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I started off the New Year with a post aimed to inspire those mulling with the idea of starting a blog to take the next step.
But just like in medicine, where every procedure needs an explanation of risks before getting a signed informed consent by the patient, I would be amiss to lead you into the blogosphere without mention of….. “The Dark Side” of blogging.
So follow me my young padawan and let Obi-Wan Xrayvsn give you a glimpse of the forces you will be up against the moment you enter the Blogosphere.
The Dark Side is powerful and the moment you venture into this world there will be things you never knew existed designed to sap the life force from your blog.
Care to take a guess what the average lifespan of a typical blog is?
One hundred days.
You heard correct.
A young jedi blogger essentially succumbs to the dark force in 100 days.
The following is a list of just SOME of the dark side villains you will encounter the moment you change the status of your blog from “Coming Soon” to Live.
Dark side force: The time vacuum.
There is often a strong relationship between time, cost, and quality.
As mentioned in the new years day post, the cost of blogging is negligible.
Therefore with the cost component of the triangle minimized, it only leaves time as the major variable determining quality.
This, above all else, was my biggest surprise when I started to blog.
I had taken for granted what it took to produce content that I nonchalantly read each morning during work breaks before I started blogging.
I could read a typical post in around 4-5 minutes and then move on to the next one.
Care to guess how long a typical post takes me to create for a standard 4-5 min read?
I haven’t actually put a timer on it, but it would be safe to say that 4-5 hours at a minimum goes into thinking of a topic, creating content, finding images, and multiple rounds of editing before I deem it suitable to be published on my website.
It took you 5 min to read a post of mine?
How bout reading that post over and over again 10, 15, and even 20 times before it goes live.
- As an example, the post, “Become a Capitalist, Not A Laborer (Building Your Financial Dam),” had over 20 revisions before it got to its final state.
Many a time I have been feverishly composing a post only to look at the time and 3 hours had passed in a blink of an eye.
Of course the amount of time per post is individualized.
You may type faster (I consider myself to be pretty fast at over 70 wpm) or choose to have posts with shorter content.
But trust me, no matter what, you have to pay the blogging Gods their dues, and their currency of choice is time.
But trust me, no matter what, you have to pay the blogging Gods their dues, and their currency of choice is time. Click To Tweet
Dark side force: The preoccupation with stats.
A) Google Analytics
There is no bigger lifeline of a blog than its stats.
Pageviews are considered the gold standard in how to judge a blog’s success or lack of success.
With a finite amount of advertising dollars budgeted, bloggers are competing to gain the attention of advertisers.
The main way of differentiating yourself from the fray is your blog stats.
An advertiser pays money to reach the biggest targeted audience and the blog with the most page views precisely does that.
As a new blogger entering the arena this can be an incredibly demoralizing experience.
Here you are spending countless hours designing a website, trying to think of content that will attract readers, writing said content, editing the content, and then finally publishing that content…………all to the sound of crickets.
Jim Dahle, of The White Coat Investor, gave me some sage advice when I first emailed him about starting a blog.
Jim said that 20% of a successful blog is creating the content. The other 80% is marketing.
Dahle went on to say that, “you can have the best content in the world but if you do not have eyes on it, does it even matter?”
My blog launch was not typical, as Dr. Dahle was kind enough to tweet out that auspicious occasion which drove 658 page views to my site that day.
I thought I had it made.
Blogging is a piece of cake.
And then the next day came.
Page views went down to 316.
Still not bad.
Maybe I’m not on course to make 7 figures on this blog this year, but you know what 6 figures is nothing to scoff at either.
The rest of the week in page views went like this: 214, 20, 133, 29, and 22.
On my first Thursday post I had a total of 4 users show up (and I’m not entirely sure if Google analytics counted me as all 4 when I checked in periodically).
I will not lie.
I thought to myself what on Earth am I doing?
By this time I had put in over 100 hours into blogging prior to launch so that 4 people could hear my story?!?!?
I might as well go down the hall and grab 4 people and have the same effect for less than 5 minutes of my time.
There was a temptation to just end it there and cut my losses.
I can easily see how blogs that last 100 days or less succumb to these ominous thoughts.
