The blog

Revealing all my blog statistics since I started this blog!

I started this blog in November 2018 when I did not had a clear view yet on what direction I wanted to go. I had a big interest in investing, money and FIRE and wanted to bring this from a European point of view.

I was not only starting a blog, I was also searching for a direction. Both for my blog but also for myself and my own investing. I called the blog Euromoney because of my interest in investing, FIRE & money in general. Later this would be rebranded to roadtriptofire.com

Blog statistics

My first year (2018 – 2019) of blogging

The first months I had almost no visitors. I had no experience with blogging and I had no idea how to get people to find and like my blog. I started off with some general articles (such as top 25 methods to gain a passive income – still very popular) but I was not very open about my finances.

My initial visitors pretty much only came from advertising on forums and blogs. I remember how much I wanted people to read the blog posts I wrote and was sharing it in chats hoping to get some feedback.

I even shared the blog with some friends hoping to boost my visitors. Later I realized its better not to share my blog with people I know and to keep a low profile. Luckily they did not stick around and probably have forgotten by now my blog even exists.

In terms of visitors the first year was a disaster. I did got 148 views my first month, partly due to massive advertising, but the months after this my views were limited to even 10-20 at the low peaks.

The reasons for the low amount are:

  • #1 No SEO experience
  • #2 No clear direction of where the blog was going
  • #3 And because of #2 it also meant I had a lack of quality content, I actually had written very few blogs

It was in summer 2019 that I decided to start being more open with my own investments. One thing I wanted to start doing was monthly portfolio updates. My first portfolio update was called summer 2019 investments in turbulent times. I talked about investing in $Galapagos, on which I made an incredible profit. I sold it to soon at the time as the course still almost doubled later on, but right now the course actually dropped much much lower due to 2 failed medicines and I am considering to re-invest.

I shared the blog and did got an instant boost in views that month. 121 views to be exact, extremely low of course, but compared to the 10-20 views per month the previous month it was an increase of 600%.

I did share this post on some forums, and the feedback I got was that the statistics meant nothing because there was no numbers. They were right, I could pretty much say anything in my blog, I could say I had 10000% profit, if I did not post the numbers each and every month I could tell my readers whatever I liked.

At the same time I was reading a lot about peer to peer investing. The $Galapagos stocks profit went mainly to this new type of investing called peer to peer. As it was quite new it spiked interests of visitors. My visitors were rising, people enjoyed to read about this type of investment and at the same time I decided to invest more and more in peer to peer. The views went up every month to about 200 views every month and even 400 in December.

Year 2 – 2020

I also started to connect with the right groups on Facebook and they loved to read about my portfolio updates. Encouraged by a growing audience I blogged more about peer to peer and even invested more. I started also gaining some affiliate income from peer to peer, sometimes up to 50 EUR per month.

Then something happened that would spike my visitors amount but also kill my income.

In December 2019/January 2020 it became clear that some platforms I had invested in turned out to be scams. We are talking about the very clear scams here. Kuetzal was the first, followed by Envestio and Monethera. I had about 1000 EUR in each of these and I remember lying awake at night in December thinking of how dumb I was to fall for this trick.

I learned three important lessons:

  • Liquidity in investments is everything. You need to be able to pull out when things get rough in time
  • What is good for visitors number in your blog, might not be good for your wallet
  • High risk, high gain investments, are sometimes just high risk

While Kuetzal caught me by surprise, I decided to issue a buyback right away (at a 5%-10% expense) for Envestio and Monethera. For Envestio I actually managed to pull out literally days before the site and its 30M of investments disappeared in thin air.

What was bad for my wallet was good for my blog, and the many blog posts I could write in this period about Envestio, Monethera and Kuetzal gave my blog a huge spike in visitors, topping to 3394 views in February 2020.

I made the decision right there & then to pull out of peer to peer. While some peer to peers had a buy-back mechanism, most did not have this. In April 2020 it meant that when Grupeer went into default my investments were pretty much still stuck there. This caused my largest loss as of yet with 9k.

I started legal proceedings with other investors suing both Grupeer and Kuetzal.

