A few months ago a prominent personal finance blogger, who also happens to live here in Iowa, decided he would begin infusing his political views and opinions into his posts. He is a good writer and writes thoroughly about his subjects, but once he went down the political road he had his head handed to him. His last post on the subject described the unkind emails and comments he was receiving and his decision to give up the political commentary and return to his previous format.
Lesson learned: Stick to your niche. Many of the most successful blogs stick to their niche and excel at it, as did my fellow Iowan. People visited his site and subscribed to his newsletter because he offered useful personal finance ideas they enjoyed reading, not to hear about his political leanings. Starting a new, politically focused blog might have been a better direction for him to go.
Last year a personal finance blogger I subscribed to received a comment on one of her posts nitpicking about her grammar usage. Rather than saying thank you, ignoring it or deleting the comment she ended up loosing her temper and writing a scathing post entirely about that one comment, cussing out “the Grammar Police.” It was an online meltdown.
Lesson learned: Don’t let the turkeys get you down. That comment crawled under her skin and into her head. There will always be those that disagree with you, or are just disagreeing for the sake of argument. Be prepared, and ignore as needed.
Not too long ago another personal finance blogger asked his readers if he should continue writing while at the same time tearing down the majority of his fellow PF bloggers as writing recycled, uninteresting and useless drivel. I left a positive comment to the post, offering him encouragement, as did several others. Another post followed that was a scathing indictment of the victims of a scam for being so gullible. I read it thinking he had some valid points, but they were buried in a post that seethed with a hissing and bubbling anger.
Lesson learned: Know when to go. There were three big reasons why this guy needed to move on: he viewed his fellow niche bloggers with contempt while seriously doubting his own self worth, and he offered nothing of value to his readers.
Those three lessons by much more experienced bloggers were much appreciated and noted, even if they were unintended.