Field Notes: BlogHer PRO 2014


Automatticians, the people who build WordPress.com, participate in events and projects around the world every day. Periodically, they report back on the exciting things they do when not in front of a computer — from talking about making great products to using design to tackle social challenges.

Recently, Story Wrangler Cheri Lucas Rowlands and Happiness Engineers Carolyn Sonnek, Deborah Beckett, and Jen Hooks attended the third annual BlogHer PRO ’14 conference, an event for professionally minded bloggers looking to take their blogs, brands, and businesses to the next level.

A conference is a great way to dive deeper into your passion of blogging. You invest in specific skills you want to hone and get inspired by big ideas, and also take a break from that glowing screen. It’s fun to immerse yourself in an inspiring setting where avatars become faces and Twitter handles become real people.

BlogHer PRO ’14 was a relatively intimate conference — about 200 attendees met in Redwood Shores, California, just south of San Francisco, to talk about how to grow their platforms and products into successful brands, identify their strengths and effectively tell their unique stories, and reach their audience and potential partners. Over two days, bloggers attended info-packed talks and presentations — from a chat with entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki and Simply Recipes blogger Elise Bauer to a keynote conversation between BlogHer’s Elisa Camahort Page and Findery CEO Caterina Fake.

Bloggers engaged in sessions on monetization and video trends, high-impact advertising and alternate revenue streams, mobile site optimization, and putting together a comprehensive marketing plan. Hands-on workshops on building media kits and tackling book proposals, among other topics, helped attendees get up and running.

As a sponsor of the event, we met many people at our WordPress.com booth, and were happy to see that a majority of attendees were self-hosted WordPress users. On day two, Happiness Engineers Carolyn and Deborah took the main stage to talk about the benefits of Automattic’s products and services for self-hosted WordPress users, including super plugin Jetpack, security and backup service VaultPress, anti-spam service Akismet, and poll and survey tool Polldaddy. These products provide self-hosted WordPress users the power, security, and functionalities available to our WordPress.com bloggers.

We were on hand to answer technical questions, offer tailored advice to attendees (from tips to improve site performance to choosing the right themes), and connect with existing and potential users.

If you’re serious about the business and marketing side of blogging and are interested in learning more about BlogHer, visit the BlogHer network. There, you’ll also find wrapup posts about this conference, as well as information on BlogHer’s other conferences. (Our very own Michelle Weber recapped this year’s BlogHer ’14 as well — check it out!)

For more updates from the WordPress.com and Automattic team,  follow us on Twitter (@WordPressdotcom and @Automattic) and Facebook (WordPress.com and Automattic). We’ve got many events and conferences lined up in 2015 — stay tuned.