Updated on 11.14.06

The Wrong People Are Reading Personal Finance Sites

Trent Hamm

If you’re reading this, you’re more likely than not to have a pretty solid grip on your personal finances. You’re thinking about them regularly and you’re visiting and reading websites devoted to the topic. Getting your mindset in the right place is the foundation of personal finance; everything else just follows along with it.

When I write, particularly here at The Simple Dollar, I like to believe that I’m helping people. Hopefully, you’ve been helped (or at least entertained) by things I’ve written here; if you have, that’s great. Unfortunately, most of my topics really speak to where I was a year ago, and a year ago I probably would never have read The Simple Dollar.

The question that I’m trying to figure out is how can I (or any personal finance blogger) reach out and hook those people who are just starting down that scary slope of debt, a trail that so many of us in the personal finance blogging community have fallen? It’s a question I ask myself every day and to a degree I’m struggling with answers, but here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

I make sure at least some of my posts are about basic personal finance topics. I write about basic frugality and credit card management regularly, as these are the first issues that come up when people realize that something needs to change.

I write anecdotal stuff regularly. For many readers, humanity is what sets the hook of an idea. This is why so many personal finance books are loaded with anecdotes; people hear the stories of others and the ideas sink in. So I try to write some anecdotes as well, so that when my site is discovered, there are human stories to relate to.

I promote my site (without being too pushy). I’m uncomfortable directly requesting links, but I try to participate in carnivals and other mechanisms to expand my readership and link count. The higher I promote my link count, the higher my results will show up in Google, which means that if a person searches for things like “credit card buying textbooks help,” The Simple Dollar can be there to help them. I have no interest in playing quasi-cheesy SEO games to elevate my ratings, but I do have an interest in legitimate links from people with similar interests.

I write – a lot. My regular visitors know that I write a lot of lengthy pieces and they’re posted rather frequently. I have a lot of thoughts on my mind, I really enjoy doing personal finance research, and I am passionate about writing. These combine to enable me to post quite frequently. In fact, I quite often write many more posts than you see in a given day; I just save some of the less time-sensitive ones for later when I’m busier with life.

If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them. In fact, please post them in your own blog; I’d love to see this grow into a community-wide discussion.

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  1. Kira says:

    We’re all pretty much preaching to the choir – a lot of people who are in financial trouble and could benefit from reading some finance blogs simply stick their heads in the sand and don’t want to hear about it. Finances are something to be endured to most people.

    Short of using traditional advertising on non finance sites, I think you’re doing all the right things.

  2. Matt says:

    I still think that there is a lot of value within these sites; you will get picked up by google and other search engines. Once you start getting traffic from that you will have new readers who you can help out.

    But there is something that you missed; you aren’t writing to a completely converted choir. For example I’m still learning about the whole world of personal finance. I put myself into debt years ago and now I’m struggling with it and learning a great deal from bloggers like yourself (while writing about it).

  3. Jarrod says:

    I think being in debt can be a lot like thinking you’re in love (with the wrong person). Everyone else can see it, and even tell you what to fix, but until you come to face the reality yourself there’s not much help for it. Unfortunately I’ve experienced both. Luckily it’s never too late.

  4. Susan says:

    Actually I got this link purely by accident. Looked at just the right page, and I’m actually pulling husband in the room every morning to show him what i’ve read. It was actually your “The Road To Financial Armageddon” that kinda made me go “whoa”. Mainly because when you described the way your parents handled their finances, it occured to me you were talking about mine. My husband and I have taken a big step this last year to get out of debt and start saving, But always, always blamed ourselves 100%. Money mistakes all our own. But after reading that it made me rethink. And now I feel challenged with a new goal. Preventing my own child from recieving ideas about financial no nos that I dealt with. Still reading, still enjoying. ^^

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