What to do after attending a blog conference

You just attended you a blog conference. Maybe even your very first one. You came home with a lot of notes from sessions, business cards from everyone you met and lots of swag. Now what?

Well, now it’s time to get to work so that you can really benefit from the time and money you put into the conference.

what to do after attending a blog conference

What to do after attending a blog conference

Take action

Hopefully the sessions you attended at the blog conference were full of great information. If you’re like me, you hand wrote your notes. Or maybe you are the type of person that types them up. Either way, it’s time to take action on those notes. Whether it’s improving your blog, starting a newsletter (yep, talking to myself on that one), or growing your social media presence, you need to get started.

Go through your notes and make a plan of action. Tackle items one at a time so you’re not so overwhelmed.

Get connected

You met many great people at the blog conference and your bag is full of business cards. Work your way through those cards and start connecting with your fellow bloggers on Twitter, Facebook, their blogs, etc.

If someone you met really stood out to you, email them and say hi. Connections are always a great thing in the blogging world. You might even be able to create a blog tribe with your new connections.

Follow up

At blog conferences such as BlogHer, there are many brands (or PR people) in the expo, in sessions and at private events. If there are some companies you would like to work with, follow up with them. Send them an email and reintroduce yourself and let them know you are interested in working with them. Maybe even send your media kit. You never know what might happen.

Also, don’t forget to remove the conference badge from your site. You don’t need it taking up space after the event.

I know it can be a little difficult to adjust back to real life after attending a blog conference so I hope this helps. If there’s anything you can add to the list of what to do after attending a blog conference, add it in the comments!

SEO for Bloggers Discussion

SEO is one of those things we can always know more about. Especially because every time we think we have it figured out, Google changes something. Awhile back, Holly Homer and Laurie Turk talked about basic SEO for bloggers. As a sort of follow up from that chat, Holly hosted a SEO for Bloggers Discussion.

seo for bloggers

This SEO for bloggers discussion featured a panel of people, all with different levels of SEO knowledge. Contributors included:

SEO for Bloggers

In this hangout, they discussed many things SEO. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Google Keywords Tool and the changes that have been made to it. It’s now Google Keywords Planner and Steve Hammer discusses why this change is a good thing and how to use it. 
  • Search versus social when it comes to online content. Not everything you post will be search friendly but that doesn’t mean it’s not great content. If it’s not a search friendly type of post, try and make it a social friendly post.
  • Internal linking and whether or not you should link to individual posts or category/tag pages. According to Nathan, you should link to individual posts.
  • Themes for SEO and if they make a difference. Nathan suggests deciding on themes based on how fast they are and how easy they are to use. Steve recommends using a responsive site for the mobile benefits.
  • Stop words and whether or not you should include them in your post. The short answer is yes. There is more explanation in the video but basically the answer has to do with exact searches and sounding natural in your writing.
  • Heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc) and whether or not they are important to use in your blog posts.
  • Keywords for your posts and how you should use them when writing your content.

There was a lot of questions, answers and good information about SEO in the hangout. Watch it here and take lots of notes:

To make things easier for you, here are links for some of the sites they talked about:

Hope you enjoyed this SEO for bloggers discussion!

More on SEO

SEO tips for bloggers with RankHammer
SEO plugin for WordPress
Simple SEO tips for bloggers

All About Having Blog Contributors

Holly is taking a little break from the Blogpreneur hangouts right now but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been busy online. Recently she was a guest in a Learn to Blog hangout with Crystal VanTassel from Crystal and Comp. The topic of conversation for this hangout was all about having blog contributors. Both Holly and Crystal have blog contributors for their sites.

blog contributors

Blog contributors

To start off with, Holly talks about how your blog is you. It’s your home, your voice, your online presence. So, when choosing someone as a blog contributor you want to make sure they match your blog’s feel. If they don’t, it’s probably not going to work. So you want to choose wisely when picking a blog contributor. Here are some of Holly’s recommendations for bringing on blog contributors (remember, blog contributors can do more than just writing posts):

What to do when bringing on a blog contributor

  • Recruit the right person
  • Educate them on the site including setting them up with a profile
  • Manage the editorial calendar as far as what, when and how they will be adding content.
  • Decide who owns the content
  • Have standards for the quality of content and what you will do if it doesn’t meet the standards
  • If you’re going to be paying the person, set up a small business for payroll, taxes, etc.

Now, for the pros and cons of having a blog contributor. Here is some of what they talked about in the hangout. Of course you’ll have to watch it to get all of their wonderful knowledge on the subject.

Pros of having a blog contributor

Quantity of content – If you want more content on your site but don’t have time to do it yourself, having a blog contributor can be a great way to meet this goal. Even if they only post once or twice a month, that’s still less content you have to produce yourself.

