Personal Finance Writing Tips from Money Grows on Hubs Contest Judge SVB of The Digerati Life

The Digerati LifeSilicon 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.

[Thanks, SVB!]

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:

For more information about the Money Grows on Hubs contest, visit the HubPages Personal Finance topic page.

HubPages on Facebook

If you are like me, participation and interaction on a social network like Facebook can be confusing at times. So, I thought I’d mention a few things about HubPages on Facebook.  It’s a great way to be a part of the HubPages community when you aren’t on the site.  By following us on our Facebook page, you can get the latest updates from our team about upcoming contests, feature announcements, and events (like HubCamps) that you may want to check out.  You can also participate in the conversation by posting writing tips and updates about your experience on HubPages (which, of course, is always awesome).


By following us on Facebook you can see what other Hubbers are up to and  interact with them – including “liking” and commenting on their posts.  Anyways, if you aren’t already doing so, check us out on the HubPages Facebook Page and follow us by clicking the “Like” button at the top.

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You can also follow us on Twitter @HubPagesDotCom.

HubPages Success Story: One year after her first payout, habee find professional writing success on HubPages

habee on HubPages

habee on HubPages

Just over a year ago, Hubber habee was interviewed on the HubPages blog about her first payout.  All these months later, habee is more active than ever on the site, and in a recent forum post, she happily announced that she’s even been getting writing jobs thanks to her Hubs being found online.  We took a minute to chat with habee about the past 12 months and her continued success on the site and in the community – check out our exchange below:

Congrats on the new writing job! Did you expect to get offers to write via HubPages when you first joined the site?

I guess I didn’t really think about that when I first joined, although I’ve had offers when I wrote on other sites. Writing for pay is a great bonus! I’ve sold articles for as much as $375.

What advice would you give to those who are interested in being found as freelance writers on HubPages?

Just recently, I included a message on my profile page saying that I was available for writing, but I had plenty of offers before that. I have always stated on my profile page that I’m a freelance writer, however, so maybe that helped. I also included a little information about my experience with freelancing.

You won the Grand Prize of HubPages’ June contest, Eat, Drink, and Be Hubbalicious, and wrote a litany of amazing entries. What advice would you give to Hubbers interested in our upcoming contest on Personal Finance?

I would suggest planning Hubs for the contest NOW! Perhaps coming up with a few outlines would be in order, also. Instead of trying to write five entries every day, I suggest writing fewer entries and really concentrating on quality.

Your first payout was just over a year ago – how has your experience on HubPages developed in the past 12 months?

My earnings have increased every month since last February. I definitely believe that patience cannot be overlooked. Hubs take time to “age” on the search engines, and after they do, there’s a snowball effect. I rarely backlink, yet most of my Hubs are backlinked on numerous other sites. In most cases, if you write original Hubs that are interesting and/or informative, others will do the backlinking for you!

Habee, you write so many amazing articles. What is your secret to productivity? Your source of inspiration?

I guess I’ve always been a writer at heart. Even as a kid, I used to make up stories and poems. It also helps that I have a wide range of interests, and my education and experience teaching literature and writing skills didn’t hurt, either. Writing just comes so naturally for me that I can “whip up” a Hub or article in no time! This is usually a blessing, but it can be somewhat of a curse, at times. For example, when I’m trying to fall asleep at night, I’m usually creating a Hub in my head.

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If you would like more sage advice from this prolific Hubber, check out the Hubs she’s created to help fellow Hubbers improve their writing skills:

HubPages Mobile Usage and 2011 Prediction

We’ve been watching mobile usage very closely at HubPages and I think we have some interesting trends to report.  The first interesting thing about mobile usage on HubPages is there were 3.6 million visits from mobile devices in November.  The iPhone is the #1 device, with 1.4 million visits, but Android usage is growing more quickly, and even though the iPhone has a large lead, Android, with .8 million visits, will close the gap in 2011.

A point of note beyond the growth of mobile smartphone use in general, (which Nielsen predicts will be owned by one in two Americans by Christmas 2011), is

usage pattern.  Mobile usage peaks and declines nearly at the inverse of browsing the web on the computer.  Saturday and Sunday, two of the lowest traffic days on HubPages, are the highest traffic days for mobile devices.  Also, on weekday evenings when computer traffic declines, mobile traffic picks up.


We have seen significant growth in mobile consumption.  HubPages continues to grow at a good clip, (we have seen over a 7.5% increase in unique visitors to the site month over month for November), however mobile usage is increasing at a greater rate with over 17% month-over-month growth.  I think there is a possibility that by the end of 2011, mobile can be responsible 25% of consumption on HubPages.  It’s aggressive growth, but possible.

We have a belief at HubPages that mobile consumption and tools for Hubbers will be a large part of our future.  We recently released an iPhone app for HubPages, and this is only the beginning.

Announcing the Money Grows on Hubs Contest

Today, we’re very excited to launch Money Grows on Hubs– a HubPages contest in the Personal Finance  category.  The submission portion of the contest starts on January 3rd, but the writing and learning part starts right now!

Throughout the month of December, we’re going to help you educate yourself about Personal Finance (and writing Personal Finance Hubs!) by sharing interviews with our contest judges (who are all top Personal Finance bloggers), as well as helpful HubPages guides.

By the time January rolls around, you’ll be all set to publish amazing contest entries, which you’ll definitely want to do, seeing as there are so many amazing prizes! Be sure to Save Unpublished all of the Hubs you’re working on in December; don’t begin publishing them before January 3rd at noon Pacific Standard Time!

Each day of the contest, two winners will be announced: a Daily Drawing winner, who will be selected randomly from the day’s contest entries and be awarded $50, as well as a Staff Pick winner (judged to be the best entry of the day), who will win not only $50 but a copy of New York Times best-seller I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, cited by The New York Times as “…[one] of the brightest minds in the world of money advice for the young.”

There are also two weekly prizes of $100 each – one (People’s Choice) based on popular votes form the community and another (Best Hub) selected from our panel of five judges.

Our Grand Prize is a whopping $500!  The final winner is selected from the month’s four Best Hub winners.

The Money Grows on Hubs contest sponsor is I Will Teach You To Be Rich, which is not only the source of the contest’s book prizes, but also some great entry inspiration.

To learn more about the contest, visit the Personal Finance topic page.