If you’ve poked around the online marketing world for even a few seconds, you’ve probably heard the acronym SEO and the power of blogging for photographers. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. I know that those three words are thrown around a lot in the online world, but it’s because they are a BIG DEAL.
Let’s say that there is a woman named Sarah in your town who found out she was pregnant a few months ago. She’s measuring her baby bump day-by-day, watching it grow. At 6 months pregnant, Sarah realizes she is in love with this moment of her life. She sees how her husband is so excited about the days to come and this soon-to-be mom realizes she might want to put this moment into pictures. Sarah needs a maternity photographer.
As Sarah’s sitting at home on a Tuesday night, she Googles maternity photographers in her town. After scrolling through the search results she finds a few blog posts of maternity sessions that took place near her. She keeps clicking into blog posts and scrolling through the images until she comes across your blog post. You wrote this blog post four months ago about a maternity session that you photographed nearby. And, Sarah just stumbled across your blog post by googling maternity photographers in her area. She scrolled through your blog post and fell in love with you and your work. Because she was on your blog post, Sarah was able to learn more about you on your website and reached out to see if you were available to shoot her maternity session.
Friends, THAT is the power of blogging. The coolest part? You didn’t have to pay a single dime in advertising for Sarah to find you and reach out. Tell me that isn’t DANG COOL!
Blogging has played a HUGE part in growing my business. Currently, about 30-40% of my inquiries come from a search engine like Google where potential couples stumble upon one of my blog posts on my website.
I started blogging from day one in my business. My very first “session” was taking my husband to the open space behind my house and taking some pictures of him and my dog, Hazel. Yes, I blogged that “session”. And pretty much every single session after that.
Because I believe that blogging so important to the growth and continued sustainability of my business, I am giving you my top tips for blogging for photographers.
This is the number one purpose for blogging! If you are creating a blog that is not going to be loved by Google, then you are going to struggle a whole lot more with making your blog work for you. Be sure to specifically edit and include the following in your blog post:
A title with a specific keyword/keyword phrase you want to rank for in search results (ie. Wedding in Rocky Mountain National Park, Littleton Colorado Family Photographer, Newborn Session in Boulder Colorado). Here’s a great article that goes into further depth about how to choose keywords for your blog post.
Include the same keyword/keyword phrase that you used in your blog title in the first sentence of your blog post. I don’t know why, but google LOVES it when you use the keyword that you’re trying to rank for in the first sentence of your blog post. So for example, let’s pretend my blog post is an engagement session that I photographed in Rocky Mountain National Park. My title of the blog post is something along the lines of “Kelly + Shane | Rocky Mountain National Park Engagement Pictures”. The phrase “Rocky Mountain National Park Engagement Pictures” is my keyword phrase that I also need to include in the first sentence of my blog post. So, I would write the first sentence of my blog post as “Kelly and Shane’s Rocky Mountain National Park engagement pictures were fun, adventurous and ended with a snowball fight.”
A URL slug that is simple and includes the same keywords/phrases you used in your title. So, for example, if we are using the same example title that I wrote above: “Kelly + Shane | Rocky Mountain National Park Engagement Pictures”. I’m going to leave off “Kelly + Shane” because their names are not pertinent to a google search result. The URL slug that I would use for this blog post is “rocky-mountain-national-park-engagement-pictures”.
Yes, yes, this is a part of making your blog post SEO-friendly, but alt tags are in a little bit different category. See, alt tags are what makes your images show up in a Google image search. Have you ever Googled “wedding at [a venue near you]” and then clicked on the images tab? Well, THAT is where your images will show up if you properly alt tag them.
So what does a good alt tag look like? Here is a good article that goes more into depth on how to write alt tags. Basically, an alt tag should be a succinct and accurate description of the image. Aim to keep alt tags short (most SEO experts recommend 125 characters or less). You want to be aware of and use keywords and phrases for your business, but only if they accurately describe your image.
For example, here is one of my images:
This is the alt tag I wrote: “Fun headshot of photographer dancing in the mountains in Boulder, Colorado”.
Let’s do another alt tag example using this image:
This is the alt tag I wrote: “Couple dancing in the snow during their winter engagement pictures at Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.”
Ok, ok, ok, the reason for this is for SEO as well! But it’s important to understand the different factors that affect a blog post’s ranking on Google. And word count is one of them. Now, because I believe that quality is better than quantity, I don’t want you to stress about this but just know that Google sees lengthier blogs as more informative. But, don’t make it longer just because you have to. Fill it with good quality content first. The super sweet spot for blogging starts around 1200 words, but I aim to make all of mine at least 300 words. Now, how do you do that? Well head on down to the next point!
Have you ever read another photographer’s blog post and it feels super forced? Or maybe it’s only like one paragraph of text before you get to the images (see above reason for why that’s not the best either). The content in your blog should be good. If you are writing a blog post that is recapping a session or wedding that you photographed, one way to make it more real (and longer) is to have your client help you do the writing. I always ask my clients questions throughout the booking process and on the day of their session. As soon as I drive away in my car after a session, I pull out my phone and record a voice memo of all my thoughts from their session. Having your client’s answers to your questions and making a voice note immediately following the session helps a ton in creating meaningful and longer blog posts. That way, weeks later, you don’t find yourself staring at a blinking cursor wondering what to write.
If you are creating a blog post about tips or advice, don’t be afraid to do some research and give your clients the best information. Just like this blog post is hopefully helpful to you, you want to make informative blog posts helpful, practical and real. Do the research. Add in your personal experience with a subject. And, be as helpful as possible.
We all know it can be so time-consuming to create social media content and thinking of the perfect caption to say. The best part about blogging is you already wrote great content. When you first publish your blog post, share it with your social media community. But, months after that you can still come back to the same blog post and pull snippets of words that you already wrote to share on your social media accounts.
Well there you go, friend! Now you not only know the importance of blogging for photographers but HOW. TO. DO. IT! Don’t stress yourself out over blogging. Take it a week at a time. My goal is always one blog post per week. Some weeks I get one blog post out. Some weeks two. And some weeks none. But, you just need to start now!
Let me know what other questions you might have related to blogging for photographers!
Hey, it’s me, Larissa! I started my photography business three years ago with a one-day photography class, a craigslist camera and zero experience photographing people. I’m not a hot shot in the industry, but a real person who built a business that replaced my previous job’s income and a fire in my soul to share how I got my business off the ground with other newbie photographers. If you want more advice, how-tos, and tips on getting your portrait photography business off the ground, head over to my photographer’s page!