Blogging

Q2 2020 Blog & Podcast Update

Q2 2020 was busy at Eat Sleep Breathe FI and Explore FI Canada! There’s lots to cover, so let’s get started…

Table of Contents

Blog update

Podcast update

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. That means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase through my links. There’s no extra cost to you and it helps to support the blog. Thank you!

Blog update

The second quarter of 2020 was a flurry of activity at Eat Sleep Breathe FI! Here’s what happened from April to June:

April

A change to my monthly updates

After a busy Q1 (mostly filled with COVID-19 articles) I spent April catching up. Part of that catch-up included releasing my February and March updates back-to-back.

These updates were published only days apart because I was too busy in March to format my February update. While it was interesting to read about life pre and post-Covid one post after the other, it was also a bit jarring.

I’ve since decided to handle my updates differently. From now on, if I ever fall behind with a monthly update, I’ll combine it with the next month’s update. This will make it easier for me to keep up when life gets too crazy.

May

No time to blog

May was very busy for me personally, so I had very little time to blog. That’s why I only released two blog posts for the month. Despite this, May turned out to be Eat Sleep Breathe FI’s best month ever! Read on to find out more…

New pageview records

May was a record pageview month—both for monthly and one-day pageviews. Eat Sleep Breathe FI hit 12,042 pageviews for the month of May, and 1,963 pageviews on May 13! 

These beat my previous records of 10,017 in March and 1,679 for my Rockstar Finance feature on February 16, 2019. Pretty wild!

The one post that did it

The one blog post that brought those crazy-high pageviews to my blog were… drumroll, please… my coming out post! Crazy, right? When I posted it, I figured a couple hundred people would read it, send their congrats, then move on.

I had no idea people were that interested in a blogger revealing their identity. (I guess we’re all pretty curious about the people behind the words we read.) The outpouring of support and kindness was totally unexpected, and so touching.

Thank you to everyone who welcomed me (again) to the personal finance community—this time as non-anonymous me. 🙂

I finally made it into Monumetric!

If you read my previous blog and podcast update, I mentioned that I applied to join the Monumetric ad network in late March. At the time, their auto-reply said it could take 2–3 months for me to hear from them. Argh!

After two months, I started getting impatient. I also wanted to take advantage of my recent pageview record, so I looked up their phone number and left a voicemail to follow up.

Within a day, I received an email reply from Jeff, who’s part of Monumetric’s onboarding team. He told me that they’d received my voicemail, and now needed me to send a screenshot of my previous 30 days of traffic.

I sent it right away, and Jeff replied to let me know that they were officially ready to move forward! I couldn’t believe it—I’d finally made it in! This is a huge milestone for my blog, but I couldn’t have reached it without your readership, so THANK YOU!!!

via GIPHY

Join Monumetric

Can you tell I’m thrilled to be working with Monumetric?! If you’re also interested in joining, you can apply here

Things to keep in mind

You’ll need at least 10,000 pageviews to apply, and if you’re accepted, there’s a $99 USD setup fee. (For me, the fee will be more than worth it. So far, my ad earnings are 10x what I made with Adsense.)

Also note that Monumetric is currently experiencing onboarding delays:

We are experiencing high volumes of applications and wait times can be up to 3 months for Propel-tier publishers. We have had a large influx of people hoping to supplement lost income due to Covid-19. 

This is creating a backlog for our Ad Provider Approvals. We are working diligently to onboard as many as we can with the support team we have, but, again, it may be a longer wait for some who wish to join Monumetric.

You should still apply

Despite the wait time, I’d still suggest that you apply now and get your name on the list. There’s no other premium ad network at this level of pageviews. (The next one is Ezoic, which requires 10,000 sessions.) 

I have nothing but great things to say about Monumetric. It’s an amazing company with equally amazing people working behind the scenes. They receive my full recommendation!

June

More time to blog

Life was a lot less hectic in June, which meant I had more time to blog. It turned out to be a very productive month! On top of dealing with the Monumetric onboarding, I also published four posts and wrote a guest post for another blog.

I wish I could blog this much every month! But I know it’s simply impossible sometimes, so I’ll continue to stick with my ‘blog when I can’ schedule. 🙂

Monumetric onboarding

For most of June, not much happened on the frontend of my site. However, the Monumetric onboarding team was busy working on things in the background. (There were also plenty of emails and a few minor tasks for me to take care of along the way.)

