For many personal finance bloggers out there I am a new face to blogging.
It’s understandable, a simple whois will show you that PFtoday is actually pretty young.
But I’ve been working online as a web designer since 2002 and created my first blog in 2006.
In September 2007 I created my biggest blog to the date, a Romanian blog that, after 8 years is still one of the most respected in my country. It’s called DojoBlog.ro, if you are curious about it.
Over the years I blogged about various topics I am passionate about: music, movies, books, orthodontics, martial arts, parenting, travel, personal finance, web design and pro blogging etc.
It allowed to me get lots of clients (since people were impressed with my writing and my overall ideas) and also earned me a bit of an income when it comes to advertising.
As you can imagine, seeing that I am pretty fluent in English as well (and have already written hundreds of articles in this language in the past decade), I decided to replicate my success on the ‘international‘ market.
I could even start translating the over 2 thousand articles I have created there and would have content for at least 5 years.
Well, as we say in Romania, what you plan at home, doesn’t always work at the market.
Running a general blog is really fun though, here is what made me enjoy it so much:
- it was so easy to create content for it – I could write about anything: from my work as a freelance web designer to my travels, what happened in my city, what books I have read or the movies I’ve last seen.
- my audience was larger – people would come to read any of these articles and I wouldn’t cater to one type of reader only (blogger, or traveler, or freelancer).
- the chances to get advertising deals were pretty big, again, since I’d cater to a large audience. I had advertisements for banks, women products, magazines etc.
- getting traffic wasn’t difficult and my inspiration never ran dry.
Armed with this experience, I thought that it would work the same for an ‘international‘ blog. And it didn’t.
Why blogging for money worked with a niche blog and not with a general one
Doing proper SEO was close to impossible
On my old blog I never really bothered with SEO. I had already some good traffic and google liked my site.
Sure, you couldn’t get any ‘focused‘ keywords, since I’d rank well for all kinds of crazy stuff. When it came to this blog, it stopped working, the competition is already fierce and, if you’re not making some serious efforts, you’ll never rank for anything.
Only after finding my niche as a personal finance blog, I was able to start getting some Google traffic.
Never got a real audience
Getting return visitors wasn’t difficult in a small blogosphere, but it proved almost impossible to get my readers to come back with such an unfocused content.
The moment I started writing articles that would cater to a type of readers, they started commenting and getting back to read more.
Advertisers came only after it was clear that it’s a personal finance blog
Real advertisers didn’t come until they noticed what my target niche is really about.
So no chances to advertise a travel company today, a dog-food factory tomorrow and a local barber shop next week. Advertisers here know their business and want to get the best targeted traffic possible.
And it’s not gonna work with a general blog like I wanted it to be.
While writing content is not that easy, being more focused helps me get ideas for articles
Having a broad topics list is nice, but one good topic helps you focus better.
I now write about saving money, freelancing, debt etc., while also venturing from time to time into the pro blogging niche.
It might seem daunting to constantly create content on such few main topics, but, once you start organizing your thoughts, the ideas come.
My readers are always pleased with the content, since it’s what they were looking for
When blogging about everything and anything, I’d get people annoyed that I’m writing ‘again‘ about freelancing for instance, while others asked me if I could create more articles about it, since they were really interested in what I had to share.
Same with my travel articles: some readers couldn’t get enough of my stories and pictures, same things that drove others away. Now, any visitor who comes here knows exactly what they’ll find, so no more problems.
Even after a short time since getting my act together and writing more on this blog, it started showing progress and results.
I got some good advertising deals, the traffic is slowly picking up speed and I’m getting recognized in the personal finance blogosphere.
The fun thing I keep on telling people about is that years ago I decided to drop out of the Economics Faculty, since all that talk about money, demand, offer and accounting made me sick. And, here I am now, about 15 years later, writing about this stuff on my own accord and actually enjoying it.
What’s your story? Did you get better results on a niche blog? Have you ever tried running a general blog? How did it go?