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Posts tagged ‘Blogging’

Up for Discussions – SEO for Photographers, Part 1

labeToday’s Up for Discussion post has been written by Mary McAvoy, she also has a WordPress blog, Sublime Days.  Mary wrote commented on my post last week about post production and started telling me about what I should be doing to get better at SEO. I’m sure many or most of you have heard of this. I keep getting emails from people telling me if I pay them they can get my SEO rating a lot higher, and my husbnad keeps saying Google hate them and if you do it, it will make it worse.  So Mary was telling me things I didn’t know, so thought it would be great for us all to hear.  It is tough area, but really, it is so very important and you all should read it, think about it, and see you can make some changes to your blog/website, next week she will talk about images.

I will hand it over to Mary now.

I’m grateful to Leanne for giving me this opportunity to share with her readers what I know about search engine optimization (SEO) and how it pertains to photographers who blog and who have a website on WordPress.

This article will come to you in two parts. Part 2 will post next week.

First, about SEO generally.

I’m surmising that pretty much everyone who reads this post has, at one time or another, “searched” or “googled” a topic. You typed in words that you hoped would bring you to web pages that specifically addressed the particular topic about which you had interest. The words you typed in are “search terms.”

Search “engines” or “spiders” or “robots” or “bots” read those terms and in milliseconds they scoured the world wide web and then presented to you pages of results, listed about ten to a page. If you were accurate in your choice of search terms, your hoped for results came right up on that first page, perhaps even in the first three sites presented on the first page.

To understand SEO, you need to know that the bots’ search behavior is governed by an algorithm – a set of instructions that tells them how to prioritize what they find on the millions of sites they are scanning for you. This algorithm is changed and refined all the time by search services (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) in an effort to make search results more accurate for the person who is searching the internet, and also to weed out spam from being listed in the search results. Also, different search services have their own algorithms, though there is much overlap. What I’ll discuss in this post is pretty standard in any search service.

Now, let’s look at that same topic but from your point of view as a blogging photographer or a photographer with a website. For the purpose of this post (and for Leanne’s benefit), I’m going to assume that your photography is a business enterprise. And I’m going to assume that your two goals in having a website are to sell your images and to offer lessons in photography. I’m also going to give instructions based on using WordPress (WP).

Here we go.

When you write a post or create pages of your website, you should have a few things on our mind:

1) good content (i.e. quality writing or text)

2) an exceptional and deliberate heading (h1) or title for your post while keeping SEO in mind

3) well labeled photos

and last but hardly least, here’s what’s most important in terms of SEO as you prepare a post:

- in your content and when labeling photos, use the terms a person would type into a search box to find the post you are writing. Think as they would think and use the terms you imagine them using to find the topic of your post. Those terms should be throughout the post and also added as category and tag words

Below I’ll elaborate on each of the above.

1) About good content – believe it or not, the bots do care that the quality of your writing is good. This is one way they can sift out spam sites. If your writing is done well and stays on the topic of the keywords you add as “categories” and “tags” (and also on the topic of your overall site) then you’ll be better viewed by the bots. As you write, know that the first paragraph is the most important in terms of what the bots “read” so put your keywords in that paragraph. Make this opening paragraph concise and directly related to your topic.

2 About your heading (h1) – the heading(h1) of your post is the “title” you put into the title bar at the top of the page where you write your post on WordPress. (It is also the page titles of the pages on a site. But I won’t digress to that in this post.) In the image below “Leanne Cole Offers Lesson for Street Photographers” is the title. It’s of utmost importance that the most defining words (the search words) of your post appear in this title line. This is the top hierarchy for the bots. This title bar creates an “h1″ level heading. In the search algorithm, the number one thing the searching bot looks for is h1 content. H1 content is brief – generally the title. (So, you can’t change your whole content to h1! To do that would probably be looked upon as spamming!)


SEO post title sample

 

Often as you write a post, if you are thinking about SEO (and you should be if your site’s purpose is to promote your business), you’ll change to more targeted and succinct titles (h1 content). To help you understand refining your h1 content, let’s say you decided to change the title above to something even more focused on searchability. So, you might changed it to: Street Photography Lessons by Leanne Cole.

A WP tip: If you change the heading at any point while you are preparing a post, be sure you edit it in the line just below the title bar. To do so, click on the Edit button. The text that now shows (in the image below) in yellow will turn to blue. Copy the text in your title bar and paste it into the edit bar, replacing what was there.

So, before (as you change the title/h1):

SEO post h1 edit in WordPress

And after:

SEO post h1 title change

Then press OK. WP automatically puts the whole title in lowercase and adds the dashes between the words so that you don’t have to. But read it to be sure it’s correct. You should make a habit of checking this bar before you Publish your post to be sure it’s accurate. It is the most important SEO content in your post.

NOTE: While I’m on the topic of headings, do you see that Paragraph bar in the first image above – it’s in the lower row all the way to the left in the tool bar? If you click on the down arrow next to Paragraph, you’ll see all your heading choices.

