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Posts tagged ‘Wordpress’

Up for Discussion: Why We Blog

I’ve told you that it is a crazy week for me, and not a good one, so I am trying not to be too lazy, but I can’t do a massive Up for Discussion post today, so I thought I might do one on Why We Blog.  I will start.  I will tell you why I blog.  Then you can leave me a comment with why you blog, or maybe you might do your own blog post on why you blog with a pingback to this post.  Why do you think?

Why I Blog

I wrote my first blog post on WordPress, in September 2010, however it wasn’t my first blog.  I originally started in January 2010 on Blogspot, First One.sm20101031-3488

I started a blog for a couple of reasons, one was because I was photographing cycling and trying to sell the photos. A guy who worked with my husband suggested that I start a blog, that people liked blogs.  Well it never helped with the cycling, but then it had a second effect. Suddenly I wanted to post, I wanted to share my photos, and over time I realised that the photos I was taking for the posts was changing.

I changed to WordPress in September because I liked the stats better. WP had much better stats, still do, you could really get an idea of what people were looking at, it was good.  Then I started meeting people, I started making friends.  I have met some amazing people church0788-1scvirtually, I love seeing what they do. It has been such an incredible experience.

I really came to WP and blogging with the intention of using it to help me produce work.  In September 2010 I was trying to do lots of things, art wise that is, painting, printmaking, drawing and taking photos.  I thought having the blog would make me do work for it, but it really didn’t work out that way. Within a year of starting this blog I made the decision to give everything else up and concentrate on photography, I have never regretted that decision.

Then in November 2011 I decided to challenge myself to see if I could do a post every day, and post a photo each for the month of November, and since that time I have done a post nearly every day since.  With the exception of the odd here I still post everyday.  It works for me.

20110802-0010Posting each day makes me to go and take photos. Being a relatively lazy person, going out to take photos can be hard, so with the threat of a blog and the need for photos, I have taken far more photos than I would have otherwise.  I have found the blog a fantastic incentive to take photos.

Conclusion

The blog has meant I have met people who I would never have met otherwise.  It drives me to get out and take photos to show people.  It has been an incredibly positive experience for me.

So why do you blog?

I’m just going to approve all the comments for now, and I will try to respond to them all, but I hope you will forgive me if I can’t.

The photos today are from various posts during my first year on WordPress.

Friday’s Bit and Bobs

Seems so surreal this week, I don’t know why, maybe because I think I might be coming down with a cold.  It is still cold here, and we are still seeing lots of greys, but it seems to be happening a little less, so I hope the end of all this rain isn’t too far away.

The New WordPress Editor

Seems to be the talk all over WordPress at the moment and it seems fairly certain that we will be stuck with it.  Those of us who have been with WP long enough know, that in the end the developers and those that look after WP have no interest in what we think and what we want.  If you say
something they don’t like, then you are ignored.  I just can’t believe they released a version of something that has so many bugs in it.  It is amazing.  Needless to say, I am doing this post using the old editor.  If you want to use the old editor then you need to go to the Dashboard, then to All posts, and click Add New.  I don’t know how long they will leave this one up, but I will continue to use it while it is here.

The problems I have with the new one.  There is no word count, they took it away.  When you ask why, you get that Timethief saying they took it away, okay, they did, but why.  I really don’t like Timethief, he, she, is patronising and I really dislike their attitude.  I rarely post on the forums because I really hate what he or she is going to come back with.  You have a problem you want to hear from the staff, buy you have to put up with being treated like you are an idiot first.Nankeen Night-heron - Melbourne Zoo

So things I’ve noticed with the new editor, it has lots of bugs, so be prepared.  It is too small, so when you are doing a post, you have to make your screen bigger. I work on a 27 inch monitor, so it is tiny on mine.  I have to zoom in my whole screen so I can see what I am typing.  Then it makes too many other things big and then I have to make it all smaller again.  Considering the general age of people who blog, I can’t believe they didn’t take that into consideration.

There is no word couHelmeted Guinea-fowl - Melbourne Zoont, oh I mentioned that already.  I can’t believe they took that away.  How are you supposed to know if you have enough words for your SEO or you need to say more.  Or perhaps you want to keep your posts to a certain length, I think around 500 words is a good guide, though try never to go over 1000, well now, you won’t know, unless you cut and paste into something else so you can see it. More work.
When you add your featured image it makes you upload the image again, though they have said they are going to fix that.

I only used it once and it published my post hours before it was meant, and I see I’m not the only one that has had trouble with that.

My husband is a programmer, and he said, then stop blogging.  Interesting idea and I am thinking about it.  Maybe we could have a day where no one blogged in protest, wouldn’t that be interesting.  Maybe, I should start blogging more on the other blog I have for my website.  I know I make all these threats, but the last one I do like. I get so tired of all the changes, and having to constantly adapt to what they want.  I know it is free, but there are people who pay for it and they still have to have the changes.  I think right now I just feel done.

