>>some more digital inspiration

Looking for a little more inspiration to go digital?

Check out some of the She Says panel.

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Blog Out Loud Interview
Zem Joaquin of ecofabulous

Looking for some major inspiration to jump start your own blog? Enjoy this interview with Zem Joaquin, the founder and CEO of ecofabulous, a website and blog focusing on eco sexy, sustainable, style. Full of valuable, relevant editorial content, rich video content and infused with tons of authentic personality, ecofabulous is a great example of taking a vision, like living green with style, and creating a successful lifestyle brand via a site and blog. Click here to enjoy ecofabulous!

What inspired you to start ecofabulous? What approach did you take for setting up your site and blog?

I was deep into an extensive remodel of my house and found it incredibly difficult to locate reliable resources of beautiful yet sustainable products. Because both of my children suffered from severe asthma I was determined to create an environment with minimal toxins, but refused to sacrifice my aesthetics. Many people either cannot afford to hire a designer or don't want to hire someone who isn't on the same page as them when it comes to style and/or environmental concerns. Ecofabulous is meant to fill that void by providing fun, engaging information about products and concepts so readers become more conscious without losing their sense of humor.

A lot of new bloggers want to know about finding their voice for starting a blog and/or site. How has this happened for you and how has your "voice" evolved as your brand grows?

Very good question! Ecofabulous was originally created for the TED community, and since I was the eco-editor of House and Garden at the time, it was narrowly focused on interior design and indoor air quality. Over the last few years it has broadened into lifestyle because in almost every case there is a beautiful, more eco-friendly option available for anything. Additionally, eco-design, like design in general has become much more accessible, democratized if you will. Though I still maintain ultimate editorial control, ecofabulous is a collective effort of many committed writers, researchers and designers, which is a big change from the days of 2AM blogging alone.

We love your videos! What are your thoughts on Web 2.0 and what advice would you give to new bloggers who want to achieve this?

Video is a wonderfully rich medium, so if you are interested, just start producing! I have created everything from big sponsored projects to cost-free interviews and worked with production teams of ten to a friend holding a Flip camera. Just figure out what you want to get across before you simply post video. Another thing to keep in mind is that short is best. Keep video to under 5 minutes, ideally under 3.

Best tips for writing content? Do you have an editorial schedule or do you just write as you are inspired?

I used to just write about things that inspired me for ecofabulous (though I always have had certain requirements/requests from the Conde Nast publications that I contribute to) but as we grew it became necessary to create an editorial calendar. Yet, due to the immediacy of the internet we have to have a very flexible system - we don't want to be late to the game. Luckily nearly everything we cover is in some way exciting, so approaching my fourth year I am still never bored!

Thanks, Zem!

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>>She Says

I mentioned earlier that I was invited to participate on a panel last week for She Says, an organization for women in digital media. I spoke mostly of how blogging is an effective and powerful marketing tool for business owners working with clients and also fueling a brand. And, of course, I reinforced the theme of being real and authentic - just being yourself. If you are looking for some great inspiration, check out She Says. It's so cool to see women empowering women in the more tech side of things. There are such incredible, smart, talented and savvy ladies out there with their finger on the pulse. The people behind She Says are just that. Click here for more information and the next events.


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>>weblog is kitsch
Or So I Think So

it's funny, sometimes when I joke about an item i read online, i may say that i found it on the "world wide web". kitschy, sure? dated? apparently to the author of this article. Listed are 12 words that are described as outdated in 2009 but i disagree. Saying weblog, web surfing or PDA is still very much part of today's lingo so don't fret that blogging is also passe. It's not. My point - have fun and enjoy technology and the incredible amount of items available to us online. Now if the 12 words listed included print shop, DOS or modem, then that, IMO, is a dating yourself.

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Blog Out Loud Interview
Erin Vale of Vale Design

I discovered Erin's pretty blog and site a few weeks ago and her "The Dreamy Blog Topics To Post List" caught my eye. I had to share with you her free template to download. After an email exchange, I asked Erin if she would donate a few of her designs to our BOL goodie bag and she sent over 20 of her "Freakin Never EndingTo Do List" (yes, I can relate!!!). Her designs are gorgeous and her blog is loaded with pretty pictures, recipes, design ideas and tons of *free* things to download. As a business owner and blogger, she has experience with how a blog can be a helpful tool to enhance a company.

