Five Years of Blogging

eat sleep breathe fi on tablet

Happy fifth blogiversary to me!

Wow, has it really been five years since I started this blog?! I had to count on my fingers to make sure (2019… 2020… 2021… 2022… 2023…). Yep, it’s true—Eat Sleep Breathe FI has made it to its five-year blogiversary. 🥳

So much has changed in my life and the blogosphere since 2019. And with these changes, my thoughts and feelings about blogging have also evolved. Additionally, in keeping with this theme of ‘change’, I decided to do away with my old blogiversary post format.

Goodbye blog stats

This year, I’ve done away with all the numbers, stats, graphs, analysis, etc. In past years, I enjoyed the painstaking task of collecting, recording, and creating graphics for all my blog stats (traffic, audience, social media, subscribers, etc.) 

It was fun and interesting to do this as I enjoyed tinkering with the blog and seeing the results of improvements I made. But, as mentioned, a lot has changed, so I neither had the motivation nor the need to record my blog stats this year.

Given all the mention of change, that’s what I’ve decided to focus on in this blogiversary post. 

What’s changed

In the five years since I started Eat Sleep Breathe FI, blogging has changed a lot. Below are my main observations. (Be warned—it’s all a bit sad and depressing. 😕)

You can’t just stumble into success anymore

When I started this blog in 2019, I knew of several bloggers who made it into Mediavine in less than a year or who admitted to not knowing what they were doing, yet somehow, their blogs exploded.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I launched my blog at the tail end of this golden age. As far as I can tell, it’s no longer possible to succeed solely through flukes, lucky breaks, or easy tactics to game the system.

You now have to really know what you’re doing, use pro tools, and spend a lot of time and money to get near the level of success that early FIRE and personal finance bloggers achieved.

SEO is at another level

It used to be that if you got all the green dots in the Yoast SEO plugin, you’d be several steps ahead of most bloggers. Then, if you spent a few minutes researching keywords (using free tools), you’d likely be in the top 10% of blogs in your niche.

Sadly, those days are long gone. If you’re not an SEO expert or unable to spend buckets of time and/or money on SEO research, your blog simply won’t show up in search results. And without those coveted high rankings in the search results, your blog will essentially be invisible. 

These days, corporate blogs and websites beat out true FIRE and personal finance blogs for search terms that we should rank for. We’re the ones who know our communities and the content they need and want. 

But we don’t have the resources to compete, so the big guys win—even if their content is generic and unhelpful. It’s not fair and all of us little guys (bloggers and blog readers) lose out.

Audio and video dominate 

Adding to the woes of bloggers is the proliferation of audio and video content, especially short-form video content such as on TikTok and Instagram. I’ve been sucked into endless video feeds on these platforms myself, so I know how effective and attention-grabbing they are!

I’m also an avid podcast and audiobook listener and am admittedly consuming less and less written content these days. (It’s weird for me to realize that I’m both lamenting and contributing to the decline of blogging.)

But this seems to be the way the world is moving—many of us prefer or can only consume content via audio and video. Sadly, reading words on a screen or page is becoming more and more of a luxury of time (that many of us don’t have).

Canadian FI blogs are all but extinct 

This one makes me sad. When I launched in 2019, there was a vibrant and growing community of Canadian FI and personal finance bloggers. But slowly, the list of blogs in my Canadian FIRE Directory has dwindled. And of the ones that are still there, the majority are defunct or inactive.

Most of us started blogging for fun—to connect with others, help people by sharing our knowledge, and learn new skills. But these days, the yucky parts of blogging are so challenging that blogging just feels like work. 

So I understand why Canadian (and likely all) FI and personal finance blogs are slowly going extinct—it’s just too hard and not as much fun as it used to be. 😢

My current thoughts and feelings about blogging 

Unsurprisingly, all the changes that I’ve listed above have impacted how I feel about blogging. In the past, it was an enjoyable hobby to learn and implement all the ‘right’ blogging tools and tactics and see how much I could grow the blog. 

And for a while, it kind of worked. I could see the potential and loved the challenge. But as I started to realize that blogging had changed and gone ‘pro’, I also realized that I wasn’t enjoying it as much. The rules of the blogging game had changed and I didn’t want to play anymore. 

And so, 2023 was a turning point for Eat Sleep Breathe FI. I consciously stopped trying to grow, and just blogged as I had time and energy. This means my already-infrequent posts have become even more infrequent… which also means less traffic.

But surprisingly, it hasn’t led to no traffic, which is encouraging. That tells me some of you out there are still reading my blog. And that’s always been the one thing that’s kept me going, even when I’ve felt like giving up in the past.

Knowing that I’m still connecting with some of you, and still helping to spread the FIRE—that keeps me engaged and motivated to blog (when I have the time).

