500 Blog Posts Later: What I Wish I Knew When I First Started

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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.


I keep my financial life as simple as possible by only using two tools. I track my net worth for free using Personal Capital and I track my monthly spending using the Monthly Spending Summary app.

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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.

8 Replies to “500 Blog Posts Later: What I Wish I Knew When I First Started”

  1. Hey Zach, congratulations!

    It seems like less than a year ago that I read your 200th blog post. And now, it’s 500? Insane. Just, insane.

    As a blogger just starting out, I really look forward to all your tips about blogging. I love how you focus all your energy on writing and publishing, and I feel so inspired by your perspective on new voices and quirkiness. Every single day (no joke), I question myself and the stuff I write about, wondering whether anyone would be willing to read it. Your words of encouragement – truly motivating.

    Keep writing Zach, and I’ll keep reading every single one. Looking forward to your 1000th post. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the kind words Liz 🙂 it means a lot. Keep up the writing on your site as well, I’ve been enjoying reading your recent posts. Cheers to another 500 posts

  2. Excellent post. As a relatively new blogger, I really enjoy posts like this. It reminds me of how you like when bloggers share their net worth journey.

    Personally, I find it really easy to fall into the trap of writing solely for oneself. It’s important to remember to “respect the reader”, as you put it in the first section. I’m going to sticky note that to remind myself when I write.

  3. Excellent post, Zach! You offer great advice here and you mentioned a few areas I’ve failed at. I really like how you encouraged sharing personality and your point about no rules is awesome. Congratulations on your 500th post and on all your success with blogging. I look forward to seeing how the next year will turn out.

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