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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Website review of Smartmoney

SmartMoney.com is an online magazine within 'The Wall Street Journal Digital Network'. Most importantly, SmartMoney.com passes the McAfee Site Advisor screening. This means the site is believed to be relatively safe from spyware, viruses, and adware and that smartmoney.com can probably be visited without serious threat to your privacy or computer.

SmartMoney.com is a financial publication geared toward individual money management, and is one of many personal finance websites available on the internet. Since SmartMoney.com offers similar information to other financial websites, this increases the competitiveness of the marketplace for this type of news source. The following review assesses smartmoney.com in relation to  internet statistics, user reviews,  site content and function and use of the website.

Smartmoney.com statistical rankings

77% of Smartmoney.com's reader searches originate in the United States and only 16.4% of its visitors make it past the home page as per the Alexa Web Information Company on 9.17.09. In terms of additional web statistics, smartmoney.com ranks among the lower of its genre. In fact, as per Alexa.com, SmartMoney.com ranks well below Bloomberg.com, MarketWatch.com, and TheStreet.com in terms of page views, traffic rank, reach and viewers time on the site. Also, the site's recent trend in these variables has been mostly down indicating a declining interest and/or competitiveness of the financial website. Thus, for starters, internet statistics show smartmoney.com is not among the more favored financial websites.

User reviews of Smartmoney.com

Of the SmartMoney.com user reviews available on the internet through sites such as faqs.org, epinions.com, and moneysmartz.com, SmartMoney.com doesn't get many complaints. However, whether or not one should take these reviews seriously is also a matter in question. Are the reviews skilled at reviewing websites, computer savvy, financially savvy, paid off? There's no denying, the following reviews of SmartMoney.com are good and that gives credit to the website regardless of who's doing the reviewing.

SmartMoney.com review #1:

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Content quality and formatting at smartmoney.com

An important aspect of any website is the quality of its content and its aesthetic design appeal to the site's visitor. Since SmartMoney.com is owned by the Wall Street Journal, this is another credit to the websites favor. However, SmartMoney.com is not the Wall Street Journal and therefore might not contain as high quality content as the newspaper.

Nevertheless, after reading about 3 articles from the site, the content seemed typo free, well researched, and about important current financial topics such as high yield dividend stocks. However, some of the Personal Finance topic tabs were limited in content. For example, the elder care section only had 20 articles at least one of which dated back to 2000.

The writing itself was interesting, had a fairly wide range of writing styles ranging from matter of fact to casual delivery of information. Also the articles didn't seem to have a standard length, some were short and others were long. Many of the articles were well presented in a professional, informed, legible and helpful kind of way which made the reading a relatively good experience.

Onward, the website itself is multifunctional in the sense it contains up to date news in addition to pertinent financial information that is not typically time sensitive. The user tools are extensive but require registration so it's hard to assess their functionality without going through the ordeal of site registration. Some of the columns are appealing and capture an array of financial issues and topics.

Functionality and usefulness of Smartmoney.com

Learning about the functionality of SmartMoney.com was fun because it was like visiting a car studio for the first time and checking out all the vehicles, their features, abilities etc. SmartMoney.com had some nice features and not so nice features for this reviewer. Some of the things that seemed relevant are listed below:

• Text zoom feature is helpful
• Author biographical links didn't work
• Embedded company tickers with quotes was nice
• Available tools were good and located well
• Some user tools required site registration
• Lots of advertisements
• Web page loading time was good
• Generic pictures on some of the articles

Essentially the site was functional and relatively useful. SmartMoney.com seems mouse friendly making use of rollover tabs in addition to mouse clicks. Getting to specific topic areas didn't take too many mouse clicks and searching which was nice, however the sites search bar was more adept at finding general topics than specialized, academic and/or highly elaborate financial terminology and data.

In summary, SmartMoney.com is ok. It seems short on content buy the content that is there is of good enough quality even if the reader doesn't have a clue about the authors. Of a few reader reviews of the site, none seemed to contain any horrific shortcomings and the site is affiliated with a well known financial publisher which adds to its credibility. Visually the site was like an advertising carnival on the home page, but thankfully subsided after delving deeper into the site.

SmartMoney.com's non-member basic features, security, and content was good, but the Alexa rankings, lack of site differentiation and home page ad barrage may be a deterrent for registering at the site; even for the free 2 week trial. As far as financial sites go, SmartMoney.com is not a toss out because it does have some interesting information, but making this the website of first financial reference might make the site a yawning bookmark on its visitor's web browsers.