This isn’t goodbye 

As down as I seem to be on blogging, I’m definitely not calling it quits on Eat Sleep Breathe FI. For many reasons, I still find it enjoyable and rewarding. It’s also been a huge part of my life for five years. I can’t/won’t just walk away from all of that!

Heading into my sixth year of blogging, I plan to continue my consistently inconsistent publishing schedule. That means I’ll blog when I can, which could be as little as every few months. I know that’s not ideal, but when blog growth is no longer a goal, that pace works just fine for me. 👍

Closing thoughts

2023 brought a mixed bag of emotions around blogging. On one hand, I still enjoy and get a lot of satisfaction from blogging. It’s fun and feels good to help people and spread the FIRE. 

On the other hand, it’s been harder and harder to stay motivated when faced with the draining parts of blogging (content updates, social media, and SEO). Also, finding time to blog continues to be my greatest blogging struggle—it’s tough squeezing in blogging time when our kids, family and friends take priority in our lives. 

But my blog is still an important part of my life. My connections with you, my readers, still matter to me. And helping people disover and learn about FIRE also still matter to me. 

So, I’ll continue to be here—as long as I’m still having fun and helping others (and I ignore and let go of the yucky stuff). Thank you to those of you who continue to stick with me. You’re what keeps me going!

Share your thoughts

You know I love hearing from you and that I always reply to your comments (even though it sometimes takes a while). So, if you have a few minutes, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Support this blog

If you liked this article and want more content like this, please support this blog by sharing it! Not only does it help spread the FIRE, but it lets me know what content you find most useful. (Which encourages me to write more of it!) 

You can also support this blog by visiting my recommendations page and purchasing through the links. Note that not every link is an affiliate link—some are just favourite products and services that I want to share. 🙂

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

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  • Reply
    January 1, 2024 at 9:52 am

    Hello Chrissy, lovely to hear how you’re doing. I’m planning to go part-time in April, having accrued as much savings as I feel I need thanks to everything I learnt from the FIRE community. Happy New Year, Sam

    • Reply
      January 2, 2024 at 9:16 pm

      Hi Sam—I was so thrilled to see your comment! I still miss reading your blog but am so, so happy to hear that you’ll be able to go part-time in April. That is an amazing accomplishment! Congratulations and Happy 2024 to you! 🎉🥂

  • Reply
    January 1, 2024 at 9:58 am

    Finance bloggers had a good run. It’s amazing how much you all could milk what is simply 2 lines of advice: save money and invest. But that’s true of most things internet related…

    • Reply
      January 2, 2024 at 9:19 pm

      Hi John—sure, I guess you could look at personal finance that simplistically. Saving and investing was basically what I was doing before I found FIRE, but it would have led us down the path to retiring at 65 (or later). I’m much happier to have retired in our 40s, thanks to the much more detailed and nuanced advice from other FIRE bloggers. To each their own, I guess!

  • Reply
    January 1, 2024 at 11:41 am

    I really appreciate your honesty and insights. Much respect for your decision to step outside the normative demands of ‘pro’ blogging. I look forward to your consistently inconsistent posts!

    • Reply
      January 2, 2024 at 9:21 pm

      Hi Suzanne—you’ve given me more motivation to continue blogging “consistently inconsistently”! 😁 Thank you for your kind and encouraging comment.

  • Reply
    January 1, 2024 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Chrissy, it’s good to hear from you even though you sound a bit down. I just want you to know, that I have enjoyed reading your blogs, I’m one of those who prefers reading rather than swipe through a bunch of podcasts on the phone. I may not have been a frequent visitor to your blogs, there is never enough time to follow everything but I particularly enjoyed the ones on the financial side of your blogs. I think it’s important to pass on what we know about FI as much as passible since it is not part of our education system. People like you can make the difference between success and failure for other people, especially our young generation. I hope you will continue with your good work, even if the postings are infrequent. I think we all know that there is not enough time for everything and family should always come first.
    Happy New Year

    • Reply
      January 2, 2024 at 9:35 pm

      Hi Max—this is such a lovely comment. Thank you! I do feel a bit defeated by the way SEO has ruined blogging, both for me as a blogger and a blog reader. I find that top search results these days tend to be the posts that include all the right keywords but are lacking the things most readers are seeking: helpful details, real, hard-won knowledge and experience, and (most importantly for blogs) personality.

      I’m grateful for your support and frequent engagement in the comments. You are such a wealth of knowledge! Thanks also for your feedback on the content you enjoy and the reminder that finance info is very much needed. As usual, it’s readers like you who give me the motivation and encouragement to keep going. 💗

      Happy New Year to you as well!

  • Reply
    January 1, 2024 at 2:23 pm

    I am one of the minority that only consumes written content. It makes me so sad to see the reduction in posts from you and others. Thank you for explaining the reasons. I love to read you “Math this shit up” though so when you get the urge please post!

