MapleMoney’s Biggest Moments

maplemoney-podcast-cover

Last time, Tom Drake looked back on a decade of MapleMoney blogging and podcasting. This time out, he shares his five biggest moments.

Biggest surprise: My biggest surprise might be the response to the podcast. We’re still within the first year and people really seem to like it. I’m still having issues listening to my own voice, but there’s a great team behind the scenes and I expect it to be the top Canadian personal finance podcast within its first year!

Biggest success:
The biggest success was the results of rebranding from Canadian Finance Blog to MapleMoney. When I made the switch, traffic dropped for six months, but I didn’t look back and have come out with a site that is ready for a new level of growth. This January’s page views were the fourth largest month ever for the site! Having a real brand, plus no longer having “blog” in the name, lead to a massive redesign and the launch of the podcast, both of which have increased visitor’s trust in the site and given us new opportunities to grow.

Biggest story:
Jim Yih from Retire Happy wrote a post on MapleMoney about a scam he uncovered when looking to buy a car. Have a look at the hundreds of comments and you’ll get an idea of the amount of money we saved people from getting scammed out of.

Biggest post:
Having a look at my analytics to confirm, the all-time biggest post over the decade has been this one on how much money you need to retire. However, looking at just last year, this newer guide to buying stocks has been doing great.

Biggest disappointment:
My biggest disappointment was back in 2012. I had taken a six-month parental leave to be with my family and give the full-time blogger thing a test drive. But that’s the same time I got hit with Google penalties that dropped my search traffic. I wasn’t really able to work on the blog “full time” because we were busy with a newborn and an energetic two year old. I think it took a couple years to fully recover from that.

Kevin Press

Tom Drake’s MapleMoney Miracle

maple-money-logo-centred

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.