FotoJournal recent blog posts from blog.myfotojournal.comen-usMon, 23 May 2016 02:52:52 +0000The Most Important Photos for a Wedding Photographer to Take<p>As a wedding photographer, your job is perhaps the most special and important one of the couple&rsquo;s big day. However, trying to capture each and every moment can be a challenge, as it&rsquo;s easy to lose track and get lost in the shuffle. So whether the wedding is held in a casual and laid-back setting like a backyard or an extravagant and grand event in a church and party hall, make sure that you don&rsquo;t miss a single moment of unforgettable memories. To help you plan ahead, here is a list of the most important photos to&nbsp;take.</p> <p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="wed1.jpg" title="wed1.jpg" /></p> <h2>The&nbsp;Preparation</h2> <p>Needless to say, the hours leading up to the main event are chock-full of anticipation, excitement, and sweet moments waiting to be captured on film. As a wedding photographer, you have the unique opportunity to be both an insider with an outsider&rsquo;s perspective that allows you to witness and preserve the memories many might otherwise miss in the hustle and bustle of the day. As the bride and groom and their respective parties get ready, snap some of these must-have&nbsp;shots:</p> <h2>For the&nbsp;Bride</h2> <ul> <li>Close-ups of the dress hanging over a chair or&nbsp;wardrobe</li> <li>The bride and her mother or bridesmaids getting&nbsp;ready</li> <li>A full-length shot of the bride looking at her dress in the&nbsp;mirror</li> <li>Detail shots of the veil, gown, or&nbsp;accessories</li> </ul> <h2>For the&nbsp;Groom</h2> <ul> <li>Putting on his tie, with the help of his father or&nbsp;alone</li> <li>A shot of the groom joking around with his&nbsp;groomsmen</li> <li>Father and the groom in&nbsp;conversation</li> <li>The groom all ready to&nbsp;go</li> </ul> <p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="wed2.jpg" title="wed2.jpg" /></p> <h2>The&nbsp;Ceremony</h2> <p>During the most emotional and arguably the most photogenic time of the wedding, it&rsquo;s important to be alert and aware as to not miss any of the most important moments (re: take more pictures than you think you should!). It&rsquo;s easy to snap some really beautiful pictures, but it&rsquo;s even more memorable to capture the whole timeline of the event on film. Bring the ceremony to life for the bride and groom by taking these&nbsp;photos:</p> <ul> <li>Guests being escorted to their&nbsp;seats</li> <li>Close up of the groom waiting for the&nbsp;bride</li> <li>A photo of the flower girl and ring&nbsp;bearer</li> <li>The altar from the back during the&nbsp;ceremony</li> <li>The wedding parties waiting for the&nbsp;bride</li> <li>Close up and long shot of the walk down the&nbsp;aisle</li> <li>The exchange of rings and the&nbsp;kiss</li> <li>Smiling faces of the bride and groom proceeding back down the&nbsp;aisle</li> </ul> <p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="wed3.jpg" title="wed3.jpg" /></p> <h2>The&nbsp;Reception</h2> <p>The trickiest part about your job as a wedding photographer during a wedding reception is not joining on in the fun&mdash;although we certainly encourage you to enjoy yourself&mdash;because it&rsquo;s important not to miss some of the best action shots of the night. So get up in the middle of things, capture those smiling faces and the palpable joy that anyone can feel while being at a wedding reception. Here are some of the best shots to&nbsp;take:</p> <ul> <li>A panoramic shot of the space and guests&nbsp;arriving</li> <li>The bride and groom&nbsp;arriving</li> <li>Shots of the bride and groom and parents at their&nbsp;tables</li> <li>Bride and groom&#8217;s first dance (maybe with a slow shutter speed so the movement blurs the image a&nbsp;little)</li> <li>Cutting the&nbsp;cake</li> <li>Photos of kids, family members, guests, and the bride and groom&nbsp;dancing</li> <li>The garter being&nbsp;tossed</li> <li>The bride and groom departing the&nbsp;wedding</li> </ul> <h2>Enjoy&nbsp;Yourself</h2> <p>Even though your job requires you to be professional, no one ever said you couldn&rsquo;t have any fun! Weddings are joyful, exuberant, and wonderful celebrations, so enjoy the buzz of the occasion while you can. Chances are your positivity will only add to the event and maybe even put your clients at ease knowing that everyone is celebrating their happiness with&nbsp;them.</p> <p><em>This guest post is written by Katherine Oakes from <a href="" target="_blank">Modernize</a>.</em></p> Mon, 23 May 2016 02:52:52 +0000 Photography Website Mistakes You’re Probably Making<p>As a photography business owner you know it&#8217;s vital to have a strong web presence. Whilst social media is important, your brand online should be anchored by your own&nbsp;website.</p> <p>You want prospective clients to be able to find and book you, so you select some of your finest images and you craft a visually stunning online portfolio. Awesome, you&nbsp;rock!</p> <p>But let&#8217;s not slap ourselves on the back just yet. There are two important questions you need to&nbsp;ask:</p> <ol> <li>What is the real purpose of my&nbsp;website?</li> <li>How effective is my website at serving that&nbsp;purpose?</li> </ol> <p>If you think the answer to 1) is <em>&#8220;To get yourself online&#8221;</em> then (with the greatest of respect) you&#8217;re wrong. The real answer is <em>&#8220;To generate more leads for your business&#8221;</em>. This is an important distinction because it governs every decision you make regarding your&nbsp;site.</p> <p>The answer to 2) is more straightforward. Imagine you have 10,000 unique visitors a month (quite a lot), but only a handful manage to find your contact information and get in touch. Your website has failed in a big way. With that traffic you should be getting lots of enquiries. Something is&nbsp;wrong!</p> <p>It&#8217;s understandable that many websites feature beautiful visual design but suffer because the designer had no knowledge of the end user&#8217;s business goals. FotoJournal&#8217;s team has a wide range of experience with business on the web &mdash; we want to&nbsp;help!</p> <p>Here&#8217;s our top 5 mistakes we think photography websites&nbsp;make.</p> <h2>Too many images on the&nbsp;homepage</h2> <p>Your homepage will be the most heavily trafficked page on your site. Above all it needs to load <strong>fast</strong>. If prospective customers are leaving before your site loads then you&#8217;ll never convert them to paying&nbsp;clients.</p> <p>Images are the biggest contributor to page &#8216;weight&#8217; so you need to compromise. Rather than choosing a diverse range of images for you homepage you&#8217;re far better off picking the one or two photos you think will resonate with your audience and providing some concise, thoughtful copy that sells you and your&nbsp;services.</p> <p>Think about your homepage as the gateway to the rest of your site. If you can make an immediate impression then visitors will naturally want to learn more. That&#8217;s when they&#8217;ll start browsing your&nbsp;portfolios.</p> <p>This is a loading time graph of a site with far too many images on its homepage. Would you wait&nbsp;around?</p> <p><img class="fj-Photo fj-large" src="" alt="too-many-too-big.png" title="too-many-too-big.png" /></p> <p>FotoJournal&#8217;s homepage uses a single photo. It&#8217;s a heavily compressed <span class="caps">JPEG</span> and (depending on the screen size) sometimes interpolated to stretch to a larger screen. Believe us, you can get a lot of impact from one well chosen&nbsp;image.</p> <p>You should compress your images as much as you possibly can without <strong>visibly</strong> affecting the quality. You&#8217;ll be surprised at how far you can go. Resize your images to the exact required size before uploading. You should be able to get large images between&nbsp;80&ndash;150Kb.</p> <p>Slow websites are also penalized by search engines. They&#8217;re competing to provide the highest quality, most relavent results. If searchers are bouncing off your site back to the search results then the result provided can&#8217;t have been very good. If this happens continually your site will get pushed lower in the&nbsp;rankings.</p> <p><strong>Update</strong>: FotoJournal sites use a method of image loading called &#8216;lazy loading&#8217;. A sites may feature plenty of images on its homepage but they do not all load at the same time. Images are loaded &#8216;on demand&#8217; as a visitor scrolls to see more&nbsp;content.</p> <h2>No calls to action&nbsp;(CTAs)</h2> <p>We keep going on about this but it&#8217;s so critical it&#8217;s worth mentioning&nbsp;again:</p> <blockquote> <p>The purpose of your website is <strong><span class="caps">NOT</span></strong> to show off how great your work is. It&#8217;s to generate leads for your business.&nbsp;Period.</p> </blockquote> <p>You want people to contact you, right? So give them every opportunity! When you&#8217;re building your site you should be&nbsp;thinking:</p> <p><em><span class="dquo">&#8220;</span>What can I do to get this person to contact me?&#8221;</em>.</p> <p>That&#8217;s your primary objective so make it easy for your visitors. Put links to your contact page at points where you think people might want to make that decision. Perhaps every page should have a big &#8220;Make an appointment!&#8221; button in the footer? Maybe your main navigation should have a huge &#8220;contact me!&#8221;&nbsp;button?</p> <p>Further than CTAs, consider what information you think someone will need to take the decision to contact you. Don&#8217;t make them work to find that information. Quality examples of your work is a good start but it isn&#8217;t enough. Prospective customers will likely want to know what you&#8217;re like to work with. What are your prices? What&#8217;s your process before, during and after a shoot? What are your choices for deliverables? Do you have examples? Maybe you could even create a page that answers your top 10 most common client&nbsp;questions.</p> <h2>Splash&nbsp;Pages</h2> <p>A splash page is a introductory page that shows <em>before</em> someone accesses your homepage. Splash pages might look pretty, but pretty doesn&#8217;t get you more&nbsp;clients.</p> <p>Your most heavily trafficked page will be your homepage. It&#8217;s your first and sometimes only chance to convert your visitors into paying&nbsp;customers.</p> <p>Why, then, would you want to insert a splash page before your homepage? You&#8217;re asking your visitors to do extra work and inevitably a percentage of potential customers will &#8216;bounce&#8217; and be lost forever. You need to grab them immediately and make every effort to provide the information they&#8217;re looking&nbsp;for.</p> <h2>Missing&nbsp;blog</h2> <p>When was the last time you updated your portfolio? Three months ago? Was that the last time you did a shoot? We hope not! So how do prospective customers know that you&#8217;re active, enthusiastic and in&nbsp;demand?</p> <p><strong>By creating regular, fresh web&nbsp;content.</strong></p> <p>Your blog doesn&#8217;t have to take a huge amount of time. It can be as simple as setting aside twenty minutes when post-processing a shoot to upload a few choice shots, writing a few sentences about the client/goals of the shoot and clicking <strong>publish</strong>. Your current clients will love a preview of their images and your leads will appreciate seeing some less formal examples of your work. It&#8217;s a great opportunity to throw in some&nbsp;personality!