Collecting Wisdom’s 1 Month Anniversary
Hey, I’m Zach.
I created this site in mid October, which means November was the first full month online. Today I’ll provide a recap of how the journey with this site has gone so far.
Moving forward, I’ll be writing a recap each month to share how the site is progressing. To receive weekly updates on the best posts and stories that appear on the site, subscribe to my free newsletter.
Why Did I Make Collecting Wisdom?
The purpose of Collecting Wisdom is to collect the best personal finance articles from around the web.
For those who may not know, this is not my first site. I am also the author of Four Pillar Freedom, a site that I have been running for a little over two years.
While I love writing personal finance articles for my own blog, I also love finding and reading articles from other bloggers around the web. The only problem is that it can be time-consuming to find high quality articles.
To solve this problem, I created this site where any blogger can create an account, submit their own articles, and let a community vote on the best articles. A simple algorithm causes the most upvoted articles to rise to the top of the front page.
The benefit of having an upvote system where anyone can submit an article is twofold:
1. Bloggers with small audiences can get their work in front of a larger audience.
2. Non-bloggers who simply like to read personal finance articles can come to this site and easily find high quality articles.
Now, instead of spending time searching the web for the best articles, my hope is that I can build this community large enough so that the best articles naturally surface to the top of the front page.
Ultimately I want this to be a site where people can check in each day and reliably find fresh, high quality personal finance articles to read.
How Did I Make Collecting Wisdom?
To create the upvote system on the front page, I actually just bought a WordPress theme called Rank It WP for $69 that has a built-in upvote system.
I have customized the design and layout of the site, but the difficult piece of creating an upvote system with user login functionality was done for me with this theme.
How Did I Come Up With the Name?
I thought “Collecting Wisdom” sounded cool and the domain name was available.
Are there any Other Cool Features on the Site Besides the Upvote System?
Yes. The “Share Your Story” page is a place where I invite other bloggers to share their own unique stories.
In November alone I had 17 different bloggers share stories on a wide variety of topics including selling items on eBay for extra income, buying cows as investments, becoming full-time freelance writers, and much more.
There are so many bloggers out there who have fascinating financial stories and the “Share Your Story” page is a place to highlight them. My goal is to share three new stories per week on that page.
In addition, I have a “Blog” page where I write one article per week on some specific financial topic.
Lastly, there is a “Resources” page with financial products, guides, books, and podcasts that I have personally found beneficial on my own financial journey.
How Has the Site Grown After One Month?
I measure “growth” in a few different ways: pageviews, user count, subscriber count, social media following, and revenue.
In November, Collecting Wisdom received 15,457 pageviews.
This number is much higher than I expected it to be and I’m thrilled about it. For some perspective, it took me over five months to break 15,000 monthly pageviews on Four Pillar Freedom. This makes me confident that Collecting Wisdom has the potential to grow pretty big over time.
One interesting pattern I have noticed about the pageviews is that they’re typically highest on Monday and slowly decrease each day as the week goes on. It seems that people are most excited to share and read articles at the beginning of the week. This isn’t inherently good or bad, it’s just an interesting pattern I noticed.
Since launching the site in mid October, the number of users who have created an account grew from 0 to 196. I’m pretty excited about this number as well.
I aim to get three to five new users each day. If I can consistently do this, I believe the site will naturally grow from a few hundred users to 500, then to 1,000 and beyond.
Since mid October, the subscriber count for my weekly newsletter grew from 0 to 53 subscribers.
I use Mailchimp as my email service to send out weekly updates to subscribers. Here’s what a typical weekly newsletter looks like:
Social Media Following
The only social media platform I currently use is Twitter. Since mid October, my number of followers grew from 0 to 1,896:
Follow Collecting Wisdom on Twitter here.
The only way I have monetized the site so far is through affiliate links from the financial platform Personal Capital, the phone service Ting, and the Amazon book links on the “Resources” page. In November, I earned a whopping $0 from these affiliate links.
In the future, once I have higher traffic I’ll most likely sign up for an ad network like Mediavine and place some minimal ads on the site to generate revenue.
What’s It Like Attempting to Grow a Community?
This is my first attempt to create and grow a community from scratch and I’ve learned some interesting lessons so far:
1. Just because you build something doesn’t mean people will start flocking.
Have you ever gone to a beach with some snacks and thrown them on the ground around you? It takes about 30 seconds for a seagull to come from out of nowhere and start pecking on the food. It takes another 15 seconds for more of his buddies to show up. Pretty soon, there’s an entire flock.
Building a community is nothing like this.
It’s more like throwing snacks on the ground and having a flock of seagulls 30 yards away just sit and blink at you. Cool, you have snacks. Why should we care?
As the creator of this site, the only way to attract an audience is to actively reach out to fellow bloggers and ask them to check out what I’ve built. I have mostly done so by sending individual emails to bloggers as well as building up the Collecting Wisdom twitter following and drawing in traffic through tweeting out links.
So far, Twitter has proven to be highly effective. In fact, over half of my traffic so far has come purely from Twitter:
2. People are busy.
Another lesson I’ve learned is that people are busy. When I individually email or message people to check out this site, a common response I receive is:
“Thanks for reaching out! I’ve been meaning to check out the site and submit some articles but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.”
I don’t blame people at all. Everyone has lives. Why should they take the time to check out some site that a random guy on the internet built?
This is why it’s my job to make sure this site is of the highest quality so that when people do come and visit, they get so much value from it that they can’t help but come back again.
3. Communities are hard to build and hard to kill.
It’s surprisingly hard to build a community, especially in the early stages. However, once it begins to grow, it becomes hard to kill. I have noticed that most people who sign up and submit an article often come back and submit more articles.
There have been very few people so far who have submitted an article and then simply gone away and never come back. For this reason, I think that once I hit a critical threshold in the number of users, this site will be very hard to kill. It will simply grow more and more over time.
What Are My Plans for the Future?
Moving forward, my plan to grow Collecting Wisdom is simple:
- Continue to gain followers on Twitter
- Continue to gain 3 to 5 new users per day.
- Continue to publish 3 new “Share Your Story” posts per week and 1 new “Blog” post per week
If I can do these things consistently each week, this site will continue to grow.
To everyone who has joined this community and participated in some way so far: thank you. I’m excited to witness this site grow over the coming months and hopefully watch it add tremendous value to people’s lives.
That’s all for this month’s update. I’ll check in again next month to share more progress 🙂