I still remember what I said to myself in January 2014: "Come on, this time I'm passionate about it, it's a blog that's going to last. Not like my previous ones."
Even if I believed it hard, you would have told me at the time that I would still be writing an article at 06:36am in the morning in 2020, I don't know if I would have believed you ;)
Anyway: "Happy birthday dear blog!"
As I do every year, I would like to take this opportunity to look back over the past year and see what's in store for the coming year.
And as Shane from the blog Farnam Street says so well in his annual letters to readers (whose style I will copy shamelessly), what I care about most is you dear reader. You trust me with much more than your clicks on my affiliate links (don't stop please :D) : your time. And it is therefore my duty to offer you the best return on investment to get the best value out of this time that you don't spend doing anything else.
2019 retrospective of the blog
Newsletter: +80% growth
When you're a blogger, there's one metric that says a lot about the quality of your articles: the number of subscribers to your newsletter.
The reason? If you start spamming people, or decrease in quality, people will unsubscribe.
Another metric coupled with the number of subscribers, and which is even more important, is the email opening rate. Because you can have 10'000 subscribers to your newsletter, if only 10 open your emails, and the rest delete them or mark them as spam, we can't say that you've succeeded with your bet...
The MP blog newsletter has grown to 1'974 subscribers at the end of 2019, compared to 1'061 at the end of 2018. This gives us a growth of about 86%.
What pleases me the most is that the opening rate of these emails is 56.33%. Which is huge compared to the industry average of 15.93%. My minimum goal is to be above 50%, and ideally above 60%.
In terms of the number of effective readers, this year we reached 1'112 people (1'974 * 0.5633). This represents a growth of about 82% compared to 2018 with 612 effective readers (1'061 * 0.55).
All this is cool for my blog, you'll tell me, but what's the point, and who does it serves else besides me concretely?
My answer: it's only positive stuff for the Swiss people because the FIRE and frugalist movement is becoming more and more known by everybody.
By extrapolation, we can say that people are becoming more financially literate, and therefore less stressed, and therefore happier in the end.
By the way, if you are also interested in receiving each new article automatically in your email box, then just register below:
Traffic: +115% growth
In terms of traffic, the blog continues to grow with an increase of 112% in terms of visitors, and 120% in terms of page views.
I published 28 articles in 2019 (compared to 21 in 2018). I don't take growth into account for this number because quality is more important to me than quantity.
The blogposts that were liked the most in 2019 are :
- What is the best Swiss online bank for a Mustachian?
- The best free credit card in Switzerland
- Pants down! MP family's 2018 spendings!
- Eat healthy and frugally in Switzerland (for less than CHF 3 per meal only!)
Comments: +218% growth
Another interesting number to look at is the number of interactions (all languages combined) we had on the blog. We went to 1'159 comments in 2019, a 218% growth compared to 2018 and its 365 comments. Quite impressive I must say!
Three languages: English, French, and now German
Historically, I only blogged in English because it was in this language that the FIRE community communicated (mainly in the US).
In order to develop the movement in Switzerland, I started by translating the entire blog into French (my mother tongue) in 2017.
In 2019, I took a new step to cover the whole German-speaking part of Switzerland by translating the whole blog into German.
I will stop there for this year even though I had some requests for Italian and Portuguese. It's not so much because of the cost it generates in terms of translations but rather in terms of time because one more language easily implies 1/5 more time.
Media: 6 mentions
As I told you earlier, the subject of frugalism and FIRE in Switzerland is becoming more and more important in our country.
We have seen it again in 2019, notably with interviews and mentions in the following media: NZZ, Le Monde, and the blog of the Migros Bank.
I'm not doing this blog for celebrity, but it's nice to see that the topic of financial independence is becoming accessible to more people.
Blog revenues and expenses: +134% profit
What I like about the blog is that if you cheat with people or just spam them with products or offers, then you see your income decline very quickly.
