When I launched this blog back in the good old days, I barely knew what a blog was. I had heard the term but I had never actually seen one. I joke that the first blog post I ever read was the first post I ever wrote. If it is funny it is because it is true.
In that Spring of 2011 I was writing some letters to my daughter concerning a few financial things I thought she should know but that she wasn’t yet ready or willing to hear. These were my insurance against the possibility that should I not be around if and when the time came, she’d still be able to access what I had to say.
I shared these with a business friend who suggested other friends and family members might find them useful. He suggested the blog and pointed me to WordPress. This is why it is titled jlcollinsnh.com; I wanted these people to know it was me. I never dreamed it would have a broader audience. For that matter, I had no idea there were other financial blogs out there, most with clever and descriptive names.
After about a year, thanks in large part to this guest post Mr. MM asked me to write, the readership here began to explode. The blog now has an international audience and generates ~100,000 pages views a month from ~35,000 unique visitors. I’m told this is pretty good.
I’m not sure about that, but what I do know is that keeping it up and running has become increasingly more expensive and complex. Last Spring, for instance, it crashed and burned – finally going off-line completely. By imposing on the generosity of my blogging friends and Mrs. jlcollinsnh, who is far more temperamentally suited than I in dealing with this stuff, we finally realized we needed a more robust hosting service, picked one and got the site migrated.
Mainly because we really didn’t know what we were doing or how to do it, it was a bloody nightmare. It felt like God telling me my blogging days had run their course, and I very nearly shut the doors. But cooler heads prevailed.
I’m glad they did. Almost every day I get emails or comments from readers telling me how valuable the information here has been for them. The praise is almost embarrassing, but I’d be lying if I didn’t also admit to it being very gratifying. Motivating, too. Perhaps more than anything I’ve ever done, with this blog I have the feeling of contributing in a positive way.
The blog has also introduced me to many new and fascinating friends and their ideas. It has allowed me to help create cool new events like the Chautauquas and to attend cool events created by others like FinCon.
So I have reason to want to continue with it. But the problems have not gone away and the expenses are growing.
Over the past week the blog has again begun to have some operating issues and, at the suggestion of Synthesis (my new host since last Spring), I just updated to their more powerful (and costly) service. However, there are still snags and they have given me a list of plugin changes, upgrades and deletions they suggest. Plus WordPress is nagging me to upgrade to 4.0.
I’m very reluctant to take these steps because, in the past, one change leads to something else not working creating a snowball effect that has me sitting on the window ledge. I’m clearly going to need help.
Who better to ask than the smartest people in the world: The readers of this blog.
If you have the technical expertise and believe in the mission of this blog (and that last is very important to me), please read on. Here’s what I think I need:
1. Technical WordPress support. Keeping the blog updated and the plugins current and optimal.
2. Design help. Making the blog as appealing, simple, useful and easy to read and navigate as possible.
3. Technical interface with Synthesis, either directly or helping me understand how to work with them effectively.
4. Help to better monetize the blog. As I mentioned, the costs of operating it are rising. While I’ve added Adsense and have a couple of affiliate programs with Betterment and Empower, I don’t really understand how these things work and how they might work better for me. Or if there are other options that might work better still.
This is further complicated by the fact there are many ways to monetize that don’t serve my readers and which I am therefore unwilling to adopt. Here the reader will always come first and anyone wanting to help in this regard should be on board with this ethic.
5. Other important stuff I’m not experienced enough to know I need.
I don’t expect, or even want, only one person to do all this.
In addition to technical expertise I’m looking for people who sweat the details, take the time to understand what is being asked and who are great communicators. People who respond promptly, are dead reliable and who do what they say they will when they say they will. It’s a lot to ask for the little tasks this blog needs, but that’s why I’m only interested in people who deeply understand and value what I’m trying to do here.
If you think you’d like to help, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In it tell me who you are, what you can do, how I can know you can do it, why you want to, why I can trust you and why we’ll have fun working together. Also, how working with you would work. Be sure the subject line reads: Help Wanted: name of what you can help with
Another thing I’d like to do is to create a forum here, like that on MMM but smaller and more focused. I’d see it taking the place of Ask JLCollins and as a way for readers to interact and help each-other. I’d join in as needed and as I had time.
But I’d need someone who knows how to create such a thing and volunteer moderators. Any takers? If so, shoot me an email to address in the post with — Help Wanted: Forum — in the subject line.