10 Things I Learned at the BlissDom Blogging Conference

Are you sick to death of hearing about the BlissDom blogging conference yet? So many people have already posted their photos and stories about the weekend on other blogs, and that’s all anyone is talking about on Twitter. I just spent the last hour and a half reading through all the other blog posts written about it, looking through Flickr and Facebook photos from the weekend, and responding to e-mails I’ve gotten from all of my newfound friends. At this point I’m wondering if there’s anything left to say!

Oh, what the heck–I’m going to say it anyway. I can’t resist.

The weekend in Nashville was amazing. And I learned a lot. But the highlight was definitely hanging out with so many of my blogging buddies in one place. (At the top you can see me rubbing shoulders with the lovely sisters Missy and Susie of Bienvenue, and the fabulous Rhoda of Southern Hospitality.)

We stayed at the Hotel Preston. Here’s the front lobby:

The hallway that led to the conference rooms:

Here I am with Amy of Living Locurto at the New Orleans Manor restaurant where we went for dinner. Amy is one of the most creative women I know!

Two of my favorite fellow-Ohio bloggers, who I famously met in the elevator at IKEA a year ago and then rediscovered when we each mentioned meeting the other on our blogs: Emily and Jenny of Momminitup!

Oh, yeah, we also had a few sessions where we actually learned stuff. Here’s proof:

I was excited to meet Kristen of WeareTHATfamily:

And the very cool Jamie of BlondeMomBlog:

Ten Things I Learned at BlissDom:

1. If the elevator looks crowded, take the stairs. When we got back from our Ohio blogger dinner, 13 of my friends crammed themselves into the elevator. Later I checked Twitter and saw countless tweets saying they were stuck between floors! You can read the harrowing story of their adventure here. Thanks to Twitter, they were rescued. (Who says Twitter is useless?) Being bloggers, they videotaped themselves while they were waiting for help. And took photos of the sign in the elevator that said, “Maximum occupancy: 7 people.”

2. Wear higher heels next time. And maybe a big hat. All weekend I heard things like, “You look so much taller on your blog!” and “You’re so much smaller in real life!” (Does my profile pic make me look tall?)

3. Bring business cards with your blog address on them. Look at all the cards I collected this weekend! And they were all so cute, clever, and creative. I held the distinction of being the ONLY blogger who didn’t think to bring any cards with her. Yep, that was me. For two days I heard, “You don’t have a card?!” I resorted to writing my name and blog address on Hotel Preston stationery and handing it out. Way to make a first impression, Julia!

4. Just because they give you all the free Little Debbie snack cakes you can carry, that doesn’t mean you have to eat them all! You might not respect yourself in the morning. Trust me on this.

5. You think YOU’RE nervous? There are lots of people in the room who are more scared than you are. Be nice to them. It’s amazing how quickly you can get over your own shyness that way.

6. A lot of bloggers are uncomfortable talking numbers. I was surprised by how few of the speakers would answer basic questions about how much traffic they’re getting or what they charge for ads. People ask me these questions all the time and I always tell them the truth, but apparently it’s a taboo topic to a lot of other bloggers.

7. The average length of time a visitor reads a blog before moving on is 4 seconds. That’s right. They told us that you have to keep your posts short because no one is going to stick around long to read more than a word and a half anyway. So you haven’t read this far for sure. I’ll try to keep things shorter in the future, but I’m not promising anything.

8. Potential advertisers expect to see a “disclosure policy” on your blog. They won’t consider advertising with you otherwise. This was news to me. Attention all advertisers–I just added mine here.

9. “Information is all over the Internet. There is only one you.” That was one of my favorite quotes of the weekend, from Liz Strauss of Successful Blog. And it’s so true–it’s your unique voice and presentation of the facts that make all the difference.

10. Bloggers “match” their blogs! You know how you imagine the way bloggers must be in real life after reading their blogs? Well, they are. They are just like they are on their blogs. It didn’t feel like I was meeting any of them for the first time. They felt like old friends! Prime examples are Susie (Bienvenue), Rhoda (Southern Hospitality), Kimba (A Soft Place to Land), and Nester (Nesting Place), below. They are all as beautiful as their blogs, inside and out!

To see what other people learned at the conference, visit Musings of a Housewife who is hosting a Mister Linky party that everyone is linking up to today. You can also get the Blissdom 09 transcripts here.