</p> <p>Of course a blog can be used to boost your company&#8217;s profile online through content marketing and <span class="caps">SEO</span>. We&#8217;ve <a href="">written</a> <a href="">at</a> <a href="">length</a> about that so we&#8217;ll spare you the details&nbsp;here!</p> <h2>Flash</h2> <p>Flash is dead, especially on mobile. <a href="">Mobile is 30% of web traffic</a> and increasing. If you&#8217;ve a flash-only website (or a Flash splash page) you&#8217;re losing 1 in 3&nbsp;leads.</p> <p>Not only is mobile compatibility a problem for Flash based websites but search engine optimization is a big deal too. Flash appears as a black box to search engines. They may look nice and be all whizz-bangy, but they aren&#8217;t indexable, linkable/sharable and won&#8217;t help customers find&nbsp;you.</p> <p>You don&#8217;t want your website to look like this:<span style="line-height: 1.4;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="no-flash.png" title="no-flash.png" /></p> <p>Almost everything that&#8217;s possible with Flash can be done with modern web technologies that do not suffer the same&nbsp;problems.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>With a few pointers everyone can have a website that really serves its purpose &mdash; <strong>Generate leads for your&nbsp;business!</strong></p> <p>If you loved (or hated) this post then let us&nbsp;know:</p> <p><a href="">Email</a> : <a href="">Twitter</a> : <a href="">Facebook</a></p> Fri, 16 May 2014 21:42:00 +0000 Tips for Becoming a Successful Commercial Photographer<p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="216519-50fb7309f5e3a97c3692cf83123267675dcaf1ca-ASyedCorporateFeature2.jpg" title="216519-50fb7309f5e3a97c3692cf83123267675dcaf1ca-ASyedCorporateFeature2.jpg" /></p> <p><strong>This guest post was written by <a href="" target="_blank">Aminah Syed</a>.</strong></p> <p>The difference between a part-time and a professional photographer is more than technical skill. As a professional wedding, family, or portrait photographer you&rsquo;ll know that it&rsquo;s your job to take control and allow your clients to enjoy their big day relaxed in the knowledge they&rsquo;re in safe&nbsp;hands.</p> <p>The world of corporate and commercial photography is an entirely different beast. If you&rsquo;re considering expanding your clientele to include corporate or professional clients there&rsquo;s a few things you should know. In this article I&rsquo;ll pass on some of the knowledge I&rsquo;ve accrued during the past four years shooting professionally for commercial and non-profit&nbsp;organizations.</p> <h2>1. Make yourself bookable by being easy to&nbsp;find</h2> <p>At a minimum you should have a website or online portfolio that presents your corporate and commercial experience along with a clear definition of where you are located and available to shoot. Your contact information should be easy to find and you should put your email address and (optionally) phone number&nbsp;online.</p> <p>It sounds obvious but your website should be easy to find. It&rsquo;s worth <a href="" target="_blank" title="How to create proper keywords, titles, tags and descriptions | FotoJournal">optimizing your site</a> for search engines, and in particular <a href="" target="_blank" title="Local SEO &ndash; Get your Photography business on the first page of Google | FotoJournal">local <span class="caps">SEO</span></a> so your site ranks higher for searches in your geographic area. Being active on social media like Twitter <span class="amp">&amp;</span> Facebook, commenting on articles and <a href="" target="_blank" title="5 Ways Blogging Will Boost Your Photography Business | FotoJournal">writing a blog</a> will also increase people&rsquo;s awareness of you, resulting in more&nbsp;leads.</p> <p>If have a diverse body of work, separate your other genres of photography out from your corporate portfolio. Make it easy for potential clients to find exactly what they&rsquo;re looking for. FotoJournal&#8217;s new portfolio feature lets you easily create separate galleries for exactly this&nbsp;purpose.</p> <h2>2. Get the information and get it in&nbsp;writing</h2> <p>Ask lots of questions &mdash; or better yet &mdash; ask for a creative brief and/or shot list before the shoot. The more information you can gather from the clients about the project and where your work will fit in, the easier you make it for yourself. You&rsquo;ll find that understanding where your clients are coming from, and why will help you knock it out of the park when it comes to the&nbsp;shoot!</p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4;">By getting everything in writing you give yourself something to fall back on if your client begins to expect more from you than what they originally asked for. That&rsquo;s called &lsquo;scope creep&rsquo; and no one ever wants scope&nbsp;creep.</span></p> <p>Always ask what the client&rsquo;s budget is. Depending on the organization, project, or even department within a company, budgets can vary wildly. Know that if you are producing work for online versus print, the requirements will be different. Always ask what the final output will&nbsp;be.</p> <h2>3. Realize that it&rsquo;s about control, or lack there&nbsp;of</h2> <p>As a portrait or wedding photographer your clients hand over control to you in order to produce great photographs. You are the boss and your clients will trust you to direct them and be in control of the session. For the most part, you decide when the shoot takes place, how many images they&rsquo;ll receive, in what form they&rsquo;ll display their photos, and so&nbsp;on&hellip;</p> <p><strong>This is not the case in commercial or corporate&nbsp;photography!</strong></p> <p>Frequently your photography will be part of a larger campaign or project with many moving parts. Your corporate &ldquo;client&rdquo; will often include far more than one person &mdash; it&rsquo;s a team&nbsp;effort.</p> <p>Usually there is a communications/marketing person, an account manager, an art director, a graphic designer, and probably a senior executive all tasked with seeing the project to completion. Depending on the scope of the project there will be a different deadline for each element of the campaign. Therefore, you will be working within your client&rsquo;s deadlines and project needs to meet a collective goal, often one tied to a specific business&nbsp;objective.</p> <h2>4. The deadline was&nbsp;yesterday</h2> <p>Deadlines in the corporate and commercial photography world are always much tighter and more concrete than wedding and portrait photography. No money is lost if you&rsquo;re a couple of days late delivering your maternity proofs. You can use your healthy client relationship to explain the delay and keep everyone happy. This is rarely the case with commercial&nbsp;photography.</p> <p>Depending on the scope of the project there are many different milestones that need to be finished to hit a campaign launch date &mdash; often in a specific sequence. For example, a graphic designer might require your work before they can begin theirs. If other people depend on your work, your delays will delay everyone else and make the entire project late. Not&nbsp;good!</p> <p>As a general rule, I ask what the deadline is for photography in my first corresponsence and then do my best to provide the images well before that date &mdash; sometimes providing proofs as fast as 24 hours after the shoot. The faster you can get your part finished, the faster the client can get to work on the rest of the campaign or project. To speed up this process, use an online proofing gallery (like FotoJournal&#8217;s) to get proofs in your client&rsquo;s hands&nbsp;<span class="caps">ASAP</span>.</p> <h2>5. Take direction and criticism&nbsp;well</h2> <p>You must have the ability to take direction. Unlike weddings and portraits, your corporate clients will have a clear idea of what they are looking for. Therefore the ability to listen to what they are asking and deliver the goods becomes your single most important task. (Remember tip&nbsp;#3!)</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t be offended if you are asked to reshoot or try again on retouching an image. Remember, your work is part of an overall goal. Chances are you will have an art director and the client present at your shoot watching you and critiquing your work on the spot. Shoot tethered, if possible, so that your client can see the images as they happen and offer&nbsp;suggestions.</p> <h2>6. Know your limits and stick to&nbsp;them</h2> <p>If you are a natural light photographer with no studio experience then now is probably not the time to learn complicated studio lighting scenarios. Make sure you are upfront regarding your skill level. A sure-fire way to losing your client is inappropriately pair your skills with a job and not deliver on a final product. This will do more harm to your career than&nbsp;help.</p> <p>Be sure to keep an open dialogue with your corporate clients regarding their expectations throughout the entire process. Managing expectations is key for the happiness of all parties and your chances of further&nbsp;work.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>Corporate photography requires a different approach than other types of photography. It&rsquo;s not for everyone but an understanding of how things work can help you to diversify your portfolio and take on new&nbsp;challenges.</p> <p><strong>Do you shoot corporate photography? Anything to add? Let us&nbsp;know!</strong></p> <hr /> <div style="overflow: hidden; padding-top: 11px; margin-bottom: -12px;"><img class="fj-Photo fj-small" src="" alt="aminah-syed.jpg" title="aminah-syed.jpg" style="float: left; width: 100px;" /> <h3 style="float: right; width: 580px; font-size: 20px;">Aminah&nbsp;Syed</h3> <span style="float: right; width: 580px; font-size: 15px;">This post was written by Aminah Syed, a freelance photographer from Edmonton, Canada. She&#8217;s been <a href="" target="_blank" title="Aminah Syed Photography Blog">blogging with FotoJournal</a> for nearly 4 years. You should also check out <a href="" target="_blank" title="Aminah Syed's Website">Aminah&#8217;s website</a>!</span></div> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 16:36:00 +0000 SEO – Get your Photography business on the first page of Google<p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="google-local-seo.png" title="google-local-seo.png" /></p> <p>A significant and increasing proportion of your prospective clients are turning to the internet to find service providers to meet their needs. If you run a business, it&rsquo;s never been more important to have a strong web presence. You are a needle in the haystack but you need to <strong><span class="caps">BECOME</span> <span class="caps">THE</span> <span class="caps">HAYSTACK</span></strong>.</p> <p>Search engine optimization is all about tweaking your site to rank higher for the searches you think people will enter when they&rsquo;re looking for a photographer. Because there&rsquo;s a multitude of factors to take into account, it&rsquo;s incredibly easy to be optimizing the wrong&nbsp;thing.</p> <p>For example, the keywords and other meta tags on your site <a href="">have very little bearing on your search ranking</a>. Spending any time on this is worthless. Another missed opportunity is not optimizing within your geographic area. If your <span class="caps">SEO</span> efforts have been directed at optimizing for an extremely competitive and broad search term like &ldquo;Wedding photographer&rdquo; and not in any particular&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.4;">location, then you&rsquo;re set up for&nbsp;failure.</span></p> <h2>Where should a photographer focus their <span class="caps">SEO</span>&nbsp;efforts?