Haven Conference…Wow, what a blast! I’ve never been to a blog conference but with one only 15 minutes from my home, I couldn’t pass up Haven. I really didn’t know what to expect. From talking with others I learned some conferences are really HUGE. This one seemed to be just the right size with around 250 attending.
One of the things I really liked about Haven was how much open/free time was built right into the schedule. There was plenty of time to talk, meet other bloggers and just have fun. I’m sharing quite a few pics toward the end of this post.
There were classes about the business side of blogging, as well as classes covering design, photography, carpentry and thrifting. The only negative, which was really unavoidable, was that you couldn’t attend every class and unfortunately, several of the classes I wanted to attend were held at the exact same time.
I’d love to share everything I learned at Haven, but I know that’s impossible. So I thought I’d share three great tips I learned from each class I attended:
1. When contacting a magazine or publication in hopes of being featured in their publication, focus on what makes you and your design/talents unique.
2. Hot topics editors like to publish about: Cleaning Tips, Time Management, Health, Family. I think she named one more but I missed jotting it down. If I had to guess, it may have been “food/recipes”
3. Download their “editorial calendar” to see what’s planned for the future. It’s a good way to determine if your ideas may fit into their upcoming publication plans.
Hobby to Business:
1. Probably need an EIN number…can get one at the IRS website
2. Good idea to trademark your blog name, tag line and any logos you use (can do that at legalzoomdotcom)
3. Consider getting liability insurance
DIY Blog Design:
2. Great place to find free fonts: dafont.com
3. Additional blog design tips available at: Creative Kristi
All About Advertising:
1. Be careful about accepting text links. Several Bloggers/instructors said don’t do it! Google could see your blog as spammy
2. Some ways to earn money: Amazon Affiliate Account, Suresell, Commission Junction, e-books (keep price of book under $10)
3. Formula to use for pricing ads for sponsors when first starting out: Page views ÷ by 1000 = rate to charge
1. Milk paint and Chalk paint are easy to use/apply.
2. Milk paint is great for raw wood applications because it actually penetrates the wood (like stain) so it’s super durable.
3. Marian (Miss Mustard Seed) has designed her milk paint in rich colors so it can be used as is or diluted to create lighter shades, as well.
I Like Big Blogs: Tips on Growing Your Blog
1. Before creating your post title, check Google Adwords Keyword Tool to determine most searched words for that topic. Use those that are most searched and have the least competition if possible
2. Google Analytics is the best way to track how many visits/page views you’re getting and which posts are most popular
3. Link your Facebook Page to your “About” page on your blog (not sure how that’s done)
Okay, I know that’s not the same as being there, but Google some of these topics/ideas and you’ll find loads of sites with additional information.
iPad: The one “tool” I found to be invaluable during the 2 day conference was my iPad. It fit easily inside the leather portfolio I was carrying around for note taking. I was able to moderate comments quickly and frequently throughout the day and even returned a few emails as time allowed. Plus, it was awesome for quickly accessing sites mentioned during the classes.
A few pictures:
You’ve probably already figured out by now, I’m a little camera shy. That’s why you don’t see a lot of pics of me here on zay blog. But I’m trying to get past that for this post so I can share some of the dear-hearts I met in person at Haven. As you look at these pics, please keep in mind that I’m really much thinner and look just like (insert name of gorgeous actress) in person. (har, har)
Our keynote speakers were Sherry and John from the super popular blog, Young House Love.
They are funny, down-to-earth and just plain nice.
They were also incredibly patient answering lots of questions…and they got some doozies. They really had the crowd laughing.
I was so excited to meet Traci from the blog, Beneath My Heart. She is the sweetest, well-spoken dear heart you would ever want to meet. (Lighting was sometimes a challenge for picture taking…lots of shadows.)
Blogging superstars, Kate (Centsational Girl) and Sarah (Thrifty Decor Chick) were there. They were part of the amazing team that put this wonderful conference together. They also helped teach some of the classes. Beautiful, talented ladies!
Jane (Cottage at the Crossroads) was there with her delightful hubby, Leo. Is Leo a brave man or what? I bet his ears are still ringing with all the squealing and laughing he heard at Haven.
On second thought, I don’t think Leo suffered too much. (Photo from Cottage at the Crossroads)
Barb (The Everyday Home) and Karianne (Thistlewood Farm) were so much fun! Love this picture of the two of them!
Rhoda (Southern Hospitality) and Beth (Home Stories A 2 Z) helped teach the class, I Like Big Blogs which was all about growing your blog. It was excellent!
This dapper dressed man needs no introduction. Rashon, also known as Mr. Goodwill Hunting, taught a class on thrifting. I missed that one but I heard it was excellent and super entertaining.
Marian (Miss Mustard Seed) taught the class called Hobby to Business. Excellent class and meeting Marian was definitely one of the highlights of Haven. Marian has her own line of milk paint coming out soon and we were able to see it and try it in person in the Advanced Painting class.
We dined out every night and this particular night was especially fun because we were seated at a round table which allowed everyone to see each other and really talk. And talk we did!
From the left: Heather/At the Picket Fence, Amanda/Serenity Now, Julia/Hooked on Houses, Gina/Charming Zebra, Me, KariAnne/Thistlewood Farm, Shirely/Housepitality Designs, Kim/Savvy Southern Style, Kim/La Belle E’poque Home and Barb/ The Everyday Home
If you didn’t get to go this time, hopefully you can go next year. It really was a lot of fun and my head is spinning with all the great information shared in the classes and elsewhere. It will take me a while to sort through it all.
In the end, the very best part of Haven was getting to meet all these fabulous ladies and gents face-to-face for the first time! It was a whirlwind two days…definitely hope to do it again next year!