Why I Visited 1,132 Personal Finance Blogs (And What I Learned)

I’ve always had a slight obsession with, every now and then, doing a ‘complete’ review of something.  Over the years I’ve done things like:

  • Read every book in chronological order from a particular author
  • Listened to every single CD in my collection
  • Played every video game I owned for a particular console.

I think I do this because I always find something interesting when I do so.  I’ll rediscover a book that I had forgotten about, I’ll realize that I really like a particular CD (or sometimes realize I made a really bad purchase), etc.

So, it was with the same background that I decided last year to go visit ALL of the personal finance sites.mb-2015-10-notebook

And, while I realize that there’s no way that I could possibly uncover each and every one, I did get to 1,132, which is a pretty good chunk, I’d have to expect.

Here’s some of what I found:

How I Found All 1,132 Sites

There are a few different sites out there that have, over the years, compiled a list of personal finance sites.  Many of these are by submission, and it was a good way to get on a central list.  The owners would benefit by getting a lot of traffic.  I decided to focus on two lists:

  • Money Crashers – They had the most in their list, over 700 in total, but the unfortunate part was that the updating appears to have ceased sometime in last 2013.  Still, this provided a really good list of blogs.
  • Modest Money – This one has fewer entries (around 550) but is kept up to date, so I decided to use this as my second source.

I first went through the Money Crashers list, and then added the Modest Money entries.  I filtered for duplicates and was left with 1,132.

My Objective: Find Cool Blogs To Read

To start off, what I really was looking for was to find blogs that I wasn’t reading that I should be.  I am a personal finance blogger, but I really love reading blogs above all.  With so many new bloggers hitting the scene, I realized that I was probably missing out on lots of good blogs.  And, as it turns out, I was!

Now, I subscribe to a lot of blogs.  I love reading them and love leaving comments.  However, I have some rules that are just mine, but it fit into the categories below:

  • Abandoned – If a blog hadn’t been updated with original content in 3 months or more, I considered it abandoned.
  • Not Interested -I like reading about the personal side of personal finance.  If a blog was simply informational, I likely passed it by.  Many of these are great blogs, but they just aren’t for me.
  • Found A New Blog – If I liked what I saw, I subscribed and am now a reader!
  • Already Reading – If a blog was in this category, I was already reading it beforehand.
  • Partial Feed – In order for me to read a blog, an absolute must is that the blog has to publish a full RSS feed.  I subscribe to a lot of blogs, so I want the full article available to me in my RSS reader.  It’s a common strategy to publish a ‘partial feed’ with the idea that people will click in to the article, thus boosting the number of visitors and page views. While that is certainly a sound strategy, I won’t read a blog that does it.  The way I look at it is that I will give you the clicks and visits if I like the article enough to click in so that I can either share it on social media or leave a comment.
  • No Feed – RSS certainly took a big hit a few years ago when Google shut down their Reader service.  Apparently a lot of the newbies have decided that RSS is too old school, and don’t have a feed on their site.  The hot thing now is to direct people to an e-mail list, which again, is all and well, but I don’t have time to wade through an inbox full of e-mails.  I prefer the one-stop shopping approach.
  • Suspicious – There were some sites that my firewall or browser blocked and marked as spam or suspicious.  I wasn’t going to dig deeper to find out if it was true or not.
  • Thief – I went to one site and found one of my own articles posted word for word on the page.  This dummy didn’t even remove the copyright notice. In fact, he didn’t even care what he was stealing, as he even posted an article called “A New Look For Money Beagle”  Unscramble and search for “Bugdet Ym Wllaet” to  see if you’ve been scraped (I’m listing it this way because he deserves zero links or even mentions for Google to find).  He’s at the bottom of the list here, exactly where he deserves as people like this are just the worst.