I have to say, the onboarding experience with Monumetric has been amazing. They’ve been friendly, helpful and attentive the whole way through. This is a huge improvement over Google Adsense, where there’s ZERO support.

I also enjoyed listening to Monumetric’s informative ‘pubcast’. They suggest all new publishers listen to it, but I’d also suggest it to any blogger who’s interested in placing ads on their site. 

I especially appreciated the Seasonality episode, which helped me understand the cyclical nature of traffic and ad revenue. (And feel less disappointed when I see traffic dips throughout the year.)

The launch

On June 24, my new Monumetric ads finally launched! I was both excited and nervous—would they look okay? Would there be any glitches? I wish I could say everything looked perfect right from the start, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

The good news is Monumetric’s publisher support team is very responsive and helpful. They worked hard to get the ads looking just the way I wanted. It took a couple of weeks of back and forth, but we’re finally there!

I tried my best to balance the number of ads with esthetics and readability (both on PC and mobile). Because of this, I rejected a few ad placements, even though they would’ve earned me more money. 

I hope you like the ad layout I finally settled on. Let me know what you think!

My Google Analytics ban

Okay, it wasn’t a total ban—I still let myself check my monthly analytics! My tweets explain further:

The (semi) final verdict

It’s been three weeks since I deleted the Google Analytics app. It’s been freeing to not have it there, distracting me all day. However, only checking my stats once a month feels like I’m flying blind. I think it’s useful to check in maybe once a day to see how things are going.

This is why I may relent and allow myself to reinstall the app (with some caveats and limits in place). I’ll give it a full month, then make my decision. Only one more week to go!

Blogging tips and tools

There were so many tips and tools to mention with this update that I decided to break them out into their own section:

WordPress weirdness

In June, my blog inexplicably went haywire. It looked horrible—as if it was loading without stylesheets. I tried clearing my cache and restarting Chrome, but that didn’t work. Panicked, I turned to Twitter for help, and the personal finance community came through! 

LatestarterfireFamily Money SaverGen Y Money, and Frugal To FI all jumped in with replies. They tested my site on their devices (with mixed results) and suggested various fixes. Then Julia from Happier Freelancing said maybe it was my WordPress cache.

BINGO—she was right! It was indeed my WordPress cache! I went into my caching plugin, WP Rocket*, to clear it. Once I did that, my blog went back to normal, and the crisis was averted. Phew!

*If you’d like 10% off WP Rocket, contact me and I’ll send you my refer-a-friend link!

Revive Old Posts

I’d been searching for an automatic way to share my old posts on Twitter, but none of the platforms I tried were quite right. They all had message limits and/or required manual input to refill the queues. 

I noticed Bob at Tawcan had some kind of app auto-tweeting his old content, so I asked him what he was using to do that. He said it’s a WordPress plugin called Revive Old Posts.

This was exactly what I was looking for! It’s a one-time setup (no ongoing manual input) and offers many customizations—all for free! I’ve been very happy with the plugin so far, and would highly suggest it if you run a WordPress blog.

Google Alerts and Talkwalker Alerts

I always like to reach out and thank fellow bloggers for mentioning and/or linking to me. But if that blogger doesn’t contact me to let me know, I may never discover the mention.

This is where Google Alerts and Talkwalker Alerts come in. If you haven’t heard of these free services, they work by alerting you when your selected keywords appear on the internet. (Thanks to Robinson Smith for the Talkwalker recommendation!)

While neither service catches everything, I still find them helpful for the mentions they do catch. I’d suggest using both in tandem since they each seem to alert for different things. (Even though all my search terms are the same—go figure! I guess that’s what you get for free.)

Podcast update

As if blogging didn’t keep me busy enough, Q2 was also action-packed at Explore FI Canada:

April

In April, Money Mechanic and I recorded three podcast interviews! It was an exciting, star-studded lineup of guests: Ed Rempel, Jessica from The Fioneers, and Ricky from Prince of Travel.

I learned something new from each of them, and at the end of every recording, I wished we had another hour to keep talking! If you haven’t listened to their interviews yet, they’re all worth checking out:

I also recorded a final episode with Ryan in April, but sadly, that recording will never be released. (I’ll explain why below.)

