Yakezie Blogging 2014 Review And 2015 Outlook Thumbnail

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday season. For those of you who are busy publishing during the slow period, well done! You’ve just increased your chances of experiencing “the boomerang effect” where your traffic surges in the new year as readers come back and eat up all they’ve missed.

It’s always a pleasure to look back at what transpired in blogging land in general. Just the other day, I told my best friend while soaking in the outdoor hot tub how much I still love blogging after almost six years. The Yakezie Network will always be a free community where new and experienced bloggers alike can develop relationships and challenge themselves to develop their blogs into the best possible publications possible.

I’ll always remember how difficult it was to get started my first year with Financial Samurai. I was rejected from everything, including: blog carnivals, staff writing positions, and other networks/mastermind groups. In order to get accepted anywhere, my site had to already be established, so what was a newcomer supposed to do? It was the classic Catch 22.

My hope is that the Yakezie Network can help provide the tips, motivation, and support to make launching and surviving easier for you. Goodness knows that creating something from nothing takes a lot of hard work and determination. Let us never forget our roots, and our efforts to always try to selflessly help others.


1) The Yakezie Network kept on going. There was a time when the Yakezie Network was bumping with a tremendous amount of private and public forum activity. Blogging had a resurgence in 2009, just like the stock market started rebounding in late 2009. But as sites became more successful, it was natural to spend more time on our respective communities. As direct advertising became less plentiful, it was natural that communication for ad campaigns waned as well. I’m well aware that money is a large determinant of what drives many bloggers to blog. But it is my constant hope that blogging can hold onto its roots of personal story telling.

Most of us read blogs because we enjoy connecting with authors on a more personal level. I’m a big fan of blogs, and will always be for the personal aspect in each author’s writing. I’d much rather read a post from an authoritative writer with experience rather than simply read the news. I also highly respect bloggers who’ve been able to create a business out of their blog and earn a very healthy income stream. I’m trying to blend the two together on Financial Samurai because I think it’s the most sustainable way to survive and thrive.

Even though the Yakezie Network has slowed in pace, I’m very proud that there are still comments, forum posts, and e-mails every week that say how much the Network has helped a site grow. More than half the battle is sticking with things in order to give your site a chance to get discovered. I’ve made a promise to myself back in December, 2009 when I first hatched the Yakezie Network idea to always endeavor to give back and help bloggers, no matter how big Financial Samurai gets. I plan to keep this promise forever.

2) Another Google algorithm change. Sometime in October, Google unleashed another Penguin update. During previous Google updates, I would read a flurry of concerns from bloggers all over wondering what happened to their traffic. This time, the discussion among the blogging community was very calm because I don’t think many Yakezie blogs, and blogs who follow the Yakezie Network were negatively affected. In fact, the opposite occurred. Many blogs who got hit in the previous Penguin update showed signs of recovery.

For about three years now, I’ve been trying to wean bloggers off the easy money of direct advertising in order to focus on more sustainable, and much safer affiliate advertising. There was a lot of resistance in 2012 and 2013, but I think 2014 is the year where the large majority of bloggers I talk to have come around to at least trying affiliate advertising. It’s harder to write extensively in hopes that your article will be picked up in search to gain enough traffic for affiliate conversions. But due to the Google algo updates, and the realization that other blogs who’ve tried affiliate advertising have achieved great success, the tide has finally turned for good.

3) Buzzfeed gets valued at around $1 billion dollars. BuzzFeed raised a round of funding that values the company at around $1 billion. This bodes well for the future of blogging because we are all smaller versions of BuzzFeed. Sites like The Huffington Post, Business Insider, Slate, BuzzFeed, etc. all legitimize the future of blogging as the main source for digesting content. Nobody wants to just read the news anymore. They want to read the news and listen to an opinion from someone who has expertise and who they can trust.

The questions now is whether you want to make your site into a BuzzFeed and hire a bunch of writers, editors, and a producers with the help of investment dollars, or keep things simple. If you are generating $50,000 on your own with all the autonomy in the world and 100% equity ownership, is that really so bad compared to a site that might generate $10 million in revenue, but have 200 employees and a less than 1% equity stake for you?

4) A proliferation of content-related jobs. Given online content is big business nowadays, there are now a ton of content related jobs. Jobs such a Chief Content Officer, Director of Content and SEO, and Social Media Manager are all in high demand because it’s not enough to just have a website anymore. One has to create insightful content to build a brand and attract leads online.

I’m absolutely certain that anybody who has at least three years of experience managing their blog into something meaningful can earn a $60,000 – $120,000 a year job that relates to content production. We bloggers have already been operating as Chief Content Officers since the very beginning. But we do even more since we own the entire vertical.

5) Much better content everywhere. Much better content on the web is the biggest reward for 2014 and beyond. Bloggers everywhere have adopted the concept of writing The Whale post of meatier content. There aren’t as many eHow or thin articles written by freelance writers, who don’t have experience with what they are writing about, showing up on the front page of Google anymore. Another thing I’ve noticed is that you don’t have as many foreign blogs writing about US products, just to make money e.g. a Canadian blog writing about a US product to earn affiliate revenue and vice versa. Instead, you have much more alignment e.g. Canadian blog writing about Canadian things instead.

It’s still a tremendous battle to attract readership given there is so much competition. How does one compete against a site who just raised $100 million dollars in funding? It’s hard, but it’s possible with the help of search engines who hopefully don’t give preferential treatment to companies who pay them the most advertisement dollars.


I told JD from GRS during a closing presentation at Fincon 2012 in Denver that “I’m bullish on blogging.” Given everything I’ve seen so far, and the rise of high-paying content-related jobs everywhere I look, 2015 is going to be a fantastic year for bloggers who write great stuff and keep on going.

One of the reasons why I decided to consult for a financial technology startup for the past year was to investigate with my own eyes how serious companies are taking content marketing. I’m pleased to report that companies are VERY serious. We are going to be seeing a lot more posts from bloggers who highlight they’ve been hired by XYZ company to be a community manager, content manger, etc. It’s going to be an incredible thing because bloggers now have the freedom to grow their personal blogs while earning a steady paycheck doing what they love for hopefully a company they believe in.

At the end of 2013, I forecasted a 20% decline in traffic and revenue for Financial Samurai in 2014 because trees don’t grow to the sky forever. 2013 was a crazy year for growth and I strongly felt such growth could not continue. Google is fickle, nobody can accurately predict future trends, and once you gain so much growth due to search, it’s important to relinquish control. Yet 2014 was another solid year and I do not think 2015 will be a let down because I now believe that if we do the right things, we will get rewarded.

Forget about the short cuts to blogging super stardom. Focus most of your time on producing the most interesting, value-added content possible. Embrace the complainers and detractors, because they aren’t willing to do anything productive on their own while you zoom past them. And once you’ve produced that amazing piece of content, spend just as much time marketing your piece. SEO is a waste of time beyond the basics. It’s a long game that will pay off in spades if you’ve got the right content output.


It’s been around six years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good passive and active income stream online now. The online income stream has allowed me to pursue other things, such as consulting for various financial tech startups.

I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, creating, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, see how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes like this one. Leverage the 3+ billion internet users and build your brand online. You never know where the journey will take you!