Personal Finance Blogs By The Numbers

So, with that in mind, here are the numbers:

  • Abandoned – 445
  • Not Interested – 397
  • Found A New Blog – 95
  • Already Reading – 90
  • Partial RSS Feed – 55
  • No RSS Feed – 39
  • Suspicious – 10
  • Thief – 1

Lessons Learned

This process took a few months.  I’d go through and check out a few sites a day and log the results, until I was all done.  What I’ve learned since is that there are a lot of great blogs out there.  I’m really GLAD that I did this.   I’ll probably do an appended form again at some point.  This means that I will probably aggregate the lists, and  skip over the ones that I’ve already reviewed.  Either way, I will certainly find new blogs.

So, if you’ve recently seen me start appearing on your blog or putting your stuff out in social media, chances are this is how I found your blog.  Blogging is a great community, and I’ve found that most personal bloggers discover very early on that working together is the best approach.  Visiting, promoting, and commenting on other blogs doesn’t take anything away from your blog.  Most of the time it’s just the opposite!

Readers, how did you find Money Beagle, and how do you find fun new content to read?  Do you have any ‘must have’ rules for a new site?

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29 thoughts on “Why I Visited 1,132 Personal Finance Blogs (And What I Learned)

  1. I came here in hopes that you’d list a few blogs that you recommend at least. Interesting article though.

    • I just started a Saturday roundup where I’ll be pointing out links that I really enjoy. I think you’ll see a lot of great blogs included, which will of course include many of the new ones I added.

  2. Holy mackerel!!!! That re-boggles the already boggled brain.

    I used to enjoy that doing kind of thing, but nowadays there are so many PF blogs that few of us have anything unique or new to say. That’s essentially why I wandered away from straight personal finance and frugality at FaM: how many ways can you say “get a practical education; get a job; get a side gig; pay off your debt; live below your means; and save, save, save”? I’m sure I’ve said each of those about a dozen times. 😀

    The old personal finance carnivals used to be a good way to find new and interesting PF sites…guess Google put the eefus on those, though. Deservedly so: the software they introduced to let people mindlessly compile links from contributors’ emails made carnivals boring and useless, from a reader’s point of view, and insulting from a writer’s. What about Financial Samurai’s enterprise? He used to have a lot of younger bloggers on his list. Personally, I drifted away from that, too: the whole Alexa thing got to be a pain, plus piling everyone together seems to underscore the fundamental issue: _How many times can you say…?_

    I hate those scrapers. We ought to get a bunch of us together and hire a lawyer to sue that jerk’s a**. He’s probably in Russia, though.
    Funny about Money recently posted..Check Up on Your Financial AdviserMy Profile

    • I agree. I don’t write the so-called SEO friendly stuff just for purpose of writing it. Those sites bore me. If I do write on a topic, it’s because it ties in with something that has happened in my life or that I’ve seen that has piqued my interest. I think it’s the way to go.

      The Yakezie site (run by Sam) definitely had it’s heydey but that also tied in with the time where making money as a PF blogger was fairly easy. When Google cracked down and took away the ‘easy’ element, the interest definitely waned in terms of a lot of the group collaboration.

  3. Oh! I am one of those partial feed people. I have gone back and forth on that one – and still not sure what the right answer is. I think the reason many are abandoned is similar to what “funny” said above – how many times can you say…about money and I also think many were born due to the great financial crisis and lessons learned and people are through the worst and we forget – we will forget until the next time.

    • Everybody has to make their own choices. I know it can increase clicks and views and all that, but I would expect there’s a trade off. I also look at it that you might get more clicks, but are the users behind them as engaged. I honestly don’t think there is a definitive right or wrong answer, and I begrudge nobody for the choices that they make in that regard. Just, as a reader, I had to draw my line in the sand and that’s where it fell for me 🙂

  4. Ah! I’m severely tech challenged, and I don’t have the feed. I will look into it! What an incredible task you took on – reading all of those blogs! I’m with you on liking personal stories, not just advice. For that reason, I don’t worry about the possibility – or even the likelihood – that “this has already been written about.” Everyone has a different story, so a familiar concept will have a unique look based on the particular context of the blogger. And it’s OK to hear the same message more than once. It’s more likely to stick that way.
    Prudence Debtfree recently posted..The Role of Regret in Personal Finances: Constructive or Draining?My Profile

    • It’s funny because I learned later on after I got through this that even if people don’t publish a feed, any WordPress blog has one enabled by default. So I can just put in your site and the software I use will actually go and find the feed. So, you might be getting some readers via RSS, but it’s still a good idea to put a link out there if interested. Drop me an e-mail if you need any assistance, I’m happy to help!

