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This is my 500th blog post. Here are a few things I wish I knew about blogging when I first started.
Start with the premise that nobody wants to read your shit. I first heard this piece of advice from Steven Pressfield in Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit:
“When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, your mind becomes powerfully concentrated. You begin to understand that writing/reading is, above all, a transaction. The reader donates his time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities. In return, you the writer must give him something worthy of his gift to you.”
To you, your blog is the center of your writing universe. It’s your pride and joy. It may have its flaws and imperfections, but to you it is a wonderful work of art that deserves the admiration of the world.
To everyone else, your blog is the quiet kid in the back of the lecture hall that nobody knows exists.
Why should people pay attention to your blog? Why is it worth their time? Do you have something interesting to share?
Respect the attention of your audience, reel them in with interesting stories, help them view a topic from a new perspective, and give them actionable tips on how to improve their lives. Give readers a reason to give a shit.
In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Imitation is suicide.” If you believe that you’re incapable of creating a blog like Mr. Money Mustache, that’s good. We don’t need another MMM. We need you with your unique upbringing, your perspective on the world, your particular financial situation, and your thoughts. Don’t be fearful that the blogging world is fully saturated. There is always room for new voices.
Your quirkiness is an advantage. Anything that you consider quirky or weird about yourself can be used to help you stand out in the blogging world. Write about your obsession with spreadsheets, or side hustling tactics, or uncanny ability to travel hack, or experience growing your own food through urban farming.
The world doesn’t need another article on the difference between a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA. We need to hear about the unique ways you earn more and save more. Share your quirkiness.
All that matters are the words that you write. Your blog theme, WordPress plugins, SEO skills, social media accounts, Pinterest strategy, marketing tactics, email lists, and domain name are all unbelievably unimportant compared to the words you actually write.
Focus nearly all of your energy on writing interesting stuff on a consistent basis. You can use any leftover energy on all that other shit. The only way to create a blog worth reading is to write and publish often. This makes readers keep coming back. Write. Publish. Write. Publish. Write. Publish…
There are no rules. If you want to write your own ebook and sell it on your site, you can do that. If you want to start a newsletter, you can do that. If you want to make a weekly roundup of articles you read, you can do that. If you only want to use one social media account (like I do), you can do that. If you want to write 200-word mini-articles, you can do that.
There are no rules to blogging. Test out different tactics and see what works for you. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to blog in any certain way. Write about stuff you like as often as you want and spread your posts in any way you like. Blogging is most fun when you let yourself be the benevolent dictator of your site.
Inspiration follows action. You don’t have to feel inspired in order to sit down and write. In fact, it’s usually a bad idea to wait until you feel inspired because you can always come up with an excuse to avoid writing. I find that the ideas and thoughts only start flowing once I sit down and start typing.
Interested in starting your own blog? Check out the steps I took to create mine.
Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
Although the bulk of his net worth is invested in index funds, his favorite place to invest in individual stocks is M1 Finance, a site that allows you to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.