New Years Resolution Three: Double Blogging Goals

This is the third and final article in a 3-part series on my New Year’s resolutions 2009.  Be sure to check out my first and second resolutions.

Happy New Year!  I hope you had an enjoyable New Year’s Eve celebration with family and friends, and are ready to turn the calendar on another wonderful year.  I’ve always enjoyed the New Year holiday because it seems like we have so many opportunities ahead, and a clean slate to start going after our goals.  I’ve already outlined two of my goals related to money and personal well-being, so now I’ll let you in on my goals for blogging.

Double Blogging Goals for 2008

I had a number of goals when I started this blog, and only a few of them had any quantitative measurements.  Mostly, I wanted a place to hold myself accountable for living a more frugal lifestyle, and a place where I could help others with family finances by telling a little about what works (and hasn’t worked) in our lives.  I feel Frugal Dad has been a success on those two accounts, but I am a results person–I like to see numbers and measurements and set goals to best them month over month.  So here are the three areas I tracked last year, including the personal goals I had established to meet by year-end, and where I would like them to be by the end of 2009.

Subscribers

This is one area where I had a hard time setting a realistic goal.  After looking around the top 100 personal finance blogs I quickly recognized that the top echelon was way out of reach (40,000+ subscribers).  At the time, those that had been around for about a year had attracted 2,000 subscribers, and several had around 4,000.  I shot for somewhere near the middle-3,500 subscribers in year one.

FeedBurner (the service I use to track subscribers) decided to take the New Year’s holiday off and dropped my count by a couple thousand, but as of 12/30/2008 I had 4,899 subscribers here at Frugal Dad.  Here’s a visual representation (from PopTopRanks.com):

(Those dips are other times when FeedBurner took the day off–to the frustration of bloggers everywhere!)

In 2009, I’d like to double my original goal to 7,000 subscribers.  In the first year, subscribers tend to grow exponentially, as is shown by the curve represented above.  In the second year that tends to flatten out a bit as you sort of saturate the market, or niche, that you are in.  Feel free to help me reach that 7,000 subscriber goal by sharing articles with friends, or telling them about Frugal Dad offline.  Besides a $50 experiment with AdWords (that failed miserably because I didn’t really know what I was doing), I spent no money advertising Frugal Dad this past year, and don’t plan to do so in 2009–that just wouldn’t be very frugal!

Traffic

Again, this is a tough goal to set when starting up a new blog.  Unless you are overly confident in your ability to attract visitors from all over the web it is unlikely that you will see more than 10,000 page views a month in the first few months of blogging.  I set a wild goal of receiving 100,000 page views a month by the end of 2008, and with the exception of a couple spikes in the summer, it took nearly a year to reach that on a consistent basis.  Here’s a look at the growth according to Sitemeter (the yellow bars represent visitors, and the red bars represent page views):

I expect the graph of traffic from 2009 will be a little smoother (and hopefully remain above 100,000 page views per month.  I have set an aggressive goal of reaching 250,000 page views per month in each of the last three months of 2009.

Income

When I first started Frugal Dad I didn’t set an income goal, not because I am some morally superior blogger who writes for intrinsic rewards only, but because I didn’t have a clue how people made money with blogs.  Soon, I was learning about various ad types and terms like CPM and affiliates and it was a whole new world to me!  I thought it would be really something to earn at least half of my full time income with blogging each month.

To avoid sharing specific numbers, I’ll just say that by the end of 2008 I am earning exactly half of my full-time income with blogging (if you average earnings over the second half of the year–when things really started to pick up).  Here’s a month-by-month look at percentage of full-time income earned from blogging and freelance writing endeavors:

I’d like to think I am starting 2009 with a little more knowledge on the potential earnings from blogging, but I admit to being way behind the curve compared to others who are much more successful, financially.  There are examples cropping up almost weekly of bloggers leaving the workplace to become a “problogger.”  I doubt that will be me any time soon, but I do have a stretch goal for making that a little closer to reality by the end of 2009.

