As you might know I went to DPCON14 or otherwise known as the Digital Parents Conference 2014. The conference was last weekend and was on a cruise to boot. Yes conference cruise or should I say a holiday and a conference. Oh well, you get the idea. This is a wordy post as I have so much to share. If in a hurry just look at the dot points.
I was very much looking forward to my first DPCON14, the cruise and of course no kids so it would all be ME TIME! YES how amazing would that be. As you can imagine the me time and time out was wonderful and much needed!
We sailed on the Carnival Spirit and I must say that I enjoyed some of the cruise but really loved the conference and got a lot out of it. A couple of quick things about the cruise:
- I was under the impression that soft drink was calculated in the ticket cost for the cruise. Not to be. I was not that upset about it but do like a soda/mineral water and that would have been nice to have with lemon/lime. I lived off the water, tea/coffee or a drink that I purchased from the bar
- The public toilets for everyone were not kept all working. Some packed it in and others were just closed to get fixed. I did see some notes on toilets saying that “Beautification is in progress” I wonder what it would look like after it got pretty from the beautification process? My brain did think of a show of before and after renovations for this type of thing. I know silly, but with a sign like that you have to wonder.
- Food was lovely.
- It was great to meet some fellow bloggers and to put a face to a name. It does make a difference to meet people face to face.
- Looking out to see the sea was amazing. I am from North Queensland and really miss the beach and the sea. It was a nice way to get my fix
- Make sure that you have ample credit available on your credit card. My bill was little when I left the ship ($148), however I still have a hold over my card for nearly $500 that I don’t owe Carnival. I find this the most annoying as I pay bills and live off the card. As hubby gets paid monthly this has put us out this month and it was not what I expected.
So what did I learn from the conference?
Below are some of the talks that made me think differently or learn something new. Why not share my learnings with you and we can all grow and be bigger and better bloggers.
It was amazing to be in the same room with some amazing bloggers and I was excited about them all but as Katrina was on TV and on The Block, that I watch religiously I was keen to pick her brain and learn her tips and tricks.
- Katrina had a nice printed blog tip list that she kindly handed out to us all. I hope she does mind me linking to her PDF for it on my blog.
- One thing that Katrina mentioned is to gather your database. Yes collect names. This is for news on the blog, updates and for much more. How did she do this, via MailChimp.
- Sizes of photos need to be the width of your blog.
- Blogs look better with white space (Yes I know mine needs white space or more of it. My new site that I’m working on has plenty so don’t worry)
- Get rid of background images
- Always rely on Google Analytics Stats. Other statistic programs are good but if you need to quote something Google Analytics is where you need to draw your data from
Don’t overload your sidebar
- For comments it is recommended to move to Disqus Plugin (pronounced “discuss”.) It was revealed that Disqus hosts your comments and if you move from them you might lose the comments. However another blogger, sorry I have forgotten who mentioned that if you use WordPress that the WordPress database hosts it all so all should be good if that is you. The reason for using the Disqus Plugin is that many people like to comment while logged in with Facebook or other social media. Katrina said she has received more comments since switching to this plugin. Might be something to look at.
- Your Footer, are you using it? Why not transfer some related posts or further info to this space on your blog. It can free up the sidebar. Just a thought.
- Update your blog website every 2 years. Don’t need to do a major overhaul but spruce it up a bit.
- Get someone or others to critique your blog and what is working and of course not.
I fell across this site that does free user testing. They are called Peek User Testing and it is brilliant. You submit your site and they email you back with a video of a person going through your site. You can see the screen of this persons computer and they give a description of what they are doing and thinking at the same time. It might be a good thing to see how others use your site.
Deborah Alter-Rasche @learn_with_play – Learn with Play at Home
Deborah was very inspiring and her talk was an insight on how to use Pinterest better and to help grow your readership with this social media tool. Here are some points from Deborah’s talk.
- Pinterest gets millions of visitors every day and it is growing!
Pinterest for Business: If you have a Pinterest account you need to convert your account into a business one. Why would you do this? For a number of reasons:
- Y0u get access to stats, Pinterest’s Analytics. See what pins were popular and how many times they have been pinned. How amazing would this be!
- You will also be able to get access to rich pins
- Info on Promoted Pins
- Pin it Button
- Widget builder
- Sharing allows your posts/stories/products to be shared on someones boards and also with all the other people they connect with.
- Start a collaborative board to allow more traffic to come to your Pinterest site and of course Blog.
- Vertical pins work better 700 x 1000 pixels.
- Cleaning up your boards and adding more attractive images can help draw more interest and traffic.
- Post 20% about your content and post 80% on others.
- Do you want to see stats and how popular pins are? Then go to this address http://www.pinterest.com/source/ and after the word source type in your url. So it should look like this http://www.pinterest.com/source/yourURL
I did notice the business accounts on Pinterest but did not think that applied to me. Now I know better and I’m working away applying the knowledge to my blog. Thanks Deborah.
I love Katrina’s blog and site The Organised Housewife. I think she has done a brilliant job and I was so pleased to have a one on one with her about my plans and ideas for my blog. Katrina of course gave some great tips and things to think about in her talk.
Katrina automates all of her social content and is of course very organised. She has a schedule and that is what I need to orgainse more. Anything on Instagram gets published on Facebook and anything on Facebook can get published to twitter. So must get more automated.
- Note to all. Facebook is changing their look of their timelines. I did click on the put me on the list but not sure what the changes will look like until they are here.
- Since Facebook is changing image sizes are changing so there will be a new image size guideline soon
- Be uniquely YOU!
- Make sure that you put a bit of text on pictures to describe what they are about. These pictures get more clicks.
- Insights on Facebook help and there is recommended posting times. However they might not be right for your audience. Look at the times that suit your audience. What times do your readers like to see things. What is your popular times. Go to insights, then posts and look at times.
- Make your timeline work. Change it to suit what you are promoting or doing at the time.
The next one is my last one to talk about. So this long post will soon end.
Kelly made me think about things very differently and she was just amazing! So glad that I got to hear her talk. Kelly’s talk was making sure that we knew not lose the core and spirit of our blog or purpose.
- Kelly said that farmers don’t use fences but use wells to make sure cattle get home or stay where they should. Wells are a life force and fences take work to fix, install and are expensive to roll out in some areas as the farms are too enormous. The same is for blogs. Why build fences that undermine your options or opportunity why not build wells to allow growth and ideas to generate. If you build wells your readers will return to the life force, otherwise known as your blog or business.
- Why wells? According to Kelly it is for the following reasons: Respect for the landscape, Respect for the reader and Respect for the concept
- Invest in your concepts
- All popular blogs have a story
- Find out your WHY. Just like Apple has a story and people buy into the story not the product, the same goes for your blog/business.
- Keep developing your WHY which is the heart of your blog
- Kelly’s talk reminded me about a TED talk from Simon Sinek that I saw last year at university. See the video below:
I had a great time at the Digital Parents Conference. I am so glad that I went and learnt many things due to being there. I am very grateful that the world worked in my favour to allow me to go. My mum came and looked after the twins to take them to school. I was lucky that she was available to do this. So thanks mum! Now to put all these learnings into action!
Did you go to DPCON14? What was your favourite talk that opened your brain to a new way of thinking or doing? Thanks to all the speakers and organisers for making the conference possible.