Happy Saturday and welcome to the 10th episode of the ‘Blogger Confessions’ interview series on the blog. Today, I’m bringing in Michael Dinich from Your Money Geek to talk about blogging and how they’ve managed to keep everything straight as a personal finance blogger. 

Michael, take it away.

Blogger Confessions with Michael from Your Money Geek

1: In at least 100 words, describe the target audience of your blog.

I started the blog accidentally and never had the opportunity when I started out to define who exactly my audience was. I had an idea of the types of things I wanted to discuss and had some blind faith there was an audience out there someplace for me.

Luckily, I was able to receive so mentoring from ESI Money and some other great bloggers, and I have refined who my target audience is. I jokingly like to say the blog is for people “who are not personal finance blog groupies”, the site if for anyone who wants to improve their finances or were maybe turned off by the extremism of some blogs.

2: What makes your blog different from other blogs in the PF blogosphere?

Your Money Geek is about making personal finance fun and assessable for everyone. Now, everyone may not read the blog, however, I like to believe everyone could read it and find a bit of inspiration.

We use pop-culture and inspiring success stories to reach people who may not normally travel the blogosphere. I always enjoy when I see a post being shared by someone on social media who isn’t part of the personal finance community.

I have worked in personal finance for nearly 20 years, working with mostly blue-collar working-class people. Helping, regular people reach their financial goals often required a bit of creativity, and I like to believe some of that creativity comes across in my posts.

3: What’s the thing that you’ve struggled with the most since starting your blog?

The biggest struggle has been Google. I am convinced Google hates my blog. 

I have tried a few different courses and software packages that are supposed to help write content that will rank, and the results have been poor. I attempted to write a few Google friendly posts and found my heart wasn’t in it.

I also found to do well in Google, you must use some odd phrases or keywords in your headlines. Ironically, these same Google-friendly headlines tend to do so poorly on social media. Most of my traffic comes from social media so I am caught in the middle paradox: write what I hate for Google or write what I love for social media.

4: Do you publish your net worth on your blog? Why or why not?

I do not publish my net worth or traffic statistics on my blog, additionally, I do not ask any of the people I interview to disclose their net worth.

I have a sneaking suspicion that many income and traffic reports are done so to encourage readers to buy some sort of product. I don’t begrudge anyone for selling a product or promoting some method of generating traffic, I just don’t want it to be the primary focus of my blog.

In the case of interviews, I do not discuss numbers because I don’t want people to be discouraged. Good planning is about small first steps and looking for big wins.

I do not want people judging themselves by some impossible standard. If your goal is to have a positive checking account balance at the end of the month, then we’re going to help you do that.

5: Have you monetized your blog (ads, affiliate marketing, etc)? Why or why not?

When I started blogging, everyone spoke of Mediavine and how much better it was than other ads. I made it my mission to meet Mediavine’s requirement of 25k sessions as quickly as possible.

I took the month of May and committed to working like a lunatic to hit “25k in May.” I was able to hit the goal, I applied and was accepted in late June, and have been running ads since July.

I have a few affiliate programs I participate in; however, I do not push them very hard. Monetization is another issue I struggle with because I am worried about being another cliché blogger promoting Bluehost nonsense.

6: Would you rather be loved, hated or controversial? Explain, please!

The personal finance blogosphere tends to subscribe to a very narrow and monolithic set of principles. If I didn’t know any better, I think these principals we passed on to Mr. Money Mustache via a burning bush some place.

Outside of the money blog bubble, and even inside it has become a bit of a running joke, that you must drive a used Subaru, can only invest in Vanguard Fund, and Lattes destroy marriages. I knew I didn’t want my blog to be another FIRE copycat blog, and I’m predisposed to be sarcastic, so the blog tends to be a bit controversial.

7: Who would you be horrified to know read your blog?

I blog publicly, and I am happy for everyone to read it.

My grandmother thinks I should take down the Sexy Chef Wendy post. (She thinks the pictures are too risqué). Wendy had an amazing story to share and has been one of the blog’s first and biggest supporters.

Other than that, my family and even clients have loved the site.

8: What’s your most favorite, least favorite and most embarrassing post on your blog?

My favorite post is Grand Admiral Thrawn, the post was written as a once off, to do well on social media. Prior to writing the post, I was not planning on doing pop-culture mash-ups. The post was widely successful and provided the necessary encouragement for me to “geek out” on the blog more often.

My least favorite post is Hack For Safety and Return, I had this vision in my mind on how I wanted it to turn out and I never got it right. It’s a cool topic, and the post sadly does not do it any justice, I battled that post for the better part of two months and decided to toss in the towel.

The most embarrassing post is probably the first one I ever wrote; How to Choose and Stick to Your Financial Plan in 2018. This post is another example of when vision and reality collide tragically. Looking back, I tried to do to much in one post, I tried to establish who I was, take on bloggers, and inspire people in one post

9: Explain your writing process

I keep a schedule of what projects I need to write and schedule time out of each day to do my writing. I find that when I am super passionate about a post, I can write them quickly.

The posts that tend to drag on are the ones I am not really feeling, if I find I am stuck on a post I will set it aside and think about it. Usually, a few days later, I will find a bit of inspiration and can return to the post.

I use Grammarly to spell check and will occasionally send out posts to be edited if I am short on time.

10: What is your favorite blog in the PF blogosphere (other than your own!)?

I am a huge fan of Bitches Get Riches, I love that they are on a mission to help people with their finances and opposed to trying to sell affiliate spam. They tackle issues most bloggers wont, unapologetically call it like is and do so while having fun.

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