Hope for your financial life and beyond

The Secret Goal About My Blogging Only Two People Knew

sunriseWelcome to a new day at Luke1428!

Don’t fret…you are in the right place. After 11 months I’ve decide to take the plunge and upgrade this site with a new framework and theme. The creation you see here is just the beginning as I gradually tweak and enhance the site in the next couple of months. At least that’s the plan.

The theme I have chosen is the popular Eleven40 Theme developed by StudioPress. The theme is designed to work in conjunction with their Genesis framework, which I have also purchased. Total package deal for the Genesis framework and the Eleven40 theme, $79.95. I’ll be sharing Friday some of the unusual reasons why I chose this theme. Stay tuned.

For the foreseeable future this has what I need. I could have gone the route of having someone else design my site. That would probably have saved a lot of time and effort and maybe will be something I do in the future. But I love the challenge of learning new things and building something from the ground up. I think that is why I liked my construction job in college so much. Plus I have a couple of months now to devote to this task, as I will be free from my school responsibilities for the summer.

It’s taken me 11 months of blogging to get here. So why in the heck did it take so long to make the change from a cheap, free theme to something with A LOT more quality? Couldn’t I have upgraded back in February or last September? The answer to that question is of course “Yes”, but for a commitment and goal I made to only two people.

Those two people were Mrs. Luke1428 and myself.

My wife kind of pushed me kicking and screaming into blogging. I had mentioned it in passing one day as something that sounded interesting. In my heart, I really didn’t plan to do anything with it. It was just kind of one of those things you dream about and say out loud but have no real intentions of carrying out.

I really didn’t think I had much to say or contribute. After all, hasn’t everything that needs to be said already been said about personal finance? Even if I take a spiritual perspective with some of my writing I’ll just be repeating what other successful Christian bloggers have covered. Besides, I didn’t believe I would have time with my responsibilities at home as my wife pursued her CPA licensure and MBA. And what if I started writing, realized I hated it and had to shut the site down? That would be embarrassing.

Yep, that’s me. Doing my best Moses-at-the-burning-bush impersonation, making excuses.

So after much stewing, domain-name-searching, and some encouragement from my wife, I decided to launch Luke1428 with my first post on July 3rd, 2012. I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect. But I did make a promise to myself and to my wife that actually helped me move forward with less anxiety.

I committed that the goal for year one of this blog was just going to be about writing. I had to prove to myself that a) I could write consistently for a year and b) that I would enjoy it. So no money spent on premium themes. No on-site advertising. No worrying about SEO, or Alexa ranking, or page views per day. No joining any challenges and no guest posting on other sites. All that would have to wait until later.

Some may view my past 11 months of blogging as wasted time because I did not do all those things. Could not this blog have been more popular had I done those things? Perhaps. Most likely. But I just didn’t see them as the main barrier to long-term success. If I couldn’t write well and consistently produce quality content that people enjoy then what’s the point of all that other stuff? I’d just be drawing people to crappy content or a one-post-a-month-dead-blog and they wouldn’t return. Ever.

I feel that my privately held goal for year one of this blog has been achieved. I’ve consistently posted 2-3 times per week and I still enjoy it. And hopefully along the way I’ve added some interesting content that has been helpful. So with the blessing of Mrs. Luke1428, I’m moving forward with this upgrade a month early.

Thanks for coming by today to check this out. I hope you like what you see.

Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Next Post: Geocaching: Our New, Cheap Kid Activity

Prior Post: Ways to Save Time and Do More

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  1. Kim@Eyesonthedollar says

    Congrats on the new design. I’ll be at one year August 1st and have no idea where I want to go from there. I’m kind of like you in that I was determined to last for one year and see what happened. I do enjoy it, but it does take tons of time as well and I don’t know if I have it in me to do a new design but I don’t want to spend lots in hiring someone else either. So many choices!

    • Cool Kim! I didn’t realize we started around the same time. You are doing great. I really enjoy the stuff you are writing about. I was very nervous about the change and decided to try it myself instead of hiring someone. I was very impressed with StudioPress. They have a bunch of great child themes that overlay on top of their Genesis framework. The install was real easy. It took me around three hours to get the basics of my site back to where I wanted it. Since then I’ve just been slowly tweaking and will continue to do so.

  2. congrats on reaching your goal and switching to Genesis. I like the frame too and the online tutorials are quite easy for the most part.

  3. Holly Johnson says

    I like the changes! We updated ours over time too….it was cheaper than paying someone else to do it!

