The Farnam Street guy does this and if you ask him he’s about 1,972,027 times smarter than the rest of us so there must be some sort of value here. Seriously, I’d love if he’d just once post an actual investing idea rather than some obscure psychology tip. If all that stuff really does make you a smarter investor then he must be the best at it, right? But I digress.
I try to make this here blog not entirely about me, but every now and again I fail badly. This is one of those times. But I’m pretty sure y’all will find this interesting. We’ll take a closer look at what happened here in 2018 and what you can look forward to next year. It’ll be like any other annual report except with more cuss words.
2018: A recap
The elephant in the room
Aww come on, Italics Man. This is serious. You can’t be here.
Are you going to tell them how you shut this thing down and then brought it back to life?
Presumably they already know, right?
Don’t you wish it was that easy to bring back to life that dog you repeatedly ran over?
I TOLD YOU THAT IN CONFIDENCE YOU RAT BASTARD.
So yeah, 2018 was a pretty tumultuous year for the ol’ FU machine. The year started trying to juggle the site with a full-time job and an active social life. One of the biggest benefits of being child-free is spending as much time as possible with your friends, and I’m doing just that. I’m desperately trying to fill the childless void in my life with watching football and nachos, and it’s working. Nachos are proof that God exists and that He loves us.
I was burned out writing about personal finance and just wanted a break, yet I was still passionate about investing. So I made the decision to start Canadian Dividend Investing, which would exist to highlight my journey of creating passive income. Originally the plan was to keep both sites, updating this one periodically while working towards monetizing CDI.
But I quickly realized I couldn’t juggle everything. So I decided to cut the worst performer from my life, which was FU. Thus, the decision to close down the site.
Reviving FU from the dead
It took a few months for it to get back through my thick skull, but while working on CDI I realized I really missed writing about investing for a living. I sat on this for a few months and after many hours of discussing it with my wife (she’s a saint for putting up with all my indecisiveness) I decided to scale back my full-time grocery store job in favor of working 1-2 days a week and get back into investment writing full-time.
I say full-time but really I put in 3-4 hours a day plus a little research time. This leaves me plenty of time to keep updating FU, CDI, and annoy my cat. Plus I missed the ability to make dick jokes and swear in articles that somehow made a serious point about finance. Having a blog with a half-decent following is sort of like having a cult, and having your own group of devoted followers is great fun. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently.
One of the things that used to frustrate me about this site was my lack of monetization success. I’ve probably made less than $1/hour over the life of this thing, and I got tired of working for basically nothing. But then I realized something. I like writing here and I don’t need the money. Sure, I’d like to make more money (more on that later), but is an extra few thousand bucks a year really going to make a difference?
Now I view things a little differently. I don’t care if I ever make another dollar from FU. Which is good, because it’s hard to monetize something that cusses with as much enthusiasm as your drunk uncle. This doesn’t mean I’ll turn down advertising opportunities or never try to make any money. It just won’t be the primary focus. If I stumble upon some money, great. If not, oh well.
The only real short-term monetization goal I have is to make enough to keep the lights on, which is about $100/year.
With monetization on the back burner, I’ve decided to focus on getting readers in 2019. I need to elevate FU from a small-time blog to something that’s mentioned in the same breath as the big boys.
I’m on pace to generate approximately 230,000 page views in 2018, which is pretty okay considering I took three quarters of the year off.
This compares to 370,000 page views in 2017. That year included FU’s best month ever, when I broke 50,000 readers for the first time. So I’ve got a lot of work to do to get back to that point.
I figure that’s a good starting point, so let’s go with that. I’ll re-evaluate for 2020 based on results next year, but here’s what I’d like to do over the next three years:
- 2019: 370,000
- 2020: 500,000
- 2021: 750,000
Goddamn do I hate the word “content”. I’d change that heading but y’know. Laziness and whatnot.
I write for Motley Fool, which has invested in numerous writers to come up with dozens of different articles each day. The whole point is to create a reason why you need to visit the site every day.
When FU was at its best I tried to do the same. I had a fresh article up each and every weekday and one on the weekend. There was 800 new words of content staring you in the face every time you fired up Google Chrome. The site did well, even if it was the same people visiting over and over again.
2019 will see me experiment with new types of content ideas. I’ll mix in some shorter posts with the usual stuff. I’m going to review more books. I’m going to experiment with a monthly stock watch list. I’ll invite some of my favorite bloggers to guest post. I’ll post updates on things I’m involved in like Lending Loop and my private mortgage portfolio. And I’ll even make time to make fun of the worst retirement facelift scenarios. Don’t worry if you don’t know what those are yet. You will soon and it will be delightful.
My goal is to have new FU content up 5-6 days a week.
I’ve been around long enough that most bloggers will at least acknowledge my presence. Except for the ones that have blocked me on Twitter, that is.
I will make a greater effort to use other bloggers to spread the FU gospel. This will mostly involve begging (towards the ladies) and exchanging promises of promotion for sexual favors (towards the fellas).
No, I won’t do that. What I will do is make an effort to comment on other blogs, follow more finance bloggers on Twitter (and actually talk to them), and propose various ways we can actually work together. I’m a big fan of blog exchanges like the one I did with Paul from Asset-Based Life, where we argue both sides of a certain issue.
The goal is to get a guest post on one new website a month.
FU has a Facebook page, but it might as well be dead at this point. I get virtually zero traffic from Facebook. I could also vastly improve my LinkedIn presence. Instead, I’ll focus on my favorite social network, Twitter.
I have strong opinions about Twitter. You need a mixture of hot takes, interesting reading, and self-promotion to get grassroots success. This is what many of my peers get wrong, IMO. They’ll share their most recent post six times in a day. They’ll blindly retweet everything their favorite blogger buddy writes. Or they won’t talk to anyone.
There are certain blogs I really like that are paired with horrible Twitter feeds.
Here’s what you can expect from Nelson’s twitter feed in 2019. I will ask questions to get reader feedback for upcoming posts. I will tweet about investments I like and stocks I wouldn’t touch. There will be a steady stream of bad jokes. And I’ll tweet once or twice a day about some timeless old post in my archives. I experimented with this a month or so ago and I found it increased page views 5-10% a day.
Ultimately, the goal of all this is to get more Twitter followers. But I also want to follow more people. Thus, my goal is to follow 600 interesting people by the end of the year and have 4,000 followers.
What about CDI?
I just don’t have the time nor energy to run two sites properly. Thus, CDI will suffer.
I also find that whenever I research a stock in full I just write about it on Motley Fool. This decreases any motivation I might have to write about something at CDI.
What I’ve considered is merging the two sites together and adding just a little investing content to FU. I’d do a post a month outlining new stocks I’ve bought, for instance. And another post a month on what I’m watching. I’d post periodic portfolio updates too. I’d show you guys what I’m doing while minimizing all the details behind the why. We can track my dividend income over time. And so on.
I have the best readers in the world. You guys have stuck with me during countless hiatuses and whatever other bullshit I pulled. I really appreciate it.
Now I need your help. Tell me what you want to see from FU. What do you think about adding in a little investing content? Do you want me to add a podcast? What topics would you like me to cover? Comment away, yo.
And thanks for reading. Here’s to a great 2019.