Wednesday, January 15, 2014

FLBlogCon FORUM 2014

Good morning, everyone, and Happy Wednesday!  Can you believe it's the middle of the week already?  I can't!

Did you catch my first post of the series So, You Ran a Half Marathon...Now What?  I'm really excited to continue that series tomorrow which will also feature a giveaway!!  Get pumped, y'all!

Today, I wanted to share with you my experience at FLBlogCon's FORUM 2014.  FLBlogCon puts on a large blogger conference each fall (I missed it due to Kristie and Joe visiting...I'll catch it next year!), and this year was the first time they held a mini-conference FORUM.  It took place at East End Market, a food-to-table indoor market featuring some of Central Florida's local vendors.  I won a ticket to this conference from Professor Josh (education and educational technology blogger), so I was excited to learn more about blogging and meet new people free of charge!
Image Source
(Side note: If you live in the area, check it out!  What a cool place!)

FORUM began with a State of the Blog Address from Justice Mitchell.  He had an engaging and informative presentation about making your blog actually matter.  Here were my biggest takeaways:

  • Dive deep into the persona of your reader and curtail your message to it
  • Create "Ace of Spades" moments with your readership by thinking about what you want readers to do after reading your post
  • Investigate growing and dying social media and make it work hand-in-hand with your post.
Next, Ben Reed presented on "Self-Hosting Your Blog Made Easy."  I was excited about this presentation, as I have been looking in to self-hosting (getting a domain name) for a while.

He broke his presentation into different questions about the process and provided lots of resources and information.  My biggest takeaways were:
  • Self-host because your brand is categorized by the "" in your web address.
  • When choosing a domain name, helps you check the availability of it on all social media channels. can help you see how has your domain name.
  • Self-hosting allows you more creativity with your blog/brand.  You can also measure success easier, as well as make it easier to grow when you self-host.
I will certainly be using Ben's presentation when looking in to self-hosting in the near future!!

Next, Bess Auer, the founder of FLBlogCon, did a presentation entitled "Go Hollywood!" and showed us all about creating video content for our blogs.  She and her husband cover Florida swimming and create many, many videos each year.  Her presentation was really entertaining and informative, and she made us all feel confident that we could all make videos no matter what our skill level.  I learned so much in this presentation, but the biggest takeaway was that any video (including ones taken from my iPhone!) generate high interest, some readers prefer video, and it expands your blog to other social media channels.  She provided lots of resources and editing tips, and even showed us a hilarious video of her husband removing an opossum from their house!
They shot this using an iPhone.  How funny!

The last presentation was from Katy Widrick on Monetizing Your Blog.
Katy shared all sorts of ways to make money from your blog without losing readership.  I appreciated her knowledge and all of the resources she provided.  If you are interested in blogging, check out Katy's posts about EVERYTHING blogging-related.  She knows her stuff!  I've also started following her blog and find her posts to be entertaining and easy to relate to.

Last, it was time to Mix and Mingle with the FORUM attendees!
We all received a free Cigar City beer (thanks to Katy's husband!)
...and I met some great people (and found some new blogs to follow)!
Mia, Jane, Linda, me, and Cecille
I'm really glad I decided to attend FORUM 2014.  I learned a lot, made some new friends, and had a great time.  I look forward to putting my new knowledge in to practice, and I can't wait to attend another FLBlogCon event!

Question for you:  Have you ever attended a conference for your job/hobby?


  1. I'm glad you won and were able to fully enjoy this great event to kick off a new year of blogging!