Building a Better Blog

The Simple Dollar is running a special series on building a better blog. These posts assume that you’re already blogging, that you have a passion for improving your blog’s long term traffic, and that you’ve gone through many of the ups and downs that come with blogging (big spikes in readers, periods of slow or nonexistent or even negative growth in readership). This series is borne out of the success I’ve had with The Simple Dollar, which is the culmination of many years of lessons learned as a less-successful blogger.

How to Build a Better Blog Series

Without further ado, here are the posts. The goal of these posts is singular: each post is devoted to a specific aspect of building a healthy long-term readership of your blog. I’m not going to write about optimum ad placements or Google keywords or how to cut down on spam comments; there are countless other resources for that. Instead, this series seeks to grow your readership in a healthy fashion, from which will come nothing but success. There’s some more explanation at the end.

  1. Essential Reading
  2. Love What You Write
  3. Addressing Your Readers
  4. Define Your Own Success
  5. Don’t Leave Them Hanging
  6. Don’t Be Insular
  7. Keep Something In Reserve
  8. Be Yourself
  9. Respond to Comments
  10. The Content Comes First
  11. Money Doesn’t Matter
  12. Don’t Give Up
  13. Be Lucky
  14. Guide Your Users
  15. Leverage the Past
  16. Search Engine Optimization Doesn’t Matter
  17. The Mini Audience
  18. Don’t Chase Away Your Readers
  19. Social Bookmarking
  20. Don’t Know It All
  21. Use the Senses
  22. Write in Series
  23. Post Consistently
  24. Engage the Casual Visitor
  25. Talking To Other Bloggers
  26. Don’t Forget the Fundamentals
  27. Celebrate With Your Readers


Why write about this topic on a personal finance blog?

The biggest reason is that many bloggers (and especially personal finance bloggers) are interested in long term growth. We’re interested in building a relationship with our readers, one that will grow over time as more and more people find our blog. We’re not in this just to dump out a lot of posts – we want people to be able to find our site, get interested in it, visit it regularly, and tell their friends about it. We want to be able to share our ideas with a wider world.

Hand in hand with that comes the fact that bloggers of all stripes are interested in long term earnings. Along with that relationship and larger reader base comes the potential for more ad revenue, and thus more money earned from the hard work of regular, consistent, quality blogging. We’re not out to become millionaires, but we would like to at least see some return on the investment of our passion.

The biggest reason for blogging (for me, at least) is the desire to teach what I’ve learned to readers who might be interested. A solid slice of the readers of The Simple Dollar are bloggers themselves, who face many of the issues that I also face on a daily basis. I learned many lessons from earlier attempts at blogging, and applying what I learned here at The Simple Dollar (so far) has brought success far beyond what I hoped for – I was hoping for regular traffic at this level around the one year mark, not in just over a month – so it makes sense for me to share what I’ve learned.

Trent Hamm

Founder & Columnist

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 and still writes a daily column on personal finance. He’s the author of three books published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press, has contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and his financial advice has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.