Setting up your own WordPress blog is brilliant, and it’ll put you a world ahead of other photographers using one of those Adobe Flash based ‘pretty sites’ when it comes to getting that Google love…
But there’s a whole lot of simple and effective techniques that you can use to take you to the next level and beyond, which I’ll reveal in this article…
Photographers Just Wanna Have Fun (Not Fiddle Around With SEO)
All photographers are inherently creative and typically bored by the technical aspects of their website, but this is where you can make a big difference in your client numbers, with just a little work initially, and a little extra work each month.
It’ll put you leagues ahead of your competition, and the more you do, the further in your dust they’ll be!
I’m going to make this as easy as possible and tell you EXACTLY what you need to do, plus a brief ‘why’, without getting into the boring deep explanations! If you really want that stuff, just do a Google search.
The ‘Meat-and-Potatoes’ of Your WordPress SEO
Everything I’m about to explain is done in your WordPress admin section, located at www.YourSite.com/wp-admin
This changes how your URL’s will display. By default it’ll show the post number instead of the post name and look something like this: www.photographybusinessriches.com/?p=123
It’s not well optimized for the search engines, because the post number doesn’t tell them what the post is about, so you should change it to the post name, which will change it to look like this: www.photographybusinessriches.com/sample-post/
To do this, click ‘Settings’ and then ‘Permalinks’.
Then just tick the ‘Post Name’ box, and click ‘Save Changes’.
Next, you should add some ‘update services’.
When you do this, every time you publish a new post WordPress will notify all the services in your list, which most experts agree helps your new pages to get noticed by the search engines faster.
Here’s a link to a text file of the services I use..
Just click ‘Settings’, then ‘Writing‘ and paste the list into the text box down the bottom titled ‘Update Services’ and click ‘Save Changes’.
If you want a new article to rank highly for the words “London based Wedding Photographer“, there’s a few ‘best practices’ you should follow.
- Make sure that phrase “London based Wedding Photographer”, or a very similar variation is included in your articles a few times. At least around 1%, but aim for 2% (don’t go higher than that)…So a 200 word article should include the phrase 2-4 times.
- Include the phrase in the ‘post title’
- Add an image and use that phrase in the ‘alt text’, as well as making it the name of the image.
- Use the phrase in the ‘All In One SEO Plugin’ sections for ‘title’, ‘description’, and ‘keywords’ – I’ll talk about this plugin soon.
The following are the plugins I recommend and they’re all totally free. I won’t go into long-winded explanations why, but I’ve done a considerable amount of research and testing to come up with these.
One note on plugins is that the more you use, the slower your site will perform, which Google sees as a negative and can hurt your rankings, so keep it to a bare minimum where possible.
All In One SEO Pack
This is the skeleton of your optimization because it does almost everything.
It adds a form at the end of your posts so that you can add a title, description and keywords.
- The description is what will show up in the search engines, so make it interesting to entice people to click your site, and include the phrase (like “London based Wedding Photographer” only once).
- The keywords are the phrases that your article is about. I try to stick with 4 or 5 phrases per article. Creating a huge list is said to make each phrase less valuable, while using fewer gives them more weight.
NOTE: Make sure you enable this plugin in the settings
If you use ‘Google Analytics’ (which I recommend because it’s free and very useful to keep track of your stats), you can add your ‘Analytics ID’ in this plugin instead of having another separate plugin.
I also tick the ‘Use noindex for Archives’ and ‘Use noindex for Tag Archives’ boxes, which others say can help a little.
This plugin creates a daily backup of all your posts, so that if your site ever gets hacked (quite unlikely), or goes down for some reason, you’ll be able to restore it easily.
There are tutorials on YouTube explaining setup if you want to use this.
Disqus Comment System
This replaces the standard WordPress commenting system, and it looks a lot more clean and neat.
It wont help in your rankings, but it makes it easier for people to leave comments as a guest without having to leave an email, or via their Facebook and Twitter accounts, so encourages more interaction which is the thing that can really help your place in Google.
Google XML Sitemaps
This creates a ‘sitemap’ which basically helps Google (and the other search engines) looks around your site more easily.
Just install it, click ‘enable’ and then add a link to yoursite.com/sitemap.xml to the footer of your site.
This one is supposed to keep the ‘clutter’ down a little in your database, so should help speed up your site.
When writing posts WordPress periodically saves them, so that if your computer crashes, most of your work will be saved. This means there could be 20 different copies of all your posts saved to your database.
Revision control cuts it back so that only a certain number of copies are saved (I set mine to 2).
WP Robots TXT
Having a Robots TXT file is another ‘must have’ in Google’s eyes. This plugin allows you to add places you don’t want search engines to look at, or certain things that you want blocked (don’t worry about this unless you’re quite advanced)
WP Super Cache
When set up properly this can drastically speed up your sites load time which is a huge factor in getting better rankings.
Google sees a site that loads slowly as a bad ‘user-experience’, because who wants to sit around while a slow site loads?
To test how long your site takes, visit www.tools.pingdom.com
It takes a little more than simply installing it to reap the rewards of faster speeds.
Just follow the directions on the site below and you’ll notice a pretty big difference:
- Keep WordPress and your plugins updated. When you log into your admin section, you’ll have notifications of any available updates. It’s as easy as clicking a button, so always keep them up to date because the updates often patch security flaws which annoying hackers can use to gain access to your site.
- Change your login username from the default ‘admin’. If you change it from ‘admin’ it makes it far more difficult to hackers to gain access so they usually won’t bother.
So Go Get Set Up!
Take some time tonight to get all this set up. It can take a few hours, but once it’s done, it’s done forever.
If you’ve got any questions, or advice that you think I’ve missed, let me know in the comments below.