</h2> <p>What&rsquo;s really important for a photographer is to <strong>rank well in local search results.</strong> This is an area in which the major search engines have been dedicating significant resources over the last few of years. Most photographers&rsquo; clients are likely to come from their immediate geographic area so if you&rsquo;re a photographer based out of Toronto, you want to be on the first page for a query like &ldquo;Wedding photographers in&nbsp;Toronto&rdquo;.</p> <p>The importance of ranking highly can&#8217;t be overstated. According to a <a href="" target="_blank" title="Seeing Between the Lines of the Search and the Click Whitepaper">report by Compete</a>, 87% of clicks for a search are in the first five results and a whopping 53% are on the first result. <strong>Focusing on Local <span class="caps">SEO</span> will help you rank higher for searches in your area, and will connect you with people who are more likely to become paying&nbsp;clients.</strong></p> <p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="01-first-page-serps-clicks.png" title="01-first-page-serps-clicks.png" style="line-height: 1.4;" /></p> <p>The best part is that&nbsp;<strong>Local <span class="caps">SEO</span> is largely neglected by most businesses</strong>, including photographers. This means there is a&nbsp;<em>huge</em>&nbsp;opportunity to gain a significant competitive advantage by ranking higher for searches specific to your geographic area. Focusing on Local <span class="caps">SEO</span> while others neglect it can earn you a pretty solid spot in search results &mdash; others will wonder how you did it&nbsp;:)</p> <h2>How is local search different from regular&nbsp;search?</h2> <p>Google treats local search results differently from its regular organic results. The holy grail of organic search results is to appear in the number one position. Local results are even better than that &ndash; they regularly appear <strong>above the top ranking organic results</strong>.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s an example of a Google search for &ldquo;Toronto wedding photographer&rdquo;. You&rsquo;ll notice that the local search results (red) appear <strong>above</strong> the organic results (green) and are second only to the ads&nbsp;(blue).</p> <p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="02-local-search-results.jpg" title="02-local-search-results.jpg" style="line-height: 1.4;" /></p> <p>Here&rsquo;s the cool thing &ndash; getting in those local search results pages isn&rsquo;t that <em>hard</em>. Be under no illusion &ndash; you&rsquo;ll still need to work to get there &ndash; it&rsquo;s just not the <em>years</em> of dedication required to earn a top&nbsp;ranking.</p> <p>In the not too distant future, <a href="" target="_blank">FotoJournal</a> will be publishing our &ldquo;Photographers Guide to Local <span class="caps">SEO</span>&rdquo;. We know you can&rsquo;t wait for that though! Here&rsquo;s our top five tips for getting your photography business into Google&rsquo;s local search&nbsp;results.</p> <h2>1. Create a Google+ Business&nbsp;Page</h2> <p>If you refer to the earlier search results screenshot, you&rsquo;ll see that each result features a commonality &ndash; they all feature Google reviews, a Google+ page, or&nbsp;both.</p> <p>The single most effective single thing you can do is create a <a href="" target="_blank" title="Google + Business">Google + Business page</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;tell Google everything about your&nbsp;business.</p> <p>Doing this allows you to connect with potential clients over all of Google&rsquo;s services including search, maps, Google+ and mobile devices. Best of all, it&rsquo;s totally&nbsp;free.</p> <p>You should be sure to fill out as much of your profile as possible, paying particular attention to your business address, contact information and website, ensuring that these correspond with other instances of your business&rsquo;s information online. Be sure to complete the <a href="" target="_blank">verification steps</a>&nbsp;too.</p> <p>A really important step is to set your business category correctly. You set categories at two points. When you enter your initial information you&rsquo;ll chose a primary category and then later on you can select up to 9 sub-categories. Your primary category will be obvious though some specific categories (like Wedding Photographer) exist which would be a better choice than simply&nbsp;&ldquo;Photographer&rdquo;.</p> <p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="03-photographer-categories.png" title="03-photographer-categories.png" /></p> <p>You also list your business in sub-categories. <span class="caps">SEO</span> expert Mike Blumenthal has a <a href="" target="_blank" title="Blumenthals Olean NY &amp; Bradford Pa- strong support and a personal touch. Web Hosting, Design, e-commerce, Macintosh Support- Google Places Category Tool - Google Categories - Google Maps">great tool</a> to help you identify sub-categories you should list your business&nbsp;in.</p> <p>Be sure to use keywords that identify your business in your business name. If you&rsquo;re a wedding photographer, put &ldquo;Your Name Wedding Photographer&rdquo; instead of &ldquo;Your&nbsp;Name&rdquo;.</p> <p>Finally, high quality images are a must. You&rsquo;re a photographer so you should be able to handle&nbsp;that!</p> <h2>2. Ask your past and future clients to vouch for&nbsp;you</h2> <p>If you have satisfied clients (and you should!) then you should ask them to take five minutes and write you a review on your new Google + page. <a href="" target="_blank" title="Social proof - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia">Social proof</a> is key to improving your ranking. Lots of positive reviews means you&rsquo;re likely pretty good at what you do and naturally Google wants to provide the best quality results for its&nbsp;users.</p> <p>You should ensure that when you&rsquo;re sending deliverables to a client that you include instructions on how to add a review. <a href="" target="_blank" title="Review Handout Generator from Whitespark and Local Visibility System">Here&rsquo;s a fantastic tool</a> from the <span class="caps">SEO</span> consultancy <a href="" target="_blank">Whitespark</a> that helps you generate easy to follow instructions for leaving a Google&nbsp;review.</p> <h2>3. Create a Google Places for Business&nbsp;Listing</h2> <p>In addition to Google +, Google&rsquo;s social offering, you should list your company in Google Places, which is part of search. There are a lot of similarities between these two Google services and things can get a bit confusing. The main difference is Google Places adds your listing to Google maps and is a place on Google for your business. Google + is your business&rsquo;s social profile where you&rsquo;d interact with customers and promote your business within Google. If you&rsquo;re interested, <a href="" target="_blank" title="Google Places for Business vs. Google+ Local - Search Engine Watch (#SEW)">here&rsquo;s a comprehensive explanation</a>.</p> <p>When you&rsquo;re setting up your Google Places for Business account, the same rules apply as for your Google + account. Be diligent&nbsp;about:</p> <ul> <li>Using the correct&nbsp;categories</li> <li>Having keywords in business&nbsp;titles</li> <li>Entering the correct location and company&nbsp;information</li> </ul> <h2>4. Build Local&nbsp;Citations</h2> <p>A local citation is a &lsquo;mention&rsquo; of your company&rsquo;s name, address and contact information on the internet and they&rsquo;re used extensively to help you rank in local search results. They differ from inbound links (to your site) in that they don&rsquo;t have to be a link, they could simply be a mention in a blog post or online business&nbsp;directory.</p> <p>What local citations do is offer some level of proof that your business exists, is relevant to a particular industry and is prominent in that sector. The more citations the better. It shows you&rsquo;re an established&nbsp;player.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s important to keep your citations up to date. If you&rsquo;ve moved your business then you need to be sure that you&rsquo;ve updated as many of your citations as possible to keep your online presence&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.4;">consistent.</span></p> <p>Some examples of where you might want to list your business include your local chambers of commerce, yellow pages or Yelp. A great resource for finding places to list can be found for the <span class="caps">US</span>, <span class="caps">UK</span>, Canada and Australia in <a href="" target="_blank" title="The Definitive List of Local Search Citations |">this blog post by Local Visibility System</a>.</p> <p>Be sure to be consistent with the data you enter. For example, ensure that you always use the same phone number. Don&rsquo;t have your cell for some listing and your office number on others. Consistency is the&nbsp;key.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;d like to see where you currently have citations and where they&rsquo;re missing then you can use the tool on <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s also some fantastic information on best <a href="" target="_blank" title="Local Citation Building Best-Practices | Whitespark">practices for building local citations</a> on Whitespark&rsquo;s&nbsp;blog.</p> <h2>5. Your Website and External&nbsp;Links</h2> <p>Less critical for local <span class="caps">SEO</span>, but still important for <span class="caps">SEO</span> in general, is to ensure your own website contains easily parsable information about your business. You must ensure that your contact page has the correct name, address and phone number and that your business name is included in <a href="" target="_blank" title="How to create proper keywords, titles, tags and descriptions | FotoJournal">page title tags</a> and&nbsp;headlines.</p> <p>Inbound links to your site will also help your ranking. An inbound link is considered a &lsquo;vote&rsquo; for your site by the search engines. If a large site (with lots of votes of its own) links to you then that vote is more strongly weighted. A really great way to build inbound links is guest&nbsp;blogging.</p> <p>Guest blogging is really easy to do in theory &ndash; just write some great content and nicely ask an influential blog&rsquo;s author if they&rsquo;d like to publish your article. In reality it&rsquo;s a little more difficult than that. You&rsquo;re really building relationships which can take a little time and any old article just won&rsquo;t do. An article should be well written, considered and accurately serve a blog&rsquo;s&nbsp;readership.</p> <p>One way of building relationships is to write articles that reference other bloggers&rsquo; writing. You can then contact them (Twitter/Facebook/Email) with a good reason. For&nbsp;example:</p> <blockquote>&ldquo;Hey, John! I recently wrote an article in response to your post on X. Thought you might like to read it.&rdquo;</blockquote> <p>There&rsquo;s plenty of popular photography blogs out there so get&nbsp;writing!</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>Optimising your site for local <span class="caps">SEO</span> will give your online presence a huge lift over traditional <span class="caps">SEO</span>. Remember that your website exists not to display your work, but to generate leads for your business &ndash; a high visibility in the geographic area in which you work will be a significant boost. Local <span class="caps">SEO</span> is still in its infancy so this is a great time to get a jump on your competitors and get those review counts&nbsp;up.