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Posts tagged ‘Wordpress’

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.

Field Trip – Looking at Lorne

On Saturday afternoon we headed to Lorne.  I wanted to see if the wharf there would be any good to take photos of.  Wharfs can be really interesting to photograph, but sadly this one was not.  It has been upgraded quite recently and looks very new, spick and span.  I decided to not worry about it and head to the rocks beside it.

Once I got down beside the wharf, I realised there were possibilities.

The pylons were interesting, and I like the way it went off into the distance.  I put the tripod down as low as it would go and put the camera on it.  I wanted the image to be looking up at the wharf as much as possible.  You can see Lorne through the pylons here.

Again, I put the tripod down as low as it would go and took more photos of the wharf.  I had tried to get it so that you could see Aireys Inlet in the distance, but couldn’t quite get it.  I was only going to use one of these, but they are both different, so you get to see them both.  Which one do you like best?

This section of the rocks, was like a driveway through the middle of the rest.  It was so weird, they were very directional, all in the one.  I liked the way the water caught the reflections in this one.

I went further out on the rocks and took images of the waves crashing.  In the image above the sun came out.  I liked the way the sun was hitting the white tips of the waves.

The sun disappeared again, so this one doesn’t quite have the bright tips of the previous one.  I like this one a lot.  There is a lot of swirl from the tide, it was coming in.  I think making the images black and white was also a great idea.

It was disappointing, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time there.  I think if the wharf had been better it might have been a lot more fun.  I go out with an idea of what I want to do, it doesn’t always work out and I know I should work out what to do, but it isn’t always that easy.

Afterwards we went and sat down at a place near the wharf and had a glass of wine.  While we were enjoying the wine we saw this cloud.

It looked so good.  I wish there had been more like this.  After this we went for a walk along the main street to find somewhere to eat.  We went up and down and settled on a place called the Oven House.  If you are in Lorne and looking for somewhere to eat, you couldn’t go wrong going there.  I had the most amazing meal I have ever eaten.  We all enjoyed our meal.  The staff were lovely and the price, the same as everywhere else.

More on WordPress

I had another email from AJ at WordPress today, and apparently you can turn off the option on your blog, here is what they said to me.

Additionally, if you do not want your blog to display the “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” option, you can disable it from your Dashboard under Settings >> Discussion
Scroll down to where it says “Follow Comments”, uncheck “Show a follow comments option in the comment form”.

So if you want to stop it from happening to other people, you can do this.  I will go and do it now.

Field Trip – It is Falling

Can you guess where we went?  Here is a hint.

We took a drive to Erskine Falls.  The falls are behind Lorne, about a 10km drive.  I thought we were going to be in for a long work, but instead, we had to go down 220 metres of steps.  It was a long way down.  It was very wet and probably quite dangerous.

It is an interesting spot.  It really is for tourists, and there were quite a few people there.  The stuff I read said that it was popular and there would be people there, but I think we were hoping that on a day of drizzling weather and it being cold people would stay away. It wasn’t so.  It could have been a lot worse.

It is a very long skinny waterfall and at the bottom are these rocks.  It was very hard to see the water running though them.  I did use my neutral density filter to get the marshmallow effect.  Though, I felt we were really limited with where you could stand to take photos.  A platform had been built to stand on, but that also introduced movement as it moved every time some one walked on it.  It would have been nice to get up closer to it, but you have to respect that they don’t really want you doing that.

We walked downstream, and it was hard to find some where to take images that didn’t have people in them.  I think it is part of the reason why photographers pick times when the rest of the population don’t like to be out and about.

These were so tiny.  I don’t have a macro lens, so had to do the best with what I had.  I thought the mushroom families were gorgeous and had to include the second family in the background.

This image was taken from the platform that was 80 metres from the top.  We had decided that we would go to the bottom first, then take little breaks to photograph stuff on the way back up.  Though, having gone down and back up, the going down was much harder, it was sort of scary.  Going back up, well, we were back up the top before we knew it.  When we got back to the car, the car park was full and there was so many more people there, well, let’s just say we were happy to be leaving.

I think if I was going to go there again, I would go earlier in the morning.  Just after the sunrise, so it would be light enough to see, but too early for the tourists.  It would have been so nice to have had the whole place to ourselves.

Now Some Business

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that WordPress have made some changes.  If you post a comment on someone’s blog, or you reply to a post on your post, every time someone else posts a comment, or posts a comment on your blog, you will get an email.  So if you look at a lot of blogs, like I do, and post comments, you could potentially end up with hundreds of emails.  Apparently it is the new default that WordPress has decided that we need.

So how do you avoid this, well if you don’t want all the emails, you do have options, one of them is uncheck the box when are making a comment.  Go to someone’s blog and take a look at the comments and you will see the box there,

Leanne Cole: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. ( Log Out / Change )

 Notify me of follow-up comments via email.

This is the box, you need to click on it, so you don’t get the follow-up emails.

If you forget to do that, you do have another option, when you get the follow-up emails, if you look at the bottom of them is says something like “Modify your subscriptions”, so you click on that, and you can check the boxes of the blogs that don’t don’t want to get follow-up emails for.

I hope that helps anyone wondering what to do.  I have spoken to them about it, but they don’t seem to care about what we want.  Well I don’t like it.

I’ve also noticed that the way you look at other blogs with the topics button has also changed, I really don’t like the new way they do that either.  I find I have to download too much and my blog never seems to appear on it, so is it on there?  Or am I being left off.  I like to see which image they use for it, because it is rarely the image I set for the featured image.

Please WordPress, make it easy again.

I don’t really know why they make these changes.  I also wish they would ask us what we want.  I have even considered going back to my blogger account.

What do you think of the changes?

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