My Reflections On Two Years Of Blogging

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Happy Birthday To Us!!  Today, A Celebration!!

Two years ago (April 12, 2015) I posted my very first article on this blog, titled Contentment (A Personal Choice).  I’m pleased that I picked contentment as my very first subject.  It’s important to me, and something I strive for.  A “First Post” takes on special meaning as a blog grows, and I’m pleased with the Cornerstone.

That first post may have been only 288 words long, but it was significant.

On April 12, 2015:  The Retirement Manifesto was born.

Birthday GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

(Special birthday gift for my wife….a true animal lover at heart!  Via GIPHY)

I closed that first post two years ago with the statement; “For results, stay tuned”.

So….what’s happened since?

Since 4/12/15, The Retirement Manifesto has been viewed 180,000 times! Happy 2nd Birthday! Click To Tweet

In 2015, I never suspected that a short two years later there would be thousands of readers “tuning in” to The Retirement Manifesto, and the words that come from my brain.  20,000 pages are being viewed every month on this blog, by an average of 8,000 readers.  Wow, whoda’ thunk?

I’m Honored. And Humbled.

It’s been a thrill, and I’m enjoying the ride.  I thank all of you, my readers.

My goal, from the beginning, has been to focus on you;  The Reader.  “What do folks need to hear?”, I’ve thought to myself, every week, for the past two years.

Thought it then.

And I think it now.

“Helping People Achieve A Great Retirement” has been my mantra since the beginning.  It keeps me on track, with a focus on finding things to write that will help you on your journey to, and through, retirement.


Why I Love To Write

Every week, I’m challenged to develop the seed of an idea, a thought, a topic, and squeeze my brain to water the seedling. To ponder on it.  To try to find a linkage to everyday life. To build a message.

The thought grows.

And finally,

I write.

The Goal? A Thought-Provoking Post For You, My Reader. Click To Tweet

I hope you like the result.  A few posts are great (see my Rockstar Finance Awards here), some are good, and most are, um, “ok”.

All are fun to write.

All are challenging.

All rewarding.

Some Hard, Some Easy.

I Love It.

I truly love writing this blog.

In two year’s of writing, I’ve made no money from my efforts.  I do it for Purpose, I do it for Fun.

As I move through my final years to retirement, it’s exhilarating to work on this blog.  To ponder on the things I’m going through, and evaluate what I think would be of interest to you.  It’s hard, sometimes. “Do I write too much about this?…..Do I write too little about that?…..”

It challenges me to put together these words.

It’s One Of The Most Rewarding Things I’ve Ever Done.



The Retirement Manifesto Fills A Niche

I’ve heard from many that you enjoy The Retirement Manifesto because “I write through the eyes of someone walking the same journey as many of you”.  I’m 54 (just), and on the tail end of the Baby Boomer wave.  I’m a year maybe a year (+/-, note to boss; please don’t hold me to a date, yet) from retirement, and facing many of the same issues as you.

We're on the journey together, and you seem to connect to that. Click To Tweet

Most bloggers who write about this stuff are 35, and hoping to retire by 40 (+/- 5 years, you pick the blogger).  I’m an “old guy” in the blogging world, at Age 54, and that seems to resonate with folks.  I’ve nothing against the younger folks, and count many Millennial bloggers as my friends.  We connect, and it’s fun.  Their tips are amazingly useful for someone who’s Late In Starting Their Retirement Savings.

Don’t discount those “youngsters”, they’re smart folks.  And fun!  (and, they can keep us young)

Regardless, there aren’t a lot of us “old folks” out here, writing about what we’re going through.  I’ve got some blogger friends who have a similar profile (Shoutout to Mr. & Mrs. Groovy,  ESI Money, and MakeSmarterDecisions!) , but there aren’t a lot of us out here.  My profile seems to click with many readers.

And so….

…I Think.

…I Write.

…You Read

…And We All Benefit.


Highlights From Year 2

I’ll keep this short(ish),  but thought it appropriate to share a few highlights from my second year of blogging.  Please trust me when I say I’m “not bragging”, but rather just sharing what’s been going on in the life of this blog.  It’s been a fantastic year, and I thank each and every one of you for that!!

