MoneyAware is 5 today – get the party hats out!

posted by in Debt news

Yes, the blog’s five years old today! In the last five years we’ve had 2.1 million visitors looking at just under 5 million pages and 1,000s of comments on over 650 articles.

From what was originally a six-month experiment, I’d say it’s been a bit of success…

MoneyAware – our six-month experiment

MoneyAware is my baby; I’ve always called it that. When I first started at Consumer Credit Counselling Service in mid-2010 (odd to write that name after three years since we rebranded as StepChange Debt Charity) one of the first things I wanted to do was to see if there was an online audience that responded to “softer” topics around debt and budgeting.

After much planning, a bit of design, and a promise that we’d ditch the idea of it was failing, we were ready to go.

And on November 30 2010 we put the blog live. There were a few blogposts already written by then (that’s why if you go back to the first article it’s actually dated November 15 2010) but we launched to little fanfare on a Tuesday afternoon in late autumn. (I can’t remember why we didn’t just wait a day and start on December 1 – it would have been neater. Oh well.)

And on that first day 18 people came to visit us. This is a far cry from how things are now – nowadays we get thousands a day.

What MoneyAware did and still does now

At the time the CCCS website focused solely on topics around debt, but with MoneyAware I wanted to put debt into the context of day-to-day life. The people who contact the charity each day want to know what to do with their finances, but they also have lives to lead.

They might be searching on Google for “debt advice” and find our main website. They may also be looking for “ways to make money” to help get by. That’s where the blog comes in – we should be number one for that, as the main website is number one for “debt advice”.

Our mission has been, and continues to be, focusing on being positive about budgeting. Cutting back on your spending isn’t fun, but if we can help you see budgeting in more of a positive light – that you can survive and maybe even thrive within a tight budget – then I feel we’ve done our job.

And if the tips can’t help you, because you need more structured help, then the blog provides a route into the main website for further support. Hundreds of thousands have done just that, and that why I’m especially proud of MoneyAware because it helps people reduce their spending, up their income, or most importantly, get debt help. Which is why the charity’s here, after all.

650 articles later

Since launch we’ve published over 650 articles, from advice on writing off debts to Friday afternoon musings on biscuits. One time we even wrote about what do to if you’re in debt and the Rapture occurs (not everything we’ve written has worked, I’ll grant you).

We’ve run Debtdays, where we report live on “a day in the life of the charity”, written lots of ‘Debt News’ articles, and, yes, produced on article on the Rapture (it’s worth mentioning twice as I still can’t believe we did that).

But alongside my great team of writers – nine people have worked in the MoneyAware team over the years – we’ve had articles from our colleagues around the charity, from our clients, and also from partner organisations. We’re honoured to have run articles from Samaritans, Mental Health Foundation and Experian, among others.

The future of MoneyAware

We continue to write a number of articles a month for the blog and we continue to strive to help those with money worries, whether they’re a client of ours or not. That won’t change.

We’re planning a facelift to the blog in 2016, and we’ll also be publishing a lot more videos in the coming months. I’m looking forward to both.

But irrespective of the format, five years down the line my mission for MoneyAware remains: let’s take the burden out of budgeting!

Five of my favourite MoneyAware articles:

1. Frugal Wooing – Valentine’s Day on the cheap – I still love that headline
2. How I went from £36k in debt to being back in the black – Life-affirming story of a former client
3. StepChange Debt Charity: why we’re making a change – On the day we rebranded we asked our clients what they thought of our new name. They weren’t too happy. I think they’ve come around to it since.
4. Bailiffs get a makeover: what’s going to happen? – This article led to the blog’s busiest day ever
5. 20 weird and wonderful ways to make money – Our most successful money-saving article

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Peer's the digital content manager at StepChange Debt Charity. Apart from contributing to the MoneyAware blog and overseeing the charity's website and social media content, he’s walked to the top of every mountain and hill in the Lake District. Twice.

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