She Picks Up Pennies turns one this week. While many bloggers are able to share impressive, jealousy-inducing numbers in terms of income and views, I cannot. Just like all those spam commenters aptly note, I did not monetize my blog. And I’m not entirely sure how to get back to the view in WordPress that shows you how to find an in-depth look at your page views. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. More on that in a moment.
Beyond that, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I wanted to quit repeatedly. Cut my losses and find another hobby. Or watch cable that I’m still paying for. But I got so much more out of this year of blogging that I can’t imagine my days any other way. Through the insights and interactions, dialogues and debates, comments and tweets with all of you, I learned so much about finance and mindfulness. And I had a ton of fun along the way. That’s something worth hanging onto.
An Honest Look at Blogging and Twitter
I have no idea how to get page views besides writing interesting content. In fact, the only thing I really want to do is write interesting content. I might wade into the waters of learning SEO eventually, but I don’t know that will change much about this blog. The truth is, I’ve never gotten 10,000 page views, let alone 100,000. And that’s even with the help of three different features on Rockstar Finance (thank you, Cait & J$).
The first two months of blogging, I would check my page views compulsively. Every break I got, I checked. Then, I’d send threatening texts to my husband to make sure he wasn’t reading it and skewing my numbers. The first time I cracked 100 views? He heard me so excited at 97, he snuck down in the basement and clicked a bunch. Once, I even clicked enough times to go to that page that showed me someone in the Philippines read my blog. Now, I don’t even look at the dashboard at all if I can help it. You see, it’s not that I don’t care about increasing my blog traffic. I do. But if I’m going to put precious time into my blog, I’d rather interact with the readers who are already commenting rather than obsess over the fluctuations in numbers. I wish I felt the same about my Vanguard account.
The same is true for Twitter. In my eyes, my Twitter following is huge — more than I ever could have dreamt. Compared to many bloggers, though, my Twitter following is less of following and more of an f. It’s like we’re playing a game of PIG, and I’ve only shot well enough to get the first letter. I could blame the fact that I had never used Twitter–aside from creating an account many moons ago to be notified by Target of the after-midnight launch of the Jason Wu designer line–prior to creating my blog. In fact, when I first started tweeting, I had no idea that Tweetdeck or Twitter Feed* existed. Instead, I thought people who worked from home literally tweeted in the wee hours of the morning, and I sleepily told my husband at 3 AM one day that I needed to go send some tweets. Don’t worry. It hasn’t really gotten better.
One day, I started using Crowdfire, but then I was reading about Buffer, Hootsuite, and 91 other tools I’ll never use, and I felt like blacking out. I know there are ways to track your follows and unfollows, but you know what? I don’t care. I used to try to keep up with every new follower–not in the spam-lite auto response message kind of way–but by actually interacting with them. Most times, by the time I saw the notification, many of the people had already unfollowed me. I’m not interested in playing a numbers game. I don’t have the time or the ability (you read the first few paragraphs, right?). I also don’t have all the answers on Twitter. But if you want to see some poorly-executed GIFs and day-to-day musings about my lack of coordination and blunders in investing, you can find me here.
*I set up Twitter Feed so long ago, I seriously had to spend 15 minutes Googling trying to figure out what it’s called.
And do you know how many sponsored posts, affiliate links, and advertisements through Google Adsense and otherwise I’ve landed in a full year of blogging? That would be zero. In fact, I still haven’t even taken Bluehost up on their offer to create a ubiquitous How to Make a Blog post. I am so awful at monetizing my blog, I didn’t even use my own affiliate program to create a new blog with a fellow coworker. It’s not that I don’t want to monetize my blog, it’s that if I ever do, I’d like to do it well (read: unobtrusively). I’d love to work with other people or companies that share the same values as me one day. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Or maybe we won’t. For a blog based on money, I’m surprisingly OK with that.
A Look at Me
When I look back on who I was last summer and compare it to who I am now, I hardly recognize myself. Actually, that’s a cliche. I recognize myself because I think it’s been that long since I got a haircut and I know it’s been that long since I changed up my clothes or my shoes. Because. Oh, the shoes. All the shoes. But I have changed in really incredible ways thanks to this blog and the personal finance community.
I have miles to go before I cross the finish line of any major milestone, but I’ve thought a lot about my mortgage, both good and bad. I’ve also learned how to stand up for myself and walk away from side hustles that no longer suit me. Most importantly, though, I’ve maintained a hobby and opened myself up to a whole new world. Teaching can be insular and all-consuming. Now, I’ve realized how beneficial and rewarding it is to pursue other passions and how to blend the two.
While exploring this hobby, I crossed paths with Tip Yourself. While I can’t claim to have monetized my blog, my interactions with this app helped me land my first gig that let me develop the delusion that I am now a professional writer and content creator. Nailed it. If you listen closely, you can probably hear the entire Tip Yourself team laughing right now.
When I started blogging, I said I wanted to try to give one person one good money idea. Throughout the course of this year, I’ve crossed paths with teachers, volunteers, and other individuals who need to become more adept at using search engines to find the professional content. And I’ve loved every second of that. Those comments make my day and consume our dinner-table conversations.
Those readers are incredible, and so are all of the bloggers who read She Picks Up Pennies. I’ve been lifted up on the shoulder of giants by veteran bloggers and fellow newcomers alike. In fact, I started to try to include links to all of the different bloggers I love, but I realized two different things. That information would be better suited for a blogroll, and it’s been a year and I have yet to create one. Instead, I’ll spend the week going back to school* and giving shoutouts on Twitter to all of the amazing bloggers who support me.
While I know there are dozens of missteps that are yet to come, as someone with an incredible propensity for awkward moments, I’m savoring the prospect. I promise this year will bring with it more honest stories about money, consumerism, and mindfulness. I’m not perfect. I never will be. But if you’re willing to come along for the ride, I’ll keep chronicling it.
*Because who doesn’t decide to finally pull the trigger on creating a blog the WEEK before a new school year? Fail 179,234. Actually, that was probably the first fail.