I just returned from the annual BeBlogalicious Conference in Las Vegas. This is my second time attending this inspiring and resource-packed experience, and my first time presenting.
Now, I could go on and on about how hard “Justice Fergie” Stacey Ferguson and her team worked to put together a professional and personal growth-centric conference, the gorgeous locale, new friends made and fabulous parties (Doug E. Fresh performed just for us! We bowled for More Birthdays!). But since the theme of this year’s conference was #MakeItPersonal, I’m going to focus on the parts of the conf that will be most helpful to you.
I presented a Beginner’s Workshop at the conference on Saturday, and throughout the conference I myself learned a great deal.
From the BeBlogalicious website:
The annual Blogalicious Weekend is THE go-to destination for influential multicultural women and social media enthusiasts from all over the world to collaborate, connect and uplift one another. Blogalicious Weekend is not just a conference; its a celebration.
According to the Tweets and feedback I received from attendees of the beginners’ workshop I led, “How to Begin a Successful, Personally Fulfilling and Profitable Blog,” here were some items I shared that resonated with the audience:
- Organic activity on local list servs and Facebook groups as a community member, not a self-promoter, is a superb way for your local or niche blog to gain traction.
- Facebook Promoted Posts are currently worth the cash in order to promote your blog posts and Page, garnering you a place in many more persons’ News Feeds.
- It is important to make your blog and your social media presence accessible to readers waiting in line at the dentist, riding the Metro, and away from their desks. I recommend the free WordPress plugins WPtouch for formatting your blog for mobile, and adding the Simple Social Icons widget to the top of your website so readers can find you across social media platforms.
- Wisestamp.com provides a professional, graphic signature to e-mails, providing promotion in every communication you send.
- I shared my most essential SEO 101 tips, and for more extensive SEO tips, I recommend SEO guru Tara Ziegmont’s Feels Like Home Blog.
- FeedBlitz is a great alternative to on-the-way-out Feedburner. Not only will it syndicate your RSS and send your post to e-mail subscribers, it will send your new posts directly to your social media accounts.
If you are interested, here is my Blogalicious New Blogging session presentation on SlideShare via LinkedIn. Please note that the slides are primarily visual cues to engage the audience — most concrete tips and training are provided verbally. If you are interested in my sharing the complete presentation with your group or event, shoot me an e-mail.
Teach Mama Amy Mascott‘s session on Community Building Through Collaboration was so chock full of blogging tips that are SOLID GOLD that I could not keep from Tweeting the entire time she spoke. Here are some of the take-aways from this beautiful friend and expert community leader:
- Mascott sends out bi-monthly newsletters for her website and We Teach community to inform subscribers/members of new content available. However, she teases the content by publishing short intros to the full posts to bring readers back to her sites. #brilliant
- Regular blogroll updates are important and can be in themselves new content. Don’t just let those old links hang out there forever, constantly update and renew that blog roll…and then Tweet it out and feature it, Mascott recommends.
- “Blogs love friends,” Mascott said. She suggested ways to grow blog exposure and support networks: guest posts, shared buttons, blogrolls, memes, lists, linkeys, collaborative Pinterest boards [I am a member of the collaborative board TeachMama started neat-o, fun, NEW things for us to try – please follow!], and forums and online communities such as her We Teach Ning.
- Mascott believes the overall goal of creating communities of collaboration is to help and support individuals in finding their own unique voices. This deep, generous-of-spirit sentiment really resonated with me.
Middle of Nowhere, an acclaimed film by independent writer-director Ava DuVernay (winner of the 2012 Sundance Best Director Award), is coming to Washington, DC’s Regal Gallery Place on October 12 as part of its limited release. Film critic and editor of The DC Moms, Sandie Angulo Chen, hosted a panel interview with DuVernay and lead actor Emayatzy Corinealdi. The panel showcased DuVernay’s commitment to make this film without the Hollywood machine or a large studio’s backing, as well as showcased moving clips from Middle of Nowhere.
Savvy Biz Builder Tonya R. Taylor hosted an intensely helpful session on how to drive more traffic to one’s website. She recommended the free WordPress plugin Word Press SEO by Yoast. Taylor says that the keyword tool and other fields provided by this plugin provide a great checklist for building search engine optimization into blog posts.
Taylor also informed us of how to repurpose and republish content in a smart manner. I was very interested to learn of the updated Google duplicate content penalties, in which multiple posting of the same item on the web can cause a blogger to lose Page Ranking. Taylor stated that the old rule of thumb of altering a post by 30 percent and re-titling it and posting it on a different websites no longer works. Now, it is smarter to simply post your new content on your own website FIRST, and then offer to re-publish the same piece, in identical form, as a guest post on another site. This way you increase your exposure and reach new readers, however, Google will only index the article once…on your own site.
As soon as Taylor’s session ended, I subscribed to her website and Savvy Biz Builder free newsletter for traffic-driving tips. I am learning a bunch from the updates I have already been e-mailed.
Another cool new thing I learned at Blogalicious? Clever Girls Collective is soon launching Something Fierce. The symbol of effecting fierce change in the world and using blogs for social good? Why, a fierce blue wig, of course (which the Blogalicious attendees, including me, were more than happy to try on.) Sign up for the #somethingfierce newsletter, Like on Facebook and follow on Twitter to keep informed about the upcoming launch.
Blogalicious also featured incredible keynote speakers. Morning keynote Mario Armstrong went beyond the “get the crowd fired up” inspirational feeling and shared actionable tips to attendees. Armstrong’s session was full, NON-STOP, of ways bloggers can improve their blogs’ reaches and profit, especially through media and video, such as Armstrong’s work with SocialCam. Although Armstrong’s media presence and dynamic brand seem intuitive, he broke down for attendees all the years of hard work he and his wife/CEO Nicole Hunter invested in their business. The largest take-away from his speech was the idea of re-investing any available profit and extra time back into our businesses if we want to grow. It sure has taken this man, this team, very far.
But the biggest takeaway from the weekend? Blogalicious is one of the most helpful and positive blogging conferences I have ever attended. I highly recommend.
Disclosure: As a speaker at #Blogalicious12 my conference fee was waived. Travel, accommodations and all other expenses I personally covered.