It's a four to five-hour drive from DFW to Houston, so I was hoping for a blogging friend to meet up with there. Within minutes I was reminded of two blogger friends who live in Houston and Christine from Run out of the Box was down to party (and by party, I mean sit in a conference room and learn about blogging all day).
The conference was reasonably priced and honestly, if I could make sense of SEO and improve my affiliate marketing strategies it's entirely possible the conference would pay for itself. This is my personal blog, but Lea Genders Fitness is my business blog, so I am looking to improve rankings and make more money.
For those of you who might not know, SEO means Search Engine Optimization. It's essentially how to set up your blog so Google prefers to show it in top results when people search for topics related to your blog posts. It's a subject that I've only scratched the surface of and I know for sure my Lea Genders Fitness blog is not receiving the full potential of Google's juice.
Affiliate marketing is linking to products on your blog to make a commission when people click on your links and make a purchase. I've been using Amazon affiliates for a long time to link to fitness products that I use and make a little money each month, but I know I haven't reached my full earning potential. I am ready to learn (and earn) more!
I work in Dallas on Tuesday-Thursday at my part-time marketing job so on Thursday before the conference I left the office a little early in hopes of avoiding Dallas traffic as I made the trek to Houston.
I listened to my favorite PodCasts on the drive down and four short hours later I arrived in the outskirts of Houston. Another hour later I was pulling into my hotel near the site of the conference. While the neighborhood wasn't giving me warm fuzzy feelings, the room was clean and I was exhausted, so I slept like a baby.
The morning of the conference was also my 100th day of the #runstreak so I was up early to pound out a mile on the hotel treadmill.
The Blog Elevated conference was held at the Lone Star Flight Museum in Houston.
|Lone Star Flight Museum Houston, TX|
I was excited about the conference schedule because this was a deep dive into topics I wanted to learn. I attend a blog conference every year with Sweat Pink and it is always a fun and engaging experience with other fitness bloggers, but because of the format we only have time to scratch the surface of these topics. At BlogFest, we have two days of seminars with speakers on various topics for about an hour each. While I always loved those sessions, I was looking forward to going into more depth. Instead of a 45-minute overview of SEO and affiliate marketing, I would be spending an entire day learning more about these essential blogging topics.
|The Blog Elevated Agenda|
In the morning we covered how to target the right keywords for our blog posts so that we have a better chance of hitting the first page of Google when people search for topics related to our blog. There's a lot more to it than you would think and I still have a great deal to learn. I picked up a few tips and tools, but so much of this is still over my head. The conference speakers gave me a ton of useful information and resources but so much of it is learning-by-doing. I need to spend some serious time tackling these topics on my own. I hope one day this will all click and make sense, but I am still not there. Just like anything else, knowledge without action is worthless. I got a ton of valuable information and insight, now it's my job to follow through and take action on what I learned to get the most out of my experience at the conference.
|Keyword Targeting Slide|
We broke for lunch and had the opportunity to explore the museum. I did a hang gliding flight simulator where the guy just yelled at me the whole time telling me I was doing it wrong. Haha. It was fun though and a good ab workout. Remind me to never hang glide in real life. I was horrible and would probably die in a crash.
|hang gliding simulator and the Lone Star Flight Museum|
DIY SEO AUDIT
I really enjoyed the DIY (Do It Yourself) SEO audit. There were so many useful tips and easy fixes to improve my search rankings. I made some quick changes right there in the seminar and learned some techniques to apply going forward. There is some backward work I need to do, but that will take some time to impact blog posts on Lea Genders Fitness from the last three years. I may need to hire out for some tasks, but I have a long list of actions I can take to improve my rankings.
ADVANCED AFFILIATE STRATEGIES
I got a lot out of the advanced affiliate strategies class. Adam Riemer gave a talk on how to maximize our affiliate links and gave me some ideas to improve my income. I joined one of the fitness affiliates he manages called ProSource. They are a great fit for my blog because ProSource has a lot of reasonably priced fitness products (resistance bands, foam rollers, Yoga mats, medicine balls etc.) that I can use in my workout posts. They gave me a special discount for my readers to save 15% off anything sitewide and their prices are already reasonable. If you use code ALEA15 you can get the discount too. This is an affiliate link --> ProSource
|ProSource resistance bands|
LIVE SITE REVIEWS
They ended the day with live site reviews which were helpful to see the other bloggers' sites and learn from them. I think Christine and I were the only fitness bloggers in the room (in jeans!?!). It's interesting to see how bloggers in other niches operate. It's always a great idea to look outside our industry for ideas because within our niche it seems that everyone is using the same strategies. An outside perspective can be eye-opening.
|Fitness bloggers in jeans? Unheard of!|
The conference was over at 4:30 and I knew I was in for a world of hurt tackling Friday afternoon Houston traffic. I tried to take a flight back to Fort Worth, but it didn't work out. Haha.
|Fly me home to Fort Worth!|
Thank you to Blog Elevated for the learning opportunity. I hope to attend future sessions (come to DFW please). I had a great experience, met some fabulous bloggers, learned a lot about affiliate marketing and SEO. Now the fun part is over and it's time to put all this knowledge to work. Time to take action to see results. See you in the Google rankings...
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