May

Ryan says goodbye

As announced in my previous blog and podcast update, Ryan decided to leave the show. He tried valiantly to balance the podcast with his busy life, but in the end, something had to give. 

I of course supported his decision to focus more on his family and personal wellbeing. But even so, it was sad to say goodbye. Happily, we’re still friends, and still message each other about FIRE, blogging, and other random things.

Hopefully, Money Mechanic and I will be able to convince Ryan to come back for a guest appearance every now and then.

A marathon recording

We only had one podcast recording in May, but it was a marathonKari and Court came on to talk about RESPs, and they brought their A-game! We were on our recording for over two hours, going in-depth about RESPs.

I can’t thank Kari and Court enough for coming on to share their knowledge and expertise. (Special thanks to Court, who spent a lot of time typing up the list of questions for Kari!)

If you’re looking for RESP info, from the basics to advanced tactics, you’ll find it all in our two-part RESP discussion: 

June

A new sponsor

In June, we debuted a new show sponsor: PolicyMe. They’re a fitting pick as a sponsor right now, with the increased interest in life insurance due to COVID-19. 

PolicyMe has been a pleasure to work with, and we hope our ads help them grow their presence. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out my PolicyMe review. In my opinion, it’s the best way to buy life insurance in Canada!

Time for an upgrade

As we neared our one-year podiversary on July 1st, we thought it was time to upgrade our recording platform to something more reliable. 

Previously, we’d used Zencastr because it worked okay and was free to use. But we had a number of frustrating technical issues we couldn’t resolve. The final straw came when we recorded a full episode, but it would not save. OMG.

That was a horrible experience. The only saving grace was we didn’t have a guest on—it was only the three of us on the recording. That experience spooked us badly, and we never trusted Zencastr again.

We decided to switch to Zoom, which was more reliable. Unfortunately, the audio isn’t great, and the free version limited us to 40-minute meetings. It was a little hokey and awkward to have to ask our guests to log out then log back in to extend our recording time.

It was time to bite the bullet and go for something a little more premium. I was listening to one of Jessica Moorhouse’s podcasts when I heard her mention Squadcast. I looked into it, and it was exactly what we needed!

But it came at a price…

Podcasting is expensive!

Blogging is relatively cost-efficient. All-in, you can have a blog up and running for less than $100 per year. While this was also the case for our podcast in its first year, it won’t be so in our second year.

As mentioned above, we wanted to move to Squadcast for our recordings, but it’s not cheap! The $200 USD/year Creator plan was what we needed, but our show had yet to break even, let alone add more expenses!

$200 USD is $270 CAD—way more than we wanted to shell out. Fortunately for us, a guest of ours came forward with a very generous offer, and is going to sponsor our show by covering our Squadcast costs for a year!

Stay tuned for our next Explore FI Canada episode to find out who our generous benefactor is. 🙂

 

And that’s a wrap!

Well, there goes another busy quarter at Eat Sleep Breathe FI and Explore FI Canada. I hope you enjoyed this peek behind the scenes. Let me know if there was anything I didn’t cover or if you have any questions. As always, I love hearing from you and am happy to help!

Support this blog

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As always, however you show your support for this blog—THANK YOU!

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Liquid
    July 15, 2020 at 2:59 am

    Looks like it has been a very eventful quarter for you. 🙂 Congrats on making it onto Monumetric. Hope you break even more pageview records in the near future. I’ve been listening to more podcasts in recent weeks. There seems to be a lot out there now. Financial columnist Rob Carrick started a podcast series recently called Stress Test. I think it would be neat if you and him did some kind of collaboration so the G&M audience can learn more about FI and what you’re doing.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 15, 2020 at 11:47 pm

      Hi Liquid—it’s nice to hear from you. I think it’ll be a while before I set any new page view records! That was definitely an anomaly… but I’ll keep working away and hoping for the best.

      I love Rob Carrick (even though I don’t agree with all his opinions) and had no idea he has a podcast! I’ll have to check it out. I love the idea of bringing him on as a guest… are we big enough to ask someone of his calibre yet? 🤔 I guess we’ll see!

      Thanks for the suggestion and the comment!

  • Reply
    Ed
    July 15, 2020 at 8:39 am

    Congrats, Chrissy! I too have had a great experience with Monumetric. I onboarded in April, so the first payment should be coming in a few weeks. It’s strange how quiet it is during the delay, but they’re very responsive and supportive once you get in. The site and ad placements look great.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 15, 2020 at 11:58 pm

      Hi Ed—I didn’t realize you were also with Monumtetric! They really have been so great to work with. (But you’re right about the weird silence between when you apply and when they respond!)

