Which Blogging Style Are You?

After reading various blogs about personal finance (PF) for more than two years, I have noticed three different writing styles among individual bloggers.

In this post, I will talk specifically about blogs owned and run by individual bloggers rather than commercial companies (i.e. The Penny Hoarder).

These commercial PF blogs consists of posts from many contributors and contain rather heavy affiliate marketing and ads.

I’m generally not a big fan of these commercial sites since they lack the personal connection that I have with individual-run blogs.

(In writing this piece, I don’t mean to upset or offend anyone.

If you’re mentioned here and don’t agree with what’s written, please feel free to leave your feedback.

This is entirely my opinion based on what I have read and analyzed.)

1) Personal opinions followed by in-depth analysis

Bloggers with this style start their posts by presenting their personal opinion or story about a certain topic. They follow it up with a thorough analysis backed by extensive data.

Bloggers in these camp often provide an insight into their financial status through income, net worth, and investment reports. They dissect their financial failures and success in painstaking detail to provide valuable generalizable lessons for the reader.

These bloggers are usually experienced investors.

Pros

— The blogger creates and builds a personal connection with the reader by offering their perspectives and a look at their finances. This personalized relationship helps build loyalty among their readers.

— They also act as educators and mentors by providing data-driven advice based on their extensive and credible research. The generalizable nature of their advice makes it easier for them to reach a wider audience and thus draw more traffic to their blogs.

Cons

— Though thorough and informative, sometimes the blog posts are a bit too long and/or technical for someone looking to read for leisure.

— The reader sometimes find it hard to relate to the bloggers since they may not be interested in personal finance at such a high level.

Examples

— Financial Samurai is a perfect example of this style. He’s built an empire on his blog with such wealth of knowledge that’s particularly useful for those looking to build diversified streams of passive income.

— Other examples include Afford Anything and Smart Passive Income.

2) General how-to guide

Bloggers with this style minimize their personal opinions and maximize the generalization of their tips. Their posts usually read as a how-to guide that can be useful to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Whether you’re looking to retire early, save money, or pay off debt, there’s always something useful you can find on these blogs. The topics and tips are so broad they are applicable to almost anyone.

Pros

— Since the topics and tips are broad, they are more likely to draw a large reader base.

— It’s also easier for the blogger to take advantage of affiliate marketing to increase their blog income since there’re multiple products that can be useful for any particular ‘how-to’ post.

Cons

— The lack of relationship building through personal stories/opinions can make the reader feel detached from the blogger.

— Due to the ease of affiliate marketing, the blog can easily come across as too commercialized.

Example

— Wallet Hacks by Jim Wang fits perfectly into this category. Jim’s blog offers amazing tips on how to save money, make money, and retire early. If it’s your first few times visiting the blog, you may be discouraged by the cons mentioned above.

— Other examples include The Budget Mom and Millennial Personal Finance.

3) Narratives about personal life mixed with tips

Bloggers in this category document their daily lives with a focus on frugality. They offer money saving tips while infusing their posts with their life events, feelings, and opinions. The reader can see the bloggers’ personality and lifestyle shine through their posts.

This writing style is less formal than the two mentioned above. The blogger can make it seem like they’re having a casual conversation with the reader.

Many of these bloggers are wives and mothers who start blogging as a hobby or a side business to make extra income for their family. They may not have a large investment portfolio to present, but they have a lot of amazing money saving tips.

Pros

— It is much easier for the blogger to build a relationship and cultivate loyalty with their reader. The reader feels like they know the blogger and want to stay updated on their life events.

— This approach can be easily employed by a newbie blogger who doesn’t have a lot of experience with personal finance (i.e. investment, retirement).

Cons

— Due to the personalized nature of this style, it may appeal to a smaller audience than styles #1 and #2.

— The tips on money saving, retirement, or investment tend to be anecdotal and are not thorough analysis like #1.

Examples

The Frugal Girl and SixFiguresUnder exemplify this group. Their blogs tell the story of their families and the simple things they do to save money.

Sharing your family picnic story with the reader

My style

My four favorite PF blogs all follow style #3. When I read their blogs, I feel like I’m getting an update from a friend who’s also passionate about frugality as me. This style resonates with me the most. I’ve adopted it for my blog for three reasons:

1) I am a new blogger who has little experience with investment. There’s not much for me to write about regarding rental property or stocks.

