As I was writing a post the other day I was trying to find an article in my archive that I wanted to link to. While searching I happened upon the first post I had ever written on this site way back in January of 2008. That post announced the launch of the site, and talked about what topics I hoped to be covering.
It was only after finding that post that I realized that Bible Money Matters is now officially 10 years old!
I've been publishing this site for an entire decade! What? How is that possible?
- Some Numbers – Behind The Curtain
- The Early Days
- The Lean Years
- Finding A Renewed Passion
- Things That Have Happened In The Past Decade
- Bible Money Matters Content From Over The Years
- Making Money
- Saving Money
- Faith and Finance
- Multi Part Series
- Real Estate & Mortgages
- Managing Money
- Jobs, Work Life And Income Creation
- Thank You For 10 Crazy Years!
Some Numbers – Behind The Curtain
I think it's fun to take a quick look back and think about all that has happened on this site since it was launched.
When I first launched Bible Money Matters I had hopes that it would one day have good traffic, help people improve their finances, and even make me a little money in the process. I never could have imagined just how much it would change my life.
So let's take a look at this site over the years, by the numbers.
- 1 website.
- 2 blogging platforms (Blogger and then WordPress).
- 4 different website hosts.
- 5 different WordPress themes.
- 10 Years of published posts, from January 2008 until January 2018.
- 1,822 published (and still active) articles on the site. Over 2000 articles were published originally, but recently I've purged quite a lot of low quality content.
- 12,990 comments (My site has never been comment heavy) and 994,168 spam comments.
- Thousands of hours spent working on the site, writing content and promoting the site.
- 40,170 social media followers (19,170 on Twitter, 12,281 on Pinterest, 4,654 on Facebook and 4,065 on YouTube).
- 58,268 page views on highest traffic day ever.
- 1,507,618 views on our YouTube channel.
- 9,357,428 users.
- 10,720,652 sessions.
- 13,637,339 page views.
It's crazy to think that the articles I've written on my small site have been viewed literally millions of times.
It's also extremely humbling to know that I've been able to make even a small impact, and help people who are in a tough spot. I've gotten quite a few emails over the years from people thanking me for a particular article, or for how a certain post helped them with a problem they were struggling with.
I am so appreciative of those emails because it has given me a boost for when traffic isn't as good, or when income on the site has dropped. There have been times when I wasn't sure if I should continue the site, but your encouraging words helped immensely.
The Early Days
So what is the origin of Bible Money Matters? At the end of 2007 I was just starting to pay more attention to our household finances, and in the process I started reading personal finance blogs.
Personal Finance Blog Inspiration
Blogs had been around since the mid to late 90s, but really took off in the early 2000s. By 2007 when I first started paying attention there were quite a few personal finance blogs, some of which inspired me to start my own.
In 1999, according to a list compiled by Jesse James Garrett, there were 23 blogs on the internet. By the middle of 2006, there were 50 million blogs according to Technorati‘s State of the Blogosphere report. (source)
Launching The Site
Bible Money Matters first article was published on January 21st, 2008. I remember that I messed around and published a few posts on the site before I officially launched a week or so later. Here's what the site looked like back then:
The site was originally published on Google's Blogger.com, which was pretty popular with newer bloggers back then. Most people started their sites either on Blogger or on WordPress, and I started on Blogger because it was free. I wasn't sure how long I would be doing this blogging thing. Why not just dip my toes in the water first, and see if I enjoyed blogging?
After publishing my first posts in January and February of 2008, I decided that I wanted to continue the project, and I ended up buying the actual domain name for the site, instead of continuing to use the “biblemoneymatters.blogspot.com” URL.
After looking at all of my blogging heroes back then, I saw that a lot of them were publishing multiple posts on a daily basis, or at least once a day. So I decided to publish a post on every weekday. I kept at that pace for the first couple of years of the site's existence. While not all of the posts were gems, I believe that creating as much content as I did made me a better writer and gave me a boost in the search engines, which helped to grow the site faster.