</p> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 21:37:00 +0000 to create proper keywords, titles, tags and descriptions<p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="keywords.png" title="keywords.png" /></p> <p>FotoJournal features a wide range of search engine optimization (<a href="" target="_blank"><span class="caps">SEO</span></a>) features, some of which can cause confusion. Our customers are foremost photographers and not web professionals so it&rsquo;s understandable that their <span class="caps">SEO</span> knowledge may be limited. It&rsquo;s our responsibility at FotoJournal to educate our customers so they can get the maximum value out of their&nbsp;blogs.</p> <p>In this post we attempt to demystify meta keywords, meta descriptions, title tags and content tags. All but the last of these are <span class="caps">HTML</span> tags, but what is <span class="caps">HTML</span> and what is an <span class="caps">HTML</span>&nbsp;tag?</p> <h2>What is an <span class="caps">HTML</span>&nbsp;tag?</h2> <p>Behind the scenes, a web page is made up of a multitude of nested <a href="" target="_blank" title="Search engine optimization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia"><span class="caps">HTML</span></a> tags. The tag defines the type of content and everything you see on a page is contained within a tag. For example, you might have an image tag to display images or a paragraph tag to display a paragraph of text like this&nbsp;one.</p> <h2>What is the title tag and why is it so&nbsp;important?</h2> <p>From an <span class="caps">SEO</span> perspective, the most important <span class="caps">HTML</span> tag is the title tag. If you were to <a href="" target="_blank">view the source</a> of the FotoJournal home page, somewhere towards the top you would find the following title&nbsp;tag.</p> <p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="title-tag.png" title="title-tag.png" /></p> <p>Title tags have two primary uses. Firstly, they show up in the title bar (or tab) of your&nbsp;browser.</p> <p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="title-tag-browser.png" title="title-tag-browser.png" /></p> <p>And secondly, Google often uses them as the clickable link for a result on their search results&nbsp;page.</p> <p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="title-tag-serps.png" title="title-tag-serps.png" /></p> <p>Google reserves the right to not use the title tag if it&rsquo;s inappropriate (e.g. says &lsquo;Untitled&rsquo; or doesn&rsquo;t seem to match the page&rsquo;s content), missing or too long (generally greater than 70&nbsp;characters).</p> <p>You should consider what is a good title for your page because it will have some influence on whether a searcher clicks through to your site. If you&rsquo;re a wedding photographer in Des Moines then something like <em>&ldquo;Des Moines Wedding Photography&rdquo;</em> would encourage clicks whereas. <em>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m a really awesome photographer that takes pictures of weddings in Des Moines, Iowa, <span class="caps">USA</span>&rdquo;</em> isn&rsquo;t going to convey the right type of message and likely will harm your <span class="caps">SEO</span>&nbsp;efforts.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s a lot been written about title tags and you can get really deep into optimizing them. To learn more than you ever wanted to know, check out <a href="" target="_blank" title="Title Tag - Learn SEO - Moz"></a></p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> <em>You can edit your blog&rsquo;s title meta tag on the &ldquo;Settings&rdquo; page in FotoJournal and for each of your posts in the advanced tab of your post&rsquo;s edit&nbsp;screen.</em></p> <h2>The description meta&nbsp;tag</h2> <p>The description tag provides a short, succinct description of the page. This is critically important for your visibility in search engines as it is frequently shown in search result pages as a description of your&nbsp;site.</p> <p>Matt Cutts leads the Webspam team at Google, and works with the search quality team on search engine optimization (<span class="caps">SEO</span>) issues. A long time Google employee, Matt is considered the oracle of <span class="caps">SEO</span>. Regarding the meta description tag, Matt says the&nbsp;following:</p> <blockquote>We use the meta description tag. The meta description is really handy because if we don&rsquo;t know what would make a good snippet (to show below the link in the search result) and you have something in the meta description tag that would basically give a pretty good answer &ndash; maybe it matches what the visitor typed in or something along those lines. Then we do reserve the right to show that meta description tag as the snippet. So we can either show the snippet that might be the keyword in context on the page, or the meta description.</blockquote> <p><strong>&mdash; Matt Cutts <a href="" target="_blank"></a></strong></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.4;">When FotoJournal appears in Google&rsquo;s search engine results, the content of the description meta tag is used. However, this isn&rsquo;t universal for every site. Google may show &lsquo;keywords in context&rsquo; &mdash; a snippet of text from the page &mdash; if they think that provides more information to the&nbsp;visitor.</span></p> <p>Here&rsquo;s FotoJournal&rsquo;s meta description tag as it appears in the source code for our&nbsp;website:</p> <p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="meta-description-code.png" title="meta-description-code.png" /></p> <p>And here&rsquo;s what the search result looks like. Note the text from the description meta tag is used in Google&rsquo;s description snippet for the&nbsp;result.</p> <p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="meta-description-serps.png" title="meta-description-serps.png" /></p> <p>The description tag is <em>extremely powerful</em> because it&rsquo;s your chance to influence someone to click through to your site when they&rsquo;re looking at a results page on Google. Even if you aren&rsquo;t the top result for a search, you still might convince the person to click to your site if your site description is really relevant. Use your description tag to really sell&nbsp;yourself!</p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> <em>You can edit your blog&rsquo;s description meta tag on the &ldquo;Settings&rdquo; page in FotoJournal and for each of your posts in the advanced tab of your post&rsquo;s edit&nbsp;screen.</em></p> <h2>What about other meta&nbsp;tags?</h2> <p>In addition to <span class="caps">HTML</span> tags that display content, some (like the description tag) serve to provide structured data about a web page. These &lsquo;meta&rsquo; tags are not visible when a human views a page using a web browser &ndash; they&rsquo;re only seen by computers when they &lsquo;index&rsquo; the page for searching. There&rsquo;s a lot of different types, but we only need to discuss&nbsp;one.</p> <h2>The keywords meta&nbsp;tag</h2> <p>The keywords meta tag is a comma separated list of words that describe a page&rsquo;s content. For a photographer based in Vancouver it might contain <em>&#8220;Vancouver photographer, photographer, wedding photographer Vancouver,&nbsp;etc&amp;hellip.&#8221;</em></p> <p>In the early days of the internet the keywords tag was how you ranked high in search results. If you wanted to rank high for <em>&ldquo;Seattle coffee roasters&rdquo;</em> you&rsquo;d enter as many variations of that phrase as possible into your keywords tag. To combat the spammers, most search engines simply began ignoring the keywords meta tag&nbsp;altogether.</p> <p>Matt Cutts has the following to say on the meta keywords&nbsp;tag:</p> <blockquote>You shouldn&rsquo;t spend any time on the meta keywords tag. We don&rsquo;t use it. I&rsquo;m not aware of any major search engine that uses it these days.</blockquote> <p><strong>&#8212; Matt Cutts <a href="" target="_blank"></a></strong></p> <p>Matt is crystal clear here &mdash; meta keywords are downright useless nowadays. Furthermore, it&rsquo;s suspected that some search engines actually <a href="" target="_blank" title="Google Webspam &ldquo;Penguin&rdquo; Over-Optimization Penalty Hits | Internet Marketing Blog">penalize websites for using the keywords meta tag</a> because its considered a spam&nbsp;tactic.</p> <p>Because of this FotoJournal will be removing the keywords meta tag in the near future. You don&rsquo;t need to worry about this one any&nbsp;longer.</p> <h2>Tags to help visitors browse your&nbsp;content</h2> <p>When writing a post or uploading an image, FotoJournal allows you to &lsquo;tag&rsquo; your created content. These tags are different from the <span class="caps">HTML</span> tags that make up web pages. The purpose of these tags are to help people browse and discover your content more easily. Tags are usually chosen informally and personally by the content creator. They can be almost&nbsp;anything.</p> <p>For example, if I took a photo of a wedding, I might tag it with <em>&lsquo;wedding&rsquo;, &lsquo;wedding photography&rsquo;, &lsquo;new york&rsquo;, &lsquo;new york wedding&rsquo;</em>. They key thing is not to go overboard. Although there&rsquo;s no maximum, the purpose is to relate your posts together &ndash; fewer is better. Around 5 tags would be a good target, but no more than 10. It would be frustrating for visitors if you had 100 posts with 5000 tags. Clicking a tag to view other similarly tagged posts would yield only the post you just clicked&nbsp;from.</p> <p>Tags are non-hierarchical although when displaying many tags as a &lsquo;<a href="" target="_blank" title="Tag cloud - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia">tag cloud</a>&rsquo;, a weighting can be assigned to each based on how many times a tag has been&nbsp;used.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s critical to remember that tags are <strong>not</strong> the same as meta keywords. Creating lots of tags will not help your <span class="caps">SEO</span>. If anything it will confuse and muddy what your page is really&nbsp;about.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s important to understand the differences between all these items in order to create a solid foundation on which to build your blog. If there&rsquo;s anything further you&rsquo;d like to know then please contact us at <a href=""></a> &ndash; we&rsquo;re always happy to&nbsp;help!</p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 16:44:00 +0000 are the top five challenges new professional photographers face?<p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="293947_10150752520590403_2175046_n.jpg" title="293947_10150752520590403_2175046_n.jpg" /></p> <p>Running a photography business is a really tough challenge. The hours of dedication coupled with financial risk and personal sacrifice don&rsquo;t endear it to everyone. People striving out on their own need all the help they can get. We&rsquo;d like to help get you off the ground so we asked one of our resident freelance photographers, <a href="">Jill Coursen</a>, to answer &ndash; What are the top five challenges new professional photographers&nbsp;face?</p> <h2>What Gear Do I&nbsp;Need?</h2> <p>Although quality camera equipment is reducing in price as technology advances, it&rsquo;s still eye-wateringly expensive. It&rsquo;s critical to remember that you <strong>don&rsquo;t need the very best equipment when you&rsquo;re just starting out</strong>. Learning to effectively use the tools you have will make you a better&nbsp;photographer.