One Year In: Our Blogging Insights

Image of a candy-coated donut with a birthday candle inserted, with the text overlay: Yay!

Woohoo! WowPursuits is one year old! Happy Blogivesary!

This definitely calls for a celebration and what better way to celebrate this milestone than to publish our very first anniversary post. Yay! 

Frankly, at this stage, we lack sufficient historical data that would make website information (from Google analytics) like page views per month, user engagement and traffic growth a meaningful endeavour.

For now, it probably makes more sense to talk about our blogging experience — sort of a behind-the-scene look at what it’s like to start a blog and run it for a year. And more importantly, what are the key lessons we have learnt so far.

I’ve chosen to do it in a Q&A format and broken it down into the following questions:

  1. How has your blog been faring so far?
  2. Why did you start social media ahead of schedule?
  3. How long were you in the “Google Sandbox” for?
  4. Have you made much progress with SEO so far?
  5. Have you made any money from your blog yet?

1. How has your blog been faring so far?

This is probably the first question that will pop into your head. Well, if I had to “grade” our progress so far, I’ll do it based on the “rocket analogy”. And it goes something like this:

  • Stage 1: The rocket has been built, but the engine has yet to ignite. All is silent. There’s barely any website traffic, if at all.
  • Stage 2 : We have ignition and the engine sputters and rumbles. At least we don’t just hear crickets anymore. Web traffic is slowly building up but still hovering at low levels. No lift-off yet.
  • Stage 3: We have lift-off! The rocket slowly but steadily leaves the launch pad. Yes, finally! Web traffic is steadily trending upwards and we have way more than just a few daily website visitors.
  • Stage 4: The rocket leaves the launch pad safely and begins to make its climb. Web traffic shoots up. Time to upgrade our web hosting plan.
  • Stage 5: The rocket is far up in the sky and ready to enter space. Web traffic is to the moon! This is where every blogger hopes to get to.

So where is WowPursuits after one year? The answer is: Stage 2.

Image of a rocket ship on its launch pad with the text overlay: Blog status after one year: Our engines are rumbling, but no lift-off yet.

Here’s a summary of our website’s progress so far (based on our WordPress statistics):

Number of pages10
Number of blog posts published80
Number of blog images used498
Number of blog comments/replies32
Site Health StatusGood (100%)

Our original goal was to publish at least 90 blog articles in our first year, but it was later revised downwards to 80 for good reason — we decided to allocate time to building a social media presence ahead of schedule. 

I know there are veteran bloggers out there who would advise against starting a social media account so early (it’s simply not a priority at the outset). Which by the way is good advice. The reason? It distracts you from doing what is most important when you start a blog — creating and producing quality content for your blog.

2. Why did you start social media ahead of schedule?

The reason was actually quite simple. We needed a morale booster and I believe many bloggers can empathise with this: it doesn’t feel good writing to a void. I mean, what’s the point of publishing article after article when no one reads it? We needed a psychology win, even if it was a small one.

We were already expecting this before launching our blog and knew it would take an extended period of time before we had any kind of an audience. Search engine optimisation (SEO) experts commonly refer to this as the “Google Sandbox”. The problem was we didn’t know exactly how long this period would last for.

Side note: For the uninitiated, you may be wondering what on earth is a “Google Sandbox”? According to Ahref, the term “Google Sandbox” is used by some SEO experts to refer to the situation where new websites are ranked poorly in Google’s search engine results pages or SERPs (even after doing all the right things for SEO). The idea behind this is that Google may place newly created websites in a “sandbox” for a certain period of time to assess their quality and prevent spam (think of it as probation for newbie websites). Although there is no hard evidence that Google uses such a sandbox, it can be construed as the natural process of new websites getting established before showing up on SERPs.1

So I did a little research (scouring forums on blogging — I wanted first-hand accounts) and found out that some bloggers got pretty much no traffic even after one year of blogging. Some apparently had success after one month (I’m a little skeptical of this though, it could’ve been an aged domain?). Some took a few months. Some more than a few months. Nothing concrete came out of it.

My conclusion: there was clearly no fixed period for the “Google Sandbox”, but the average (from general consensus) seemed to be around 6 to 12 months.

Thus, we took a view and gave ourselves 6 months. If still nothing, then we were taking this “Google Sandbox” thingy into our own hands.

3. How long were you in the “Google Sandbox” for?

Then it came to pass. In 6 months, we had already published about 60 blog articles, but we were still in no man’s land. We couldn’t just sit back and do nothing. Our impulse was to take action.

So Mrs Wow started engaging on 𝕏 (fka Twitter) in May 2023 which resulted in a traffic surge from our following on 𝕏 (currently 1,272 followers and counting). Yess! We were finally no longer writing to a void. (For a candid recount of our social media journey thus far, you must read Mrs Wow’s article My 𝕏 Journey: An Unfiltered Account.)

The FinX Community Rocks. You guys are the best! Thanks so much for your support!

Our “Google Sandbox” period lasted for about 7 months. Impressions, clicks and average ranking from Google Search took a turn and started increasing noticeably. Although it’s just the beginning, we’re thankful to be out of that start-up phase. 

Today, Google has indexed more than 120 pages of our website and our average ranking has improved substantially with more than a hand-full of queries ranked in the single digit. We couldn’t be happier.

Image of a baby crawling out of a sandbox with the text overlay: We're just happy to be out of the "Google Sandbox".

4. Have you made much progress with SEO so far?

Prior to WowPursuits, I built and launched the website (more than 10 years ago) for our previous business. The website was highly successful and accounted for more than 70% of our sales revenue. At the peak of our business, all our classes were full and we had a two-year waitlist.

