Tom Drake’s MapleMoney Miracle

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Ten years after Tom Drake launched his MapleMoney blog, the site and its accompanying podcast have evolved as premier Canadian sources of independent guidance on “how to make money, save money, invest money and spend money.”

He and I traded emails this week about the success of maplemoney.com.

Did you ever imagine you’d get to a 10th anniversary?

I wasn’t really expecting much at all when I first started my blog. However, after a year or two in, not only could I see the 10th anniversary, I really couldn’t imagine ever giving this up. Managing the blog and helping so many Canadians with their money has become a big part of my life.

We had a sense back in 2009 that the post-crisis recovery would be long and slow. Has it played out the way you expected?

I’d say the finish line after a decade played out how I expected – the idea that the markets would recover their losses and then continue up from here. But I was expecting the lows to last longer back in 2009-2010. I sat on some cash expecting further drops, but unfortunately, it’s not easy to time the market, even at the bottom!

How significant a contribution have Canadian personal finance blogs made during that time?

I think Canadian personal finance blogs have had a huge impact on how people manage their money. More and more people are getting their information online. Even if they just visit one page and never return, what they left with might be the key to increasing their income or ensuring their retirement.

Has your blog evolved the way you expected?

I could have done without some of the traffic volatility in the past. But right now, by many metrics, MapleMoney is the largest independent personal finance blog in Canada. So I can’t really complain, but always have the drive to reach more Canadians that could use some help with their finances.

How does the podcast differ?

Ultimately we’re covering the same topics, but there are a few things that I think make the MapleMoney Show different than the blog.

First, it’s been a better medium to connect with my audience. They’ve made the decision to have me talk to them for 30 minutes each week, that’s a lot more personal than reading an article.

Next, I bring on experts that, more often than not, know more than I do about the topic for that episode.

Finally, it’s potentially a different audience that I may not have reached with writing alone. I know I listen to certain podcasts myself where I’ve never even visited their website.

A big picture blogging question: how would you describe the state of the medium?

That’s an interesting question as blogging is in constant evolution. I’d say the state of blogging is strong, but it’s more important than ever to expand with the trends.

With things like mobile and voice search, we are heading in a direction of fewer people sitting down to read something. We talked about podcasting, but other directions to go in could include video on YouTube, stories on Instagram, or in-person events. I’ve seen entire businesses built by bloggers on all of these different paths.

What’s next?

We’re looking at quite a few options for the site right now, including structuring the operations like a proper business and hiring to fill a few roles. After a decade of “seat of your pants” decision-making and doing too much work myself, it’s time to stop being “just a blog” and starting to be a legit “online publisher.”

Kevin Press

Next, Tom shares the biggest moments from a decade of MapleMoney.

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