On 3/23/2020 I decided to start keeping this Blog Log to document how I built my blog. As of today, Alexa rank is 178,020. If my site never draws enough traffic to make money, this will become a great guide on what not to do. I’m hoping, instead, it becomes a story of success with a documented road-map that others can follow.
How it All Started
One day in January 2020, my husband sent me a link to a news article about a girl making a million dollars a year blogging about personal finance. I took a look at her site, Making Sense of Cents, and thought I’d like to give it a try. As a finance executive with a working knowledge of how to build websites, it seemed like a good fit. Plus she lives on a sailboat, and that’s our dream, so it resonated with me in a unique way.
I had just come off a failed Kickstarter for the Sail Away Journal, a product I had spent 1.5 years working on off and on, and I desperately needed an outlet for my creative energy. I needed to move on from that failure and try something different.
1/24/2020 – My husband sends me a link to this article in a text message – This Blogger Earns Over $1 Million Per Year While Sailing a Luxury Sailboat and I immediately knew this was what I wanted to spend the next 2 years doing. As of January 2020, there were 26 months to go before our planned lifestyle change, and we weren’t saving at a fast enough rate to hit our target. I believed that if I tried enough things, I could land on something that worked out.
I started listening to Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill on Audible, hoping for some inspiration on topics to write about.
1/26/2020 – My husband informed me that Napoleon Hill was a hack, and showed me the Wikipedia site about him. I kept listening anyway because I found the material fascinating.
1/27/2020 – With no strategy in place, a few days later I decided on a name for my site, and secured the domain through Epik.com. I added the domain to a hosting package I was already paying for at Ace-Host. I installed WordPress and came up with a basic color scheme I wanted to use for the site. I installed the free Sydney theme.
1/28/2020 – I downloaded an image from Vectorstock and created the BeyondPennies logo in Photoshop. Decided it was not right, so I made a new one and I added it to my WordPress theme, Sydney. 1/29/2020 – I wrote my first blog post – Welcome to Beyond Pennies!
I created categories for my blog in WordPress:
- Budget (sub-category)
- Mind & Body
1/31/2020 – On day 7 of my blog, I wrote my 2nd blog post – 4 Top Places I Keep My Savings.
I installed plugins:
- Akismet Anti-Spam
- Classic Editor
- Jetpack by WordPress.com
- Social Warfare
- TinyMCE Advanced
- Yoast SEO
I set up Google Analytics so I could track traffic.
2/1/2020 – I wrote blog post #3, 3 Primary ETFs for Option Trades. At this point I had no real direction for my blog.
2/4/2020 – I wrote Build Your Budget Like a Business – Transcend the Worker Mentality
2/7/2020 – I finished Think and Grow Rich and started my next audiobook, High Performance Habits by Brendan Burchard. I made a bunch of draft posts with only the titles of posts I might want to write about later.
2/8/2020 – I wrote Investment Income Report – Jan 2020. My trading account was up for January, and at the time I wrote the post on 2/8, it was up even more – 24% for the year. How could we have known what would happen soon after? As of the time of writing this post, 3/23, my account is down about 50% from where it was mid-February, and about 30% from where I started the year. Sigh.
2/11/2020 – I posted How Lifestyle Creep Traps the Middle Class
2/16/2020 – Brendan Burchard said something in High Performance Habits that resonated with me in a huge way. He said, ““Decide what you want. Determine the Five Major Moves that will help you leap toward that goal. Do deep work on each of the major five moves—at least 60 percent of your workweek going to these efforts—until they are complete.”
It sounded so simple, and its exactly what I needed to hear. I sat down and wrote down my Five Major Moves that will get me to my objective, and then I started honing my theme for BeyondPennies into something more specific than just a money blog. I thought about what special knowledge I could offer that maybe other bloggers didn’t have – experience in corporate finance and strategy. How could I apply what I know to personal finance and give the FIRE crowd something more advanced? Knowledge that I took for granted, that I applied to my own life without even realizing it was not general knowledge.
2/17/2020 – Switched theme to the Divi WordPress theme from Elegant Themes.
Installed the Bloom plugin to create email optin forms by Elegant Themes, which was included with my Divi theme purchase.
Signed up for a Mailchimp account.
I added a pop-up Optin form to my site so I could start collecting email addresses.
2/18/2020 – I posted How to Make Passive Income With Domain Flipping.
2/20/2020 – I posted How Grocery Delivery Saves Money – Crush It With Instacart, and then someone berated me on Twitter claiming that Instacart has hidden fees because they pad the cost of everything you order. I didn’t believe her at first, but I checked the Safeway website pricing with the Instacart pricing, and it turned out to be true. There was about a 5% increase on Instacart groceries. I still believe its worth it to save the time you would have spent grocery shopping, but kinda bad on Instacart for not disclosing the arbitrage.
We’ve stopped using Instacart for now because the grocery stores are hit or miss with inventory due to the pandemic. You don’t want to waste money on a delivery when they’re gonna show up with half the stuff you ordered. I will go back to using Instacart for my Sunday grocery order, if the world ever finds its normal again.
2/24/2020 – I learned about Alexa rank and installed the Alexa Traffic Rank extension for Chrome. My Alexa rank started out around 500,000. As of today, 3/23/2020, its 178,020. Not bad for 2 months of blogging! I start looking for a blog group to join to trade comments and shares with. I initially looked for a finance-related blog group, but wasn’t able to find one.