I then quickly revised my blog monetary aspirations:
- To steal my own tweet:
Ok last thing I want to do is brag but my blog is on track for a 5 figure profit this year (unfortunately 2 of those figures are on the wrong side of the decimal point) #killingitwithgoogleadsense
— xrayvsn (@xrayvsncom) June 30, 2018
(follow me on twitter: xrayvsn@xrayvsncom and you will be rewarded with many more insightful tweets like that)
Prior to blogging I thought Amazon Alexa was just a black cylindrical shaped object that allows someone to connect to the internet.
But similar to the Sith Lord GA (Google Analytics), this different version of Alexa too can create feelings of hopelessness in our young jedi blogger.
Through some secretive algorithm Alexa determines where you stand in the universe of blogging, ranking you both globally and domestically based on the past 3 months of activity.
So what do bloggers do with this information?
Why rank themselves amongst their peers of course.
When I first heard of my Alexa score it was based on a 2018 April/May snapshot put in a post by Dr. Dahle (I came in #20 out of 52 physician bloggers with an Alexa Rank of 3,448,580 globally (432,194 in US), which to be honest I was happy with as my blog was about a month old at the time).
- If you are curious of my current Alexa score this link will give a live update: Alexa Score: Xrayvsn.
Just starting out and finding that there are literally 10s of millions of blogs ranked higher than you can be intimidating.
Again perseverance is the key to diminishing the power of this dark force.
Dark side force: The Joneses
Damn the Joneses!
This family has been blamed for everything bad financially in America.
The Joneses are the cause of lifestyle escalation across the country as everyone is trying to outdo the other.
And were the Joneses happy to be the measuring stick for all in the physical world?
In typical Jonesesian fashion, they had to leave their mark on the virtual world as well.
No matter what level you take your blog to, there will always be a blog that has better metrics than yours.
I admit I have succumbed to the siren call of this dark force many a time.
- Why does this blogger get so many comments on his or her blog and mine are less? (I think the only cure for this is indeed to get the most comments, so it really is up to you to cure me)
- This blogger just featured in a major platform (such as Rockstar Finance) and mine didn’t?
- How did this blogger get so and so to advertise on the site when I got passed over?
- My email subscriber list is minuscule compared to theirs, why doesn’t anyone want to subscribe to my site? (if you haven’t subscribed kindly consider doing so in the right side panel).
Just like in real life there is always someone that is higher up.
You can either be miserable and always try for unattainable happiness or you can be content with what you have already achieved.
There is no exception. Even in Blogging.
That concludes part II of the “Become A Blogger” series.
Stay tuned for subsequent posts that will continue to shed some light on the world of blogging and possibly inspire you to join our ranks if you haven’t already.
If you can’t wait to start blogging and want to jump in before next week’s post, consider getting a domain and website from Bluehost (which formerly hosted my platform).
If you do click on the link below or right sidebar I do receive some compensation.
I have not had any issues with Bluehost and think there are reasonable plans for anyone:
Siteground has now been hosting my platform for the past week.
I have to say that I have been incredibly impressed with their customer service.
Originally inertia prevented me from switching hosting plans because I thought the process would be quite onerous but nothing could be further from the truth.
SIteground offers free professional transfers of your website and only required 2-3 steps on my end that were accomplished in less than 5 minutes.
The performance metrics (page loading speed, etc) have improved dramatically since the switch which was the intended purpose for this transfer.
If you are considering a website from scratch, starting with them from the beginning could certainly be a valid option.
If you are in search of financial help, please consider enlisting the service of any of the sponsors of this blog who I feel are part of the “good guys and gals of finance.”
Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
If you find yourself enjoying this blog, please add to Xrayvsn’s superpowers by subscribing (your email will be kept private and you will get up to date emails regarding the latest posts and bonus material like the net worth spreadsheet template I created).
As my email subscriber list grows it validates my decision to start this blog and to continue to try and provide worthy content for your eyes.
NOTE: The website XRAYVSN contains affiliate links and thus receives compensation whenever a purchase through these links is made (at no further cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Although these proceeds help keep this site going they do not have any bearing on the reviews of any products I endorse which are from my own honest experiences. Thank you- XRAYVSN
Blogging had been a tough road. The only thing that maintains any success is consistency. While I can pump out content, getting it in front of people has been the challenge for sure. I need to learn to promote more efficiently.
