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The hard part about SEO is that it’s hard. Ok, not hard, so much as time consuming. Super time consuming. The good things in life never come easy right? Don’t want to do it? Pay the knot $300+ a month in advertising, they’ll do it. Alas, there are ways to maximize your efforts by making sure they are efficient and well done.

Akismet –

The best SEO plugin tool to help with blog posts. Download it. Use it. NOW.

Know your shit –

Google analytics is a beautiful and FREE tool. Use it. Research your market. Maybe you’ve been keywording for ‘Omaha wedding photographer’ this whole time but everyone is actually searching for ‘bride and groom photography Nebraska’. While google is absolutely smart enough to make a correlation you get extra points for being spot on. This is common. For example. The competition for ‘destination wedding photographer’ is pretty astronomical (as far as competition in the wedding industry is concerned) but very few people actually search that term. If you wanted to hire anyone in the world, you’re going to be searching for the best photographers, not just destination photographers.

Track your own site stats –

Incognito makes this a little more difficult now since you can’t, as easily, find out what people were searching for to get to your site but it is useful to know where people are coming from and which posts are popular. Find a page that worked well for you and figure out why it worked well. Some clients are share happy, Pinterest, facebook, maybe Google loved it.

Consistent keywording –

This one can be tricky because you don’t want to have blog post reading…

Jill & Dan | Boston wedding photographer

Check out this Boston wedding by ME! Boston Wedding photographer say cheese photography! I loved shooting photos at this Boston wedding venue with Boston wedding planner. I am so excited to be a Boston wedding photographer because of all the photography opportunities in Boston. Aren’t Jill & Dan beautiful & great?”

I’ll rephrase. Smart keywording.

This goes back to knowing what exactly yo keyword.

Great content –

Maybe easier said than done? I think not! What do your potential/future clients want to read? What are they looking for? Sometimes I feel like my website can be a bit like an unbiased & non-froofy wedding blog. Brides love(d) wedding blogs so how can you pull your massive wedding resources to their benefit. Ok, so, this one is assuming that you’re photography isn’t so fucking mind blowing that people will just flock to your blog every time you post (ie Chrisman Studios). Let’s face it, that is the 1%. Am I going to break everyone’s heart when I say we’re wedding photographers, we’re transforming a small select group of lives with our work, not the world. So why would people want to look at other people’s wedding photos. Give them a reason to be on your website despite simply looking for a wedding photographer or looking at their friends wedding photos. How you ask? A whole other novel to be written.

So what do you want?

Ask yourself the generic interview question, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Do you want more money? Do you want to work less? Do you want to work less AND make more money? Do you want to be happier as an artist? Do you want really rad clients? Do you want destination weddings? What the fuck do you want?!

If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions are you happy with exactly what have you right now? I imagine that most of us would say that our businesses could improve to some degree.

So, focus. Think about what you want and focus your efforts to maximize efficiency. No one can specialize in everything. For most of my life I’ve fallen under a jack of all trades category. I’m moderately good at most things I do. I’ll even beat you the first time we play pool but I’ll lose the second & third.

So, what area of business could you stand to improve that won’t feel like pulling teeth?

I’d love to troubleshoot every possible scenario in this write up but alas this is a wee blog post and not a novel. So, I’ll go over my own goals and issues.

I don’t advertise. I have clients all around the country from formerly living in a high destination wedding market. I don’t want to work in that market as much but my online presence and local referrals are strong. I want to focus more on my new market but I am forced to travel so much for work (and for fun) that I simply do not have time to network in my area as much as I should for a new-comer. So how can I get clients to see me and know that I exist locally in this new market? I don’t want to advertise, remember? Three things I’ve done to get my foot in the door. One, offering a discount for clients referred by certain planners I’ve emailed. Maybe I’ll never get a single referral from these planners for years but at least they know I exist so when I do end up meeting them at a networking event (that I swear someday I will attend) they might remember me. It will open a door later down the line. Secondly, join all the facebook groups and be active. I find this to be very overwhelming at times but it’s easy. I give advice when people ask questions, I post selfies on “#selfiesunday”, & I throw out a few lead referrals when I can.

[Side story] I met a good wedding photographer friend at a random meet up in another city many years ago. They mentioned moving to my city soon and we hit it off. I invited them to every event I attended and flooded any business I could their way. Maybe they used me form the very beginning (I jest) but we’re now legit great friends all from a meet up that was organized through one of my online groups.

Third. Search fucking engine optimization. S(f)EO I believe the kids call it these days. I haven’t pursued it as aggressively as my former market (yet) but I have started and when it’s finished my shit will be all up on every bride’s Pinterest page.

Never get lazy.

There are no secrets to successful marketing, you can find absolutely anything you want online. There are no shortcuts and no easy tips to magically transform your business. After running my own business full time for 7 years and listening to all the marketing podcasts one can find in the universe the best piece of advice I can give someone is to just do it. Just like Nike. It fucking takes work.

If you’re not getting business, something has to change. If you’re not getting the money you want, something has to change. If you’re not getting the clients you want… You get the drift. Make a change. Sort through any issues you have with your business and figure out which areas could stand to improve. Maybe I am an eternal optimist when I say (write) it CAN, and should, be done. I was always afraid to make changes or move forward. Scared to make any changes. It could mess everything up. That thought is dramatic and unlikely. I was often advised to do things a certain way, whatever the fad was at the time. It made making any changes difficult for me because I was only doing it because everyone else was. For example, in house sales are not my thing for possibly a million reasons. This works for a lot of people and some people even really enjoy it but it’s not for me. Find what works for you.

So my rule(s). Always move forward. Evolve. Take ownership. Troubleshoot. Progress. Never stop. Never get lazy. We own our businesses because we don’t want to work for someone else. This means never relying on anyone else either. So where are you going next?

This leads me to my next post. Goals and why they’re important to have.