2022 Blogging Year In Review

by in Lifestyle on Jan 1st, 2023

2022 was another good year for blogging. Yakezie continues to generate between $500 – $1,000 a month passively for over 10 years now. It’s not a ton of money, but it’s better than a poke in the eye!

After 13 years of blogging, I still think blogging is the wild Wild West. No expertise or authority is needed! So long as you can consistently write, your blog will grow and you will make money.

Despite Google talking about the importance of EAT, you can still game the search engines to generate more traffic. All you’ve got to do is a hire a bunch of SEO content writers, intralink your posts, and buy links.

OK, growing a blog isn’t as easy as I make it out to be. But it’s good to know that if I ever want to grow my sites, there’s a game plan for growth. It just costs money.

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Platform Size Is More Important Than Quality For Online Success

by in Lifestyle on Dec 10th, 2022

Quality is overrated when it comes to making money online or writing a bestselling book. Instead, growing your platform size (your website and social media presence) as large as possible is the most important criteria.

We all know that bloggers can make a lot of money online. But after blogging consistently since 2009, there’s been an overemphasis on quality and an underemphasis on marketing.

Sure, Google keeps telling us that Expertise Authority Trustworthiness (EAT) matters. But after all these years, if EAT really matters, how can there be so many successful personal finance websites written by people who do not have finance backgrounds?

How can there be so many large websites with posts predominantly written by freelance writers with no firsthand experience?

The reason why is because the quality of content and the EAT of the author doesn’t matter as much as marketing and branding.

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Are E-Courses A Scam? Be Careful Paying Lots Of Money For Online Courses

by in Lifestyle on Mar 10th, 2022

Given everything can now be learned online for free, are e-courses a scam? Depending on the price and the quality of the content, I say yes.

As content creators, one of the ways to make lots of money online is by offering an e-course. However, what if you are charging $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, $5,000 for an e-course? That amount of money seems usurious.

A lot of e-course creators have said they are creating these courses to help people make more money, save more money, and start their businesses. However, if they really wanted to help people, why not charge a more affordable price instead?

Here’s one perspective about e-courses and whether they are a scam by someone who paid $3,888 for one. He regrets purchasing the e-course.

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Make More Money Online By Making Things Easy For Your Readers

by in Lifestyle on Aug 20th, 2021

If you want to make more money online you need to focus more on the basics. Make things as simple to read as possible. Further, make things as easy to do as possible.

I know a personal finance blogger who makes over $500,000 a year. He’s been making multiple six figures for over seven years now. Not bad right?!

It’s true. Bloggers make a lot more money than many people think. It’s incredible how much money so many people are making online these days.

The reason why he’s able to make so much money online is because his advice is easy to follow.

Make More Money Online With Simplicity

If you want to make more money online like my friend, focus on simplicity.

For example, he talks about frugal living and “living intentionally.” He focuses on all the easy stuff his readers can do to save money. Examples include:

  • Riding a bicycle, taking the bus, or walking
  • Clipping coupons
  • Increasing savings rate
  • Moving to a lower-cost area of the country
  • Living in a studio
  • Planting your own food and cooking your own meals
  • DIY home improvement work

All these things are easy to understand and easy to do. As a result, he’s been able to attract a much larger reader base. The reader base then act as evangelists by sharing his easy recommendations with their friends.

Even though he makes over $500,000 a year and lives a luxurious life, he keeps things stealth wealth. He stays on brand and presents an image of ultra frugality so as to not alienate his readers.

How To Not Make More Money Online

Conversely, if you don’t want to make more money online, focus on hard things. The harder the subject, the less people will read and share your work.

There’s a reason why it’s important to write in clear and concise language. Going above 8th grade reading with fancy SAT words is not recommended.

Here are some examples of harder subjects that do not resonate well with readers. The posts are long and the logic can be hard to follow.

If a reader can’t understand what you are saying, there’s also a greater chance they will get angry at you.