For my blog and investments it meant once more finding a new direction. The majority of my readers came from the peer to peer world, and they might lose interest if I decided to stop blogging about this topic. But I had very little choice. My investments were moving to ETFs and I would need to somewhat find a new userbase that was more interested in FIRE and the stock market.

End of 2020 / 2021

In summer 2020 I also started a little side project and that gave me less time to blog. I picked it back up in autumn with a more clear direction then ever (FIRE), and a rebranding from euromoney.blog to roadtriptofire.com and have seen a constant increase in visitors now since my low point in 2020 (820 views in September):

  • 820 in September 2020
  • 882 in October 2020
  • 1455 in November 2020
  • 1601 in December 2020
  • 2131 in January 2021

Also in February I have good hopes to break the 2000 views this month. If you are reading this you are part of this story, so thank you so much for reading this and supporting me!

The rebrand did make sure I got a temporarily decline in google visitors but by now it has picked up again to the levels I got from google from before the rebrand, and they go even higher

Yearly results

All in all I must say that 2020 was a good year with 20.000 visitors. Especially when comparing with 2018 and 2019 you can literally see that the visitor number skyrocketed in 2020. In 2021 I would be very happy to hit 30.000 / year.

User engagement

Another important statistic on my blog is the user engagement.

What I noticed is that I got a bit more likes every month. I think this says something about both the quality of my blog, as about the quality of my readers. So far it peaked last month in January with 72 likes! A like is so much appreciated guys, comments even more! I love to engage with all of you and always read & answer all comments / questions.

Where do my visitors come from?

Traffic from Search engines

I noticed there is three items that bring in visitors from google:

  • The amount of visitors your posts have
  • Your domain rating
  • And lastly good and quality content

I recorded the amount of visitors I got from search engines each month and here is the result:

My peak so far was in November 2020 with 154, in December I rebranded to roadtriptofire.com causing a drop, but in January 2021 I was almost back at my all times high.

One of the reasons google picked up my blog again so fast is because of the content. I now have a few 100s of pages of content and this really helps to increase the traffic.

Domain rating & backlinks

Domain rating is quite important to bring in visitors. Together with your content and amount of visitors on your blog it determines how high your results will rank on google.

Your domain rating is in part determined by the number of quality links going to your blog. Sounds simple doesn’t it? You can just post your link everywhere and your domain rating will skyrocket. Well its not so simple. Mostly when you post your link it will be stamped as “nofollow”, so it will not count towards your domain rating.

You could just ask other websites to link to your blog in exchange for a link back right (aslo called backlinks)? Well not quite. Firstly a link back will not earn as much as a one way link, secondly a site with a low domain rating linking to a site with a high domain rating will pretty much have no increase for that site with the high domain rating. Meaning when you start off other sites have very little benefits to linking to your site.

What is a good idea is to ask for backlinks of good blogs with similar content as you. This will not just boost your domain rating, it will also bring in visitors who are interested in your specific content. A cooking site linking to my site would probably not bring in much value, but a site about investing will.

Lastly you can write guest posts on other blogs. Its not something I have done so far, but it is something I am considering for sure.

My Domain rating on Euromoney.blog was about 11 at he point of rebranding, thanks to my experience I have with blogging so far I was able to bring the domain rating of roadtriptofire.com from 1 to 17 in a little over two months.

Email subscribers and social media

The best way to bring in visitors for a blog is of course is email subscribers and direct followers. At the time of writing my email + followers is about 118. I can see it fluctuates, and people sometimes to “unfollow”. I am not sure if this is because they expect a follow back or because they are not interested in the content anymore. It does show you need to make sure every single one of your blog posts is high quality.

I have the most followers on twitter (667 at the time of writing), and still rising each month.

I do enjoy to tweet and talk on twitter about investing. It does bring in some visitors every time I create a blog post.

I follow back if I like the content this person brings, otherwise I don’t.

I am also on Facebook in two ways:

My own Facebook group only has 99 likes. So if you are reading this go smash that like button and help me get to 100.

