My second post will be about how Haven impacted me personally, and I will tell you about all the people I got to meet, from my super-hero bloggers I always have admired, to all the newbies who I hadn't heard of before, but can't wait to follow.
I met people who ran the gamut from hard core power tool totin' hands on and getting dirty types (like Ana White, Pretty Handy Girl and Sawdust Girl) all the way to the other end of the spectrum, bloggers who mostly focused on design and decorating (like A Thoughtful Place and Infarrantly Creative) as well as people who loved home improvement and used professionals to do the work while they were the full time bloggers. That diversity is what makes DIY blogs so awesome. You can always find someone who thinks like you, has a similar skill sets as you, and you find interesting.
At the conference I attended a lot of the 'hands on' classes that were offered. I refreshed my skills on how to install molding at the "Let's case this Joint" class taught by Brittany and Sandra.
2. Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.
I've been blogging for a long time, and when I see successful bloggers I have to remind myself that their success didn't happen overnight. Ana White was a wonderful keynote speaker and she touched on this a lot. That you have to focus on the long term, and what is not only best for your blog but also what is best for you. Be the tortise not the hare.
I try really hard to generate my own content, and to try not to step on the toes of any other bloggers. It is a fine line between being inspired by someone, and copying them (not to mention downright stealing their content!)
Sawdust and Embryos had a great post recently about the proper etiquette you should use when visiting links and pinning to/from Pinterest. Always try to find the original source! This is a huge pet peeve of mine since I get about 30% of my blog traffic though Pinterest. And as great as that is, I often see my content pinned from other places. Roundups and features, which although they may link back to me, aren't actually driving traffic to my site. When someone takes a bunch of projects that they love, and puts them into one large composite graphic, very few of the people pinning that graphic are going to visit all the original sites which actually CREATED that content.
And if you think it doesn't matter consider this: My kitchen remodel has been pinned more than half a million times. We aren't talking about just a few page views. If I only knew the numbers from all the other sites that have used my images I am sure I would be depressed.
It wasn't until I met other bloggers in person that I realized that not everyone is doing their own site coding. When did I miss the memo?! I am still plugging along in Blogger, using a free blog template and tweaking my own HTML with the help of Professor Google. I had no idea that even smaller bloggers were using webmasters and having custom sites templates made.
I now see how much time and energy I spend trying to re-invent the wheel. It must just be the DIY (and the cheapskate) in me, but I always thought I could figure stuff out on my own. Perhaps long term I will look into having someone help me redesign my site. I know it isn't the most user-friendly layout, and I wish stuff was easier to find. Plus, after my migration over from my old site I know there are a lot of broken links and missing content. I want my blog to be more user friendly, and I now see that I may just have to recruit some help to get it that way!
5. Blogging is a TON of work and there is no shame in getting paid a little to do it.
I am not sure why I thought that, because in all honesty, blogging has been a losing venture for me. The costs of projects (not to mention time investment) is way more than I have ever earned back And although I never started my blog to make a living out of it, I did think it would cost less than my other hobbies.
I did join BlogHer a while back, and although I made a little money, it barely covers the cost of my hosting fees and other expenses. After sitting through the SEO (search engine optimization) class with Brooke and Court and advertising class with Rhoda, Beckie and Cassity during the conference, I know I could be earning a little more than I currently am, and so going forward you may see a little more advertising in my sidebars. I am hoping that I can generate enough revenue to justify hiring someone for a big site redesign (see point #4.)
Anyone who reads my blog knows I didn't do ANYTHING remotely like that and it irritates me to no end to read that on thousands of pins!!!!Must be an ESP salesman!