Silicon Valley Blogger, SVB for short, is one of our five Money Grows on Hubs judges, and is the blogger behind The Digerati Life– a mostly Personal Finance-oriented blog which combines posts on money, business, technology, and SVB’s entrepreneurial endeavors.
SVB shares more about her experience as a Personal Finance blogger – as well as some great Personal Finance writing tips- below:
HubPages: What got you started with personal finance articles?
SVB: Personal finance has been a hobby of mine since I got out of college over 2 decades ago. By becoming independent and finally earning my own living as a software engineer, I was encouraged to take stock of my finances. I got very excited about the prospect of growing my money through mutual funds and I began to study the investment world more carefully. I subscribed to several personal financial magazines and have since gotten hooked on the topic. So when I began blogging, it started off as a hobby and internet experiment, and as a way to connect with others on my favorite topic. I continued with my hobby while working at my full time engineering job but after a year and a half decided to go full time into blogging as an online business. In short, I gave up my full time job to become an online entrepreneur, focusing on financial content.
What were your initial goals with The Digerati Life? Have they changed over time?
Yes! I started off thinking I was going to write primarily about business in Silicon Valley — something like a ValleyWag or even a mini-TechCrunch. I had worked in several high profile technology and financial companies in the Bay Area, as well as in a few start ups, so it seemed like a sensible idea at that time. Over time, I noticed that I was more comfortable writing about general finance than about business and Silicon Valley startups, so I shifted my focus.
When you write a new personal finance guide, where do you start? With research? Outlines? Personal experiences?
I basically live on the internet. I visit many communities, media sites and other financial sites and often find many things that catch my eye. This may inspire me to settle on a topic. Experiences, personal stories and general stories I hear about or read online (and off) may spark me to write about a particular topic. I also try to make sure I cover all aspects of finance during the week. I often cover a different financial area each day of the week so that there is variety.
How has personal finance blogging changed your own financial behavior?
I’ve learned quite a bit from reading about others’ experiences through comments and messages I receive from readers as well as through reading other financial blogs. I realized that no matter how much I feel I already know about personal finance, there is much more that can be learned. I felt I had gaps in my knowledge, especially in the areas that involved financing and borrowing — simply because I am not a big “borrower”. I also learned that I was comfortable with running my own business, when in the past, I considered myself a technologist through and through. My experience as a blogger opened my eyes beyond financial matters. It also helped me learn a whole lot of things about myself and about my goals.
Some of your posts get more traffic than others – what do you think attracts readers to personal finance articles?
It is true that certain topics in finance attract more attention than others. If the topic is controversial or polarizing, then you’ll get a lot of discussion from people on that subject matter. I also found that current events can affect traffic — the topic du jour will certainly pique the interest of more readers. For example, there was a time when the economic stimulus, subprime lending, government bailouts and the financial crisis attracted a tremendous amount of buzz.
Do you have any particular tips for those writing entries for the Money Grows on Hubs contest?
I would encourage writers to really know their material and see if it’s something they can present in a personal manner. Go beyond the basics and avoid generic material. Draw from personal experience so that you can provide a unique spin to a particular topic that may already have been covered by many others. By leaving room for people to draw opinions and to share them, you can encourage others to participate in the discussion. I find that articles that state a question (especially in finance) can draw more readers into the conversation.
Still looking for some good examples of Personal Finance articles before you get started on your Money Grows on Hubs contest entries? Here are some great guides by SVB below:
- Top Hotel Rewards Credit Cards To Save On Travel
- Earn Points with the ThankYou Rewards Program from Citi
- How to Shop Wisely
- Steps to Buying a House: Checklist & One-Year Plan for Home Buyers
- Effect Of Foreign Currency Exchange Rates On Your Money
For more information about the Money Grows on Hubs contest, visit the HubPages Personal Finance topic page.