I noticed that high quality Facebook groups can actually bring in a lot of visitors. The spike in 3k visitors in January 2019 actually came mainly from Facebook. However you need to make sure your content is exactly right for that group before you post it. If you just advertise blindly without thinking you will most likely just be banned from that group, excluding yourself from possible future visitors.

Blog income & expenses

I have my blog at wordpress, that charges me about 8$ / month to keep this blog up. I have the Premium subscription that gives me access to my own domain and WordPress premium themes, which I both considered important.

I have tried the business edition for a short period (25$ / month), but I thought it was to expensive for the extra features it offered.

My biggest miss in the premium is that I can’t use JavaScript. Otherwise I am quite happy of all the features wordpress has to offer.

I also have purchased a domain which costs about 22$ / year (roadtriptofire.com). I thought it was important to have a .com domain.

If you would like to start a blog you can use my link both you and me will get some free credits to start off with.

For income I have tried several sources of income:

  • Donations – 0$ income so far
  • Affiliate links – around 50-100$ income last year
  • Advertising – right now about 1$ per month

Affiliate links brought in money mainly from peer to peer. I had also tried a partnership with DEGIRO, but actually my links were not used to sign up even once. A bit similar results with other affiliate links, such as from Amazon.

Advertising brings up about 1$ per 1500 views from WordPress Adds. From google the income is actually much higher, but to do that you need the business membership, and this will not be worth it until your visitor count is around 10.000 / month I would say.

I am not to bothered with gaining no income so far, I am much more focused on producing content, talking about my content and increasing my user base.

Conclussions

There is no easy path to growing your blog. Some unexpected events can give you a sudden boost in visitors, but mainly its about producing high quality content for long periods of time.

Don’t start a blog for the wrong reasons, its not a way to get rich. Start a blog because you love to write. I love to write and talk about my investments with you guys. This is why I will keep writing about my Investments, FIRE, my blog, travels,…

I will probably post another one of these later on and keep you guys informed of visitor numbers. Enjoyed this read and want to stay in the loop? Subscribe and stay up to date.

Uncategorized

Change in URL to https://roadtriptofire.com

In 2 weeks I will be changing the domain from euromoney.blog to roadtriptofire.com

I chose Euromoney as I didn’t knew what direction I wanted this blog to go out, the only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to have something about money and investing.

As the entire blog is now about FIRE and financial independence, I decided to register the domain that I was already using as a slogan of this website for a long time.

I also always regretted not having a .com domain as it does look more professional and you are a bit more independent of WordPress. I am using wordpress now but I do feel there is some limitations here and there, and being more independent will allow me to keep my options open.

The big downside is I need to start building my backlinks again from 0, but I do know better how to do it now, so I feel I will get a good backlink rate faster.

Please update your favorites, bookmarks or any links to this site you have to https://roadtriptofire.com. The switch date will be the weekend of the 12th of December.

If you are subscribed by email, nothing will change your email will get the new links automatically.

Additionally I will be looking for a professional logo designer for a new logo for the Website.

Thank you for your continuous support and if you haven’t already please subscribe!

Personal

Going on vacation to Luxembourg during Corona times | June update

Read my other blogs about my life during Corona:

Its now June Belgium has been stuck in the age of Corona for 3 months now. But again a month has gone by, read bellow what was changed and how this affects my life!

  • The borders have re-opened, since the 15th of June Belgians are welcome in plenty of EU member-states again. And I will use this opportunity to do a small trip abroad, but more about that bellow
  • Restaurants and bars have re-opened finally! I don’t see many people sitting inside yet, but plenty of people are outside on terraces
  • Indoor sports are allowed again
  • You can now have a “bubble” that means you can invite up to 10 people at home. Every week you can change your bubble, so you are pretty much allowed to see anyone you know again.
  • Mouth-masks are still obligated on public transport but nowhere else. That unlike other countries where they are allowed everywhere again
  • Some schools / classes are open, but not yet all of them
  • Picnics and sitting down in public areas is now allowed again
  • The last update there was 1448 in the hospital and 277 on intensive care, today there is 308 people in the hospital and 50 in intensive care in Belgium so that’s another huge drop!
  • Tourism is allowed again but events are not. The event sector feels a bit bypassed I am sure, but really its understandable that events with 1000 people are not allowed. We need to avoid a second lockdown, and large amounts of people together is just not a good idea right now..

