Wednesday, 23 November 2011
The organisers of the Handpicked Media Gets Social blogging event promised wall-to-wall talks on everything today’s bloggers need to know – and they certainly delivered. The blogging industry is moving at lightning speed, so whether you’re a novice or an old hand, it’s crucial to keep up-to-date. And thanks to speakers like Garry Davis, managing director of Why Communicate?, and super-inspiring businesswoman Sháá Wasmund (above), I learned more this week than I have in months.
First up, here are some tips from Garry’s "tech boot camp" on how to get more traffic to your blog:
1. Content is king. Focus on producing quality, compelling content.
2. Blog regularly. And remember that over time and the more visitors you get, the more content you’ll need to produce.
3. Images are a great source of traffic.
4. Pay attention to blog post titles. You can increase the number of visitors by up to 73 per cent by using compelling headlines.
5. Set up an RSS feed, add social media share buttons and include a blog roll that lists the sites you rate (good for search engine optimisation too!) It’s really important to get visitors to engage with your blog. Ask them to leave comments, include questions in your posts and always reply to comments.
6. Engage in the blogging community. Comment on blogs in your particular industry. It’s a real opportunity to build up your network.
7. Set up Facebook and Google+ pages for your blog.
8. Write guest posts. By doing this, you’ll gain linkage to your site and create awareness of your blog with a new audience.
Meanwhile Sháá, an online entrepreneur and founder of Smarta.com (which offers advice and networking resources to anyone starting and running a small business), instantly endeared herself to the audience by declaring that over the years she’d “probably made more mistakes than anyone in the room.”
Dynamic, driven and fizzing with energy, she quickly ran through her route to the top. She grew up in a single parent family, was the first in her family to go to university and became one of the first ever female boxing managers before turning her hand to business.
She’s recently written a motivational book with Richard Newton called Stop Talking, Start Doing (subtitled A Kick in the Pants in Six Parts) and reckons we should all take control of our lives and do something we really believe in. “I’m not saying it’s easy,” she said, “but it’s utterably achievable.”
PS. For more about the conference, read yesterday's blog, Handpicked Media Gets Social Part 1.
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
The first speaker at yesterday’s Handpicked Media Gets Social conference looked slightly stunned when he walked onstage. "The audience is usually full of grey-suited men," said Garry Davis, managing director of Why Communicate?, as he gazed out across the wood-panelled chamber.
This event, however, was packed with 200 top beauty, fashion and lifestyle bloggers, most of them women. They were a very impressive bunch - ranging from the multi-award-winning Fleur de Force, who at 23 has racked up more than 180,000 YouTube subscribers with her engaging, articulate beauty tutorials, to ReeRee Rockette, 29, who blogs about “rockabilly, vintage, tattoos, alternative fashion and lipstick.” Not only that, she’s launched an on-line beauty business selling her own Rockalilly Lipsticks in four stunning shades.
I got chatting to ReeRee, resplendent in scarlet lipstick of course, because she tweeted brilliantly right through the conference. She swears by her BlackBerry by the way – by far the speediest phone to type on, she says.
The event, held at RIBA’s HQ in London’s Portland Place, was organised by Handpicked Media and hosted by founder Krista Madden. Krista launched the highly successful Beauty and the Dirt website 11 years ago and quickly realised that independent sites and blogs were the future.
Two years ago she hit on the idea of handpicking like-minded sites and attracting advertisers to work with them as a group. So Handpicked Media was born - and now comprises more than 230 sites and blogs, which together generate well over 15 million page views a month. Impressive stuff.
I was lucky enough to get an invite and leapt at the chance to learn more about social media and blogging. I’ll blog tomorrow about some of the tips I gleaned but one of the best things about the day was the chance to meet some inspiring bloggers, all of whose sites I signed up to the instant I got home.
First up is The Women’s Room, launched by Amanda Carr and Jane Kellock. The stylish duo have worked in fashion for years and met when they both worked at WGSN, the global fashion trend forecasting website. Frequently lamenting the dearth of fashion and style publications for women over 40, they started The Women’s Room. A fantastic and eclectic mix of fashion, style, art, culture, health, happiness and much, much more, it’s my new must-read.
It was great too, to meet two other journalists. Loma-Ann Marks’s Culture Compass gives you the lowdown on the latest places to go and what to see, while Miss B is the founder and editor of Belle About Town. Billed as a blog “for stylish women who want to get the most out of their lives,” Belle About Town fizzes with interviews, reviews, celebrity news and style. I love it.
Don’t miss tomorrow’s blog: Handpicked Media Gets Social Part 2.
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Today started off like any other day. Morning traffic trundling past the window at a snail’s pace. Son crunching his way through a bowl of Golden Grahams before school. Me trying to think of 101 reasons not to go to the gym – I signed up at a new one last week, nodded enthusiastically through my induction session and, er, haven’t set foot in the place since.
Then something brilliant happened. I discovered that House With No Name has been shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2011!
I’m still in shock but thank you so much to everyone who nominated me. I love blogging and am completely over the moon to have been shortlisted.
House With No Name is in the Lifestyle category – alongside some fantastic blogs. If you’d like to vote for me, I’d be very thrilled and incredibly grateful. To vote please click here. You need to enter your email address, then select the Lifestyle Blog with Handpicked Media category. Click on House With No Name and then on Vote.
A big thank you again – and good luck to all the shortlisted blogs!