Blog On is my favourite blogging conference. Organised by Laura from Tired Mummy Of Two, she does an amazing job and both last year and this, I came away buzzing with ideas and inspired by spending time with such a great group of people. It is smaller that some events and this works well as not only can you catch up with the people you want to, there is space to chat to the different brands. Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) is also a great venue and I am determined to take the family up in the near future to explore the amazing displays and galleries.
So here a just a few of the top tips and ideas that I came away with this year;
The three P’s of organising your blogging are prioritising, planning and programming. These are the key to time management and that is something that I know I need to work on as I lose far too many hours on social media, when I should be blogging. The opening session was by Nickie O’Hara from Typecast and Geekalicious and she talked about how she uses different diaries and systems such as bullet journalling on a daily basis to keep herself in check.
Use a timer. Another idea from Nickie and such a simple but effective idea. Decide how long you want to spend on something and set a time limit. Set an alarm so you don’t go over.
Use shortcut tools to maintain a presence on social media when you are away from the computer; Buffer, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Sprout Social, Social Oomph were all mentioned and some are free, some paid for but it is worth investing some time each week to schedule posts old and new so that you are not always having to be online.
There are also some useful Chrome extensions that are useful blogging tools such as G+, Bitly and Evernote.
Jenny from Cheetahs In My Shoes gave a wonderful talk about photography and a very useful tip from her was that if you are experimenting off auto, have changed settings and you don’t like it and don’t know how to change back; switch off and remove the battery. When you switch back on after, it will return to the default settings.
There are lots of great magazines to help with photography and you might learn some really useful nuggets of information about your camera or taking photos that will help you going forward.
The perfect camera bag is one that will carry everything; not just the camera. Family life means that you always need to take lots of things with you and it is difficult to carry two separate bags so find a bag which will safely transport your camera but has pockets and space for your purse, phone, tissues, snacks and anything else that you need for time out with the kids.
When taking photos, look for things that other people don’t look for to try to make your photos unique.
Always think about lines, colour and light in your photos.
Look for the #nothingisordinary hashtag on Instagram for some amazing and unusual photos.
The Advanced SEO session with Nick Boyle from website was a fantastic session with so much useful information about SEO, working with brands and blogging.
Don’t just get rid of old posts. You may not like them but they still hold value and authority with Google. Use 301 redirect if you do have to get rid of some as this will help to keep readers on your blog.
Keep your ‘about me’ page up to date if you want to give people the best impression.
Weekly themed posts can be a good way of improving traffic as it is a good way of encouraging people back to your blog.
Authority comes with time, be patient. Engagement is more important.
WordPress plugins that you need; Yoast, Backup Buddy, Disqus and WPTouch mobile.
Useful blogging tools; Screaming Frog, Microsoft IIS and Google Analytics.
LinkedIn is a great place to find brands and to find the relevant people to contact.
If you approach brands think about how your blog can help them and how you will be different from other blogs. Also think about how you could make your approach stand out; how about a handwritten letter or using your craft skills to create something that will get you noticed.
Making a good pitch to brands; do your research, give them campaign ideas and be confident in why they should work with you.
Consider building an email subscription list for blog, you could sell space to brands.
Google Adsense is a click away from your site but won’t make much money.
The best tools for working with brands; Gorkana, Response Source and blogging communities. Blogging communities can be one of the best resources as you can help each other out.
Writers block happens to everyone. Know when to walk away and take a break.
Content should be shared multiple times but share it a different way each time so that it will appeal to different people.
Useful tools to help grow your audience; Google Analytics, social media (interacting and engaging) and paid social ads.
It is worth sharing archived posts if the timing and the content are still relevant.
Comments should be at least eight words in length or Google sees it as spam.
These are all useful nuggets of information that I gleaned from the sessions. I can’t recommend Blog On enough, I will certainly be booking a ticket for Blog On Mosi next year and Laura is organising a Blog On in Winchester in October. Check out the Blog On website for more information.