2) I have more topics to write about if the blog documents my every day life. While there’s not much I can write about dividends or stocks, I see money saving tips in every little thing I do daily. It seems like a never-ending resource for future topics.

3) I don’t want to do more research when I’m home. I do research for a living, so when I get home and want to do something fun, I really don’t feel like reading extensive reports just to write a post. I want to express my thoughts freely and do look up data to support an argument if needed. But if I have to read 2 reports and 5 books to write a post, then blogging is not fun anymore, at least for now.

Future plan

At the moment, I want to blog about anything that I find interesting or am curious about. It’s more of a fun activity than a side business.

As I grow older and gain more experience in investment, my posts might be enriched with more data and analysis. In the future, I see style #1 (personal opinions followed by in-depth research) as a promising option.

However, I will keep writing about topics that I enjoy and am comfortable with, and stick with style #3 if need be.

What about you? Which blogging style do you think you follow?



60 thoughts on “Which Blogging Style Are You?”

  • Oh man I’m not sure. I’m kinda all over the place. I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis of style though. I’ve came across and read most of the blogs you’ve listed and I knew exactly what you mean.

    When I started blogging (because of Financial Samurai) I really wanted to go after #1 with a blend of #2. But I’m sort of an weirdo so I gravitate literally all over the place. #3 is the most fun to write and I make myself laugh with it but yes I wonder sometimes if I’m the only one who thinks I’m funny. I’ll just do all three and hope for the best 😥

    • It’s totally fine to try and implement different styles. I think it’ll be more interesting to the reader since they can see the different facets of your personal finance. There’s absolutely no need to stick with just one.

      And you ARE funny!!! I laugh every time I read your comments or posts. ^.^

    • Very cool to hear you started blogging do to FS! Enjoy the journey! It’s really the relationships and the banter that makes things fun. Sure, you’ll get the occassional hater or someone who doesn’t like you, but brush them off and focus on what matters most.

      Everybody who has lasted for several years have found their own special, unforeseen surprises.

      Best, Sam

      • I think a lot of people can say this!

        Blogging is all about writing about your experiences, opinions and building relationships with the readers. At least that’s my goal. Not sure which of the blogger style groups I fit into…probably all three at different times.

  • Nice analysis of blogging styles! I’m also probably most drawn to Style 3. At the end of the day, we’re human and I think drawn to real stories of real people, especially when we’ve got the basics of financial literacy down!

    • Thank you, Laurie! I particularly enjoy reading blogs with style #3 too. I feel like they’re telling their stories to a friend, and that I find really intriguing. ^.^

  • First off- I really enjoyed this post! I had not broken down blogs like this before, but I had noticed similar general approaches. I like having this breakout handy 🙂

    Mr. Adventure Rich and I are with you… we’ll probably be in the #3 bucket 90% of the time. Like you, we are new bloggers and have full time jobs, so our blog will be filled with more organic topics that come from our lifestyle, situations and perspectives. I like the blogs I see that keep it personal and give honest reviews of their own scenarios and lessons learned. Thanks for writing this!

    • Thank you, Mrs. Adventure Rich! I enjoy reading personal finance blogs written about daily life topics as well. I can relate to them better and find it very relaxing to read such posts! ^.^

  • I’m not sure I’d agree style three is limited to wives or mother’s. I’d argue the prevelence is around blogging a hobby. I oscillate between 2 and 3 depending on the post. I’m not a mom or wife obviously.

    • Great point! I totally agree with you style #3 is not limited to wives or mothers. I often see this style on many blogs written by female bloggers, but there are of course many male bloggers out there who adopt this style. ^.^

      • Had the same thought as Full Time Finance. I was like, yeah that could really be me, or… maybe not. Although I do blog aside from my day job, and are getting married next year. Just don’t look at myself as a (future) wife 😉

        I tend to mix between #1 and #3 myself, but don’t want to put too much into researching because of a lack of time.

        • I know what you mean. You definitely don’t have to be a mom or a wife to follow #3. It’s just that I’ve seen a lot of moms follow this style and want to stress that observations.

          I’m with you on not wanting to do too much research to write a blog. I think I just want to type up what I have in mind hehe.

