Personal Finance Blog Styles

“New Kids on the Block” – Blogs Started in 2016 or 2017

“Tweeners” – Blogs Started in 2013 to 2015

 

“Grizzled Veterans” – Blogs Started Prior to 2013

About the Graphs

By hovering your cursor over any dot on the above interactive graphs you can see the blog name and the related style “coordinates”.  The graphs plot over 1000 personal finance blogs on two “style axes”: 

  • Horizontal (X) axis – Experiential to Informational
  • Vertical (Y) axis – Intuitive to Rational

Short definitions for each term are:

Horizontal Axis

  • Experiential – Blog posts that focus on personal finance data (e.g., net worth updates) or personal stories, observations, travelogues, and life lessons.
  • Informational – Blog posts that focus on informing, educating, or providing news to the reader.

Vertical Axis

  • Intuitive – Blog posts that present more apparently subjective or qualitative thoughts and emotions, discuss such thoughts, or attempt to illicit emotions.
  • Rational – Blog posts that present more apparently objective, quantitative, or rational facts or logical analyses and discussion of such facts.

Based on a survey of each blog, the blog was given a score on each axes from -5 to 5.  So, an extremely experiential blog is scored -5 and an extremely informational blog is scored 5 on the horizontal axis.  Similarly, an extremely intuitive blog is scored -5 and an extremely rational blog is scored 5 on the vertical axis.  Scores in between these extremes means that the blog has some balance of experiential vs. informational content or intuitive vs. rational content.  Negative values are not intended to convey any judgement about the focus of the blogs.  For example, intuitive and experiential blogs can be very interesting and compelling and are preferred by many readers.  Likewise, more rational and informational blogs may be preferred by other readers.

You can go directly to any blog named in the above graphs by finding the same blog name in the blog style table here.  Unfortunately, the software I am using requires a monthly fee to directly link from the dots in the above graph, so I am skipping that step for now.  If enough interest develops for this personal finance blog guide to generate income to pay the monthly fee, I will add this functionality later. 

Styles of Each Quadrant

This style “coordinate” system places each blog in one of four quadrants, which are simply defined by this graphic.

 

Each style quadrant is assigned a color and a descriptive name.  In parenthesis is a very brief description of the “feel” you may get when reading a blog of this type.  For example, reading an “Education” blog (red quadrant) might feel like reading a text book or technical journal articles because the blog is information dense with rational analysis or explanation of that information.  Here’s a little more detailed description of each quadrant.  

  1. Personal Stories – Experiential and intuitive blogs.  Personal and often emotional stories and observations or discussion of personal motivations, reactions, and decisions.  Often feels like reading personal journal or diary entries. 
  2. Example/Advice – Experiential and rational blogs.  Personal financial data and information or personal observations intended as an example, rational advice, or guidance.  Often feels like reading personal financial accounts or advice from a friend with relevant experience.
  3. Opinion/Motivation – Informational and intuitive blogs.  Apparently objective information presented from a personal perception or emotional impact perspective. Often feels like reading an opinion column, motivational article, or human interest news piece.
  4. Education – Informational and rational blogs.  Apparently objective and substantial information explained or analyzed in a logical or rational way.  Often feels like reading a technical journal article or text book.
  5. Mixed – An additional gray area is shown in the center of the style quadrants for blogs with posts spanning a range of styles or that don’t tend strongly toward any particular style.  For example, a blog with a relatively even mix of educational posts and personal stories might end up in the gray area.

There’s obviously some potential overlap in these definitions, and no style system can be entirely objective.  Further, a blogger can move from one style to another even within a single article, almost defying any single style categorization.  However, I think you will find that blogs in different quadrants often have a tangibly different feel and tone, particularly when the blog plots near the extreme corners of the quadrants.  You may find it more helpful to simply ignore these definitions and instead just read a few blogs in each quadrant to see which style is most attractive to you. 

Additional Information

Here is some additional information on the blog styles and the survey conducted to compile this information.

Table of blog stylesThe same information presented in the above blog styles graph is presented in interactive tabular format on this page.  The table contains URL links to all the blogs shown in the above graph.  Information on nearly 1000 blogs can be searched, sorted, and filtered in this interactive table.

How the scoring determinations were made – This page contains more information on how the survey of personal finance blogs was conducted.

Some observations about the findings – I plan to add a page that contains some of my observations about the results of the blog styles survey and what it tells us about the current status of the world of personal finance blogging.  I will post and tweet once this page is up.  Unlike the intent of much of the rest of this guide, these observations will be my own opinions, but some readers may still find it interesting or useful.