Some photographers love blogging. Others hate it. Personally, I enjoy crafting blog posts, but there is definitely an element of “we are photographers, not writers” at play and so I’ve drafted my favourite Blogging tips for Photographers for you here today.
These tips are relevant now, and form part of my blogging strategy as we start to think about 2014. These Blogging Tips for Photographers are written with Panda and Penguin in mind.
#1 Content is “always” king
A dilemma we all face as photographers is whether we build our websites to gloriously display our images, or build them to be useful for search engines. Sadly, Google don’t make a very good job of indexing images and this is one of the primary reasons that Flash based websites are on the decline. Google, really, wants to gobble up your textual content. Yes, there are mitigating circumstances, and your off-site SEO will always play a major part in how you rank, but ultimately you need to put text into your website. And a reasonable amount too.
#2 Keep it fresh
Having a blog that is rarely updated is almost as bad as having no blog at all. If you go to the effort of having a designer build an SEO friendly blog for you, then you really need to put the effort into feeding the blog.
Just like I’m a firm believer in these blogging tips for photographers, I’m also a firm believer that 95% of the photography business, is business and only 5% is taking photographs. Blogging, and in fact all your marketing, is part of that 95% which should be so important.
The more you blog, and keep the content fresh on your website, the more Google will be interested in it. Keep feeding the Google monster.
An analogy I heard once was that Google is like the postman. In the UK we learn not to check for the post on Sunday’s. Google learns to check your website in the same manner. Keep the content coming and Google will keep its interest in your photography blog.
#3 Keep it original
Assuming you are blogging often, then the content must be original. This is absolutely essential. If you are wedding or social photographers then the images, presumably, your images will be at least. Make sure you are keeping Google happy by giving it fresh, original content (see how points 1,2 and 3 all come together there).
#4 Keep it substantial
Simply blogging a single picture, or a set of pictures isn’t going to be enough from an SEO point of view. Yes, with a decent off-site SEO strategy that single image blog post may blow the rankings apart, but by and large, it won’t and you will need to give Google enough substantial fresh, original content (see the pattern here?).
#5 Who are you writing for?
A cardinal sin in post Panda and Penguin world of photographers blogging is the seemingly irresistible urge to write content for Google, rather than your clients. Don’t.
We’ve all seen sites where it says things like: “I am a wedding photographer in Wiltshire, I am also classed as a Wiltshire Wedding Photographer and I can photograph weddings in the county of Wiltshire”. This is playing with fire these days. Google has wised up.
My rule of thumb is this:
Write substantial, fresh, original content that my clients will find engaging…..and Google will do the same.
In fact, I often encourage people to think twice about everything they are blogging. If the thought process is : This will be good for SEO, then it probably won’t be. If the thought process is : This will be great for my clients, then it probably will be good for your SEO.
#6 Encourage engagement & sharing
In this fickle world we live in, people often consume information without doing much more with it. When we write a substantial, fresh, original blog piece that is great for our clients (see what I did there?) we want our clients to read it but we also want them to share and evangelise on our behalf. Embrace Social Media; Twitter and Facebook (you do have Facebook Business Page for your photography business right?).
We need to encourage people to share, don’t be afraid to ask people to do so or leave comments. This a basic rule of marketing; calls to action. All successful advertising will have a call to action.
If you are a wedding photographer, you want to be encouraging your brides and grooms to shout from the roof tops how awesome you are (you are awesome right? that’s what everyone says on Twitter anyway…). Get them to spread the news and use other visitors to your website as different marketing tribes. If you can get people to engage and share you are empowering people to partly facilitate your off site SEO.
As a business, especially if we are just starting out, a challenge is to build the audience on the blog. Get others to do it for you wherever you can by utilising the social networks.
#7 Remember, we are photographers
Make sure your photos shine in your blog post. Whilst we need substantial, fresh, engaging, well written content that is easy to share (see…) we mustn’t lose track of the fact we are photographers and the majority of people visiting the blog will be there to look at the photographs.
This article is about Blogging Tips for Photographers so I’m not making any assumptions about image quality and subjectiveness, but do make sure the photographs are easy to see (you’d be surprised how many people get confused by thumbnails and pop-up images), make sure they are sharp, make sure they are awesome(!) and make sure they are relevant to the content that is surrounding them. Key-wording and titling images correctly, surrounded by the write contextual content will do you good stead in Google Image search too. Using these Blogging Tips for Photographers will help of course, but its only your photographs that will sell.
#8 Embrace & Respond to comments
Many photographers don’t like the idea of other (usually other photographers) leaving comments on their website. There is a huge debate about this, but from an SEO point of view its very good to encourage commenting. At it’s basic element allowing commenting is empowering others to add content to your site on your behalf (freshness remember).
If your blog becomes large enough to see return visitors you are likely to start getting a relatively decent amount of comments. If the comments ask a question – answer them. If someone called you up on the phone and asked you a question, you would answer – so do the same in your photography blog and you will encourage return visitors and social sharing. Plus, it’s polite. Take a look at Damien Lovegrove’s ProPhotonut – it’s a wealth of knowledge and he is very engaging with his audience through the comments – which is a good thing!
#9 Keep Going
Blogging is not a short term thing. Marketing strategy is not short term. Your whole online (and offline) marketing strategies should have short, medium and long term strands. Bloggin sits firmly in the long term category. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. You may enjoy it, or you may not, but one thing is for sure – photographers who keep an active blog will put themselves in a better position in the Search Engines which can only lead to more business. I hope these 10 Blogging Tips for Photographers help you to enjoy it more!
#10 Have I said this before?
Really, it’s nine Blogging Tips for Photographers. This tenth one is just to remind you to keep it fresh, keep it original, keep it substantial, keep it interesting, keep it engaging and……it will work.