Takeaways from #FinCon12

by Sean Bryant on September 10, 2012

#FinCon12 is officially in the books and things could not have gone any better. I was lucky enough to be able to meet a lot of the amazing bloggers that I have been interacting with over the past few months. It was nice to finally put a face to a URL or twitter handle.

As I sat in the breakout sessions and talked with other bloggers this weekend, I realized that the future of the personal finance blogosphere has a lot of upside. There are a lot of different personalities and opinions on all topics. As a personal finance writer, it gives our readers a dual perspective and I feel that is important.

I have been blogging for quite a few years now, so I have a decent amount of experience. Every breakout session that I attended I managed to take something away to help myself and my blogs grow. To me, that is amazing and makes the whole experience worth it.

There were two speeches that really stood out to me from two of my favorite personal finance writers J.D. Roth and Donna Freedman. Donna led a panel that discussed how we need to write with a voice. All of us have our own personalities and we need to express those in our writing. Our opinions are how our readers can truly connect with us. Without a true voice, readers are going to get bored and move on to the next blog.

In the closing keynote, J.D. hit on something that was a little hard for me to hear, but I am very grateful I did. He told us that we need to start writing for our readers and stop worrying about the search engines. I am an SEO lover and I have written almost all of my posts with Google in mind. I think because of this, I have lost focus on why I really write this blog in the first place. I want to be able to help people with their finances based off my professional, educational and personal experiences. With great posts come a great search engine following.

With all of that in mind, here are some of my favorite personal finance posts last week. Plus, some of the carnivals that mentioned One Smart Dollar.

Can You Shop at Target and Stay on a Budget?  I Can’t – Daily Money Shot

How Two Men Helped me Redefine Myself – Blonde on a Budget

How to Make Swiffer Wet Jet Refills – Three Thrifty Guys

10 Strategies to Boost your Income and Help you Get out of Debt Faster – Careful Cents

Tragedy Strikes Close to Home: Why You Need Life Insurance – Work Save Live

What Kind of Spender Are You? – Canadian Budget Binder

Innovative Marketing Methods to Increase Income Streams – Finance Fox

6 Ways to Avoid Blogger Burnout – Modest Money

Banking Industry is a Joke – Money Smart Guides

Why Most People Don’t Pursue Side Income – Young Adult Money

So You Want to Manage Your Own Money – The Free Financial Advisor

The Cost of Pet Ownership – See Debt Run

Do’s and Don’ts on Saving for Travel – Club Thrifty

Being Creative Because You Have to Be – Debts and Taxes

Why You Should Open a Savings Account for Your Child – Money Bulldog

How Interest Rates Can Affect My Savings – Making Sense of Cents

Unemployment Up, Income Down, Better off?  Yes – Blue Pelican Loans

Why You Should Use Coupons for Grocery Shopping – Ready for Zero

How to Be Cultured (On a Budget) – Thirty Six Months

How to Stop Being a Pushover – Add Vodka


Wealth Artisian Carnival

Carnival of Personal Finance

Yakezie Carnival

Young and Thrifty Weekend Ramblings

Canadian Personal Finance Happy Hour

Totally Money Carnival

 Carnival of Financial Planning

Carnival of Personal Finance

Carnival of Retirement

Yakezie Carnival

Carnival of Money Pros

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Sean Bryant

Sean Bryant created OneSmartDollar.com in 2011 to help pass along his knowledge of finance and economics to others. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics he worked as a construction superintendent before jumping into the world of finance. Sean has worked on the trade desk for a commodities brokerage firm, he was a project manager for an investment research company and was a CDO analyst at a big bank. That being said he brings a good understanding of the finance field to the One Smart Dollar community. When not working Sean and his wife are avid world travelers. He enjoys spending time with his two kids and dog Charlie.
  • Thanks for linking to the CoPF! Are you going again next year? I hope to be able to make it!

  • AverageJoe

    Dude! You live in a great city. All of your readers should be comforted in knowing that you know how to handle a beer….or two.

  • Thank you for the mention Sean. I didn’t hit up FinCon this year but I do plan to next year. Being a newer blogger it would be a good experience to learn more about SEO and the business side of it and I have to admit, I haven’t spent much time learning that stuff.

  • Shannon_ReadyForZero

    Thanks so much for including us! It sounds like you had a great time in Denver and learned a lot!

  • I agree with Donna! You have to be yourself when you write so others can connect with you. Since we can’t actually see a mouth moving or facial expressions we rely on words to make a person come alive. I don’t try, I just do… when I communicate with my audience. I want them to feel me staring them right in the eyes. I just give them what they’d get if they were right in front of me as a group or as an individual. Thanks for sharing your experience at Fincon 2012. Thanks for the link as well. Mr.CBB

  • Jana @ Daily Money Shot

    Thanks for the inclusion, Sean! It was so great to meet you and now that I know your other site’s name, I feel that we are kindred spirits (and at least you added an “er” to the end of that second word. Because otherwise, well, you probably know the ramifications).

  • Jason @ WorkSaveLive

    Big thanks for the mention Sean! I so wish I could have made it last week but it will definitely be in the cards for next year. The point JD makes is a great one and I have really lost focus with that. It’s hard to write for the readers and ignore SEO…I think there is a balance that could be had though.

  • I originally tried writing for Google, but couldn’t write anything with passion when I was trying to get ranked. So I just write for the sake of writing and trust that things will all come together. Thanks also for the mention!

  • What a great experience that must have been. Hearing all about this makes me want to go next time. I do agree with Donna that we need to find our own voice – this is something I’ve felt I need to work on. I only agree a little bit with JD’s advice; that’s kind of an easy thing to preach when you’ve got a very popular blog with a PR6. 🙂

    • The biggest thing he was talking about is that if you have great content you will get a lot of backlinks and then your PR6 will come 🙂

  • Thanks for the mention Sean! We hope to be able to make it next year as well. It sounds like a great conference.

    • It was a good conference. I live in Denver but if were someplace else it would have been well worth the cost

  • Thanks for including me! Did we meet at FINCON? i feel like we did, but I don’t remember.

  • SB @ FPR

    thats very important lesson from JD, how true that is!

  • It was a great time. The downside? The laws of time and space kept us from being able to talk to every other participant. FinCon is like a wedding where you wish you could actually sit and spend at least 10 minutes with each guest. As my wife jokes, “not really, it more like a room where every person actually understands what you’re saying, that’s why you love FinCon, no blank stares.”

    • I have to agree. It’s nice to actually have people understand what I’m talking about 🙂

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  • Hey Sean, did we manage to meet up in Denver? Everything seems like a blur. If not, hope to meet up in California next year! Best, Sam

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