I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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What makes a good conference?

Everyone I have spoken to enjoyed the conference I attended in July and that got me wondering why – and thinking about other conferences I’ve been to and heard of. So I want to know what makes a good conference?

Knowing what makes a good conference is very useful if you ever have to plan one, but it can also be useful in deciding whether or not to invest your time and money into a particular conference. Business events can be a great resource – but they can also be a waste of time and money if you don’t choose carefully.

Some of the features that I think helped make this particular conference good are:

  • It was fully catered (morning tea, afternoon tea and lunch) so no one had to leave the venue to find food. That meant we all stayed together, had networking opportunities and time to visit the expo stalls
  • Sessions went for about 75 minutes each which was long enough to get useful information but not so long everyone was restless and loosing concentration. Longer sessions also means more people get up and leave the room which is distracting
  • more than one session was run at a time for most of the conference – everyone was together for plenary and forum sessions – so we had choice. That meant I didn’t have to attend any workshops aimed at beginners and no one had to struggle with irrelevant or overly advanced topics if they didn’t want to
  • we got a handbook which included notes from all presentations – so I can read about the sessions I missed as well as not gathering single handouts that are easily lost
  • the presenters covered a variety of topics which seems appropriate for small business owners (as we have to know about so many topics to succeed!) Of course, a conference may not be as varied and still be good depending on the overall topic of the conference
  • all presentations included practical ways to use the information so it was easy to implement it straight away – and we all know that if you don’t use new information quickly, the chances of benefiting from it later are much less. This was actually promoted as part of the conference which wouldn’t always be the case

What features have you particularly appreciated about a conference or business event?  Do you agree with the features I listed as being valuable (especially if you were at this conference!)?

What makes a good link?

Every website  and blog owner knows, or soon learns, that links are a great way to build traffic and search engine rankings. And most realise that incoming and outgoing links are both important parts of the equation.

But what makes a good link? How do you want to be presented on other sites and blogs when they are linking to you?

Obviously, you can’t always control how people link to you – you often don’t know about links until after they are established – but if you are prepared, you can increase your chances of getting good links, and offer good ones in return.

Many people assume a banner link (that is, an image of your business is linked to you rather than text) is the best option. This is not really true. People looking at the site may notice a banner sooner than text, of course, but don’t always respond more to a picture than to a few well written sentences. And not everyone realises that a banner can be clicked on as a link – they look for underlined text as a link. What is more important though, is that search engines can’t read images so any text in the banner itself is not picked up by a search engine.

So a text link is often more effective. But even then, some text links are better than others. For instance, a descriptive link to my article on formatting letters is more effective than just a link to Word Constructions as it gives the search engines and readers more information.

As you read my blog and website, you will notice that I try to include a description in every link to add more value to you and those I link to. Is this something you will try now?

Happy writing!