The thing about time is, sometimes it feels like it passes you by in an instant. No matter how much has happened in a certain timeline. Or better yet, the more that has happened, the more it feels like it was only yesterday. Which is kind of a contradiction really.
Which is exactly how I feel right now. It has been only 1 year ago since Divnomics saw the light. And so much has happened since.
One year already has passed since I started out with blogging on Divnomics. Since then, our portfolio kept on growing, I’ve learned a lot more about investing, read many great blogs and articles and even met a few other bloggers and readers in real life.
A whole new world has opened up to me, as I never realized how many like-minded people are pursuing the same thing we do: achieving (financial) freedom. It definitely helped us in multiple ways to strengthen our FI mindset.
The idea of Divnomics started in June 2016 when we were on a vacation in Portugal. After following a few other blogs for a while, I kept thinking of starting one of my own. And so I did. With not much of preparation, I had instantly become a blogger. Mostly for reflection, tracking progress and putting my curious mind to work. For the sake of an experiment of what would happen. Since then my whole view on Financial Independence and the future of Divnomics has deepened and changed.
Why I blog
If you just forget about the obvious promo talks… It’s common sense that blogging isn’t a very lucrative business.
You have to put in many hours, and it could take years until you reach a big audience.The competition is enormous and very tough. And the worst part? Earning money from it is almost impossible.
Business wise, blogging sucks.
So, why do I blog?
1. Since I’ve started I’ve gone to a Belgium/Dutch meet-up three times, which were awesome. And because of the blogging, I started to go to more meetups, seminars, and events that were somehow connected to finance or investing.
2. Meeting incredible people and I felt really included in a community full of like-minded people. With whom I got to discuss a broad range of topics with, ask a hell lot of question and get inspiration from on a daily base. Hopefully, I can return that favor through Divnomics.
3. Our FI plans accelerated big time while we kept adjusting our strategy to what we learned on the way. From the start of the blog till now, our expected time to FI is easily cut in half… I’ve started tracking with which stocks we added to our portfolio, and tracking our dividend income. But soon we realized we could achieve the life we wanted now, rather than saving a lot and waiting for life to get better. We adjusted our thinking, stepped into real estate and are finding ways to add meaning to our lives.
4. I like blogging. That simple. The writing, the online optimizations, the ownership, analyzing the stats, knowing people out there actually read this stuff, the growth I’ve seen in my writings, learning better English, hitting publish every time – even when I don’t know if people will like it and the technical issues that take hours to solve. All of it. I love it.
The start, the middle and the continuation
I didn’t have much of an expectation in growing a readership and monetization when I started this. Turns out, there were quite a few people who turned up on this little blog of mine. Even some I’ve been looking up to for a long time myself. My hopes of earning back my hosting payment within a year, however, turned to dust very fast.
Instead, I started to focus primarily on providing quality content, tune in with the online community and ‘finding my blogging voice’. Which translates to: I don’t know what I’m doing, but I just go with what my guts are telling me. I’ve always been following my heart, and instead of what is ‘expected’ I do what makes me feels happy. Not only with blogging the past year. But equally so in finding a job, getting around with friends, and how to invest.
The best part of blogging is that there are no rules. Although everyone claims to have the ten tips for how you should blog, how to write your titles, the length of the perfect post or how often you should be sharing on social media. More important is to experiment with what works for you. You can do whatever you want. There are no golden rules for blogging.
Part of this is that I only publish content where I believe in. Not to earn money from it. I want to do things differently, don’t follow the herd and I adhere to the status quo in blogging land. Which is one of the things that I want Divnomics to be as well, a little different.
The biggest downside of blogging like this is that I haven’t been very steady with posting content. There have been weeks where there has been almost none, and a few were posts were published one after another. This is something I aim to work on in the future, as I hope it will provide more and better traction and interaction.
The best part: blogging stats
Over the course of 1 year, I’ve published 63 different articles. Or 1.2 per week. My posting schedule wasn’t really that consistent. Still, I’ve welcomed readers from all around the world. Literally. The most of my readers are living in The Netherlands or the USA like I expected it would be. But additionally, people from 88 other countries have been checking in with Divnomics from the start. That’s 46% of the globe we live on.
I’ve tried to visualize this in a chart, but it came out looking like this:
The top other countries were Germany, Belgium, Canada, United Kingdom and France. Still feels a bit strange that writing from a little desk in The Netherlands, I am able to reach that many people from all over the world.
As to how readers have found this blog or my stories. I don’t optimize for SEO and give a damn if I use the right keywords. Still, Google has sent over most of the traffic over the past year:
Social Media, subscribers (WordPress reader) and the dividend listings of the Dividend Diplomats did much of the rest. Other bloggers are driving some good traffic as well, bet less so than other channels.
Focus for year 2
Building consistency – one of the challenges I have set for myself is consistent publishing one time per week. More than that just isn’t possible right now as I’m prioritizing my time with some other ‘projects’ as well, like planning a wedding, boosting my career and real estate investing of course. So for the remainder of 2017, I will set one day a week where I will be publishing content and hopefully can build up a buffer of content as well. Ideally, I want to work ahead with a couple weeks of work, so when I travel or have a busy schedule, the blog is not suffering from it.
When the system of publishing one blog post per week consistently is in place, I will check from there if publishing more often is a good idea, or not.
Personal blogging voice – When I started this blog, most of the articles were about buying stocks, and dividend tracking. Over the year I’ve noticed my interested are somewhat broader than that. There are 3 main topics that affect a lot of my writings, our personal journey, investing in general and a more philosophical approach on how things work.
This will not be a blog about saving money, quick tips or the very frugal way of life. I’ve read the term fat-fire the other day, which is more what describes our mindset. This is a somewhat different view than many personal finance bloggers might have. But it fit’s to why we do things, and it’s coming more and more on the surface as my blogging voice is evolving.
Future growth –I measure my ‘success’ or what you want to call it, based on two things: interactivity and traffic. I will continue with experimenting in growing my audience and hopefully boost some interesting discussions with all of you. By taking little steps every time, adding content, reaching out and keep optimizing the site as well. Every step will be an element that will support a sustainable, and compounding growth level over time.
In my head, I have this ideal picture of what I think Divnomics should become. But instead of building it at once, I change minor things every day, week and month. So I can test and adjust wherever possible. The process of learning is way too fun to just let that slide by. I want to experiment, try out new things and have a unique sound that might be a little different than others.
And there is one thing, of course, which I couldn’t go without: You.