There is a direct correlation between the value you add to your readers, and the profits you can make from your personal project. No middlemen, no two-year sales cycle or anything like that.
As a result, seeing +134% in profits between 2018 and 2019 tells me that I'm heading in the right direction and that my articles are bringing you something. And that makes me happy.
And on top of the profits, what makes me even happier is when I get emails like this:
All this to say a big thank you for sharing! You're changing lives, isn't that fantastic! A reader of the blog
Related to profit is the subject of ethics. In other words, how not to fall into the "make cash at all costs with the blog", and end up losing readers one by one.
Because let's be clear, I'm the first to unsubscribe from a blog if I start to see that opinions become biased by money.
So this subject is particularly close to my heart and it can be seen applied with things like:
- Make it clear to one of the banks I recommend that no, they won't have exclusivity on my blog, because it's all based on my honest comparisons (which they understood very well, by the way)
- Continue to recommend Interactive Brokers as the best online broker for a Swiss investor with more than 100kCHF of investments. Even if I earn almost nothing (while if I were a US resident I would earn 200USD per recommendation...) compared with DEGIRO — which I also recommend, but only if you don't plan to reach 100kCHF of investments in the next few years
- Do not accept any sponsored article (I receive several requests every month) because for one, it's never suitable for Switzerland, and two, it would distort the blog
- To mention you in a transparent way the links of affiliation so that all is clear between us (if it happens that I forget, do not hesitate to point it out to me)
- Do not judge or religiously push my choices, such as when a reader tells me that he/she will stay with Raiffeisen because it pays off with all the museums he/she can visit every year for free with his/her family. And on the contrary, these exchanges inspire me to reflect on my own situation
- Never resell the email addresses of readers who subscribed to the newsletter
- And, finally, even though it's so obvious to me, only recommend tools and services that I use and have tested myself
In case you're new to the blog, the whole Team MP community meets in our forum.
Here are some statistics from 2018, 2019, and since its inception in 2016:
And I thank you, dear reader, for making this community live and be useful to every newcomer to the Team MP.
The (core) Team MP
As a reminder, the Team MP is all of us: the readers of the blog, those who participate in the forum, myself. In short, all the Mustachians and frugalists in Switzerland who participate in what this blog is today and will be tomorrow.
And the core Team MP, well, it's the people behind the blog. It's funny because I've had messages at the end of last year saying "Happy New Year to the whole team" as if we were 15 people :D
Anyway, in addition to Julianek and Bojack who moderate the forum, there is also Miiila who is the official German-speaking translator of the blog since the beginning of 2019 already.
And then there's me, Marc aka MP, who does everything else :)
And...that's all actually :)
Special thanks to the patrons of the blog
I take advantage of this retrospective to thank all the patrons of the blog via Patreon : Adrian, Alberto, Brian, Coralie (so touched by your story and the reason for your patronage), Cédric, Patrik, PK, Roddy, Timo, and Valentin.
Outlook 2020 for the blog
I've already talked a lot about future projects in a previous article so I'm not going to cut and paste.
If you're new, here's the list and I'll let you click on the link above for details:
- MP Book
- An online course to acquire your first real estate property in France with a yield of 15%
- Private coaching to "Start investing"
I have another concrete project in mind following your numerous requests, but that will have to be prioritized because I only have 24 hours in a day like everyone else:
- 2h private coaching to go through "How to do my first budget with YNAB, to follow the same path as MP from 50k to 420kCHF in 6 years"
And else, well, it's going to be mostly about continuing to share all my journey to try to inspire you as much as possible.
On this subject, 2020 will be a year of consolidation for a lot of things, including our portfolio, which has grown significantly (real estate, value investing, and P2P). I plan to talk about this in more detail this quarter.
On that note, I'm going to blow out my candles and open a good bottle of wine (well, tonight, because it's a bit early :D).
Thanks again for being a reader of the blog for 6 years already (or becoming one). Because clearly, without you, I would have stopped at the end of the first year.