What IS the point is that I had a productive, if not exhausting time, at my first Bloggy Boot Camp.
For those scratching their head:
Bloggy Boot Camp is a series of one day conferences held across the country. The topics vary across the different conferences. Mainly, though, people gather to learn how to better their blog, expand their social network presence and to meet new people. And that was exactly what I wanted to do.
Oh – and to meet Jill Smokler, aka Scary Mommy.
While I guess I am a mom blogger, my “niche” (so to speak) of an ASD momma definitely limited some conversation. Sometimes I get a blank look or an “err…okay then” from whoever I was talking to. No matter – I still met a lot of great women (and three men) who I connected with on other topics.
Regardless, I walked into the conference a novice and walked out…well…slightly less novice.
A few of the things I took away from #BBCPhilly, not in any particular order:
1. Blog redesign.
Of course one of the first things I heard was, “do not design your own button.” Um, yeah, oops. I can figure my way around WordPress, but I haven’t been able to devote more time into it. So I will probably ante up some money and hire someone. I might also actually rename this blog. Stay tuned.
2. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule.
For someone who’s so organized about her home and work life, I am all “floopy” on this front. I learned so much from Laurie Turk’s (Tip Junkie) presentation. Among her simple yet practical tips: scheduling posts, using time saving tools, and creating online relationships. I even learned about scheduling some “technology off time”. That sounds so counterproductive but I can see how unplugging can help you focus.
3. Write what you know.
There were two breakouts in the afternoon. I had the agonizing decision of choosing either “Business of Blogging” or “Writer’s Workshop”. Both were really tempting in their own right.
In the end, I went with the writing workshop, mainly because:
A) The purpose of this blog is to write, and I could use some guidance and inspiration;
B) At this point, making money is the least of my worries; and
C) Did I mention Scary Mommy?
Ok, it wasn’t just Scary Mommy I wanted to meet. I also got to be entertained by Cecily Kellogg, who writes the Uppercase Woman blog, among other things. The intimate setting was great for listening to their blogging perspectives and experiences. I was quite surprised to learn that the publishing world is not all that it’s cracked up to be.
As for the writing part, oh yes. There is SO much to work on. Besides the basic “finding your voice” and “building your audience”, there’s the ever important “how to write an appealing enough post so that someone will actually come BACK to your blog” bit. I need to also work on what I can offer to this blog – and how to get it to you in a somewhat consistent fashion.
And, it’s OK to clean up your blog and your tweets to keep your space tidy. Honestly, most people don’t pay mind after a few weeks. Which is kind of a relief to know.
SEO (search engine optimization) is simply the way of improving a web site’s visibility within a search engine. Sounds simple enough, right? But it’s big business nowadays, and there are all kinds of ways to get your blog noticed. So, I learned about Google Panda and Google Penguin – two such updates. I learned about using keywords, on creating an “enticing” title, and linking with others.
Now, I have more knowledge on how to keyword my posts and hopefully get more visits.
Here’s Dali’s wrapup post: SEO 101: Beginner SEO Presentation from #BBCPhilly
5. Examine then Reexamine My Blog
Sharon Rowley (aka Momof6) was the last speaker. Her topic was perfect – how to grow your audience. I enjoyed listening to her evolution from “small blogger” to “medium blogger” to “larger blogger”. As I am in the camp, “minuscule blogger”, I was interested in hearing her steps to improve her blog.
The best thing I took away from her presentation is that there is an internal and external process of improving your blog. So these are on my “to-do” list:
Internal: Critique the blog, Reexamine older posts to make them more “Google-worthy”, Make the blog easier to navigate, Use analytics
External: Guest Posts, Commenting, Facebook reach, Twitter impact, Link-ups
I’m linking back to her post so you can find out more: Blogging Goals…. Lessons from Bloggy Boot Camp Philly!
As I wrote previously (Road Trip!), my goal was to simply observe and learn. I am happy to report it was a success. Letting go felt great. I got SO much information. I met SO many people. However, now it’s back to work. Chop Chop!