Blog Tips from Bloggy Boot Camp 2011

Last June, I attended Bloggy Boot Camp in Seattle. I meant to recap my experience at the one-day event shortly after I returned, but I was newly pregnant and not feeling well, and then the months slipped by. I’m almost seven months pregnant now and still not feeling well, but I need to clean off my desk, so I’m finally sharing some of my notes.

One of the many things I loved about Bloggy Boot Camp was the assigned seating. Every couple of hours or so we’d get up and move to a new table, which allowed participants to exchange business cards and meet new people. Of course, I failed to bring even one of my several hundred business cards to hand out, but I collected some great ones.

Among the standouts were cards from moms who host live chats, family historians, PartyLite reps, a gal whose business is to give you her two cents “when an honest opinion matters,” a celebration planner, a Stampin’ Up rep, an electronics blogger, beauty consultant, herbal philosophy expert, ceramics maker, social media consultant, retail therapy coach, and a handful of good old-fashioned “mommy blogs.”

One card that made everyone laugh was from “The Worst Mother in the World” with a tag that read “Breaking Promises, Shattering Dreams…It’s What I Do.”

There were some cool prizes given away at the event, including miniature video recorders by Sony (Sony also sponsored the lunch we had in the hotel ballroom). Mirassou Winery sponsored the wine tasting party that evening (which, to my regret, I had to miss due to my surprising developing fetus!).

Each participant also received a generous bag filled with items to take home like ice cream scoops, measuring cups, bags of chips, and several other products which now I can’t remember!

Bloggy Boot Camp presented workshops on various aspects of blogging, including:

  • Growing a Lifestyle Blog by Jenny Ingram
  • Six Essential Things Every Blogger Must Know About Monetizing a Blog, Or How to Write Pitches That Work by Carol Schiller
  • The Writer’s Voice by DeNae Handy
  • Business of Blogging
  • Writer’s Workshop by DeNae Handy and Kathy Bouska
  • Taming Time: Creating Calm from Chaos by Marilynn Schotland

Learning about a variety of topics related to the exciting subject of blogging was interesting, even the topics that didn’t apply to me, like finding sponsors and monetizing your blog. There was such a wide array of bloggers at the event that getting a feel for everyone’s process and goals was intriguing.

The following is a recap from some of the seminars I attended (copied directly from my handwritten notes). As always, if something isn’t clear, leave me a comment and I’ll find the answer.


Growing a Lifestyle Blog by “Jenny on the Spot” Jenny Ingram

Don’t clutter your blog with badge after badge, flashing this and that.

Keep an eye on your blog statistics: What posts get the most traffic? Which get the most comments? Evaluate feed back. What are the search words people use to find you?

Use Google analytics.

Don’t obsess over your stats.

You have thirty seconds to grab someone.

No fuzzy iPhone pictures.

Create a “Like” page for your blog on Facebook.

Use Linked In.

Interact with and engage people on Twitter and Facebook.

Look at your badges and socials every three to six months.

Refresh your bio.

Remember your first love. Your creativity and your voice are most important.

Remember why you started your blog in the first place…sharing, passion.

Jenny’s Blog Peeves:

Auto play music.

Centered text.

Large paragraphs.

Busy sidebars.

Over-posting pictures of your own children.

Text everywhere.

Hard to find social media buttons and info.

Video Blogging (Vlogging) Tips:


Sound (are there kids, birds, dump trucks making noise?).

Background (no portable potties behind you!).

Short clips.

Be you.

Tips from Tiffany Romero

Don’t change your voice monthly.

Be who you are, be it every day.

Be kind.

Put your best foot forward.

Fake it ’til you make it.

Don’t make Twitter all about your own self promotion and your own blog posts.

The Writer’s Voice by DeNae Handy

What is voice?

A family blog is the most enduring (Jen’s note: the word was either enduring or endearing, I wasn’t sure which one.)

Your story is worth telling and worth being heard.

Writer’s voice is evident in the choices of language, tone, mood, cadence, rhythm, range, and structure. It’s what makes your writing uniquely “you.”

Big difference between critique and criticism.

Make sure there are no stumbling blocks between you and your reader.

If it sounds like “writing” then rewrite it.

Make sure your writer’s bio matches your content.

Everyone has a voice.

Everyone has something to say.

Everyone deserves the chance to say it.

No one can do it alone.

Find your voice and let your writing sing.

There are tens of millions of blogs, but only thousands are well written.

You have seven seconds to grab someone’s attention and keep it.

What story are you really telling?

What am I really trying to talk about?

What’s my end game?

No pressure.

Don’t compare yourself.

Be mindful of what people are searching for and what hot topics are.

If you can’t tell your story in 750 words, break it up into multiple posts.

Readers will give eight minutes of their attention to your blog posts. You only have seven seconds to capture their attention to begin with.

Give them a reason to go deeper into the site.

Don’t let your blog become obligatory or arduous.


    • Hey, thanks! I just went over to your blog and saw myself on your blog roll; thank you! I just added you to mine. I’m happy that the tips are helpful. I wish I’d have taken more notes, but of course, I was in pretty tough shape! Ha. I will definitely need luck with the baby to come; I’m not even sure G will make it home for the delivery, as he’ll be in the middle of the ocean chasing Dungeness crab right when she’s due. Ah, well….:)

  1. Jen, thanks for all the good advice! As I am approaching the one year anniversary of my blog, I feel like I can really use some tips like these to keep it fresh and get some perspective. I think it is important to keep growing and changing with the blog.
    It’s impressive to see that you are still keeping up with the blog despite a difficult pregnancy and two little kids… well done and hang in there!

    • Hi Robin! Wow, that year went fast. Congratulations! Statistics show that most people abandon their blogs after a few months, so making it that first year is huge. I’m glad these tips from the Bloggy Boot Camp might be of some use going forward. I know what you mean about growing and changing with the blog to keep it fresh. Attending these types of conferences and taking online classes has really helped me over the years both with writing and blogging.

      I agree it’s important to keep growing and changing with the blog. Trying out different angles, different focus, adding this, trying this, forgetting that…it all helps keep your own interest up. I’ve discovered through the years that adding special things like guest bloggers, “Friday Favorites,” “Wordless Wednesdays” and even using writing prompts are fun ways to get through when you feel bogged down or are in the process of reinventing or adjusting.

      Thanks again for the comment and I’m looking forward to following you and your blog into the second year!! :)

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