Last Friday, 60 bloggers from Tots100 and Foodies100 gathered together in Bristol for our first ever Blog Summit event.
What’s Blog Summit?
It’s a free, informal workshop for our blogging community, where you can meet other bloggers, chat, share ideas and maybe pick up some new tips and knowledge from our guest speakers.
The day kicked off with a discussion led by Christine Mosler and Annie Spratt, about how bloggers can use their sites as a platform for doing good things. There was some excellent discussion about what works well in a charity campaign, and what bloggers think needs to be done better. The three top tips we picked up from this session were:
- A good charity campaign informs and engages people, so rather than asking lots of people to RT the same Tweet, consider a smaller, more personal approach
- Don’t sit about and wait for charities to come to you – if you have a passion for a cause, and a good idea, don’t under-estimate your expertise – go and suggest something to them!
- If you’re approached by a charity or asked to support a cause, you are RIGHT to ask questions – what is the goal of this campaign, what can you achieve through social media you won’t be achieving otherwise, how will you know if the campaign has worked?
Next, we moved on to talking about boosting your blog audience using Pinterest and Facebook. Presenter and blogger Cathy James points out that the people following you on G+ and Twitter are often bloggers, whereas Pinterest and Facebook can be a fantastic source of traffic from outside the community. Top tips from this session:
- Enable a good mobile view on your blog, especially if you’re posting to Pinterest – when Cathy did this, her page views doubled overnight
- On your Facebook page, be sure to add tabs directing visitors to key destinations, like your Pinterest boards and your blog
- Make specific images just for Pinterest – don’t just post your latest post, instead share older, seasonal posts and ’round-ups’ of favourite posts that have a common theme
Third up was the amazing Tom from Fresh Egg, who managed to make SEO interesting (a big achievement) and even a bit funny (much bigger achievement). We talked about the follow/no-follow debate, Page Rank, and how to work with SEO agencies without compromising your blog. Some tips we picked up included:
- If you are paid to include a link, then Google would like you to make that link no-follow. But remember, Google does not own your blog, or you.
- Having said that, Google reserves the right to penalise you for not doing what it wants by making your site less prominent in its search results
- SEO agencies are increasingly realising that their are other ways to work with bloggers apart from bought follow links – and they’re very open to hearing your ideas, too
After lunch – and a quick visit to the Blog Summit photo booth – the afternoon kicked off with a fab presentation from Becky and Tom Arber about photography. The key to good photography, says Tom, is to just PUSH THE BUTTON. Don’t be scared to experiment and move around and try different things until you start to get a feel for what you like! Tom’s top tips include:
- Take photos through doors, windows and arches – things that frame the photo give it greater depth
- If you’re somewhere with poor light, try pointing the camera somewhere dark, and half pressing the button then pointing where you want to point and pushing all the way down – the whole photo will be brighter (this tip also works on mobile phones)
- When you photograph food, if you can’t take pictures in daylight, invest in a halogen light (£12 from B&Q) and bounce it off the wall to get good, natural looking light.
A huge thanks to all of our presenters and to the wonderful bloggers who came to Bristol. We had such fun meeting you all, and hope you enjoyed the day. If you do blog about Blog Summit (and we’d love you to share the tips you picked up from the day) then please do add your link below!