After the uncomfortable excitement of late Thursday evening and Friday morning, I was so happy to arrive in DC for the conference. Living in my small town, I get pretty psyched when I visit a big city. Now, don't have visions of me running around, throwing hats in the air a la Mary Tyler Moore via Synclaire James. I can walk the walk and look as though I belong *chuckle*. I took an amusement park ride, or shuttle, from the airport to the hotel. I swear, the driver was insane with the speed and whipping in and out of traffic, but I arrived at my destination safely. The Henley Park Hotel was very nice and check in was quick and smooth. Once I got to my room, I made the mistake of falling onto my bed. I did not want to get up! I was coming down from the adrenaline rush that kept me motivated for the majority of the day, but I jumped in the shower, got dressed and walked down the street to the center where the conference was being held. After registering, picking up my badge, bag, and schedule, I skipped the game night *sad face* and went back to chill at the hotel. I figured that while playing a few games and getting to know other attendees would be fun, but getting up in the morning for the various sessions would be rough if I didn't rest.
This turned out to be a great move on my part because I was wide awake and ready to go the next day.There were so much information given throughout the day. Here are some of the major points I took from the conference:
Stacey Ferguson's presentation focused on the requirement bloggers face regarding disclosure when giving reviews on various products. According to Ferguson, one can make a short disclosure state within the blog post and leave it at that. For example, if I receive a product in the mail, all I need to do is say so. Nothing long and drawn out; just say that I given Product A from Advertiser A.While I think, if taken at face value, it's a good idea, once you add the fact that everyone (like, major companies) aren't required to do the same thing, it becomes completely unfair. Gina McCauley made sure to point attendees to an FTC white paper that shows what the commission has "discussed" and how this can affect all bloggers.
Scott Hanselman gave a wonderfully informative, and funny, presentation and I was left with some cool things to consider regarding my blog. If you're serious about blogging, you need to use analytic tools so you can keep track of the traffic that visits your blog. Google Analytics is a good one to use and it's free. Mr. Hanselman also suggested the use of a "301 redirect". You might ask, "What is a 301 redirect?" Well, apparently there is a little trick one can use to redirect traffic to a different website. This comes in handy when bloggers , who have established themselves on one hosting website, want to redirect their readers to new websites. For example, I plan on using a 301 redirect to direct you to my website once it's up and running; pretty neat, huh?
While it was said that you shouldn't approach blogging as a way to get rich, I believe it was Nichelle Stevens who said that you may not become rich, monetarily, but your life can be rich, more fulfilling.Being able to set your own hours and being able to do something that you enjoy, to me, is a blessing. Now, since the ability to walk away from your 8 to 5 day job will not just simply happen, there are a few things that the panelists for the "The Business of Blogging" session suggested for success. It is important to plan; be strategic and know what you are blogging for and why. Serious bloggers should research and pay attention to what others are doing; I took this to mean, see what others are doing and put your own spin on it to make it your own.Make sure that you know your audience and make sure that your content reaches them. And, of course, keeping up the trends in technology is important for keeping one's blog up to date and relevant.
What I've listed are just a few of the suggestions that will will use to develop a better blog; these are the points that have stuck with me since the conference. I have some serious decisions to make regarding the direction I want to take Methodical Madness.
*photo by Adria Richards*