5 Blogger Takeaways From Blog Podium 2014

1. Focus on your Natural Abilities & What You’re Good At

Up until recently, I kept my blog completely separate from my professional career as a designer, illustrator and Art Director, neglecting what I’m really good at and who I am — and this made blogging very difficult.

Since I stopped looking around at what everyone else was doing and led with the things I’m good at naturally, blogging has become more enjoyable, posts come more naturally and I’ve made more connections with others.

At the risk of cheesing it up, I’ll say it: be yourself because everyone else is taken. Take advantage of your natural skills and abilities and stop doing things you don’t enjoy and the rest will follow.

2. Get Your Site in Gear!

A pretty blog is important and we all know that content is king, but it’s integral that your blog/website be set up and attended to on the back end as well. Ensure you have meta tags written for your home page and internal pages, link internally as often as you comfortably can, be sure to fill in your ALT image tags, and optimize your image sizes/formats. Here’s a few WordPress plugins I use to help me do these things:

WordPress SEO by Yoast to fill in descriptions and titles for all of your pages and posts

EWWW Image Optimizer to optimize your image sizes and formats so your site loads quicker

Jetpack for all-around greatness. If you don’t already have it installed, which has dozens of helpful options and apps available from auto-posting to social media, to site stats and more

NextScripts Social Network Auto Poster: It’s a bit glitchy for me sometimes, but when it does finally work, it’s the best one as it attaches the featured image to Twitter, and we all know how important photos are!

3. Be Both Ambitious & Patient

Scott McGillivray put it perfectly when he compared being an entrepreneur to being a farmer. You have to want to get up early and spend long days working. You have to sow your seeds, water them often, avoid and deal with diseases and issues as they come, cultivate and nurture your seedlings, and then–after a while–you can reap the crop and rewards. Each year’s crop will make the following season’s yield easier and greater.

Accepting this delayed gratification rather than immediate reward is numero uno!

4. Be Professional and Prepared

Sure, you blog, but if you want to quit your day job to blog full-time, you have to treat it like a business. Just because it’s fun and you love it doesn’t mean there isn’t hard work involved. In fact, there’s a lot of hard work involved.

I learned a lot at the Keynote speaker session moderated by the hilarious Leigh-Ann Perrault. A lot of these principles are simple in concept, but so powerful. Here’s a few tips from Scott McGillivray, Jennifer Flores and Monika Hibbs from the keynote speakers session:

  • Define what your skill-set is and know your goals (write it down!)
  • Look around you: who do you already know who could help you along the way
  • Set goals and celebrate your successes along the way
  • Establish a solid business foundation–write a business plan or mantra
  • Have a long-term plan and be patient
  • Be polite and on time and always have a business card handy
  • Don’t try to copy this person or that person– if you’re in a race always looking behind you, you’ll run slower
  • Be professional and preapred: draft templates now for working with brands (one-page pitch, invoice, etc).
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions, be bold and say no

5. There Are So Many of Us!

I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who attended Blog Podium, many of whom share similar goals, so let’s build each other up and support one another in reaching them. This community is kind, and I guarantee if you help out your neighbor, they’ll help you back. Facebook groups was mentioned a lot, but nothing reaching out personally to do blog takeover posts, etc.

I want to know who’d be up for doing a Behind-The-Blog feature week? Each day, a handful of fellow bloggers shares a completely honest run down of their typical day to pop the bubble of illusion and mystery around bloggers; What do we really do? What do we eat for breakfast? What’s our day normally look like?

If anyone is interested, please comment in this post! 🙂

A great example of this is this is the Canadian Blogger Home Tour 2014 started by Shannon of AKA Design where dozens of Canadian bloggers shared their home tours throughout one week. See everyone’s home tour/blog:


AKA Design

The DIY Mommy

Northern Style Exposure

Echoes of Laughter


Pop of Pretty

Rambling Renovators

Craftberry Bush

Elliven Studio


First Time Fancy

So Much Better With Age

The Creek Line House

The Sweetest Digs


Clean and Scentsible

The Happy Housie

Just Beachy

Dans le Townhouse


The Uncommon Law

This Little Estate

  1. Great post Sabrina! I wish I would have had some time to connect with you at BlogPodium; it was such an inspiring day. I would absolutely be down for doing a “behind the scenes” post. I think it will bring a new perspective to the daily lives of bloggers (and how a lot of us struggle between the 9-5 job and our blogs!). Cheers!

    1. Hey Britt, I know, it was such a packed house; nearly impossible to meet everyone, but I hope to stay in touch online and meet next year 😉
      As for the behind-the-blog, I’d love if you’d share your day! Please let me know your email so I can send out details once I have 6 other bloggers on board (or more) so we can takeover and have posts for a whole week! Alternatively, you can email me so it’s not public: my email is hello@handsandhustle.com

  2. Thanks for the great event recap. I love how everybody has their own perspective on what they learned that day. As for the behind-the-scenes tour-sign me up!

  3. You summed Blogpodium up perfectly in this post – very nice! I’d be interested in doing a behind the scenes post too! I know another blogger who’d probably be interested as well. Let me know 🙂

  4. Hi Sabrina!
    I would love to get in on this Behind-the-Blog feature! Please let me know if you plan to go ahead with it. I am a Canadian who is currently living in Germany and am the author of House of Her 🙂

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