Keep up the solid work, my friend
Consistency is key as well as good content. You have been able to do both quite well.
It takes a bit of time to establish a blog but I think you have already achieved that
I am past the 100 days mark,and I find if nothing else I am getting more focused and more educated on my finances. That is a good thing. The advertising part is where I need to make a greater effort. I have a Twitter account that does bring in some traffic but I think I need to do more. With the age of phones and such, finding a few minutes here or there to read another blog post or to work on one of mine is easier than it would otherwise be. I am trying to have one main post… Read more »
Congratulations on making it past the 100 day mark. Blogging definitely helps both the author and the reader. Advertising is a great next step and definitely a hard one to do successfully. Because each blog has a target audience different from others, it is hard to say so and so pageviews means so and so advertising fees.
Good luck with that next step. It is indeed tough to juggle everything in life and blogging adds another ball in the mix but if done well it can be a great creative outlet.
Xrayvsn, I’d echo TPP on this one – not a carnival barker by nature, so the self-promotion has been a challenge. I’d say you are the most auspicious newbie out there, and should take pride in the wonderful blog posts you turn out. As a crusty veteran of over 2 years, the key is to keep showing up and keep posting. WCI impresses me by throwing a ton of stuff at his audience to see what sticks – while only his successes are part of our recall bias, it’s his continued innovation and perseverance that made him who he is.… Read more »
Thanks CD for the compliment. I fully agree that you keep continuing posting, some will be hits, some will not. And sometimes the ones you least expect go viral.
I hope to be a crusty old veteran. Long time bloggers are a testament to perseverance. Here’s to hoping more of our posts stick than fall of 🙂
Blogging takes very little time. I use my iPhone unless the post has a chart.
I am enjoying my new blog because:
1) I will not promote it
2) I do not check Alexa
3) I do not check the site stats
4) Any business or media that contacts me as a sponsor, I say “no thanks”.
Blogging is a way to keep my thoughts clearer. And that is all it is for me.
I think you are definitely the smart one 🙂
Having a blog with a pure mission like that is the best way to have a long lasting one that you are content with.
I might have started out with mine with Pandora’s box partially open.
Even though you have a new blog and you’re not promoting it… is it public ? I’d like to read it every now and then!
I was actually thinking the same thing! 🙂 I really enjoyed her original blog so my ears perked when I heard she was still blogging.
I mostly feel the same way, Dr. MB. The “vanity stats” and social media can detract from the true meaning of the message. Dahle and I have had this debate for years. He has pointed out that I “suck at marketing.” I say, “So what?” He retorts even if you don’t have the profit motive are you really helping anyone if no one knows who you are? Are you changing minds and behaviors of people who don’t read your words? I reluctantly admit he has a point. You be the judge of who won that debate. I’m struggling to start… Read more »
Honestly WD I think success is truly not predicated on money in our cases. If we were professional bloggers and this was our livelihood, yes, successful monetization of the blog and spreading readership would have more import and a higher priority in my mind. The fact that you have dedicated readers who visit your blog for your words of wisdom already means your a success in my books. Ideally I would like to have a hybrid of the two models, write what I want and not trying to optimize words, titles (clickbait for example) etc and just put what I… Read more »
“you have to pay the blogging Gods their dues, and their currency of choice is time” oh heavens, lawd YES & AMEN — I have to repeat this to myself often because it can be so mind-blowing how long the blog process takes. On every level. Beyond the brainstorming, writing, revising, re-revising, and all that, there’s all the stuff I NEVER imagined would be such a time suck when I first started (uploading images, creating alt-tags, formatting, uploading images, editing, uploading images). And then, a handful of people read it. But, as you said, it takes time. At least, I’m… Read more »
It really is a huge time hoover/dyson. Of course it is such an enjoyable activity for me that I am going to think it is along the lines of time flies when you are having fun. Hopefully that will always be the case. Patience is something most of us are not wired for. I really had no idea how long it takes to first find your voice and then to find a willing audience to hear it. But based on advice from more senior bloggers, it seems that two years is the true goal to shoot for and at that… Read more »
Well color me intrigued ???
