A vision for the future of Get Rich Slowly

Well, it only took me three years, but I finally have a vision for what I want to do with Get Rich Slowly.

When I re-purchased this site in 2017, I did so without any real idea of what I'd do with it. I wanted it back for sentimental reasons. (And so that nobody else had control of this monster I created.) I didn't really know what to do with the 5000+ articles in the archives.

You see, when I started Get Rich Slowly, it was clearly a forum for me to share my experiences as I dug myself out of debt. After I succeeded, I sort of lost my way. (Well, and a bunch of Real Life stuff made me lose my focus.) So, I sold it.

When I started writing at Money Boss in 2015, I had a clear vision for what I wanted to do with that site. I had a mission. That made it easy to decide what to write there and what not to write.

But when I bought back Get Rich Slowly? Well, I didn't have a clear mission. I didn't have a clear focus. I think that's been pretty obvious, not just to me but to everyone.

Now, though, thanks to my recent deep dive into essentialism, I'm finally finding some focus for this blog. Essentialism helped me figure out what's important in my personal life right now, but it's also helped me get clear on what I want Get Rich Slowly to be.

I want Get Rich Slowly to be a definitive, unbiased resource about smart personal finance. I want to push my Money Boss philosophy while providing the best possible information about the world of money management.

But here's the challenge: Despite Tom having whittled our archives from 5000+ articles to exactly 2500 articles, things here are still a mess. (A “clusterfork” as Eleanor Shellstrop would say on The Good Place.) The chaos behind the scenes is almost overwhelming.

Still, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, right? So, I've started taking bites.

conversation with TomOn Halloween, Tom sent me a spreadsheet listing every single article we have at Get Rich Slowly. Instead of writing new stuff — and I have an article I want to write about politics and personal finance! — I've been diligently working through this spreadsheet line by line, analyzing every one of our 2500 articles. As of this morning, I've processed 1537 of them.

Here's what I've learned from this site audit:

  • We have a ton of good material in our archives. That's awesome. I wrote some of it. Staff writers wrote some of it. Guest authors wrote some of it.
  • There's also a lot of chaff in there. There are too many personal anecdotes that no longer serve a purpose. There are articles that made sense at the time (“oh no! the financial crisis of 2008!”), articles about now-dead money tools, and articles about concepts I no longer believe. This stuff needs to be winnowed out.
  • More problematic are the topics we've covered extensively. Do we really need fourteen different articles on how to build a budget? No. We need one article on how to build a budget, and it should be the best possible article we can create on the subject.

This site audit has also made clear our path forward. I now have a focus for my work here. For the foreseeable future (read: “years to come”), my job is to take our existing material and re-work it into fresh, new stuff. My job is take those fourteen articles on how to build a budget and to create that single, definitive resource on the subject. My job is to do this for all of the various topics in the world of personal finance.

As of this moment — and again, I've processed about 60% of our archives so far — I have identified 213 different concepts that currently have redundant articles. I've found 465 other articles worth keeping. And I've slotted over 600 posts for summary execution. (There are also some pieces in a sort of limbo.)

It'll probably take me another week to finish this content audit. After I'm through, we can immediately turn our attention to content renovation. I can start tackling the years-long task of smushing everything together, of transforming Get Rich Slowly from its current chaotic state into a clean, orderly encyclopedia of personal-finance advice.

As I do that, Tom and I will be publishing these revised pieces as new articles. Because they will be new articles.

Anyhow, I just wanted to let you all know that I haven't sunk into depression and I'm not ignoring the site. In fact, I'm doing more work on it now than I have since I re-purchased it. But that work is fundamental, structural work. I'm repairing the site's foundation. It might be a little bit before you're able to see any evidence of that work out here.

As a footnote, I should mention that we've had six months to sit with the site redesign now, and we recognize that some things need to be tweaked. I had a chance to watch my brother and cousin browse GRS a few weeks ago, and it was enlightening. I see that some things that are obvious to me aren't obvious to others. So, we'll be making some changes. (Eventually.) If you have feedback on the site design, please let us know. Now is the time to speak up.

