June 21, 2011

Satisfying Retirement: One Year Anniversary

In late June 2010 I began writing the Satisfying Retirement blog. I had no real idea what to expect. Could I write enough to keep the blog fresh? Would I write things that people cared to read? Were there enough folks interested in the topic to make it worth my time? Should I try to make any money with it?


In this past year I have written 185 posts, or about 120,000 words. A 61 page e-book became available in February. To date over 1,500 copies have been downloaded. A new e-book will be available next week. Over 9,000 people a month visit the blog, very small by the big boys' standards, but more than I dreamed possible last June. So, one year gone and I must ask myself some important questions.


 Has it been worth it? Absolutely. The experience of creating something from scratch and has been fun and satisfying. I have met some tremendous people, both other bloggers and readers who have become like family. One fellow who will always be a fond memory asked me to help him make a major life decision. Over a 4 month period we exchanged e-mails and phone calls. Eventually he became comfortable with a course of action and implemented it. From additional feedback, I gather things worked out well. That felt good.


Have I accomplished what I wanted to? For the most part, yes. The niche of non-financial retirement lifestyle information blogging is rather narrow so I had no idea how large my potential readership may be. When I see other people racking up 100,000 or more page views per month, my just over 9,000 seems tiny. On the positive side, that number has increased virtually every month, so I assume the blog's awareness is growing. And, out of 6.5 million results, this blog is #1 on Google if you search for the words "Satisfying Retirement."


What has changed about my goal and approach in a year's time? I have tweaked the look of the blog a few times to make it more appealing to the eye, but there has been no major overhaul. One important shift did occur just about month ago. The Great Recession and the less-than-encouraging economic news for the next several years has made the idea of full retirement unattainable for many. The need to retire much later than the traditional 65 or 66 is becoming more mainstream. Likewise, the idea that retirement never means earning money again is under review.

So, this blog has begun to adapt to this new reality: retirement probably will include the need to generate extra income. I am not going to start carrying financial advice or specific investment suggestions. But, you will see more attention paid to the idea that retirement is a blend of leisure and work.

Should I continue or would my time be better spent doing something else? That answer is simple: I am continuing. I can't think of any other creative outlet that allows me to write what I want and get almost instant feedback. I am excited by the potential of growth for this blog. With 10,000 Boomers retiring every day for the next 19 years the audience is only going to get bigger, much bigger.

What is ahead? My latest free e-book, Countdown to Retirement, will be available in a few days. I plan on a major rewrite and freshening of Building a Satisfying Retirement. My goal is to make this 2nd edition available for sale by the end of the year through various downloadable sites, like Amazon.

After one year, I think the blog has attracted enough readership and attention to generate a little income. Don't be shocked if you begin seeing Google ads and links to Amazon in the near future. I'll keep them limited and hopefully not too obtrusive.

Most importantly, I hope to continue writing and posting information that you find usable, entertaining, and enjoyable. The only real reason for Satisfying Retirement to exist is to serve a need. You and readers like you will determine if I am continuing to fill that need.


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20 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your one year blog anniversary, Bob. Most bloggers don't make it that far so you are far ahead of the field. I enjoy your posts tremendously. You always have an interesting twist and a good variety, which I like.

    That's a very interesting point about more people needing to combine retirement with getting extra income. Sad, but it's helpful to know the reality so we can all be prepared.

    Your numbers look great to me and I know they will continue going steadily upward.

    It's great to know you.

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  2. Thank you for writing this blog. It has really made me think about how I want to use my retirement time. Hope you can earn some money from it.

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  3. Happy Anniversary. Keep up the good work.

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  4. Donna,and Steve,

    Thank you for the good wishes and comments. I have found this blog filled a void in my life I didn't know existed until I started writing. And, yes, Donna, I'd be quite content if I could pick up a little extra income!

    Sandra,

    The variety aspect of this blog is what keeps me interested. If I had to write about just one aspect of retirement (like most financial blogs) I doubt I'd still be here. But, the reality of retirement is every bit as complicated as any phase of one's life, so there is an endless range of topics.

