OK, I gave it a shot. The Weakonomist tried to do the traditional personal finance blog thing. It didn’t work. The dry, daily content was slowly killing me. I love personal finance and its my passion, but I can’t do what the other blogs are doing. Those close to me know I didn’t get to be the person I am by being boring. I’m funny, smart, and cynical (and apparently full of myself). Since starting this blog, I didn’t notice how I became obsessed with it. What should have been a fun hobby, became a race to drive traffic to my site. In 6 weeks, the hobby became a passion, and then a chore. Yesterday, I was looking at my RSS aggregator (iGoogle) at the 9 personal finance blogs I read regularly. 9? Why am I reading 9 blogs on the same subject? Why am I obsessing over traffic, checking hourly to watch the hits come in. In frustration, I decided to write down what everyone knows, but no one talks about.
5) Everyone has the same story
Personal finance blogs always have a message from the writer about how they got here. It starts with college debt and credit cards. Spending gets out of control over a few years. Then the writer hits rock bottom somewhere between 25 and 35. Now they are making changes and cataloging their experiences. This was inspirational the first few times I read it. But it no longer makes me want to read your blog.
4) Posts are too long
Here’s the thing with the internet and blogs. My generation is a group of slow readers, we’re also the biggest population on the web. Because of our ADHD mouse clicking slow reading nature, we don’t have time to read the same post for 20 minutes. This is the biggest thing keeping my demographic from reading personal finance blogs. YOU ARE BORING! If the writers want to expand beyond the same 100,000 people that read PF blogs, they’ve got to shorten the content. While we’re on the topic of content, doesn’t it seem like the PF blogs….
3) Say the same thing over and over again
I’m talking inter-blog and intra-blog. No one is creating original content. Let me sum up every personal finance blog for you: Live below your means, pay off debt fast, save for retirement, follow your dreams, book review. Rinse and repeat. Even better, each blog will then link to other blogs talking about the same stuff on their own blogs! We’re all guilty of this, but its making personal finance BORING. You do nothing for the personal finance community by repeating what everyone else is saying.
I’m a hypocrite, you’re a hypocrite, your favorite blogger is a hypocrite. While I’m stressing to you the importance of saving and living below your means, I’m secretly wishing for a big raise so I can go waste money. I dream of owning a 6-speed twin turbo BMW 335i (pictured) and a Jeep Wrangler with 35″ tires and the aerodynamics of a brick in a wind tunnel. I want to buy my girlfriend an Infiniti G37 in white, and a Lexus RX 350 in black. I’ll take 4 cars, 3 houses, 2 cats and a dog (girlfriend’s boxer will do, he’s cool). We all dream of the good life and material possessions. You’re only lying to yourself if you don’t salivate over that nice car, the fancy suit, the big TV, or whatever it is that turns you on. We’re all motivated by greed and that’s how America became the awesome country it is. Every single one of you would walk away from blogging for a price. Its not a matter of “its only money”, thats what rich people say. Its simply a matter of money, and we all want more than we have.
1) Comments are littered with people pimping their own blogs
I went to one of my favorite PF blogs to count the comments. At that time there were 56 on the most recent post of which about half were from other bloggers. Rule #1 of promoting your own blog is to comment on other ones to get your name out there. It works! It drives traffic to my site every day, at least 30% in my case. One day my site blew up and 89% of my hits came from one comment on one blog. There’s just a feeling of insincerity when a good post about investing is followed by 18 comments from other personal finance bloggers about investing. Rule #1 of investing is to ignore the wisdom of the crowds. No longer will I participate in this referral game. I will no longer follow this advice to promote my site. No longer will I watch the RSS feeds for a new post so I can race to be the first to comment. Being new to blogging, I’m not getting many comments, but at least half of them are from other bloggers. I’ve turned off comments to avoid this. You have something to say? Email me.
It sounds like I’m sick of blogs. Of course not, I own one. I’m not going to stop reading PF blogs, but I have cut back a lot. I deleted all my feeds save for 2, and I’m only going to skim those weekly. I enjoyed blogging a lot more when I wasn’t obsessed over it. The rare times I leave comments now, I’m not attaching my website to it. This blog will continue to have some boring topics, but we’re going to start mixing things up. I’m not hunting for your traffic. If you like it, cool! If you hate it, I really don’t care. I’m doing this for me.