The Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC14) offered a newbie blogger plenty of seminars to help one get acquainted with skills for maintaining a blog site. In order to run, one must first learn to walk. Below are some of the ‘technical’ topics speakers chose to present to help someone start a blog site.
The Business of Blogging focused on how to make money on your blog. Most bloggers struggle with this one. Bottom line is it isn’t easy. Suggestions centered around using the blog site to create other opportunities for income such as consulting, editing, event creation, writing content for others, and serving as brand ambassadors. Diversifying into other interests your readers have was also mentioned. Running advertisements was not popular with most bloggers since they earned very little funds from the endeavor.
Tim Resnick is the Product Strategy Principal of the Product Team at Moz which is a company that specializes in Search Engine Opimization. Tim spoke about how to make your blog site more discernible to search engines. The top three search engines are Google, You Tube, and Yahoo. Since the ‘search’ is responsible for 90% of traffic that visits your site, it is critical to understand who your users are and what they are looking for. This requires a little discipline as you need to look at the stats for your blog. Tim suggested choosing tags that are more specific as opposed to broad terms, for example choosing Pinot Grigio instead of wine. Checkout Tim’s diagram below on how to begin to direct traffic to your site.
Developing a plan, using a proven foundation such as WordPress, prioritizing your on-page efforts, and installing Google Webmaster tools all help facilitate search engines efforts to find you. Tim then took it to the next level which was Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on steroids. He managed to lose more than half the audience as he delved into Feedburner, Bit.ly, follerwonk, Moz Analytics and more. Well….Rome wasn’t built in a day either.
Supercharging Your Blog with WordPress.com was presented by Andrea Middleton of Automattic. Apparently 1 in 5 websites uses WordPress. There is an independent style (WordPress.org) where you do everything yourself, and a managed style (WordPress.com) where things are chosen for you so you can focus on content. It took 20 minutes to get to the point in this seminar. A total of 94 slides were shown in this presentation. Imagery is a great tool but then too much of anything loses your audience’s interest. The speaker touched on some good information such as themes, slideshows, jetpack, retina support, infinite scroll, photon, vaultpress, and kismet. All the items looked so easy to install and use that I felt reassured a newbie like myself could manage this. I would have preferred a little lot more content wine and fewer images.
Back home I tried to apply the tips I learned at the Wine Bloggers Conference . Talk about frustrating! It was like the dog chasing their tail in circles. I tried to install the items mentioned in the seminars but couldn’t get them to run. Hours turned into days. I became immobilized by this newly acquired wisdom. How could I write a blog if I couldn’t manage the technical side? Suddenly the feelings in my new found relationship with WordPress turned from love to hate. The more I read about “How to do” something , the more irritated I became when it didn’t work that way. Finally I threw up my hands in exasperation! Later that day a friend reminded me of a valuable lesson we all must learn in life. Slow down, and learn the basics before you try to add in the extras. You have to start at the beginning. Remember when you tried to take your very first steps as a child? First you had to learn to stand. Next you had to slowly put one foot in front of the other before you were mobile. In others words in order to run, you must first learn to walk. The tips I learned at the Wine Bloggers Conference were great but in order to capitalize on them I’ll have to spend some learning the basics with tutorials on MOZ and WordPress.