Friday, January 11, 2013

Girls' Trip to Vegas - Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize!

by Ann
A week ago today I was shopping and packing to leave the following day for a girls’ trip with my two partners-in-crime, Sheila and Heather to Las Vegas for the New Media Expo (formerly known as Blog World Expo, a name which we like better).  Six months ago I was packing for a get-away with the aforementioned friends with the sole purpose of planning this blog, projected to be live three months later.  Twenty five years ago in May the packing was for our first annual San Diego shopping trip to celebrate the end of the school year. At that time we were all teachers, ready for a treat for making it through the year.  The adventures that the three of us have had have spanned a long period of time; about half of my life.

It has been a while since we have had classroom experiences and outrageous teenager stories in common since Sheila left education to become a flight attendant, and even though Heather and I have continued to be in education, I’ve been out of the classroom for seven years and Heather spent many as an administrator.  Bottom line – even though we continued to be good friends, we didn’t have as much in common, hence starting Friendship, Life and Style.  After our book club read a A Homemade Life a result of the successful blog, Orangette by Molly Wizenberg, we decided that by starting a blog we would have a common goal to give us excuses to get together more often (a trip to Vegas perhaps…), a challenging task (figuring out how the heck to enter the blogsphere), and force us to do interesting things to write about!
While exploring anything-and-everything-blog on our planning trip, we came across the site for the New Media Expo to be held in January, 2013.  Fueled by enthusiasm (and most likely wine) we whipped out our credit cards to register for the event.  Knowing that we had the conference in our futures we were committed to our blog-launch before attending so we would have questions and be able to ask them coherently.  Our October start date came and passed, but we were pleased to launch Friendship, Life and Style a month later.
The conference was fabulous.  We learned how much we still had to learn:  Why being active in social media is critical….  What SEO stands for, and why it’s important… The significance of our web host and that WordPress might be preferable to Blogger… That “the story” behind each post is important… The value of link hops and parties… How diligent bloggers can eventually gain financially from all of their time and effort… And that we still have a long, long way to go!  We met many new-media friends who are willing to help us move Friendship, Life and Style along. 
The five-plus hour car ride back to Phoenix gave us time to process all of these things, and to bring up some concerns.  Is the name of our blog too long and difficult to remember?  Does the fact that we blog about so many topics make it less likely to have loyal followers who might be more interested in one topic than the others?  What are our goals, and are we still committed to them?  Information overload would be a good way to describe how we were feeling as a result of all we learned. 
Back to the title of this post; the prize that we need to keep our eyes on is undoubtedly our long lasting friendship (after all, it’s the first word of our blog's title), which means more to me than any of the decisions we need to make related to the blogging adventure. If any of our readers who are also bloggers have recommendations for this phase of our process, or answers to any of our dilemmas, we would appreciate gaining from your insight.
Let's raise our glasses in a toast to friendship!

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