</p> <p>Your camera gear should grow with your business and portfolio. Renting lenses and cameras is a good way to test prospective purchases out and help you learn if they will benefit your type of photography. Building up your camera bag can be a process of trial and error. A good camera body is essential, so you should find a balance between quality and value that is right for you at the&nbsp;time.</p> <h2>What&#8217;s My&nbsp;Style?</h2> <p>Go out and take some pictures! Regardless of what your current gear situation is, just go out and shoot. Shoot as much as you can as often as you can. Those tendencies you develop will eventually become your style. Knowing what motivates you and inspires you will make you the best photographer you can be. Once you have your photography style figured out it will be much easier for you to have a logo and brand identity created that suits your style. When people click on your website link or Facebook page, everything there should be a reflection of your&nbsp;style.</p> <h2>How Do I Build a&nbsp;Portfolio?</h2> <p>Your portfolio should contain a little bit of everything that you are willing to take on as a professional. This could be weddings, couples, families, events, boudoir etc. Take photos of your friends and family as much as possible to build up a diverse body of work when just starting out. You should <a href="">bootstrap</a> your portfolio with personal work until you have enough quality paid&nbsp;work.</p> <p>If you want to shoot weddings, assist for an established wedding photographer. Don&rsquo;t know any? Do some Google searches and write some emails. Learning from the main players in your space will improve your skills no end and the connections you&rsquo;ll make are invaluable. This will give you the experience you need. Make sure you are constantly updating your portfolio with your best work and your blog with your newest. If clients are repeatedly visiting your online presences, they will be excited to see that you are passionate about and sharing your latest&nbsp;work.</p> <h2>How Much Do I&nbsp;Charge?</h2> <p>Until you have an amazing portfolio featuring quality photos from all of the areas you want to be shooting in, you are going to have to work a little cheaper. But it&#8217;s not all bad news! Every shoot you do means a few new pieces for your portfolio and blog, and every new piece adds value to your&nbsp;business.</p> <p>In these first couple of years, don&#8217;t just look at financial compensation as a determining factor in taking the job, you must also consider your portfolio and the experience value of every prospective client. Once you&rsquo;re a little more established, it&#8217;s time to research prices in your area and find a fee that&rsquo;s representative of your level of experience and the quality of your work. You need to feel comfortable telling your clients your rate, and remember, sometimes charging too little can be just as big of a turn off to clients as charging too&nbsp;much.</p> <h2>How Do I Find&nbsp;Clients?</h2> <p>In the current marketplace your online presence should be a top priority. A frequently updated and stylistically consistent web presence is essential to grow a client base. Your web presence should&nbsp;include:</p> <ul> <li>A portfolio website (<a href="">preferably not Flash</a>)</li> <li>An actively maintained <a href="">blog</a>.</li> <li>Social networking activity e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,&nbsp;Instagram.</li> </ul> <p>Be aware, though, that it&rsquo;s not the only way. The old fashioned way &ndash; <strong>by creating an amazing experience for your existing clients</strong> &ndash; is tried and tested. If your clients love you then they&rsquo;ll recommend you to their friends, who will evangelise you to their friends&nbsp;who&hellip;</p> <p>You get the&nbsp;picture.</p> <p>People will be sharing your work with hundreds of their friends and acquaintances via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the quality of the photos will not be the only consideration, but the enthusiasm in which they are displayed will be based on the quality of their experience with you as their photographer. All interactions with your clients should always be treated with cheerful eagerness and professionalism. Even more so in the formative years of your business. Your punctuality, your appearance and your temperament are all things that will affect your clients experience just as much as the photos they&nbsp;receive.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>Running a business will always be hard, but taking the advice of people who&rsquo;ve have made it to where you strive to be can facilitate your path to get&nbsp;there.</p> <p><strong>What do you find to be the biggest challenge when starting a photography&nbsp;business?</strong></p> <hr /> <div style="overflow: hidden; padding-top: 11px; margin-bottom: -12px;"><img class="fj-Photo fj-small" src="" alt="jill-coursen.jpg" title="jill-coursen.jpg" style="float: left;" /> <h3 style="float: right; width: 580px; font-size: 20px;">Jill&nbsp;Coursen</h3> <span style="float: right; width: 580px; font-size: 15px;">This post was written by Jill Coursen, a freelance photographer from Edmonton, Canada. She&#8217;s been <a href="" target="_blank" title="Jill Coursen't Photography Blog">blogging with FotoJournal</a> for nearly 4 years. You should also check out <a href="" target="_blank" title="Jill Coursen's Website">Jill&#8217;s website</a>!</span></div> Fri, 24 Jan 2014 18:39:00 +0000 Tricks That Will Help You Blog More (With Worksheet)<p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="8-tricks-that-will-help-you-blog-more.png" title="8-tricks-that-will-help-you-blog-more.png" /></p> <p style="font-size: 20px; font-family: georgia,serif; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; padding-bottom: 1em;"><em>We&rsquo;re already two weeks into 2014, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean it&rsquo;s too late for New Year&rsquo;s Resolutions. Make blogging yours &mdash; here&rsquo;s how to stick to&nbsp;it!</em></p> <p>You already know <a href="">why you should be blogging</a> &mdash; and you probably feel bad for not doing it often enough. Don&rsquo;t worry, you&rsquo;re not alone. Maintaining a blog is hard work, especially when you&rsquo;re just starting&nbsp;out.</p> <p>But in the spirit of new beginnings and self betterment, now is the perfect time to commit to building better blogging habits. And it doesn&rsquo;t have to be painful &mdash; there are lots of methods you can use to help you stick to your&nbsp;goals!</p> <p>Below are 8 useful tricks you can use to create better blogging habits and set yourself up for success. Each trick includes an Action Item, which we highly recommend completing as you read the&nbsp;post.&nbsp;</p> <p style="font-size: 20px;"><a href=""><strong style="line-height: 1.4;">Download the&nbsp;Worksheet</strong></a></p> <h2>#1: Define a specific&nbsp;goal</h2> <p>The first thing you should do when setting any goal is specify in concrete terms what you want to accomplish. It&rsquo;s much easier to stay on track with clear and unambiguous outcomes in&nbsp;mind.</p> <p>For example, if you decide your New Year&rsquo;s Resolution is to &ldquo;blog more,&rdquo; how will you know if you&rsquo;re on track? A better version would be &ldquo;I will publish one new blog post every week.&rdquo; An even better version would be &ldquo;I will draft a blog post every Wednesday evening, edit it Saturday afternoon, and publish it on Monday morning.&rdquo; Not only have you clearly defined your goal, you&rsquo;ve also defined the process you&rsquo;ll use to achieve&nbsp;it.</p> <p>When you set specific goals you need to ask: what does success look like for you? This is a very personal question. If you&rsquo;re brand new to blogging you might aim to publish one post per month. That might not sound like much, but once you finish reading this post and get back to your busy life you&rsquo;ll be amazed at how easy it is to forget about the internal commitment you just made (which is why we discuss reminders later on). Some people prefer to set lower, but more realistic goals they&rsquo;re certain they can&nbsp;attain.</p> <p>However, another line of thinking is to set ridiculously ambitious goals. Why not set a goal of blogging every week? Or &mdash; hear me out &mdash; every single day? There&rsquo;s a great book called <a href="">The 10x Rule</a> which suggests that people achieve amazing and unexpected things when they set goals 10 times bigger than what they initially think they can&nbsp;achieve.</p> <p>For example, let&rsquo;s say you&rsquo;re confident you can post once per month: why not increase that to 10 posts each month? It might sound crazy, but seriously &mdash; what do you have to lose by setting huge goals? You might just surprise yourself. And even if you end up publishing only 5 posts per month that&rsquo;s still 5 times as many as you thought you&nbsp;could!</p> <p><em><strong>Action Item:</strong> take 2 minutes to define your blogging goals for the next year &mdash; and be as specific as&nbsp;possible!</em></p> <h2>#2: Write your goals out on&nbsp;paper</h2> <p>Figured out your specific blogging goal? Good. Now you need to write it down on paper. One study found that you&rsquo;re <a href="">42% more likely</a> to achieve your goals simply by writing them&nbsp;down.</p> <p>Why is this? No one knows exactly, but you&rsquo;ve got nothing to lose by trying! Personally, I feel like something magical happens when I physically touch a pen to paper and consciously move my hand to write words. For me, writing on paper turns abstract thoughts into something&nbsp;tangible.</p> <p>In The 10x Rule mentioned above, the author suggests going as far as writing out your goals every night before you go to bed. The idea is that repeatedly writing them out forces you to reflect on them on a daily basis and more solidly plants them in your&nbsp;memory.</p> <p><em><strong>Action Item:</strong> grab a good old fashioned pen <span class="amp">&amp;</span> paper and write down your (very specific) blogging goal. You might want to write it down several times, and perhaps repeat the ritual on a daily&nbsp;basis.</em></p> <h2>#3: Publicly commit to your&nbsp;goals</h2> <p>Many of us keep our resolutions private because we&rsquo;re afraid of embarrassing ourselves when we fall off the wagon. It&rsquo;s natural but counterproductive thinking. What if you turned that idea around and shared your goals so that you&rsquo;re less tempted to give up on&nbsp;them?</p> <blockquote> <p><span class="dquo">&ldquo;</span>Robert Cialdini, author of <a href="">Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion</a> makes the point that <strong>individuals are driven to act consistently with their previous commitments</strong> in order to stay true to their concepts of&nbsp;themselves.&ldquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>&mdash; <a href="">The Power of Publicly Committing to Your Goals</a> (emphasis&nbsp;added)</p> <p>When you share your goals, not only do you have people to hold you accountable &mdash; you also have a group who can provide encouragement and keep you focused on your&nbsp;objectives.</p> <p>Who should you share with? Obviously whomever and however many people you feel comfortable with, but our advice would be as many as possible &mdash; including strangers! Naturally, you&rsquo;ll tell your significant other, best friends, and your loving mother. But also consider posting on Facebook, Twitter, your website, and of course your&nbsp;blog!</p> <p>So avoid the temptation to be shy &mdash; use the social nature of humans to your&nbsp;advantage!