On Saturday I attended a blog conference called Bloggy Bootcamp, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is a one day conference hosted by a blogging gig called SITS girls. I am a fairly inactive part of SITS girls, but after this conference, I am definitely going to be joining in on more of their fun.
This was the first blogging conference I have ever been to, and let me tell you, if all blog conferences are this good, then I should (and you should) be going to a lot more if we can. It was absolutely tremendous! Let me tell you why.
The Enthusiastic Speakers
We had quite a few speakers starting with Laurie Turk, an awesome craft blogger, who gave an awesome presentation called the Top Ten Tips for Blogging Success. I will not state all her tips, I would have to write a whole post to do that, but I will say the best one for me was when she talked about having one main goal, or purpose for your blog. I think this is something a lot of new bloggers struggle with, and certainly one I struggled with a lot in the beginning. But listening to her stress this point confirmed my decision to make this blog about encouragement for other bloggers. I’ve been transitioning to this point slowly, but starting in June, that’s what it’s all gonna be about. At the end of this presentation, I was already pumped.
Colleen Padilla of classymommy.com gave a great presentation about using video in your blogs. She gave a plethora of tips as well, but there were two things I thought were most useful to me. First, don’t be a talking head. I’ve been thinking about doing video, and I have to admit, this is basically all I could think of to do. She said, your video should be different than your blog posts–use props, use your environment, and don’t just sit in front of the video camera and talk. While that might work for some, she found that she liked being a little more dynamic. The other thing she said was to keep the video short. This helps in two ways: many people don’t like to watch long videos, and it allows you to produce more. I’m definitely going to be including video in my posts starting in June. I will use both of these tips.
Audrey McClelland of Mom Generations talked about expanding your blog outside your blog. When promoting your blog, don’t just think about the online world, but take it outside to the publishing world, the event world, the magazine world and consulting opportunities. I had been thinking about this already, so it was just even more confirmation for me. There are small events right where I live where I can “set up shop” for a few hours and let local people know my blog exists. This goes hand in hand with my idea to start a blogging group for my area as well. I’m not sure how much of this I will do, but I’m certainly going to be thinking harder about this one.
Dali Burgado shared with us some great tips for making Google love our blogs. While Google is always changing the way they crawl sites and give your site Google luv, there are some fundamental things that will always remain the same that can strengthen your blog traffic. I will share one of these because it goes so well with what I think is important for my own site: don’t be stingy. This means, Google likes it when you link to other bloggers. So, find other bloggers in your industry who are writing on similar topics, and link to them. Not only is it good advice in itself, it also lets those you linked to know that you exist. They are likely to come see who linked to them. I will tell you one more thing she said: build your social network because in the next few years, Google is going to be relying more on your social clout. Wow.
Sharon Rowly was the “newbie” presenter. Apparently, SITS girls likes to invite one presenter from the SITS girls community who doesn’t normally speak. Sharon Rowly was perfect for this. She shared how she looked at her blog internally and externally to grow it from a small blog to a big blog. She went through a period of a year, first improving things on the inside (cleaning house) and then looking externally to help grow her blog audience. One takeaway from her was that she concentrated on one goal at a time (for instance, learning and applying SEO) before moving onto the next thing. I liked her methodical way of going through the ins and outs of all of this and I know it’s how I have to work too. There’s just not enough time to do it all at once.
I think SITS girls are awesome! Everyone there was so nice and, hey, we all had something in common, right?! I think I traded business cards with at least forty women (that’s a lot for me considering I’ve never given anyone my business card up to this point). Already, several of these wonderful women were following me and tweeting me on Twitter. I can’t wait to find the time to sort through the business cards I received and start visiting all these blogs. This picture represents just two of the friendships I made at Bloggy Bootcamp. I’m on the far left, to my right is Dani Alpert, the Girlfriend Mom and Deanna Verbouwens, the Unnatural Mother. (If I got that wrong, I’m blaming the wine)
Ok, so, a conference isn’t good if the food isn’t any good, right? Well, it was delicious! The conference food was sponsored by King’s Hawaiian Bakery. Not only did they hand out loaves of their awesome sweet bread (I think I can eat a whole loaf in one sitting if I’d let myself), but they served us an awesome lunch as well. I chose the plant-based option which meant I had a grilled portabella mushroom sandwich that was the bomb, salad, and fruit. They also served their world famous bread pudding (this happens to be my favorite dessert and if it’s not vegan, I admit, I was turning my head the other way just for this event).
And we can’t forget the wine. Our wine delight for the after-conference wine event was sponsored by Mirassou Winery. I have never had their wine before, but I’m going to be seeking them out next time I shop for wine. Delicious!
I was a bad blogger because I didn’t take pictures. But how could you blame me? I didn’t want to miss a thing! I will definitely attend this conference again, and I hope you all get a chance to do the same sometime soon.