Blogging Conferences ~ To Go or Not To Go

When I first started blogging there was all this talk about BlogHer and who was going and who wasn’t. I had no idea what everyone was talking about or what the big deal was. I think that someone Tweeted something about BlogHer with a link and it peaked my curiosity and I clicked on it.

From there my world changed! My eyes were opened to a much larger world. A world of conferences that could introduce me to all sorts of new people that I’d making lasting friendships with, teach me great things that I never knew, and help grow my blog to epic proportions (okay…. maybe not that last part). There was Bloggy Bootcamp, Blissdom, Type A Conference, Savvy Blogging Summit, Bloggy Conference and so many more!

I soon realized that all these great conferences were not close to where I live. I was a bit bothered by it because on top of the cost of the conference there was travel costs, hotel room, and food. I was trying to figure out how to justify the cost to my husband (he doesn’t see the point in going) because it wouldn’t be a little drop in the bucket. I think that I estimated around $500+ depending on the conference and where it’s at. That’s seriously a lot of money! I’m still trying to figure out how people are able to afford going to one much less two conferences!

Another thought (or two) crossed my mind. If I were to go how do I decide which one(s) are the best ones to go to and which one would best serve me and my blog? I have no idea really. It’s not like you can compare them up front since all the information isn’t available until closer to the date of the conference so you have to go on a hunch…. what you ‘think’ is the best one. You want to be able to learn from the speakers and workshops that are offered because that’s part of the reason for going, education. So how to decide is another dilemma.

So now what happens if I don’t go to a conference? I know one thing for sure…. you feel left out! There are Tweets, pictures, videos, blog posts and all sort of information flying around out there about who went, what they did, and so on. You hear about the amazing things that they’ve learned and how they’re implementing changes not only in their blogs but their lives as well. If I don’t go does this mean that my blog won’t grow? How am I going to get some of that incredible knowledge that was shared at the conferences?

I also have to think about my family and my job (yuck) because I can’t just take off for a conference when I feel like it. I have to make sure that I can get the time off from work, which means taking precious vacation time and arranging for childcare and/or make explicit lists for my husband. It seems like a lot of work! How do you all do it?

I am happy to say that I did register for a conference! I am going to Gleek Retreat in May! Now this is not a huge conference but for me it’s a start. It’s one that I can attend without changing things around in my life because it’s on a weekend and it’s right here in Michigan just under two hours from my house.

I’m looking forward to meeting some of the great bloggers in real life that I’ve connected with on Twitter and through their blogs as well as my own as well as learning few new things that I can do to improve my writing and my blog. So stay tuned for some updates!

I’m curious… if you’ve been to a conference or two how do you manage it all?

What I’ve learned about blogging

I started blogging back in May of 2010 and have enjoyed every minute of it. Along the way there have been up and downs and I’ve learned a great deal.

Blogging isn’t easy. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s hard.

There is so much that goes into it that I didn’t realize before and there is still even more to learn. Learning is good though! Right?

Time… yes. Time is huge with blogging. You have to be committed to putting in the time that a blog requires, seriously! This is something that I didn’t know when I started and honestly, it’s something that I didn’t even think about at the time. Creating a schedule for blogging is the way to go! This way you have it all laid out what you’re writing, when, and it allows you to get in all the blog reading & socializing that you want.

I think a lot of blogging really depends on what you want to do with your blog and where you want it to go. Do you want a large number of readers or is your blog just something for you to keep track of things, vent, and share your life with friends and family? Maybe it’s a bit of both. I do know that when I visit a blog that hasn’t updated in a while I tend to not go back as often, so updating is important.

Content is so important. Really it is, because if your content is lacking then you won’t have a lot of traffic to your blog. Then again it all depends on why you started your blog. For me I find this to be rather difficult sometimes because I don’t know what to write or where to go with an idea. I know that there are times when my content just down right sucks and then there are times when I write something that’s pretty darn good.

I often wonder will anyone really want to hear about what I have to say? And if they read it will it be worth commenting on? Like I said I struggle with this a lot and get all worried when my stats drop!

Promotion! This is huge (or at least I think so)! Promoting your blog via Twitter & a Facebook fan page will also help drive traffic to your blog. Basically it’s you getting the word out there about your blog and the great posts that you’re writing. I can tell you that I’ve tested this by writing something and not promoting it at all just to see what would happen. Very low traffic… no comments…. nothing.

