Blogopolis I – stepping outside the circle

You know you have had a good conference experience when your brain is buzzing about what you need to do, and you feel a tad overwhelmed by the amount of information you have been delivered. Such was the case at Blogopolis, organised by Nuffnang Australia

The attendees were overwhelmingly female, representing a broad demographic from twenties through to fifties, with a smattering of male bloggers. Attendees were a range of personal blogging, fashion, food, beauty, tech, craft, photography, parenting and then everyone else. Everyone was  incredibly nice, and many seemed to know each other quite well. I felt like a newbie, but icebreakers such as blogger bingo, a blogging Mexican Wave and chocolates handed out by Easy Peasy Kids were appreciated.

Internet connectivity was speedy and the twitter stream was running thick and fast. The hashtag #nnb2011 was outranking #aflcats on a Saturday afternoon in Melbourne where the Cats was demolishing the Demons- all in all a win win situation for me :).

There were 7 sessions throughout the day. Here are the highlights of each session.

Tools of the trade featured Nicole Avery of Planning with Kids, Michael Aulia of Craving Tech and Arnold Aranez of Mr Gadget.

Nicole spoke of using RSS and newsletters effectively, advising on using FeedBurner to garner statistics on subscribers, using FeedFlare to increase the interactivity of your feed and using plugins for improve the look of your RSS feed with footers. Newsletters were good as an email marketing tool, aimed at essentially selling products and could be an avenue to garner sponsorship and promotions. Newsletter services such as MailChimp and AWeber were compared and discussed- AWeber coming out ahead on statistics. Nicole provided a good example of an effective newsletter, using the Styling You weekly newsletter which offered value added content.

Michael’s presentation was on blogging platforms, focusing on Blogger and WordPress. While Blogger was easy to set up and seen as good for new bloggers with its google support, WordPress was seen as the blogging platform with greater flexiblity, more professional themse, a wide array of plug-ins

Tips from Michael included

1. Get your own domain

2. Use statistics effectively to track visitors browsers, demographic, social media traffic, favourite keywords and posts. It allows you to see which social media platform works best for getting your voice acriss, ideas for further blog posts

3 Use tools to speed up your blog, such as caching, a content delivery network and having your blog content on different servers arounf the world so your blog is never offline, uising an image compression tool such as smush.it

Arnold advised on building traffic through effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) through keywords which are to be added into your metadata, title contents and tags, sharing your blog posts via social media and setting up auto publish facilities and timing the publication of your posts to be not only consistent, but to maximize the impact of when they will be most likely to be read.

Blog Photography

Presented by Danielle Melnyczenko of Danimezza and MinhGiang of Eat Show and Tell, I learned good tips for taking better photos such as using a plain background, using natural light and closeups, holding your breath and exhaling as you press the trigger to steady the camera. Gimp and Picnik are also good free tools for editing photos.

Improving Blog Content

Christie Burnett of Childhood101 spoke of blog burnout and what to do when your life takes over from your blog. Standing back to reassess your goals and refocus was paramount, as well as reliying on the community of readers and other bloggers to help you through. Blog your own race was her key advice and aim for quality and entertainment.

Susan Thye of Chocolate Suze was bubbly and self-deprecating, looking at how she finds inspiration through other people’s writings, and by mixing it up, attempts to bring freshness to her blog.

Nikki Parkinson, a journalist turned blogger of Styling You, provided great advice on content strategy. Schedule posts to be published at regular times, develop a plan as to what to publish and aim to publish at least once a week. Nikki also advised on writing in your own voice, as if you were having a chat with readers in a cafe. Her reading of posts from other bloggers was a great way to show off the talent of many writers in the room and to show how these posts connected with the reader.

The message of putting yourself in your writing even for a business blog was paramount, as even customers want to see who the person is behind the business.

It was at this point we broke for lunch, and I made a dash for some fresh air. I also have to come up for air with this long post!

Part Two Tomorrow 🙂

 

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3 thoughts on “Blogopolis I – stepping outside the circle

  1. Long but interesting. Thanx for sharing. I was thinking of going but for [ insert long list of excuses ] I didn’t. But getting the wrap from you is the next best thing. Will be eagerly awaiting Part 2!

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