Happy Saturday and welcome to the 22nd episode of the ‘Blogger Confessions’ interview series on the blog. Today, I’m bringing in Mike from Budget Kitty to talk about blogging and how they’ve managed to keep everything straight as a personal finance blogger.
Mike, take it away.
Blogger Confessions with Kylven Ross from TheFIWay.com
1: In at least 100 words, describe the target audience of your blog.
Budget Kitty’s mission is to help families take control of their finances. We teach them the money lessons they never learned in school, and we give them the tools, resources, and knowledge to succeed.
Our typical reader is an overworked, overcommitted, and stressed out family man or woman who is struggling to raise a family in a crazy and expensive world. They’re not happy with their current situation but they don’t even know how to begin to change it.
We want to help these families become happy and financially secure.
2: What makes your blog different from other blogs in the PF blogosphere?
The personal finance blogosphere is pretty crowded and there are tons of great blogs out there, but I think we’ve hit on a niche that isn’t having their needs addressed.
On one side of the blogosphere are the FIRE bloggers who write about accumulating enough wealth to retire early and enjoy the good life. That’s an awesome concept and I wish I was there, but there are so many readers out there who can’t identify with that at all. Retiring early is a pipe dream when you’re struggling just to keep food on the table.
On the other side, you have the Ultra-Frugal who write about making their own soap and how many layers you need to keep warm if you keep your thermostat at 58 degrees. That’s not our style and there are plenty of readers who aren’t interested in that kind of thing either.
We take a more balanced approach where we identify the problems and challenges our readers are experiencing and help them find ways to overcome them.
3: What’s the thing that you’ve struggled with the most since starting your blog?
I think the biggest struggle has been figuring out exactly what we wanted Budget Kitty to be. There was a lot of trial and error at the beginning where we were just throwing stuff against the wall to see what would fit.
What kind of topics would resonate best with readers? What did well in SEO or on social media? What were our strengths and what did we need to find shortcuts with?
It really took a year of exploration before the path became clear. Now that we’re in year two, we’re looking to greatly increase our content creation, traffic, and revenue. Year 2 is all about growth.
4: Do you publish your net worth on your blog? Why or why not?
Nope. I don’t really see how that provides any value to our readers.
If you’re a FIRE blogger talking about the methods you’ve used to accumulate wealth, I guess it can make some sense, just like income reports provide some credibility to the “make money blogging” bloggers.
Outside of those niches net worth is just a vanity metric. I could be wrong and change my mind in the future, but right now I just don’t see the value in it.
5: Have you monetized your blog (ads, affiliate marketing, etc)? Why or why not?
Heck yea. If you look at wealthy people, most of them have multiple streams of income. It’s just smart.
So, we started Budget Kitty with the intention of setting up a new stream of income for our family and we monetized it through ads and affiliate products right out of the gate.
There is a school of thought that you should wait until you have a large readership before bothering with ads because ads only make money with lots of traffic and they detract from the user experience.
I couldn’t disagree more. Why leave money on the table because you think your readers won’t like it?
I would argue that a lack of monetization doesn’t mean you have more authority at all. Just look around at big news sites like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Do readers treat them less seriously because they contain advertising?
Of course not. Readers expect to see ads on those sites. It’s understood that advertising is part of their business model.
6: Would you rather be loved, hated or controversial? Explain, please!
Loved. I can’t imagine many people really enjoy being hated, though I guess that is just part of life. Everyone has their haters, right?
And personally, I can’t stand people who are controversial just for the sake of getting publicity. That doesn’t just apply to the online universe either.
7: Who would you be horrified to know read your blog?
The spider that lives in my attic, because if it can read a blog it’s a much bigger threat than I thought.
I’m just being silly. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t say I’d be horrified if anyone, in particular, read my blog, but since I am semi-anonymous I’d prefer that my coworkers don’t know about it.
Not because I write about them or have a conflict of interest, but just because I prefer to keep the blog private for now.
How sweet would it be to one day surprise everyone by handing in my letter of resignation so I can blog full time?
It wouldn’t be as much fun if they knew about it all along!
8: What’s your most favorite, least favorite and most embarrassing post on your blog?
My favorite post is definitely our Ultimate 401k Guide. I worked incredibly hard on it and I was really happy with the finished product. It ended up getting featured on Rockstar Finance and syndicated on MarketWatch and then some smaller sites picked it up too. It was a nice little ego boost and traffic spike!
I don’t really have a least favorite. If I did, I’m sure I deleted it already.
Most embarrassing would be the time I shared all the details of my various online failures. It was tough putting myself out there like that but also very cathartic getting it off my chest.
9: Explain your writing process
I have a huge list of topic ideas that we’re constantly updating. I used to use Excel to store them but recently I switched to Trello and I really like it.
Finding quiet time to write can be a struggle, so I try to cram in as much as possible when I can. I tend to edit while I write which everyone says is inefficient but I’ve been doing it this way since I was in elementary school and it’s a hard habit to break.
All too often we’re scrambling for a finished post to publish and that is way too stressful. I’m trying to be more productive so I can build up a buffer of posts. That way if something comes up we don’t have to scramble.
10: What is your favorite blog in the PF blogosphere (other than your own!)?
I really like Lily from The Frugal Gene. She’s super down to Earth and clever as hell. And I love her sense of humor.
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Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.