  5. Good article, I wasn’t aware of the “listing” sites, and sent a note to Modest Money today to get my site added to their list!! Thanks for sharing, and I love your approach! (BTW, since my site wasn’t listed, I’d be honored if you’d have a look: http://www.TheRetirementManifesto.com I’ll look for your comments!! 🙂

  6. I’m impressed with the extent of your research! I don’t think I’d ever have the patience (or time) to go through the entire Money Crashers lists. However, on the subject of abandonment, I’d say that if a blog hasn’t had a post in 3 months, that doesn’t mean it’s abandoned. Perhaps it’s just on hiatus. (wink, wink – hello, that’s me). To me, an abandoned blog is one that hasn’t posted in a year. But maybe I’m just biased since I’ve slowed waaaay down on posting. 🙂 I’ll check back on Saturday for your round up on new and interesting PF blogs.

    • I’ll keep that in mind. While I know there are certainly exceptions, and I’ll hope you’re one of them as I always liked your posts, it seemed that if someone stopped posting for 3 months, it was at least a 90% chance that they weren’t going to start again. Just my estimates/observations.

    • Yeah, I mean granted I didn’t read every one from cover to cover, otherwise I’d still be just getting started. But if I did like what I saw, I would definitely try to get the latest few entries.

  7. Wow, that’s a lot of blogs. I just don’t have time to find new blogs anymore. When I was working, I was in front of the computer all day and it’s easy to surf a bit. Now I’m really focused when I’m online and only visit a few blogs regularly.
    It’s tough to keep writing every week. Sometime you just run out of ideas and time.

  8. I’m with you…I prefer to read a blog with a personal touch. Lists like the “7 Best ways to etc etc” can be cool sometimes and a quick read but too often, it’s a rehash of topics I’ve already read. If there is a personal touch, then rehash of the same topic is still different because everyone has a different perspective. I think I probably found Money Beagle in another blogs comments section where they have the name of recent posts and the title caught my eye.

  9. I never would have thought that so many blogs would be left abandoned. Interesting info to know.

    As for keeping track of PF sites and determining the best to read, I use Feedly to keep tabs on what I want to read. It may not work as well as an RSS feed, but I like how it’s organized and the look of it. Keep up the great work on this topic!

  10. How would you go about dealing with someone stealing your content? That must be infuriating. Is that something that can be reported or is there no recourse?

    I like your blog and just started mine today. Have a great weekend.

  11. Whew! Fun. I love discovering new blogs! And I’m with you. A full feed is an absolute MUST! I follow my blogs in Feedly (now that Google Reader now longer exists) and I’ve subscribed and unsubscribed to many, as soon as I discover they are partial feeds. It frustrates me to no end. I’m glad you discovered some new ones…and I’m glad I discovered your blog (thanks to your comments) as one of my new reads.
    Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving recently posted..Introducing Emma MarieMy Profile

    • Thanks! Glad I’m not the only one that’s fussy about the full feed element. 🙂

      See, the importance of blog commenting cannot be overstated. I find it very sad when people grow their blogs so much that they stop taking the time to visit and comment on other blogs or even to reply to their own comments. I call that ‘too big for their britches’ syndrome, LOL.

    • I debated it and I may eventually, but honestly there are so many that I didn’t feel it was worthwhile to list them all. What you’ll notice in my occasional Saturday roundup posts is that you’ll see the best of the best, which happens to include many of the new blogs I found.

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