And the Winners Are... Thanks to everyone--all 545 of you--who entered my giveaway last week. The Bloggy Giveaway Carnivals are always a lot of fun…
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  1. Kathy :) says

    LOL Michelle you beat me to the punch. I too stayed longer than 4 secs. I always reads yours Julia fromm top to botton…I must admit I don’t do that with everyone.

    I am so glad you had a nice time.

    Kathy :)

  2. says

    I read every word. Trust me it’s worth reading over and over. Im just so glad that I wasnt in that elevator. I woulnd’t need twitter my voice would be loud enough,haha! I like stairs anyday but my heel were a bit too much for them. Thats what you get when your trying to be an inch taller. I loved getting to spend time with you. Your post just said it all, Thanks for making my trip extra special~

  3. says

    I read your whole post – some bloggers are always worth reading. Others…not so much! One of my favorite quotes about blogging is, “never have so many had so little to say.” Those are the blogs that I avoid, and I pray that I never become one of them. No danger of that on your blog, which I always enjoy and learn something from. Now I’m off to visit those links you provided so I can learn more. Thanks!

    Linda’s last blog post..A new friend…or lunch?

  4. says

    oh boy that 4 second thing threw me for a loop. I read you beginning to end, just like all my other favorites in the blog world. Looks like a blast, Julia! I’m still kicking myself for not going.

    Emily@remodelingthislife’s last blog post..Room To Breathe

  5. says

    One of the highlights of my week was meeting you Julia! You are definitely one of those bloggers that I will stick around to read your whole post…you always have wonderful things to say. :)

    co-founder of I ? Faces

    theArthurClan’s last blog post..I ? Faces Week 5 – "Silly"

  6. says

    Ok, Julia, I spent way more than 4 seconds reading this. Just so ya know. :) And every picture of you i have seen is SO GOOD! You are so photogenic! Your “red carpet face” is awesome! And you are awesome in real life, too. I think we need to have an IKEA reunion soon. I like the elevators at IKEA much better than the ones at Hotel Preston!

    Jenny from Mommin’ It Up!’s last blog post..Twove in a Twelevator – the Elevator 13 Story

  7. says

    Great recap! I’m definitely a 4-second reader (maybe a little longer). Just don’t have time to read and read, especially on a computer screen! Thanks for that tip, I need to keep that in mind more often.

    I admitted my very measly traffic numbers for my springsbargains.com blog at #cyberbliss. It is hard for people to talk about numbers, I think – it’s like talking about your salary or how much your husband makes!

    carrie : SpringsHomeBlog.com’s last blog post..How to register a vehicle in Colorado

  8. says

    I. AM. SO. JEALOUS. It looks like a great time. The only thing I don’t agree with is keeping post short. That’s boring. I like to read long posts! And I always, always, always read your whole posts.

    Mom in High Heels’s last blog post..The great purse clean out

  9. says

    May I add #11. I frequently go to arts strolls. I have a terrible time remembering who and what I saw. I collect a pile of pretty but difficult to read cards. Events should provide a webpage with everybody’s name, website, blog, and email. That way, you can revisit the event and the folks you met without eyestrain and without mis-typing URLs.

    Terry Kearns’s last blog post..Dutch gables, Cape Dutch architecture in Atlanta?

  10. says

    Great post and recap! I too didn’t have business cards at the last blissdom–no biggie, I like that you didn’t even think to bring them! Love you girl!

    The Nester’s last blog post..Total Bliss

  11. Norma says

    Hi Julia, Wow looks like you had a Wonderful time with the ladies, its so nice to get out for the weekend, and meet the ladies, and to have a great time.

  12. says

    If I notice that I am not taking the time to read someone’s whole post and interact in the comments section, then I just stop reading that blog. Once I find a blog I really like I’m consistent about reading every post from start to finish. I think the 4 second rule must be for people who come upon webpages through search engines and skim to see if it’s relevant to what they are looking for. If they can’t find what they are looking for they click the “back” arrow and try their search again. Once a man tried to leave a comment on one of my posts about how he was looking for information about windmills and was extremely disappointed when the search engine lead him to my blog. He told me I needed to change the name of my blog immediately! I just deleted that comment because some people are idiots.

