Month 7 for Camp FIRE Finance is officially in the books! In some ways it feels like we’ve been around forever, but really we’re still brand new. Which means we’re still making A LOT of tweaks behind the scenes while we find and settle into a groove.
In this ongoing “behind the scenes” installment I share some of those tweaks. I’ll also discuss what’s worked, what’s sucked big time, and some of the blog stats that we are seeing. If there’s anything you’d like to know, just ask me in the comments section.
Table of Contents
- Google AdSense Experiment
- As Heard On …
- Lots of People Gathering Around the Camp FIRE!
- Trends I’m seeing in FIRE topics
- Find us on The ‘Gram
- An Accidental Mistake
- Goodbye Summer, hello Fall!
- That’s all folks!
Google AdSense Experiment
I’ve had Google AdSense running on CFF since day 1, but somehow in mid August the ads disappeared? I’d somehow managed to change a setting that removed everything.
After discovering this I turned the ads back on. But rather than displaying the traditional in-post ads that I’ve always had, I decided to try some of the different ads that Google offers. Like these:
And guess what? I made more in three days than I’d made in the past six months from Google! Granted, my traffic is much higher these days, but I had also temporarily turned on nearly every single option that Google offered, including some VERY intrusive ad options like screen takeovers (i.e. Vignette ads).
So while I enjoyed seeing that ad revenue, I feared that it was a shitty reader experience, so I turned the majority of ads off. In the coming weeks/months I’ll play with Google Ad Sense a bit more to try and find a nice balance, but for now the revenue from them isn’t worth a terrible reader experience.
As of today, I’ve only got a header/footer ad showing and I like this set up. The ad is visible, but it’s not in the post which makes for a better reading experience.
As Heard On …
Over the years I’ve reluctantly agreed to do a podcast or two. But between you and me, I get extremely nervous just thinking about doing them. So I usually just politely decline, because dealing with the anxiety isn’t worth it for me.
But this summer I’ve made an effort to try and stretch myself. So from late July through the end of August I recorded FOUR podcasts and three of them have been published. Here they are, in order of their publish date:
- Chain of Wealth. I was MORTIFIED when this podcast got published. After recording with Denis and Katie I actually felt pretty good. Then I heard the podcast and my audio sounded like it came through an old McDonald’s drive thru speaker. Okay, maybe not that bad, but I was embarrassed that my audio quality feel below the Chain of Wealth standards. Please help me show Denis and Katie that their time wasn’t wasted on me and give this podcast a listen. The content is actually really good – and that makes my poor audio all the worse 🙁
- His & Her FI. This was actually the first podcast that I recorded, so Charles and Bethany got to break me in for the other podcasts that I recorded this summer. Luckily for me they are great hosts and did a great job of asking good questions to keep the conversation flowing.
- Young Money. Rather than focus on Camp FIRE Finance, this conversation with Dasarte Yarnway focuses almost exclusively on the FIRE concept. He wanted to introduce this idea to his listeners and I’m honored that he asked me to be his guest. I think this turned out really well!
You can see the full list of places around the web that I’ve been featured over the years right here (including some of the features from my Get Rich Quick’ish days). And keep your ears alert for one more podcast that should be getting published around the end of September.
Lots of People Gathering Around the Camp FIRE!
Thankfully Camp FIRE traffic continues to grow. As I mentioned in my last behind the scenes update, I manged to hit my six month traffic goals! And it looks like we’re on track to hit our one year goals as well. In fact, I might hit my one year traffic goal several months early … so I should probably revise that.
I’m laser-focused on traffic this first year because it’s required for me to reach the two stated goals of Camp FIRE Finance, which are:
- Improve lives by improving finances
- To connect personal finance bloggers to new readers
This is only possible on a large scale if I have a large amount of traffic. Thus, my obsession with traffic in year one. As a preview of year two, I’ll still continue to try and grow Camp FIRE traffic, but I’ll be focusing more on optimizing the current site and reader experience, as well as expanding into new areas (hello vlogosphere!)
Trends I’m seeing in FIRE topics
In addition to giving readers a way to easily find great content, I find these pages to be fascinating because they also show some trends. Naturally some posts and articles are more popular than others, and when you look at all of the popular content together, it gives you an idea about what people are thinking about.
Here’s what I’m seeing in the trends:
People are worried
I think it’s safe to say that A LOT of people feel that a market correction is coming and they are very worried about it. This makes sense since the FIRE community has a lot of young readers which haven’t been investors during a market correction or recession.
We all talk a good game about how we know that the market always goes up in the long run, but people are secretly nervous and are looking for things they can do now to lessen the blow of the inevitable downswing.
