10 Tips for New Bloggers

There are probably too many posts and blogs about blogging, and I tremble at the thought of piling on. I’m an accountant, and would prefer to stick to what I know. Nonetheless, in just 18 months of blogging I’ve learned a lot and enjoyed intriguing success :

  • This site is a number one link for several generic Google searches.
  • Average of 469 views a day this month. Daily views increase about 40% a month.
  • Average views per visitor ranges from about 2 to 2.4
  • An online presence leading to authorship of Managerial Accounting for Dummies and
  • An affiliation with Answers.com

While I’m certainly not Seth Godin or Daily Kos, nor do I have any delusions about becoming a leading blogger, I think most people would agree that I’ve done pretty well. Here are my tips:

  1. Start cheap. I can’t recommend wordpress.com strongly enough.
  2. Keep it simple. Don’t pay extra money for custom design, search engine visibility, etc. But take care to buy your domain name (like accountinator.com).
  3. Know your reader. Who are you writing fot? Think of people you know who would be interested in reading the blog, and how they would react to your articles.
  4. Add value. Write about a topic that you are uniquely qualified to write about, and that will help others.
  5. Forget money. Focus on giving value to your audience, not on how you’re going to take value from them. As a new blogger, I tried a few advertising systems, and never broke the required minimum for payment.
  6. Don’t worry about traffic. When I moved to WordPress in January 2012, I had 35 visits in the whole month. The month of February increased to 467, which is the same as my daily traffic now. It takes time to build traffic.
  7. Write well. Proper grammar and effective style speak towards your professionalism and expertise.
  8. Read the blogs for bloggers. Darren Rowse seems like the unofficial dean of bloggers, and is well worth reading.
  9. Write evergreen posts. Try to write posts that will last forever.
  10. Engage. Correspond with your readers. Read and respond to comments.

For me at least, these have been some of the most important strategies I’ve used to build up the blog. If you have other ideas or tips, please add them in the comments below.

Thanks for your help building this blog.


Balance your checkbook every month

These days, most people don’t balance their checkbooks.  Most people don’t even keep checkbooks anymore.  Big mistake.

Benefits of balancing your checkbook

  • Discover bank errors.
  • Identify bank fees.
  • Find your mistakes.
  • Discover undeposited checks that may have gotten lost in the mail..
  • Discover frauds against your account.
  • Keep track of your bank balance.
How to balance your checkbook
  1. Keep your checkbook current.  Each time you make a deposit, write the date and amount.  Each time you write a check, write the date, check number and amount.  Each time you take money out of an ATM, record the withdrawal, including any bank fees.  Keep a running balance (adding new deposits and subtracting checks and withdrawals).  For most people and many small businesses, believe it or not, this is best done with paper, in that little booklet that came with your checks, rather than in the internet “cloud.”
  2. Balance your checkbook once a month.  THREE STEPS:
STEP ONE: Adjust your bank balance.  Take the balance on your bank statement and add to it any deposits not yet recorded by your bank.  Subtract any outstanding checks that haven’t yet cleared the bank.
STEP TWO: Adjust your checkbook balance.  Start with the balance in your checkbook.  Then, update your checkbook with any new items that appeared in your bank statement (interest earned, bank fees, etc.).
STEP THREE: Compare STEPS ONE and TWO.  The adjusted bank balance (from STEP ONE) and adjusted checkbook balance (from STEP TWO) should equal.  If they do not, carefully review the bank statement for errors and unauthorized transactions.  Then carefully review your checkbook for errors.  Work on this until you can get them to equal.
Personal Finance software (like GnuCash or Quicken) will make balancing your checkbook easier, especially if you have many transactions.  If you’re a patient Luddite, then you can try the form usually printed on the back of bank statements.

Extreme Game of Monopoly over at Simunomics

Extreme Game of Monopoly over at Simunomics

I’m having a blast with Simunomics, a massive mulitplayer business simulation where you can start a business and compete with other players. The goal is, of course, to maximize shareholder value. Build up your retail, manufacturing and natural resource empire to gain market share and build up profits.

I started with manufacturing, and built factories making paper, dyes, beer, and ceramics. None of these fared very well. To keep my costs down, I built them in a depressed town (Drakar), and the markets for wholesale goods there are not very liquid. So I built a convenience store. Unfortunately, the competition for convenience stores is intense, and that store didn’t do too well, either.

So I sold everything – factories and all – and switched over to retailing. Did some market research – there’s serious demand in Drakar for phones, washing machines and fixtures. Then, I converted my convenience store to an appliance store, stocked up on phones, washing machines and fixtures, and started making money. At this point, I’m manufacturing my own phones and washing machines, which I’m reselling out of my own retail outlet.

I’ve got 272/400 points at the Startup(1) level. I’m looking forward to expanding so that I can move on to the next level. Right now, I’m aiming for more market presence in the appliance field, to expand my retail operations, and to continue to vertically integrate by manufacturing all of my own goods.

I would like to encourage my students to try out Simunomics, too. It will better help them to understand the mechanics of business operations. It’s also kind of addictive.

If you’d like to meet up over there, my business name is SHU Accountinator.


Are languages important for accountants?

My friend Martin nails again. Accountants report and communicate financial information. More often than not, these communications involve numbers. But they also demand expert verbal skills.

Anyone going into accounting these days should work on acquiring impeccable skills in their native language, both in writing and speaking. They should also master a second, or even a third, language.