On 4th May I returned to Manchester, child free this time, to attend my first BlogOn conference run by bloggers for bloggers.
The event was held at Hotel Football opposite Old Trafford Football Stadium, home of Manchester United. Here’s a copy of the schedule for the day. I attended sessions as follows:
Session 1: Getting to grips with Gutenburg & WordPress – by Zoe Corkhill, Jenny Wong and Tim Nash
I wasn’t sure what Gutenburg was before this session, but came away enlightened. It’s a framework that makes wordpress easier to use, and all new plug ins are being designed to meet this standard. You can try it here free. Over the next couple of months I hope to transfer my existing content as suggested.
It was reassuring to learn that in most cities in the UK there are wordpress support groups and conferences you can network with – and an online support group of volunteers (500+ of them) who will generally answer your query within two hours of posting.
Session 2: Be more visible, create more opportunities – by Claire Gamble
Claire runs a PR company, and gave tips for being proactive about securing opportunities for your business and/or blog. She suggested plotting out a yearly calendar of events you wish to cover, and gave a number of free resources for getting access to press opportunities.
She shared that opportunities often open the doors to other opportunities. For example, one lady had written a blog about vegan sausage rolls, and her local radio station found her blog online and invited her to take part. This then led to national media coverage and a radio slot for the BBC. Her local radio station have also invited her back to cover other food related stories.
She shared that journalists can sometimes be wary of bloggers as they don’t see them as professionals – so where possible, it’s best to introduce yourself via another title based on what you specialise in e.g. food connoisseur, environmental expert etc.
During lunch I met a lady who’s been blogging 15 years. During that time she’s fostered a number of children with special education needs. It was really good to connect.
I spoke with a lady living in Gallway, Ireland, who’s from Catalalonia in Spain and also spent a few years living in Newcastle. She has a young boy and blogs mainly about books.
Also, I bumped into NomiPalony quite by accident whilst asking her where a room was. I’ve been following her feminist family lifestyle blog which I learned of in the North East Bloggers & PRs, so introduced myself.
I also had opportunity to visit the exhibition stands where there were free gin cocktails, green cola (like Coke Zero but without harmful chemicals), Prosecco and pizza, and lots more…
Session 3: 3 Common mistakes that make a huge impact on SEO… and how to fix them – by Cerys Parker (Rainy Day Mum)
SEO is Search Engine Optimisation. This session was all about how to maximise your search rankings on the intranet. It really opened my eyes. There is a lot I can improve on.
The main gist is;
- you blog site should list the topics you cover within the top half of your webiste – search engines read from top to bottom, and most people have the standard “Home, About, Work with Me, Contact Us” at the top – it should be things you have in your categories such as Days Out, Holidays, Food, Cinema and Shows etc.
- the first link in your pages should be to other pages within your own website/blog. If users view your site, but then are quickly directed to another site, your rankings go down – e.g. you have a high bounce rate. This is something I need to correct, as to date, I’ve been linking to the place I’ve visited website.
- you should create pages (or hubs) within your site and the first link in new pages you create should be to these. e.g. if viewing several National Trust properties, you should create a page for National Trust, listing all your National Trust posts, and each time you add a new National Trust post, add it to this page, and link to it. This way you create a circuit where users to your site are continually directed to other links on your site. This boosts your SEO. This then boosts the chance new users will see your pages when searching in Google or similar.
Other tips including using subheadings, and naming images to something meaningful before uploading them.
Cerys Parker has a free training package about SEO – please comment below or message me if you’d like me to send you a link.
Session 4: In depth SEO – with Cerys Parker (first 30 mins) & How to grow your blog by building a tribe – by Bex Band (last 30 minutes)
I was invited to book in advance for the In Depth SEO session and there places were limited to approx 15. Although the previous session was by the same speaker, I’m really glad I did, as Cerys had taken a look at my site and printed out three recommendations specific to me.
For the remainder of the session I listened to Bex Band’s session – she was the most inspiring speaker of the day. She spent a couple of years living/blogging in Africa where the cost of living was £250 a month – much cheaper than the UK. She’s passionate about women experiencing adventures, and has a company Love Her Wild (FB and web) where you can sign up to different adventures throughout the year e.g. Welsh slate mining adventure, Top of Japan, Plastic Island Sailing Expedition, Whale Shark Expedition (most are already full). She’s created a community of Patrons who each contribute a small amount of £ each month which gives them benefits (such as reduced adventures), and at the same time allows her to host adventures free of charge for disadvantaged and low income women. Genius 🙂
BlogOn cost £55 to attend, and it was worth every penny. I highly recommend this to other bloggers or those interested in getting started. Lunch was provided, as were many freebies as you can see from the photos above. If you’re planning to attend I recommend taking a large suitcase to bring the goodies home (my small one was bursting to the brim).
Have you been to a BlogOn conference? How to do get access to support to help you with your blogging?
#BlogOn #Manchester #Gutenbug #Wordpress #SEO #NomiPalony #NorthEastBloggers&PRs