People want to be told what to do
Posts that focus on ‘how-to guides’ or ’10-steps plans’ to reach a goal are consistently well-read.
So tell your readers what to do. Or at least lay out the steps you’ve taken (or have taken) to accomplish your goals.
People are looking for reassurance
Most people are just winging it. And not just in the FIRE community … in general. We may have a plan, but we want to be told that our plan is solid. Or we want to hear that a mistake we’ve made isn’t fatal.
Posts that highlight mistakes you’ve made, what the fallout of your mistake was, and how you overcame your mistake, are very well read and shared.
Post Topic Suggestions for PF Bloggers
If you are struggling with topics to write about, here are my suggestions for the next few weeks, based on the trends I’m seeing:
- Preparation. Preparing for a job loss or for a market correction, to be specific. Write a post about how you’ve prepared for these things, or what you’re doing right now to prepare for them. What is your financial plan for when SHTF and how can your readers create their own plan?
- Is FIRE legit? Without fail, posts along the lines of “what if FIRE doesn’t work” or “what if FIRE is bogus” get clicks. I think this is because readers are still very much uncertain about personal finance. They know about the FIRE concept, and its very clear “rules” give us something to shoot for. But I have a hunch that many readers have a secret fear that it might be too good to be true.
- Reassurance. I think this is a gap in the FIRE community right now. It’s difficult for people to admit their mistakes. It’s even harder to admit their mistakes publically – especially financial mistakes! Maybe that’s why I don’t see a lot of posts on this topic, but it also explains why these posts always get read and shared. If you can share an experience where you’ve messed up, overcome the setback and explain how you fixed the situation, then I think you’ll have a winner of a post on your hands.
If you write it, they will come
If you decide to write a post on any of these trending topics then please let me know about it. I’d love to get it featured on Camp FIRE and help drive even more readers to your site!
Find us on The ‘Gram
I feel like I’ve got the Twitter platform down. I get it. I like it. I use it (far too much). Now I want to expand into other social channels, and while I’ve got a presence on Facebook already, I hate that site (I don’t use the site personally and had to create a fake personal account just so I can manage my Camp FIRE page).
So I’m focusing my efforts right now on Instagram. I don’t post personal pictures on there, but I am posting the main images from each of the Camp FIRE exclusive articles, along with a brief description and some #hashtags related to the post and FIRE in general.
I didn’t know what to expect, but surprisingly I’m am seeing traffic start to show up from my efforts. Eventually I’ll need to up my Instagram game and start publishing some short video or animations, but for now I’ll just stick with my post images.
Next up on the social front is Pinterest (shudders), but for now … can we be Instagram buddies?
An Accidental Mistake
So I accidentally deleted this image from my media library.
No big deal, right? I’ll just re-upload the image. The problem was that this particular image was linked to the snippet of code that HUNDREDS of bloggers are using to display this badge on their blogs.
Re-uploading the image didn’t fix the issue because the image link structure on Camp FIRE includes the image upload date. So the image URL in my code snippet looked something like this:
And the image URL for the newly uploaded picture looks like this:
Long story short, I’ve fixed the code on my side, but if you’re using the old snippet then you’re probably got something that looks like this on your site
If this has happened to you, I’m sorry! You can fix the issue with this updated code: just copy & paste the updated HTML wherever you want to display the badge:
|<a href=”https://www.campfirefinance.com”><img src=”https://i2.wp.com/www.campfirefinance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/campfire-featured-final.jpg?resize=300%2C177&ssl=1″></a>|
Goodbye Summer, hello Fall!
With Summertime almost gone, that means kids are back in school and people are back online. In my few short years of blogging I’ve always noticed an uptick in traffic this time of year.
I hope you see your readership rise and I hope I can help contribute to that!
If you’ve got a killer FIRE-related post that you’d like featured on Camp FIRE, let me know about it.
If you’d like to write for Camp FIRE and get some SEO juice back to your own site, let me know!
Like many of you I noticed this Gutenberg thing show up in my WordPress dashboard a few weeks ago. I was worried about learning this new way of editing and publishing posts, so I put off activating it. In fact, I’m still not using using Gutenberg over at Camp FIRE, but I did write this post on Get Rich Quick’ish using it.
I’m using this site as a guinea pig to learn the new editor tool and I think it’s going to be fine. Everything seems to be in a new place, and most of the learning curve will be about discovering where everything is at. But overall I’m no longer too worried about it and I think I’ll come to love the ‘blocks’ which are a centerpiece of this new update.
That’s all folks!
Thank you for reading! I know how busy you are and it means a lot that you’ve spent some of your time reading this – I hope it was useful to you in some way.
If there is anything you’d like to know, or something you’d like to see in future Behind The Scenes posts just let me know about it in the comments sections.
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