The first two sessions on Saturday were The Blog Within: An Interview With Your Inner Blogger by MotherReader and Building a Better Blog: Best Practices, Ideas and Tips by GalleySmith and MotherReader.
The Blog Within: MotherReader helped us all focus on why we blog, why we were at the con, and what we were looking for (for our blogs and for the conference) by leading us through a series of questions such as "why are you blogging" and "where is your blog among blogs".
In Building a Better Blog, MotherReader spoke about "purpose, passion, professionalism." "Professionalism" was used over and over during the day, by different people, meaning not "this is my profession and I get paid for it," but "how do I act? do I write responsibly? do I act like a professional?"
By the way, what was the proof that we are not getting paid? In addition to the comfortable jeans most of us wore, very few people had netbooks. Yes, we had technolust for those who had them, but you'd think bloggers would have the sexy technology toys! Nope, not so much.
Back to MotherReader -- in talking about professionalism, she mentioned such things as how your content is out there, perhaps forever, for people to read and judge. She talked about giving credit to others, whether for a news source or inspiration. She talked about disclosure -- not from any FTC or other rule/law/regulation/guideline, but from respecting our readers and wanting them to respect us. Disclosing things like when you're friends with the author. Or conflicts of interest.
MotherReader talked about the importance of having a review policy online, which I don't have and I know I should write up and put up one of these days.
GalleySmith spoke about the technical nuts and bolts of blogging and blogging successfully. You don't have to be all things to all people; readers connect with your personality; asking questions invites answers and draw people into the discussion. She also mentioned she's a multitasker, having fifteen tabs open at one time. (I totally do that! So I skip between gmail, bloglines, twitter, revising posts, etc.)
Great point made: about being calm, cool, and collected while being passionate. Don't blog/tweet angry!
Reciprocal linking was encouraged -- again, give credit. GalleySmith spoke about optimizing anchor links; MotherReader noted that Greg/ Gotta Book has said links are currency. Don't waste it! MotherReader and GalleySmith had a handout with some specific links to help explain this.
GalleySmith recommended using select memes to grow your blog and your community and your role in the blogosphere. These memes can both help a blogger focus and inspire the blogger; but it also builds connections and provides a way to join in discussions. She recommended both Sunday Salon and Weekly Geeks.
Next, SEO - search engine optimization. Using a title; description; tags for posts to help people find you. Technorati was mentioned, and conversation also turned to content and GoodReads/ LibraryThing (should you duplicate content?)
Next: marketing, branding. Do you use the same icon for all your social media sites (blog, twitter, facebook). (Sigh; I don't. I'm not sure what I would use.) Sidebars, organization of blog, using plain language.
And the final two points: participation. perseverance.
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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
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