Complementary skills – We aren’t all good at the same things. By finding a blog contributor that has special skills that fit your site but you’re not good at can be a great way to expand the topics on your blog.

SEO – If you want to target a specific keyword, having blog contributors writing about that topic can help your SEO.

Cons of having a blog contributor

Your time – Even with blog contributors, you still are going to have to spend time on their content. Whether it’s checking their content, improving the SEO, scheduling the posts, whatever it is you’ll have to spend some on it.

Finding the right fit – It can be a little difficult to find someone who is the right fit for your blog since you want to make sure that they match your blog’s feel. They did discuss some tips on how to find the right person that you’ll find helpful.

Those are just some of the highlights from the hangout. Watch the full video to get all of the great tips from Holly and Crystal on blog contributors.

NoFollow Links on Sponsored Posts {Yes, it's a must!}

One way to make money blogging is to do product reviews and/or sponsored content posts. The amount you charge, the products you receive in exchange and what social media promotion you do is all between you and the company.

But, there are two very important things that you must do on every sponsored post. The first is to put nofollow on links that go to the company. The second is to disclose that it's a sponsored post.

Today, we are going to talk about nofollow links on sponsored posts and why they are important.

Nofollow Links on Sponsored Posts

nofollow on sponsored posts

Follow versus nofollow

When you place links on your blog they direct your readers to other posts you want them to read. It also tells search engines about the subject matter, credibility and popularity of the posts. A post or article that has a lot of links from other sites will rank higher in search engine results. On your everyday non-sponsored posts, these links will be follow links and you don't have to do anything out of the ordinary for them.

But, when you are getting paid to write about a product or a business, any links to that company's website need to be nofollow links. That means, you are telling the search engines not to follow the link back to the site. It also means that those sites won't get PageRank from the links.

How to add a nofollow to a link

To add nofollow to a sponsored post, add the HTML rel=nofollow” to your link. Here's an example of what a link would look like:

rel=”nofollow”>Business 2 Blogger.

Why it's important to add nofollow links on sponsored posts

  •  It's part of Google's policy that paid content needs to have nofollow links.
  • Google will punish both your site and the companies site if you have follow links on sponsored content. This could hurt your PageRank and your search engine traffic.
  • If your search traffic goes down, so does the amount of money you make blogging.

If a company ever wants you to do a product review and/or a sponsored post with follow links, tell them no, thanks and send them a link to Google's policy about link schemes. It's not worth it for you and the company should know better.

Here's a very short video from Google about Advertorials that you should also watch:

Have any questions or anything else to add about nofollow links? Leave a comment!

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A little bit of HTML bloggers should know

HyperText Markup Language, or HTML, is the language used to create what you see online. To many of us bloggers, it's something we never want to think about and usually we don't have to. But, there are times when we need to know just a little bit of HTML to do something on the blog.

html for bloggers

Mostly, I've found I need HTML for my widget areas. In WordPress, writing a new post is easy and you don't have to know any HTML at all. But for the widget area, they don't have buttons to make images centered or to add line breaks to content. Instead, HTML is needed to do that. I used to call my husband all the time to tell me the code but then I figured I should learn it myself. So I did. And now I'm sharing what I've learned.

HTML for Bloggers

First, you will notice that all HTML code has the symbols <> for opening tags and for closing tags with text in between the symbols. If you forget these symbols, the HTML won't work. Also, you want to do your HTML code in lowercase only. There are a few different reasons for this which really don't matter at this point.

Center

To center an image or text, the HTML would be

the text you want centered
.

The opening tag is the first one and the closing tag is the second one. The only difference between the two is the /.

More on the center tag.

Line break

Need a line break between your text? The code
or
will do that for you.

Just add it between the text where you want the line break to occur.

More on the line break tag.

Open link in new window

If you want a link on your page or your sidebar to open in a new window, the HTML target=”_blank” is added to the anchor tag.

In action, this would look like Business 2 Blogger

In my opinion, links should open in new tabs because it's easier for the user and it keeps your blog open in their browser. It's especially useful for your social media profile links. You want people to be able to follow you on all the networks easily without having to go back and forth on your blog.

More on HTML for opening in a new window.

There's a lot more to HTML than the three pieces of code I gave you above. Unless you are going into web design, I don't think you really need to know it.

If you would like to learn more about HTML coding I recommend checking out w3schools.com and quackit.com.

Oh, and on Thursday I'm going to be talking about one more very important piece of HTML you absolutely need if you are going to do sponsored posts. Definitely come back for that!

Tell me, what HTML have you found is really important to know in blogging?