1) You have your own design and package agency, Vale Design. How has blogging helped your business to grow? Have you found new clients because of your blog?

My site has allowed people to be exposed to my business, portfolio and myself in a more well-rounded capacity. They are able to see my inspirations and how those inspirations find their way into my design work. As a freelancer, I am particular about who I choose for my clients, but yes, I have found new clients from blogging.

2) How do you "edit" your blogging? i.e. what topics do you choose to blog about or do you cover almost everything?

I look at my site as a personal vault of all my design influences and references. Everything I love and utilize for work is all in one place. If I find something I think is interesting in the design world, on the homefront or if I have a DIY I want to try/share, I will write a post about it. I simply write about what interests me.

3) How did you decide your "voice" for your blog? (i.e. the tone of your writing) What are some tips you can share for this?

To be honest, this was very hard in the beginning. I was not sure I wanted to be "in the system." I was happy to be under the radar. Then one day I was wandering through Target and saw one of my favorite designers, Orla Kiely, on an endcap. I came home and was so excited I wrote a post about it. That was it. It hit me. I wanted my site to showcase my business and personal work, and my love of design. My advice: I think it is best to just be true to yourself and write about what you love. Some people will have the same taste as you and some will not. As my site represents my business, I am very conscious about what I say on the internet. I try to put only good out and I do not respond to the negative. I am still genuinely humbled/amazed if someone likes and features my work. I try to follow up with a thank you to as many people as I can.

4) How often are you blogging and how have you found balance in your life with work, blogging, family, etc?

I try to write a new post Monday thru Friday. Some weeks that works with my freelance schedule and sometimes it does not. If I am working on a project, I just post a sign stating I am working and thanking readers for their patience. I try to keep blogging/work/Etsy related design between 8:00 and 5:30 when my husband comes home. He goes to sleep early so if there are loose ends I wait until he is asleep. I have been a freelancer and running my own business for almost four years now. No day or time is off limits for me when it comes to work. That is just the standard that I set for myself. Blogging is a networking extension of my business and my husband, family and friends are aware of my schedule. I am not sure I have found a balance yet...and I am not sure I want too! I am truly fortunate to love what I do for a living.

Thanks, Erin


>>Blog Out Loud SF
Great night, Great People

The bloggers on the panel chatting with moderator, Megan

Thank you, BellJar!

Last night's Blog Out Loud event was a great success! Thank you to an amazing panel of bloggers - Cassie, Christiana, Lynn, Susannah, Sasha and Anne - who really shared the goods on what blogging means to them, inspiration for blogging, real life stories of finding time, balancing blogging, life, husbands or boyfriends (they still don't all know who we are "talking" to online all the time :), blogging etiquette, tips for creating original content, an editorial schedule, networking advice and what not to do, how to schedule a "lazy" blogging day and more.

And another thank you to Sasha of
BellJar for donating her gorgeous shop to us for the evening and for sitting on the panel. You must go there now if you live in SF. Or just book a trip to SF and go see her shop. Thank you to all the Etsy sponsors for the goodie bag - full of such incredible items. (Click here for a peek into the goodie bag.) And to Fleurt and Robyn Pope for the lovely floral arrangements. What an amazing community of people!

And finally a huge THANK YOU to the attendees! The shop was packed and we appreciate you coming to this event and engaging in great conversation. Blog Out Loud is a place to get inspired to blog - there's room for everyone and no right or wrong way to do it. Your way is perfect for you!

We want to hear from you!! See that little sidebar to the right as you scroll down the blog? If you have some time, let us know what you thought about the event by taking our poll. And we love your stories! Email us about your own blog inspiration.

Blog Out Loud TV will be up in the next few weeks. Mini-moments from the event. In the meantime, check out some photos from the event and check back in soon for details for the next Blog Out Loud event in Los Angeles in October.


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>>a fab brunch for the fab Blog Out Loud ladies

this morning Megan and I had a great little brunch with the Blog Out Loud panelists and friends at the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park. We had a fab time meeting each other in person, dishing about blogging and enjoying the cool (58 degrees in August????) air.

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>>getting ready for the Blog Out Loud event this Sunday at BellJar. We have had an incredible response and it will be packed! If you are attending, get ready for a great night of blogging inspiration and a cozy time.

