Tag Archives: Blogging

Second Week For A New Blog

Today is Day 12 for “Retirement Made Simple.” Today set a new personal best for the blog, logging 18 visitors and 35 views. Previously, I’d gone over 10 views twice, but not yet hit 20. Today we soared past 20 views AND 30 views to 35, with an hour left.

Also today, the blog got its first referral from a search engine! Throw a party! Seven search engine hits, in fact. Five from Bing and two from Yahoo. What’s up with Google? Google still missing after 12 days?

I believe it’s much harder for a new blog to attract attention through a search engine than it was a few years back. I hope the search engines are aware of my posts by now, but most hits for a new blog will be buried under thousands of other hits. Who’s going to see it? I’ve been getting one or two visits, now and then via the WordPress Reader.

Since no readers have come from search engines before today, how were a few people discovering the blog? Most of them were other bloggers whose posts I’d commented on, and some were readers clicking over from a comment. Interacting with other bloggers is time-intensive, but it’s also fun, informative, and so important.

I’m also using the WordPress publicize feature to send notice of new posts to my Facebook page and Twitter feed. I have about 125 friends on Facebook, and every post draws two or three visits via Facebook. Haven’t received a visit via Twitter yet on this blog. On my other blogs, I’ve regularly received a few hits from Facebook, but rarely any from Twitter.

Discipline and focus in posting

My blog is about Retirement, Simplicity, and Aging Gracefully on a fixed income. My target audience is retired folks and workers who are nearing retirement or thinking about it. But surprisingly, many of my readers so far have been younger adults. No age discrimination here.

You’re probably wondering, what was the post that sparked the surge from 5 visitors and 12 views on Thursday and 4 visitors and 7 views on Friday, to 18 visitors and 35 views on Saturday? It’s a breaking news story: “Social Security Cost-Of-Living Increase For 2016 In Danger.” The source is rock solid, AARP. The story also mentioned an expected increase in the Medicare premium for 2016, as well as the bad news about the Social Security COLA.

The story is spot on for my target audience. Retired folks care dearly about Social Security and Medicare. Most of us depend on Social Security for the bulk of our retirement income, and on Medicare to cover the high cost of health care. This is the way it’s supposed to work folks. You focus as tightly as possible on one or a few related subjects that interest your target audience. If you provide the right information, they will come.

Hey, just had one more visit and one view at 11:25 p.m. New total 19 visitors and 36 views.

One thing more. I notice that nearly every day, the number of views is about double the number of visitors. This is gratifying. It means that visitors aren’t just making a quick hit and then surfing on to the next big thing. They’re lingering for at least a minute or two and exploring other posts on the blog.

Here’s the take-away:  Inside blogging information is as dull as grass growing on a cloudy day to most of my target audience. The spot-on Social Security story was the right kind of post. This blog statistics stuff is the wrong kind of post. (But since many of my readers early on are other bloggers, I can probably get away with it.) You and I want to build readership for our blogs, and also credibility according to the algorithms of the soulless search engines.

You won’t see many more posts that stray from the core topics that interest my target audience.

First Week For a New Blog

Blogging wisdom says it takes time — sometimes a lot of time — for a new blog to attract many readers, let alone a throng dedicated followers. That is true, of course, but there’s also a more positive way to look at it. Early growth can be exponential!

“Retirement Made Simple” is one week old. Here’s the record so far:

  • Day One:  1 view
  • Day Two:  0 views
  • Day Three:  1 view
  • Day Four:  2 views
  • Day Five:  5 views
  • Day Six:  6 views
  • Day Seven: 5 views and counting

Total, 20 views to date. I call going from one view to two on Day Four a 100 percent increase. And then from two views to five on Day Five! I call that exponential growth. Am I getting into hyperbole yet?

Of course, any reasonable blogger understands that exponential growth is bound to level off, but five views to six on Day Six is still 20 percent growth. Continuous exponential growth is only for chip manufacturers and demand for Apple products. We’ll have to see where the blog goes from Day Seven.

Even more significant, perhaps than views, is that blog posts have received 16 Likes and the blog already has 8 Followers. That, to me, is amazing! Thank you readers!

I am assiduously checking out the blogs of every person taking the time to like or follow Retirement Made Simple. I’ve followed many of them.

As for comments, only one so far from a reader. But I replied to the comment, so that makes two comments. See how it works? I hope to do something I’ve not done with my previous blogs. That is, take the time to  respond to each and every comment, even if I only have time to say “Thank you.”

