Last year I went to Blog Camp and it inspired me to write this blog. I did have a blog (or three) at the time, but I didn’t really have a direction (read as- a clue as to what I was doing)
Going to Blog Camp taught me many things. One was that is was ok to change your blog, you see that’s where I’d been going wrong, instead of changing my blog I started a new one and had several blogs all going in different directions. So I came here, to this blog which was called something completely different and basically a load of crap and re-invented it (to hopefully something a little less crap!)
Last year I also learnt a lot about taking photos and editing them. Something I’m still not brilliant at but I think that’s because I need a more fancy camera that will do all the work for me, any PR’s out there got one they’d like me to review? (If you don’t ask, you don’t get)
There was lots more that I learnt but that was last year and now I’ve just been to Blog
Camp Summit this year and learnt a whole heap more. I just wanted to point out that it was last years event that started me out on the path I am now, and I’m come such a long way (don’t bother going back to look at the rubbish posts in my history, I’ve deleted most of them) and I’ve made so many new friends. I’ve gained so much from my blogging but my proudest moment has to be becoming a finalist in the MAD blog awards. So you see, these brilliant Tots100 events can bring you great rewards.
So what did I learn this year?
Well,. first up, I have to say I’ve become a lot fitter and the four flights of stairs didn’t phase me (I think they almost killed me last year)
A grill session with some great bloggers ( Sally from Who’s the Mummy, Chrissie from Mediocre Mum, Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Ruth from Geek Mummy) taught me that it’s ok to take time out from blogging if you need to. Also, you need to follow your heart and take your blog where you want it to be. Find your voice and do things your way, it’s ok to do reviews and sponsored posts if that’s what you want but you will learn in time how to balance things out and keep your readers happy. One more tip was to make a sock puppet, but the reason why is a secret only for those in attendance. Finally, Sally gave us a quick lesson on the metrics of the Tots100 ranking, which really is quite simple, honestly.
number of people who love your blog + number of people who loved your blog even more in the last month + number of people who like socialising with you x number of kids you have + how many bathrooms you have – number of people you’ve p**d off in last three years (or something like that)
An advanced SEO session with Judith Lewis taught me that I need to analyse some brilliant keywords for my blog and create a new page for them to bring in the traffic from search engines. This procedure involves much work and spreadsheets, apparently spreadsheets that have pretty colours work better. I can’t go into too much detail here right now (it was a lot to take in and would take up a lot of this post) but once I’ve had a go and worked it out for myself I may just make a new post to let you know how I get on and if it works.
After lunch I went for an interesting talk on Pinterest by Cathy James from NurtureStore. Now, I’ve used Pinterest for a while, I find it a great resource for, well, practically anything I’m planning from parties to picnics, wallpapers to cake decorating. However, I’ve never fully optimised it for my blog, and didn’t really know how. But now I do and it’s pretty straightforward. You can create images specifically for Pinterest to go with your blog posts and you can cross post your images to different but relevant boards (so long as you don’t do it all in one go) Images should be portrait rather than landscape and your boards should be organised on your page with the most appealing images as the cover. Also, up to 50 is the optimum number of boards to own. Apparently Pinterest can bring you lots of traffic to your site and I have to admit I have noticed this from an image I posted from my daughter’s birthday party last year.
We also had a talk from some PRs from Frank, Volvo, Parent Dish and Argos which was very interesting. It’s always good to know how the PRs work and how they want to develop their relationship with bloggers.
Finally, we had an amusing talk from Andy Cope who told us about his research into why only 2% of us are happy and what we can do about it. In a simple summary you have to stop chasing happiness, for example, stop saying you will be happy when you achieve ‘this’ or you will be happy when ‘that’ happens. Instead you need to chose to be happy anyway. His little tip was to wake up every morning and be thankful that you don’t have toothache. So you need to stop being a mood hoover, moaning about everything and waiting for happiness to happen and instead chose to be happy anyway. I like to think I’m an optimistic person, and I think the best of people and look for the best in situations. Even so I know I’m guilty of chasing after happiness. But now I’m going to just chose to be happy each and every day, and as for the mood hoovers in my life, well hopefully I can make them happy too.
Just one more thing to say, did you know, Bloggers are awesome!! It’s true, I met some really lovely people at the summit and I know some of them will be real friends from now on.
Bloggers are also Bonkers! <<<<< click for more photos