The Most Frustrating Part About The BlogHer Conference
Having never been to a BlogHer conference, I had no idea what to expect. 2300 women (and a few brave men!) descended on Orlando for three days of learning, networking, and fun.
The first thing I noticed was the energy of the place. I was surrounded by powerful, motivated, women from all walks of life. Some ran foodie blogs, some had their own clothing lines, some still had 9-5 jobs and were thinking about taking the plunge to becoming full-fledged entrepreneurs. Everyone had a different story, but had one thing in common: they were there to better themselves.
We had the pleasure of listening to some powerful women speak – Serena Williams, Chelsea Clinton, Cecile Richards to name a few. But as amazing as those keynotes were, it was the women I met standing in line for registration, the women I ate lunch with, and the women I met during the happy hour that really stood out. These women are changing the world. They are making an impact. That’s what made this next part so frustrating…
The Frustrating Part About BlogHer
Being surrounded by such amazing women was empowering. So I was surprised to see so many women in the breakout sessions struggling with monetization on their websites. Money is power, and you need money to grow your business and expand your reach, but these women were struggling to generate revenue.
The worst part, too many of the bloggers I talked to were willing to give over complete control of this aspect to 3rd parties that may or not have their best interest at heart. Not to say, there weren’t tons of great partners at the event helping these ladies, but this is an aspect of blogging they should be in complete control of, right? Many were willing to simply accept the fact that some of this may just be black box magic.
I was appalled. The contribution that some of these blogs make to our world is significant. They reach readers from all over the world. They create communities of support for people suffering from similar problems. They provide useful insight into any and every topic imaginable. They connect people divided by ocean and mountains in a way that proves we are all the same. And yet, I have a feeling many feel lost, taken advantage of, or confused when it comes to monetizing their web property.
Knowledge is power, and this knowledge is free
Many women that I spoke to expressed that the reason they hadn’t began monetizing was that they simply didn’t know how. That doesn’t surprise me — the advertising industry is a beast of its own that is constantly changing. It requires a lot of industry knowledge and experience to set up a profitable ad strategy that doesn’t impact user experience.
And since we’re on the subject of user experience, this was the another area where many of the bloggers confessed to me that they struggled. They weren’t sure how to include ads on their site without hurting the user experience. The last thing you want to do is drive your readers away from your blog – you want them to engage with your content and become loyal users. Many felt like they would be doing a disservice to visitors if they displayed ads.
This couldn’t be further from the truth; as we’ve done studies that show when ads are implemented correctly, they have no negative impact on user experience whatsoever.
The most frustrating part about both of these topics is that I totally understand the sentiment. There is a lot to think about, and it can be really hard to master every aspect of online publishing. Monetization is especially confusing (many in this industry do this purposefully, I think). However, educating yourself around the 101 of this material isn’t as hard as it’s made out to be.
Here are some helpful places to start:
- Why measure EPMV on your blog (video)
- How to measure the true impact on user experience
- The connection between engagement and revenue
You don’t have to be “technical” anymore
Another common area of struggle was the technology of actually working with ad codes, inserting the ad code on the blog, setting up relationships with ad partners, etc. These things aren’t like they used to be.
These technical elements shouldn’t inhibit women from monetizing their blogs and getting paid for the hard work they put in. If anything, technology should be empowering them to grow their businesses and reach more readers. This is the nature of technology. It should be getting easier, not more complex.
That’s why I’m happy that Ezoic has invested time and energy into providing a full-service platform for these types of bloggers. The women I met deserve to be able to easily monetize their sites and have all the data to know whats going on without having to become an ad operations expert.
We help monetize their content, balance user experience, and manage relationships with ad providers so that they can focus on their content. We also make the platform free to use so that they don’t have to take money out of their pocket to see if something works for them.
There are a lot of really cool things that I think makes this easy for those that I met at BlogHer. One being that has an easy to use Chrome extension that allows bloggers to simply drag and drop potential ad locations on their site, then Ezoic will test which locations have the best balance between user experience and revenue, and deliver every visitor the ones they are best effected by.
Ultimately, these women are going to change the world, and I’m thrilled that I can be a part of their journey. In so many ways, I was inspired by attending the BlogHer conference. Being able to share some of the wisdom I’ve gathered along the way is a small way that I feel like I can contribute something back. I hope this helps some of you reading this realize that you’re in charge and that you don’t need to let “monetization” intimidate you.