More about...Administration

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One Frugal Girl
One Frugal Girl
21 days ago

I think this is a great solution. You have amazing gems among your material that could probably be better expanded upon or updated. Pull out those juicy pieces and refresh them for the world to see again!

Fred
Fred
21 days ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Just in time. I always liked your 2 sites. To be brutally honest, recently I’ve been losing interest. I’m always weeding out sites, so that I only focus on the best ones. I was debating removing this site from my favorites. I’m delighted to read about your new focus. I expect I’ll find gems here for years to come. All the above may seem rude. I do appreciate your hard work and pearls of wisdom I’ve gleaned from you over the years.

Janette
Janette
21 days ago

It would be interesting to tackle big topics – like budget- using side notes of what you said in the past. IE- housing. What you said when you were saving to pay off a house, what you said when you were house poor, and what you said when mortgage was no longer an issue. I am learning, searching my archives, I can help more people with their own journey. What ways did I try? What worked for me? When did I find it on my journey?

Meg
Meg
20 days ago

I guess in retrospect, was selling this site and the money you got worth it? Would you have made even more money had you held on?
The sale of GRS and the desire for a big windfall seems like the downfall of GRS. Now it seems like you and Tom are focused on money again, instead of just writing. If not, why wouldn’t you just write more?
What do you think you guys are so focused on making money online instead of going back to the formula that got you rich in the first place: writing regularly?

Brandon Barkley
Brandon Barkley
10 days ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

JD’s new article on budgeting. Save money with these five tricks.

  1. Buy your stuff using Honey to save up to 20% on all your household purchases.
  2. Use a rewards credit card and pay it off each month to reap cash back and airline miles.
  3. Use InboxDollars to make extra money to afford those daily coffee runs.
  4. Get a high interest checking account from WhateverBank to earn 5% on the first $50 each money and 0.05% more than average on the rest.
  5. Uhh, spend less than you earn or something like that.

😉

KAREN L
KAREN L
20 days ago

This might have been obvious to everyone but me, but with the new site, it took me awhile to understand where the newest article was. With the old site, it was right there, no need to even think about it. I wish the articles had the publish date on the home page so that I could see at a glance what was new since my last visit.

Jordana
Jordana
20 days ago

As an ongoing reader, I never go to the Get Rich Slowly landing page – I go directly to getrichslowly.org/articles. I’m not looking for budget tools or product recommendations. I just want to read what you, and other authors you invite, have to say. I suppose in some ways I treat this website as the blog it was when I first started reading!

Michael Clark
Michael Clark
20 days ago

Please don’t just 404 the article you are killing. Redirect the page to its new, definitive article. And for those topics that are just gone, maybe have some text about why they are gone.

NWA-non
NWA-non
20 days ago
Reply to  Michael Clark

Yes! 404 is a killjoy. Always redirect to something.

Adam
Adam
11 days ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I would also save articles like those about the 2008 crash in a finance history-type section. Articles like that can often provide some value in the future, even if they aren’t needed day-to-day.

Brandon Barkley
Brandon Barkley
10 days ago
Reply to  Adam

I think this is a good point made more relevant by the fact that JD loves to read historic PF books. This is the modern version of that maybe?

Steve
Steve
20 days ago

What did Tom do with the other 2500 articles?

Amy
Amy
19 days ago

Don’t get rid of spare change! I love that feature! My lazy self thanks you for curating articles of money interest from across the interwebs for my entertainment and education. Even though articles aren’t consistently published on this site anymore, the spare change feature has kept me coming back.
This site opens on the cover page, but I don’t find any of the information (though impressive) – the as featured in, and even your picture – terribly helpful. I find myself scrolling to the article list and the spare change area immediately after the site loads.

