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7 Secret Tips I’ve Learned About Personal Finance Blogging

By: Steve Johnson

2/18/2009 - 67 Comments

Over the last few years, I have made several observations about personal finance blogging that I would like to share with my fellow blogging readers. 

Some bloggers naturally do these things without even knowing it and others struggle to understand why their blog isn’t growing. 

I believe that it will take me about five years to become a full-time blogger if I stick with it that long, as noted in the article I wrote last year “Crossing the Internet Chasm”.

I’m sure I will continue to learn more with time, but for now, here are my best tips that I have learned. 

1. Help a lot of people

The more people you can help the better.  The more people you can help the more they will tell other people about how you helped them.  People are looking for financial answers to their pressing needs that will help them make financial decisions to better their personal financial situation.  People want a solution to their current financial problem and they want to feel good about it.  Find a way to give them the answers, while encouraging them in their decisions.  If your blog is not growing, then you are not helping enough people.

2. Stay with current issues and current needs

I struggle with this because I have a long-term vision for the economy and business. To me, personal finance is more about the big picture that the current issues of the day. 

You need a long-term vision to get your investments right and make money, but people are just not as interested as they are about current issues. They want to talk about the current issues and how they are affected by them today.  They want to talk about what they can do today without regard for how they will invest or manage their money a few months from now.

This is hard to understand and I continue to struggle with it as a long-term thinker, but it is true none the less.  It’s not that long-term investing is a bad thing to talk about and many people are interested in it, but many more readers are interested in short-term practical money management tips. (Of course this article doesn't meet this objective, yet I find myself publishing it anyway) 

3. Use long titles with popular keywords

I have come to realize that using popular keywords are very important for search engines to index your article and drive more traffic to your blog.  Article titles are also very important for search engines.  Therefore, it helps to use long titles that contain several popular keywords that are used within your article. The popularity of keywords is always changing, but the most popular keywords are related to the current issues.  So it’s good to write about current issues, but keep in mind that as the current issues become old news, the article you wrote will no longer be of much relevance. 

Therefore, you need to mix it up with articles that have long term relevance to continue to bring traffic.  Try to use current events to bring people looking for current news to your blog and use long-term practical tips to bring readers that are searching for solutions. Current events are better for attracting readers to your blog, but many of these readers don’t come back.  Practical tips are better for building long-term relationships with readers who are more likely to come back – which is why many of the leading bloggers focus on long-term practical tips.

4. Use lists and images

Lists and images are more entertaining then words alone.  Blogging is as much about entertaining your readers as anything else.  When a readers sees a list, they usually know even before they read the article that they are about to get some practical tips that they can begin to apply.

Images give readers something to look at to help them frame a picture in their mind when they read your words.  Without an image, their mind may wonder or bring up a different image.  An image helps a reader stay focused on what they are reading.  Images can also bring emotion to your words, which can be both entertaining and engaging.  Lists and images are an important part of building your blog.

5. How personal financial blogging is different

The three most popular subjects in the world are MONEY, SEX, and POWER. Likewise, these three topics make up the three largest part of the blogosphere because these are what people want to talk about. 

Personal finance is about MONEY, not about sex or power or anything else.  So when someone comes to your personal finance blog, they are usually not interesting in anything other than money.  Many subjects are related to money like politics, which is more about power and the current financial collapse has very much become a political situation.  But, when the economy is not in a recession, then politics is not what people want to talk about on a personal finance blog.  Personal finance is about planning your money throughout your life as jobs and investments come and go.  

6. Continue your momentum

Blogging can be very demanding and also has ups and downs.  It’s important to know this and focus on persevering by building on your foundation.  That means, continuing to participate in activities like growing your network with fellow bloggers, carnivals and link exchanges.  You can also continue your momentum by building article series that add long-term content to your blog.  Building links to your blog is the best way to grow your long-term influence.

7. Revenue will follow your ability to execute the first six

There are hundreds of things to learn about and get better at as a blogger, just as a writer gets better with practice.  If it takes a writer about five books before hitting it big, it can take a blogger a few thousand articles before hitting it big.  Revenue will follow your ability to learn along the way and make the changed that are necessary to improve your blog.  Focus on delivering what your readers want from you and the revenue will follow. 

In Conclusion

I have watched some personal finance bloggers grow into online celebrities and others quit altogether.  Alone the way, I have seen a big difference in how helpful the growing bloggers are. Helpfulness is the key to growing your blog.  Find a way to be helpful and your blog is bound to grow.

These tips are easier to write about then to follow.  I need to think about how I’m going to change with respect to these practical tips, and it’s not as easy for me as it is for others who naturally do these things.  I have to make an extra effort to do these things on purpose so don’t feel bad if you’re with me. 

If you're a blogger, what tips or hard lessons have you learned?

If you're a reader, what ideas do you have for me to become a better blogger?

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