I know we have entered this relationship (you reading what I’m preaching) with you feeling denial. You really want to keep on believing that you are fine without a blog…that your business will grow organically…or by word of mouth. But you are here, so you must have heard other photographers say that you need a blog.
You are not a believer.
Why do you need a blog? Does it really help? Is it just one more thing on your long to-do list that is going to bog down your workflow? Ugh! I know. I am really one of those people who want to keep my life in balance so I weigh everything according to time spent vs. payoff. Blogging is worth it if you want more clients. Period. Blogging helps your SEO (SEO is Search Engine Optimization…which is the optimization we do to our websites/blogs to rank in Search Engines when people type in keywords). With so many constant changes in Social Media platforms (FACEBOOK!)…the only thing you can rely on is the measurable results you get by optimizing your blog posts so that you can rank in search. Strangers can find you then! When you take this leap of faith, your marketing reach will grow exponentially!
What a Photography Blog is NOT:
Guess what? Your photography blog is not for your current clients. (long pause…let that sink in) Don’t ever decide to blog so that your clients who already paid you can see their pictures all pretty on your website. Nope. I hope your wheels are turning…we are having a paradigm shift here.
What a Photography Blog IS:
Your blog is for you. For your business. For YOUR benefit. Your blog is a TOOL to help you reach people. Every blog post is like a little love note to your Google bot! Blogs offer numerous keyword optimizations in places you never see when you are just a viewer, but are the main things that Google bots index.
Still not a Believer?
Go to Google and search “Indianapolis Senior Photographer”. Today my Jill Levenhagen Portfolio (update: no longer an active website) blog came up on page ONE. Let’s be honest…I have had maybe 4 Senior sessions in 2013. So, I don’t do much Senior business. I only started my blog in September, and by the end of October I was ranking on page 1. I did this with only a small blog and a few posts and GREAT OPTIMIZATION. That should make you think.
You think it is even harder to rank as a Wedding Photographer? Go back and search “Indianapolis Wedding Photographer”. Today, on page 2, I can see Emily Laraine Photography (update: no longer an active website). Emily moved to Indianapolis this past summer. She had a great blog, but it was all from her old hometown. I consulted with her in July. She made just a few changes to her blog, has optimized all her new wedding blog posts since then with her new city keywords, and now she is on page TWO! She is ecstatic!
Just one more example. This summer I did a small lunch talk on SEO for your blog with some local photographers. A photographer named Mike Washington (update: no longer an active website)was there. He went home, tweaked the blog he already had, and the NEXT DAY was ranking on page one for his keywords! He wanted to rank for “Indianapolis Fashion Photographer”. We don’t have as many of those here in Indy, so it was easier, but the point I am making is that you if you can follow instructions, then you can optimize your blog and get results fast. Google bots can only read what you write. You just have to make sure and put it in all the right places.
I know it is overwhelming to think about HOW to get a blog. If you have a website already, this can be tricky. Here is what you don’t want to do. Do not sign up for a free blog and link it to your website. Why? Because you end up with two domain names and that confuses Google bots. Google bots will not rank you well if they see your keywords and content on two sites. It will actually hurt you. Your website and blog need to be on the same domain.
Most photographers build their sites on WordPress.org. Not WordPress.com. WordPress.com is where you get a free blog. Wordpress.org is where you have to get a hosting account (I use Bluehost). You get a hosting account, then your host will have an interface to install WordPress to your domain name. Then you begin to build your blog. That is…if you want to do it yourself. There is a steep learning curve and I do not recommend a DIY approach if you are an established business but have never blogged before.
I do recommend hiring a blog designer. There are many designers out there who even specialize in photography blogs. They work with theme-builders like ProPhoto to customize your blog just for you and your branding. Most designers also offer branding services like logo design and custom Facebook page design. I asked my photography friends for recommendations this week, and I checked out some designer websites. Here are two that I especially liked and you can find more on Etsy.
I really loved the designer Shalon from Pretty Lovely Design. She seems very diverse in that she could meet your needs in any genre of photography.
And one more to mention…Studio 9 Co. They seem to really jump into each photographer’s personal style and it really shows in their designs!
If you do want to give it a go yourself, I recommend buying a premium theme because the free themes available at WordPress are difficult to customize yourself. Usually a premium theme is a one-time cost to buy, but sometimes you run into a yearly fee. You might try looking at ProPhoto at their already ready to use templates. There are some great ones on Organic Themes. I have also considered some from Graph Paper Press.
Blog with Purpose
After you get your blog all looking great, don’t just put up pictures and call it a day. Use your blog as the tool that it is. Make it have a purpose to help your business grow. You need to optimize it for Search Engines.
Trust me…I had 3 blogs prior to this one where I blogged into www.outerspace.com. And then I learned how to SEO my blogs…and wow did it make all the difference! That was just last May! You can do it just like I did…BELIEVE IT!
Now go get a Blog!