How to Find the Best Personal Finance Blogs For You

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Ever watch “Miracle on 34th Street“? It’s a cute movie about Santa that I still remember from my childhood. In the movie, Santa Claus actually gets a job at Cole’s as the store Santa, where he proceeds to tell everyone about other store’s low prices on the toys they’re looking for. Initially, Cole’s management is appalled…until they realize that this brutal honesty is making loyal Cole’s buyers out of everyone.

This is what I’m going for with this article, written by Karl from Mindfully Investing. Karl has seen the challenges of people trying to find the best personal finance blogs for them, so he’s decided to solve this issue by potentially sending readers to other blogs that suit them better.

While I definitely don’t want you to leave my site, I DO want to see you win with your money. Use the tool Karl describes below and I believe you’ll do just that!

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I created the “Guide to Personal Finance Blogs” earlier this year.  The goal of the Guide is to help you navigate the vast seas of personal finance blogging to discover your new favorite personal finance blogs.  The “Guide” sifts through a mountain of data from over 1,100 personal finance blogs in multiple different ways and presents the results in interactive graphs, infographics, and color-coded tables.

I was discussing the uses for the Guide with Derek, and he asked me to write this guest post to explain to his dear readers (that’s you!) “how much this might benefit” you.  Well, here goes…

How to Find the Best Personal Finance Blogs For You

Have you ever wondered if there are other “unknown” personal finance blogs out there that you might like just as much as Life and My Finances?  If you’re a blogger, have you ever wondered how many readers there are who might love your blog, but they haven’t found you yet?  The whole purpose of the Guide to Personal Finance Blogs is to facilitate these connections.

best personal finance blogsThe Problem

As I see it, the current problem is the lack of useful free tools on the web that lead readers from one personal finance blog they like to another they will probably like.

The typical ways that people find new blogs are:

  • Word of mouth or recommendations from friends or social media. But what if those people’s tastes differ from yours?
  • Personal finance site lists or directories. These lists usually have some information on the blogs or bloggers, but using them to find new favorite blogs can be hit-and-miss.
  • Lists maintained by bloggers you like and trust. Have you ever scanned somebody’s blog list and noted that a similar well-known blogger is missing from the list?  Was it an oversight? Is the first blogger in a secret blood feud with the second blogger because of a mean comment on that recent “Saving with Taco Night” post?  The methods behind these lists is often a mystery.
  • Recommendations from blogs or blog curation sites. This is where somebody tells you which content is “awesome”, and by omission, which is not.  What if your tastes don’t entirely overlap with the person making the recommendations?  And I’m probably being too skeptical, but I always wonder if there is some hidden pay-for-play interaction driving some of these recommendations.

The Solution

As you probably guessed, I’m describing my own quest to find new enjoyable personal finance blogs.  I have somewhat unconventional preferences, and standard blog lists and categories weren’t helping me much in my quest for the best personal finance blogs for me.  I realized that I’m probably not the only person out there with this problem, so I decided to build a tool to help people find great new blogs.

Here’s a brief tour of some unique features of the Guide that help quickly make meaningful connections between similar blogs.  (Note that the pictures provided here are simple static screen shots.  Most of the graphics in the Guide contain interactive content that you can access by clicking on any of the pictures below.)

Styles – Have you ever gone to a “recommended” blog just to find the writing style, tone, and perspective is all wrong for you?  Personally, I like objective information, presented fairly objectively.  So, when I get led toward a blog that reads like emotional diary entries, I usually don’t stay long.  You may love reading personal and emotional stories, and there’s nothing wrong with that because it’s just a matter of taste.  We both need a tool where our own personal style preferences drive the connection between one blog and another.

The Styles page of the Guide includes this handy graphic that places blogs in four color coded writing style quadrants.

 

The four styles and colors are:

  1. Personal Stories
  2. Example/Advice
  3. Opinion/Motivation
  4. Education

The scoring system depicted in the graph gives you a sense of how strongly a blog may tend toward one style quadrant or another.

Topics versus Themes

One of the hardest parts about using blog lists or directories is that they cram each blog into a certain pigeon-hole category based on the apparent content of the blog.  One blog might be categorized as “Millennial” and another as about “Frugality”.  Where do the frugal millennials go?  In reality, most bloggers post about a variety of topics and evolve over time, because the alternative gets boring quickly.

To avoid this “crammification” process, the Guide surveys each site for the Topic mix of recent posts as well as the blog Theme based on how the blogger advertises the purpose of their site. A blog that is called “Frugality Today”, and has a tag line “All frugality, all the time”, is obviously focused on the theme of frugality.  However, that author may have recently completed a series of posts on how frugality helps attain early retirement (FIRE).  In this example, the blog Theme would be “Frugality”, but the recent Topic mix would be “FIRE”.

Using the topic and theme identifiers, you can search for a blogger with very specific interests, like FIRE bloggers that write for millennial feminists, or investing bloggers who are writing recently about travel, or just about anything that exists in the personal finance blogosphere.

Blogging Over Time

It’s frustrating to explore a new blog with a promising sounding name, just to realize that the most recent post was three months ago.  Many readers are looking for fresh and regularly updated content.  The Guide categorizes every personal finance blog based on recent posting frequency as summarized in this graph from the Blogs over Time page.

For example, although there are over 1,100 blogs tracked in the Guide, only about 750 of them posted anything new within the last month.  If you are looking for fresh content, this one tool will cut your search effort by more than half.  If you don’t care about recent posts, you can search for blogs with older posts too.