</p> <p><em><strong>Action Item:</strong> Now that you&rsquo;ve clearly defined what you want to achieve and you&rsquo;ve written it down, tell&nbsp;everyone!</em></p> <h2>#4: Takes notes when an idea&nbsp;strikes</h2> <p>Every creative person feels that unique mixture of excitement and dread when faced with a blank canvas or empty page. The key is being prepared. Writer&rsquo;s block is surprisingly easy to solve: when you have an idea for something to write about, quickly jot it down for later. And when you&rsquo;re ready to write, look at your notes. Almost too&nbsp;easy!</p> <p>As you go about your daily life you&rsquo;ll start having tons of ideas for blog posts. I get my best ideas when chatting with friends over coffee, waiting for the train, or running on the treadmill &mdash; not when I&rsquo;m sitting at my computer trying to be creative. You need to capture these ideas in as much detail as possible when they occur so you don&rsquo;t forget&nbsp;them.</p> <p>If you like pen <span class="amp">&amp;</span> paper, check out <a href="">Field Notes</a>. They&rsquo;re beautiful and easily tuck into nearly any pocket. If digital notes are your thing, check out <a href="">Evernote</a>. They&rsquo;ve got apps for every device imaginable and they all stay perfectly in sync. You can also clip links and images. Evernote even lets you compose notes via speech &mdash; you&rsquo;re going to have a bad time trying to type a note on the&nbsp;treadmill!</p> <p>You&rsquo;re more likely to keep notes if you enjoy the process &mdash; I love having an excuse to scribble in my Field Notes. Whichever method you choose, make sure it will be convenient and readily available at all times. The tricky thing about inspiration is you never know when it will&nbsp;strike!</p> <p>One last tip: to get the ideas flowing, read <a href="" target="_blank">What to Write About on your Photography&nbsp;Blog</a></p> <p><em><strong>Action Item:</strong> decide on how you&rsquo;ll take notes and acquire whatever supplies you need. Then figure out how to have your note-taking system handy at all&nbsp;times!</em></p> <h2>#5: Write posts in&nbsp;advance</h2> <p>Let&rsquo;s be honest: sometimes blogging feels like work. There&rsquo;s nothing worse than knowing you have a deadline, yet feeling totally uninspired. That &ldquo;ugh, I need to write another blog post <em>already</em>?&rdquo; feeling only adds stress &mdash; which paradoxically kills your creativity even&nbsp;more.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a clever trick many professional bloggers use: they write a whole bunch of posts all at once &mdash; when they&rsquo;re motivated and in the zone &mdash; and then spread them out to be published over a long period of time. This way you aren&rsquo;t constantly burdened with knowing you have to&nbsp;write.</p> <p><em>(Of course once you get used to blogging, it becomes much less of a burden. In fact it becomes downright&nbsp;enjoyable!)</em></p> <p>Most blogging software (including FotoJournal) allows you to <a href="">schedule a post</a> to be published at some time in the future. You can fill up your hopper with pre-written posts and know you&rsquo;re covered for the next while. This frees you up to think more creatively about your blog and future topics &mdash; which you can record using your note-taking method of&nbsp;choice!</p> <p>This trick is an absolute lifesaver for people with especially busy or unpredictable schedules. Never again let unforeseen happenstance foil your blogging&nbsp;goals!</p> <p><em><strong>Action Item:</strong> Pull out a calendar and use your blogging goal statement to determine which days you&rsquo;ll need to publish on. Then, identify opportunities where you can periodically write two or more posts in&nbsp;advance.</em></p> <h2>#6: Set reminders for&nbsp;yourself</h2> <p>Chances are you&rsquo;re a busy person with a lot of things on your mind. Be honest with yourself. If you add &ldquo;blogging regularly&rdquo; to your mental todo list, how likely is it for that goal to gradually fade into the&nbsp;background?</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re anything like me, the chances of that happening are quite high. You can combat this by setting up a system of reminders to keep your blogging goals&nbsp;top-of-mind.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s important to note this reminder system isn&rsquo;t necessarily reminding you &ldquo;Hey self, you should go write a blog post <span class="caps">RIGHT</span> <span class="caps">NOW</span>.&rdquo; Instead, consider it a gentle but constant nudge to <em>think</em> about blogging and remind you that you set the goal in the first place. Being periodically prompted to consciously acknowledge the objectives you set will make you less prone to forget&nbsp;them.</p> <p>There are thousands of reminder apps out there, but you can keep it simple. Your smartphone&rsquo;s built-in reminder app or Google Calendar will work perfectly. Personally, I use the Clock app on my iPhone, though I&rsquo;ve recently grown to love <a href=";at=11l5NI">Commit</a>.</p> <p>You can even go low-tech and simply stick a bunch of Post-It notes in places you&rsquo;re sure to see them (on your computer, refrigerator handle, the dashboard of your car, etc). Move them around and add new ones periodically to avoid growing accustomed to&nbsp;them.</p> <p>Just like note-taking, what you use doesn&rsquo;t matter much as long as you actually use&nbsp;it!</p> <p><em><strong>Action Item:</strong> Decide how you&rsquo;ll create reminders (digital, low-tech, or both). And then actually create&nbsp;them!</em></p> <h2>#7: Make it part of your normal&nbsp;workflow</h2> <p>Workflow is a huge part of every photographer&rsquo;s life. You probably have a process for every detail of a shoot, covering first interactions with a client all the way to album delivery (and if you don&rsquo;t, you&nbsp;should).</p> <p>Having a defined workflow means you&rsquo;ll never forget about an important step when serving a client. Workflows are also crucial for time management because they let you estimate how long tasks and projects take to complete &mdash; and therefore enable you to plan your time&nbsp;accordingly.</p> <p>One surefire way to ensure you stick to your goal is to fit blogging into your existing workflow. This way you won&rsquo;t forget about it, and you&rsquo;ll have to plan your time accordingly. The most common reason (excuse?) for not blogging is &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t have time.&rdquo; By adding blogging to your workflow you are deliberately making time for it, and thus won&rsquo;t fall into the &ldquo;no time&rdquo;&nbsp;trap.</p> <p>You already set aside several hours to edit photos &mdash; why not devote another hour to&nbsp;blogging?</p> <p><em><strong>Action Item:</strong> map out your workflow (how/when you get stuff done) and find an opening where you can insert&nbsp;blogging.</em></p> <h2>#8: Don&rsquo;t stress over quality. Just&nbsp;write.</h2> <p>Admit it: you&rsquo;re probably a bit of a perfectionist. You spend a lot of time framing the <em>perfect</em> shots, and even more time editing to get them just right. If you&rsquo;re running a business, though, you need to be practical. Spending hours editing a single photo reduces your hourly rate to a&nbsp;pennies.</p> <p>At FotoJournal we do not simply &ldquo;write a post&rdquo; and publish it on the blog in an hour. Nope. We have a collection of mostly awful, half finished prose that we&rsquo;ve just thrown together during a period of inspiration. We know these will never be published in their raw, original form. The important thing is to get something &mdash; <span class="caps">ANYTHING</span>! &mdash; written. Sometime it&rsquo;s just a list of bullet points. Other times it&rsquo;s the opening few paragraphs. Occasionally it&rsquo;s a over a thousand&nbsp;words.</p> <p>When we&rsquo;re crafting a post we take one of these monstrosities and lovingly massage it into an article that we can be proud of. It&rsquo;s far easier than starting from scratch, because the genesis of the idea &mdash; essentially the hard work &mdash; is already&nbsp;done.</p> <p>Nathan Barry writes about <a href="">The Commitment That Changed My Career</a>. He pledged to himself that he would write 1000 words a day, every day. That&rsquo;s a lot of writing &mdash; surely some good content will come out of it. Not to mention the benefits of building such a constructive&nbsp;habit!</p> <p>Initially a lot of your writing will be unsatisfactory. It&rsquo;ll end up getting trashed. Persist, however, and two things will happen. Firstly, you will always have something worth publishing and secondly, you will become more efficient &ndash; more of what you produce will be publishable (or at least will require fewer&nbsp;revisions).</p> <p>So stop obsessing over getting it perfect &mdash; just start&nbsp;writing!</p> <p><em><strong>Action Item:</strong> Just write, write, write! Write anything and everything. Your initial scribblings are just ideas. You&rsquo;ll flesh them out later&nbsp;on.</em></p> <h2>In&nbsp;Summary</h2> <p>Blogging can be hard, but the benefits from publishing often can bring about clearer thinking and life-changing opportunities. With deliberate and conscious effort, you can build awesome habits that make blogging a breeze &mdash; and even&nbsp;fun.</p> <p>If you work through each Action Item in this post (and <strong><a href="">download the worksheet</a></strong>) you&rsquo;ll be well on your way to to blogging success in&nbsp;2014!</p> <h3><em>Do you have any tips for building good blogging habits? Leave a comment and let us&nbsp;know!</em></h3> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 18:09:00 +0000 to Write About on your Photography Blog<p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="question-marks.png" title="question-marks.png" /></p> <p>If you read our <a href="" target="_blank" title="5 Ways Blogging will Boost your Photography business">last post</a> on boosting your photography business through blogging then you&rsquo;ll understand just how important it is to write lots of high quality, original content &ndash; the kind of stuff that people would want to share on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media sites because it&rsquo;s just so&nbsp;great.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s all very well, but it doesn&rsquo;t answer the critical question &ndash; what should you write&nbsp;about?</p> <h2>Think about what your clients might want to&nbsp;know</h2> <p>Let&rsquo;s think about this logically. We want to <strong>increase leads to our business</strong>. To do that we need to grow traffic to our site. Not just any traffic though. The right kind of traffic &ndash; people who want to hire a&nbsp;photographer.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s well known in <span class="caps">SEO</span> circles that Google rewards websites that answer the &lsquo;right&rsquo; questions for their users&rsquo; queries. The reward is a higher &lsquo;organic&rsquo; search result ranking. The questions are ones that you would ask if you were looking to hire a photographer. Understand though, that not every question is created equal. Consider the following&nbsp;search/question.