If the ultimate goal is to get into blogging to just make money, then I would advise people to just turn around and walk the other way. I got into blogging to help people, if I can make a little bit of money as well, that’s a cool side bonus. But that’s not my main target. And I disagree with white coat investor on the 80% 20% thing. As Cal Newport clearly highlights in his book Deep Work, content should be the focus and what you should spend most of your time on. People will find good content and good… Read more »
Great points Dave. I do feel that quality content is what ends up determining if a blog makes it or not. You can promote the heck out of a poor quality blog and get a temporary hit in traffic but that will quickly fade away as viewers will eventually get turned off. I remember your post regarding that Deep Work and agree that good content will eventually find its audience. Hopefully if someone takes that approach they have the patience to wait for that to happen. I sort of have taken a hybrid approach as I’m not sure how I… Read more »
Yeah, I totally agree that there is a dark side of blogging. I realized that it can quickly be a second job if you let. I am trying my best to not let that be the case. My main priority is my family, so… even though blogging can be very fun, I’m trying not to let it overrun my life outside of medicine. Balance between work – life – family – blog – hobbies – social media – etc. can be very tricky. Trying my best to optimize my time as much as I can while balancing all of my… Read more »
Thanks DMF for the compliment. I think you have your head exactly where it needs to be and prioritize family first. When I go home I actually try not to do anything with blogging at all so I can prioritize time with my daughter (as well as the other purpose of not letting her know I blog in the first place since I don’t really want her to find out about it until she’s an adult). As far as stats, not taking them seriously is also the way to go. It is amazing how quickly your mind resets as stats… Read more »
Yes, it can very well feel like drug seeking behavior. Well put!
Oh yeah, I forget that not only do you blog anonymously, it’s a secret from your family as well. Even more respect to you for creating great content in such adverse circumstances!
Yeah it really makes it tough to actually write content and edit, etc when time is at a premium at home (essentially safe to do so when my daughter is asleep or doing homework (although when she does homework she takes over my office which is where I like to do my blogging). Thus a lot of content, etc has been relegated to at work. Thankfully as a radiologist I can find time between studies especially on a slow day. Also why I love having a small arsenal of posts already written and ready to publish in case things do… Read more »
Personally I blog because I see how it can help me in my pursuit to find career happiness. If I make money off it, then that is a huge bonus. Blogging has opened up a ton of doors over the past year or two. That in itself will help my blog to live on for years to come. I think it just depends on your perspective and what you want to get out of it.
Very well said Marc.
I think the greatest thing I love about blogging is putting me really in touch with a lot of like minded people.
It is hard to find physicians locally who are into the FIRE movement. Most in fact are paycheck to paycheck. So refreshing to find a tribe with similar thoughts that I truly feel I belong to.
Wishing you much success in your blog going forward! Thanks for stopping by.
Thanks Senior Crown for providing great additional points to consider. Yeah it seems like whenever something is fun to do, there will always be some legal team/government regulation to step in and try and diminish it.
I certainly have developed some skills that may come in handy later down the road because of blogging.
Thanks for stopping by!
Keep the nice content coming. ?
P.S.: The dark Xray looks of the website are really refreshing compared to most of the standard wordpress installations.
I appreciate that feedback especially. My choice of color has been extremely polarizing to say the least (and actually have a post about it next month I believe)
I enjoy reading most of the physician related money blogs. A few years ago, there were only a few blogs but now there are many more. Most of them are really good and have great content. Keep up the good work and hang in there.
Thanks VP for the kind words and support. I agree a few years back I could read everything available on a short work break. Now it really is quite hard to visit every blog out there (and another reason why I had to create the blog news aggregator, The Hospital (https://xrayvsn.com/the-hospital/), so I could quickly skim titles and click on the ones that got my interest.
I only half pay attention to Alexa rankings. It just said my bounce rate is only 25% and that the average viewer looks at 6.7 pages, both of these facts I know to be not true.
I have no idea what goes into that black box algorithm. Yeah it seems that it has a very loose association with my pageviews, etc. I could have had a really good month for example and my metrics drop.
As a newbie finance blogger (going on 7 months) this resonates ALOT. I’ve been here before with a past blog, that started gaining traction have year 2. It’s tough and rewarding at the same time.
When I start to feel burned out, that’s when I take a step back and breathe. But I’ve found myself always wanting to keep going (:
Thanks Todd for dropping by and sharing your insight. I really think blogging is a wonderful venture for anyone (as evidenced by my first post i this series). But there are times where you indeed have to take a step back from it otherwise you could get caught in its grips.
