7 Lessons Learned at Bloggy Boot Camp Charlotte

7 Lessons Learned at Bloggy Boot Camp Charlotte

This past Saturday I, along with 140+ bloggers, gathered at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina for another wonderful Bloggy Boot Camp Conference. I'll admit, I went in nervous. Like most bloggers embarking on their first conference, I spent the day before feverishly pouring over other Bloggy Boot Camp recaps hoping to get an idea of what to expect. By the time I finished reading that last post from Bold Butter Baby about Blissdom, I was equal parts ecstatic and equal parts petrified.

Seriously, I was having flashbacks from the fight scene in Mean Girls...

source: movie clips 
 
 Luckily, my experience at BBCC was nothing like that. Tiffany and Francesca of the SITSGirls were fantastic. The information I learned was well worth the price of the ticket. The connections I made were invaluable. The encouragement I received strengthened my desire to make something of this little ole blog here. And even though I have a long road ahead of me, it all seems a bit more possible knowing that I have a tribe of bloggy sisters willing to take the journey with me.

At the Collective Bias cocktail party the night before BBCC I talked blogging strategies over a glass of wine with the fabulous Bonnie of Hobby to HOT!, whose amazing site just launched. I also chatted it up with two lovely ladies from ATL, one of whom runs an awesome wedding blog.

The next day durning the conference, I quickly made friends with Michelle from Coco Michelle's Lifestyle Blog & Tracy from The Uncoordinated-Mom. And had a blast speaking with the dynamic blogging duo Christine and Janene from More Than Mommies whom I've partnered up with a few times in the past. I even got a chance to speak with once of my longtime blogging idols Nellie of Brooklyn Active Mama, who is just as fabulous in real life as she is on her blog.

The best part, however, is I met a TON of bloggers (@modernmint, @xxxPollyPocket, 4hensandarooster, JaelDesignsINC) in the Charlotte-Raleigh area, so I foresee some local blogger meetups in our near future.


Here's my favorite shot of the conference. This photograph was taken by the fabulously talented Lindsey Wynne who was our photographer for the day. You should check out her photos, she's got a great eye!

One Moscato. Two Moscato. Three Moscato. Floor...
The structure of the conference was perfect. I've heard a few complaints in the past about the assigned seating, but personally I thought it was a great way to force us out of our comfort zone and get us to meet new friends. The speakers were on point. Each of them knew their stuff. I'll be posting info about them in the upcoming weeks, so be sure to keep a lookout for that. The sponsors were friendly and seemed interested in our thoughts and opinions. Overall, I would say that #BBCCHAR was a raging success.

As far as what I learned at the conference, I don't want to go to far into detail because I feel that if you're really looking to take your blog to the next level, attending Bloggy Boot Camp is a must. I will, however, share a few of the most important tips and lessons I took away from the conference.

1. Form a Tribe 
Connect with other bloggers in a similar genre as you. Partner up with them on projects and giveaway. Help each other out. The biggest misconception about blogging is that it's done in solitude. This is not true. In order to really make it as a blogger you have to have friends you can count on.

2. Interact on Social Media. A Lot
 This actually adds on to my bit about blogging not being done is solitude. If you really want to make a big splash in the blogosphere, you've got to get noticed. Make sure that your interactions aren't just about you. Retweet people, share posts, be a good neighbor. It will come back to you. And please, make sure you are on Google+, that's where the real party is.

3. A Good Blog Design IS Important
 Sometimes having a good blog design is more attractive to a potential business partnership than the amount of pageviews you have. Invest in your blog. You will thank yourself for it later.

4. Goodbye Blogger, Hello Wordpress 
 The title pretty much says it all. Blogger is not the place to be if you are ready to get serious about blogging (she typed on her blogger page). I know, blind leading the blind, but in my defense I have been making moves to switch over to Wordpress.

5. Good SEO is Key
If you want to dominate the search results, you're going to have to put in the work. Keyword research, metadescriptions, alt tags, the whole nine. If you need a bit of help, talk to @thatgeekcasey. This man really knows his stuff.

6. Schedule. Schedule. Schedule.
Schedule your posts. Schedule your tweets. Schedule your facebook updates. You can't be everywhere at once, but thanks to technology, you can sure seem to be. Keep office hours. Be consistent. If you want to get serious about blogging, you need to treat it like it's your job.

And by far, the most important lesson was a quote from Danielle Smith of Extraordinary Mommy.

"If it's not a hell yes, it's a no."