It will look like this:

Wordpress dropdown menu for headings

These options are not just about the font look. Anything you change to heading 1 (h1), heading 2 (h2), heading 3 (h3), etc. will set a hierarchy of search importance. So, you might make a short subheading (one or two brief sentences) in h2, placed as your first paragraph in the post body area. It would be made up of content that includes the next most important keywords that are not in your title (h1), though it might also repeat the content of your title. Unlike the writing we were taught in school, in blog writing you should repeat your key words and phrases in the most natural way you can. For this post example Leanne might add an h2 that reads: I’m offering a Street Photography lesson in Melbourne this Saturday, September 21, 2013, at noon.”

Part 2 of this topic will be published by Leanne next week.

It will cover 3) labeling your photos.

Please let me know if you have questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Mary McAvoy-Syntax and Style

Mary McAvoy is an author and photographer. She owns Syntax and Style, a business that specializes in the web presence of writers and photographers. Mary’s been blogging since 2007.

Her sites are:

sublime days – where Mary writes about all sorts of things and shares about her writing and her books

The Ripest Pics – Mary’s photography site

MaryMcAvoy-Photography – Mary’s photography-for-sale site (hosted by Fine Art America)

SilverLining-MaryMcAvoy – Mary’s photo-blog about a pond in New England

 

Up for Discussion – Pros and Cons of Blogs

I am so sorry, I have to make this quick today, I am attending a seminar this morning that the AIPP is running on portrait photos, The Simple Creative, and I can’t talk for too long here, but today I thought it would be interesting to LeanneCole-pinklakes-6263talk about blogs, maybe get some advice to people starting them up, or on tips how people can make them better.

Cons

Recently I received an email from a blogger friend who asked me why don’t people put where in the world they are in their About section or somewhere on their blog.  I wrote back saying, I know, why don’t they.  I often seeing images from people on their blogs and since I am always interested in places I often go to peoples About pages read through it to see where they are.  Most of the time there is nothing.  I don’t think you need to be really specific, like I tell people I live in Australia, I am in the city of Melbourne, but I live in suburb near Heidelberg.  Actually I don’t think I tell people that last part, though I do tell people when they ask.

It is important, because if you are taking photos of a place that catches someone eye then there is the possibility that they want to see that place for themselves oneLeanneCole-pinklakes-6277 day and go there.

Another thing I don’t like, is when you see an amazing photo on someone’s blog, or a photo of an amazing place and there is no clue where it was taken.  I see that on Facebook too, people go away and put up photos of their trip, but they don’t have any explanations about where the photos were taken.  On a blog you could put it in the tags if you really don’t want to put any writing in the post.

Pros

I like to know something about the person who is doing the post and I like to feel like I am getting to know that person.  I really relate well to artistic people, and I LeanneCole-pinklakes-6171find so many here. I feel that through my own blog and those of
others I have built up a fantastic friendship group.  Emails are always going back and forward.

I like to read blogs they are easy to follow, have nice breaks in them and wonderful images.  I am a visual person and I love looking at photos. I just love the visual world.

My best advice I could give someone who was starting a blog is, write it the same way as the blogs you love to read.

My turn to stop now.  What do you like to see on other peoples blogs?  What information do you go looking for when you visit a blog?  What do people LeanneCole-pinklakes-6333do that you don’t like?  What advice would you give someone who was just starting a blog?

These posts are a great way to share knowledge, so please contribute.

I will approve them, as long as they are nice and not nasty in any way. Please address your comment and advice to Stacy.

Feel free to respond or reply to other comments.  It would be good to generate some discussion.

If you have a topic that you would like discussed, or a problem you need help with then please send me an email and we will see if we can do a post about it.

A gallery for you to see the images individually now.  The images in this post, one you have seen before, but the others are new, I have worked on them to see about entering them into a competition.

Up for Discussion – Why We Blog

Yesterday, in a comment, someone said something about why people blog.  I thought it was a great idea to discuss this.  It is different for everyone and, if you are anything like me, those reasons have changed over time.  So I will start, this is why I blog.

I started blogging just over 4 years ago, but I started on another platform, but I did come to WordPress in September 2010.  Originally it started as a way to help me make art.  I was an artist but I was/am a lazy person and I need a push.  My good friend from Uni had started blogging to get her to create art, it seemed like a good idea, so I did the same.

SAMSUNGNot photographed very well, but a lino print I did from I photo I had taken at a cycling race.  I was back into photography then, but not totally committed.  I was trying to find some way to do both.

SAMSUNGI kept drawing.

bitsandpiecesI wanted to keep painting.

It was all getting too much, so in June 2011 I made the decision to stop doing art, as in anything like drawing or painting.  I had to concentrate on one thing, and get as good as I could at that, I chose photography.  It is a decision I have never regretted. I’m totally committed to it now.

20110103-1066I was still photographing cycling, but it wasn’t going to last for much longer.  Once I realised that I could still take photos of anything, I knew that I had to get back to some other things.

sctulips-hpm5613-7I really liked where my work was going and I really liked what was happening on this blog.  In the last twelve months my blog has grown a lot and I have wanted to share it with more people, I like doing the Introductions/Influencing Me posts, it is a great way to showcase other peoples work.  I like that it is becoming more a community sort of thing, and now with the Monochromatic Madness Challenge, it great to share the work of so many others.  It also helps to push me.