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5 Tips to Avoid Blogging Burnout

Inevitably, all bloggers will experience some sort of blogging burnout. Many will quit, others will work through it. It all depends on the person and what they do. To help you not leave the blogosphere when it happens to you, here are some tips on how to avoid blog burnout.

how to avoid blog burnout

5 tips on how to avoid blog burnout

Post less frequently

If you find yourself struggling to come up with blog topics or unable to keep up with replying to blog comments, change your posting schedule. Only post once or twice a week, or even less if needed. Having an editorial calendar will help with this.

Join linkups with prompts

If you are out of blog post ideas or suffering from writer's block, join a linkup with writing prompts like Mama Kat's writing workshop. These will give you new ideas, help you connect with other bloggers and will hopefully pull you out of the blog burnout stage.

Rebrand yourself

If you're tired of the direction of your blog, maybe it's time to rebrand yourself. It can be as simple as changing your tagline or a whole redesign with a new URL, look and focus. Check out these tips on hiring a blog designer before you contact anyone for this step.

Invite guest posters

Having other bloggers guest post on your blog will keep content fresh on your blog while you are working through your burnout. Plus, it will help bring new people to your blog which never hurts. Read this post for tips on successful guest posting.

Rescheduling old content

In the Mom Blog Money Blog workshop, Laurie Turk suggests rescheduling old posts as one of her high traffic tricks of the trade. This will help your blog stay updated and will bring older posts to the eyes of newer readers. Make sure you reschedule it correctly so you don't break your URL.

To do this, change the date to today's date and change the time to 3 hours earlier so the post doesn't go to draft mode. If the URL does change, you'll need to use a 301 redirect to fix it. So, be careful with this tip but it can be useful if you have a lot of old content that is still relevant.

These are just a few suggestions on how to avoid blog burnout. Add your own in the comments! 

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How to come up with new blog post ideas

At some point we all come to a point where we get blogging writer’s block. You get stuck and can’t come up with any new ideas. Or your head is so full of ideas you can’t get them out on paper. Whatever it is, it happens. Thankfully, there are ways to get around this roadblock and to come up with wonderfully new blog post ideas.

blog post ideas

How to come up with new blog post ideas

You can use your top viewed posts information in Google Analytics to generate new ideas and increase traffic as Laurie Turk discusses in Day 15 of the Mom Blog Money Blog workshop. {If you haven’t signed up for this course yet, you should! So much good information for those looking to grow their blogs and make money blogging.}

You can make notes of those really awesome blog post ideas that hit you at random times. Later on, you can use these notes to write your blog posts. I do this all the time in the notes app of my iPhone and it really helps, especially since I write at four different sites. Here’s more information on how to not lose those awesome blog post ideas.

You can use resources such as Kludgy Mom’s idea bank and Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop to give you blog post ideas.

And you can also watch this video from Holly Homer with great information on how to create 10 blog post ideas based on Problogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series.

After watching the video, create your list of 10 new blog post ideas using any combination of the above resources. Then get to writing them!

Some good follow up posts for you to read:

Stop tweeting and make it a blog post

Multiply traffic using blog stats

Work smarter, not harder

Connect with your readers using an author box

One way to really connect with your readers and to grow your community is to show that you are in fact a real person. They want to see you, to know about you and how to connect with you on other social media platforms. A great way to do this with every single blog post you write is to use an author box plugin for WordPress.

The very first day of the Mom Blog Money Blog workshop is focused on fixing your blog layout to generate cash. There are four steps that Laurie suggests you work on to make your blog work for you instead of against you.

One is branding your blog which I covered in the Mom Blog Money Blog series. Another is to create a community which we are going to talk about today. To find out the other two steps, you’ll have to purchase the workshop for yourself. You’ll love it. 

create a community with an author box plugin for wordpress

So, in creating a community you need people to want to connect with you.

And how do you do this?

There are many different ways but I’m going to focus on one for this post…

Author box plugin for WordPress to connect with readers

If you don’t already know what an author box is, it’s that little section at the bottom of some sites that shows a profile picture of the author along with a little bio and links to connect on other social networks.

Here’s what the author box looks like that I use on my cocktail recipes blog.

fancier author box plugin

You can also look at the bottom of this post to see what the author box looks like for the Business 2 Blogger blog.

Why use an author box plugin for WordPress

An author box is important for your site, especially if you have more than one person posting. It helps people connect with you immediately after reading your post. It shows that you are a real person, not some spammer on the Internet. It also gives them links to easily follow you on other networks.

Now this might not be important for your regular readers. But, if you get a lot of traffic from sites like Pinterest, foodgawker, craftgawker and/or StumbleUpon you want to make those readers sticky. The author box will help with that.

