Thinking About the Future

Every now and again you realise that things need to update, as time continues on its constant asymptote into the future, things begin to get old. As you learn and grow, your goals may begin to change as your pathway begins to reveal itself.

SavingNinja is almost a year old now, I think it’s about time for a refresh. Technology advances all the time and people’s needs change right along with it. It’s probably a good idea to think about a serious website update at least once per year.

So, this is my ‘backlog’ post. I’ll be detailing all of the changes that I want to make and what my vision is for the future of SavingNinja.

Pillar Posts

One thing that SavingNinja is sorely missing are pillar posts. These are posts that depict your main philosophies and strategy. I currently have zero posts explaining what Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) actually is. I just assumed my audience would already know.

Pillar posts are important for your brand as it helps people understand who you are and what beliefs you hold. They should be your root posts (hence the name) for each section of your brand, with all of your other posts leading off from them.

These posts are also important for people who make it to SavingNinja who have no idea what FIRE means.  For example, a lot of my Google search traffic is coming from posts that are unrelated to finance. These people should be able to quickly and easily find a pillar post and learn about the FIRE movement with very little effort. If they can’t, I’ve failed at promoting the movement (which is one of this websites main goals).

Structure

My categories and top menu are currently a mess, this was expected as before starting the site, I had no idea what type of posts I would be writing. Now, a year on, it’s a lot easier to categorise my content.

I want to fit all of the content on SavingNinja into these 5 main categories:

These categories will also be book-ended with ‘pillar posts’ as described above.

As well as these main categories, I’ll also have a couple of others:

Updates – For posts such as this one and any other announcements.

Reviews – For book, software, or product reviews.

These categories should clearly (and simply) define all of the SavingNinja content. It will give readers a chance to compartmentalise the site into what they want to read about, with the pillar posts guiding them.

Theme Update

Although I really like the current SavingNinja theme (and I did pay for it), it doesn’t have as many features as I would like, it’s actually quite an old and clunky theme. I’ll be looking for a more feature rich theme which suites the SavingNinja brand, and now that I know I’m sticking with blogging, I don’t mind paying a bit more for a good one.

Along with the theme update I’ll be looking at creating a better quality logo and header artwork, I may even get them professionally done as I know a few really awesome professional designers.

More Experimentation!

I love starting new side-hustles and experimenting. One of the reasons that SavingNinja was born was to document these experiments. I still have so much that I want to try! Kindle publishing, affiliate websites, Udemy courses, to name a few. It’s just finding the time to slot these in. Maybe my first experiment should be how to manage my time better? 🙂

OddsMonkey

17 thoughts on “Thinking About the Future

  1. Nice!

    I haven’t updated the theme or basic layout of my site in nearly 6 years 😀

    I’m not too bothered about the design (I know it looks dated but seriously I just don’t actually give much of a crap haha) but the categorisation, top menu, and signposting to important posts could definitely do with an update.

    I like the idea of having a category for “announcements” as well

    Cheers for the inspiration!

  2. Sorry one more thing… It’s interesting about the Pillar posts and I am in two minds of whether that is a good idea or not.

    I tried to write a few of those type of things nearer the start of my blogging career but they just don’t get any traffic (err… I think, not really checked stats in ages). Admittedly I’m not signposting to any of them very well, but that is because I don’t think they really turned out all that very good, and there are loads of other sites that have written about the concepts of FIRE far better than I have or could have done anyway.

    Maybe a primer post about FIRE but more one with links to the excellent content already available out there would be a good one, almost like “The only FIRE directory/links page you will ever need” type of thing? (Obviously you could link to some of your own posts in here as well and/or update it with your own stuff as you write more Pillar content). I realise this is taking traffic away from your site, but hopefully people will remember where they got those links from and come back for more of your stuff as well.

    Hell, if you don’t do it, I probably will, good idea I think! 🙂

    1. Hey TFS!

      I’m a bit up in the air about the links thing at the mo. I would like to do some of these, they convert well in Pinterest e.g. 40 ways to make money (all that crap) and it would be a ‘Pillar post’ of 40 links to articles you wrote (or external ones) about making money, this number would of course grow the more you wrote/gathered. I’m unsure where these would fall though. Maybe some categories would have these instead of an actual post? Like the ‘making money’ category.

      I definitely see the benefit of linking out, althouuughh.. It would be nice to cover the topics in your own style, people who go to your site would like your style of writing (I hope), maybe they’d want an answer in your own style?

      I’d like my site to be more of a brand/book (in my own style) than an index. But I don’t know, undecided on this one 🙂 Maybe it’s one to start off with, then replace with your own writing as you buff it out (like you said).

      Thanks for the thoughts! 🙂

  3. Maybe my first experiment should be how to manage my time better?

    Yes, it should! 😛

    All kidding aside, I think that it’s a great idea, to once a year look at where you’ve been, decide where you’re then going, and make the appropriate corrections. This is not just for blogging – that goes for every aspect of life 😉

    Be advised that major (design) changes to your site can also push away some of your regulars – people tend to like things the way they were 😛 so I would refrain from making major changes yearly! But of course it would make sense to do a major overhaul now, as long as you make sure it will last you for the next couple of years 😉

    I personally prefer the blogs that are highly personalized. If you make it too polished, you risk removing some of the authenticity that I like to see in the FIRE community.

