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Trent from The Simple Dollar’s Tipping Point

Posted By Darren Rowse 24th of May 2008 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Today Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar shares his blog’s tipping point.

For me, the tipping point of The Simple Dollar was the removal of a mental block. Prior to starting The Simple Dollar, I’d had limited success with blogging and I’d chosen to convince myself that the reason for that relative failure is that others had access to some “secret” that I didn’t have – it was a buddy’s club that I was excluded from for some reason. I was bitter about it, to say the least.

With that philosophy, I started The Simple Dollar not believing it was going to be successful at all. I started it intending solely to write about the stuff I was learning about money management – mostly, to work through my own personal finance goals and such. It really was all about the content – I hacked together my own template and did only the minimal SEO stuff.

That’s why I think that it took off. I didn’t spend my time focusing on SEO optimization or grumbling about how other blogs got all the breaks or judging my own success based on the subscribers and hits that other blogs got. I basically decided that it didn’t matter and really only thought about the content.

That made all the difference in the world, and in my eyes, it is THE reason my blog became successful.

Don’t worry about what others are doing. Don’t sweat the “perfection” of your layout. Focusing in on that stuff just gets in the way of succeeding. Instead, focus on stuff other people want to read. That’s it, seriously – figuring that out and really applying it was my tipping point.

More Blogger Tipping Points

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Tim

    This is excellent advice! My experience is right on with Trent’s … except my blog(s) aren’t as popular as his.

  • I’ll second the content on the The Simple Dollar. They’ve been in my Google Reader for a while now. The site is a great resource for money management.

    This has been an interesting series to say the least. There seems to be a general theme with all the bloggers in that they basically had to get out of their own way mentally and just “do it”

  • It’s a relief to me to see posts like this. I run, which is primarily an 8-year-old discussion forum. We (re-)introduced content to the site in January, using TypePad as a CMS, and I hear people talking about SEO and Twitter and FeedBurner and this and that and the other thing, and I do find myself worrying about how much there is about this stuff that I don’t know. But what I do know is how to put together good content that my community wants.

    I’ve counseled people for years — people who ask for advice about starting up a forum — that it’s not an “if you build it, they will come” proposition, and I know the same is true with the blog business. But on the other hand, without great content, the rest is just empty charts and measures.

  • Your point is well taken. If all you focus on is money, or subscribers, or some other number then you are not focusing on what is most important: YOUR CONTENT

    Money will take care of itself
    Subscribers will take care of themselves

    Your job is to take care of the content.

    Live From Las Vegas
    Where The Cocktail Waitress’ Take Care Of Us
    The Masked Millionaire

  • Wow this is a great post because I am a reader of the Simple Dollar. It is in the same topic as me (finances) and it gives me hope for my financial blog…that as i continue to invest into the content (doing basic seo) then I can grow my blog as large as the simple dollar
    Look out here I come

  • Yes Trent Hamm,
    I do beleive the same. It is always content which can keep visirtors comeback. But most of the bloggers spend time too much on PageRank, SEO, Back Links. What if you have all these good and NO CONTENT. All other stuff can bring visitors but they cant keep them stay on website.

    Visitors are Kings, you cant control them, But Content is Queen. If your queen is worth spending some time, knigs think of it.

    Thank you

  • Wow, this is really powerful advice and refreshing too…thanks, Trent.

  • Again a great article proving that its all in our mind. Once that block within the mind is cleared and God Willing we can do the best. Thanks for sharing.

  • Truely its the content. I was also bothered about other bloggers how they are getting lot of traffic and how they are getting so many subscribers. I have given up blogging after 0 visitors to my blog even after a month.There after i watched on google analytics slowly my visitors growing and came to understand its content and also the time we need to have some patience. Should not expect quick bucks though.

  • I have always been inspired by The Simple Dollar, there is a lot of great content there. Not just the money related, but Trent’s building a better blog series is good as well. One of those blogs & writers that educates as it grows and helps you discover ways to teach yourself also.

  • This looks new and good, thanks!

  • team ray

    me just looking at his stats alexa and all

    and i must say he is very impressive to high a high rss compare to all other stats

  • That’s how most good things in life happen, by chance and doing what you love. When you focus on the small stuff you don’t see the big picture. Excellent thoughts and from this post I’ve been able to explore your blog. Wondeful. I’ve learned a lot from the tipping point posts.

  • Thanks, I really got a lot of reassurance from this tip. For the moment, I’m blogging solely for my own pleasure and satisfaction is enough to keep me motivated each day. I have a few different blogs, but my newest, is my most personally satisfying one to create, almost daily, and I find myself re-reading it regularly because it pleases me so much. That’s enough.

  • I knew intuitively to focus on content over networking, but lately, I’ve been soothing my sophomore period as a blogger by spreading myself too thin with all of these Web 2.0 doodads. So it’s nice to read a reminder from a successful blogger that it really doesn’t matter in the scheme of things.

  • I can’t remember how I found out about Simple Dollar, but I’ve been a reader for nearly a year; I get it every morning in my inbox and I value Trent’s hard work very, very much!!

  • I really found the angle of your post refreshing. It goes without the need to be said that while there is an intensive list of information available on the web, there is always the presence of a systematic process to success which is indeed kept secret.

    It is nice to here that good old fashion will power and consistency still play a vital part in an individual’s blogging success.

  • It was a real pleasure to read such an honest and reassuring article; honest about those feelings I’m sure we have all had when looking at others’ (not always provable!) visitor numbers and reassuring to those of us who put our faith in good, useful content.

  • Great post, Trent. You hit the nail on the head, with the correct perspective all bloggers should have about SEO. In reality, SEO only brings people to your door. It doesn’t make them enter, keep them there, or make them come back as a loyal user. It’s all about the content.

    I can’t lie and state that I don’t spend too much time on SEO. We are all guilty at some point. But, we need to be able to step back from our work and ask…”Would I be interested in this site?”..”What is so compelling that I would come back or refer to a friend?”

    Thanks for the mental reminder.

  • I started my site with the intent of making money, but it wasn’t panning out. After a period of dormancy (because I was getting discouraged) I have basically decided to quit trying to make money and just have fun with the site. If I miss a post, I miss a post, no big deal I don’t worry about it.

    I’m still not making any money, but it’s way less stressful and a ton more fun!

  • Nick,

    I commend you for your persistence in spite of the lack of turn around you were expecting.

    I also suspect that now you have resolved to just blogging for fun, the money part may start evolving and pleasantly surprise you.

    Hence, keep you perspective positive…it’s know to influence to condition of the outcome.

  • Rob

    I’m a regular reader of The Simple Dollar and many other PF blogs. The dicussion of a tipping point is interesting because it attempts to identify a cause for a successful blog. I have no doubt that Trent’s attitude toward his work was a part of his success, but I don’t think it was the tipping point. I think the tipping point was regular links from other big blogs like Get Rich Slowly and Lifehacker. A search on Lifehacker shows 68 links to The Simple Dollar, which obviously went a long way to making TSD a big hit. Now one could say that TSD got those links because of good content, which in turn came from the right mental attitude. One could also say a lot of it was just a combination of hard work and lots and lots of luck. See Fooled by Randomness.