>>I participated in a fab event last night for She Says, an organization for women in digital media. I was part of a round table chat, met some lovely people and talented digital divas. On the panel was Marisa from Hey You Listen Up, Kat of Exopolis, Erika of Wiredrive, Tara of When Tara Met Blog, Kim of She Says and me. For all you ladies looking to join an empowering organization of women in the digital, click here to learn more about events in the US.


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>> the 3/50 project

a lot of you are shop owners and a lot of you are shoppers. ok, let's get together and make a difference by supporting *local* shops and boutiques by going in the stores and spending your hard earned cash. click here to learn a whole lot of good stuff via the 3/50 project.
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>>best tips for starting your blog

>> i am *happy* to see my first follower at my new micro-blog. Getting more will take time.

we've been blogging for a while now. or a while in blogging standards. i started my blog in jan 08 and megan started her blog in jan 07. in this time, we've had, well, time. time to create content, connect with people, link to other blogs we love, e-meet other bloggers, etc. but in the beginning slow going is how it went. and it most likely will be that way for you. it takes time to build your blogging audience but they will come and they will leave comments and you will love it!


>>keep it in perspective. you just started!

>>keep your blog set to private and then write a bunch of posts. once you have about 10 - 20 written, announce your blog to the public.

>>email and comment. get out there! if you love a blog, tell the blogger. if you love a product, tell the blogger. we are all doing this to connect and bloggers love hearing from bloggers.

>> don't worry so much about the "perfect design" of your blog. you will change it. a lot. (see our current Q & A's for inspiration)

>>don't give up - part 1. blogging does take time in your day but keep going. like anything, the first few weeks are tough but after a month, it will become second-hand and part of your daily routine.

>>don't give up - part 2. it will feel like no one is reading your blog and you may feel a little, well, silly, writing an online journal with that feeling. but people will be and probably are already reading. i decided to add a micro-blog to loving. living. small. called i heart living small. i started it 4 days ago and today saw that i had 1 follower. yay! the point - people will read so go for it!


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you probably have heard of micro-blogging but wonder if it's yet another thing you need to "add" to your blogging routine?

here's the deal....

it's basically your twitter. your fb status. your tumblr blog. your linkedin status. it's a brief update of where you are, what you are doing, etc. So if you've been wondering if you also need to micro-blog, you probably already are and didn't even know it. tweet tweet!

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>>some light reading?
The Top 100 Social Media Books

>>click here for a well researched list of the top 100 books about social media. via mellow billow.
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>>15 tips for increasing traffic to your blog

ok so you started your blog, you have found a clear voice and are creating some great content - now how do you get people over to your blog and, in turn, your business? Here are 15 tips to follow to capture the eyes of new readers and keep e-friends coming back for more. I definitely need to follow tip #10 - such an easy one that I haven't been doing.

1. Write Well and Write Often

Frequently updating your blog with useful content is the first step to building your blog's audience. The content you write is what will keep readers coming back for more. Make sure you have something meaningful to say.

2. Submit Your Blog to Search Engines

Submit your blog to search sites. Most search engines provide a 'Submit' link (or something similar) to notify the search engine of your new blog, so those search engines will crawl it and include your pages in their results. It's important to understand that simply submitting your blog to search engines doesn't mean your pages will appear at the top of a Google search results screen, but at least your blog will be included and will have the chance of being picked up by a search engine.

3. Use and Update Your Blogroll

This is an easy way to get the link to your blog in front of many readers on other blogs. The hope is that some of those readers will click on the link to your blog on the other blogs' blogrolls and find your content interesting and enjoyable turning them into loyal readers. I updated my entire blogroll over the weekend and look forward to adding to it.

4. Harness the Power of Comments

Commenting is a simple and essential tool to increase your blog's traffic. First, be authentic and real by adding a meaningful comment. Also, respond to comments left on your blog to show your readers that you value their opinions and draw them into a two-way conversation. This will increase reader loyalty.

5. Syndicate Your Blog's Content with an RSS Feed

Setting up an RSS feed button on your blog makes it easy for your loyal readers to not just read your blog but also know when you publish new content.

6. Use Links and Trackbacks

Links are one of the most powerful parts of your blog. Not only are links noticed by search engines, but they also act as a tap on the shoulder to other bloggers who can easily identify who is linking to their sites. Linking helps to get you noticed by other bloggers who are likely to investigate the sites that are linking to them. This may lead them to become new readers of your blog or to add links to your blog from theirs. You can take links to other blogs a step further by leaving a trackback on the other blog to let them know you've linked to them. Blogs that allow trackbacks will include a link back to your blog in the comments section of the post that you originally linked to. People do click on trackback links!