Patrick
Patrick
18 days ago

This is great. Just the other day I was looking for blog articles on HSA’s to share with friends who are considering switching to HDHPs. Obviously, I found dozens of decent, or even good, articles on this topic, but I really struggled to find one definitive article and so many of them are now dated. If GRS could provide this service (i.e. definitive articles) for a variety of topics (like you said “an encyclopedia”) it would probably become my favorite PF blog again. On an aside, a top 100 list would be fun.

Physician on FIRE
Physician on FIRE
18 days ago

Clarity!
The task sounds monumental, but you’re already underway, and the process will create like-new content that will be better than anything you’ve published before. And you’ve published plenty of excellent material in the past.
Cheers!
-PoF

Teng
Teng
18 days ago

Please don’t remove old articles that are no longer relevant — they serve a purpose of being the witness of history. “Wanna know how people reacted in a crisis 12 years ago? We have an article for that!”
it’d be better if you can simply mark an article as outdated or archived, and possibly point the reader to a new up-to-date one. It will probably benefit your site SEO, too.

Anne
Anne
10 days ago
Reply to  Teng

Yes, I want to chime in for saving some of the older and/or personal articles and just referring to them as such. One of the great charms of GRS is that it is probably one of the most personal of the finance blogs out there. We have been interested in just how YOU reacted to recessions, difficult family situations, mental health struggles, etc. Pure financial info can be dry and can only be said so often. But when you made it personal, you roped us in

Abbie
Abbie
16 days ago

I’ve started reading you after you’ve repurchased the website and it seemed like a hassle to go through your archives (you had an archive section before this website renovation so idk if you still have it) so i never did and only focused on what you’ve posted going on from there and you doing the weeding out and republishing the articles is great help for a lot of us i think.
Can’t wait to read them.

cibula
cibula
16 days ago

If you watch “Billions” on Showtime, you’d know that the correct term is “champing” at the bit, not “chomping”…

(sorry, couldn’t help myself

Joe
Joe
15 days ago

Good luck JD. I’ve been rewriting my older stuff too. Every week, I write a new post and update one old post and republish it. There are a ton of posts that don’t work anymore. I’m not sure if I should just delete them or let them sit. Any advice?

Joe
Joe
12 days ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I’ll work on it a bit at a time. Already deleted 4 old posts this week! At this rate it’ll take me 5 years to clean them up.

RichardP
RichardP
13 days ago

While you’re working on the infrastructure, can you evaluate your RSS feed? I follow several sites where the RSS feed works flawlessly and I never miss an article. I also follow several sites where it’s spotty – including this one. For example, this article was published 8 days ago and isn’t showing up in my feed. I was alerted to it on Facebook.

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
12 days ago

Wow! That is a big archive to go through. I have a system you might want to adopt that I think is a win all around

  • Set a posting schedule e.g. 1-3X week
  • Link back to relevant posts in your archive
  • Update all the posts that you link back to

This way, you are writing posts every week and updating older posts every week. Win-win!
Best,
Sam

DocToDisco
DocToDisco
12 days ago

JD,
I like the “personal anecdotes”, just sayin’.
You’re the guy who emphasizes common sense, please don’t take that out of your writing.

doc to disco color 9.3.20.png
Brandon Barkley
Brandon Barkley
10 days ago

But JD, will we lose classic content like the GRS Garden Project?
I don’t know if I’m asking this question seriously or not at this point. They were cool articles with interesting comments in the discussion.

Meg Anne
Meg Anne
2 days ago

I especially enjoyed reading one of your guest authors (I forget the name but maybe from The Motley Fool?). He wrote about “seasons” in the stock market. I truly hope his articles make the cut. Your writings about internal and external controls also struck a chord with me, but those may be your later articles.

FraidyCat Finance
FraidyCat Finance
2 days ago

Thanks for sharing the behind the scenes for revamping and leveling up a blog that is already doing great things! It’s cool as a new blogger to see how you can always turn old material into new value.

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