I'm writing this summary fresh from the closing remarks at BlogHer10, New York City. After two days of conferencing with 2400 women, this is what stands out in my notebook and on my mind:
What is your goal?
Like anything else in life, blogging requires a goal. If you are going to do it, make sure you understand why you like it and what you are trying to accomplish. Are you blogging for personal or professional reasons? If it's personal, then stop stressing over it and have fun, no matter what your statistics look like. If it's professional, then focus on defining your niche, establishing your audience, refining your message, and calling your readers to action. [It seems like the days of popularity for online mommy diaries has passed. Rather, blogs with niches, impactful messages, communities and resources are getting action and acclaim.]
Focus your message.
In the same room with 2400 bloggers are Fortune 500 companies trying to get their attention. That in itself is a statement that marketers believe bloggers are influencers with purchasing power. If you are a blogger, what productive thing can YOU do to harness this implied position of influence? If you have a message (whether it's politics, the environment, parenting, etc.), now is the time to dive in and "find your voice".
Think harder about leadership, which can mean giving a nod to people who you think will be good leaders in public policy. As the closing remarks stated, "power unused is power useless".
Get to know more geeky tools and techniques.
Your blog statistics should include measurements by unique visitors (real humans), as opposed to 'hits' or 'pageviews'. To understand your statistics and analytics, tools like Get Clicky, Facebook Insights, Google Goals and Funnels, Hootsuite, Google Webmaster tools, and Alexa should be on your radar. For ecommerce, OpenSky seems to be the current hot topic. Also become more familiar with Google Page Rank and how it can help measure the impact of particular websites.
Overall, the conference had it's highs and lows. The high number of attendees made it tough to find casual networking opportunities. I also found the session quality to be mediocre; too many of them went straight to Q&A without much meat. My favorite sessions were the autism, stats, and small blog panels. I also heard great things about the design panel. Also, given I was able to substitute crazy BlogHer parties for pleasant dinners with old friends, I definitely came away on top. But the jury is out on next year. I question whether the conference can continue it's momentum without refining it's OWN message and goals. I hope it does though, San Diego is a nice destination!