2008 was a good time to start a personal finance blog as the economy was tanking, and the real estate bubble had burst. People were struggling to figure out what to do with their money. A lot of personal finance blogs that started back then got a nice boost from the unsure environment surrounding money at the time. A lot of people were searching for answers.
Within the first few days of launching I decided to start trying to monetize the site. Adsense ads were up on the site almost from the start, and later on added other CPM ads. I sold sponsorships on the site and sold text links before it was frowned upon by Google. I took part in affiliate relationships and wrote reviews of financial products.
Within the first 3 months I was able to cash out my first $100 deposit from Google for my Adsense ads. I was ecstatic!
At first my goal with the site was to make enough money in order to pay a $200/month car loan that I had at the time. But very quickly I was making $3-400/month from the site. After that I saw bloggers who were making $1500/month or more and were paying their mortgages using the money they made. That was my next goal. To pay my mortgage.
Within the first 6-8 months I was reaching that goal as well. By the end of my 2nd year as a blogger I was making enough with my site in order to replace my wife's day job income. That came at an opportune time as my wife got pregnant at the end of 2009, and in June of 2010 she had our son, Carter.
The Lean Years
Things were going well with the site in 2009 and 2010, and then 2011 rolled around.
In February of 2011 Google search released something called the Google Panda update. It affected a lot of personal finance sites and caused their traffic to drop. At first my site didn't seem to be affected, and it kept humming along. Then in April of 2011 after another Panda update, overnight the traffic to my site dropped by over 60-70% or more.
The income I was making from the site dropped along with the traffic, and at the time it sent me into a bit of a depression. What can you do when Google is your #1 source of traffic, and then they just take it all away?
Thankfully I had some good friends in the blogging world including Phil with PTMoney.com (founder of FinCon), Tom of MapleMoney.com, Glen of FreeFromBroke.com, and a host of others. Together we all tried to figure out what we needed to do to improve our search rankings, and get our traffic back. We optimized, cleaned up our sites, and worked on getting more legitimate backlinks. That year FinCon was also launched, making it even easier to commiserate with like minded personal finance bloggers. The community of bloggers really helped me to keep faith.
It was a long process, but over the next couple of years, the traffic slowly started to improve, and the income started to come back.
Finding A Renewed Passion
While it was a discouraging thing to lose most of the site traffic all at once, it was definitely a character building journey. Being able to stick with it and see things improve, and then finally get back to a place where the traffic and income are better than they ever were, was extremely rewarding.
In the past year I've renewed my efforts to try and improve the site, publish higher quality content and do things to improve the site traffic. I've cleaned up a lot of useless content on the site, fixed broken links, fixed broken images, and done a ton of miscellaneous site cleanup.
After all of the changes that I made, these past few months have been my best traffic months ever. This past month, January 2018, was my highest traffic month of all time (except for one month a couple of years ago where I had over 500,000 page views due to a Dave Ramsey post going viral on Facebook).
Things That Have Happened In The Past Decade
Over the past 10 years a lot of things happened, both in the real world, and in my life.
- We've had 3 presidents.
- My wife survived a massive blood clot in her leg. (2008)
- We've seen market crashes, bank bailouts, recessions and bankruptcies of huge financial institutions.
- Michael Jackson died (2009).
- Gas prices went from an average of $4.11/gallon in early 2008 to an average of $2.57/gallon in early 2018.
- Haiti had a devastating earthquake with a death toll of 200,000+ (2010).
- We had our first child. (2010)
- Osama Bin Laden was killed (2011)
- We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary! (2012)
- Boston Marathon bombings (2013)
- 2 Malaysian Airlines planes are lost (2014)
- We saw the UK vote to leave the European Union.
- We've seen the rise of the robo advisors and index investing.
- Real median household income was $58,149 in 2007. Following the great recession it dropped, and only as of 2016 did it rise back above that level to $59,039.
- We found out we were expecting our second child, a little girl (Coming April 9th!).
It's been a crazy decade for sure, and our world, and the world around us, has had it's ups and downs.
Having this site has helped me to be more accountable in our financial lives, which in turn has prepared me to be more of a help to others. I thank God that he inspired me to start this journey 10 years ago.