There are tons of resources out there to help you on your blogging journey and the community of people you meet will be the best support team you’ve ever had! I know they have for me.

Here are a few sites that have helpful tips, tricks, and ideas!



Kludgy Mom – B2SB2B Challenge This was a great 6 week challenge that Gigi did! Lots of great info!

BlogFrog This is a community for bloggers but you can find a lot of info here as well.

Do you have any great tips for a blogger? I’d love to hear them!

I’m a Featured Blogger on Sears!

Recently I submitted a blog post to Sears about the most important appliance in my home and why. Today I found out that my post was selected and it’s the featured post today!

They’re highlighting posts from 20 guest bloggers from Ocotober 4th – 29th on their site and as part of being selected I’ll be giving away a $75 Sears gift card!

Take a minute or two to read my post! Busy Working Mom Loves Her Washer from Sears.

Networking Tips – Review

Kludgy Mom

I’m not going to lie. This is hard. A lot harder than I had expected. There is so much to blogging if you want to make it successful and honestly it’s almost like a full time job. And I already have two full time job, one as a mom and two, my job that I go to daily that helps pay the bills.

My goal would be to not have the second one some day too. But that’s another story.

I was reading the top 10 networking tips for new bloggers that was for my size blog and should help me grow my blog. And that’s when I realized how much work it all actually is. I don’t think that I’m going to ever close that tab in my browser! That way I always have it open to refer to so I can make sure that I’m doing all I can to grow my blog. For now I think I need that kind of constant reminder.

Instead of picking just one item from the list and talking about how I put it to use I’d like to touch on each item briefly. It helps me solidify where I’m at and in a way makes me accountable to all of you for what I say I’m going to do.

1. Join and be active in several established blog networks.
This I have done and have been part of 2 or 3 of them for a while now. Blog Frog has to be my favorite my far though as there are so many communities to join, people to meet, and great information to be found. It’s been helpful to me when I was looking for a guest blogger too! I really would like to be more active though! In all of the networks. I need to figure out a good schedule for everything and stick to it!

2. Comment, comment, comment on blogs you love.
Done. I comment and I try to make sure that what I say in meaningful. Sometimes I get new visitors out of commenting and sometimes not. I keep at it though!

3. Participate in a Twitter hop.
This I haven’t done. I have taken part in a Twitter party & have found new blogs and new friends! I need to look into this more.

4. Search your favorite bloggers’ blogrolls
This has to be the easiest way to find great blogs to read! It also points out how interconnected we all our! This is something that I do often and especially on a new blog.

5. Get a badge
Funny thing… I just created one about a week or so ago! I also created a page with other people’s links & buttons to help keep things organized on the main page.

6. Develop a tribe
This is a great idea and I think that this just happens naturally. I’ve already found that a lot of the people that I follow & follow me have similar blogs. As in content, size, and feel of them. We’re all the same but different too!

7. Aim equal, not high with your networking
I have to admit that before they were mentioned in the post I had never heard of The Bloggess, Dooce, or The Pioneer Woman. Most of my networking started with the #31DBBB challenge and went from there.  I usually try to keep within my own realm! I have the best luck there.

8. Dedicate time each day to networking
I need to work on this. I usually have Tweetdeck open most of the day, but aside from that there isn’t much that I do especially when I’m at work. And on the weekends I’m usually busy and disconnected from it all. I think that 15 – 30 minutes total each day is the minimum that I’d like to put forward and will be including more than Twitter into my routine.

9. Don’t obsess over guest posting just yet
I admit. I did this. For a while it was all I was seeing on Twitter and on blogs! I put myself out there and I did it. I’ve had two guest bloggers and I love it! Maybe it’s something that I’d do once a month. This would add a bit for freshness to the blog and bring myself and my guest new readers.

10. Put yourself out there
This sounds like such a simple thing but it really isn’t. This is one of those things that takes a while to do. And admitting when you’re wrong… whew… that’s a hard pill for some to swallow! It’s a constant work in progress, but it will pay off I’m sure! For me, one of the hardest parts is just jumping in. I don’t want to sound like an idiot or something. I don’t want to say the wrong thing and be shunned. It’s something that I need to work on by just doing it. Right?

There is a lot that I have to work on and it will take me time and effort to do it. I’m willing to do it to! I know that someday my blog will be in a much better place, but right now I think it’s pretty good for having just started in May!