    3 months till Hawaii..I'm really looking forward to getting back to the place you call home. Have a great day, my friend.

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  5. I am glad that you are going to continue. I guess I started reading near the beginning as I prepared for my March 1 retirement. I am working part time as a consultant for my former employer, living in AZ in the winter and at the Jersey shore in the summer and loving it.

    Thanks

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  6. Hi Rick,

    Thanks for being a long term reader. Working part time as a consultant for your former employer is a great choice for any retiree who can manage it. After all, your knowledge of the company and industry doesn't stop when you stop getting a full time salary.

    It is going to be around 113 degrees for the next several days here in Phoenix. I grew up in southern New Jersey. Maybe I should join you by the ocean!

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  7. Congratulations. I think you have taken your blog along very nicely. There is a whole 'nother dimension to retirement and aging than the stories we always understood passing through life, I think we all know it when we get there but society doesn't expect much from us and we may not have the associations to support us. You have opened my eyes to other possibilities and helped me value some of the things that are important to me. Keep up the good work.

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  8. Hi Ralph,

    I appreciate your kind words. I trust we will continue to inspire and challenge each other.

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  9. Wow, it's already been a whole year--congratulations!

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  10. Syd,

    Not only has been one very quick year, I could have sworn June started a few days ago. Instead, it is 2/3 over! Time really does speed up when you get older.

    Thanks for the congrats.

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  11. Happy Anniversary!

    You are only getting better!

    I love the gray and black BTW.

    Janette

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  12. Janette,

    Thanks so much. Sometimes I feel like I'm treading water. Mayeb I'm too close to the pond!

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  13. I really enjoy and appreciate your blog. DH and I are counting down a year until his retirement, about 3 until mine. It is so easy to get frightened (especially in this economy). I love your comments and insights, there is life after retirement!
    BTW, we are looking at 60 and 58 as retirement ages but figuring if we need to add some income we can find part time employment. The numbers look goo for retirement, but health care is always the great unknown.
    Thanks for your great blog.

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  14. Hi Anonymous,

    If you weren't a bit frightened I'd worry about you. Retirement (even with part time work) is a big step. But, with planning and the right attitude, it is an amazing journey and a daily adventure.

    Countdown to Retirement, my newest free e-book is for those who are getting close to retirement and want some ideas and a checklist. It will be available starting on the 4th of July (late afternoon). I invite you to get your copy.

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  15. Happy blog birthday! I really enjoyed reading about your reflctions on the last year and your plans for the future. I confess when I got to your question about continuing, my heart skipped a beat, fearing that you might say you were done. So glad you see the wisdom of continuing! Congratulations on your first year. I can't wait, along with many others, to see what's next.

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  16. Thank you Galen,

    ...for all your kind comments. At least for now blogging has become so much part of my daily routine I don't know what I'd do without it in my life.

    What will year 2 bring? Let's find out!

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  17. Rick (seeing another Rick above, I guess I should say "Rick, fka J295)Thu Jun 23, 08:10:00 PM MST

    Hi Bob, I've been enjoying reading but haven't posted for quite some time. Congratulations on the anniversary, and I'm happy that you are enjoying it all so much.

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  18. Welcome back to the comment section, J295!

    Thanks for reading and thanks for your well wishes.

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  19. Congratulations, Bob! I've enjoyed your blog and your thoughts on so many different subjects.

    BTW, 9,000 readers is nothing to sneeze at! I have a health blog with only 1,200 readers a month, yet I keep plugging away. My own boomer blog and my knitting blog are up around 9,000 each.

    I think only a very few who are at that 100,000 mark. The key is to leave your mark in your niche and readers will find you.

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  20. Hi Joan,

    Thanks for the wise words on the 9,000 views. I spend too much time thinking about that. You are absolutely correct: serve the niche and people will find the blog.

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