Too early to have a significant sample, but so far I’m getting readers from every age demographic. Eventually, I expect to develop a niche among retirees. But everyone is invited to read and comment. Some of the concerns of retirees and those of us who are trying to age gracefully are shared by people of all ages. And perhaps younger readers may be able to benefit from the hard-earned experience of more senior blogs and comments.

Discipline and focus in posting

The blog post that’s attracted the most attention this week is “Colorful Cuba.” The natural tag for that one is “Travel.” I wasn’t intending to blog much about travel. But Travel is obviously a favorite pastime of many retired folks. Travel is an example of a subject in which people from all age demographics share an interest. I’m going to be writing more posts about travel than I originally thought. It makes sense to provide information that draws readers. Travel is a legitimate interest of seniors, and those who come to the blog for a travel post may stay to read about other subjects.

The important thing for me as a blogger is to keep the focus on retirement, simplicity, and aging gracefully. Defining your audience and your niche is the most important step to a successful blog. That’s what I’ve read many times, I’ve found it a challenge to focus on one or a few narrow subjects in previous blogs, but I hope to improve in “Retirement Made Simple.”

The blog title (and the subtitle) clearly state those subjects, for me and for readers. I’ll report about the progress of the blog only occasionally. Please let me know if you see me going astray.

Two other factors in a blog’s success are the blog theme, and the appropriate use of links, especially the blogroll. But this post is long enough, so I’ll talk about WordPress themes and blogroll links in a separate post sometime soon.

In summary, I’m pumped! Thanks to all. If any of you would like to share your own blogging experience, please feel free to comment below.

Retirement, Depression, And Blogging

I want to post as often as possible on this new blog, even daily, but I’m tired this evening. As a compromise, I’ll repost this pertinent piece, which is a status report on the state of my retirement as of July 10, 2015. It seemed to strike a chord, because it generated 32 comments. It’s a more personal version of the musings on retirement in the first three posts on this new blog, which, unlike my other blogs, will focus like a laser on retirement questions.

BOOKS, POLITICS, SIMPLICITY

Hello friends. I’ve been in a funk. Haven’t published a blog post since April 30. Probably my longest hiatus since I started blogging in 2007, or since I began this blog in 2009. I’ve continued to read bloggers I follow (but irregularly) and to post comments (rarely).

I’ve been trying to adjust toretirement. Not as easy as I thought. Also, I’ve been all over the place in the past year regarding the purpose and audience of this blog. I began my first blog in 2007 with a focus on Maryland. That blog became more local when I moved to Ocean City.

I started this blog in 2009 to write about “life after sixty,” but I soon wandered into politics and economics. After retiring in 2013, I returned to my hometown, Montgomery County, and focused on local stuff for a while. I started several experimental blogs, but none of them clicked. The experimental blogs…

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Ah, Retirement

Welcome to my new blog.

Nearly everyone I know is retiring. Most folks in my circle of friends and relatives begin collecting Social Security at 62. I know I did. I took Social Security at 62 because I needed it (my earnings plummeted in the recession). Social Security was a welcome supplement to my wages, but not enough to allow me to quit the job.

The building blocks

At 62, health insurance was a major obstacle. Between the job and Social Security, I was able to purchase health insurance through a state program. I worked mostly to pay for health insurance until I turned 65. Because I was already collecting Social Security, Medicare kicked in automatically at 65. Is this a great country, or what?

Also, I had a couple of small pensions I was able to start collecting at 65. Medicare was the missing piece that made it possible to retire with the peace of mind that I’d have access to health care when needed. There you have the building blocks of retirement: Social Security, Medicare, Pensions. You might notice that one obvious building block is missing. Savings! I plan to talk about retirement savings as little as possible, for reasons that will become clear.

Peace of mind

Retirement plus peace of mind — that’s what it’s all about for me. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. It certainly hasn’t been as easy as I had imagined. I’ve hit a few bumps along the way. Long story short, I realized I need to simplify my life while maintaining a tolerable lifestyle. I prefer simplicity, and I know that my limited retirement income will require simple living.

Aging Gracefully

I feel pretty healthy right now (age 67), but I’m fully aware that as the months and years roll by, faster and faster, I’ll be growing older. I’d like to age gracefully, be kind to to all, contribute something to my community, and find joy in retirement. And I’d like to write about it along the way. That, in a nutshell, is the reason for this blog. And that concludes the introduction.

The next post, within a day or three, will enumerate the subjects you’ll read about here. I hope to focus tightly on retirement and graceful aging, and avoid going off topic. See you soon.