Thoughts On Blogging in English

It’s been just over a year and a half now that I started blogging about personal finance. As a Dutch guy, I started my first blog in Dutch. You can still find it over at Ontsladebaas.nl. The blog is still up, all the Dutch articles can be found there. But why do I blog in English?

FIRE in The Netherlands

Easy, I missed something. I had the feeling that the potential of blogging in Dutch was very limited. Here in The Netherlands, the FIRE movement is gaining traction. Evidence for that is the sheer number of Dutch finance blogs that are started.

But also I see more and more people subscribing to and being active on Reddit, specifically subreddits such as r/dutchfire.

The best piece of evidence came last Friday, when Nu.nl, one of The Netherland’s largest online newspapers, came out with an article about FIRE, including quotes on multiple subjects from three of my Dutch blogger friends.

However, even though The Netherlands is a country of savers, where people more and more find out about financial independence, it is also a small country by numbers. So even if a relative large number of people is finding out about us, our country’s potential is still limited when looking at the absolute number of readers.

Blogging in English

That’s one of the reasons I started blogging in English. By doing so, a lot more potential readers can have access to my site. That means that more people can read about the information that I put out. I don’t pretend to know everything. I might have a strong opinion on a lot of topics, but I’m not preaching the definitive truth here.

Rather, I would like to invoke discussions by taking a financial subject, and giving my opinion on it. By doing so, I get to learn a lot from you as well. Thank you for that.

Since most Dutch people are fairly proficient in English, I hope I don’t scare away too many of you. Plus, I get to talk with all my friends in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, you name it! Also, I think of myself as someone who’s fairly competent at writing in English, I saw no problem in doing so.

Starting a New Site

The decision to start a new site instead of just posting English articles to Ontsladebaas.nl was a difficult one.

Reasons for keeping the old site were plenty: I had spent over a year building the site to generate a nice bit of traffic, plus I had quite a few loyal readers. Also, even though I have no trouble writing in English, your native language just is more comfortable to write in.

The main reason for starting a new site was that the name Ontsladebaas doesn’t really do it in English, let alone for non-Dutch, non-native English speakers. I looked up Fire The Boss and the .eu domain was still available. I registered, installed a fresh copy of WordPress, and started blogging in English. With every post, I create a summary on Ontsladebaas and link back to Fire The Boss, to have people find me more easily. There will be a time when I stop doing that, just not right now.

I even spoke briefly to Mr. CF from CheesyFinance about this. He and his wife are both Dutch bloggers writing in English, and have the same reasons as me for writing English articles.

Reasons For Blogging in English

So far, I have had some very mixed responses. They range from okay cool, I don’t mind, to people cheering the decision, to why on earth did you do this.

The reason for this particular post was the comment by Marana that I got on my October update yesterday. She responded (in Dutch) that she was just looking at my update to see the blog statistics, and she noticed my number of visitors is much lower compared to the last months at Ontsladebaas.

Of course, she’s right. A new site has to gain traction and that takes time. I’m still in the first couple of months, and looking at the development of my viewership I think I’m doing something right here. This site definitely grows faster than the previous one.

Also, Marana asked me whether I really should consider writing in English. I think I do. Even when there are people disconnecting for that reason (which I regret!), I will keep writing in English for all the reasons I stated above.

So dear Marana, if you read this, I hope you will keep visiting Fire The Boss, even if it’s just now and then. Even though you liked my Dutch posts better, I would be sad to see you leave. I really did value your loyal readership!

Share This With Your Friends!

B at Fire The Boss

B at Fire The Boss is a young (mid-20s) business consultant from The Netherlands, looking to become financially independent so he can fire his boss. B started his blog in Dutch, at Ontsladebaas.nl but wants to expand internationally and share and exchange useful, cool ideas with fellow Europeans looking for financial independence.

5 thoughts on “Thoughts On Blogging in English

  • 2018-11-27 at 21:26
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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I do understand your reasons. Offcourse your potential reach is much bigger. I cant imagine your Dutch followers cant read English. For me its the effort that troubles me. Reading Dutch is easier, obvious, and writing a comment in English is a lot tougher but I give it a try.
    Good to see you grow faster now than at Ontsladebaas.nl, you must surely do something well. I will visit you every now and then.

    When I read your text, I can see you are a Dutch writer. The constructions of some of your sentences are a bit Dutch. You are obviously not a native speaker, so its not a problem, but it makes it a bit tougher for me to read, less accessible.

    Good luck with your blog!

    Reply
  • 2018-11-27 at 22:16
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    Thanks for sharing this B. As a native English speaker it’s equally humbling and convenient that there so much global content is in English. I think for something like the FIRE movement it’s definitely true that the English language market is larger that any other language – and personally I’m grateful that you’re blogging in English!

    I spend some time in Brussels for work and one thing that I notice is that it’s often the native English speakers who are understood least well…even when everyone is speaking in flawless English with wide (and often technical) vocabularies. That largely comes from an unconscious British arrogance that everyone will understand particular cultural references or phrases or idioms.

    It’s something that I’ve thought about on my blog i.e. whether I should do a version of what you have done and deliberately write in a more neutral and less idiomatic style. In the end I’ve decided to write just as me. I’m doing my blog for myself and if starts to feel like work then I know I will stop. If I’m having fun then I hope my readers will as well – even if they don’t quite understand everything!

    Reply
    • 2018-11-29 at 08:59
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      Thanks Caveman, and I fully agree with you. For work I find myself in international environments fairly often, and it’s amazing how deep of a conversation you can have between people that don’t speak each other’s language, through English. Sure, my English isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough to express my thoughts. I have a British friend and sometimes I have trouble understanding him, especially with some very specific words. Maybe that has to do with all the American English (or shall we say simplified English) there is in the media…

      Reply
  • 2018-11-28 at 09:40
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    Thnx Caveman for making clear I was wrong: there are non-Dutch readers following this blog.
    Good job B!

    Reply

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