The Future of the Blog

Published on Saturday, September 24, 2022

I started blogging at OchoSinCoche in Fall 2019 during an extended, 12-week family trip to Spain. During the previous three years, I’ve learned a ton. I’ve also come to the conclusion that it’s time for some change.

But first, what have I learned?

Writing Brings Clarity

My blog gives me an outlet for exploring personal finance ideas. In addition, it gives me a place I can point friends, family, and coworkers to, a write-once-share-with-many approach. By writing about an idea, I find clarity about the idea itself. I plan on continuing to write and blog about my ideas.

Blogging is Cheap/Expensive

When I started the blog, I followed GoCurryCracker’s How To Start A Blog (warning: affiliate links galore!). I used DreamHost and my initial setup was around ~$33/year and a three year contract. At less than $3 per month, that’s pretty inexpensive. At the end of the contract, the rate jumps to a modest $6/month. My traffic hasn’t been high enough to need anything other than the starter plan.

On the other hand, blogging has been expensive in time. During the first two years, I strived to have a post up every Friday morning. Posts seemed to write themselves, but it took several hours each week of writing and editing. I never ran out of topics to explore, but it was a significant time sink.

During the last year, writing for my blog has taken a back seat to finishing my 529 book (I have a habit of finding time sinks). I quickly realized how much time my blog had been taking. Going forward, I won’t tie myself to an arbitrary cadence, but instead focus on writing when I want.

If You Build It, They Might Not Come

During the first few months of blogging, I focused on creating content and pushed marketing it to the future. It wasn’t until I was five months into the experiment that I began my first outreach by emailing Frugal Professor in February 2020. I started commenting on other personal finance blogs that I frequented. In return, traffic to my own blog began to pick up.

In hindsight, I should have started engaging immediately instead of pretending “if I write it, people will read it.”

What’s In a Name?

Naming things is hard. I came up with the name Ocho Sin Coche after reading about GoCurryCracker’s name genesis. Traveling with six kids and no car seemed like a fun way to draw people into my blog. "Ocho sin coche" is Spanish for “eight without a car.”

Alas, the name never gained traction. It confused friends and family and fails to roll off the tongue.

Comments Can Drive Connection

I leave comments on other blogs and many have left comments on my blog. These little “attaboys” connect me with others and give me little dopamine hits of encouragement. Thanks, Frugal Professor for commenting on so many of my posts.

Beyond the sense of connection, I’m not sure they have much practical value. I only have a handful of regular commenters. Comments require work to moderate them. And they aren’t even necessary as demonstrated by other bloggers who don’t enable comments on their blogs. In addition, many prefer to connect via Twitter and outlets and not through isolated comments on blogs.

The Next Iteration of Ocho Sin Coche

I’ve been making a plan for when my contract expires this fall.

What’s changing?

  • I’m going to continue blogging, but no longer at OchoSinCoche. You can find me at the529Guy.com. I’m hoping this name is more memorable.
  • I’m moving from DreamHost to Netlify. The starter plan drives my web production costs to zero.
  • I’m moving from WordPress to the static site generator, Nuxt. This scratches my desire to tinker and gives me the ability to customize everything.
  • Taking a page from A Wealth of Common Sense, comments are moving to Twitter.
  • I’ll be less anonymous. I started dropping the semi-cloak of anonymity when I published my book in May.

What’s not changing?

  • I’ll continue to blog about things that interest me. You may find more posts about 529s.
  • For the first year, I’ll redirect ochosincoche.com to the529guy.com. Keeping the name will cost $9.15 through Cloudflare.
  • I’ll be moving everyone who signed up for email updates to my new emailing list at the529guy.com. If you don’t want to make the move with me, drop me an email and I can remove you from the list. Or just use the “unsubscribe” feature from the email.
  • No advertisements.

When will the change take place?

My DreamHost contract expires on November 9th. On that date, my WordPress site will be shuttered and ochosincoche.com will redirect to the529guy.com.

Until then, I will cross-post content on both sites. I plan on migrating some of the OSC content, but not everything. I’ll probably rewrite/update much of it.

Why Nuxt+Netlify?

For most bloggers, WordPress is great. WordPress is easy and there are a wealth of plugins that provide almost any functionality you want.

Because of its popularity, it’s also targeted by hackers. A lot. If you don’t keep your WordPress updated, you’ll soon be unintentionally hosting porn or running crypto miners in your visitor’s browsers.

While you can use WordPress for free, you either pay to host it yourself or you pay for it indirectly by accepting branding/advertising on your blog. Most plugins require paying for more than basic functionality.

Instead of using WordPress, I’m switching to the static site generator Nuxt. Here’s what that means:

  • I have 100% control of everything. The tradeoff is the time to build everything. Because I have 100% control, I hope to write some simple calculators. I probably could have found a paid plugin to do this for WordPress, but it still would have taken significant time to learn how to use it.
  • A static website with no executable code is harder to hack.
  • It’s fun to learn and use Vue, the underlying technology in Nuxt
  • I lose comments. I could build my own commenting system or use something like Disqus (either paid or free-with-co-branding), I don’t think I’m losing much. I may regret this decision.
  • Auto deploying to Netlify starter is easy and free.

Nuxt+Netlify isn’t for everyone. If you’re tech savvy and enjoy exploring new things, then you may enjoy learning it. It’s a pretty steep learning curve for the non-technical blogger.

Conclusion

The last three years have been a wonderful adventure and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I’m looking forward to you continuing the journey with me at my new home, The529Guy.com.