7 October 2011

Blog Camp Bristol

Along with about 70 other fellow bloggers, yesterday I attended Tots100 Blog Camp at the M-Shed in Bristol. This was my first ever blogging event that I have been to and wasn't really sure what to expect. I did know that I was going to meet up with some lovely bloggers and tweeters that have become part of my friendly online community. Before going I thought to myself what a strange world we now live in when we seem to know people so well without having met them. Very modern and fast flowing pen pals for the 21st Century really!

The lovely husband took a day off work so I could be involved and he was also my chauffeur for the day. We dropped E off at school at 8.45 then, with A and the husband in the car, we set off for a sunny - and rather windy - Bristol. I knew some fellow tweeters were planning an early morning coffee at the Arnolfini across the river form the M-Shed and with no hold ups en route I found the friendly looking bunch of @MotherVenting, @mum2babyinsomniac, @pootlehat, @thelovebump and some other smiley faces, shivering around their coffee cups almost being blown into the water.
Once in the warmth of the venue we grabbed cups of teas and chatted before being ushered into the events room for an introduction from Sally Whittle @tots100. This lady clearly knows her stuff and I was a bit overwhelmed at how little I knew and understood about the big world of blogging. No need to worry though as we had some great speakers to give us advice and guide us through.

Christine Mosler, @christinemosler, is a very inspiring blogger with strong beliefs in the ethics of her blogging. For instance she is very selective in the products she reviews and will do alot of background research into companies to ensure the way they operate is within her beliefs. Nestle is clearly not going to figure on her blog for obvious reasons. Also companies need to be careful about the way their products are sent out. Christine has sent back products that have been packaged with ridiculous amounts of paper, plastic, polystyrene etc. I learnt a lot from her and hope I can raise my awareness more.

Elisabeth Winkler, @ewinkler, is a food blogger who gave us advice on writing our blogs. She discussed how debates on a blog post are good, using comments for the good of other blogs, being respectful when posting comments and when writing a post the importance of re-reading it out loud in order to hear what you have written - a good way to check for those typos! One thing I took away from Elisabeth's talk was how blogging is building up an online profile, it is showing that we still exist beyond the world of parenting and, for me, filling the void of not working. So thank you Elisabeth for that.

Phil Szomszor, @theredrocket, works in PR and gave us advice on how a blog can be used to work with PR agencies and ultimately make us money - if that is what we want to do. He talked about product reviews and sponsored posts and ensuring that you blog with 'integrity' and disclose the fact that you are working with a brand. Ultimately if we want to make money from our blogs we need to sell ourselves and make ourselves known. Something I don't have on my blog is a 'Contact Me' button and this is one thing I will be setting up just in case someone sees my blog and wants to give me a Ferrari to review - well you never know!

Lee Smallwood, @leesmallwood, talked about SEO and got my brain in a bit of a muddle with all his technological words and jargon. But, it was clear by the end! His main focus was 'traffic'. How to get traffic to your site via backlinks and using Google, Twitter, You Tube, Google+, Delicious, stumbledupon. The latter two I had never heard of so will be, in time, investigating. He highlighted the importance of being active with other bloggers, leaving valuable comments and when leaving the URL of the blog making a link back to a specific page - I had never thought of that. He taught me a new term: 'meta description'. I now have some understanding of tagging my blog in all the right places to make sure the right bits come up in Google's 'meta description' bit!! He obviously explained it a bit better that I am. Anyway I will from now on be tagging my posts in case someone Googles the keywords that land them on my blog. So thank you Lee for teaching me, a self confessed techno duh, a few clever things.

All in all I learnt loads and would have to say if you have ever considered going to a Blog Camp then go. You may even find someone like me who took cookies - sorry to those that missed out on them -that were rather scrummy, as were the cakes provided!


  1. This is a very interesting post. I've been thinking about blog camps since I heard about them but I'm a bit shy in real life and don't know whether I'd have the courage to attend.
    This post has made me definately want to go to one so I'll think it about more seriously :) xx

  2. Sounds like you all had a marvellous day! Some very good tips came out of the twitter stream too.
    I hope to get to the London one, will you bring cookies to that one too please? :D

  3. Am thinking about one of the London ones now too. It was really useful wasn't it? I didn't get a biscuit :(

  4. Excellent post, you described the day perfectly
    *Shell Louise* I'm really shy too but found some lovely confident bloggers who made the first move and said hi making me feel right at home - go for it!

  5. It was a great day wasn't it? Even a seasoned blogger like me learnt loads in those few hours.I'm definitely go the next Bristol one.

  6. Yay! Your cookies were lush! It was so nice to meet you. And this post is very informative and well-written.

    Now is my comment valuable?? Probably not. But at least I get a backlink ;) XX

  7. I'll definately give it serious thought for next year, Love in the nest. Thank you :)

  8. Thanks for the mention and hopefully the jargon made sense in the end :)

    Let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to help you implement...


    Lee x

  9. Can't believe I didn't demand a cookie. That's most unlike me. Can I have two next time?


I appreciate all comments, thank you! x x

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