Articles Tagged with Events

Cardiff SEO Meet is Back (Already)

Cardiff SEO Meet at Bierkeller (Prisma)

Well that really was a brief hiatus… 😂

Less than a month ago I blogged saying that Cardiff SEO Meet was going on hiatus until after my son’s operation. Well between then and now he’s had updated scans and the doctor thinks he no longer needs his op any more, as everything is improving nicely, which is fantastic news. It means that I can carry on with Cardiff SEO Meet without the worry that I may have to cancel/reschedule the meetups to fit around the op.

(Also, sorry for being so open about all this, as I know it makes people uncomfortable… I just wanted to explain my reasoning in case anyone thought I was postponing events and taking a break from it for weak or unimportant reasons.)

Anyway… with that in mind, I’ve gone ahead and booked the next three dates at Cardiff Bierkeller, which is where we were for the last event. Here they are:

  • Cardiff SEO Meet #8 – Thursday 19th July
  • Cardiff SEO Meet #9 – Thursday 20th September*
  • Cardiff SEO Meet #10 – Thursday 22nd November

* For this event we’ll be in a different area of Bierkeller to usual, as our usual room is unavailable for this night. I’ll post more about this on the event’s dedicated Meetup page when the time comes.

There’s also a few minor/subtle changes that are being made going ahead:

  • You’ll notice above that the dates are 2 months apart instead of 3, which is something that I floated in the hiatus post. It means that we’ll be running 6 events a year going forward instead of 4. I also have some really exciting speakers in mind for the next few events (including an international keynote speaker)!
  • Instead of RSVPs on Meetup being open 2 weeks before the event date, RSVPs will open straight away, as soon as the event page goes live (usually 4-6 weeks before the event). I just think this’ll make it easier for people – I liked the idea of having a scheduled ‘ticket release’ time/date, but I always worry that the people who see the Meetup page as soon as it goes live forget about it by the time the RSVPs open, and therefore that we’re missing out on potential attendees.
  • Site reviews are continuing to happen, however whereas they used to be free for the site ‘volunteer’, I’ll now be asking for a fee – this is only because I’ve been messed around a few times in the past, with people cancelling last-minute or not having their website ready in time (e.g. if it was going through a launch or redesign). It’s £100, however half of it is a deposit that you get back after the event (so £50 really), and the money goes to charity as a donation. Want to be considered? There’s a bit of a waiting list but feel free to email me expressing interest. A few rules and terms apply though, so I can’t promise that you’ll be accepted (it’ll make more sense when we discuss it).

So keep an eye out for the Meetup event pages for each one in due course. Want to make sure you’re kept updated? Join the Meetup group and follow @CardiffSEOMeet on Twitter.

Cardiff SEO Meet is Going on a Temporary (& Hopefully Brief) Hiatus

Cardiff SEO Meet logo (Prisma'ed)I love running Cardiff SEO Meet – but it’s a lot of hard work.

Each time I run one of the events, I think to myself “enh, it’s just 2 speakers, and they’re 3 months apart – it’ll take no time to sort out!” – but then I inevitably forget about finding and liaising with the speakers; sorting out the site review volunteer; sorting everything out with the venue (which takes infinitely longer when we change venues – which has happened twice); hiring a helping hand; double-checking that the sponsors are happy with everything; scheduling a ton of tweets; and all the other stuff that goes with it.

The last couple of events have been especially tough to organise because since last summer my youngest son (who recently turned one year old) has been in-and-out of hospital due to an on-going health issue. He had an operation scheduled for January just gone, so at the time I booked the next event for March (the 7th event) because I thought that the op would be well and truly out of the way by then and that he would’ve also fully recovered by then, too. But I didn’t consider the fact that the op may get rescheduled… which it did. A lot. First to early February, and then there was talk that it’d take place in March… Uh-oh.