Glad you are continuing your journey and best of luck!
Oh my! What a read. I felt like we are twins and you were writing whats on my mind. Blogging turned out to require a lot more work than I thought. And I feel like one has to finally decide on a strategy and stick with it. Because the more i look, there is always something I am not doing or doing right. I am guilty about the traffic obsession. It’s an addiction and I need help. Help!!!!. Alexa is ridiculous with its metric, i stopped focusing on it. Now i am working on content that i want and stopped… Read more »
Thank you so much DBEF for the great comment and high praise. I chuckle at how I remain naive on all the things bloggers are supposed to do like search engine optimization and other issues like that. I remember the message you sent me of how my posts were ranking high on Google with some of the most ridiculous keywords imaginable (I wish I could remember the ones off the top of my head but those keyword choices were completely unintentional). I chose to have a writing style that reflects me and not try and morph it into something that… Read more »
I started my blog not really having a clue or plan of what it was going to turn into. I think I did myself a favor by naming my blog what I did and setting a goal of hitting a million dollar net worth. Since I’m so far away from it, I have years of blogging to do and people will be able to hear about my story and start following along (hopefully). So, I’m not too worried about making money or stats right now in my first year as I’m sure it’s only going to get better as time… Read more »
Thanks MD for the inspiring words. I completely admit that one of the first things I do is check on stats in the morning or when I have some free time. The worst part is that your mind adapts to higher and higher numbers. Numbers I have today I would have been thrilled in my first month but now it is like I crave even higher ones (a sort of statistic treadmill I can never get off). I hope you continue your blogging journey as well. I think it is definitely more meaningful to have a contemporaneous blog that follows… Read more »
Interesting. I find blogging a way to journal and hone my thoughts and document the process. Also interesting about marketing. I can’t stand WCI’s site precisely for that reason. Zero content and All marketing All the time is a waste of time IMHO. How many different ways can you say save half low cost bla bla bla… The solution is simple I never go there. I don’t do analytics either nor am I interested in monetizing. I retired to not have a job, not to replace my job with some wobbly blog and if I got into monetizing it would… Read more »
Well I don’t want to spill the beans Gasem, but you have helped a lot of people tremendously with your analysis. You have opened my eyes to a ton of stuff that I have not considered. Your analysis of sequence of return risks etc will help myself and a lot of other people wise enough to follow your recommendations. I love the community that I feel like I am a part of as a blogger. Lot of kindred spirits that you just don’t encounter as often in the real world. Appreciate your help and support with this blog. Means a… Read more »
You are speaking the truth, Brother.
I do feel your pain.
I have been posting to crickets for years.
After about a decade of work though I think I made it up to #33 on that WCI list you mentioned. You have been rockin’ it from day one. Keep it up!
Thank you so much Wealthy Doc. I have no explanation on why this blog rose as quickly as it has done in the past, but I feel incredibly fortunate that people can relate to my website, put up with its weirdness, and take time to comment on it (my favorite currency in terms of what successful blogging means to me). Hopefully it continues and I don’t peak and become a flash in the pan. It is so far been an amazing creative outlet to me and I have enjoyed it immensely. I think your posts are great (and try to… Read more »
Blogging for money is like sex for money. It takes all the fun out of it and turns it into work.
That is a perfect analogy. I agree that if money is your main objective than blogging becomes infitintely more tedious as you are then consumed by metrics and squeezing out every little bit in terms of SEO and social media marketing etc. It can indeed be a full time job. I still hold on to the belief that if you write good content you can achieve great results and have a much more pleasant journey as the rest will be taken care of.
This was helpful for me to read. I’m about 2/3 of the way to the 100 day mark, so it’s good to keep that marker in mind. You are definitely right on about it taking more time than expected. I’m fortunate that so far I’ve enjoyed the learning and haven’t had it feel like a grind. My favorite part has been the extra motivation/incentive to check out what others are doing, learn, and share their content.
I look forward to seeing you continue your climb up those Alexa rankings!
Glad you found the post helpful. Likewise I too have enjoyed the experience so far and becoming a contributing member of the online community/blogosphere. Hope you continue to enjoy the process and break through that 100 day mark and beyond.