  • I think I am mostly Style 1. I actually started with articles that were entirely research and no personal touch. I wanted to convey a lot of the information that I had spent years studying and felt like the information was more important than any anecdotes from my life. Needless to say, nobody read it at all. It wasn’t until I started mixing in a bit more of a personal element (pushing towards your Style 1, as I kept the research base) that people started reading and actually finding it interesting.

    • It’s fascinating that you’re been adjusting your strategy to reach a wider audience. I have no doubt you have a lot to convey to the reader, and you’ve done a great job showing that through your personal stories! =)

  • Thanks for sharing. I think I’m a mix of #1 and #2. I’m new to the blogging sphere (roughly 2 weeks). I’m also not catering to the FIRE niche. It’s general finance, FIRE/retirement, business/career, and fitness; and I sprinkle some of my opinions throughout.

    • Welcome to the blogging community, Tim! It’s a great idea to mix things up a little bit. Gradually, you will fine what you like best and feel most comfortable producing! ^^

  • I like how you broke down the different blogging styles. When I first started 4 years ago, I was using style #2. After a few posts, it became difficult to stick with this style because it just seemed a list or a “how-to” post which isn’t always the most interesting. Plus, pretty much everything that you’re thinking about writing about has already been written about. Style #1 was a little more difficult since I didn’t feel like I was as knowledgeable as many others out there. So I moved towards style #3 which I like the most. Everyone has a different and unique experience so even if you write about the same topic that has been written about before, it’s a new and fresh perspective.

    • I totally agree with you, Andrew! I personally find style #1 challenging since I don’t know much about investment. I actually wrote a post about how little I knew about retirement accounts @_@.

      I’m with you on the difficulty of style #2 as well. There’re a ton of posts and articles about the same topic on the internet, so if we don’t mix out personal experience in the post, it’d be hard for us to stand out.

  • As a frequent reader to personal finance blogs, I tend to read more of style #3 since I like the blogger’s personal experience with the topic at hand. It makes me more interested in what they are going to write and know they will give some advice to the reader of how to save money

    • I like style #3 the best as well. I can relate better to the bloggers and what they have to say in their posts! ^.^

  • Guess I never categorized PF blogs like that, but you make some valid points. That is the best thing about blogging though is you can have whatever style you want. Either play to your strengths and pick one of the three or pick a more hybrid approach and take the best of all worlds. There is no wrong say since it is your blog. You can customize it to get whatever you want out of it. The key being to provide high quality content to your readers.

    • Totally agreed! We can definitely mix different styles to produce what’s unique to us and what quality content we want to offer to our readers. =)

  • Thanks for mentioning my blog and I think #2 is definitely a fit.

    This might be a little inside baseball but I view my posts as falling into one of the three categories, with #2 being the most prominent. I mix in my personal life, history, stories throughout the posts when relevant and I try to have the posts be valuable for the reader in an actionable way.

    I feel like visitors to the blog are themselves in one of several categories. Most often, they’re seeking an answer to a question, rather than keeping up with what I may be doing. So that’s probably why I gravitate towards #2 type articles, though the reason I wrote the post in the first place was to answer that question for myself. 🙂

    • Hi Jim, thank you so much for dropping by my blog! I have been so impressed with you ever since I listened to the podcast about you on Afford Anything. You’re a great example I want to follow when it comes to personal finance blogging. Looks like style #2 has worked out wonderfully for Wallet Hacks. ^.^

  • I think I’m mostly #2, because my blog’s mission is to educate people about money in a way that anyone can understand. I have to consciously work on keeping things personal, relatable, and fun… a challenge when breaking down the technical details of an IRA or different student loan repayment plans!

    It’s good to think about what category of blogger you are so that you can make sure what you’re writing is aligned with your mission. Thanks for the introspection Ms. FAF!

    • Nicely put! I like that you have a mission and want to share your personal experience with the reader. It’s always challenging to write a quality post, but you will get better at it as you write. I’m trying my best as well. ^.^

  • That is a funny breakdown. I tend to follow more #1 but will occasionally hit #2 and #3 also. I too go for whatever I want to write about and don’t worry so much about clicks and views.

    • Me too! I just like to write about what makes me smile and what I want to offer to the reader. After all, blogging should be fun! =)

  • Man I think since I am new as well I am a little bit all over the place trying to get the hang of things.

    I think I aspire to be #1 even though I tell myself to try and be more #2. I love Financial Samurai and have read him for years. I would love to have his knowledge and ability to explain topics.

