Hi guys! Head’s up: this is not a recipe post. I went to a blogging conference this weekend (BlogHer14) and wanted to record some of the tips I learned and share with my fellow bloggers. So if you have a blog (or are just kind of nosy and want to hear a little back-end of this weird-o new blogging-as-a-career-thing), keep reading. If not, come back Wednesday for an epic Cheesecake Day post, and another no-brainer weeknight meal on Friday.

BlogHer is not the best conference for food bloggers.

I mean, duh, there’s an ENTIRE OTHER BlogHer conference for food bloggers. The general sessions were somewhat helpful, but there was one afternoon that was split up into “mini-cons” like crafts, personal blogging, etc, but nothing for us foodies. Again, I totally get it, but just a heads up for my peeps. I’m glad I went to BlogHer, but I will only bother with BlogHer-Food in the future (and there are a ton of other food blog conferences besides BlogHer as well.) Also, there were only 8-10 sponsors that were food-related. They were probably tired of me hanging around their booths by the end of the weekend!

9 Things I Learned at BlogHer14
Nancy from Spiffykerms, me, Kelly from A Side of Sweet, Sarah from Snixy Kitchen, Carla from AlyssaandCarla, Ashley from Domestic Fashionista, Alyssa from AlyssaandCarla, and Jessica from Team Wiking.

Stop worrying about scrapers. No really.

It’s happened to all of us. Somebody in China copy and pasted your photo and full recipe, put it on their site, pinned it, and is getting thousands of hits a day from your content. What do you do? NOTHING. Don’t file a DMCA. Don’t email them to remove recipe instructions. I’m sure there are exceptions to this, I’m no expert (read Stephan Spencer’s book  if you want an expert), but that’s the general idea. Here’s why: your time is too valuable to go hunting down all the content stealers in the world. And here’s the bottom line: the only thing you are losing is potential. Focus your energy on something that is going to build your business.

9 things I learned at BlogHer14
My Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad has been scraped more than any other post on my site.

I learned about this in a small session hosted by SEO expert Stephan Spencer (recommended by Carolyn over at All Day I Dream About Food.) Probably the single most valuable hour from the entire weekend. I’m going to write a whole post about what I learned eventually, but some other tips include having lots of text above the fold (not just images), put your keywords in the first few sentences, and use google.com/trends > Explore In-Depth to find the best keywords to use.

Start tracking your income and expenses.

If you’re a newbie blogger and are just starting to get in the monetizing game, start itemizing your grocery receipts right away. Either make a separate transaction for blog stuff, or highlight any items you bought for your blog (including props). Trish from Mom on Timeout even uses a separate business card for all blog expenses. When tax season comes around, your life will be SO much easier.

Be friendly.

No one thinks it’s weird if you strike up a conversation with them. I wasn’t snubbed one single time. Not even the fashion bloggers. :)   Wear comfy shoes and don’t stress out too much about what to wear. (I mean, I did, but don’t be like me. Most people are so worried about what they are wearing that they could care less what you have on. Or at least that’s what I kept telling myself.)

9 Things I Learned at BlogHer14
I was so insecure about going to BlogHer that I got the 4th manicure of my life. Probably no one noticed.

Do your sponsor homework.

Check the sponsors before you go and write down the ones you would be interested in working with. Check in with them every day you are at the conference. The more they see your face the more they will remember you. Start personal conversations with the contact you might potentially work with. Like I said, there were only 8-10 sponsors I was interested in, so we got to know each other reeeeeal well.

9 Things I Learned at #BlogHer14

It’s business time.

Make your business card textured if you want to win all the “add your business card and win a prize!” contests. Tip from Sarah at Snixy Kitchen. (I’m only kind of joking. She won a pair of Sonos speakers because of it!) On a more serious note, I think it’s worth investing in a great design for your business card. Here’s mine by NiftySwank.

9 Things I Learned at BlogHer14

Sleep your way to the top.

No, really. Ariana Huffington said so. If you don’t get enough sleep, how can you coherently run a successful business? You can’t. Start with getting 30 more minutes of sleep than you are getting right now. Maybe just don’t watch House of Cards tonight. “Put your own oxygen mask on first.” This advice hit me pretty hard. 

9 Things I learned at BlogHer14
Sarah from Snixy Kitchen, me, and Ashley from Domestic Fashionista dancing it up. Thanks Sarah for the picture!

Stay for the closing party.

Seriously, I had so much fun. It was like going to an all-girls dance club. For a married person, it was absolutely ideal. I could totally get down without having to worry about getting groped or hit on. Just remember you’re dancing with bloggers, so be prepared for ALL THE SELFIES. Yes, even when Run-D.M.C. is DJing (or I guess because of that!)

9 Things I Learned at BlogHer
Hayley from Domestic Rebel, me, and Dorothy from Crazy for Crust getting a little too excited picking out donuts. Thanks to Valerie (From Valerie’s Kitchen) for the photo!

Bloggers are the best kind of people.

Okay, so maybe I’m biased. Here are some awesome people I met that you should probably check out:

Amy, Ashley, Sarah, Andi, Dorothy, Trish, Hayley, Valerie, Maryanne, Nancy, Kelly, Carla and Alyssa, and Jessica.

There’s an affiliate link up there. If you’ve gotten this far, probably you’re a blogger, so you get it, right?

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  1. What a great list of tips. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences! I really want to go to a blog conference, so maybe I will try and make it to one in 2015. I am going to pin this for me to look at as a reminder because I know a lot of these points you’ve mentioned are things I have trouble doing (like keeping up with income and expenses.. income is easy enough, but expenses? Sometimes I spend so much, it makes my head hurt!) Thank you again!

  2. So fun meeting you at BlogHer! It wasn’t a perfect fit conference for me either, but a great experience! I wish all dance parties were at 7 pm!

  3. Great post, Karen! I’m glad you had fun at the after party after all. I agree that it would have been better to go to a food blogger conference, but meeting you and going to that SEO session made it all worth it :) I’ve got my eye on TechMunch in SF in October now!

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