Today’s review of a website focuses on FinanceGuide101.com. The website provides a wealth of information on aspects of financial and personal money by publishing “accurate no-nonsense, impartial information on a wide range of financial issues.” These financial issues cover Personal Finance, Credit & Debt, Loans, Mortgage, Insurance, Investing, and Planning.
The website is nicely laid out, very responsive to downloads, and is logical in its organization. Clearly the authors have spent a long time collating the information, organizing the links and categories, and presenting a nicely laid out website. For the visitor, there is indeed a huge range of information available on literally hundreds of topics. That is exactly the benefit of the website.
For example: the article on the front page takes you straight to information about mortgage rates , types, process, fees, etc.. So the information provided should be relevant to the visitors Google sends it.
Unfortunately, that is where the benefits run out, yet the challenges are quite large, so it’s difficult to know where to start. The three primary criticisms I have of this website are:
- The sole purpose of FinanceGuide101.com is “made for Adsense”. If you look carefully throughout the pages, the Adsense boxes appear as regularly as every breath you take, 2 or 3 to a page. In addition, I conducted a straw poll for the pages that appeared: some of the pages can be found on dozens of websites, others on a few, though some of the content is indeed unique. There is little else for people to do: no text link ads (which would be a great way to monetize the site), no images or image ads (to provide visual relief), no credit card offers (to entice readers to come back), no loan offers,… To return to the example I noted about mortgages: I would have expected rates on mortgages, as well as provider information, perhaps even a query form that could be sent to different providers for quotations, but what did I find…? Well, I’m still looking. There isn’t even a mortgage calculator to play with.
- Moreover, the entire page is entirely anonymous: the Whois information is protected, there are no address, no telephone number, no names anywhere, just an info@… email address. As a result of this anonymity, the website is sterile, unfriendly, almost inhumane. Reading the text on the stories avoids the personal a great deal, too. There are no examples, no stories, no human warmth, no community. Now, it is true that separating emotions and finances is a great move. Nowhere did it suggest that removing the emotional element was required. Merely a separation.
- Lastly, if you compare some of the really popular financial websites, you’ll see that communities are built around different aspects of the information. In most financial websites, you will note that people gather to talk about all manner of things, including personal finance. It is to this community that you can provide products of many kinds. Motley Fool is a good example of how selling to your community really works.
To the webmaster of FinanceGuide101.com: I strongly suggest that you personalize your website throughout as fast as possible, or people won’t come back; provide things for people TO DO on your website, not just information: your website is not a TV; and create a community. Should you do these three things, you’ll find that your website will become popular not just with the Search engines, but also with the visitors. I wish you you luck on developing your website: the breadth of your website is ambitious, but I think you need to focus much more on people, much less on Google.
To the reader, the website’s philosophy is absolutely correct:
“You must look ahead and see where those bridges are, and start working out how you will cross them long before you get to them! By looking for good information on managing your finances, along with choosing to budget, save and use credit wisely, … Take control of your finances the very next day and live a happier life, knowing that you’ll have abundance of money to keep at the end of month and they’re working hard for you instead of you working hard for them!”
That is a very good summary. In short, it is difficult to see how people can make FinanceGuide101.com a part of that plan, except on the short term. In reality, people need planning tools that will accompany them as far as they need them. FinanceGuide101.comjust isn’t that kind of tool. It’s a one-night stand kind of website. It could, however, be so much more. Until it is more, your best bet is to visit it once in a while.