    I kind of like your logo…

    1. Awh, thanks Nick! I’ll try and not change it too much 🙂

      Awesome advice about not changing the site too much. I think on a personal level, the site isn’t what I want it to be. I want to be able to think ‘Yeah, my sites perfectly how I imagine it should look.’ (that might never happen, ha!)

      But I do hope I won’t lose regulars whilst getting there!

      You’ll stick around, right?! 😀

  4. That’s the thing – managing time as best you can to maximise return! I’d like to prove principle of SEO on my own FIRE blog (eventually) but with the other affiliate site I have running, I’m pouring all my effort in to that at the moment to get that where I need to be to then push for other ideas later down the line!

    I agree though the categorization of the site is very important – we normally determine these based on CCF’s (Customer Choice Factors) – just a few reasoning’s behind why someone is wanting to carry out an action / desire – I.E. Do you buy a BMW car for the price? Probably not, but perhaps more so due to their marketing of ‘German Built’ / Engineered cars etc (you get the jist :P).

    1. Hey Jase,

      I’ve been reading up on your SEO goodness, that spurred the category change 😉 I have some ideas for the menu bar regarding long tail keywords too!

      Keep those guides comin’!

  5. Nice plan and great organisation – I do like the categories you have selected.

    Five years in, I have no plans or the inclination to make any real changes to the look of my blog – the only change I’ve made was moving from Blogger to WP and changing the £1 coins in my header logo! 🙂 Yes, it looks kinda dated compared to many others (including yours and that’s without your new changes!) but it shows I’ve been around a while and the old school look is part of my ‘brand’!

    I can’t say I’m 100% happy with the template I’m using but don’t have the time to tinker with another one, so like old wallpaper, it’s likely to stay the same until I stop blogging!

    Looking forward to how you will change your blog look and logo.

    1. Thanks Weenie 🙂

      Yeah, for an OG blogger like yourself, you’d have to be careful changing your theme or the readers would be rioting! 😉

  6. Hi as a punter already know what fire is. Want to know tips on altetnatives to get to fire without having to save into a workplace pension for 40 years!! 🙂

    Like the design of your site and content. I think ppl cone back if regular content posted like every couple of days.

    Cheers, Adam

  7. Great to read this Ninja. My site is also about to hit its 1st year anniversary and, like you outline, things have become a bit of a mess as I’ve just been writing things on the fly with little thought to the bigger picture. I know I can do a better job. I really like your suggestions for your new structure.

    Right now, I’m wrestling with what it is I want my blog to be, to represent and whether I can truly do it justice. I have so many other things on the go right now that, at times, I feel a slave to the blog and trying to put things out on a semi-frequent basis. I also catch myself doubting whether my voice adds anything unique to what others are putting out. I’ve learnt a lot this past year and maybe, through the process of redefining my own content, I’ll find a direction I’m happy with to continue. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks Dan! Yeah, we’re in this together dude 🙂 We should share some tips on site improvements. I need to up my graph game!

      I’ve been experimenting with a paid theme builder on another site and I think with a bit of effort, the site could take on a much more indexed look. One thing I’ve come to realise though is you need the correct posts! It’s all good saying what I want the site to become, but I can’t design it that way until I have the material to support that structure. So I’ve started writing my pillar posts already, they just take so much longer!

  8. I think that you don’t realise how much work blogging is until you start doing it. My partner scoffs when he hears someone works full time as a blogger, as though it’s nothing – type a few paragraphs, stick them on a website, job done. It is actually so much more than that. Your new categories sound great. In respect of design I like to keep things as simple as possible so the page is uncluttered and easy to read. I’m too much of a cheapskate to pay anyone for design, but then I’ve only been going a couple of months. I look forward to seeing the changes!

    1. Hey Sam,

      Yeah – it takes a whole lot of time! The knowledge gained and sense of community is worth it though 🙂 You also get to improve your writing skills 😀

      I’m a bit of a cheapskate too, I’ll probably end up designing the logo/header myself again!

  9. I really like your current logo, so don’t go changing it too much!

    Very interesting to read your thoughts. I think I can kind of relate to where you’re coming from. Do you want your site to be a journal, like Weenie or The FIRE Starter, or do you want become a resource for others learning about FIRE, like The Humble Penny? Both are perfectly valid, good things to strive for. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to do both at once!

    Regardless of which route you take, I’m sure you’ll do a great job. You come across as very driven, so I’m sure you’ll have no problems!

    1. I’ll try not to change it too much 😛

      I guess I kind of want it to be both. Journaling is the most important part of blogging for me, but I also don’t want me content to be buried, and I love the idea of SavingNinja turning into a useful resource as the site grows.

      I want to continue to do the monthly reports and experiments, but also have a home page/posts that act as a kind of contents page or index for the site, with the most important posts taking a prominent position.

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