Update on my personal life

I have really gotten used to this new way of life. When I finish work I am already at home, I didn’t had to use my car or the train to get home, and I feel very refreshed. I am using this extra energy to do more sports.

  • I sport about 6-8 hours / week now. Mostly tennis and mountainbike, but I am open for a new sport
  • I have met friends and colleagues after work to sport together, or to go to a bar and do a terrace. I still avoid going inside restaurants or bars.
  • I feel much healthier and less stressful. I don’t know if its because I work from home or sport more often.

How are things at work

I have now been working for 3 months! I gotten so used to this way of life.

  • I went to have beers with colleagues several times now. It was good to see them again
  • I really do feel I could use an extra room to have an office in case I need to work longer from home in the future
  • Working at home has been extended until end of September, and even then nothing is certain right now

Upcoming trip to Luxembourg!

I have actually planned a trip! I am going to Echternach in Luxembourg, and I am leaving tomorrow (22nd of June)!

  • I am just going for a few days. The area is known for (apart from the beautiful old town of Echternach), walking, cycling and kayaking
  • I am driving there by car, somehow I don’t think stepping into an airplane is a good idea right now
  • I am staying in Germany across the border because it was much cheaper (75 EUR / night in a really nice hotel 10 minutes from Echternach)
  • Germany and Luxembourg have different rules then Belgium. Mouth-masks are more obligated there so I will pack some extra
  • I am sure travelling will be different, but as I plan to do mainly outdoor activities and the weather is looking great, I do feel its just as safe as in Belgium right now

I will report next month how it went, and whats its like to travel in these times. Hopefully I can add some of my own photos then, but for now I will post some stock photos bellow so you have an idea of what to expect..

Echternach the city
View of a waterfalls you can encounter on a hike near Echternach

How are my investments doing?

The stock market keeps going up slowly. So far I have good hopes that in a few months the stock market will be recovered fully, especially considering that we are getting closer and closer to a vaccine. I hear the Oxford vaccine (if it works) might already be available in the UK in October. So perhaps in Belgium by December?

Last month was terrible for searching a house. Almost all houses got sold instantly. I do have the impression that real estate agents are still working to work trough their backlog, and things are improving slowly. I keep looking and hopefully I will run into something I like soon.

Follow me if you are interested to see how I manage to cope with these crazy times! And remember stay healthy!

Financial Independence · saving

How cycling will help you reach Financial Independence faster

Hobby’s can have a bigger influence then you think about Financial independence. Remember every euro you spend is a euro less you can invest. I have done a dozen of different hobby’s in my life, sailing, surfing, horse riding, scuba – diving, running, swimming, .. and the list goes on. Until I knew FIRE I never really tried to balance the fun it gave me with the cost. If two hobbys give you the same amount of fun then why would you not go for the cheapest hobby?

What do hobby’s cost?

I do not think you should hold back with spending of your favorite hobby. Even if you chose a more expensive hobby. I do think you should control yourself on spending a lot of money on different hobby’s. Generally hobby’s become cheaper the more time you spend doing them. In the initial stage you will usually spend a lot of money on classes and rent of materials. Once you both have the knowledge to do your hobby and the equipment then things will become a lot cheaper for you and things will come down more to maintenance cost.

At the top of the class we have the most expensive hobbys. Yacht sailing for example. Once you passed trough the training lessons it can cost a few 10.000’s to get your own Yacht. Flying airplanes or Hot Air Baloons fall in the same category. You could of course limit yourself to taking classes and renting equipment. But if you plan to do that every week it could get expensive fast.

In the middle class we have hobby’s horseback riding, diving and sailing smaller boats. Even a smaller boat like a laser can cost 5000 EUR to get it. Additionally you need room to store your boat. The same goes for a horse, the costs of a horse are similar to a small boat, but you will pay a bigger maintenance cost. It needs much more room then a boat and of course you need to feed it every day, costing easily a few 100’s per month. The equipment of a diver is not so expensive. You probably have a full kit for 2000-3000 EUR. But you will still spend a lot on gas or travelling to go diving in your country or abroad.