I think my blog is still about art, but my life as a photographic artist, and that is great with me. One of the most rewarding things about blogging has been the huge number of friends that I have made.  A virtual world wide group.  That has been so amazing, and now I chat with some on facebook and Google+, virtual friendships.

So why do you blog?  How long have you been blogging for?  Has your reasons for blogging changed since you started?

You can comment and tell us how, but if you have blogged about this already, or want to, then just leave a link in the comments section.

I thought I would share some random photos from the last few years.

14 Days and Some Things Take a Break

Normally on Wednesday’s I do a post for Photographers.com.au, and while I have done one today, it was really just a short post to let people know that we are taking a break for a short time.  You can take a look at the post if you like, Christmas is Here Again.  

Flags Flying outside the Town Hall, image taken for City of Melbourne.

Flags Flying outside the Town Hall, image taken for City of Melbourne.

I have to admit, I really enjoy writing for that blog, there is something quite challenging about it, I have to find different things to talk about.  I am hoping they will want me to continue next year.  Writing is something I enjoy doing, not as much as photography, but I suspect it is why I love blogging so much, because I get to write as well.  

Can I just take this small moment to say thank you to all of you who have been following and reading the blog on Photographers.com.au,  I have really appreciated the support.  Thank you.

Happy Anniversary to Me

This morning I received a WordPress notiification to let me know that I have been anniversary-1xwith WordPress for three years.  I have to say, I knew it was coming up, but then I forgot all about it.  So I wondered what I could do today to mark this anniversary.

I have loved being a WordPress blogger, and I encourage lots and lots of people I know to be one as well.  When people ask me about blogging I tell them it is a wonderful experience and that out of all the blogging platforms, WordPress is the best.  There are so many things that are wonderful with them.

Blogging did start earlier for me.  My first blog was with Blogger, or blogspot, and I did it there for about 9 months before switching to here.  The main reason for the switch was because of the stats, WP have much, much better stats.  It is easier to work out how your blog is being seen and by who, well almost who.

Then I discovered the WP community and I haven’t looked back since.  I have made so many new friends, and have met a few.  I look forward to meeting many more.  My friendship circle has grown quite a bit which has only been possible because of WP.  I now try to catch up and keep in contact with many of them on facebook.  It has been good getting to know them that way.

I really want to thank everyone who has followed me and supported me.  It has made the blogging experience that much more special.

So today, to celebrate my three years, I have gone back through my blog and picked one image from every month that I have been blogging.  The gallery will start from 3 years ago and work forward.  It is interesting to see where I came from and how I have changed.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

In the Deep Blue Aquarium

As I said previously, I went to the Melbourne Aquarium on Friday with Klara.  She has been hassling me to take her for ages.  We caught a tram up Flinders Street to the Aquarium.  For those who have been before, but haven’t been for a while, the entrance is now on Flinders Street.

Penguins on ParadeThe Aquarium had Penguins at the moment.  I have no idea if they are always there, but there is a massive display of them.  It is one of the first things you see.

They are behind glass so photographing something like this can be really hard.  You can end up with lots of reflections trying to take photos through glass like this.  To help avoid it, I put the lens of my camera right up to the glass, that way no reflections could be seen.  The only problem was looking through the camera, I should have changed the focusing as well and taken it off spot focusing.

Penguins SwimmingI loved watching them in the water.

FishA fish, I am just going to show the images now.

Jelly FishSharkGoing OverFrom AboveI don’t know that I think any of these are really great shots.  It was a lot harder to take photos at the aquarium than I thought it would be.  It didn’t help that it was school holidays and there were so many people there.

The Aquarium is a nice place to visit, but it isn’t one I do often.  The $35 price tag for an adult to enter is a bit much for me.  It doesn’t take long to go around the whole thing, it really isn’t that big.  I just don’t think you get your moneys worth, which is such a shame.  I must admit I spend all my time walking around thinking about how money I spent and how much I hate it that it cost that much.

Then again, there were so many people there, that I wondered if the place would cope if more people could afford to go.

Workshops

I was asked to do a small presentation today at a workshop for Emerging Artists.  The talk was about blogging, my work and the internet.  It was really fun and not as scary as I thought it would be.  The group is new I think, it is 1835 Ceative.  I was made to feel very welcome, though I don’t know if I gave them any advice that is really helpful, it was nice to be asked.

WordPress

I usually do my blog in Windows, all my editing software is in Windows, but I do most of my looking in Ubuntu, that is my main operating system.  If my editing software could be used in Ubuntu I would never leave it.  However, I do have to use Windows, but today I have been noticing an amazing number of adds on my blog, it seems they keep popping up everywhere.  A side panel on the right keeps coming up, and then more adds along the bottom.  It is really frustrating.  I thought if I paid for the upgrade, I didn’t have to put up with this on my blog.

Interesting I don’t get the adds when in Ubuntu.

What’s happening now WordPress?

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