9 years of more experience to look at my blogging experience (and correct the formatting issues), I think it's time for an updated article. For nostalgia reasons (Letterman), I'll keep the same countdown system as the original article.
- I still make money from advertising - Online advertising has changed a lot in 9 years. Entire income streams (text links) have disappeared and advertisers pay much less than they used to (budget is probably going to Facebook). However, there's more traffic. I looked back over the years and there's one year (my best year) that I made half of what I did as a software engineer. I'm getting close to that now, but it is a full-time job.
- I'm wiser about money - I've been reading Kiplinger's and Money Magazine far, far longer than I've been blogging about money. You can a learn a lot from those magazines, but when you have to write to an audience it helps to research it and make sure you get it right.
- I'm forced to follow through - It's really hard to tell people to contribute to their Roth IRA and then blow it off yourself.
- I look into things I wouldn't have otherwise - Last year, we got solar power. I didn't suddenly wake up and say, "Hey this is a great way to save money." Instead, I thought, "This is a topic that I haven't written about. Let me investigate whether this makes sense so I can help others." You can read my articles on solar power here.
- I'm still learning business skills - Lazy Man and Money was never intended to be a business. It caught me by surprise that people would pay money to advertise on the blog. I wonder if readers think it's just write an article and publish it. There's a lot of (usually fruitless) negotiation with advertisers, technology issues (I was hacked last week), bookkeeping
- It fills a household need - Someone in the family needs to make financial decisions. My wife isn't geared to thinking, "Let's refinance the house." It's just not her thing. She's great at numerous other things that make the household run, but I think being a respected financial blogger gives her the confidence that I'm not gambling the money away.
- I'm still learning to be a better writer - Writing effectively is one of the most valuable skills you can possess. I know some personal finance bloggers who get deals to write for companies at $1 a word. To put that in perspective, this article would be worth around $750. Not many people can get nearly that kind of money, but it isn't unusual to make $50-$75 for an article on the side.
- I get help from others - When I have a money question, I have an audience of people who are usually willing to chip in. They often new ideas that I hadn't considered.
- I get to help others - Money can be a taboo topic, but it shouldn't be. When we discuss things we learn. I've gotten a lot of emails and comments about how much I've helped people. That makes me feel great.
- Inspiration - Inspiration is a two way street. When I read some of the blogs at Rockstar Finance's Net Worth tracker I am excited by bloggers who have a million (or two!) dollars. A few times over the last year, people have said to me, "You inspired me to write a blog." The strange thing is, these people have bigger and better blogs than I can even dream of.
I want to expand on that last one a bit. I was inspired by Boston Gal's Open Wallet. She inspired others (as well as me). It's incredible to think that one person can have an effect on tens of millions of lives, but that's exactly what has happened. Sometimes it feels like it is impossible to change the world. There's so much momentum and it's easy to feel like what you are doing doesn't matter. It does matter... probably a lot more than we can ever comprehend.
If this sounds like something you'd be interested in there are a few companies that can help get you started. I've found that companies such as 1 & 1 have an easy way to get started with a WordPress blog... and you really want to go with WordPress. It hosts around 99% of all blogs.
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