You don't have to say yes to everything that comes your way. If it's not for you, pass it along to another blogger. And be happy when another blogger gets a great opportunity. Tweeting nasty messages and talking about how they don't deserve whatever great opportunity they have been presented with basically guarantees that you won't get anywhere. We are a sisterhood and as the lovely Tiffany Romero said "When one of us makes it, we all do." 

Expect big changes in the near future. This weekend I learned that I have my work cut out for me. I'm planning to take it slow and just see what works for me. I'm considering taking a month long break this summer so that I can spend time doing the behind-the-scenes work and cleaning house. We'll see.

Anyhow, did any of you guys go to Bloggy Boot Camp? What did you guys take away from the experience? Interested in attending Bloggy Boot Camp? (Which I highly recommend). Be sure to check em out online.

Until next time
Happy Blogging

18 comments :

  1. So great to meet you this weekend! This is a fantastic re-cap, and we learned so much at BBC. Thrilled to have been there! :)-The Dose Girls

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loved meeting you too! So excited for the next big thing. I'm even considering going to another Bloggy Boot Camp. You just can't beat the price based on the amount of info you get and the amount of connections you make. Totally worth it!

      Delete
  2. Hi there!! I'm in NC, too, and so wish I had gone to BBC!!! These tips are great, so thanks for sharing. One question - what is the big deal with Wordpress vs. Blogger?? I am also on Blogger format, but have been seeing more & more about switching. THanks!! (Found you via Twitter RT from @MoreThanMommies).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish you had been able to go, but here's something I just discovered. Checkout meetup.com and see if your local area does blogger meetups. We have a few groups here in Charlotte, so hopefully they have some near where you live.

      Now to answer your questions about blogging platforms, basically Wordpress is like the bomb diggity (do people still say that?) when it comes to blogging. They have plugins for everything you could think of, and especially for SEO. You can automate everything, you have more freedom with your design and layout, and brands will LOVE you. So if you really want to get serious about blogging. Wordpress is the way to go. Check out this fantastic post by the SITSGirls about Blogger vs. Wordpress : http://www.thesitsgirls.com/blogging/getting-a-blog-blogger-or-wordpress/

      Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions, and if I don't know how to answer them, I can point you in the right direction!

      -Reese

      Delete
  3. Your recap sums it up perfectly! So nice that you met so many bloggers from your area!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marissa! Meetup.com has become my best friend. We have a ton of local blogging meetup groups here, so you might want to check into it for your area. It's always great to have some local blogging buddies!

      Delete
  4. Soooo wish I'd been able to go, but I'm glad to hear you loved it. These are great tips (and you met Uncoordinated Mommy!?!? Dang it!) Wish I'd been able to see ya again. Next year, Gadget? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish you would have been able to go as well. It was awesome to be able to geek out and talk blogging strategies amongst "our people." And yes, Tracy is just as fantastic in real life as she is on her blog! It was great to finally meet so many amazing bloggers face to face.

      Hopefully we can convince Tiffany and Francesca to come back to Charlotte next year! Here's to hoping ;)

      Delete
  5. I just found a link to your blog and started following on google friend connect. This is amazing blogging advice. There are a lot of things I need to work on!

    Ashley @ http://downsizingashley.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great recap! Wish I'd gotten a chance to connect with you at the conference. I'm switching to wordpress too. *crosses fingers* :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm sorry I missed meeting you, but I was there! And I had similar takeaways - great recap :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Reese! Loved spending Friday night with you. What a great recap :) Love the energy I feel from you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Curly Girls unite! I just wish we had had more time to chitchat. That's the ONLY down side to these conferences.. just never enough time to chat. But... since we're only an hour away, we can fix that can't we?!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your recap was spot on! I don't think we met unfortunately but sure wish we did! Sounds like we had the same take aways :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. My take aways are very similar! I don't think we actually got to meet but I wish we had. Sounds like we have some of the same blog friends!! I got to meet Nellie in NYC a month ago. It is so much fun when you get to meet an online friend in real life!! Following you on twitter now...I will double check but I think I followed you on Facebook through Live, Love Blog. If not, I will change that as well!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great tips!
    I love when you intend a workshop like this and leave super inspired.
    I've thought about making the move to WP but since I'm not trying to make it 'pro' I ok with Blogger for now.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was happy to read this since I'm attending my first BBCC in September in Philadelphia! Thanks for sharing your experience!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This was really helpful, I'm kind of a new blogger so this kind of posts really help and you made everything really simple so a huge Thank you and hope to meet you one day :) ~

    www.beautylish-life.com

    ReplyDelete

Sharing is caring ;)