I have been blogging for almost 10 months. In that time I have written over 83,000 words, around 145 posts, put together an e-book, guest posted on other blogs, and been interviewed and quoted in various publications. While there are a whole bunch of people who have been doing this much longer than me, you might conclude I am holding my own so far.
I would respond that I still have no firm idea what works and what doesn't. I start each week with no real clue how to craft a few posts that a reader will care enough about to react to or leave a comment. I have written something I could have sworn would generate lots of feedback and strong readership, only to see it bomb. Other times I have slapped something together and been knocked out of my chair by the instant reaction.
Even though finances and financial planning are very important to a satisfying retirement lifestyle, on this blog those topics seem to generate very little interest. There are hundreds of retirement blogs that focus exclusively on financial advice and planning so I have generally steered clear. But, I would have thought an occasional look at a financial subject would make this blog more well-rounded. Readership numbers say, not so much. There is one exception: articles about saving money or cutting out unnecessary expenses do seem to hit a positive chord. But, mention a 401k or long-term investment strategies and I lay a big egg.
There are thousands of excellent places on the Internet that specialize in simple living and downsizing. Yet, the posts I have written about those subjects tend to have a very strong, positive effect on readership. Again, I would never have guessed.
Posts about relationships also seem to be a powerful draw. Posts about losing a close friendship or smoothing over problems with adult children have generated lots of comments. Asking others for help or strengthening a marriage after retirement work well, too.
What does seem to work the best, regardless of the subject, is when I expose something personal about my retirement journey. I have had successes and I have had some colossal failures. It doesn't seem to matter-either one will get a response if I personalize the story.
Honestly, this is not the approach I envisioned when I began last June. I really thought this would be a blog with practical advice about retirement. I would cover the major areas that someone thinks about and provide resources and tips. Personal opinions and my own story would take second place to simply being a non-financially oriented resource. That has not happened. This blog has become much closer to a diary of my experiences, my thoughts, and my advice after a decade of retirement.
So, back to my original point: I struggle each time I sit in front of the keyboard trying to decide what to cover, and how much of me the reader really wants me to reveal.
A saner person might find another way to occupy his time. After all, blogging is time consuming and costs some money. There are literally millions of blogs vying for attention. Some of the best bloggers have very few readers while many that post stale "eat your vegetables" advice are prospering.
My point in sharing this internal struggle with you is to let you in on a little secret: Each post on this blog will be an adventure for us all. I don't know for sure what to write about but I keep writing. You could help by letting me know, in a gentle way if possible, when a subject is on target and when I've missed by a mile.
In the meantime I'll keep writing and blogging, until something better comes along.