    Fighting Windmills’s last blog post..One Word: Growth

  13. says

    I actually don’t think I read any other blogs written by women who attend BlissDom, so I’m glad you decided to share your experience. That’s really interesting about the numbers – and their unwillingness to disclose. I guess they consider the topic like money? And I’m surprised by the 4 second stat…I always read my favorite blog posts to the end…maybe they were talking about people surfing around for new blogs to read? And finally so good to hear and see that photo of the ‘business cards’. I’m going to BlogHer and had wondered if I should have something made up for my blog – I’m definitely going to do so now. Thanks for the tips!!! (oh – and you have really cute hair – I love the color!)

    christy’s last blog post..All dogs go to heaven…

  14. says

    I read the whole thing! And I’m glad I did because I got to see you with my friend. Kristen (We are THAT Family) and I have been friends in real life for more than 10 years. We don’t live near each other any more and I miss her. And now it’s really cool because she’s “famous”!

  15. says

    I read every word and am glad I did! I am not surprised by the 4 second thing. Unless I already am familiar with the blogger, I tend to “surf” and do quick reading. I also love photos. Once I know the blogger, then I can sit and read forever!

    How fun that you all got to meet. Everyone looks so happy and comfortable with each other.

    Thanks for sharing all the beautiful photos!


  16. says

    4 seconds?! What are they talking about?! I read almost all posts all the way through–and I read all through all of yours. Especially Design Star recaps. Or Top Design recaps–which show was the lame one again? Looks like BlossDom was so fun and that there were lots of big bloggers there–how esciting to get to meet them. They should have a Top Blogger show–though I have no idea how it would even work.

    Aubrey’s last blog post..Warmth, Trouble, Bone Loss

  17. says

    So glad you had such a good time – the only thing I can do in 4 seconds is make a bottle. Which I won’t have to do next year so hopefully I’ll be able to make a conference and meet people in real life!

    Alana @ Gray Matters’s last blog post..House Rules

  18. says

    4 seconds?

    I guess I spend about 4 seconds *deciding* if I’m going to read the blog. If someone hasn’t said something interesting in the first bit, I don’t necessarily read the whole thing. But 4 seconds for the whole entry? Where’s the meat in that? This isn’t twitter, people!

    Your entries are on the long side, but mostly because you have so many pictures! Which is a good thing, because they’re relevant, and what the site is about.

    Now, someone with 57 nearly identical pictures of their dogs playing that day…maybe a little boring. But yours are always unique, and important to what is being discussed. Your blog is great. Don’t change a thing for those sticklers.

    PlantingOaks’s last blog post..What lies above

  19. says

    Thanks so much for the info. I guess I need to put a disclosure policy on mine since I will soon be doing some reviews.

    I always stay on your blog more that 4 seconds. Usually it is more like 40 seconds. Ha!! Just kidding!!

    Monkey’s Momma’s last blog post..How To Get Free Books

  20. says

    Thanks for filling us in on your weekend and the helpful hints. I just started blogging and I am really loving it. I only live 2 hours away from Nashville, I wish I would have known about Blissdom! There’s always next year! Your blog is wonderful, thank you for sharing!


    Leslie :))

    Leslie’s last blog post..The room that love built….

  21. says

    As a blog junkie, I usually stay longer than 4 seconds! I really wish that I could have attended, but I’m such a newbie in the bloggie world…it would have been hard to justify the trip to my husband.

    Thanks for sharing, and what a good list!

  22. says

    Well, this is one reader that stays for your last word! Thanks for sharing what you learned. I just started blogging in Jan., so I didn’t make it to Blissdom this year, but you can bet I’ll be there next year! And I’ll remember to bring cards!

    Kimm at Reinvented’s last blog post..Containing Kid Clutter

  23. says

    Great post! And I would only have my photo business cards with me. They don’t have my blog addy on them. But my website does!

    Melissa (Missy)’s last blog post..An Award!

  24. says

    It’s a funny thing, Julia, but you do seem tall! I don’t know why … your profile picture is only your face. And, I imagined Rhoda (“Southern Hospitality”) to be petite, and she is the tallest one in your photograph!

    And, just for the record, I read every word of the blogs I follow, even if I don’t always comment. (However, it takes only 4 seconds or so for me to make an impression about a blog that I’ve not read before … and to decide whether or not I’m interested in reading further.)

    Kathryn Wells’s last blog post..Believer or Deceiver?

  25. says

    I read it all, Julia! I need to learn how to shorten my posts, but it’s so hard, because I’m Southern & we *talk*! 😉 What cute pictures of you & the other ladies. So glad you got to go!

    Ms.Tee’s last blog post..Decorating with Maps

  26. says

    The more I read about Blissdom the more irritated I am at myself for missing it. Nevermind that I didn’t even have a blog up and running when registration was going on. Next year, next year. OK, I can’t help but laugh at the thought of all those women stuck in the elevator. Taking pictures, tweeting, video taping! I love it! So happy they weren’t stuck for too long!

