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{ in·deed·a·bly }

adverb: to competently express interest, surprise, disbelief, or contempt

Highly commended

Writing a blog is a funny game.

Unpredictable, much like the games of dizzy darts we once played in the university bar.

The protagonist dons a blindfold, spins around until they lose all sense of balance and reason, then valiantly attempts to hit the target.

Some attempts generate amusement.

Others start fights, or cause minor injury.

Very occasionally a shot hits the bullseye.

There is a small but ever-present risk that somebody will lose an eye.

The truth is bloggers have no idea if a post will generate huge fanfare, or the sound of crickets.

There is little correlation between effort and outcome.

No relationship between the posts the blogger enjoyed writing most, and those that were best received by the audience.

What goes up…

Two recent experiences ably illustrate this rollercoaster ride.

Last week { in·deed·a·bly } received a Highly Commended prize in the UK Blog Awards.

UK Blog Awards Highly Commended. Image credit: UK Blog Awards.

UK Blog Awards Highly Commended. Image credit: UK Blog Awards.

That was a nice surprise, after a random reader nominated the blog many months ago.

Thanks very much to whomever it was, all those who voted, and to the award judges.

… must come down

Meanwhile, a couple of months ago some fellow bloggers talked me into joining them in entering the Rockstar Rumble.

The post I nominated was one of the more popular articles I had written. It had been well received, featured by several of the Personal Finance curation sites, and had been picked up within the Financial Planning community.

I had mistakenly thought this was a writing competition, but it was actually a popularity contest with all that entails.

I was convincingly destroyed!

In the first round.

By a 6 point listicle, that began with the timeless financial wisdom #1  All you need is a good sweater”.

Full credit must go to the deservedly victorious blogger.

They had researched the game.

Submitted a post that fed the voting audience’s preference for easily digestible sound bites and positive platitudes.

Lobbied hard on social media for votes.

It was a well-executed performance.

The path to success?

My conclusion from these two experiences is I have little idea how this blogging game works, and that doesn’t trouble me at all.

Writing helps me to work through an idea in a structured way.

Those ideas tend to be about random topics, inspired by whatever events or interactions happen to occur in my daily life.

Which means I am my own target audience, and just like a rollercoaster, each ride begins and ends in the same place.

Of course that also means I’m unlikely to make my millions from affiliate sales commissions!

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11 Comments

  1. [HCF] 17 April 2019

    Congrats for the prize, it is well deserved but the true value of your blog cannot be measured in prizes and titles. I tried to (still trying) wrap my head around the blogging game and for me, it seems there are two paths. The funny way and the money way. Once I admired RF then abandoned it after it got sold and mainly turned into a marketing machine and a how to blog successfully community. I don’t want to offend anyone and I assume that the old folks with good intentions are still there and the spirit is still there but my experience with the surface changed.

    I used to check the visitor/view counter a lot and wondering what do those measures tell me. Nowadays I count the relationships and the connections to other like-minded folks and when this number is higher than one it is already wort it. Finally, as you said the main target audience is me myself and I am also the kind of person who can put the things into the right place through writing and it helps to structure my thoughts so it would worth the effort if the view counter would be glued to zero. Anyways keep up pouring your words into the interwebz as here we are who like to read them 😉

  2. Mr. RIP 17 April 2019

    “The truth is bloggers have no idea if a post will generate huge fanfare, or the sound of crickets.

    There is little correlation between effort and outcome.

    No relationship between the posts the blogger enjoyed writing most, and those that were best received by the audience.”

    No no no it’s pretty easy, just follow this 6 advices:
    1) follow your passion
    2) passion your follow
    3) do what you love
    4) love what you do
    5) be yourself
    6) All you need is a good sweater 😀

    Joking, of course. Problem is that sometimes we think personal finance blog readers are an elite, la crème de la crème, the smartest people around. Truth is that… “You won’t believe it! Here’s how to become a better person in 10 simple tips! Click here!!”

  3. Dr FIRE 17 April 2019

    Congratulations on the award, Indeedably, and, I guess, commiserations on the defeat!

    As you described, I also find writing my thoughts into a blog post, or a comment, helps to formulate and crystallise my ideas. As a result, my blogging is useful for myself, even if no one else reads it. And I have no illusions about earning millions from the website. Having said that, that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate any views and comments that come my way!

    I also agree with HCF, above. I got into this blogging game to be able to more easily interact with other bloggers and to learn from their experiences. The connections formed already have been stimulating and thought-provoking, which is more than enough encouragement to continue.

  4. Fretful Finance 17 April 2019

    Good job on the Highly Commended.

    I’ve seen a few articles recently that lament that blogging has become all about the clickbait and affiliate links. I’ve tried to play the game a bit by having SEO-friendly titles and using Pinterest. But Pinterest in particular makes blogging come across like one big Ponzi scheme where everyone is trying to make money blogging by telling others how to make money blogging.

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 17 April 2019

      Cheers Fretful Finance.

      I think we each approach blogging in our own way, investing time and energy into those activities we feel add value or give us enjoyment.

      If that happens to be making pins or writing for search engine visibility then go for it and be happy. If not, then I challenge why do those things at all. Some PF blogs are sales funnels, so SEO and driving high traffic volumes are integral to cash flow. For the “personal journal” style blogs I suspect those things matter far less.

  5. earlyretireman 19 April 2019

    If success would equal ‘making money with my blog’, I’d be a failure. But as a vehicle for me to write, learn, grow, keep being focused on the journey, have fun in the meanwhile and generating some occasional positive feedback, it is a huge success. And that’s all that matters to me.

    Your blog is a great inspiration. And you deserved the award! I didn’t nominate you, but it could have been me 🙂

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