    • Reply
      January 2, 2024 at 9:37 pm

      Hi Sara—it is so refreshing to hear that you only consume written content. That gives me hope! I’m not the greatest at “Mathing shit up”, ha ha, but this is a blog about money after all, so I will keep that in mind for future posts. Thank you for the encouragement. 🙂

  • Reply
    Debbie Chabot
    January 1, 2024 at 6:45 pm

    Thank you for all that you have and continue to contribute to the FIRE community. Your Canadian content really helped me on my journey!!

    • Reply
      January 2, 2024 at 9:39 pm

      Hi Debbie—helping other Canadians has always been one of the major drivers behind my blogging efforts, so it makes me so happy to read your comment. Thank you for your support. It means a lot!

  • Reply
    January 1, 2024 at 7:25 pm

    Great post Chrissy. I share your thoughts on blogging and have become much less active in the past year. It’s just not worth the time for most of us who were late to the party. I still do my monthly net worth updates since I run those numbers anyway but not much else.

    • Reply
      January 2, 2024 at 9:40 pm

      Hi Al—I’m sad to hear that we’re in the same boat when it comes to blogging, but at least we’re not alone! Good for you for posting monthly. I can’t even manage that, ha ha.

  • Reply
    Maria @ Handful of Thoughts
    January 2, 2024 at 12:27 am

    I think you’ve gone through a natural transition with your blog. A few years ago I gave up trying to “game the system” and am now enjoying writing again. I’ve taken the pressure off of myself and the blog is still there ticking along. I’ve decided it’s a hobby and not all hobbies have to be monetized.

    So keep writing as long as it’s enjoyable, no matter the frequency.

    • Reply
      January 2, 2024 at 9:50 pm

      Hi Maria—I think you’re right that this was a natural transition with my blog. That’s such a great way to look at it! I appreciate your wise words and reading about how your approach to blogging has changed. Hearing all this from a fellow Canadian blogger is extra meaningful. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Christopher Mercanti
    January 2, 2024 at 5:17 am

    I’ve always enjoyed your blog, Chrissy. Thank you for sharing your journey with us and I’m glad you will continue to do what you do so well. Cheers and all the best to you and your family in 2024!

    • Reply
      January 2, 2024 at 9:52 pm

      Hi Christopher—I always appreciate hearing from you. 🙂 Comments like yours help (a lot) to keep me going. All the best to you and your family in 2024 as well!

  • Reply
    January 2, 2024 at 7:55 am

    I still love to read (as addicted as I am to Instagrm and Youtube) and still love when I get notification of a post in my email inbox. Doesn’t matter to me how frequent or infrequent they are its always a little education and I especially love to hear about families with kids who have achieved FIRE. Thanks for posting. Steve.

    • Reply
      January 2, 2024 at 9:56 pm

      Hi Steve—it’s so nice to know that you like the email notifications! These days, I usually get a bunch of unsubscribes with every email update I send! (But I totally understand why as I get way too many emails myself and have to do a purge every once in a while.) Thank you for sharing your feedback and for taking the time to comment. It helps me to stay motivated. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 3, 2024 at 9:15 am

    Keep plugging away for yourself and also where you are at in the stage of FI and Investing, many people can learn from you. All the best in 2024.

    • Reply
      January 7, 2024 at 6:56 pm

      Hi Chris—thanks for the encouragement. It’s always appreciated. 🙂 All the best to you and your family as well!

  • Reply
    January 3, 2024 at 4:45 pm

    Chrissy – you have done a great job with this blog and I have enjoyed reading many of the interviews and other posts.

    Soon, I will be completing my fourth year of blogging and have enjoyed documenting outdoor trips with my family and friends. I still do the basics in terms of SEO, but I no longer post on Facebook/Instagram when I have a new post out. It hasn’t impacted the website traffic much, which was niche to start with. I do not monetize the blog, so I never felt any pressure on rankings.

    With the increase in popularity of FI(RE), there is more content and I can understand that it is difficult to stand out. However, I still believe that posts with good content will beat posts with short-term SEO gimmicks in the long run. So, whenever you have a good story to share, please post. Wish you the very best!

    • Reply
      January 7, 2024 at 7:11 pm

      Hi Shashi—blogging is so different when growth (and with it, income) are out of the picture. It leads to a healthier, more relaxed mindset. And, as an added benefit, most of the annoying, have-to-do-but-don’t-want-to-do tasks become irrelevant and unnecessary. It’s so freeing!

      I think it’s fantastic that you recognized this from the beginning with your blog. I’m sure it saved you a lot of headaches, stress, and frustration! I’ve finally come to the same conclusion as you and can finally let go of tangible measures of blogging success. Instead, I’ll base my “success” solely on more holistic factors: how much fun I’m having and my helpfulness to others. 😊

      Thank you for your supportive comment and continued readership!

