A Look Back on 2009 for Modern Graham

2009 was a record year for Modern Graham. With over 40,000 visits from over 28,000 unique visitors, more people visited the site than any year before. Now that the year is over, it is time to look back on what worked, what didn’t work, and lessons learned.

What Worked

  • Valuation Database – In March, I created the valuation database as a way to easily navigate through the companies I track on the site. Overall, it seems to have been very helpful to readers. It has provided inspiration to continue adding companies to the site along with requiring me to continue to keep the site updated.
  • Portfolios – In the fall I introduced a number of portfolios based on screens of the database. The posts of the screens consistently brought more traffic than any other type of posts .
  • Festival of Stocks – Over the last several months I have hosted the Festival of Stocks on a fairly regular basis. The festival is a blog carnival held on Mondays that features a number of excellent finance related posts from a variety of blogs.
  • Seeking Alpha – I also began a relationship with Seeking Alpha this year which has been very helpful to the growth of the readership base of this site.

What Didn’t Work

  • Modern Graham’s Friday Linkfest – At one point I attempted to create a weekly feature sharing articles I found interesting during the week. I also sought to have readers submit articles they found interesting. Unfortunately, the few submissions I received did not follow the rules I set up for the feature and overall it seemed to take more work than the value it provided.
  • Modern Graham Academy – This is a part of the site I hope to revive in 2010 (tomorrow I’ll outline some goals for the year) but the fact remains it was an unsuccessful venture in 2009.

Biggest Lesson Learned

  • Importance of dividends – I’ve always understood that dividends are a critical part of an investment strategy, but this year I feel like that fact has become ever more evident. My old view was that dividend payments are a great indicator of a company’s financial strength (which they are) but now it is clear they also can be used to boost investment returns, stablize downside risk or simply provide income. My knowledge base related to dividends increased significantly from following posts at Dividends Value, The Dividend Guy, and Dividend Growth Investor.

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