Beginner Blogger Challenge

by Shawanda Greene

This blog post is part of the Beginner Blogger Challenge over at Passive Income to Retire.

I’ve already shared a little bit of my get-out-of-debt story on my about page (some of which is repeated below). But I don’t think we’ve ever talked about the details of why I started blogging.

Here goes.

You Have More Than You Think came to life back in May 2009. I can’t believe it’s almost three years old.

The first few months of blogging were awesome. I absolutely loved commenting on other blogs and interacting with people who were just as excited about the dorky field of personal finance as me.

Then, there’s the stuff that’s not so fun.

Everyone tells you how easy it is to install WordPress. It’s not. At least not the way I did it. I remember reading the 5-minute installation instructions on WordPress.org. Five minutes my ass. It took me an entire hair pulling, nose sweating hour to get the job done. Then I realized my host provided a one-click install option that took like a second. Oops.

I started blogging for two reasons: 1) My mom and a good friend encouraged me to do it and 2) After paying off $25K and saving an additional $7.5K in one year, I felt I knew enough to teach others a few things about money. Plus, I heard you could supplement your income with a blog, so I figured why not write about something I love and make a few extra bucks on the side.

It only took about three months for me to earn my first $100

You see, I live in the personal finance blogging capital of the world, Washington, D.C. Us PF bloggers would get together for happy hour to chat about – what else – blogging. J. Money over at Budgets Are Sexy was the organizer.

While attending my first happy hour, Brian Scheur from My Next Buck told me about a guy at an Australian credit card comparison site he’d done business with. Brian gave the guy my contact information, and the rest is history.

There are a few things I wish I’d done differently before I began blogging.

Although I love the name of my blog, knowing what I know now, I’d have chosen another one.

First, the name is just too damn long. It’s a real pain to type in the address bar of your web browser.

Second, I didn’t realize the importance of Twitter. My current Twitter handle is TheyCallMeCheap. Now, how does that name indicate I run a blog called You Have More Than You Think? But what could I do? I couldn’t use my blog’s name either. Because, again, it’s too damn long!

Third, I would’ve gone with a name that didn’t start with the next to the last letter of the alphabet.

When people link to my site on their blogroll, I normally come up towards the end. And that’s the case for almost any list my blog appears in.

Since I can remember, alphabetical order has almost always made the most sense in unranked lists. So, if you’re browsing a list of super sweet female bloggers, you’ll have to scroll aaaaall the way to the bottom to find me. By then, you’ve probably lost yourself in the magical prose of some other chick’s blog.

Oh! And one last thing, within three months of starting my blog, it was hacked.

That was an experience so frustrating it brought me to tears, literally. I was up all night figuring out how to unhack my blog and remove the “DANGER!! Do Not Enter!” warning from my site. I’m not totally sure where my site’s vulnerability was, but I suspect it was the password. That taught me a lesson in Password Creation 101.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

addvodka March 21, 2012 at 8:55 AM

I struggled with installing wordpress too, when I first did it. I can't believe your blog was hacked!! That's intense!

When I first started blogging, I wasn't serious about it so I just thought of a name. I lucked out, because it starts with an A and I get lots of compliments on it, but for someone who didn't think about it… stroke of luck.


Corey @ Passive Income to Retire March 21, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Great point about alphabetical listing. I hadn’t even thought of that yet – but I wouldn’t because my main site starts with a number – which is before the A’s. ;) Thanks for joining the challenge!
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Marina K. Villatoro March 21, 2012 at 11:27 AM

My blog's been hacked a few times. It's the way it works on the internet.

Great back story, I wish I was around more bloggers, being in Guatemala, makes it very difficult to connect off line.


Happy_Homeowner March 21, 2012 at 2:04 PM

I, too, had major issues with WP on one of my other blogs–it makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one. Craziness about being hacked, though!!


Jen @ SheBloggs March 21, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Oh how I wish I read this before I stated blogging!

The alphabetical naming was not even something that crossed my mind… I now too come near the end of the list. One of the issues is that most new bloggers don't stat blogging knowing the possibilities and the smart things they should be doing in the beginning… it makes the journey all that much interesting.

Awesome tips… and I can't believe you got hacked!!


Doug March 24, 2012 at 1:03 AM

It’s not too late to change the name. Just get a new domain name and point both domain names to the same site. At some point, if you decide you want to, you can re-brand the site with the new name. Or maybe you could even incorporate the two names on the site, depending. Just a thought…


YPFinances March 28, 2012 at 1:16 PM

I didn't think about the alphabetical order or the long URL when I started mine – I have an abbreviation for my twitter handle (ypfinances) but it's still not the best. It's ok though because I think it represents who I am and what I write about.


Lorillia March 29, 2012 at 7:08 PM

I'm new to your site, saw you bloggers challenge. I have to agree with the other comments about alphabetize name. hmm. Also how cool you PF bloggers in DC have a happy hour. Great way of connecting.


Jessica April 5, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm new to blogging, so it's nice to hear stories and words of advise from more seasoned bloggers.


JW Ginn May 7, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Excellent post – I just started my blog a few days ago but my challenges were more of a psychological nature. What if I build it and nobody reads? Is there room for me in the personal finance conversation?

I finally had decided it was time to put those questions behind me and just get started.

I'm glad that I'm not alone.


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