Tuesday, July 15, 2014

10 Tips to Supercharge your Photography Website - eBook Review

This is a book by photocrati.com and has been written by a collaborative of authors. The first author comments about Search Engine Optimisation which is basically balderdash. The chance of somebody looking online for a photographer is lower than the chance of the Titanic docking in New York.
The second author recommends putting a blog on a photography website because he states that people might see an amazing set of photos but questions what on earth will bring them back. That author has it about right - it doesn't matter how amazing the photos are because people simply don't care about photos. They like to see them but don't care because they see so many every day. Then the author goes on about having to create engaging content which is a totally different kettle of fish entirely. What might engage one audience might repel another. Where this author loses the plot is where he says "Every time you post something new it'll put you on people's minds and it will give them a reason to come back to your site". How is this going to happen? How are they to know you've put new content? Are people now miraculously mind readers? Why should they care what new content you put on your website? Most website viewers will look once and never again. This is more so for photography websites.

The third author recommends not trying to be all things to all people and to understand who won't ever buy anything from you. Well, that last part is easy - nobody buys photography. The last of this author's recommendations is to list the three biggest challenges relating to your photography and looking at the website to see if it identifies those things and whether it explains to the visitor how you solve them.

The fourth author has very little to say other than bleating about social media.

The fifth relies heavily on contact forms and then following up on the contacts. This doesn't really work just like social media doesn't really work. As an example, I had a webform and it generated nothing but resume spam.

The sixth author makes some sense, stating that it's important to list a location on a website in the site title for SEO purposes and on the contact page. This author is also dead keen on blogs and putting places down in blog entries. 

The seventh author believes that all the photos have to be consistent - either warm tones, cool tones or an overall style with color images. It almost makes sense. Better to have different styles on different pages so that people can choose a style. Alternatively, if you prefer to have a specific style to use as a "trademark" it's possible though I'm sure it'll cut down on potential customers.

The eighth author makes sense when he says that writing tutorials on how to do popular things well will get visitors. The problem is that is all the visitors will be looking for. This is why I ceased bothering to promote my site - I'd rather people found the articles via Google searches than through promotion. The author has it right about why people use the internet - to socialise, look at things, get their news and to track packages. Nothing there about looking for photographers.

The ninth author goes in for a long preamble and defense as to why spam is worthwhile and how somebody should go about collecting email addresses to send his spam to. Most people I know are closing their email accounts because there's never anything in them that isn't pure spam. I closed one a week or two back that was choked with spam as a result of CareerBuilder submissions.

The last author suggests being careful to keep the blog and portfolio separate. Quite what he means there is unclear as most blogs are separate pages on most websites. In fact I have never ever seen a webpage that contained a blog as well as other things. Another point well made is that the photos should all be consistent and single genres. They should also be the strongest work. Fortunately as I'm not even attempting to be a professional photographer, I can do as I please.

The book concludes with a series of tips including writing free ebooks in exchange for email addresses. That's largely how the ebooks being reviewed were obtained. Another tip was to add "now read here" in order to index further blog pages and get people to read them. Sure - I *could* do that but it's a *lot* of extra work for something that I'm doing out of personal interest.

Now the million dollar question... Can I recommend this book? Parts of it are excellent - particularly the last 3 pages. The rest of it is all stuff that I already knew and which comes over as pretty bland and unexciting. The writing style is passable. It's not a book that I can condemn nor recommend. Overall, it leave me feeling pretty meh.

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