Bible Money Matters Content From Over The Years
So to cap this anniversary post off, here's a look at bunch of the articles that we've published over the years.
- 50 Ways To Make Money: Maximizing, Creating And Increasing Your Income
- 10 Weird And Unconventional Ways To Make Money
- How To Increase Your Income Without A Raise
- Ways To Make Extra Money Series: Guide To Diversifying Your Sources Of Income
- 10 Easy Ways To Improve Your Finances Today
- 50 Easy Ways To Save Money Every Month
- 10 Weird And Unconventional Ways To Save Money
- 10 Practical Ways To Save Money And Increase Your Net Worth
- How To Save Money On Just About All Of Your Regular Monthly Bills
- How We Have Saved Almost $1600 Dollars A Year On Our Monthly Bills
- 7 Easy Ways To Save Money And Stay Out Of Debt
- How To Become A Millionaire: How Even An Average Income Can Lead To A Million Dollars Saved
- 7 Attributes Of High Net Worth Individuals
- What Millionaires Drive: Income Level And Car Prestige Don't Always Match Up
- 5 Habits Of Millionaires That You Should Try And Emulate
- Are You Behaving Like A Future Millionaire, Or Aiming To End Up Broke?
Faith and Finance
- Should A Christian Lend Money And Earn Interest?
- Is It A Wrong For A Christian To Use Debt Of Any Kind? Is Being In Debt Sin?
- ABiblical Look At Debt
- Is Tithing Biblical?
- Why I Don't Teach Tithing
- What Is God's Plan For A Christian's Personal Finances?
- God's Provident Plan For: Giving Diligent Work And Good Stewardship Contentment In Christ
- Blueprint For How To Make Money With A Blog
- How I Keep Track Of Blog Income And Expenses And Why It’s Important
- Blueprint For How To Make Money With A Blog: Advice From Successful Bloggers
- 10 Tips For New Bloggers
Multi Part Series
- In The Event Of An Emergency Series
- Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University Class
- Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps Series
- Doing Your First Budget
- Unintended Consequences Of Doing A Budget
- Setting Up A Good Financial Plan Can Help You Weather Any Storm
- A Bad Plan Is Better Than No Plan At All
- Do A Quickie Budget With Financial Peace University
- Saving Up And Paying Cash For The Things You Buy Makes The Purchase More
- Should I Do A Debt Consolidation Loan? Important Things To Consider Before You
- Pay Off All Debt Using The Debt Snowball
- Dumping Debt!
- Is There A “Good Reason” To Get Into Debt?
- To Debt Snowball Or Debt Avalanche, That Is The Question
- Is Using A 401k Loan A Good Way To Pay Off Debt?
- Why The Debt Snowball Works
- 7 Things You Can't Do If You Want To Stay Out Of Debt
Real Estate & Mortgages
- 10 Tips To Help Sell Your Home Fast In A Down Market
- Considering Refinancing Or Getting A New Home Loan? Here's How To Read That Confusing HUD-1 Settlement Statement
- GovernmentMaking Home Affordable Refinance And Loan Modification Program: Do I Qualify?
- Is It Time To Refinance? Our Refinance Story
- How To Tell Whether Now Is The Time To Refinance
- Buying A New House Is Not Cheap: Expenses Not To Forget When Buying A New House
- Financial Peace University: Real Estate And Mortgages
- A Way To Control Spending: The Envelope System
- 10 Things I Have Learned About Money
- An Emergency Fund Will Help Reduce Your Risk Of Financial Catastrophe
- Emergency Funds Make Your Life Better (Or At Least More Stress Free)
Jobs, Work Life And Income Creation
- Dealing With A Job Loss: What To Do When You're Laid Off
- To Succeed Diversify And Create Multiple Streams Of Income
- 5 Ways To Make Some Extra Money
- 6 More Ways To Make Some Extra Money
Thank You For 10 Crazy Years!
It's hard to believe that 10 years has already gone by, and I can't tell you how thankful I am that so many of you have stuck with Bible Money Matters over the years. For those of you who have only discovered the site recently – welcome! I hope you'll stick around for the second decade that we're just starting!
Thank you and God bless!
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8