I’ve gotten mud slung at me with these posts. You can’t read the worst comments because they simply were not approved.

People trying to retire early hate my first post, despite all the logic. Renters in the U.S. and Canada hate my second post because it argues real estate prices will likely continue going up.

Strategically, I need to write more posts about how people don’t have to worry about their retirement. Saving less money is OK. This will help reduce anxiety and make them feel better about their progress.

I also need to write more posts about why renting is great and how the housing market could potentially crash and burn. People seem to enjoy the suffering of others to get ahead.

Write What People Want To Hear

Not only do you need to write more simply if you want to make more money online, you also need to write more of what people want to hear.

Instead of writing how $10 million is the ideal net worth for retirement, I should lower the bar so more people feel included. After all, more people can save $500,000 to live a Lean FIRE lifestyle versus $5+ million to live a Fat FIRE lifestyle.

Do the math if you want to make more money online.

My problem is that I just can’t help but speak my mind and tell the truth. I’ve already got enough passive retirement income to take care of my family. Therefore, I don’t have an intense craving to make more money online.

I like making money online. Don’t get me wrong. But I’m not obsessed with it to the point where I’m writing affiliate posts all day long. I just enjoy writing and thinking through interesting topics.

Think Long Term

But if I’m going to keep Financial Samurai going for another 20 years, I’ve got to think more strategically about the content I write.

I need to write more about what people want to hear, not an uncomfortable truth. My $500,000+ a year blogger friend who tells his readers not to worry about making more money is a genius.

If you want to make more money online, focus on the basics. Simple writing. Easy recommendations. Words that make readers feel good. People dislike hard and people who are doing things they can’t.

Does Expertise, Authority, And Trustworthiness (E-A-T) Really Matter For Google SEO?

by in Lifestyle on Jun 23rd, 2021

As I go through my pre-retirement checklist for life post-pandemic, the one thing I keep wondering is whether expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) really matters for Google SEO.

One of my goals after re-retiring is to stop writing 3X a week on Financial Samurai. Maybe’ll I’ll go down to publishing once a week instead.

I want to get out of the house more as economies open up. I might even be so bold as to fly somewhere with my young children! Nah, probably not.

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When Guest Posting, The One Big Media Pitfall Bloggers Need To Know

The Cons Of Guest Posting On Big Media Sites

by in Lifestyle on May 2nd, 2020

After more than 10 years of writing on Financial Samurai, I’ve been lucky to get a lot of opportunities to contribute to big media stories. My first opportunity came in 2010 with the LA Times and it has gradually continued from there.

Some stories will feature a FS quote while other stories will do a FS feature. Sometimes, I’ve been asked to write a guest post as well. If the media outlet is a reputable one, I usually oblige and so should you, even if you aren’t getting paid.

Despite the benefits of getting featured in big media, there is a pitfall as well. Let me share with you what they are when it comes to guest posting on big media sites.

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How Are Bloggers Doing During The Coronavirus Bear Market?

by in Lifestyle on Apr 4th, 2020

As stock investments sell-off during this coronavirus-bear market, many are left wondering what’s the next domino to fall.

Real estate, my favorite investment class to build wealth, is in a precarious state. Real estate brokerage firms are hurting because volume has dried up as most of the country is under lock down. Prices have held up so far, but the bear market isn’t over yet.

The only real champion in this bear market is Treasury bonds followed by cash.

But what about blogging? The great thing about blogging is that you can’t shut it down! Valuations for blogs could actually go up given its high operating margin plus its ability to always stay open.

Here’s what I’m seeing in the blogging world in the coronavirus era.

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The Best Way To Grow Your Blog Is To Not Blog About Blogging

Write About What People Care About

by in Personal Finance on Aug 9th, 2019

During my blogging journey since 2009, many blogs have come and gone. Blogging can be tough because being consistent is tough.

But ironically, one of the biggest mistakes I see bloggers make is writing too much about their blogging journey.