  4. Your site looks great! I’m looking to design my new site all on my own, and I’m nervous!

    I think it’s good to blog for yourself. That’s how my blog is 🙂

    • Thanks Michelle! I was nervous too. I will have to say the install of the Genesis framework and theme went smoother than I thought. Things were initially out of place as the Eleven40 theme obviously couldn’t automatically tell where all of my old content should be placed. But I basically had all my content, widgets and headings back where I wanted them within a couple of hours. From there I just started tinkering and adding new stuff. They have some really good tutorials to help with the installation. Just make sure you back everything up before you make the change 🙂

  5. Haha you are one step ahead of me! My theme that I use is completely free, though I definitely tweaked it from it’s original format so it likely would hardly be recognizable. I have a lot of little tweaking I want to do still, but I have considered a full redesign using Thesis (I actually purchased it last Fall before the price jumped). I have been bloggin only 2 days longer than you, with my post live on July 1st. Also, search engines like sites that are older and that have more pages, so the first 11 months was hardly a waste; your site is worth far more than one that pops up today, regardless of their theme or focus.

    • That’s funny DC. I didn’t realize we started around the same time. I would never have guessed you have a free theme. You’ve done a good job tweaking it. I also read a lot about Thesis. Seemed to me like the Thesis and Genesis frameworks were really similar.

  6. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says

    Congrats on making your goal! Your content here is motivating and inspiring, Brian. Keep up the great work. And the new theme rocks!

  7. Student Debt Survivor says

    Love the new theme. Also love that you’re blogging for the love of blogging first. Anybody can make a quick buck, but they quickly burn out and all of the fun in blogging and building a community is gone. Looking forward to the new changes.

    • I felt that was the most important thing for me to test first…whether or not I really enjoyed blogging and could stick to it. All the other stuff I thought could come later, which ironically is now.

  8. LifeorDebt says

    It’s great that you’re still writing! Congrats!!! I’ve had a blog before– but it was a mommy blog– one that I did well with, gained a following…but then I just got overwhelmed and wanted to stop making my kids lives public domain. But my finances? Nah, that’s everyone’s business! 🙂 We’re nervous that what we have to say isn’t going to be important/valid/ or hasn’t already been written about before too. But– no one has our voice. Our experience, or perspective. So. Hopefully we will find a small following too. This looks great!

    • I too had some of the same nervous considerations you are experiencing. But I think you nailed it when you said no one else has your perspective or experience. Anyone can do the “5-Steps-to-whatever” type of posts. Some of the best stuff I’ve read comes from people’s own experiences about how personal finance plays itself out in their lives. Thanks for the comment.

  9. Congrats on the big step! There was a short time period where I was more obsessed with numbers and figures and SEO and whatnot, but that made me feel a lot of pressure and make it feel more like a job I didn’t want. It’s always good to stay true to what is right for YOU, and no one else. 🙂

    • Thank you and I agree 100% with your assessment. Everybody’s goals for blogging are different and you can’t allow oneself to be forced into a mold that does not fit. I feel like the numbers and figures will eventually come over time if I do a good enough job. I’m in no rush.

  10. Shannon Ryan says

    Love the new look, Brian! Looks great and it’s always fun to learn new things. Keeps us fresh. We must have started blogging about the same time. I remember the first few months were very brutal for me. Crickets. Just crickets. It was hard to stay motivated, but eventually I started meeting people and slowly but surely the blog is growing. I’m glad you made it a year and still want to keep doing it. Looking forward to seeing Luke 1428 continue to grow and prosper. 🙂

    • Thanks Shannon and I appreciate your presence here during the past year. I can definitely relate to those early months when absolutely nobody was here. I’m not even sure my own family was reading. 🙂 From everything I have read it would seem that 6-12 months is the breaking point for most bloggers to push through. Most end up quitting before a year is up, so I’m happy I have made it. I’m looking forward to doing much more in year two to attract eyes to this site.

  11. I am always for people learning how to do things on their own. I am running Genesis and tweaked the news theme by myself and added features on my own because I enjoy it. If you ever have any questions, let me know, I would be happy to help.

  12. Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce says

    Looks amazing, Brian. Much easier to read, and the same great content that we’ve come to expect.

  13. John S @ Frugal Rules says

    Great job on the redesign Brian! Congrats on nearly being at a year as well. I think you’re doing great and you hit the nail on the head here I think. I think so much of it does come down to long term success and providing solid value to your readers. Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks for the kinds words John and your presence here during the last year. I think blogging should be a combination of providing an outlet for self-expression and giving people what they need/want. The second part of that equation is a little trickier to figure out. Anyone can say whatever they want, however they want. But if the content is not helping anyone else…I guess I just don’t see the point in that.

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