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State Of The Union Address: A Detailed Review Of My Blogging, Income and Investing

31 December 2008 One Comment

It’s been one heck of a ride since we launched back in April 2008.  We’ve had some successes and some failures and have learned so much about blogging, business, investing and more.  This post is my summary of the 2008 with regards to this blog and with regards to my business activity overall.  I’m being open about my traffic, my income and more in an attempt that the information will help you with your ventures.

Also, I’m going to give a status update on some of my other business and investment activity.

Blog Traffic

Since we launched back in April, the traffic grew steadily as I worked on the blog.  As 2008 comes to a close, we just crossed the 100,000 mark in hits (according to WordPress.com stats).  It took 286 days to reach my first 100,000 hits. Let’s see how many days it takes to reach 200,000 (hopefully less than 286).

According to Google Analytics, 20smoney.com had the following traffic statistics:

54,423 Visits 67.07% Bounce Rate
103,901 Hits 1:55 Avg Time On Site
1.89 Pages/Visit 81.26% New Visits

The numbers between Analytics and WordPress.com Statistics are fairly close. I guess you could take the average to come up with a single number.

Take a look at the image to the right to see where my traffic came from.  Referring sites made up almost 60% of my traffic.  The sites/services that referred traffic to me are made up of StumbleUpon, Yahoo! Finance message boards and other blogs.

Most Popular Posts At 20smoney.com

  1. The Ten Point Checklist For Buying Stocks (10,771 hits)
  2. Should Government Takeover Your 401(k)? (9,630 hits)
  3. I’m In A Good Position Financially, What Can I Do To Take My Personal Finances To The Next Level? (2,646 hits)
  4. How Can You Make $100,000 Worth More Than $200,000? (1,997 hits)
  5. The 20s Money Retirement Plan (1,813 hits)

It’s interesting to see the hits of the top two posts and that their numbers are significantly higher from the next most popular post.  A big reason for this is that these top two posts took off big time on StumbleUpon and massive amounts of traffic were sent to these posts.

According to Google Analytics, StumbleUpon sent over 16,000 visitors to my site.  Of them, 96.43% of these visitors were new visitors.  The bounce rate for this segment of my traffic was 70.86% (about what I’d expect for StumbleUpon).

Since launching In April of 2008, I published 241 posts on this website; that comes out to about 5.8 posts per week.  I would imagine in 2009, I will publish less frequently while ensuring the quality of each post is extremely high.  I’m aiming for 3-4 a week for this coming year.

Income From 20smoney.com

I have experimented with several forms of monetization techniques for this blog in my goal to reach $500 in monthly income.  I have reached this goal three times this year since April and two of the last three.  Hopefully, this level will be sustainable on a monthly basis in the near future.

Here is the breakdown of where my income came from:

  • Google Adsense: $218.25
  • Kontera In-Text Advertising: $77.37
  • Private Advertisements and Other Text Link Ads: $1,447.40
  • Affiliate Sales: $371.99
  • Other Revenue: $49.41
  • Total Income Since April 17, 2008: $2,164.40

Definitely one of the first things I learned when I began blogging, and more importantly, tried making money from blogging, is that Google Adsense was not going to be my main source of income.

With regards to Adsense, I’m still playing with different ad formats and types trying to maximize the revenue.  I’ll admit, I’m a little frustrated sometimes because I haven’t really made a ton of progress on that front.  Some months are good, some are not.  Doesn’t seem to be a pattern really.

Private advertisements have really taken off in recent months fueling most of my income growth.  It’s been great to see how people will actually contact you and ask to pay you to put an ad on your site.  God bless the internet.

Other Aspects Of My Entrepreneurial Journey

Attempting to capitalize on my blogging momentum, I tried launching a couple other blogs this year (smallblogging.com, 20spolitics.com).  I quickly realized after doing so that I was spreading myself too thin.  With a career that I’m working hard at, a part-time hobby in 20smoney.com, and my personal life, it was near impossible to keep up with a couple additional blogs.  Plus, I wasn’t fully committed to growing the reader base, so they struggled to get off the ground.  The result: Focusing on a single blog: 20smoney.com.

In a different area of my business life, I have made significant progress in my career.  I’m in a sales position for a hospitality company.  Also, because of my background in software, I have been developing an internal system for the past year plus here at my company.  The results have been great and I am making significant progress towards selling this software to other companies.  I feel that I have learned that I’m an entrepreneur first, a software developer second, and a salesman third (and I had a successful year with regards to sales).

2008 was an exciting year for me, my business pursuits and my family.  I imagine 2009 will be even more so as my first child will be born in the coming weeks, my career will likely take some interesting steps forward and hopefully, my blog will continue to grow.

Investing – The Past Year and Looking Forward

Overall, I had a decent year with regards to investing.  I am down on the year but only about 15-20% as opposed to the markets down close to 40%.  I’m working on compiling some exact numbers to detail my investment activity, but it has been a little screwy since I changed brokerages this year and frankly, I have a lot of stuff on my plate at the moment.

I did well in the first half of the year with Chesapeake Energy (CHK) as I sold out my position as it climbed higher and higher peaking at around $74 a share.  I lost some of that profit as I bought back into CHK too early (40’s and 50’s).  As energy collapsed, the losses mounted.  Lesson learned: don’t underestimate the severity of a correction after a certain industry or sector goes parabolically higher, as natural gas and energy did in the first half of 2008.

I also did well with some short trades this year.  I shorted various sectors using ETFs such as SKF (UltraShort Financial ETF), SDS (S&P short), and even the retail ETF (XLY).  Currently, I hold no short positions going into 2009.

In the last few weeks, I have scored huge in my gold stocks.  Near the start of December, I began shifting a great deal of my portfolio into gold and gold related stocks.  Quickly afterwards, these stocks starting going higher as the short term rally in the dollar faded.

My thoughts for 2009: gold and high dividend foreign stocks.  I think that we could see a gold bubble at some point with gold skyrocketing to $2,000 an ounce or even higher.  Gold stocks could go up 3, 4, 5 even 10 times if a real bubble forms.  Currently, I have positions in AUY, GDX, GLD.

With regards to foreign stocks, I’m getting ready to build a few positions.  I’m looking at some Asian REITs and Canadian Energy Trusts.  Both are paying dividend yields 15-20%.  While these probably won’t hold, a yileld over 10% is phenomenal.

Investing theme for 2009: Make sure you limit your U.S. exposure. Stay away from anything that is 100% dependent on the U.S.  U.S. stocks in commodities or companies that make most of their money internationally are better than those that do not.  I’d continue to stay away from financials, home builders and retailers.  Retail will get annihilated in 2009 with closures and more bankruptcies.

Upcoming Content Here At 20smoney.com

As I conclude, I wish to give you a preview of some of the content that you will see coming up at 20smoney.com.

  1. Five Ways To Dominate 2009
  2. Three Ways To Re-Build Your Savings
  3. Dividend vs. Stock Buy Back – Which Do You Prefer?
  4. Five Lifetime Impact Goals For Myself And Other 20-somethings
  5. More Book Reviews For Mandatory Reads In Your 20s
  6. How To Learn The Basics Of Buying & Selling Stocks

Thanks everybody for being a part of 20smoney.com these past 8-9 months.  It’s been great!  See ya in 2009!

One Comment »

  • Doctor S said:

    congrats on your successful year, especially for sharing some of your stats w/ us! Im closing in 180 days for myself and am not even close! We definitely will talk this year! Congrats on 2008 and good luck on 2009!