How do the top-ranked prepper websites actually rank?
For someone just starting out as a prepper (and even for seasoned preppers looking for some specific answers), the available information sources have never been better. Just run an online search and you’ll get lists of “The best prepper sites.”
But most of those lists are based on a “quantity of visitor” ranking sites like Alexa.com rather than actual quality. So today I’m doing short reviews of the top prepper sites as provided by Happy Preppers (Number 8 on the Alexa U.S. ranking) for the date of Oct. 5, 2017.
I list, where available, the assigned Alexa rating, the year the site went active, my personal take on the material, and a test of the site’s content by a search of three words: snowshoes (an item), threshing (an action) and Clorox (a product).
Why these three particular search words? Each word is a little unusual in daily usage, but important in the context of preparedness. Searching for words like these is a good test of a website’s usefulness.
One other thing: All these sites use some variety of affiliate linking (meaning the site owners get paid to direct customers to specific products). There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this; everyone has to eat. But if it looks like the site goes too far, I’ll mention that as well. I have no use for prepper ad farms.
So let’s get to it.
SHTFplan, established in 2007, is ranked Number 1 on the Alexa U.S. ranking (13,933).
How this site ended up on anyone’s prepper list is beyond me. The site opens with a series of re-writes of recent world news articles. Nice, but there’s a lot of other sites that do the same such as Bullets, Beans and Bullion, the Drudge Report, or ZeroHedge.
The top navigation bar links are to a gold and silver dealer and advertising offers for the site, and the side bar links are a mix of blog-rolls and links. Quite honestly, I can’t find any prepper instruction or information specifically related to prepping, homesteading or self-sufficiency on the main page except for some stuff on advertiser’s links.
If you like to read bad news, this might be a good place to go. But if you want instructions on sighting in a rifle or installing a septic lagoon, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Snowshoes: 2 mentions
Threshing: 0 mentions
Clorox: 1 mention
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The Survivalistblog, established in 2008, is ranked Number 2 on the Alexa U.S. ranking (16,026).
M.D. Creekmore, the owner and most frequent poster at the Survivalistblog, is a pretty well-known figure in the prepper world. His stated take on prepping is similar to mine in terms of being a minimalist (meaning, knowledge trumps toys). While there is a lot of good and practical information on the Survivalistblog, my biggest complaint about the site is it’s pretty hard to navigate. The “front” page has 15 recent articles, and I can see no way to simply click further back in time. Navigation of the site is done mainly by using the “Explore by Category” button on the top bar, or by the search engine. The Survivalistblog is also fairly heavy on affiliate linkage (particularly Amazon).
The site has a “Beginner’s page” which is pretty uninformative and heavily product-linked (especially in the food category, which is all directed at a prepackaged survival food company called Augason Farms) – and here’s my problem with that: It’s far cheaper to make your own and better kit from scratch. Mr. Creekmore extolls the virtues of their one-year four-person food kit for $4320 because, in part, it will provide each person with 1300 calories per day. That’s simply not enough calories, not nearly enough in a time when everything is falling apart. Much of the rest of the beginner’s recommendations are also heavily directed at affiliate products that could be replaced with cheaper and better solutions.
Snowshoes: 1 mention
Threshing: 1 mention
Clorox: 9 mentions
SurvivalLife is ranked Number 3 on the Alexa U.S. ranking (16,948).
Operated by “Above Average Joe,” the site has a lot of general articles that may or may not be prepper-oriented – and more than a few are pretty silly. Case in point: 13 Everyday Items You Could Use For Survival which extols the virtues of pop-tab fish hooks and “petroleum jelly soaked-cotton in a drinking straw” to use as a candle. SurvivalLife operates their own online store selling everything from paracord bracelets to “professional quality binoculars” for $15 (and I’ve got a bridge you might be interested in). In my opinion, you can find much better ways to spend your prepper-time than SurvivalLife.
No search engine I could find, so I couldn’t test the three key words (snowshoes, threshing, Clorox).
Off the Grid News is ranked Number 4 on the Alexa U.S. ranking (20,680).
OTGN is a pretty mixed bag. It has some really fine, well-written articles (like a review of the development of the AR-7) mixed in with “I’m not sure why this is here” articles such as “Holidays Got You Stressed? Try These Essential Oils.” It’s a pretty fun site to browse, but I don’t know … it just give me a “preppy-prepper” feel, like making sure the rifle “furniture” matches the drapes.
Snowshoes: 13 mentions
Threshing: 13 mentions
Clorox: 1 mention
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SurvivalBlog, established in 2005, is ranked Number 5 on the Alexa U.S. ranking (25,287).
Now we come to SurvivalBlog, the online prepper owner’s manual. It kind of surprises me it’s not Number One on Alexa, but then again I don’t watch TV either. SurvivalBlog is where you go if you want to find out how to do something (or 15 different ways to do something). Much of that online expertise is supplied by outside authors who are fairly rigorously vetted by James Wesley, Rawles (the owner/senior editor) and Hugh J. Latimer (managing editor).
As the oldest major prepper site out there, it’s not surprising it’s acquired so much material. SurvivalBlog also has a newbie’s page, but it’s a bit more daunting than the one at Survivalistblog in that it provides a list of what you should get, but without a lot of the where you should get it (and very little of the affiliated-link stuff). (To be fair, where to get stuff is supplied in other articles on SurvivalBlog, but you’ll have to search them out.)
I practically live on this website, and as I’ve done so many times before in this column, I recommend it highly. If I have any gripes about SurvivalBlog, it’s that Mr. Rawles seems very enamored of the written word and not too wild about pictures, and sometimes a picture can speak a thousand words. Also, and I’m sure it’s a result of the sheer amount of information available, it can take some time on the search engine to find what you’re looking for. Think of it like going from your small-town library where the librarian knows the location of each book, to the Library of Congress.
Snowshoes: 21 mentions
Threshing: 17 mentions
Clorox: 38 mentions
This column covers numbers 1 through 5 of the Alexa U.S.-listed prepper sites. Next week, we’ll check out 6 through 10.
Until then, Merry Christmas to you and yours! God is in His heaven and our hearts. Rejoice! For the Redeemer lives!