It’s now been rescheduled again, this time in May (and there’s talk that it may move yet again). The next event should take place around then (May/June) if I want to keep it true to the quarterly formula. But with the op looming and its date still possibly TBC, I’m reluctant to book the next Cardiff SEO Meet date only to have to cancel/reschedule it if they end up clashing…

So I’ve decided to put Cardiff SEO Meet on temporary hiatus until the op’s done-and-dusted and my boy’s seen a full recovery.

It’ll hopefully be brief… Heck, it might work out that it’s only a couple of months longer anyway (a gap of 4-5 months instead of 3).

Anddd… No promises but I might start to make the event every 2 months instead of every 3 months when it returns. So there’s good news in the pipeline.

I just wanna take the time to say a big thank you to Zoe at Cardiff Bierkeller (who was great to work with – especially when we had to reschedule the most recent event due to the snow), the speakers and site review at the last event (Rhydian, Francesca and Jacqui), and the five sponsors for the last couple of events: Tom of Ghost Marketing, Peter of Xanthe Studios, Brett & Kim of Traffic Jam Media, Gareth of Made Clear and Rakesh of Escentual.com. And everyone else who’s supported the meetup in one way or another. You people rock.

The Launch of TechEvents.Wales

TEW logoBack in 2015, I created a side-project website for my parents’ IT recruitment agency (Computer Recruiter) called CR 25, where we published 25 blog posts in one month to coincide with their 25th anniversary in business. It was a ton of fun, and I was chuffed that it earned me a couple of UK Search Awards shortlistings.

Since then (given that the main CR site doesn’t have its own blog – I know, I know…), I’ve been wondering what else we can do on the content front, beyond CR 25 and our occasional guest blogging efforts. On Twitter (@ComputerRecruit) we follow a lot of meetup/event organisers (check out our Twitter list!) and also RT a lot of their tweets about upcoming events, which got me thinking: what about a calendar of all the tech events in South Wales, all in one place…?

And voilà – TechEvents.Wales is born.

TEW homepage screenshot
Its homepage features a list of upcoming events from a ton of different meetups covering a ton of different topics: AWS South Wales User Group, South Wales Agile Group, Swansea Software Development Meetup, Digital Tuesday, PyDiff, South Wales Cyber Security Cluster and Cardiff Blogs, to name a few… even the horrendously run, joke-of-a-meetup that is Cardiff SEO Meet is on there. 😉

Its blog is going to include:

  • Interviews with local meetup organisers,
  • An analysis of 2017’s meetups in the area,
  • Writeups and reviews of local meetups, etc. etc.

Find out more in our intro post.

Got any ideas? Want to get involved? Feel free to drop me a comment below or tweet me. I live off feedback (so long as it’s constructive, obvs!) and would welcome people’s opinions on the direction of the site and its blog.

Also, a quick thank you to Peter of Xanthe Studios for helping with a few frustrating WordPress issues when setting up the site.

Why I Turned Down a Potentially Huge Sponsor for Cardiff SEO Meet

Cardiff SEO Meet crowd photo
Sponsorship for Cardiff SEO Meet isn’t really that big a thing. For the first three events, there weren’t any sponsors – I paid for it myself (well, Morgan Online Marketing paid for it, technically). But then our first venue was a bar, where people could buy their own food and drink if they wanted to. When we moved venues to somewhere where I needed to provide my own food and drink, the costs shot up. I wanted to keep the entry fee free, so I couldn’t recoup money that way. Therefore I knew that I’d need sponsors to help cover those costs, and a few people I know were happy to oblige.

It’s simple: for £100, your sponsorship goes towards food & drink costs. In return, you get a link from the Meetup group and event page, a mention in the announcement email that goes to all of the group’s members, various tweet ‘shout-outs’ before and after the event, your logo on the absolutely massive screen, and a couple of shout-outs/thank you’s at the event. In my eyes, that’s a pretty decent deal. We get about 40-50 people to each event, which isn’t especially a huge number, but it’s not tiny either. The Meetup group has over 300 members as well.