A Suggestion

On Tuesday’s post, the You’re Just a Blogger, the lovely AmyRose suggested that the word blog, was so blah, I think is how she put it.  So together, though most of the thinking has come from her, we though that we should call these blogs, Creative Spaces Online, or CSO’s for short.  Not sure it will catch on, but it is a lovely idea and does sound a lot better.  What do you think?

Meeting People

Baby Elephant - Melbourne ZooI had a lovely early morning coffee this last Monday with someone who is a regular submitter for the monochrome madness challenge, Suz Jones, from the blog It Goes On.  We didn’t have much time together, but it was wonderful meeting her.  I am always constantly amazed at how conversation just flows and there is no problem at all when I meet people through here.  I hope she enjoyed the meeting as well.  She is just like she is on her blog, a wonderful person.

Social Snappers

I had more Social Snappers Excursions this last week, and both were at the zoo.  It is a great place to get photos.  I am going to show some of the photos I took here, though you have already seen one of them.  Those of you on Facebook and Google+ will have seen them already.  I even know Pelican - Melbourne Zoothe names of the birds now, thanks to the Warringal Conservation Society.

I had someone say that they would love to join the Social Snappers, but they didn’t have a good camera, just a point and shoot.  I really want people to know that these excursions have nothing to do with the type of camera you have, it is an opportunity to go out and take photos.  It is about getting together with other people who also like taking photos.  I don’t think it matters if people show up with their phones to take them.  Whatever you use, is what you use.  No matter what camera you use, it will be your challenge.

Planning is about to start for next term.  I will have to start working out where to go and what we can photograph.  News on that soon.

I think that is enough, I have talked too much, sorry, though haven’t gone over 1000 words yet, almost.  Enjoy your Friday.

 

 

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 – 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.

OMG, I’ve been Freshly Pressed

I received an email a couple of days ago to tell me that I was going to be Freshly Pressed.  I was so shocked, I can’t lie, I thought that it was something that would never happen for me.  Then after the email I waited and waited, and nothing happened.  I even thought maybe it was a joke someone was playing on me.  Then this morning it happened, and so now I can wear the badge of honour that says I’ve been freshly pressed.

The other surprising thing was the post that they decided to press, it was the one I did on myself on Monday.  I thought I was being so cheeky doing that.  I was brought up not to brag about myself, not to go on about myself, that sort of thing, and then I do it and I get rewarded for it.

A few people have been telling me how important it is to talk myself up.  I am just not good at it, but I think it is something that I am going to have to try to get better at.

So it seems the number of followers you have isn’t a requisite, or they don’t take that into consideration, it really is probably more luck, that you do great posts that catches the editors eye.

I won’t go on today, but before I go, can I say thank you to WordPress for Freshly Pressing me, but most of all I wanted to say thank you to all my followers. You have been the best support and I appreciate all of you.  You really are what drives me to make this blog the best I can.

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.

Same Scene Different Composition – Part 1

Today’s image is not a new scene, it is in fact the third time I have used this subject. It is the tower of the Manchester Unity Building.  I try each time I do an image that I took of the tower try something a little different.

Stretching UpI wanted to try some new things with it.  I never know what I will end up with when I start processing some images.  I knew with this one that I wanted to draw out the details a lot more.  I think I did that, but then on another level I may have overdone some of the blur.

I have called this post part 1 because I am going to work on this image more and you will see a lot more of it.  I think this is going to be my challenge.  I had planned on doing more on it today, but after 4 almost 5 hours my head was getting dizzy.  I think I like the possibilities of this image.  I look forward to doing more work on it.

Changes to the Reader

I don’t know how many of you look at the reader that is part of your WordPress Membership, it is something that you all should be looking at.  I look at the photos all the time.  It is a fantastic way to see what other people are doing and to get ideas for your own work.  The post I did the other day of the cups with the wrapping paper, that came from someone else’s image that I saw in the reader.

I believe it is like what they say if you want to be a writer, the more you read the better the writer you will be.  Well, the more images you look at, the better the photographer you will be.

WordPress in there infinite wisdom have decided to completely change the way the reader works.  Now I don’t mind some of the changes, but there is one change that is a little unsettling.  Nearly every image that appears on the reader is cropped.  The cropping is done with no concern for the image, and I’ve heard of portraits being cropped so that the heads were chopped off.

As you can imagine many people are upset about this, and as we are all image makers this should concern us all.  I am hoping that you will all let WordPress know that we aren’t happy about this.  You can go on the forums and join in on the discussions about it.  May be send an email to the support team.  Perhaps let everyone else know about it as well.

I spend a lot of time on my blog and especially on my images, the reader is a great way to advertise my work, afterall it is one of the main reasons many of us are with WP, the community, but if they are going to be butchering our images, is there any point using the reader.

Sorry, I know this is yet another rant, but this one really does affect us all.

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