What I’ve learnt is: what worked 10 years ago, no longer works today — I’m specifically referring to SEO. There have been countless updates to the Google search algorithm over the years. SEO has evolved a fair bit and will continue to do so.

In my opinion, SEO is becoming more of an art than a science. At present, SEO is essentially about E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) and creating “helpful content”. It’s no longer just about keyword research and optimisation. On top of that, AI will likely play a bigger role in time to come.

For On-page SEO (website structure, interlinking, page format, page speed, topical authority, etc.), we’ve done whatever we can to optimise and will continue to do so. For Off-page SEO (backlinks, social media signals, etc.), it’s pretty much organic at the moment.

So how are we doing on SEO so far? Well, I think a simple way to express it is by showing you a screenshot of our PageSpeed Insights report for mobile (left) and desktop (right):

Screenshot of WowPursuit's PageSpeed Insights report for both mobile and desktop performance of one of its pages.
Screenshot of PageSpeed Insights report (mobile & desktop) for our top performing page

Note: If you’ve never used PageSpeed before, you should be aware that the results vary from page to page. I’ve picked our top performing page to feature. For desktop performance, most of our pages are usually in the high 90s. For mobile performance, most pages range between the high 70s to 80s. According to Simplilearn, a score of more than 85 indicates a user-friendly website and increases the possibility of ranking higher in SERPs.2

PageSpeed though important is just a small piece of the puzzle. Regardless, it does give you an indication if you’re on the right track or not. At the moment, I’m confident that we’re on top of things, at least where On-page SEO is concerned. With SERPs, it’ll take a lot more time and is still work in progress.

5. Have you made any money from your blog?

Nope! Not one cent! Nada!

The thing is, we started this blog as a retirement hobby. Something that Mrs Wow and I can do together. Something that keeps our minds active. Something that gives us a great sense of satisfaction. Plus… it has the potential to generate income down the road.

Right now, we’re not planning to sell anything on our blog. We merely hope to grow traffic organically so that we can reach out to more people.

If things do pan out in the future, all we’re thinking of is placing a few ads on our website (nothing too intrusive) to cover the operational cost. That’s it.

Frankly, the running cost of a blogging website is relatively low, so there’s no pressure to monetise, if at all. Here’s our monthly breakdown (including goods and services tax):

No.Recurring ExpensesMonthly USD
1Web & Email Cloud Hosting$16.74
2Domain Name$0.86
3𝕏 Premium (Blue Check Verification)$6.95

Blogging as a hobby really doesn’t cost that much monetarily. That’s the beauty of it. You could be up and running for easily under $20 per month, so long as you’re willing to learn and do everything yourself (like how Mrs Wow and I do it). What it will cost you dearly is your time and labour of love.

Do note that if you are exploring blogging as a potential side hustle (i.e. as a business), you can’t just rely solely on organic search traffic. You’ll also need to actively generate inorganic traffic/leads via Google Ads, social media campaigns, YouTubing, podcasting, guest posting, etc. to get your name or brand out there. Like any other business, it will take time and sweat to build.

Check out: Reality Check: My Early Retirement is a Sham!

Whatever the case, organic growth takes time — perseverance is key. Just like with investing, blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. We fully understand this and intend to continue churning out quality articles for years to come.

To find out how everything turns out, do stay tuned. We truly appreciate your continued readership. Thanks heaps for sticking around!


  1. SEO Glossary — What is the Google Sandbox?:
  2. How to Use Google PageSpeed Insights?:

You may also like: Beyond 9-5: Discover the 7 Income Streams for Lasting Wealth | Multiple Income Streams: Weighing the Pros and Cons | Running a Business as a Married Couple: How We Made It Work

Mr Wow

Mr Wow is a self-professed whisky aficionado. He became debt-free in 2018, achieved financial independence in 2019, and retired in 2020 at the age of 45. Since then, he has been busy blogging and enjoying life with Mrs Wow. His investment motto is ‘Never put money in anything you don’t understand.

6 thoughts on “One Year In: Our Blogging Insights

  1. Hi, congrats on 80 posts in 1 year. That’s a lot of words. Likely enough for a small to medium book which is 60 to 70 thousand words. Just discovered it and poking around through your articles. I like blogs which re different from others. So this is my first Singapore blog (I am Canadian).

    I am hoping to launch my own retirement blog soon. 70 or so articles prepped in the last 8 months to edit and get ready. My goal is less about traffic and more about finding a tribe of 20 or more people that can become my online tribe to share the blogging and more importantly life adventure.

    1. Hi Vader,

      Thanks heaps for visiting our blog. It’s always a delight to hear from new readers. 😊

      Wow, 70+ articles in 8 months! You’ve been doing some serious prep!

      An online tribe of bloggers to share experiences sounds awesome. Please do let us know when you’ve launched your blog. We would very much like to show our support and learn more about your journey. 🙌

  2. Happy Blogiversary!!!

    Thank you for sharing your experience! As you know, I too am a fellow blogger, pretty much on the same timeline as you. And I feel you! It can be a long/lonely road.

    I love reading Mr. and Mrs. Wow articles because I can feel your personality come through. SO much better than some AI-generated output. I look forward to reading more from you guys and reading your “2nd Blogiversary” article next year!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words and encouraging feedback, Brett! 🙌

      You know it! The blogging path is anything but easy. It’s the support we get from fellow bloggers and readers like yourself that makes it all worthwhile.

      Likewise, we look forward to reading and learning more from your amazing blog. Here’s to another fulfilling year ahead! 🔥

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