So far, most of our sponsors have been local (and local-ish) freelancers, agencies and fellow event organisers – I’ll list them here, as I want to thank them again for their support to date: HQ SEO, Cardiff Digital, Xanthe Studios, All Things Web® and Traffic Jam Media (and not forgetting Tramshed Tech for being our venue sponsor). I casually joked with someone though that it’d be awesome if one of the big global SEO software providers expressed interest in becoming a sponsor.

Weirdly enough, a few days later… one of the big global SEO software providers expressed interest in becoming a sponsor. They sponsor a lot of the bigger events worldwide, and (somehow) my piddly little meetup had gotten onto their radar. I was elated.

But I ended up turning them down.

Click to read more!

The 3 Biggest Takeaways from Kelvin Newman’s Reddit AMA

Yesterday, the mighty Kelvin Newman (@kelvinnewman) of brightonSEO fame did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit.

Kelvin Newman's AMA on Reddit screenshot
I’m a big fan of Kelvin, not only because he runs an incredible conference and has been crazy enough to let me speak at it (not just once, but twice), but because he’s a great guy as well. And as an SEO event organiser myself, I’m always curious to know the thinking behind brightonSEO, how he runs the event and where he wants to take it in the future.

To be honest, whether you’re an event organiser yourself, or just a big fan of brightonSEO (who isn’t?), it’s probably worth reading the whole AMA from start to finish, as there are tips and insights sprinkled throughout. But if you’re a busy guy/gal then here are my three biggest takeaways:

1) On starting a conference: start small and scale up

Kelvin Newman Prisma imageA few new SEO/digital conferences have sprouted up in the UK in recent months, which is fine, but to aspiring conference organisers, Kelvin’s advice is to start small:

I’d always start with something small and then scale rather than launching big. If gives you a chance to test and learn and make mistakes when not very many people are watching. Think of your first event as an MVP.

I can relate to this, as I’m not sure where to take Cardiff SEO Meet at the moment (an all-dayer event does sound tempting…), but at the very least, it’s good to know that small beginnings are the sensible way to go anyway.

2) On hiring speakers: seek out speakers (not vice versa)

It’s very easy to simply accept the speakers who approach you as an organiser, but Kelvin’s method is different:

Keeping an eye on blog posts people are sharing is a key one but I love scouring through our attendee list and looking for people who might have a good perspective and then stalking them online a bit.

Only giving slots to people who put themselves forward can lead to only attracting certain kinds of speakers.

I like this as it naturally leads to a variety of speakers, and perhaps those who aren’t even ‘natural’ speakers. And there is the risk that the people that approach event organisers offering to speak and doing so all over the shop – not just for your event.

However, if you do approach Kelvin and ask to speak (which – to be fair – is how I got to speak at brightonSEO both times), at least have a talk idea at-the-ready:

In terms of pitching to speak, have a talk idea ready to go. Much easier for me to say yes to a interesting talk title than a vague “I’d like to talk”.

3) On what talks to have: some SEO topics are important, but variety is good

This is an interesting one as I’ve always admired Kelvin for booking non-SEO talks at an SEO event, or at least talks that closely align with SEO (such as UX, etc.). But it’s still really important to have some types of SEO talks:

People expect decent technical talks and link building talks. If we don’t programme those people won’t come back.

However Kelvin argues that some of the non-SEO talks are the ones that stay with people – the problem with SEO talks (as is the case with some elements of SEO) is that there’s a ‘here-today-gone-tomorrow’ feeling about them:

Talks from people like Dave [Trott] and Rory [Sutherland] are the kind that sit in the back of your mind for years to come, whereas the learning about the latest SERP feature you’ll use immediately but it’s value will go down over time.

Our job is to get the right mixture between the practical talks and the inspirational/theoretical ones. Which is something I know we and other events have been criticised for in the past.

Kelvin’s clearly not backing down with this way of thinking, given what’s coming up at next month’s event:

Got three different academics talking this time round about machine learning that might not be mass appeal but pretty sure will get a great receptions.


Read Kelvin’s AMA in full here!

If you’re going to brightonSEO April 2017 then let me know – I’ll be there. 🙂

[Image credit – my own creation using Prisma]