    The reason I try to write more like #2 is I love the teaching and showing new people how to manage investing and finances. I would like to appeal to people that may have less knowledge and a willingness to learn.

    I guess in the end I want to be a 1.5….ha! Great post Ms. FAF

    • 1.5 sounds like a great idea! It does require lots of experience and knowledge to adopt #1. I aspire to that style too, but I’ll need to see how much experience in investing I’ll be able to gain in the future. I don’t want my posts to read like dry research papers I’m about to submit for my class @_@.

  • Shoot, I thought I was the personable #3! 🙂

    My posts are quite long, and they will lose a lot of readers who aren’t rapidly into the topic. I just want to write what I read, so I do like styles #1 and #3.

    BUT, I think it’s smart to go #2 and keep things general without too much personality – more the business route.

    Thx for the inclusion!

    Sam

    • Hi Sam, I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw your comment this morning! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, so it’s such an honor to have you right here on Frugal Asian Finance.

      A lot of people, myself included, aspire to style #1. You’ve done it so well showing your personality while acting as a mentor on your blog. I know for a fact that I don’t have the experience and knowledge to do #1. Even if I attempted now, my posts would read like dry research papers since I just don’t have much experience in investment. One quick test to know if you’re #3 is to see whether you write often about groceries, meals, and frugal wins/fails (like I do heheh).

      I also think it’s smart to do #2 since it appeals to a wider audience. It’s also riskier since one’s blog might get lost in the jungle of other similar and more advanced blogs. I guess we can’t never be sure until we try. 😉

      Thank you for the great feedback! ^.^

      • Sure no problem! At the end of the day, if you’re not having fun blogging, you’re not doing it right!

        I still wake up each morning by 6am, excited to see what happened in the blogosphere. Perhaps I’m a blogging addict? I donno! But it’s fun to read new stuff, learn new things, and get to know new people. Sometimes, it just gets a little hard to manage, but all you got to do is step back and take a break.

        There’s nothing better than finding something you love to do, and getting to spend as much time doing what you want to do!

        • I totally know what you mean. I think about blogging all the time every single day. Lily and I were just talking about how we’ve been losing sleep over our blogs yesterday! But I feel happy about this whole journey. Sleep is important, but there are more exciting things out there to explore! ^.^

  • Your blog is blowing up! 26 comments. I guess style 3 is working out for you. I am also closer to style 3. I am always impressed with Financial Samurai, but I don’t have the time or energy to write his in depth analysis. Still he is kicking butt and taking names. I will continue with the narrative and try to add some tips along the ways.

    • I was also surprised to see the feedback (although 13 of those 26 comments are mine 😀 ). I seriously considered not publishing this post yesterday. I thought to myself “Why would someone want to know what blogging style they are?” But since I already invested a lot of time writing this piece, I decided to publish it.

      I like #3 too! Looking forward to reading more of your tips. 😀

  • Seems like I’m in category one at the moment but I’d like to add a more personal touch to get some of the benefits of category 3. But because I don’t blog anonymously I’m a but apprehensive about how much personal info to share.

    • Hi Owen, that’s totally understandable. I blog anonymously, so I feel more comfortable sharing the details of our lives. Whichever style you choose, as long as it makes you feel comfortable and happy, I’d say just rock with it. 😉

  • Nice post that gave me something to think about! I never really thought much about my/our (my husband’s) blogging style. I know that we’re definitely not style 1. I’m just not into doing that much research to write a post at this time. And Omar always says that people need to do their own research. Lol. That leaves me with choosing between 2 and 3, and although I read them over and over… I guess I feel like we’re a mixture of the two. I feel like the topics we’ve covered thus far are generalized and can be used by anyone. However, we do tend to share our own personal stories and opinions within the posts.

    • Hi Kim, thanks for dropping by my blog! I totally know what you mean about people doing their own research. It takes time and energy to look into something carefully. I’m glad you guys offer great tips and also share your amazing stories with the reader on your blog! =)

  • Interesting! Thinking my writing is #2 though would like to do a bit more #3, though walking the line of not divulging too much/maintaining privacy seems a bit tricky. Then there is my dry sense humor, which not everyone understands 🙂 Still figuring out how to convey that in writing…which is probably why style #2 is the fallback.

