Why Blog…Still?

Just imagine! Funny has been online for  over 12 years! Its first post in WordPress appeared on Christmas Eve, 2007, but that was far from the first word. Funny about Money was born on an ancient Apple platform that was (as I recall) dubbed “iWeb.” It was a pretty limited tool, but it did allow you to publish a daily squib that could reach an audience on the Web, if you publicized it enough.

Over time, personal finance blogging took off. I’d started my site after becoming enamored of Trent Hamm’s The Simple Dollar and thinking “I could do that!” Never occurred to me to try to make a living at it — as he apparently was doing. For me, it was something to occupy my mind while sitting in front of the television set, trying to cool the brain after reading too many student papers.

Television sets…remember those? Free TV shows that came in off the air, that you didn’t have to pay to watch? Wow! Those were the days.

Whatever. By 2007, FaM was getting large enough that it needed a stronger platform…plus it was apparent that Apple’s thing wasn’t going to last forever (it was discontinued in 2011). But well before its demise, I’d made blogging friends who urged me to switch to WordPress or Blogger. Of the two, WP looked like the least hassle and probably the least restrictive, so it was away to the Big Leagues.

It took awhile after making the jump to WordPress before I realized some people (other than Trent) were actually making money off these things. And that Funny was doing pretty well as PF blogs go…at one point it ranked among the top 50 personal finance blogs in the English language.

So I tried a few monetizing strategies. Adsense was a bust, IMHO. It seemed as though if I could get my junior college students to go to the site and encourage them to click on a few ads, I could make…ohhh…maybe ten bucks a month (what is that? $.000001 a word?). But was it really worth junking up the damn site? And having Adsense serve advertising for Scandinavian…uhm…escorts?

Advertising goods for Amazon? Well…okay. Maybe. If I knew a friend or reader wanted to order XXX or YYY from Amazon, I could post a link on Funny and talk them into clicking through to the desired product. One friend liked to order very expensive dog food, in quantity, from Amazon. This worked, a couple of times. How well did it work? Well…maybe it produced enough to buy a package of chewing gum.

Advertising my own books on the site? Uhmmmm…. Ooohkayyy. Sorta. Certainly not enough to plan a night on the town, though.

But I wasn’t writing Funny about Money to make money. I was writing it because it entertained me and passed many an otherwise boring evening in front of the television. It made contact with humans in the outside world. And who knows? Maybe someone out there somewhere was even helped by some tidbit of advice the site emitted.

Over time, I drifted away from mumbling on endlessly about budgeting, investing, retirement planning, and all things money. There are only so many ways you can say the same things over and over: get an educational or decent vocational training. Get a job. Live within your means. Build an emergency fund. Stay out of debt. Pay off necessary debt (such as mortgages or car loans) as fast as you can. Never spend more in any given period than you have coming in. Be prepared for a layoff by having a side gig or too and contributing your emergency fund with every paycheck.

Quite a few personal finance blogs survive, although the most interesting and well written ones were sold off by their founders. Get Rich Slowly, Budgets Are Sexy, The Simple Dollar, and many others are no longer written by the excellent creative minds that brought them to us. In fact, it really is true that you run out of ways to deliver the obvious advice, and there are only so many fresh spins you can take on that advice.

Blogs went out of style some time back. Younger folk, it appears, prefer to communicate online in staccato blurbs or images, rather than wasting time reading thought-out essays. Presumably reading has gone out of style, too — even though books continue to sell. What do you suppose people do with them? Use them as fireplace kindling? 😀

Style not being my thing, I continue to post at Funny. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve thought of it as a “personal finance” blog…now it’s just a “personal” blog. Actually, it functions as a writer’s journal, a kind of five-finger exercise to warm up before turning to something more serious. Or to paying work.

So I expect it to be around for quite awhile longer. Hope you will be, too!

13 thoughts on “Why Blog…Still?”

    • Thanks. I just lost interest in writing. Plus, while I enjoy reading blogs about personal finance, my personal finance is different than your typical American. I have parents to take care of, and I’m not going to abandon them. So yes, that means helping them buy a house, yes, it will eventually lead to supporting them when they can no longer work. It, also, meant that I helped my brother through college. Sidenote- he will graduate with his mechanical engineering degree in May and already has a lucrative job lined up.
      Most personal finance bloggers that retire early don’t have these responsibilities.
      I will continue reading, implementing strategies, and maybe I will pick up writing another time.

  1. I didn’t blog once in 2019. Amusingly, my last blog was in December 2018, and I picked up again in January 2020. So if someone weren’t paying attention, they might not even notice that missing year.

    My blog started out as an attempt to chronicle my recovery from vision loss and morphed into “The Adventures of a Blind Chick”. But as with personal finance, there are only so many takes on living blind. Blindness just insn’t *that* interesting. So it’s become more a blog about living, period.

    And I lead a dull life. Or, the more exciting parts of my life involve conflicts or disenchatment with people or groups I prefer not to write about, because airing dirty laundry really isn’t my schtick.

    I like your take on your blog as a journal of sorts. That’s more or less what mine has become, a record and a sharing of what’s going on in my life. I’m not promoting it; I’m certainly not monetizing it (at least not for now(; I’m just posting it. Maybe it’s a writing exercise—I’ve recently run across a source of writing prompts that lends itself well to brief personal essays.

    Perhaps someday I could even take the well-trodden path from blog to memoir, if I could ever figure out what the arc would be.

      • Oh, no! I like WordPress, but it definitely has its idiosyncracies. I have an old, old LiveJournal that used to be my book blog, but I can’t reset the password without completing a visual captcha. I *could* get one of the sighted people in the house to help, but I haven’t been motivated enough.

        Interesting, the ghostly trail of abandoned blogs, message board accounts, social media profiles and other detritus we leave around the internet.

  2. I enjoy your blog and would miss it. Plus it must be a good outlet for you – therapy without leaving home! Thank you for the pleasure (and sometimes I feel your pain) I’ve received.

  3. I don’t comment often, but I too, love your blog. I am still appreciative of your advice about the Speed Queen washer. Still love mine and I’m so thankful that I read about it here.

    • Take care of that washer! Speed Queen was forced to dumb down their model so that it also doesn’t wash clothes anymore…at least, that’s what I was told.

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