Do you blog? What does your blog mean to you?
If you’ve been blogging for any length of time now, hopefully you’re beginning to realize the importance of content on a blog. It can truly be the tool you need to catapult your business to a whole new level.
I started blogging years ago, and now use my blog on a daily basis to connect and build relationships with my customers. Along the way, I’ve discovered 11 things you must do to be more effective at blogging. Take a look at my list, and let me know what I’m missing. What do you do regularly that helps you build a strong web presence with your blog?
1. Talk To Your Visitors
When people come to a blog, it’s to learn more about you. If you offer great information, they will be back. As a photographer, they love to see your photographs. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to learn more about you too. Instead of creating a post, titling it “Amanda’s Senior Photos”, and placing 10 of her best images in a row, do something more. Tell the story of Amanda. Tell what it was like working with Amanda. Pictures may pull us in; but if you have a story with the photographs, we’ll quickly feel that much closer to you.
If you blog, you have to blog regularly. Doing it only when you feel like it, and only when you have time doesn’t cut it. To be recognized, you have to build a schedule and stick with it. If you blog once a day, make sure you get it in once per day. If you create a blog post on your recent senior portrait setting, make sure you create a blog post for every senior you photograph.
3. Use Plugins
Right now almost 1 in 5 websites online uses WordPress as its design platform, and with good reason. Nothing is easier than being able to load a plugin in to make your job easier, and give you even easier access to create great content for your readers. Here’s my list of 10 WordPress Plugins For Photographers – what are your favorites?
4. Add a Little Variety
Nobody likes to come to a blog and see the same thing again and again. Even if you are niched, it can still get blasé if you see the same headlines all the way down the page: “Amanda’s Senior Photographs” “Andrew’s Senior Photographs” “Bree’s Senior Photographs”. Mix it up a little. Add some tips on what to where for your senior portraits. Show a YouTube video that is relevant to seniors. Use your imagination, and talk directly to your audience.
5. Think Like A Newspaper
The home page of your blog should be like a newspaper. It should have short and concise posts that give just enough information to want to click and read more. If you see the majority of your visitors visiting the home page and clicking away, change your posts to summary format. That way they will click around and more in-depth to view more of your site.
6. Use Your Sidebar
Blogs give you an easy way of adding information to your site in different ways. The sidebar can be used to direct people to different areas of your site, introduce them to new products and services, or even list out your favorite posts.
As a photographer, you’ll be adding lots of photographs to you blog. Yet do you have a consistent way of doing it? You should always make your photographs the same size (have a standard horizontal pixel width, and make every photograph that size), and never deviate from your standard. It gets confusing to your visitor if they see thumbnails, large prints, and collages.
People may click over and read your post from a variety of sources: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your newsletter, or even a link from a friend. The majority of people that come to a post will read that post and leave. However, if you can give them more options to click to other pages, you have a greater chance of them sticking to your blog, and potentially taking another step towards building a relationship. I’m a big fan of the Dig Deeper method you see above, where I give you access to another post that is relevant to the discussion. I also use a Related Posts plugin that automatically pulls 5 other posts that are related to the title and keywords of the current post.
9. Build Your Personality
People hire you because they resonate with you. So let your personality show through in every post you do. Make sure you have a photograph of yourself somewhere on your blog. Sign the comments you make back to people within your comments section. And be visible and showcase you are watching and listening to what is being said.
A traditional website is failing because it sits there unchanged month after month. A blog is the lifeblood of a web presence, and helps you create a relationship with people looking for what you do. I’ve seen studies that show websites with active blogs gain more than 55 percent more traffic because it adds content on a regular basis. Yet just because you’re adding content doesn’t mean it’s the right content. You must think like your potential clients, and give them what they are searching for. They will never search for “Brady’s Photographs”. Instead, they search what is relevant to them. Make sure you are filling your posts with keyword and search terms in your URLs, titles, headlines, and content. While it should never be boring and overdone, you should be aware of how your writing is affecting the search engines.
11. Spread The Word
Your blog posts will help you attract search engine traffic if you are consistent with posting and add your keywords along the way. Yet it’s important that you don’t stop there. A great deal of our traffic comes from sharing our posts with fans on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. We also have great results with RSS and with ezines. Test your marketplace, and be where they want you to be. Its up to you to drive traffic to your site, and market your business every single day.