My Blissdom Canada Experience
Last week I was in Toronto, Ontario at Blissdom Canada. It was an amazing experience and I learned so much! I also met many bloggers including Lynette at My Wee View, Tammi at My Organized Chaos, Tara at Tara’s View of the World, Shash from Shasher’s Life, Nicole from My Real Review, Nolie from Nolie’s Place, Cheryl from The Beautiful Side of Hectic and many, many more!
Lynette and I have been online friends for over a year now and we met up at the Halifax airport to fly out together. She told me to look for the girl with the pink suitcase and I had no trouble finding her. I need to get me a pink suitcase! There’s no missing that on the baggage conveyor belt.
When we arrived at the Delta Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto to find out that our hotel was on strike! I was a bit nervous because it the picketers were quite loud with the banging, whistling and blow horns. However, I was assured by the hotel front desk that it was peaceful and that their was extra security there for our protection. That helped to put my mind at ease. Boy was it loud though. They started at the crack of dawn and went until after dark.
There were parties each night and sessions during the day so we were very busy! I returned home with so much information and so many ideas for my blog. I paid my own way and it was worth it. Maybe next year I will try to find a sponsor now that I know what to expect.
My favourite parts of the conference were the speakers and the sessions. Scott Stratten of UnMarketing was the keynote speaker and he blew me away! His speech resonated so much to me and I will be putting into practice his advice. We all got a copy of his book, UnMarketing, and I have read about half so far. It’s awesome! Every blogger or business person should read this book. I will do a review of it when I am done.
Some key points that I took away from his presentation were:
- Don’t stop the spread! This means give your reader a number of ways to read your blog like RSS feed, Email subscription, Facebook, Twitter or on their phones (get the WordPress plugin WP Mobile). It shouldn’t matter to you how they read just as long as they do.
- Don’t use pop-up ads as people find them really annoying.
- Don’t use captchas and take off the comment moderation on your blog. Captchas are annoying and comment moderation interrupts the natural flow of conversation. Make it easy for your reader to leave a comment.
- Pick one social media platform (ie. Facebook, Twitter, etc) and grow one at a time. Take 6 months and spend time building relationships and engaging your followers.
- As for trolls (people that leave hurtful or negative comments), Scott says to “let them hate as long as they fear”. They fear your success and don’t let them bring you down.
Trust me, you need to get his book- I am learning so much from him! Buy the book, UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.
The other session I really enjoyed was on Monetization. Janice from 5 Minutes for Mom was on the panel and something she said really stuck with me and is good advice to follow. She says “when the ROI (Return on Investment) is in the companies direction then you would want to charge for the post. When the ROI is in your direction, then you wouldn’t charge for the post.” For instance with giveaways with no review, then the ROI is in the companies favour and you should charge for the post. Your time is valuable. She referenced a post on her blog called When and What Should a Blogger Charge for Their Services. Read it- it’s excellent advice.
There were a few hiccups while I was away. My host decided I was getting too much traffic and shut down my site for most of the day on Thursday. Of course, my Internet wasn’t working in my room so Maureen, my reviewer, was dealing with Hostgator via email and phone and calling me in the hotel to update me on what was happening. I was extremely upset that this was happening and felt helpless. We had to download a plugin and then remove a bunch of plugins. I am looking into either switching hosts yet again (sigh) or upgrading to another plan. I should be able to have a site with plugins like the Retweet button and Google Analytics. I swear I have no luck with hosts. I thought Hostgator was a good one 🙁
I could keep on writing but this post is getting a big long. Overall it was a great experience and I am thankful for the people I met and everything I learned!