7. Tag Your Posts

It takes a few extra seconds to add tags to each of your blog posts, but it's worth the time in terms of the additional traffic tags can drive to your blog. Tags (like links) are easily noticed by search engines. They're also key to helping readers find your blog when they perform searches on popular blog search engines such as Technorati.

8. Submit Your Posts to Social Bookmarking Sites

Taking the time to submit your best posts to social bookmarking sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit and more can be a simple way to quickly boost traffic to your blog.

9. Remember Search Engine Optimization

When you write your blog posts and pages, remember to optimize your pages for search engines to find them.

10. Name Your Images

Images don't just make your blog look pretty, they also help people find you in search engine listings. People often use the image search options offered by Google, Yahoo! and other search engines, and naming your images with search engine optimization in mind can easily boost your traffic.

11. Consider Guest Blogging

Do a little guest blogging or have a guest on your own blog. This will give you a little traffic boost. Many of the other blogger's readers will visit your blog to see what you have to say.

12. Join Forums and Social Networking Sites

Find online forums and social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn where you can share ideas and ask questions of like-minded individuals. Add a link to your blog in your signature line or profile, so each time you post on a forum or participate in another online network, you're indirectly promoting your blog. Chances are many people will click on that link to learn more about you.

13. Promote Outside Your Blog

Promoting your blog shouldn't stop when you step outside the blogosphere. Add your blog's URL to your email signature and business cards.

14. Nominate Yourself and Other Blogs for Blog Awards

There are a number of blog awards given out throughout the year. Nominating yourself and other blogs and bloggers can draw attention to your blog and drive traffic to it.

15. Don't Be Shy

The most important part of the blogosphere is its community and much of your success as a blogger will be tied to your willingness to network with that community. Don't be afraid to ask questions, join conversations or just say hi and introduce yourself. Speak out and get yourself noticed. Let the blogosphere know you've arrived and have something to say!

content via about.com

>>mini Q & A with a Blog Out Loud panelist
Susannah from Petunia Face Girl

We are very honored to have Susannah of Petunia Face Girl as one of our lovely panelists for the 2nd Blog Out Loud event on 8.23.09. Insanely funny and real, Susannah's poignant and honest writing about her life and her family is a great example of how showcasing your real personal self through your blog works. Click here to learn the details for the event and meet Susannah. In the meantime, enjoy a little Q & A with Susannah.

How did you get into blogging? What inspired you, if anything?
My blog was a birthday present I gave myself two years ago, August 30th.
I fell through the rabbit hole of reading blogs when I was on maternity leave the summer of 2006. My husband would leave the house for work every morning and I'd be left with my baby, my friends at their own jobs, and I felt so alone. I started reading blogs and suddenly I had a thousand new friends all available through my monitor. They were other moms, designers, people who watched the same bad reality tv--I was hooked and blogs saved me.
Eventually I went back to work, sucked back into the real world. I missed blogs, but even more so, I missed writing. I had studied Creative Writing in graduate school and really missed that part of me. I started my blog to begin writing again.

What's been the best reward since you began your blog?
Not to sound too cheesy, but self-discovery. Really there's no un-cheesing that, so here goes: just finding that I do have something to say. Sometimes it's about bubble baths, other times about motherhood. It's not always important or funny even, but it's mine.

Best tip for writing original content.
Be honest. I tend to gravitate toward blogs that are honest, whether it's a personal blog or a blog about fireplaces. Whatever. Blogs aren't a place to bs (there's enough of that in the real world).

How many times have you changed your blog layout?
Maybe 3 times? Although if I were more html literate I would not be able to keep my hands off. Which is why I also will never learn how to cut hair.

Thanks, Susannah!

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>>mini Q & A with a Blog Out Loud panelist
Cassandra of Coco + Kelley

I first e-met Cassie in Spring 08 when I found her lovely blog and immediately sent her a note to say "hi, i love your blog!". A lunch at The Little Door Next Door and an LA Bloggers afternoon, we are friends, having met through blogging. that is one of the best rewards of this whole blogging thing - connecting! penning the fabulous coco + kelley blog and offering insane amounts of gorgeous photos, images, lifestyle + wedding bliss, Cassie is a fab blogger, writier, visionary, you name it! Come hear what she has to say at the 2nd Blog Out Loud event on Sunday, Aug 23. In the meantime, here's a little look into her blogging routine.