Blogger Type

One of the other problems with many lists and directories is there’s often too much biographical data on the bloggers to efficiently sift through.  Perhaps you know exactly what you want, and that’s a male, dual income blogger from Indiana who has kids and works in the finance industry.  But in many cases, we’re more interested in the general “types” of people that all these data represent.  The Guide organizes a huge pile biographical data on the bloggers into easy to understand blogger types.  About 77% of the blogs tracked in the Guide fall into one of five main color-coded blogger types as shown in this pie chart from the Guide.

However, if you prefer to dive deep into all the biographical details, a complete data set is provided in the Blogger Types table just for you.  Like all the color-coded data tables in the Guide, this table can be sorted, filtered, and searched in multiple ways.  And direct links are provided to all the blogs, allowing you to go directly to that promising new blog you just found.

An Example

Let’s say you love the blog: Good Financial Cents.  It’s a well-established U.S. blog with an “Educational” style but also with some personal touches.  You can look for similar blogs by filtering the Styles table in the Guide to get this list of well-established blogs with similar styles scores.

  • Bright Cents
  • Britt & the Benjamins
  • Cashville Skyline
  • Consumerism Commentary
  • Couple Money
  • Cult of Money
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes
  • Dough Roller
  • Elite Personal Finance
  • Everything Finance
  • Financial Best Life
  • Five Cent Nickel
  • Funancials
  • Future Proof MD
  • Get Rich Slowly
  • Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row
  • Joe Taxpayer
  • Karen Cordaway
  • Lazy Man and Money
  • Len Penzo dot Com
  • Life and a Budget
  • Life And My Finances
  • Melissa Voigt
  • Money & Career Cheat Sheet
  • Money Godmother blog
  • Money Manifesto
  • Money Matters for Globetrotters
  • Money Ning
  • Money Peach
  • Money Under 30
  • MoneyMiniBlog
  • MoneyPlan SOS
  • My Dollar Plan
  • My Fab Finance
  • One Cent at a Time
  • One Frugal Girl
  • One Smart Dollar
  • One-Twenty Two
  • Penny Thots
  • Planting Money Seeds
  • ProFinance Blog
  • Reaching Our Balance
  • Shnugi Personal Finance
  • So Over This
  • Social Security Intelligence
  • Stealthy and Wealthy
  • Stretch A Dime
  • Summit of Coin
  • The Astute Advisor
  • The Broke Professional
  • The Busy Budgeter
  • The Latte Budget
  • Tracie B. Threadford
  • Wallet Hacks

That’s an incredibly long list, but you can pare it down further

You can do this by looking at some of the other characteristics of Good Financial Cents.  Although it was started back in 2008, that blog still posts quite frequently, more than once a week.  Accordingly, you can look for other well established “Education” style blogs that post at least weekly by filtering the Blogs over Time table for those parameters:

  • Len Penzo dot Com
  • One-Twenty Two
  • Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row
  • Don’t Mess With Taxes
  • Five Cent Nickel
  • Lazy Man and Money
  • Money Under 30
  • Dough Roller
  • Money Ning
  • My Dollar Plan
  • Life And My Finances
  • One Cent at a Time
  • Stacking Benjamins
  • Action Economics
  • MoneyMiniBlog
  • Summit of Coin
  • Consumerism Commentary
  • Everything Finance
  • Money Manifesto
  • Penny Thots
  • Elite Personal Finance
  • Future Proof MD
  • Money Peach
  • Common Core Money
  • Reaching Our Balance
  • The Busy Budgeter
  • Life and a Budget

The blogs that are crossed out in this list were not on the previous list.  They’re different enough in style that you probably wouldn’t want to examine them further.  This is a pretty manageable list, and you could just go ahead and visit each of these blogs to see what you find.  But let’s see if we can narrow the search down even more.

If you look for blogs with topics and themes that match Good Financial Cents using the filters in the Blog Topics and Theme table you would get:

  • Broke Girl Rehab
  • Budgets & Beer
  • Dough Roller
  • Financial Help Desk
  • Fiscal Tiger
  • High Fiving Dollars
  • Life And My Finances
  • My Dollar Plan
  • Save The Bills
  • The Budget Awakens
  • The Budget Boy

The blogs in green were also on the previous list.  Here are our top three candidates for blogs you will probably like, assuming you like Good Financial Cents.

Find The Blogs You Love and Help Them Find You!

By this time, you’ve most likely realized what I’ve done here.  If you like “Good Financial Cents”, chances are you will like “Life and My Finances”, which is the blog your reading right now.  I used this example to illustrate for any bloggers out there how the Guide will help readers find your site.  As unique as your personal finance blog may be, there are probably a few blogs (in the pool of over 1,000) that are at least somewhat like yours.  Connecting with readers of similar blogs is key.  Once they find you, these like-minded readers will tend to engage more with your site, make comments, promote you on social media, sign up to email lists, listen to podcasts, download offers, buy products, etc.

Of course, you don’t have to be quite as systematic as this example.  You could just start looking through lists generated by any one page in the Guide.  Or you could simply look for bloggers who focus on the specific topics that interest you the most such as: cheap travel, the intersection of finance and health, saving for military members, life stories with a money angle, or just about anything else.  It’s entirely up to you.

There is plenty more in the Guide that I didn’t mention, but I don’t want to make this post longer than all of Derek’s net worth converted into one-dollar bills and laid end-to-end.  (I wonder if that would reach to the moon?)  So, I will stop here.  If you have questions about the Guide or how it works, you can use the contact form at Mindfully Investing.  I reply to all inquiries.

Are you ready to find the best personal finance blogs for you?

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