  • Reply
    January 4, 2024 at 11:52 am

    I just cannot believe how much I have learned from you through the blog – it has been fascinating to learn about how people live in different parts of the country & the world, how to invest and how to finally stop working. You have been amazing in helping me see so much out there that I was oblivious to. I will remain your fan no matter and I am so lucky that I actually get to see you to continue to be “schooled”.

    • Reply
      January 7, 2024 at 7:20 pm

      Hi Mom—you’ve always been one of my biggest fans, and I’m always touched by your supportive comments. I’m happy that we both get to continue learning from each other!

  • Reply
    IF - Impersonal Finances
    January 5, 2024 at 1:05 pm

    This totally resonates with me–I’ve significantly cut down blog time, but find that I still enjoy it when I sit down and type something up. I’ve decided I’m not going to pretend it’s a feasible side hustle–though I’ll accept the few hundred bucks that come my way–and just do it on my own schedule with topics I really want to explore. That tends to be the winning formula anyway. Looking forward to reading more, to whatever extent that is!

    • Reply
      January 7, 2024 at 7:27 pm

      Hi IF—I like what you said here: “I’m not going to pretend it’s a feasible side hustle.” Ha ha, that is so true. While my biggest goal was and still is to help others, the potential for my blog to be a side hustle was very alluring.

      I like your new, healthier blogging approach. Like you, I’ll no longer pretend that it’s a feasible side hustle. Instead, I’ll be satisfied if my blog earns enough to cover its costs and (maybe treat myself to a bubble tea once in a while)! Thanks for your continued support. 🙂

  • Reply
    Money Mechanic
    January 6, 2024 at 10:30 am

    Consistently inconsistent, I might have to borrow that for FI Garage. Congrats on the 5 years, and I can relate to the content creation struggle. It’s always been a hobby for me, with the benefit of learning and helping others. But as life goes on and priorities change it’s hard to keep up the focus and motivation. Have a great 2024!!

    • Reply
      January 7, 2024 at 7:30 pm

      Hi MM—I miss FI Garage and was just thinking it’s been a while since you last released an episode! You know there are a bunch of us diehards that will be ready and waiting whenever you and the boys can record again. Life continues to evolve for you and me both, and your comment about priorities changing really resonates. I look forward to seeing what 2024 brings! All the best to you and your wife, my friend!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2024 at 1:11 am

    always like reading your blogs whenever they come out, but also happy to know you’re out enjoying life with your family. have a great 2024!

    • Reply
      February 13, 2024 at 7:40 pm

      Hi cee—Sorry for my delayed reply. It’s been a crazy few weeks! Thank you so much for continuing to follow my blog and taking the time to comment. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 23, 2024 at 1:12 pm

    A finance based FI blog requires accuracy in providing info. Very different from other personal interest blogs, like mine which focuses on travel, cycling, food and art from a Canadian perspective. To stay in the blogger world, your heart needs to be there. I never bothered with SEO. But instead focused on being positive and responsive to readers and commenters.

    If part of the objective is monetization, that would be a tiring red herring, because remember, even regular published authors of books are not paid much these days at all. Yet as readers, we still expect quality writing just like a few decades ago. But we are paying the authors less.

    What it is suggested, is to make your content unique which inevitably draws upon personal examples. Do remember AI will be configured soon, if not already to become sophisticated to mine our original content. So this is why your blogging voice must remain “unique” in style and examples

    • Reply
      February 25, 2024 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Jean—those are fantastic observations. I’ve always shared the same blogging mindset as you, but now that I’ve let go of the SEO and strategic stuff, it feels so freeing!

      The focus now is purely on enjoyment and helping others. Most of the not-fun, yucky stuff is gone, which I’m thrilled about!

      Excellent points about the decreasing income that’s going to writers and other content creators. It’s sad and worrisome, especially in areas such as journalism, which is so important for healthy democracies.

      I hope that, like other automations that have come before, AI will free us to do more important things rather than take away jobs (and/or take over the world)! 😱

      • Jean
        February 29, 2024 at 4:17 pm

        I really think your children have serious challenges with AI embedded all over.

        As a parent , hope you encourage them to their own reading and deep thinking for complex articles/texts and check reference sources. I will have a blog post about what I think about AI and writing.

      • Chrissy
        March 3, 2024 at 6:50 pm

        Hi Jean—you bring up excellent points. Yes, we are most definitely preparing our children for the unstoppable proliferation of AI. We discuss the increase in false information, jobs being made redundant, the importance of media literacy and critical thinking, etc. etc.

        Thankfully, they are also taught all these things at school, and started learning from a young age to cite credible sources for their research and writing. I would love to read your thoughts on this topic and will watch for this post on your blog!

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