Unless you are a blog about blogging, readers want to read about everything but blogging. The more you write about how you’re monetizing your blog, the more readers will feel like you’re using them like guinea pigs.

If you start writing more about blogging you’re simply going to attract more bloggers to your blog.

When this happens, you better have a course or book about blogging for money. And you better have a huge blog with proof that your book or course works, otherwise, you’re never going to grow your blog. This is where the big mistake happens for most bloggers.

Your blogging readers may be supportive, especially if you have a larger blog. But they may also end up copying everything you do. For example, there are a couple bloggers who copy so much of what I do – from the topics, to the author bio at the end of each post with the same affiliates, and more Pretty interesting to see why they just can’t be original.

Readers who are bloggers are the minority. Therefore, writing content for the minority of your audience is a mistake.

The Key To Growing Your Blog

The key to growing your blog is to keep topics about blogging to a minimum. I would limit your content about blogging to less than 10% of all content. In other words, for every 10 articles you write in your niche, you can write one article about your blogging journey if you must.

At Financial Samurai, less than 2% of my articles are related to blogging. I’m hardcore focused on personal finance topics such as real estate crowdfunding, stock and bond investing, early retirement, career/severance negotiation, and estate planning. 99% of my readers come to Financial Samurai for personal finance topics, not blogging.

When I write about blogging, it fits into my Entrepreneurship category. If i dominate my writing about blogging, then I will lose my readers because I’m not blogging to make money blogging.

The more you blog about your area of expertise, the more you will make money blogging.

Now that Financial Samurai is a relatively large site with over 1 million organic visitors a month, I can now blog about blogging with credibility. I can also earn money about teaching others how to grow a blog if I wanted.

Too many bloggers make it a priority to make money blogging. This ends up killing their momentum due to a lack of credibility.

The Same Concept Goes With FIRE

As one of the early FIRE bloggers who focused on retiring early to do whatever you want, I don’t constantly write about FIRE because I’m interested in everything that comes after FIRE.

Despite not constantly writing about FIRE, Financial Samurai still benefits greatly from everybody searching online about the FIRE movement because of the older articles I’ve written about the space. A rising tide lifting all boats in our peak FIRE state.

Once a reader understands the concept of Financial Independence Retire Early, there’s really no need to keep on writing about FIRE. If you do, you’re just rubbing it in people’s faces.

Instead, the reader wants to learn about everything you have done before and after achieving FIRE. Post FIRE is where the real excitement lies.

Focus On Your Expertise

Yes, we all have dreams of making big bucks blogging in our underwear, overlooking the ocean with a tasty beverage. But extremely few will achieve this result if they just write about their blogging journey.

Write about what people care about the most in order to grow your blog the most. When you become a big blog, then write as much about blogging as your heart desires.

If your blog is not growing at the pace it wants, it’s probably because you are not providing as much value as you think you are.

  • Untemplater: You nailed it. I also believe great marketing is very helpful in the beginning but it’s really...
  • Jamie: Awesome insights thanks! I’ve been a big fan of Sam’s for years. Really exciting that he’s...
  • Untemplater: There are so many overpriced ecourses online it’s crazy. They use very aggressive marketing tactics to...
  • Andy: Thousand-dollar e-courses are a total scam. You can learn everything online for free. Shame on people who sell...
  • Untemplater: There are a lot of bloggers out there who focus on small stuff like should you or should you not spend...
  • Derek: It’s fascinating how some bloggers continue to just mindlessly pump out affiliate content. It’s clear they are...
  • Untemplater: Lots of valid points! So true that bloggers are a minority of overall readership, so blogging to much...
  • Bingo: You are spot on. Most of our bloggers are white people living on the coasts, where half the population of...
  • Financial Samurai: Hi Jim – Nice to hear from you. It was too much work running Yakezie. Too many people wanted...
  • Actually Retired: It’s fascinating how 95% of FIRE bloggers are not financial independent and have no...

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