The Frugal Fellow Turns One

The Frugal Fellow Turns One

Last updated on April 14th, 2019 at 11:04 am.

In some ways, it’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year. In other ways, not so much. That’s because it has gone by relatively quickly, but at the same time, SO much has happened.

Either way, it’s true – the very first post on this blog was on March 14, 2018.

It’s been quite the ride since then. I’ll be totally honest – I definitely had the existential crisis many bloggers experience at the six-month mark. I wondered whether there was any point in continuing. I wasn’t getting the traffic I had hoped for and felt like I was floundering.

I wish I could say things are vastly different six months later. They’re not. At least not when it comes to traffic here on the blog.

So, what changed?

I think the only thing that really changed was my mindset.

If you peruse Pinterest, you’ll find a lot of posts that may lead you to believe you can build a hugely popular blog in three months. But the reality is that unless you’re already an expert who has built numerous other successful blogs, that’s probably not going to happen.

But you know what? That’s okay. Things that are meaningful take time to create. They take effort. They aren’t going to be built overnight.

I made it past six months and fully intend to keep going.

TFF First Year Highlights

And besides – my goal here is not to be negative about the experience. For instance, let’s look at some of the highlights for the first year:

  • Attended my first FinCon. This was a great experience! Like so many things, I was reluctant at first. And although it was a bit overwhelming for an introvert like myself, I was glad I went. I plan to return this year in DC!
  • Had my first major Rockstar Finance feature. This was such a nice surprise and very much unexpected. I got 1,500 views the day that came out. So crazy. I haven’t gotten anywhere close on my own – not yet, anyway.
  • Several features on Camp FIRE Finance.
  • Had my first podcast interview. Shout out to Steph and Erik for putting up with me!
  • Became part of an amazing community on Twitter. For all the negative things people say about Twitter, it has easily been one of the best ways to meet other bloggers. It allowed me to connect with them before FinCon, making the experience much easier. And, of course, I continue to stay in touch.

…and really, these are just the highlights. There are so many great people out there who are so helpful, and that’s probably what I am most grateful for.

It’s really amazing when I reach out to someone, not expecting much, and they answer my question and more. You know who you are. I don’t want to go into naming names, because that will be an extremely long list. But I seriously appreciate the crap out of all of you.

Challenges and Goals

Traffic

As mentioned, traffic has increased, but not as much as I thought it would after a year. I am seeing some bloggers who have been blogging for six months or less who have many times my traffic.

And while I don’t really care about the numbers myself – advertisers and brands do. If I am going to catch the eye of some of them, I’m going to need more traffic. As such, I am going to go be upping my promotion efforts over the next year.

I may dabble in some cheap Facebook ads, but I am still very new to those. Otherwise, my main strategies are going to be further refining my Google SEO, as well as putting more time into Pinterest.

Monetization

I see some big-name bloggers out there making thousands of dollars every month. Okay, sure, they have 100 times my traffic (or more). But some of them do make it sound easy.

Well, let me clear that one up for you: it is not. Boy, is it not.

Not that I’m complaining. I actually enjoy writing and it’s fun to create something through the blog. I try to provide genuinely valuable information. And compensation is not expected, but to at least cover blogging costs is probably a goal for next year.

More Collaboration

Another one of my efforts this year is going to be better collaboration this year. The reason for this is two-fold. For one, it could help me to improve my own authority by gaining more links. If you know anything about Google SEO, this makes sense to you – if not, don’t worry.

But in addition to helping myself, I’d also like to help others more. Even though I am still relatively early in my blogging journey, there are some who are even newer. I would love to be able to pay it forward as well in whatever way possible.

More Communication Via Email (Freebies?)

I know a lot of bloggers do this. I haven’t been great about email, although I wonder how well-received that would be. It’s definitely something I have thought about, but never really had the time.

This year, it looks like I’m going to have more time (more about that in another post). If you’d be interested to get more emails from me, let me know! I haven’t worked out what that would look like yet, but I have certainly considered it.

I know many bloggers have freebies as well. They’ll either email them or use them as an opt-in. This is something I will have to think about and consider this year.

…Above All, Keeping it Fun

Honestly, that is what this is all about. Sometimes it doesn’t always seem like fun and games. I try to keep myself to a deadline, and sometimes that isn’t easy.

Plus, when you are newer, it can feel like no one is reading your content. I know this is normal, but I want to be sure blogging stays enjoyable this next year.

I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to do that. But if it means taking a break at some point, I may just do that. We’ll see.

At the end of the day, I want to be sure I’m creating content people actually want to read – and not just posts my blogger friends will comment on, because they’re, well, awesome.