</p> <p><strong><em><span class="dquo">&ldquo;</span>new york wedding&nbsp;photographers&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s going to be really, really hard to get your website on the first page of Google when people search for this phrase. So, for a moment, put yourself in the shoes of a Google user who&rsquo;s going to be getting married in New York next year. What else might they be searching for? If we get a little creative we might come up with something&nbsp;like:</p> <ul> <li>Best location to have wedding photos taken in New&nbsp;York</li> <li>Coolest venues to get married in New&nbsp;York</li> <li>New York&rsquo;s best wedding&nbsp;church</li> <li>New York same-sex wedding&nbsp;photographer</li> </ul> <p>Let&rsquo;s consider the first one &mdash; <strong>Best location to have wedding photos taken in New York</strong>. If you wrote a well researched post about this subject, someone looking for this information could well end up on your blog. And if they&rsquo;re looking for places to get married then they&rsquo;re likely looking for a wedding photographer too. And guess what? <strong>They&rsquo;re on your blog looking at photos you took of weddings in New York</strong>.&nbsp;Boom!</p> <p>The same applies for any of these topics. The last one is a great example of optimizing for a niche &mdash; <strong>New York same-sex wedding photographer</strong>. If &ldquo;New York wedding photographers&rdquo; is too competitive a term to be worth investing time in, then &ldquo;New York same-sex wedding photographer&rdquo; is certainly a far easier term to rank highly&nbsp;for.</p> <h2>Listicles</h2> <p>Listicle is an portmanteau of the words list and article. Perhaps it&rsquo;s best explained with a few&nbsp;examples:</p> <ul> <li>10 mind blowing wedding&nbsp;photographs!</li> <li>5 shocking truths about guys and sex &ndash; Cosmopolitan (where&nbsp;else?)</li> <li>11 Basketball Moves That Double As Life Advice &ndash; Buzzfeed (it is&nbsp;real)</li> </ul> <p>When done right they can generate a lot of traffic &mdash; people can&rsquo;t resist clicking on such a catchy headline. You&rsquo;ve probably clicked on quite a few&nbsp;yourself!</p> <p>Listicles are incredibly easy to consume and share and have an inherent viral nature. You&rsquo;re not going to be able to control the traffic like you would with a highly targeted article, but getting the word out to lots of people can&rsquo;t hurt,&nbsp;eh?</p> <h2>Questions from&nbsp;consultations</h2> <p>Almost all wedding and portrait photographers have a consultation with a prospective client before getting hired. They do this for a variety of reasons; getting to know a client, closing the deal and, critically, answering any questions that the client may&nbsp;have.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s almost certain that the questions prospective clients ask in a consultation are the same questions that are being asked of search engines an order of magnitude more. When considering what to write about, <strong>think about what questions crop up frequently during your&nbsp;consultations.</strong></p> <p>For example, people might want to&nbsp;know:</p> <ul> <li>What can they do to prepare for the&nbsp;shoot?</li> <li>How many photos do they get of the wedding&nbsp;shoot?</li> <li>Can they order&nbsp;albums?</li> <li>Can they get the raw&nbsp;images?</li> <li>Will you send them some preview images? (Write a post about the&nbsp;shoot?)</li> </ul> <p>These aren&rsquo;t the most exciting topics to blog about so I&rsquo;d advise against an extended series of articles. A few a year is a good target. You could also revise your posts. A year is a long time and your processes could well have changed as you develop your business. This &lsquo;fresh&rsquo; content will keep you up there in the eyes of the search engines &mdash; ahead of the&nbsp;competition.</p> <h2>What not to do (if you&rsquo;re running a&nbsp;business)</h2> <p>There&rsquo;s lots of ways photographers can use blogs. Frequently it&rsquo;s displaying their latest work or offering clients previews of their shoots. If you love what you do then why not show off, right? Doing this is definitely a good thing &ndash; you want prospective customer to see your work &ndash; <strong>but it shouldn&rsquo;t be the only content on your blog &ndash; diversity is important&nbsp;too.</strong></p> <p>This post is written from the perspective of <span class="caps">SEO</span> (Search Engine Optimization). If you&rsquo;re using your blog to create a photo blog of your travels for friends and family then that&rsquo;s totally cool &mdash; you probably don&rsquo;t need to worry about <span class="caps">SEO</span>. However, if you&rsquo;re running a photography business, then a healthy dose of organic search traffic could well be make or break&nbsp;you.</p> <p>Creating image heavy posts with little text isn&rsquo;t the best approach when optimizing your content for <span class="caps">SEO</span>. Google can understand text, but images present a much greater challenge. Search engines have a harder time trying to determine what an image&nbsp;&rdquo;means.&rdquo;</p> <p>As a result, <strong>text-heavy blog posts are more likely to rank higher than pages with lots of images</strong>. Remember: the photos are important for someone to see your work, <em>but they&rsquo;re only important once someone&rsquo;s on your site and looking</em>. To get them there in the first place you need to have great content that search engines can use to direct traffic to your&nbsp;site.</p> <h2>Takeaways</h2> <p>If there&rsquo;s only one thing you remember from this post, make it&nbsp;this:</p> <p><strong>Google rewards content that answers questions for their&nbsp;users.</strong></p> <p>If you write posts that answer those questions you&rsquo;ll be rewarded with higher rankings, more traffic &mdash; and consequently, a significant boost for your&nbsp;business!</p> <p>Happy&nbsp;blogging!</p> <hr /> <div style="overflow: hidden; padding-top: 11px; margin-bottom: -12px;"><img class="fj-Photo fj-small" src="" alt="Tim Fletcher" title="Tim Fletcher" style="float: left;" /> <h3 style="float: right; width: 540px; font-size: 20px;">Tim&nbsp;Fletcher</h3> <span style="float: right; width: 540px; font-size: 15px;">This post was written by Tim Fletcher, a co-founder, programmer and designer at FotoJournal. You can find him on <a href="">Twitter</a> and <a href="">+Google</a>.</span></div> Mon, 13 Jan 2014 22:42:00 +0000 Ways Blogging Will Boost Your Photography Business<p><img src="" alt="5 Ways blogging will boost your photography business" /></p> <p style="font-size: 20px; font-family: georgia,serif; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; padding-bottom: 1em;"><em>Your talent is the gasoline that fuels your photography business. However, that won&rsquo;t translate into business if no one knows who you&nbsp;are!</em></p> <p>Diving into the world of professional and semi-professional photography means you&#8217;ve got killer photography skills and you&#8217;re not afraid to use &#8216;em. Now, how do you convince the world to take&nbsp;notice?</p> <p>Most photographers learn the hard way that <strong>creating amazing work isn&rsquo;t enough</strong> &mdash; it takes a lot of effort to get yourself noticed, no matter how good your photography is. This is where blogging comes&nbsp;in.</p> <p>Blogging is an inexpensive and effective way to build your reputation and earn more clients. It&rsquo;s vital if you aspire to run a photography business. The photography industry is incredibly competitive these days, and <em>if you aren&rsquo;t working to be heard your competition will drown you&nbsp;out.</em></p> <p>Here are 5 ways blogging will directly help your photography&nbsp;business.</p> <h2>#1: It demonstrates technical&nbsp;expertise.</h2> <p>These days no one spends a dime without doing some internet research first, and that includes hiring a photographer. Would you hire a photographer to take pictures of your wedding without seeing samples of their work first? Of course not &mdash; you&rsquo;d want assurance the photographer has the technical chops to handle your wedding&nbsp;photos!</p> <p>You probably have a portfolio for this exact reason, but a blog takes this idea even further. Unlike a portfolio, <em>a blog shows off a lot of your work over a long period of time.</em> It&rsquo;s easy for anyone to look like an amazing photographer when they post their best 20 images in a portfolio. But you&rsquo;re much more likely to win clients if you can prove that you&rsquo;re capable of reliably producing high quality work time <span class="amp">&amp;</span> time again. A portfolio alone is better than nothing, but a portfolio + blog is a powerhouse&nbsp;combination!</p> <p>You can take this even farther by blogging about technical topics in addition to posting client shoots. When you write about a topic you understand deeply, the reader thinks &ldquo;Wow, this person really understands&nbsp;photography&hellip;&rdquo;</p> <p>Imaging a bride &mdash; who happens to be getting married during winter &mdash; shopping for photographers online. Will she hire Photographer A who has amazing winter photos? Or Photographer B who has amazing winter photos and has written articles about how to create a successful winter photo shoot? In this case, clearly the one who&rsquo;s blogged about winter wedding photography is going to seem more skilled, and will likely earn our fictional bride&rsquo;s&nbsp;business!</p> <p>So publish photos <span class="amp">&amp;</span> articles online, check. People will hire me now,&nbsp;right?</p> <p>Not quite. People hire photographers based on a lot more than just their artistic eye <span class="amp">&amp;</span> technical expertise &mdash; they hire based on <em>personality</em>, too. This is where writing about yourself and your work comes&nbsp;in.</p> <h2>#2: It shows readers who&#8217;s behind the&nbsp;lens.</h2> <p>Clients don&rsquo;t hire based on work alone &mdash; they hire based on the photographer&rsquo;s personality as well. Clients want to know that their photographer is approachable, friendly, enthusiastic, and professional. Anyone can list these qualities on their website, but blogging will actually demonstrate qualities. Your personality will absolutely shine through your&nbsp;writing!</p> <p>As well, blogging exposes all the benefits that come with hiring you: your communication skills, your specializations, your integrity, what excites you, and generally what it&rsquo;s like to hang out with you during a 2 hour&nbsp;shoot.</p> <p>While dumping 25 portfolio images onto the Internet may demonstrate your ability to point and shoot a camera, actual words, explanations, and thoughts go a long way in educating potential clients about how your personality will jive with their&nbsp;project.</p> <p>And a successful business isn&rsquo;t about getting more clients, but the <em>right</em> clients. The success of a shoot is largely dependent upon your relationship with the client, and your writing gives people a feel for your style and temperament before they even meet you. Helpful blog posts answer questions your clients will have before they even come&nbsp;up.</p> <p>Showcasing your personality goes a long way to attracting the right clients <span class="amp">&amp;</span> successful projects. But how do you get people to discover you in the first place? It turns out blogs can help with that,&nbsp;too!</p> <h2>#3: Blogs are awesome for <span class="caps">SEO</span> and increasing&nbsp;traffic.</h2> <p>One of the biggest challenges photographers have is <em>getting people to their website in the first place.</em> Bringing in visitors is one area where blogs really have the advantage over portfolios, in two key&nbsp;ways:</p> <ol> <li>They&rsquo;re better for Search Engine Optimization&nbsp;(<span class="caps">SEO</span>).</li> <li>Blog posts are great for sharing, especially on social&nbsp;media.</li> </ol> <p>There are tons of reasons why blogging is good for <span class="caps">SEO</span>, but one notable advantage blogs have over portfolios is their <em>constant freshness</em>. Search engines <a href="">give preference</a> to recently <span class="amp">&amp;</span> frequently updated websites, and blogs are the perfect way to regularly publish fresh&nbsp;content.