Going to BlogathonATX was like the first day of school — I had my pens all ready, a brand new book for notes, laptop juiced up, phone with social media contact info at hand, and my own “What would you do if you could not fail?” mug ready for extreme coffee action.
The day flew by. So much great information, so many wonderful people, such a wealth of help and support. Here’s a random sampling of some of the goodies I gleaned from hanging out with the cool blogging kids for a day.
Wise Words from #BATX15
“Silence your phones and pull up your stretchy pants.” ~ Annette Priest
“Say ‘hi’ to your neighbors because they’re probably as nervous and nerdy as you are.” ~ Ilene Haddad
“Real headlines, real navigation names — that’s what Google looks for.” ~ Julie Gomoll
“For a good time, blog here.” ~ BlogathonATX tagline
“It’s harder than ever with social media to get noticed, because so many people are waving, saying ‘Check out my stuff!'” ~ Carla Birnberg
“If you’re trying to think of what to write about, follow your interests because readers will react to that enthusiasm.” ~ Greg Ackerman
“Think of readers not as audience but as community.” ~ Addie Broyles
“Posts are a launching pad for comments…I think of it as holding up a mirror to my community.” ~ Carla Birnberg
“Smart bloggers, business owners, and entrepreneurs find their tribe — that’s how they get started.” ~ Lauren Goldstein
“Being a good reader will always make you a good writer.” ~ Greg Ackerman
“There is room enough for all of us to succeed.” ~ Carla Birnberg
On the subject of crickets: “Sometimes, you’re like, ‘Nobody’s reading my stuff,’ but there are a lot of people who watch. It’s hard because it’s personal…eventually, you’ll see it pay off.” ~ Lauren Goldstein
“The real growth happens in the pause between the breaths.” ~ Addie Broyles
“Don’t be everything to everyone; find what makes you special.” ~ Lauren Goldstein
“SEO is all about the long game of providing very useful information.” ~ Nando Caban-Mendez
“Promote your blog by interviewing the competition — that brings a slow grass-roots momentum. Write about other people.” ~ Julie Gomoll
“What do you want people to do when they get [to your blog]? You don’t have to have a definite answer, just a temporary one.” ~ Nando Caban-Mendez
“Write really great content and they will come is important, but doing the heavy lifting on SEO adds that extra something.” ~ Leslie Hancock
Panelists’ Book Recommendations
- Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin (also TED talk, “The Tribe We Lead”)
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Dr. Brene Brown
- It’s Not About You: A Little Story About What Matters Most in Business by Bob Burg and John David Mann
- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
- Jab Jab Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary VaynerChuk
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
- A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
- Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee
- Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
8 Blog Tips from Experts
- Slash copy — design for mobile first.
- Google is color blind (white-on-black is difficult, orange on black is hard for visually impaired).
- Don’t count on tags for search (can show up as duplicate content).
- Come up with descriptions that are meaningful (“Get Started Here”).
- Have six to ten categories at most; use them judiciously.
- Dropdown menus don’t work on mobile devices.
- Avoid “site bloat” (extra pages, too many tags, categories)
- As yourself what you want out of blog: establish expertise, name recognition, to see your writing, get work/jobs, build community, etc.)