Because if I can’t do that, what’s the point?

Anyway, I really appreciate you all. You’ve been great and I hope to keep doing this a lot longer if you will put up with me.

If so, I think I’ll get to work!

Bob Haegele

Hey there. My name is Bob and I blog about personal finance here at The Frugal Fellow. In particular, I focus on topics related to student loans, investing, credit cards, and sometimes sustainability. Interested in starting a blog? Find out how to become a blogger!

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Happy blog birthday! It’s a huge accomplishment to hit this milestone. Super excited for you in year two!

    1. Thanks. I’m pretty excited as well!

  2. Congrats on your one yr mark. I didn’t know you started just a little over a month before me 🙂 Mine is coming near the end of April and you are right, it does go by quickly in some ways and in other ways not.

    I feel you too with the traffic stuff. When I put out a post that took awhile to create and it kind of fizzles I sort of question why am I doing it. And then I get interactions with my readers and some other posts take off and I am happy again.

    I think it just takes time and most say 2 years will be the time when you know what you really have on your hands. Keep up the good work and you will build a following slowly but surely

    1. Yeah, crazy, huh? And you’ve churned out much more content than me – I need to get on that! Well, I suppose it isn’t a race…

      Traffic is slowly picking up, but it was honestly pretty stagnant for the first 9-10 months. If it can continue on this upward trend, things will be looking pretty good. Time will tell!

  3. Happy Blog Anniversary! The first year of blogging can get really overwhelming! I still have so much to learn, but I’ve learned to set more realistic goals.
    I’ve taken quite a few breaks from blogging too. I’ve asked myself if I should continue. Well, I guess what’s really important is you love what you do, you’re helping others, and you’re having FUN!

    1. Thanks! And, indeed, it’s a lot more fun when you don’t get too wrapped up in the numbers. I suppose that’s a bit of a dilemma for me, but I have definitely enjoyed the experience overall!

  4. Yeah, I feel your pain. I’m only 3-months in and already feeling the burn. The email situation is tough. My email list is crawling, but I also don’t offer a freebie. But it seems like that is the best way to grow a list, so I need to come up with something.

    I figured those of us who like to write, can outlast those PF blogs who are all about making money from their site. Does that mean it will work? I don’t know, but at least our writing will improve. 🙂

    1. Yeah, again – I wasn’t trying to be negative – just honest. It really has been a great experience so far and I have zero regrets about starting.

      And yep, like I said, keeping it fun is important!

  5. Congrats. Remember, if you’ve inspired at least one person, then it is worth it.

    1. True that!

  6. Congrats on sticking to it for a year! You will make it as long as it’s still enjoyable. I’ve taken breaks and come back many times over my 8 years so far, but it’s fun to write and make and keep connections. I think you’ve got what it takes for the long haul.

    1. Agreed – it has opened up a lot of new opportunities and looks like it will continue to do so.

      And thanks!

  7. Keeping it fun is the main thing. My blog would have died years ago if I didn’t enjoy writing and simply telling my story. It wasn’t until this past year that I actually opened up to the PF community and started having people read my story because they were interested in it, and my blog is going on 5 years old! 🙂

    Keep it up!

    1. Thanks! You do the same! 🙂

    1. Much appreciated and thanks for the encouragement!

  8. Congrats! Happy blog birthday!

    1. Thank you!

  9. Congrats on making it one year. Many people quit and walk away. You’ve been consistent. So happy for you! Also, it is super tough to get your name out there and yea all of those blog posts about it being easy are super click-baity. Here’s to a new year!

    1. Woot! Thanks!

  10. Congratulations! The first year is the toughest (speaking as someone who’s coming up on 11 years of blogging — so. old.) so just hang in there. And don’t feel bad for wanting to monetize (if you do) because we put a lot of time and effort into our blogs, so it’s only natural to want to see some return. Especially given the stuff you said you’re going to talk about in another post but that you mentioned on Twitter.

    1. Dang, 11 years. That’s a while, haha. At least in the blogging world. And thanks for the reassurance!

  11. Congratulations, Im only a few months in and have found a few great blogs (yours included of course) I kind of assumed they all were major. I guess I just read what I like and connect that way. Hope when I get to a year it will still be fun, where you are is where I would be happy being. Thanks gor sharing T🎈

    1. Hah, nope, I’m still new around here. 🙂 But I hope so, too!

  12. I am very new to blogging (launched in January) and you’re so write about some of these bloggers on Pinterest selling a dream! Thank you for the authenticity of this post, I’ve subscribed and can’t wait to binge on your content!

    1. Thank you! I wish you the best on your blogging journey. 🙂

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