Friday, December 19, 2008

One last post about marketing...


I'm going to close out this week with one last post about marketing, specifically, the marketing of your website.

Having a website is perfect for photographers, as we are visual artists and get to setup shop in a visual market place.

But I won't be talking about marketing to clients, I'm talking about marketing your website to search engines, because they will be the first ones who'll see it, and if they don't like what they see, no one else (other than your friends) will see it either.

Success is work, it's preparation, it's understanding what you are doing and doing it well.

Though having your site setup correctly for search engines AND visitors is important as all get out, the search engine part is "overlooked" because it's boring (almost mind numbing), behind the scenes work.

Too often we are concerned with "pretty" and "shiny". A website is not one of those "build it and they will come" scenarios.

Sure there are those who are "discovered" and experience great success, but for every one of those there a hundred others who will forever wallow in obscurity.

If you don't plan for success, you're planning for failure.

Your website design is more than picking out what images you are going to use, it's understanding the environment.

It's knowing that the search engines will "spider" your website and if you don't have meta tags they will have no idea who you are and what you do. It would be like going to a job interview with a resume that was simply a blank piece of paper. You aren't going to get the job.

If you have a website you should know what keywords are and why your site should be designed with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind.

Bored yet?

One rule that is more important to us as photographers is to correctly name images because we use so many to market ourselves, and not naming images correctly is probably the biggest missed opportunity for boosting search engine rankings.

Which is better, Logo.jpg or Scott_Eccleston_Photography.jpg?

Search engines can't "read" graphics, nor does DSC_0142.jpg (or Logo.jpg) mean a thing to them, but Kennebunkport_Wedding.jpg or Wedding_Photographer.jpg sure does.

Here are some of the reasons for naming your images with keywords that relate to your business:

1. many folks use Google image search to find what they are looking for

2. the image name becomes visible when a mouse passes over the image

3. the image name appears whenever the image fails to load

4. the latest HTML specs require that images have an Alt tag

You should read this article for more on image optimization.

Okay, okay, I will stop before you drive that pencil into your eye.

In closing let me say that just because it needs to be done you don't need to do this yourself. You wouldn't re-wire your own home or install a furnace yourself, you just need to know it has to be done and have a qualified person do it.

The same applies to setting up your website correctly.

Go big, or go home (it makes me feel so macho to use sports metaphors).

;)

5 comments:

la kaye said...

Hi Scott,

I'm building my website, so this article comes at a good time. My question is, when people search images on google, don't they steal them? So by labeling my photos in a way for google to grab them, what's to stop a restaurant owner who needs a great image of soup from lifting it from my site? Or does having more traffic to the site negate that concern?

Scott said...

Good questions.

1. People (especially brides) will often search by image name as they are interested in looking at work from perspective photographers not their “about me” statements, so it is a time saver for them.

2. The images you post on your website should be small enough in file size so that they would not be usable (or printable) by others. A strategically placed watermark may help put your mind at ease as well.

3. There are new services like TinEye.com that do a great job in helping locate any of your images that others may be using without your permission.

4. And you are correct, the upside of naming your images with your keywords will far outweigh any (possible) negatives, and the steps above will do a great job of protecting your copyright.

My last piece of advice is to take your time and do it correctly; it may take a little longer but will be worth every second.

Scott

la kaye said...

Hi Scott, Me again!

I did a shoot yesterday and I wonder which format is better:

121708_LaKayeMbahChildPhotography.jpg
121708_Child_Photo_Photography_by_LaKaye_Baltimore.jpg
121708_Photography_by_LaKaye_AnaMarie.jpg

I guess my main question is, do the blog crawlers detect underscores or should I run the words all together? What information is more likely to gain attention? My name, or the type of photography or the location?

Thanks!

Scott said...

I would go with your name, kind of photography, and location separated with an underscore. I would also mix them up so that you would have some of each in the same folder:

LaKaye_Photography_Child_Portraits_01.jpg
Family_Portraits_by_LaKaye_01.jpg
Family_Photography_Baltimore_01.jpg

This will give you a bunch of different key words as opposed to:

Family_Portraits_by_LaKaye_01.jpg
Family_Portraits_by_LaKaye_02.jpg
Family_Portraits_by_LaKaye_03.jpg

This would only give you a few keywords over and over again, which would not serve you very well.

I would also put any numbering at the end.

Hopes this answers your questions.

Scott

Michael Palmer said...

Nice Tip!! I need to do this...