How did you get into blogging? What inspired you, if anything?
I have to thank one of my best friends for getting me into blogging in the first place. She kept sending me posts from some of the blogs that have been around for a while, like Decor8 and Design*Sponge, and I started thinking, "Hey, I could do this..." Plus, the hyper-organized side of me realized it was a great way to keep track of all my favorite things in a searchable way instead of folders stuffed with old magazine tear sheets. I've always wanted to work in the magazine world, and I think blogs are the modern-day magazine in some ways, so I think I found that side of it very appealing. I like approaching some of my posts from a more editorial standpoint and try to make the content useful instead of just pretty pictures (although, I think we can all agree that sometimes a pretty picture is just what you need!).

What's been the best reward since you began your blog?
Two things that have come out of my blog that have been amazing rewards: making new connections and having my own company. I didn't start coco+kelley thinking that I would launch a business out of it, but that's where it's led me and it's so amazing to be doing what I love (interior and event design) because of my blog! However, I honestly think the larger reward has been all the creative, awesome people (like the gals behind BOL!) that I've met through the blogging community. Whether they've been clients, readers, fellow bloggers or even people on the PR and media side of things, it's been such a great way to expand the global social circle!

Best tip for writing original content.
Write from your heart. If you're not writing about what you love, people will know. Don't copy content (duh), but DO get inspired by others. If you repost something you've found, explain why, or put your own twist on it. Make it personal. And give credit where it's due. Don't follow trends, write what you know and you think. And always, always illustrate your point with quality photos.

How many times have you changed your blog layout?
Ha! I have no idea. I've probably had a few major revamps, but I'm constantly looking at my layout and tweaking it. I'm currently considering switching from Blogger to Wordpress and am completely mortified at the thought, but I also love doing a little makeover to keep things fresh, so we'll see!

Thanks, Cassie!!

Read more of our mini Q & A's from past and present panelists right here!


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>>Blogletter #3

>>click here to read the latest blogletter

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>>mini Q & A with a Blog Out Loud panelist
Chrisitana of Clever Spaces | ferm living

How to Wallpaper from ferm LIVING shop on Vimeo.

we are lucky to have the incredibly creative and sweet Christiana as one of our panelists. She is the owner of ferm living, an online shop full of wallpaper, stickers, kitchen decor, pillows and more, she has her Clever Spaces blog and has started the inspiring shop, Hygge and West, with her best friend. Wow - I know I'll learn a lot from her myself about managing time! Learn a little bit more about Christiana below and come meet her in person at the 2nd Blog Out Loud event in a few weeks.

How did you get into blogging? What inspired you, if anything?
We thought it’d be a great way to share with our customers as we learned more about wallpaper and the perfect way to share wallpaper inspiration and build a community of wallpaper enthusiasts. As we’ve grown, it has been a really fun to share photographs of ferm living in people’s home, DIY projects, interior design, products sales, and just random thoughts about life...

What's been the best reward since you began your blog?
When someone leaves us a positive or supportive comment. That is the best!

Best tip for writing original content.
Keep the text focused, not too wordy, and always accompanied by pretty/inspiring photographs.

How many times have you changed your blog layout?
Just two!

Thanks, Christiana!

Click here for all Blog Out Loud info and RSVP.

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>>bloggers are beautiful!

Oh la la! Here's a sneak peek at one of the goodies in the BOL goodie bag.

Thank you, thank you to these sweet blogger friends donating their time and goods.

A look at the bags from event 1.

with help from lovely blogger friends like Audrey, Christiana and Karla, megan and I were able to put together little goody bags for our sweet guests at the 1st Blog Out Loud event at Patio Culture a few weeks ago.

We decided to go for it again and reached out to a handful of bloggers. The response has simply been beautiful! Here's a sneak peek of just one of the lovely items that you will find in the goody bag. We only are making 20 since the items are being generously donated. Read here to learn more about the reasons why we started this free event.

To see all of the sponsors so far, please click here. And while you are at it, RSVP to come to the 2nd Blog Out Loud event - we'd love to meet you!!

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>>become a fan of Blog Out Loud

>>we'd love to see you over at facebook. click here to become a fan and connect!
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>>the Blog Out Loud digital flyer

>>rsvp right here

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