When BlogHer was launched in 2005, its goal was to unite women bloggers all over the world to share their voices, advice and experiences. Today, the site reaches more than 26 million women each month who are doing more than just writing: they are innovators, nonprofit leaders and entrepreneurs.
Many of its members are not only women, but also men sharing tips, opinions and insight on everything from recipes, to family advice and career advancement, and more.
In honor of this year's BlogHer conference in San Diego Aug. 4-6, which is bringing together more than 3,000 BlogHer community members, here’s a look at three contributors and their journeys with social media, technology and the site.
Esther Crawford, co-founder of GLMPS
Esther Crawford, a BlogHer devotee since 2004, used this year's conference to launch GLMPS, an app for the iPhone. Crawford knew the BlogHer conference was the ideal location to harness the power of tech-savvy women bloggers after seeing the support BlogHer gave to other women innovators at their conference in March.
"That was a turning point for me," she said. "I connected with people innovating in the technology space. We are the first mobile app to launch here, and it was a no-brainer. This is the premier event for social media savvy women… they are sharing their life through video anyway."
GLMPS is a photo-video hybrid that captures the footage occurring before and after each photo you take and turns it into a mini movie. The app is free to download. Crawford described her company as very much a "scrappy startup," but said the launch will be crucial to securing funding to grow.
"We wanted to get it to market first. "Get them using it and find the right investor."
Yvonne DiVita, Founder of BlogPaws.com
Yvonne DiVita, 60, got involved with BlogHer in 2004, after writing a book on marketing to women online called Lipsticking.
At one of the BlogHer conferences, she met with a small group of mostly women pet bloggers and got the idea to start up a similar blogging community for pet lovers. She launched BlogPaws in 2009 and today has 520 members of which 95% blog solely on pets.
"I wanted to be as good to pet bloggers as BlogHer has been to women's voices," DiVita said. "Our collective purpose [on BlogPaws] is to work together to help shelters and rescue pets. We try to give back to the community, whether it’s a local shelter or a national focus."
After the tsunami in Japan in April, BlogPaws raised $30,000 for relief efforts. It also hosted its first conference last year, which drew participants from both BlogHer and BlogPaws. BlogPaws is beginning to create revenue through advertising, DiVita said.
Elianne Ramos, vice chair of Communications for Latinos in Social Media (LATISM)
The nonprofit group LATISM launched in 2009 and has been partnering with BlogHer for different initiatives to reach out to the Latino community. Elianne Ramos said the partnership has given LATISM members the opportunity to create marketing revenue with their own blogs through creating a publishing platform that includes funding, advertising and marketing elements.
"BlogHer has had an extensive net of Fortune 500 companies for years," Ramos said. "For [LATISM] members to have access to that is very beneficial."
LATISM shares its content with BlogHer for all things related to the Latino cultural scene, she said. The community that BlogHer has created for women served as inspiration for the platform LATISM created.
"There are millions of bloggers out there, and (BlogHer) has created a community of content by them and for them," Ramos said. "They are in control over what is being said. They can meet each other in an open platform, and form their own niche communities within the blogger community. It's a beautiful platform."
In the past year, LATISM has grown to more than 140,000 members with 20 chapters across the country. It raised $52,000 for different initiatives including relief for Haiti and Chile.