    Lazy Mom Leslie’s last blog post..Ten Minute Task Tuesday

  27. says

    Well, I read longer than 4 seconds, but I also write way longer than 4 seconds. Maybe that’s a problem. Glad you had a good time! I know one thing, though, from everybody’s photos. I don’t have any clothes cute enough to go to Blissdom.

    Holly’s last blog post..Parade of Homes: 1995-1999

  28. Amy @ living locurto says

    It was soooo great meeting you. Oh you forgot about being “organic”. LOL! I have to say, everyone I met seemed shorter in person;-) I was happy to meet tall Rhoda so I didn’t seem like a giant. Good to know most of your readers spend more than 4 seconds. I always read the entire posts too!

    Amy @ living locurto’s last blog post..Blissdom ‘09

  29. says

    Oh, wow…there must be nobody reading my posts through. Wish I’d known that! I wouldn’t spend so much time writing them!!

    I personally appreciate a blog more for its written content. In fact, my favourite blogs are those whose owners are good writers. And I really enjoy a blogger with a great sense of humour…guess I am odd woman out!!

    I love your blog for more than the photos, by the way…


    Linda@ Restyled Home’s last blog post..In the Studio…

  30. says

    Hey Julia! It was so good to finally meet you in real life! I only wish we had had more time to TALK, I missed having the chance to sit down with you! It was an overwhelming event, GOOD but oh so many people!! Next time, I just want to go and VISIT (i.e. not speak)! Every was indeed just wonderful, I loved meeting everyone and seeing that they were REAL!

    melissa @ the inspired room’s last blog post..Guest Bunks: Making the Best Use of Small Spaces

  31. says

    A Bloggers convention-how cool is that! Loved your report on all the people you met and the fun you had! I would love to attend something like that in the future. And guess what It has been way more then 4 seconds since I pulled your post up! LoL! Guess I am the exception to the rule-or your blog is just that good-I think it is the latter!

    Tam’s last blog post..Hey ~Lets do some catching up!

  32. says

    I read the whole thing! I always do! Admittedly, sometimes I’ll open a post and if I don’t have time for it, I come back later, or I leave it open in a tab and come back to it in a bit. But I always read! And I wasn’t talking about you, specifically, just blogs/posts in general.

    I love all of your stuff. And I agree, even with ALL of the information out there, “there is no one you-er than you”. :)

    Amber Filkins @ {ae filkins}’s last blog post..Reflections of my life right now…

  33. says

    I am SOOO jealous of all of you who got to attend!

    I was struck by how tall Rhoda was in all the pictures. I didn’t know she was a tall lady!

    Everyone looks absolutely beautiful in every photo I’ve seen.

    I have no problem talking traffic and advertising numbers, but mine are tiny compared to many. haha!

    I agree that you only have 4 seconds to grab their attention. You gotta do it quickly or they move on!

    Thanks for the great recap!

  34. says

    4 seconds?? No wonder I’m always behind! I always back read everyone’s posts from beginning to end LOL There’s no way I could keep my posts that short. My life is long winded 😉

    Looks like you had a great time and I don’t think you’re tall looking, I would guess 5’6″?


    rue’s last blog post..A project and an unpacking interuption

  35. says

    Thanks for the information! I’m just a mom posting kid pics right now, but have some ideas. Looks like it was lots of fun.

    Your blog is my favorite–I must have some sort of voyeuristic tendencies. I just love peeking inside houses! Thanks for all the great pictures on your blog!

  36. says

    Thank you for the information, Julia. You are always so generous with your readers.
    It sounds like a very informative conference.
    I have been toying with the idea of advertising on my blog, but
    I’m not sure I’m quite there yet. I’m also
    very tech challenged. It may take a while for me to even figure
    out how to do it!


    velvet and linen’s last blog post..our home

  37. Andrea says

    I was wondering how your trip was. Glad you has a great time.

  38. says

    thanks for sharing this … we have nothing like these conferences in Aust to my knowledge – it would be so much fun :)

    the four second thing – I don’t buy it …. one cannot absorb an ounce from anywhere in four seconds – only to conclude the fit was wrong and the reader was never really a reader anyway …

    I read blogs the way I use to read magazines … for the content and delighful images – not for four seconds worth of nothing … my best to you Julia – you are a standout – le

    le’s last blog post..Frugal Date – with Julia Influences