How to use an author box plugin for WordPress

First, you need to have a real picture of you for your gravatar. Not some cutesy avatar. It needs to be you.

Second, give a quick rundown of who you are with a couple links so people can read more if they want. Don’t make this long.

Third, have links for people to subscribe to your blog and to follow you on various social media sites. I recommend at least Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Pinterest and/or Instagram might also be appropriate depending on the sites you use the most.

Recommended author box plugins for WordPress

Here are two plugins I recommend. Note: Before you install a plugin for your WordPress blog, remember to always backup your site.

Fancier author box - a free plugin. I use this on both of my blogs and it’s been great.

Fanciest author box – the paid version of the plugin. It’s $10 and has more functionality than the free version.

If you have an author box plugin for WordPress that you love, let me know what it is in the comments.

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Blogpreneuer: Holly Homer and Kelli Miller

Welcome back to another episode of Blogpreneur! Last week, Holly chatted with Alissa Marquess. They talked a lot about having an email newsletter for your blog, how it can help you connect with your readers and make money blogging. It was a really inspiring chat for those who don't already have a newsletter.

For this week’s Hangout, Holly welcomed Kelli Miller to the virtual stage.

blogpreneur hangout

Kelli Miller is a mom of three and can be found at 3 Boys and a Dog and Southern Mom Cooks. She co-hosts a Google Plus series called Learn to Blog (on Tuesdays at 10am CST) and was one of the contributors to the Mom Blog Money Blog series we ran at here at Business 2 Blogger. She started blogging after quitting her full time job and very quickly after that began reaching out to brands. Kelli can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.

Kelli is a big, big, big fan of the editorial calendar (and regular calendars) and stays very organized with her many online ventures. She is also very involved with different blog tribes.

Holly and Kelli discussed how they use specific blog tribes to promote themselves and others online. Kelli defines herself as mean in her blog tribes but acts this way for a reason as she explains in the hangout. She also talks about how open everyone is in some of the blog groups and how this helps everyone involved. If you've been nervous about joining a blog tribe, I think Kelli will help you understand why they are important.

Since Holly and Kelli both host Google Plus hangouts, they spent some time discussing why they do hangouts and how those are becoming a blog tribe in themselves.

They also talked a little bit about their lives as bloggers and how it affects their families. You know, like when everyone has to pause before eating dinner so you can photograph food.

Enjoy the hangout!

After watching the video, here are some good follow-up posts for you to read:

Connect with your blog tribe

Time saving tips for bloggers

How to pitch back to PR companies and make affiliate income

Stay tuned for the next Blogprenuer hangout with Holly Holly which will air on Monday 5/20/13 at 7pm CST.

Want to be featured on Blogpreneur? Take a few seconds and fill out this form!

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SEO Tips for Bloggers – with RankHammer

Ah, SEO. It’s one of those things we as bloggers just have to know. Because if you don’t, your blog won’t be found in search results and you won’t get as many page views and you won’t make as much money blogging.

In an effort to help you understand more about the secret world of search engine optimization, we are starting a series with SEO tips for bloggers.

seo tips for bloggers

For the first post, Holly {virtually} sat down with Steve Hammer from RankHammer, a Dallas SEO company specializing in search engine marketing & optimization, social media, affiliate marketing and web analytics.

SEO Tips for Bloggers

SEO Topics covered in this conversation included:
  • 5 basic things each blog post needs to contain for basic SEO
  • Recommended plugins and tools to improve blog SEO
  • The next steps for bloggers who have the basics in place
  • What bloggers should be considering when it comes to mobile search
  • Researching topics for future posts based on past SEO success

As a mom blogger, I’m always unsure about SEO for my blog because who is really going to search for a story about my child sleeping with a bottle of nail polish? Holly has similar concerns about her personal blog stories and thankfully asked Steve about this. So, he gave some tips on how to balance SEO with personal stories for mom bloggers.

One of the WordPress plugins for SEO they talked about was Yoast and I started using this a few months ago and it’s made a huge change in my search traffic. I use the Google Adwords Keywords tool to figure out my focus keyword and then use that in Yoast when writing my posts. Super easy, especially for beginners.

Steve is very knowledgable and he gives out some really great SEO tips for bloggers. You should definitely watch this video and take many notes. Even if you already know a thing or two about SEO, watch the video. You’ll learn something new. I promise.

After watching the hangout, here are some related posts that you might be interested in:

Basic SEO for bloggers with Holly Homer and Laurie Turk

SEO Tip – Your Title and Post URL

5 Important SEO Factors

Have any burning SEO questions you want or need answered? Leave them in the comments and we will address them in future hangouts. We are also looking for some bloggers to join in the hangouts, if you are interested also let us know in the comments!