- Like many others who attended Eroticon this year, I took away more information than my poor brain could really make sense of. In an attempt to pull it together and make my learning useful, I created a list of take-aways. This summarizes what I found most helpful from the sessions I attended. But, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a ton more that was useful and important.
The sponsors were amazing: Fetish.com, LoveGivr, Sheets of San Francisco, Temptation Holidays, Hot Octopuss, Rocks-Off, ElectraStim… Very down to earth and conversational! I learned a lot and came away with ideas and a lengthy wish list.
But the highlight of the whole weekend was meeting so many people face-to-face that I have followed online for years. From that first night when I had such a fabulous conversation with Marie, Kayla, and E.L. Byrne to the meet and greet when I finally got to hug Molly and Michael, and after the final session when 30 lovelies got together for an epic group boobday photo shoot. Even I, a totally shy introvert, found much to love about the social aspects of this event. Shout-outs to Cara, HisLordshipUk and Submissy, Girl on the Net, and Jayne Renault for some great talks. It really was a fabulous weekend. There are several people I missed catching up with, but there’s something to look forward to, right?
I loved all the sessions I attended and all the presenters I got to see (though I know I missed many great sessions!) – Amy Norton, Kayla Lords, Jet Setting Jasmine & King Noir, Franki Cookney, Fetish.com, Girl on the Net, and Molly & Michael.
So here they are…my top 15 take-aways from Eroticon 2019:
1. Diversify your content to bring in a variety of readers. For example, if you mainly write erotic stories, do a review once in awhile, or add some personal narratives. A reader might come for the review, but then stay for everything else. It’s a way to bring in various readers. (#1-4 are from Amy Norton – Coffee and Kink)
2. Use affiliate links and ads to make money while remaining genuine to your blog’s personality and your own values. This basically just means, take ads from company’s you support. Ad networks can place ads from anywhere on your site, so if you get involved with a network, you don’t have as much control as you do if you use affiliate links or sponsored content.
3. Don’t be afraid to charge for reviews, even when offered free merchandise. Your opinion and time are valuable. But also, don’t post your rates anywhere on your site…you want to be able to negotiate with companies.
4. It’s always ethical to disclose that you were paid for a review and/or given a free product. It should be noted in your review or somewhere on your site.
5. It’s okay to write about parenting and aging and the messiness of reality in erotica and on our blogs. In fact, it might be the most important thing we do. Our audience is varied and likes to read about characters that are similar to themselves…not just fantasy. Also, some may be learning about sex from what we write, and we want them to see what it’s really all about, not just the fantasy. For example, if a reader has never been in a BDSM relationship, and you have written about using candles in play, they might be seeking knowledge as well as entertainment. It’s good to show the scenes where our characters put on condoms, ignore the kids, fall off the bed, get a cramp, etc. Real life can be sexy and we don’t have to perpetuate the fantasy. (Although, there is nothing wrong with fantasy, either.) (Jet Setting Jasmine & King Noir)
6. Write beyond your “tribe.” Write for a wider audience…even a “traditional” audience…this is how you build your site and spread your word. If you only write to your inner circle or assume your writing is only for them, you are missing a huge audience that would love to meet you and your content…and who may really need it. (Frankie Cookney)
7. Cut tag clouds and most recent posts (it’s redundant) and include a well-developed “about me/welcome” page to include links to your best “highlighted” posts, introduce the “players” in your life/blog posts, and encourage them to stay and wander. Readers tend to be lazy, and the more new stuff your reader has to click on each screen the better. (#7-9 are from Molly and Michael)
8. Learn SEO (which basically includes learning what the fuck it is and how to bend it to your will). Keywords and search terms matter if you want to be found and grow an audience.
9. Be careful about images (how you source them and cite them, and how you size and label your own). Large images take a long time to load and readers may not wait.
10. Check Google Analytics to determine who is coming to your site, how they are getting there, and which posts are drawing the most attention; figure out which posts and topics people like best and give them more of what they are looking for. Consider your blog like a shop…it’s all about supply and demand. (#10-14 are from Girl on the Net)
11. Get yourself linked elsewhere and aim to attract new readers. “Good links multiply: the more you get quoted and linked…the more you get quoted and linked.” –GOTN (See what I just did right there?)
12. Design your website to keep people there (internal links, audio links, clickable images, random posts, make finding content easy, etc.). You move up in Google Search if people search for things, find you, stay, and return.
13. Only go back and optimize the most popular past posts. There is no need to update every old post.
14. Do not accept “do follow” links. Here’s the difference.
15. Your blog roll should show your personality…don’t have too much there, and it doesn’t need to be directly related to your blog content. It can be about your hobbies, your political interests, etc. (Molly and Michael)
Overall, I got the sense that your blog should simply be the best showcase of YOU that you can make. It should be diverse and interesting and honest. It should be easy to navigate and encourage readers to stay for awhile and return often. And if you want to make money, you can…but it will take time and a lot of energy to make that happen – through carefully chosen affiliate ads, sponsored posts, reviews, and freelance writing. Networking is a big part of this…and Eroticon is a great place to begin that journey.
And if you just want to write for yourself? Fuck it all. Do whatever you damn well please. It’s your blog.
I know I’m a day early for this…but as I’m usually late, I’m okay with that!