This blog is, for the most part, a collection of my opinions and thoughts about a variety of topics. One of those topics is how to earning a living off the internet. I am one of the fortunate few, percentage-wise, that has managed to turned a hobby site into a moneymaker and been able to quit my full time job to pursue that site full time. The site I’m talking about is a personal finance blog named Bargaineering.com.
Here’s the story behind Bargaineering.
Five years ago, I started working at a defense contractor in the Baltimore Washington metropolitan area. My girlfriend, now my wife, is two years younger than me so in my first year of work, she still had a year of school left (I spent a year in graduate school). After work, I’d go home, spend about an hour at the gym, and then have three or four hours to kill before going to sleep. I didn’t watch a lot of TV, I didn’t read a lot of books or magazines, I spent that time surfing the internet and chatting with my friends online. I spent a lot of that time trying to understand the various financial acronyms I’d been learning since starting work.
401(k), IRA, taxes, investing, blah blah blah. It was a whirlwind and I felt like I needed to take notes. That’s when I discovered this funny thing called blogging and the free blogging platform named WordPress. So I decided to start a blog about personal finance.
There’s actually a bit of revisionist history in there because part of what happened was that my friend Ryan and I were very much interested in travel. We were going to start a website that would help people find travel deals, sort of a Kayak + Travelzoo, and to help pay the hosting bills I discovered affiliate marketing (after following one of CJ’s kkqdidlkfjlejflsd.com tracking links). That spawned easeoftravel.com, which is dormant today, which hosted the personal finance blog until several years ago.
At first, the site had three visitors: Myself while at work, myself at home, and my girlfriend. I was ecstatic when I had my first comment almost a month after my first post was published (Published Jan 31st, first comment was March 2nd) and I was ecstatic every time someone clicked on a Google Adsense block and I earned ten cents.
I would later tell my friend Fred, who runs oneprojectcloser.com, that anyone who starts a blog thinking they’ll be rich in a year will be mistake… it takes a lot of time. Along the way you have to celebrate the small victories, like the first time you earn a dollar in a day from Adsense, the first time you earn a dollar in a day for a whole week (those weekends can be tough), the first time you earn $100 in a month (to qualify for a payout), etc.
If I were to start it all over again, I would work on the early promotional aspects of blogging that I never did. I didn’t approach it like a business, it was a hobby site. Part of the reason for wangarific.com is to help bloggers who are at this stage get to the next stage faster.
Reaching The Next Level
The next few years the site grew tremendously, at least doubling the number of visitors each year to over 600,000 visitors a month (December 2009) and revenue growing even faster. Along the way I tested a lot of different things, many of which I’ll talk about on wangarific.com, and learned a lessons I hope to pass on to you.
Today, Bargaineering generates a healthy six-figure income that enables me to test and learn even more. I hope to share a lot of those lessons with you.
You might be wondering why I’m doing this… because that’s what I’d ask if I were you. There are a lot of smart people out there trying to game the system and earn a quick buck online. Just look at all the scammy types of advertising that have moved off late night 2 AM TV and onto the web. If you are willing to listen to what I have to say, if you are willing to work on a project for months, rather than days, then you aren’t that type of person. You aren’t a get rich quick scammer looking to the perfect demographic on Facebook to spam.
I want to help you become more popular so good content written by smart people can beat out scammy crap written by smart people. I want to help you make money, get more traffic, so you maintain that energy and motivation continue to share your expertise with the world so that people like you win.