    • Hi Laura, I know what you mean about sharing too much privacy in public. Whenever I feel like I’m sharing too much detail, I’ll check with Mr. FAF to see if he’s ok with it. He’s a pretty shy guy, so if he gives me an a-ok, I think I’m good to go.

      Don’t be afraid to show your humor. I’m sure a lot of people will get it. It can work like a charm. You never know. 😉

  • I feel like I’m in #3 but I’d love to move into #1 as well where Sam from Financial Samurai is. He’s actually my inspiration for starting the blog. He said he did it and why not me. So without Sam I probably would have never started to write 🙂

    • Wow it’s amazing to see how we’ve been inspired and influenced by other bloggers. I think Kristen at The Frugal Girl and Stephanie at SixFiguresUnder have had a huge influence on my blogging style. But I’ve really enjoyed getting to know other bloggers such as yourself so far! ^.^

  • I like #3 as well! I feel like I’ll never get out of the “learning” phase of frugality, investing, FIRE, etc. – so instead I like reading about people who are still figuring it out, like me. I think that’s why I like your blog – it’s much more personal and specific than the other types.

    • Aww I appreciate it! Your comment made me smile! =) I’m learning about frugality as well, so it’s for sure a joy reading about similar experiences from other people. ^.^

    • I’m glad you found a style you are comfortable with. Sometimes it takes a while for a blogger to figure it out. ^.^

  • I think I’m in the #3 camp although maybe with a mixing of #1. It’s hard to get yourself aligned with one particular style as sometimes I write differently depending on the topic and how I’m feeling that day.

    • I think you are absolutely right. It’s not always black or white. It also depends on the topic and our experience as well. =)

  • I’d LOVE to write more of the Type 1 articles because I feel they are so useful! I was reading some Vanguard research whitepapers the other day and felt overwhelm ingesting all that data, so maybe it’ll be a little further down the road…Right now I’m solidly a Type 3 🙂

    I do find Type 3 the most fun to read if I’m a dedicated follower but could see it be less appealing to someone really looking for hardcore advice if they’re on the brink of a major financial decision!

    • I know what you mean! Sometimes when I feel like my head is going to explode when I read investment research papers @_@. I know they’re helpful, but…(I guess there’s no good excuse for this). >_<

  • I guess that my preference is for bloggers with a personal finance slant because that’s what’s important for me currently, as I try to achieve financial independence, to do more of the things that I want to do. However, I like the personal slant, particularly when I can relate, on a personal level, to the blogger’s personal experiences or, as in the case of your blog and that of ‘Financial Samurai’, when I genuinely admire what you have achieved or are attempting to achieve.

    Reading some of your entries has been a profoundly moving experience for me, particularly some of the sacrifices that you have made and are making. I admire your focus and the genuine compassion and thought that shines through many of your posts. Perhaps you can write something regarding where this comes from (e.g. cultural influence?), as there are similarities in this regard with other Asian bloggers such as ‘Financial Samurai’ and ‘Millennial Revolution’. Keep up the good work and look forward to reading more of your entries.

    • Thank you for the wonderful feedback! I have been enjoying blogging so far since it enables me to be myself. I like that I can share many of the thoughts and feelings I don’t often share with others in real life.

      It’s amazing when I see the feedback on what I wrote such as your comment. It reminds me why I want to share my life experiences on my blog. It also helps that I blog anonymously, so I don’t have to worry about my friends or family coming to me with concerns or questions about why I do and how I feel in a certain way.

      I’m not sure if Financial Samurai and Millennial Revolution feel the same way. =)

      • Well, take it from me, this is easily one of the best blogs that I have come across, probably the best, at least for what I want to read. Like I said, an awful lot to admire and respect, thank you!

  • This post just completely changed my perspective of my blog! I’m a new blogger (launched a little over a month ago) and I think my style thus far has been more along the lines of #2, but I’d like to find a nice balance between #2 and #3. This post gave me a great idea for something to write about on my blog that’s a little more on the personal side. Thanks!

  • Love this! I am a mixture between 1 & 2. Most of my audience don’t know anything about personal finance so it is mainly for people in that camp. I don’t post as much but when I do post, I want it to be informative for the reader.

  • Well I definitely like to tell personal stories to illustrate a point. But I’m also programmed to believe that examples help people understand things, so sometimes I try to be analytical without getting *too* technical. Really though I’m still pretty new and the reality is I’m likely still finding my voice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *