I began the Money Sloth blog in July 2020 with the intention of keeping track of my own personal finance goals and to share my own ideas and insights with others. On the first point, I’ve done well at posting regular net worth updates and have grown my net worth from negative $48,228 to positive $54,772 as of December 2021. That’s an increase of $103,000 in nearly a year and a half.
The second goal of the blog is to share personal finance ideas and insights and that is the area I hope to significantly improve upon in the new year. In 2021, I published 16 non-Net Worth update posts. I’m going to avoid setting a hard number on the amount of these posts I will plan to write in 2022, but I know I want it to be more.
My favorite post in 2021 was a two-part series about renting vs. buying housing. It’s a very controversial topic and has recently been a topic of conversation with a relative who was wanting advice on whether to buy a house or continue renting. Interestingly, this relative did not take my advice and is instead spending nearly $1,200 (60%) more per month buying a condo instead of renting a comparable sized apartment, in addition to a large down payment (although not large enough to avoid paying PMI). As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink!
Personal Finance is indeed personal and not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. However, I am an economist by profession and really struggle with understanding those making mathematically dubious decisions. However, as part of this personal finance blogging journey, I have come to find many people who make non-optimal financial decisions because it makes them more emotionally comfortable. This leads me to better understand the popularity of financial pundits like Dave Ramsey and his “debt snowball” method of debt paydown where he encourages people to pay off their smallest balance debt first, even if they have other debt with a much higher interest rate.
While you can’t put an actual price on emotional well-being or psychological comfort, it is certainly true that a non-optimal financial decision could pay off in even greater amounts in the form of emotional value. It reminds me of the study of indifference curves in my Economics education and how each person can have vastly different curves for the same situation. While I am more numerical in my financial decision making, others are tied more to their emotions. One thing I would like to focus on more in my 2022 posts is comparing and contrasting these two divergent personal finance preferences.
Blog Performance and Updates
I don’t regularly keep track of visitor metrics for this blog, but thought it may be fun to pull up the Google Analytics for the past year and see what it looks like.
The spike in May/June was the result of some sort of blackhat bot SEO attack. I really don’t know what prompted it. It led me to start using Cloudflare to protect the site from these types of attacks. The top page visited during 2021 was my review of a CultureFly Friends subscription box that apparently got some search engine traction. Maybe I should start reviewing all of the subscription boxes I’ve received! Another top post was about the housing bubble and workers leaving their jobs after the pandemic, two very relevant posts to the current economic environment.
I didn’t do any advertising or promotion of the blog, other than my Twitter account (@MoneySlothBlog) for interacting with the community and posting when I update the blog with a new post. Once I have a larger library of content, I may begin exploring targeted marketing opportunities to bring more eyeballs in.
Perhaps the best part of all this is that the cost for me to publish The Money Sloth blog is virtually zero, save for my time. I signed up for a promotional 2-year web hosting plan through Hostinger that cost $100, but I received a $62 cashback payment from TopCashback for signing up. That means the monthly cost to maintain The Money Sloth is about $1.58. With this hosting promotion coming to an end in 2022, I may be on the lookout for other great web hosting deals and transfer to a new host.
I think a website re-design may be in the cards as well since a large portion of the web traffic appears to be coming from mobile. The WordPress template I am using is just not that great on a mobile device, which likely contributes to the very low “time on page” spent by those mobile users. One important thing that happened in 2021 was Google beginning to take site speed into consideration for search ranking. I spent quite a bit of time making tweaks to the WordPress template I use to increase page speed and ultimately have an excellent desktop Speed Score, but have struggled to keep the mobile score higher.
Just like the mascot of this website, the progress around here may be slow and steady but I’m optimistic that over time things will pick up and The Money Sloth will gain traction in the personal finance community.
Cheers to making it through 2021 and I wish you all the best heading into the new year!