Why would I link to other personal finance sites?

by Matt B

A friend of mine and I were talking on the phone yesterday, and he was asking me how the site was coming along. I told him that, despite not having the readership that I would prefer, I think that it is turning out well. It is only 2 months old, I get a handful of new readers a day, and I frequently write what I consider to be “quality” content. I am continuously working to improve the site quality and aesthetic, and working to make the best possible experience for my readers. (Please comment if you think that Financial Methods is pure trash, and should be done away with immediately).

During the conversation, he asked why I frequently link to other personal finance blogs.

“Wouldn’t that be like owning a convenience store, but sending a customer to another store to pick up a similar product?”

At first I was taken aback by the question. I understood what he was asking, but could not agree less with what he was implying.

He was saying that if my product is so similar to theirs, why not keep readers here and not send them to other sites that offer up similar suggestions. The answer is very simple.

First of all, Financial Methods is not a store. I do not sell tangible items. Instead, I offer suggestions and ideas to improve one’s personal finance situation. I try to cover most age groups that would be interested in this sort of information. Unfortunately, I can not cater to all age groups or tax brackets.

Because this site is not for everyone, I want to provide other resources, some which have varying opinions and ideas. I also want to highlight and promote great sites that have helped me reach some of my goals. I do not see these sites as competition. I offer a different product from theirs. Some ideas may be the same, some may differ. Some of the author’s of other sites may hold characteristics similar to mine, some may be light years apart.

Other personal finance sites and blogs are some of the tools that I use to produce my own opinions and therefore, content here. Why would I try to hide these sites, or keep my own readers from going there? I do not feel that linking to their sites will take away from my own traffic.

Financial Methods’ mission statement is to teach and spread financial knowledge. That mission statement can not be carried out by one single source. There is no “cover-all” website for everyone. Hell, Financial Methods may not even be for you. That is precisely the reason that I promote my “competitors”.

  • I do not see other personal finance websites as a threat, I see them as opportunities for my readers to learn more. In fact, I will be the first to admit that most of the sites that I reference have much better authors than myself. That does not mean that I think you should leave me for them, only that you seek as many sources for advice and knowledge as you can.
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    { 5 comments… read them below or add one }

    Miranda March 30, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I think that this is a common misconception when it comes to blogging. Linking to “competitors” is something you can do to help you. Blogging is a different world. I have to explain that to some of my corporate clients regularly. “We look foolish when we link to competitors,” they say. Actually, they don’t.

    RateNerd March 30, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I completely agree – linking to your “competitors” shows you have integrity and can handle it. There is no hiding online. My favorite saying about sharing info with competitors is “The good competitors already know what you are doing. The bad ones will just be confused.”

    Heyagainlando March 30, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    The greatest thing about personal finance and the bloggers (like us) is the sense of community. Everyone that I have contacted for any help or issues has been great. Even the ones that I thought might not even reply to a simple email. The willingness to help and cooperate is immense and very comforting for those of us who are still in the “beginner mode” like myself. Thanks to all of you!

    Cheapchick March 30, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Linking to your competitors simply is a celebration of this online community you share. Many blog readers find other blogs by these links. Blog readers tend to read several blogs rather than just one alone. I look at it as like being part of a newspaper…your article is one in many joined by a thread. I found yours thru wisebread.com. I would have never found it otherwise…kudos to you.

    El Cheapo March 30, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    I agree with everyone else on sharing links. I came across your site while doing research and often find good articles and link to them because I like them. If you get a chance, stop by my site and let me know what you think.

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