It’s been a blast running this site for the past two and a half years. When Financial Samurai launched in the summer of 2009, the world was still falling apart. What better time to start something creative!
I’m not one to tinker much. Part of the reason is because I’m afraid the site is going to break if I do. Another reason is because I’m happy with the simplicity of the layout and design. I’d much rather just focus on the content. That said, I’d love to get your feedback on some things I’ve been wondering about as I do want to do some updating for 2012 and beyond.
Feel free to answer some or all of the questions.
QUESTIONS FOR YOU
1. Would you like more posts or less posts highlighted on the homepage? Does it really matter? What’s missing from the homepage or posts that you would like to see? Widgets, plug-ins, etc. Note, I’m trying to simplify and cut things down as much as possible.
2. Are there too many categories? Is it hard to find your way around the site? I took out the tag cloud because I thought it was pretty useless and messy looking. Let me know if you disagree.
3. What kind of content would you like to read more of? Is there something lacking in personal finance land you’d like me to address? Investing and asset allocation perhaps? In the existing category topics, which would you like me to expand on more? My favorites are Career, Relationships, Real Estate, and Big Government Love. Which are the most useless?
4. Would you readers like to share your stories on this site? I always enjoy reading about people’s situations and having the community solve complex scenarios. It was particularly gratifying to help a long time reader figure out a tax solution for her ailing father on disability. He was afraid that if he sold his land’s trees, he would lose his disability. We got some good legal and tax advice. The government makes people jump through loop-holes to get help. Well-written guest posts from the community are always welcome.
5. Would you like me to post more frequently or less frequently? Right now I’m averaging 3.3 a week. How about the length of the post, shorter or longer? At any given moment there are roughly 35 fully-written posts in the queue so increasing production is possible. I enjoy using the non-post days to respond to comments and visit other site since I’m a fan of blogging. I’m also concerned about burn-out.
6. Would you like me to dumb down or smarten up the posts? I was always taught the best way to reach the widest audience is to speak and write in very basic terms. However, I find that kind of text-book like and boring, but much easier to write of course. The tone of the site has always been straight from the gut. Would you like the tone to change or stay the same? There have been very few nasty comments I’m pleased to report.
7. Anything else I should ask but didn’t?
SITE STATISTICS & THOUGHTS
You’d think after more than a couple years, I’d start getting more interested in Google Analytics and the stats of this site, but I’m actually getting less interested. It’s kind of weird, but all I have is my Alexa toolbar and Yakezie Network bookmark which highlights all our group’s stats and posts. I have to check GA when an advertiser inquires or if I see a sudden spike in comments on a post to figure out where the traffic is coming from. In the month of October 2011, there looks to be around 150,000 pageviews and 105,000 unique visitors on Financial Samurai according to GA.
Running a blog is like running a micro-business if you start gaining traction. I’ve been careful not to let the business side of things interfere with the content. I am literally reminded on a daily basis how money changes people for the worse. As such, there are seldom, if any posts I didn’t want to write, or I wouldn’t want to read myself. It’s just me and my keyboard for the most part. I welcome good outside content which highlights their own product if they can weave something educational and interesting. Otherwise, I don’t bother because poorly written posts make me cringe.
There have been roughly 450 posts published with 21,000 comments since the beginning. That’s a lot of conversation (47 comments / post on average) thanks to all of you witty, bickering, and insightful folks! If each post averages 850 words, that’s 382,000 words I’ve typed, or roughly 450 words averaged every single day. If my English and Journalism teachers could see me now.
I realized in the tub one day that I can quit my day job and live off my online and passive income now. Two and a half years might be a long time to commit to anything, but if you knew you could actually quit your job and live off your hobby after 2.5 years, I think you’d find 2.5 years to be a walk in the park. I’d probably need to sell my house and live in more frugal accommodations e.g. cardboard box. However, it’s still not a bad backup plan just in case I’m kicked to the curb and have to go back to work at McDonald’s!
So please, feel free to share some of your feedback to help me help you have a more enjoyable experience here. Thanks!
Photo: If you look hard enough, you might see the Samurai Mask. Imagine my surprise when I found it all the way in the Yucatan Peninsula in a city called Coba, Mexico. Nov, 2010.