Thanks To Everyone Who Made “Year 2” A Success:

  • I self-taught myself to make Infographics!  (see here and here).  I’m proud of that.
  • So, yeah….it’s been a crazy busy year at The Retirement Manifesto.  I’m having a blast!  I hope you’re benefiting from the efforts I’m investing into this addictive hobby.  You’re what keeps me going!

Growth – Years 1 & 2

Good Content Is My Primary Focus, Not The Stats Click To Tweet

So, Stats aren’t my primary focus. However, a Birthday Blog is not complete without sharing a few numbers. They’re fun to track, so come along while I tell the story of the numbers.  I’m pleased with how this blog is growing, and I Thank You All for supporting my hobby.

So….here we go.

In 2017, I'm averaging 20,000 pageviews/month, from 8,000 readers. Thanks for your loyalty! Click To Tweet

350% Growth In The Past Year

By the metrics “that matter”, this site has experienced explosive growth of ~350% over the past year:

At the same time, my growth on Social Media has also been rewarding:

  • Email Subscribers:  1,137 folks get this blog via email, up 171% vs. one year ago.
  • Twitter Followers:  1,917 folks follow me on Twitter, up 535% from one year ago
Thank You to each of my 1,137 email subscribers, I consider you my most loyal followers! Click To Tweet

In addition to Email and Twitter, I use Instagram, Facebook and Medium as “secondary” methods of sharing my blog.  I’m kind of enjoying this “Social Media” stuff (not bad for an old man, huh?). I haven’t tracked the follower trends on these platforms, but below are the current statistics:

This blog has done well, and grows consistently over time.  Given that I do this as a hobby, I find it rewarding to see more and more of you connecting with my message, and I enjoy the feedback from my readers that assure me that I am, in fact, making a difference in your lives.


The Future

I love writing, and expect to continue working on this blog well into my retirement.

Then again, I may stop tomorrow.

This blog represents Freedom.

Freedom to do as I chose, with no obligations.  Freedom to share words about the pursuit of a great retirement. Financial Freedom, and all that represents.  And finally, your Freedom to consume my product.

Or not.

I will always follow my self-imposed rules for this blog, and keep it fun. For the most part, I don’t expect you’ll see much change in this blog in the short term.  I enjoy it, and get personal satisfaction from knowing that I’m making a difference in peoples’ lives:

Priceless.  (except it’s not….read on).

One thing that will change:  I think I’m going to stop paying for this blog myself.  I hope you understand.  It’ll still be free to you, but you’ll see a few changes in the format (ads, anyone?!)

As this site gets bigger, the expenses grow.  The “behind the scenes” machinery that magically puts these words on your computers (51% of you read this on a computer), smartphone (32%) and tablets (16%) doesn’t come for free.  (BTW, Google Analytics is amazing, and scary.) As the number of readers hitting this site grows, the “machinery” requires more bandwidth, and I have to pay for that.

On principle, it seems contradictory to pay for a hobby that’s about Financial Freedom, right?  So, I’ve decided to add a few low-key advertisements to the site.  You’ll see them at the top of the page, and a few scattered about.  I’m going the “passive” route, and only trying to generate enough revenue to cover the expenses associated with this blog.   I don’t expect to make a profit, but I also don’t want to incur a loss.  I trust the ads won’t be intrusive, and appreciate your support.

Conclusion

Wow, what a year.   I thank each and every one of you for reading these words, and the thousands of words which have preceded them on The Retirement Manifesto.  You are the fuel that keeps me going, and the focus of my effort.  I sincerely hope these words allow (at least) some of you to have a better retirement than you would have had without this blog.

If I accomplish that, it’ll have been worth every ounce of effort.

Happy Birthday.  

(Now….who’s got the cake?)

 

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46 comments

  1. Happy birthday, Fritz. Congratulations on the tremendous strides you made in year two. Getting a subscriber base of over 1,100 is truly astounding. But I’m not surprised. Retirement Manifesto isn’t my go-to blog for nothing. So from one oldster to another, keep up the great work. Your blog is truly a bridge over troubled financial waters.

  2. Happy Brithday!! Pretty sure you forgot to mention the addition of new family members such as myself but I’ll let it slide. 😉 What a ride it has been!! Wishing you all the best in the years to come. Seriously, where is the cake????

