Ask the Readers: What Do You Love, What Do You Hate About No Debt Plan?

by Kevin on August 18, 2009

Today I’m taking a break from the regular posting schedule to ask a favor of my readers.

I think I’m breaking a cardinal rule of blogging, but I don’t really care.

I Need Your Feedback

I’ve recently hit a blogging rut. My blog was growing at a steady clip and then it seems I have hit a wall.

Of course every blog levels off for periods of time before stepping forward into growth again. I could possibly be in one of these periods of time.

Nonetheless the length of time this is going on has me a bit concerned.

That’s why I’m asking for your help. First here are some images (click on them to see them at full size) that show you the growth of my blog in various ways.

RSS Subscribers from January 8, 2008 to August 17, 2009

As you can see the number of subscribers grew rapidly in the first year. (The data points where everything drops by half is where Feedburner ran into a reporting problem and didn’t report accurately.)

Even at the beginning of this year I had a nice little run to get up the 900 range.

But since then everything has leveled off. And I don’t know why.

RSS Subscribers from April 1, 2009 to August 17, 2009

As further proof of this leveling off here are the numbers from April to present. Again the erraticly low data points are Feedburner reporting errors.

It seems I am stuck at 900 subscribers.

Trailing Tweleve Month Traffic Data

The below chart shows unique visitors in yellow and total pageviews in red. As you can see things grew fairly well, along with my subscriber count, until May 2009.

Granted during this time I was doing a lot of promotion in social media. I haven’t done as much promotion recently due to time constraints… and I’m sure this has something to do with it. But can it be applied for everything?

Your Feedback

So I’m reaching out to my readers. I need your help. I need honest, constructive feedback.

Could you answer some or all of the following questions in a comment (or email it to me at nodebtplan at gmail dot com)?

  • What do you love?
  • What do you hate?
  • What do you want to see more of?
  • What do you want to see less of?
  • How can I improve the quality of No Debt Plan?
  • What would make the site more attractive to you, your family, and your friends?
  • Why do you visit and subscribe?
  • Do you promote my articles in social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, Tip’d, etc.? If not, would you be willing to do that if I showed you how in a video?

I plan to use your feedback to adjust my blogging while still keeping true to my core message: living a debt-free life.

What does all this have to do with personal finance? A couple things: this site earns me a side income. I’m very thankful for that. I’d like to continue to earn that money, grow it, and be a full-time writer at some point in the future. I can’t do that without your help.

But I also want to remain relevant to my audience. I want to write articles that hit on the financial situations you are currently dealing with. Your feedback will help me do that.

I truly appreciate your help and honest feedback. Thanks for your continued readership.

{ 7 comments }

The Happy Rock August 18, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Kevin,

I think it is the nature of a maturing market. A few years ago when we started there were only a handful of bloggers and only one or two were amazing bloggers.

Now, there are tons and tons of PF bloggers covering a wide variety of topics who have learned a lot more about blogging in a short amount of time. The resources and training for bloggers are better and the overall quality of content is much better in my opinion.

The readers of blogs are often overwhelmed and distracted by all the noise. Most of us need to be more A LOT more remarkable to stand out and that takes a ton of time, effort, and skill. If being a blogger is your goal than studying the people that have started after us who rose much faster than we did would be a good start. It is all about meeting the value that readers want.

Another option that always enjoy reading is in depth personal experiments.

MoneyEnergy August 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm

HappyRock makes some good points. I also think though it’s not just the pf blog niche but blogging (or should I say problogging?) in general now seems to really be maturing (if I can speak with any authority at all from having been a blogger only just over a year). So there are also a ton of new blogs in all niches competing for everyone’s attention. Makes me think new strategies are needed and they’re always shifting.

Tad Wolfe August 18, 2009 at 9:15 pm

First I want to thank you for your content, I have read your blog for 2 years so much I intend to start blogging myself. I have to agree with the above posts. I think it is also about time, with family duties,jobs and everyday life people are busy. Throw in facebook and twitter the time people spend online is split between alot of content on different web sites. With the current economy many people like myself are looking at ways to generating additional income. Lastly you do great work and a great service, don’t be so hard on yourself take some time off, do an interview with one of those banks that got bailed out, do some local radio. Drink some Verve lol. Thanks for all you done. Tad

Mrs. White August 18, 2009 at 9:59 pm

I am happy with it the way it is. Here are some of your questions and my answers:

# Why do you visit and subscribe?
I enjoy what you write. I subscribe so I am updated without having to regularly visit the site unless I want to comment.

# Do you promote my articles in social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, Tip’d, etc.? If not, would you be willing to do that if I showed you how in a video? I don’t know anything about them. I would love it if you explained how and what the purpose is. How does that bring attention to your site?

I do think that when you mentioned that you didn’t have much time to do marketing, that might be part of the reason why you are not consistently gaining subscribers.

One thing I do notice, however, with personal finance blogs…everyone keeps writing the same thing. There is nothing fresh or new. Perhaps when authors write in more of a personal way (with their own personal lessons, examples, experience) it might be more interesting.

I do have to say…. from “just a housewife” in rural Vermont, I only have 9 Feedburner subscribers, so I cannot even fathom having over 900 as you do!! Great job!

Erin August 19, 2009 at 1:36 am

Hi, there! I’m sorry but I’m not really going to answer your questions 🙂
I wonder if it is possible that things have fallen off a bit due to it being summertime? Many things that require “attendance” do seem to fall off at summertime. Perhaps things will pick up in September?
Also, I suppose that I’m in the minority, but I rarely visit your website as I am able to read your terrific articles via email rather than RSS feed. I really (embarrassed face) don’t get how to use RSS, so your daily blog comes directly to email. Maybe there are other subscribers like me out there? I realize that this doesn’t answer the questions that you’ve posed, but I hope that you are encouraged to continue happily blogging 🙂

brooklynchick August 19, 2009 at 10:09 am

I would like more specific stories of how you save money, earn more, trim costs….also concrete ways your life is different now than when you were getting into debt.

frugalgrad August 23, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Not sure why but 1000 seems to be a milestone and it is really hard to get over it. Once you get over it, then 2000 becomes a millstone. My twitter followers seem to stop at about 900, it was increasing nicely for a while. Well, people don’t say “life is full of ups and downs (or sometimes plateau)” for no reason.

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