</p> <p>On the other hand, portfolio websites are relatively static &mdash; most people don&rsquo;t update theirs more than a few times per year, if that. These sites aren&rsquo;t nearly as interesting to Google as a frequently updated&nbsp;blog.</p> <p><em><strong>Tip:</strong> this is why <span style="text-decoration: underline;">frequent</span> blogging is so important &mdash; more fresh content means more attention from search&nbsp;engines!</em></p> <p>The second way that blogs help drive traffic is through sharing. Blog posts are like a gigantic plate of nachos: they are made for sharing with others (ok, that analogy might be a bit of a stretch). Just think &mdash; what do you share most on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest? Chances are it&rsquo;s almost always a blog post, article, or&nbsp;photo.</p> <p>Sharing is super important because <em>it&rsquo;s how you reach people outside of your own audience</em>. Your friends share with their friends, and they share with their friends, and so on. It&rsquo;s the recipe for breaking out of your bubble and getting into other circles. The more you post, the more opportunities you have to share something&nbsp;new.</p> <p>And it turns out these two things &mdash; <span class="caps">SEO</span> and sharing &mdash; are intricately&nbsp;connected:</p> <blockquote> <p><span class="dquo">&ldquo;</span>Blogging gives you something to talk about and share within your social communities. This, in turn, will generate more inbound links to your website, raising your credibility rating, another factor that boosts search engine&nbsp;rankings.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: right;"><em>&mdash; <a href="">Better <span class="caps">SEO</span>: Why Blogging Is More Important Than&nbsp;Ever</a></em></p> <p>Inbound links (when someone else links to your site) are hugely important for <span class="caps">SEO</span> because search engines count them as a &ldquo;vote&rdquo; for your website. The more your posts are shared, the more incoming links you&rsquo;ll have, and therefore the better your <span class="caps">SEO</span> will&nbsp;be.</p> <p>Writing an active blog is possibly the best way to get more traffic to your website &mdash; who doesn&rsquo;t want&nbsp;that?</p> <h2>#4: Blogging makes you a better&nbsp;communicator</h2> <p>As a photographer you know how crucial good communication is. Aside from snapping photos, the majority of the job is talking and dealing with&nbsp;people!</p> <p>Putting words to paper (or pixels) requires a different type of thinking than talking to someone in person. You have time to explore, organize, and refine your thoughts before conveying them to others. The more you do this, the better you&rsquo;ll get &mdash; and you may discover that writing makes you a better verbal communicator&nbsp;too.</p> <p>Blogging is another way to get the creative juices flowing, but because it exercises a different part of your brain than shooting photos, it leads you to become a more well-rounded thinker <span class="amp">&amp;</span>&nbsp;communicator.</p> <p>Excitement, confidence, empathy, persuasion &mdash; these are just a few examples of what a photographer needs to communicate when working with people. Effectively conveying these ideas leads to better experience for the client, and a more successful project for&nbsp;you!</p> <h2>#5: A blog proves you are in demand <span class="amp">&amp;</span> have happy&nbsp;clients</h2> <p>People don&rsquo;t like to take risks when making purchases. We want to be reassured we&rsquo;re making a choice we won&rsquo;t later regret. The most common way to get this reassurance is from <em>other people&rsquo;s experiences</em>. This is why everyone skips ahead to the product reviews when shopping on&nbsp;Amazon!</p> <p>It works the same way with photography: <strong>clients want to hire a photographer that other people are hiring too.</strong> Blogging your work regularly proves how busy you are, and therefore how sought after you&nbsp;are.</p> <p>A portfolio alone can&rsquo;t do this. <em>A portfolio doesn&rsquo;t demonstrate that other people are actively hiring you</em> &mdash; which as a client makes it that much riskier for <span class="caps">ME</span> to hire you. When a photographer doesn&rsquo;t seem to have any recent work, we internally ask ourselves: &ldquo;Why isn&rsquo;t this person getting more business? What&rsquo;s wrong with them or their&nbsp;work?&rdquo;</p> <p>People would much rather hire a busy photographer, in the same way they&rsquo;d rather eat at a busy restaurant than an empty one. Regularly posting your work shows you have lots of other people hiring you, which makes you that much more attractive to future&nbsp;clients.</p> <p>(As a side benefit, the more in-demand you are the higher you can price your&nbsp;services).</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>As we said earlier, the photography business is getting more competitive all the time. Having an active blog <em>in addition to your portfolio</em> will give you an edge and help you attract more of your ideal clients. We hope this post has clearly explained the huge impact a blog can have on your bottom&nbsp;line.</p> <p>The important thing to remember is that blogging doesn&rsquo;t always yield immediate results. Think of it like getting in shape: if you develop good habits and keep at it, you&rsquo;ll see big wins over the long term &mdash; even if you don&rsquo;t see overnight success at the start. Blogging can feel like work at first, but like anything, the more you do it the easier it becomes. And the payoff is absolutely worth&nbsp;it!</p> <p>If you don&rsquo;t already have a photo blog, we&rsquo;ll leave you with a famous&nbsp;saying:</p> <blockquote> <p>The best time to start something was yesterday. The next best time is&nbsp;today!</p> </blockquote> <p>Happy&nbsp;blogging!</p> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 05:01:00 +0000 you should enable email subscriptions to your blog — and how to do it<p><img class="fj-Photo fj-original" src="" alt="email-subs.png" title="email-subs.png" /></p> <p>It&rsquo;s well known among marketing professionals that blogging is a fantastic promotional tool for your business. But how can you ensure that the work you pour your soul into reaches the greatest possible&nbsp;audience?</p> <p>Here&#8217;s one proven <span class="amp">&amp;</span> simple method: <strong>send them an email each time you publish a new&nbsp;post.</strong></p> <p>Email marketing is important for the same reason blogging is &mdash; building relationships. Keeping in touch with past clients and forging paths to new ones is critical if you&rsquo;re to build a successful photography&nbsp;business.</p> <p>In this post we&rsquo;ll explain why you should offer email subscriptions to your blog, and how to set it&nbsp;up!</p> <h2>Action Oriented&nbsp;Email</h2> <p>A popular misconception about this kind of email is that it&rsquo;s a one way conversation. Not so. <strong>Emails can be used to spur the recipient to take some kind of action.</strong> For example, you might like to finish your email off&nbsp;with:</p> <blockquote> <p>If you liked this then maybe you&rsquo;d like to hire me! Or even if you don&rsquo;t, just reply to this email and say&nbsp;&ldquo;Hi&rdquo;!</p> </blockquote> <p>What&rsquo;s happened there is you&rsquo;ve made your communication actionable. There&rsquo;s a clearly defined action that your readers can take &ndash; you&#8217;ve invited them to talk to you. Even if they&rsquo;re not looking for a photographer today, any casual conversation can become a lead for your&nbsp;business.</p> <h2>Minimal Effort for the&nbsp;Recipient</h2> <p>If you want somebody to do something, would you wait around and hope that they do it off their own back, or would you ask&nbsp;them?</p> <p>You&#8217;d ask them,&nbsp;right?</p> <p>So instead of expecting someone to remember to visit your blog, you&rsquo;re effectively &lsquo;touching base&rsquo; and gently reminding them that if they need a photographer you&rsquo;re ready with your finger on the shutter button. <strong>Email subscriptions let your audience stay in the loop with almost no effort on their part,</strong>&nbsp;meaning they&#8217;re more likely to do&nbsp;it.</p> <h2>Email vs Facebook vs Twitter vs&nbsp;&#8230;</h2> <p>Social media marketing is important, sure, but don&rsquo;t underestimate the power of email. Neither of my parents are on Twitter or Facebook, but they both use email! If they&#8217;re sent an email, I know it will read&nbsp;it.</p> <blockquote> <p>People don&rsquo;t forget to check their&nbsp;email.</p> </blockquote> <p>With email you&rsquo;re effectively <em>inserting</em> yourself into someone&rsquo;s busy schedule so they <em>can&#8217;t</em> forget about you. Tweets and Facebook posts are easily missed in the noise. An email is different. It&rsquo;s right there and cannot be ignored. As long as you say something worth reading, it&rsquo;ll get read. People sometimes forget to check to their social networks, but <strong>nobody forgets to check their&nbsp;email.</strong></p> <h2>How to set up email&nbsp;subscriptions</h2> <p>So now you&rsquo;re convinced that publishing your posts by email is awesome &mdash; and you&rsquo;re horrified that you haven&#8217;t been doing it. Well, let&rsquo;s fix that right&nbsp;away!</p> <p>MailChimp is an awesome email marketing service, and it&rsquo;s <a href="" target="_blank" title="MailChimp Free Plan">totally free</a> for small lists. We use it here at FotoJournal and love it. MailChimp can automatically email your new blog posts to subscribers using your <a href="" target="_blank" title="MailChimp RSS-to-Email">blog&rsquo;s <span class="caps">RSS</span> feed</a>.</p> <p>To do this follow these three easy&nbsp;steps:</p> <ol> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="MailChimp Signup">Signup for an account</a> at&nbsp;Mailchimp.</li> <li>Add a new mailing list and add the email addresses of your&nbsp;clients.</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Create an RSS-to-Email Campaign">Create an <span class="caps">RSS</span>-to-email campaign</a> using your blog&rsquo;s <span class="caps">RSS</span> feed <span class="caps">URL</span>. (e.g.&nbsp;</li> </ol> <h2>Adding readers to your&nbsp;list</h2> <p>Now that you have a list to send your new posts to, you&rsquo;ll want to start building your readership. MailChimp provides <a href=";http:/" target="_blank" title="How to create MailChimp signup forms">embeddable forms</a> that you can use to quickly and easily subscribe new readers. You could insert a form at the end of each of your posts, in a sticky post that appears at the top of your post listing or on a contact form on a separate page. Or you could even add a link to your subscription form in your main navigation. There are a number of ways to set this up, so do whatever works best for&nbsp;you!</p> <h2>In&nbsp;conclusion</h2> <p>Email subscriptions are the perfect way to proactively keep your audience up-to-date with your photographic adventures. If you&#8217;re regularly publishing interesting, relevant, and creative work you&#8217;ll discover that your email subscribers turn into your biggest fans and best&nbsp;clients!</p> <p><strong>Need help setting up email subscriptions with FotoJournal?</strong>&nbsp;Drop us a line at&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;&mdash; w<span style="line-height: 1.4;">e&#8217;re happy to&nbsp;help!</span></p> Mon, 16 Dec 2013 17:48:00 +0000