By the end of 2009 I will be earning 100% of my full-time income through blog monetization and related writing activities. Yes, that means if I accomplish this I will have effectively doubled my personal income in two years.  Fingers crossed!

To recap, here are my three blogging goals for 2009:

  • Attract 7,000 subscribers
  • Receive 250,000 page views per month
  • Earn 100% of my regular, full-time earnings

Finally, I’d like to wrap up my New Year’s Resolutions series by thanking all of you for a successful 2008.  Without your willingness to be part of the community here the site would have folded a long time ago.  I have enjoyed getting to (virtually) know many regular readers and fellow bloggers, and consider a number amongst my personal friends.  My single regret when it comes to writing here at Frugal Dad was that I didn’t start it sooner!

As many long-time readers know, it was a tough year for us personally, and we look to 2009 with optimism.  I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!

Comments

  1. Wow! I am inspired. I hope to one day boast these types of results. I just started blogging and my blog is a little bit different from the normal personal finance blog. My long-term goal is to be financially free by 25.

  2. Well, you’re already on your way: I’ve heard of your site, been here before, follow you on Twitter…then wondered a few minutes ago, “Why am I not subscribed to FrugalDad?” So now I am, and you only have 2100 to go!

  3. @Marian: Thanks for joining me! I suspect there are others out there like you, and I hope they decide to take advantage of the free subscription option as well.

  4. Congrats on a great year Frugal Dad! My blog is 2 months old and I have a lot of the same feelings that you had, obsessively tracking my stats and feeling a little unsure of how high to set my goals. Thanks for sharing the graphs of your stats. It was encouraging :)

  5. Well since bloggers have been hugely helpful in turning around our finances I’m sure I can return the favour by making sure in my next reader purge that yours isn’t one of the purged.

  6. Congrats on a spectacular month! It’s impressive to see how quickly your site has grown. It’s still one of my favorites, so I can see why so many other people love it!

  7. I never set goals when I started my site, I didn’t put too much into promoting it either.

    As soon as I realized I could make money though it changed. I still don’t have any goals, except maybe to compensate myself at minimum wage for the amount of time I put into my writing.

  8. I love the the 100% replacement goal. Mine isn’t quit as lofty since I am only about 20% there, but we will see.

    If you keep your current pace your readers numbers will probably be much higher than double IMO.

    Great work FD, you are one of the best PF bloggers on the net.

  9. A tip about advertising, I find that adwords,ysm, etc don’t work well unless you have a specific goal in mind. Just acquiring an eyeball isn’t good enough, you’ll want an action to track (rss subscription? comment?) that way you can track the performance. We can chat anytime about it and hopefully I can save you some money with the lessons I learned. :)

  10. Kudos to you for a great year of blogging. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and will continue to read. I just started my pf blog last week and hope to make some strides this year. I too will join your RSS feed. Is wordpress a good place to start a blog? That’s what I’m doing now.

  11. Awesome accomplishments for 08, and challenging goals for 09. I have no doubt that you will achieve each one!

    Thanks for sharing the details in the numbers. It’s hard to find bloggers who do this and it really is encouraging when you see it!

    Keep up the good content!

  12. I love it that you’re so open and honest about what you’re doing (with this blog, your finances, everything). I’ve always wanted someone to tell me what it is they do to be successful with their financial lives and since it’s such a freakin’ taboo subject (even among close friends and family) it’s nice to hear it from you, Frugal Dad. You’re warmer than a financial adviser and more acknowledgeable than a wealthy friend who just doesn’t worry about money.

    You’ve been a great help to me and I’m happy to be able to support your blog any way I can.

  13. Great goals FD, and congrats on the success so far!

    I am curious though how you plan on attaining these goals. For instance, how do you plan on increasing your traffic? Any advice you can give to fellow bloggers would be much appreciated. I’ve read lots of articles on various methods, but who knows which methods really work? It looks like you do! ;-)

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