Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Future of this Blog? Who Knows

Doctor of Credit had a post yesterday on his favorite new blogs for 2016.

In that post, Will writes:

If you don’t already have a blog, decide if you really want to start one. Blogging eats up a lot of my spare time and it’s not just writing and research content. You have to do other things, like answering readers questions via e-mail and comments, promoting the site, trying to make sure the site runs smoothly. I hate to think how much time I’ve actually invested into this blog. If you’re not sure if blogging is for you, or if people will enjoy what you write then consider writing a guest post instead.

I am constantly amazed at how much content comes out of DoC whether from Will or Chuck.  When I used to write about similar topics the only time I ever posted before them was when they had scheduled their post for later that day instead of posting immediately.  The content and research is amazing.  If you don't follow their blog, start now.

The post got me thinking about my relationship with this blog.  Allow me to muse a bit.

If you've been following my blog for a while, you've probably noticed that I've significantly slowed down the number of posts that I put out.  It's now not uncommon for me to post once a week.  In the past I used to post daily and it wasn't uncommon for me to post 2 or 3 times a day.

My pageviews, while still fine are way down from 8 months ago.  In November I had a high of about 130,000 hits that month.  I'm on track for closer to 30,000-40,000 this month.   I could attribute that to a decrease in my posting schedule and I know partly that is the reason.  If someone was coming 2-3x daily and is now only bothering to visit 1-2x a week that makes a difference.   However, I know it is more than that.  Partly it is a lack of "breaking" news.  You don't need to constantly check since new content isn't as time sensitive as it used to be.  I also have radically changed directions and not all my previous readers are interested in hearing about Amazon selling.  That's not why they came to begin with.

I've often thought about what this blog was, where it is now and what I want to accomplish and whether I still want to accomplish anything from this platform.

So, what happened?  Why have I decreased posting?:

  1. Time restraints - as my family has grown larger, my job has increased hours and it is further from my apartment and my Amazon business has grown, my available time and patience for other pursuits has decreased.  That's a huge factor for me.  There's just too many things going on.
  2. Content change - I write about what I'm currently doing.  It has been more difficult for me to come up with interesting and unique topics for readers that's solely related to Amazon.  I could have continued to write about manufactured spending in general, but that runs into #1, both because of available time to MS and available time to write about it. 
  3. Changing interests - to be quite frank about it, the same topics that used to interest me are not quite as interesting anymore.  There used to be a certain high I would get driving to the grocery store for Visa Gift Cards and liquidating them that I just don't experience anymore.  It's hard for most people to justify MS if you don't enjoy it since there are other hobbies or pursuits of income that can earn you more money in less time.  Amazon has fortunately/unfortunately become that for me.  I might feel differently if I MSed for luxury travel but I've always MSed for the cash or the "free" travel. 
  4. The culture of sharing has gone away.  I'm not the first to point this out but MS has lost its culture of sharing with the ever decreasing public methods of MS.  There are so many people trying to earn easy points that it's no longer "safe" to share anything.  If it's really good, people will talk and kill your golden goose.  Responsible blogs have followed suit but that's boring. We are meant to share juicy secrets.  Like it or not, great information is now shared via private groups among a small number of people.  That's just a fact.  Just as an example, I know far more about selling on Amazon but I just can't talk about it publicly.  I always read over posts to make sure I'm don't give away anything that's not for public consumption.  That's not a boast, others know far more than me.  Everyone loses when information is not shared.  I lose out too because what I'm doing can't be improved by what others know.
  5. There was a month or two where I thought I might actually make some money as a blogger.  If not a full living, at least as a part time gig.  Visions of titans in the air.  Certainly not worth the time investment as a job but it I could justify some of the hours because in the future I could earn even more.  As I moved towards a model of even fewer posts, less and less money came in.  That's normal but it also gives you less motivation to post. 

Why do I still blog at all?  I've asked myself this question on many occasions.  What am I still doing here?

  1. I've met a lot of amazing people through this blog.  Many of them I interact with throughout the day and  I'm still meeting great people.  It's probably worth it just for that.
  2. To help. It's nice to provide useful information.  Unfortunately it seems that it is harder and harder for me to continue posting great and unique content.
  3. I learn a ton from readers and researching for posts.
  4. It's nice to feel important, I have to admit that.  
  5. It's hard to give up.  I've been blogging since 2011.  That's not something you give up easily, but  I'm not sure I would start a blog today if I didn't already have one.

I don't completely know what direction the blog will take next and what topics I'll discuss.  There are only so many Turnover Tuesdays topics to write about.  This blog has some great dedicated readers, though less than it used to have and you guys deserve a great blog.  It seems to me that the blog has lost its way a little over the last 8 months and I'm not sure where the future path will be.  That's ok, it's been a great ride either way.  Maybe the blog can be reinvented in another direction.  I don't think I'm quite ready to give up yet but I guess we'll see where it goes!?

I would love to hear some feedback.  Do you want me to keep plugging away with more Amazon tips?  Any different topics you want me to discuss directly related to Amazon or other topics loosely related?