      I went to your site to see how you’ve set up the ads, and I like the way they look on your blog as well! Congrats on your one-year blogiversary, BTW. I’ve saved your post to read and will comment after. 🙂

  • Reply
    Tawcan
    July 15, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Looks like a very busy month for you. Congrats on onboarding with Monumetric.

    Didn’t realize that you use WP Rocket. You do realize there are other free cache plugins out there right?

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 16, 2020 at 12:03 am

      Hey Bob—thanks for the comment. I used a free caching plugin initially, but found it very hard to use. 🙁 I’m not very savvy with web stuff, unfortunately!

      Pete at Do You Even Blog linked to a sale on WP Rocket when I first started my blog, and it was something like two years for the price of one, plus an extra discount on top of that. Worked out to be a reasonable cost per year, so I went for it!

      It’s so much easier to use than the free plugin I tried. I’ve found that it’s helped my site speed a lot, especially once I set it to clear my databases regularly. That’s something I’m too scared to do by myself, even though I know it’s possible.

      So for me, even though I’m very frugal, it’s been worth paying for WP Rocket!

  • Reply
    Maria @ Handful of Thoughts
    July 15, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Wow, you have been a busy lady. I love reading all your updates and am so excited to watch your blog and podcast grow. Keep it going – only upwards from here:)

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 16, 2020 at 12:10 am

      Hi Maria—thank you for your kind words and for being a reader AND listener! I also look forward to watching your blog and brand grow! It’s fun to have blogging buddies to grow with. 🙂

  • Reply
    Latestarterfire
    July 15, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    Congrats, Chrissy!!! Awesome numbers and growth – which you’ve worked so hard for! Love reading your updates – thanks for the tips on Google Alert and Talkwalker. I’m not tech savvy at all so appreciate your tips on plugins etc – installed Revive Old Posts too – loving it so far – great for new followers to catch up on old posts; only problem is I don’t have that many posts to rotate! Never mind – back to creating more content 🙂

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 16, 2020 at 12:15 am

      Hi Latestarterfire—I’m also not very tech-savvy, especially when it comes to web stuff. I go into panic mode whenever something goes wrong! I’m glad that my little bits of knowledge are of help to you and others. We’re in this blogging journey together!

      I also don’t have a lot of old content, but you’re right—we just have to keep working at it. Thanks for the lovely comment, friend!

  • Reply
    Teresa - MIL
    July 16, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    All your hard work and dedication have really paid off! Wow – hitting higher new page view numbers and getting into Monumetrics all in June! Now that I have caught up with all my reading, I will have to catch up on your wonderful informative podcasts!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 16, 2020 at 11:19 pm

      Hi Mom—thanks, as always, for cheering me on. 🙂 I appreciate that you read all my posts, even though I always tell you that you don’t have to!

  • Reply
    Ana
    July 17, 2020 at 10:15 am

    You’re doing so great– congrats on Monumetric! And I can see why your I’m Coming Out post would be a big one. We’re curious creatures.

    I really enjoyed all the tech info in your post. I’ve been looking to automate some things to free up time. Thank you for the plugin recommendations and for sharing your site glitch ordeal. I sometimes read about things and later encounter similar problems. It helps to know where to ask for help 🙂

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 20, 2020 at 8:35 pm

      Hi Ana—I’m glad to hear my post might be of help. I learn so much from other bloggers, and if I can pay it forward by sharing what I’ve learned, I’m happy to do so!

  • Reply
    Chris @ Mindful Explorer
    July 18, 2020 at 7:55 am

    A lot of updates jam-packed in there, you have been very busy on the blogging and podcast sphere of life. Hope all is well with the family and you have some plans to enjoy summer exploring beautiful BC in a safe and fun way.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 20, 2020 at 8:41 pm

      Hi Chris—it always feels like I hardly have time to blog and podcast. But when I look back, it sure seems like a lot! I’ve had a great time, and yes, we’ve also been getting out for plenty of safe, fun outings too! Lots of day trips and local adventures. We haven’t been brave enough to stay overnight anywhere, but maybe… we’ll see! Thanks for coming by.

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