    1. Hey Cuz! I was surprised that neither of us have posted on the other’s site, so afraid I couldn’t officially include you in my “Year 2 Shout Out”! No worries, I’ll still let you share in the cake (I’m waiting for that to show up, any minute now…..can’t remember who was supposed to bring it). Thanks for your support!

  3. Happy Blogiversary, Fritz!

    You may not be primarily focused on the stats, but they sure are fun to see grow, aren’t they? I look forward to seeing the numbers grow, and to reading about your upcoming RV adventures once you have attained your freedom.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

  4. Congrats!!!!!

    You are doing awesome things here — keep up the great work!!!

    Looking forward to connecting in person at FinCon. And, of course, a visit to a certain cabin is also on my list. 😉

  5. Congrats on your anniversary.

    I have been on the road to FI since 1997.

    My blog is less than one week old, but I am having a blast interacting with like-minded people.

    I cannot do that at work, with family (other than wife), or most of my friends.

  6. Congratulations Fritz! I cannot believe it’s been two years. I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts this whole time and recently connecting more on the forums and twitter! Looking forward to what’s yet to come!

    Don’t eat too much cake though 😉

  7. I wonder what % of bloggers last >730 days? Quite the accomplishment, Fritz! Congratulations on the success and thank you for consistently posting high quality content. I’ll keep any eye out for those ads and will do my best to help pay the bills! 😉

    1. Funny you mention the “% of bloggers who last”, I actually Googled that, trying to find some stats for this post. Couldn’t find anything specific after a quick look, so abandoned that train of thought. Amazing minds think alike!! Click away on those banners, you know I get major $$ per click!! (NOT!).

      1. One of the keys to being a “successful blogger” (I know people define that in different ways) is simply sticking with it. Most people give up very quickly.

  8. Happy Birthday, Fritz! 🙂 I love, love, love your focus on helping your readers! I’m grateful to have connected with you over the last few months. I don’t think blogging is for everyone, but I find it completely addictive too!? And I totally understand the need to pay the bills. I’m in the same boat – if I break even, I’ll be happy. Congrats on the milestone!

  9. Happy Birthday
    How about a post on the costs of running a blog. Many would find it interesting. As you prep for your RV adventures I would like to hear your challenges and solutions to getting started. Maybe crowd source some of your problem areas.

    Cheers,

    Frank

  10. Happy Birthday Fritz! Love your voice and your passion. As a new blogger that is similar in age to yourself, it’s nice to know that there are similar ‘profiles’ that feel the same way about FI. Thanks for the example and inspiration.

    WLM

  11. Happy 2nd birthday!

    Great to read a blog of someone that is roughly 10 years ahead of me. That teaches me a lot.
    And you make us think with your posts, that i value the most.

    1. My blog makes you think, and it makes me think. That’s a good thing! I think I missed adding your “option” article in the highlights of my year (oops!), tho maybe that was actually in Year 1? I appreciate our friendship, you’re one of the few out here who understands options!! Keep up the good work.

  12. I knew I wore my leggings with cakes on them for a reason today, Happy B-versary! I have loved reading your posts and look forward to whats to come. Team Waffles will be at FinCon too, hopefully we can meet up!

  13. Awesome! Congrats on 2 productive years. I think I first found you after your options trading interview on AmberTreeLeaves. Which lead me to your classic post on options on your site – a topic underreported in the FIRE community. Keep up the great work!

  14. CAKE!?!?!?!? – Now you are talking. Count me in. Chocolate. Wisest investment to date, no doubt. After all, 1) It builds lasting reserves (on the hips, belly, back end etc…) 2) It has good returns ( in the pool, that is, swimming it off) 3) It has high interest ( I could say high interest rate, but actually, all said and done, you just get high “interest” from your friends …)

  15. Happy Blogiversary Fritz! It’s been awesome to be involved for at least a part of the last 2 years – looking forward to seeing what else you have in store for us – especially as your retirement kicks off!

  16. Happy Blogirthday. You are definitely an inspiration to me. It is a real commitment to write and keep helping people.
    I wish you the best in the years to come and I always like reading about how people ultimately pull the retirement ripcord.

    Tom @ HIP

  17. That is amazing work Fritz,I think you can allow yourself a moment to brag. What achievements!
    What resonates for me is the blog provides you with ‘freedom’. I get that. A small corner of the internet to call home.
    Congratulations

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