In the lower end we have hobby’s like cycling, walking, swimming, running, playing board games, gaming, dancing, … These usually have a low startup cost, and do not need much maintenance. Probably you can budget less then 100 EUR per month for these and that should be enough.

Why I chose cycling as my main hobby

I got into cycling rather by accident. My sister let me ride her mountainbike and I really liked the way it drove. At some point she convinced me to get my own and I participated in my first tour. The tour was organised, costed about 5 EUR to join, and was about 30 KM. During the tour we met two checkpoints where we could eat and drink all the snacks we wanted. There was signs put up everywhere along the road to make it easy for cyclists to follow the road. I loved the landscapes, nature and I was incredibly surprised of the value for money I was getting here.

It was actually a very painful 30KM, especially the last 10. I was not prepared at all, my tires were at 1 BAR (recommended is 2,5-4 BAR), and I had a big backpack holding some extra drinks and equipment. This made my first ride quite a challenge in terms of effort. But I was happy, I loved it and I had finally found a hobby that I liked and was surprised how affordable it was.

How much does cycling cost?

Just to be specific, the type of cycling I am doing is mountainbiking. I started one year ago with a beginners bicycle I bought at the decathlon. It costed 300 EUR. Of course the type of bicycle is important for your speed, you will go faster with a lighter bicycle, but I do not have that much trouble to keep up with friends or colleagues, in fact at this point I can out-cycle even some of them with a more expensive mountain-bike. At the start of your cycling career getting condition is actually the most important.

My Mountainbike that I purchased for 300 EUR

After you get the cycle I recommend to also got the following:

  • Some kind of membership or subscription. I got myself a membership at Cycling Vlaanderen for 30 EUR. Apart from slightly cheaper tour costs they will also recover you if you have an issue with your bicycle
  • An extra spare inner tire (3,5 EUR) + pins to help you change the tire (about 1 EUR)
  • A holder for my phone, this way I didn’t had to buy a GPS (20 EUR), and I could do tours by myself
  • Extra Power-bank (20 EUR): I needed this to recharge my phone for rides over 55KM
  • Wireless Earplugs for music (30 EUR)
  • A bag for extra gear I can tie to my bicycle (10 EUR)
  • Watterbottle (10 EUR)
  • Helmet (30 EUR)
  • Sunglasses and Rain-glasses(35 EUR)
  • Click-pedals and click-shoes are needed for winter and steep trails in summer (100 EUR)
  • Summer clothing (50 EUR): short trousers, shirt
  • Winter Clothing (200-250 EUR): jacket, long trousers, shoe protectors, gloves, light warm sweater
  • Organised tours cost about 5 EUR each, I do about two per month. The advantage is you get free snacks (all you can eat!) on the tour so you almost save money by participating. Often I also get a free sandwich, fries or a beer after the tour.
  • Powerbars + Energy sugar to mix with water

So year one to startup / total costs was about 1000 EUR. It seems a lot but I did not buy everything at once. If you start in summer you can just start with 500 EUR, and the rest of the year you can slowly build up your gear. Year two will be a lot cheaper since by now I have most of my gear (of course there will be a maintenance cost), which goes back to my first point that every hobby has a startup cost.

With this gear I am able to cycle by myself for long distances in both summer and winter, up to 80 km per trip so far, so for a beginner its really enough.

I estimate I will spend about 400 EUR in year two. 100 EUR for maintenance on the bicycle (I try to do most myself but I cant do everything), 30 EUR for a membership fee, 150 EUR for entries for tours and events, 70 EUR for food (powerbars), and 100 EUR for new clothes if required. I might need to set some extra aside as well for a new bicycle at some point.

One more point. I also really LOVE to cycle in nature. So apart from choosing a cheap hobby I am also happy to have found something I really enjoy.

Additionally I can save some parking costs because I more often take the bicycle to meet with friends, you might save on health costs in the long run and if there is a lockdown you can still visit family and friends 😉

And why not consider replacing the car by cycling all along? Right now thats one step to far for me, but its good I will have the ability and the condition to do this if it would be needed at some point.

