The Simple Dollar receives a lot of visitors each day. Many of you pop onto the home page, see what articles are fresh and new, read through them, and bop onto another site. What you might not realize is that there are several very simple additional ways through which you can enjoy and get useful information from this site. Here are six of them.
1. Utilize the search box.
In the upper right corner of each page, there’s a little search box that allows you to search through any article ever posted at The Simple Dollar. If you have a specific topic in mind that you’re interested in at the moment, type in that topic into the search form – you’ll likely find that I’ve written something about it or that someone’s posted a comment relating to your area of interest.
One particularly useful way to use the search field is to check for old book reviews. Almost every day, I get a request from someone to review a book that I’ve already written about – I’ve posted literally hundreds of book reviews here. If you’ve spied a personal finance or personal development book somewhere and you’d like to know more, use that search field and find out if I’ve written about it already – there’s a good chance that I have, particularly if it’s not a book that’s new in hardback.
2. Subscribe by email or RSS.
Roughly 15,000 readers are subscribed to The Simple Dollar by email. Each day, they receive the contents of the last day’s worth of posts in their email inbox – and on rare occasions, they receive something extra. If you’d like to receive The Simple Dollar in this way, fill out this form:
Another option is to receive the site’s contents via RSS feed. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it refers to a very simple method that allows for people to read the latest articles at the blogs that they read all at once. The easiest way to get started with RSS feeds is by using Google Reader. I use Google Reader several times a day to keep tabs on about fifty different blogs that I follow closely.
3. If you have an article idea, tell me.
Readers seem to always have great ideas for articles for The Simple Dollar, but quite a lot of the time I simply don’t see them. To put it simply, I’m often overloaded with material coming in from readers and commenters and I simply miss some things in the hundreds and hundreds of daily comments on posts and daily emails that I receive. I do my best to keep up, but sometimes it’s just overwhelming.
If you have an idea for a post you’d like to see, the easiest way to let me know about it is to contact me with an email with the subject line “Article idea” or “Post idea.” If I see something like that, I always read it and jot down the idea – and fairly regularly those ideas become the articles you read here.
4. Use an article here to start a discussion with others.
An article on The Simple Dollar might spur you on to some positive internal thinking, but you can also use the articles to spur discussions with friends and family.
For example, if you read something that really resonates with the state of your marriage, you might print out an article and give it to your spouse to read, then bring it up at the dinner table the next night. It can open the door to the kind of meaty, valuable discussion that is the bedrock of a good marriage.
Another example: if you see a great list of tips on the site, you might print off a few copies and give them to your friends so they can utilize the advice as well.
5. Use the chronology.
The chronology is a single page that lists every article ever posted at The Simple Dollar in the order that they were posted. You can use that page to browse for articles that might interest you (just read through the article titles and click on ones that interest you) or to find a place to jump in and start reading consecutive articles.
Many readers have dug into The Simple Dollar and read from the beginning, often sending me messages to let me know that my opinions and thoughts on some matters have clearly grown and evolved over time (like coupons, for instance). It’s also a great way to get a grasp on the changes in my own life: since I’ve started The Simple Dollar, I’ve paid off several big debts, bought a house, had a second child, quit a very secure and steady job to write, and many other events. In a way, it’s something of an autobiography, too.
6. Distribute an article from The Simple Dollar to your friends, acquaintances, or clients.
This last one is a very useful tip if you’re responsible for creating newsletters and the like. I hereby give you blanket permission to redistribute the text of any article at The Simple Dollar as you see fit. I would request that you include a link back to The Simple Dollar along with it – a good snippet would be to say that “This article was written by Trent Hamm, author of The Simple Dollar <http://www.thesimpledollar.com>.” If you do something particularly interesting with the articles, please let me know – I know of at least one small-town weekly newspaper that is reprinting a column a week from The Simple Dollar in their paper, for example.
You can also feel completely free to copy and paste excerpts into emails to your friends if you’d like, or any similar activity. Again, a link back would be appreciated, but you’re not only welcome to copy in this fashion, but I encourage it. If you find something useful here, it’s likely useful to others, and I’d love for you to share it with them.