This holiday I had the fortunate opportunity to celebrate Christmas with my family and New Year’s Eve with lots of old friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better few days. And now, with 2015 upon us, I wanted to take a quick look at the triumphs and highlights of 2014.
More visitors and pageviews
It was an incredible year for website traffic and visitors. There were over 330,000 visitors and nearly 500,000 pageviews. Incredibly, one of my articles went viral. I never really knew what that meant until I saw over 1,000 visitors on my site at one time. Frugaling became so busy that I couldn’t edit, visit, or change the site!
When I first started the website I questioned whether anyone would read it. And if anybody did, I wondered whether it would just be my mom and dad. In my first year, I constantly thought about my audience and building a following. In 2014, I shifted this priority to publishing regularly and meeting a certain journalistic standard.
It’s not that building a following isn’t important, but I realized I was concentrating in the wrong areas. The old adage of “Content is king” is true. By publishing thought-provoking articles and seeking debate, the traffic grew naturally.
More revenue, momentarily
At the beginning of the year I was making staggering amounts of money. Frankly, I wasn’t sure how to talk about it. In both January and February, I made over $5000 per month. With that kind of money, I was able to pay off my student loan debt in record time.
From the very beginning of Frugaling, I knew that I would try to make a little side income from the site. I never expected to make enough to pay off the loans. But it all came at an ethically dubious cost: hawking affiliate banking products. I never felt completely satisfied or confident in sharing about these products, as many suffer tremendously from easy credit opportunities. Credit debt can be nightmarish, and lead to the illusion of “success.”
Over time, the revenue began to fall. Affiliate companies reduced commissions until they were a small fraction of what they once were. Eventually, they pulled individual cards and requested that I constantly update marketing points. I felt tied to another job — one of updating and tidying up credit companies’ messages. The aftertaste was unsettling. Out of this discontent, I decided to pull the remaining articles about credit card companies. Maybe at some point later, I’ll revisit it, but with my debt paid off, I don’t feel desperate enough to be hawking these products.
Top articles from this year
I was repeatedly humbled by the amount and quality of visitors this year. People increasingly participated in the comments section and shared via social networking. It was a pleasure to be able to write with this audience in mind. The following are the top 5 most popular articles from Frugaling all year:
- Destroy The 40-Hour Workweek
- 5 Tricks To Save Money At Starbucks
- Too Poor To Protest: How Income Inequality Silences Your Voice
- Debt Is The Illusion Of Success
- 8 TED Talks That Will Inspire You To Become A Minimalist
Most popular referrers of traffic
When people start blogging and writing, they often ask me where traffic comes from. It’s both a simple and difficult question to answer, as visitors and readers come from all parts of the globe — finding your site in different ways. Sometimes word of mouth and personal recommendations lead to the most pageviews. Sometimes sites like Reddit and Facebook are best for viral sensations. The following are the top 5 referrers of traffic to Frugaling in 2014:
A special thanks to you, my reader!
2014 was a standout year for me. Graduate school has been challenging, but I’ve been able to keep writing articles and participating in the personal finance world. It’s been an honor to share my voice with you, and receive your support.
Thank you for making this an incredible year, and I hope you’ll follow along in 2015!