Let me know what hobby you do!

So what hobby did you chose? Do you know what it costs you? Please let me know bellow in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe 😉

investing

Four ways the lockdown is affecting my daily life – May update

Read my other blogs about Corona:

By now we have reached May and Belgium has lowered some of the restrictions in place making it more “livable” to live with the corona virus.

  • Shops have re-opened, even though I have not done any actual shopping yet
  • All outdoor sports are now allowed and this up to groups of 20 people
  • You can now have a “bubble” that means you can invite up to 4 people at home. Those 4 people are then part of your bubble but then those 4 people also need to have the exact same bubble.
  • Its been about two weeks since the bubble measure went into effect, so everyone is worried to see the effect of this, but so far it has been positive and the numbers keep dropping
  • Mouth-masks are now obligated on public transport, and apparently also useful, after months of government communications to not wear them because they have barely any effect, suddenly they are obligated
  • The numbers are far better then one month ago
  • Most schools are still closed, but they have re-opened for certain age groups
  • Restaurants, bars are still closed. I do not see dancing’s opening any time soon this year, perhaps not at all
  • Picnics or sitting down during walks are still not allowed
  • Working from home is still highly recomended
  • Realtors can sell houses again! So this is very positive for house hunters like myself.
  • The last update there was 5309 people in the hospital and 1182 in intensive care. As you can see on bellow update now there is only 1448 in the hospital and 277 on intensive care, so a huge drop!
Source: het laatste nieuws

#1 In my personal life

While the beginning of the lockdown I focused more on how to not get infected I now focus more on how to cope with my new situation.

  • I try to do more different sports now, since more is allowed then just walking, cycling and running. I went for tennis, and looking into sailing (I am a sailor and this is now allowed again)
  • I still mountainbike a lot, around 2 trips per week usually around 30-50km per week
  • I can now visit family by car, I haven’t gone inside anyones house yet, but I have been enjoying drinks and lunch in the garden
  • I have not invited anyone at home, my apartment is just to small
  • I go more often to the supermarket (about twice a week) but I always wear a mouthmask
  • I buy about 1-2 VR games per week, that also keeps me busy
  • I have some issues at my back and I am unable to see a physiotherapists since its considered non – essential

#2 At work

I have been working from home for over 2 months now. I have gotten quite used to it.

  • I actually met my colleagues this week for a nice mountainbike tour of 50km on the countryside. We will do this once a month
  • I got used to working from home, I feel neutral about it, but I do miss the after-work events
  • My company is slowly preparing to go back to the office. They expect that in June critical workers can start again in the offices, and perhaps in July we can go back to the customer, maybe not full time but at least part time. I am really looking forward to that.
  • I have officially canceled my apartment in Amsterdam and last weekend I went downthere to clean it up. I had a limited visa for 3 days, but I managed to move everything in 1 day. To be honest I did threw a lot of things in the trash I would not have thrown away otherwise, but its a long drive there and we still need to limit our exposure.

#3 Personal travel and holidays

I am not planning any travelling right now, I will probably take holidays the last 2-3 weeks of August. I doubt I will be going abroad, it is not exactly safe at this time. I might book something in Belgium.

#4 In my investments

The stock market has gone up a little. Not enough yet to fix the losses I made, but let’s hope it will continue to rise. Although its likely we might need to wait a few years to see that.

I have lowered my investments for this month. Its related both to the wage drop due to not being allowed to do business trips, and the fact I am getting more serious about a house, so I do want to have a bit of extra in the money market. Once I bought a house I will be renting off the apartment I live in now, and this will cause a big spike in investments in my portfolio.

In the first place I have not seen a drop in price of houses. It was to be expected that some people would be desperate after not seeing anything on the market for 2 months. But I do feel that we can still get a drop if the situation continues.

I went to see one house already but thought it was way to expensive for the location and state of the house.

I have been selling off my peer to peer loans as you can see in my monthly portfolio update. I expect I will put most of this money in my housing fund.

Follow me if you are interested to see how much further my portfolio will crash before I hit rock bottom!