SEO and Website Keywords

Optimising the website so that it can be found easily by websites feels really complicated but it has been made easier by the Moonfruit software I have used.

First, I checked through the whole website and made sure that all the links were working. Broken links can cause search engines to hit a dead end and stop searching.

then I typed a few search phrases into Google and noted the page titles and descriptions of the websites at the top of the results. I used these as inspiration for my own page titles and descriptions.

A couple of examples I liked include:

Hendenweddings.co.uk

Page title: Wedding Photography Lincolnshire, Scunthorpe, Hull …

Page Description: Henden are among the top wedding photographers within Lincolnshire. Covering nationwide. Wedding photography in Scunthorpe, Doncaster, Hull, Grimsby.

and

andysweddingphotos.co.uk

Page title: Andy’s Wedding Photos: Wedding Photographer in Lincoln …

Page Description: Are you looking for a wedding photographers in Lincoln, Scunthorpe? Great prices on wedding photography and event photography. Call 01724 764 134.

For each of the page titles I described the page, included keywords and my website name as this is used by every search engine listing. As well as appearing in search engine listings the page title also appears at the top of the browser window. The optimum page title length being between 65 and 75 characters.

On the home page I have used the following title: Wedding, portrait, documentary and travel photography by AJR Photographs.

The page description doesn’t really have an impact on search engine listings but if i say the right thing in it, it may inspire someone to click on my link as they look through the listing. Between 150 and 160 characters is ideal for the page description.

In the home page I have used the following page description: AJR Photographs offers friendly and professional documentary wedding and humanitarian travel photography in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, around the UK and overseas.

I can set these for each page and I can also set these for the site as a whole.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 18.08.52I understand that keywords are used less by the search engines these days but there is still an option to include some that are relevant to my site. Keywords are also useful if I choose to do some online advertising. Using two or three-word phrases improves your chances of ranking highly as these phrases attract fewer competing companies and sites, and can be more specific to your market. The goal is to find keywords and terms relevant to what I offer, that have a high search volume and low competition.

To help me choose the best keywords, I logged into Google Adwords and chose Tools / Keyword Planner and then Search for new keyword and ad group ideas. Going to the ‘Keyword Ideas’ tab there was a list of relevant keywords and phrases that people have been searching for on Google along with information about how many people had searched for each phrase and what kind of competition there is from other businesses.

I looked through the results searching out phrases that have a high number of people searching for it and low competition. Many times it is a compromise as the more familiar search terms are usually faced with lots of competition. But by tweaking the search terms I came up with the following list for use on the home page:

  • Wedding photography
  • Wedding reportage
  • Lincolnshire or Yorkshire
  • Travel photography
  • Commercial photography
  • Documentary photography

I used this information to help me create unique names as well as descriptions and keywords for each of the pages across the site. I will be able to monitor and track the success of this using Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools which are all free pieces of software.

Google Analytics

To monitor the number of people looking at my website I have linked it to Google Analytics. This is free software that will enable me to track visitor numbers, popular pages, and where my viewers are accessing the site.

I already have a Google account and a Google Analytics account so I simply logged in and chose the ‘create new account’ option.

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Once I had filled in the form with the details of my website I clicked “Get Tracking ID’ and was given a unique tracking ID and some code. I copied this to my clipboard and went back into my webpage. I opened up services and chose the setup Google Analytics option before pasting the code into the box that appeared. All that was left was to click Save and I was done.

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The Google Analytics YouTube channel has some great explanatory videos about how to get the most out of Google Analytics. This is a particularly useful introductory video.

 

Watermarking and Resizing Photographs

A few weeks ago I asked the tutor to tell us about how to watermark our photographs and whether it was a good idea to do so or not. He suggested that a watermark is a good way of promoting ourselves or our business but that it wouldn’t guarantee that they would be safe from people determined to steal them.

To watermark my photos using Lightroom (my preferred programme) I need to be in the Library section and then Export.

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In the export box there is a watermarking section, in this section the drop down gives an option for a simple Copyright Watermark, any pre-loaded watermarks and Edit Watermarks…

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In the Edit Watermarks… box there are two options, an image or text watermark. I wanted to use my logo so under Image Options I choose a .png version of my logo from my computer. Then I went through the other options until I was happy with opacity, size and positioning of the logo and clicked Done.

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When the watermark has been set, all I need to do is click on that Watermarking section each time I export a photo. However, in order to export photos for my website I have set up a preset called Website Ready.

In the Export Box I prepare all of the settings exactly how I want them, paying particular attention to the image sizing. 72 pixels is good enough for on screen and I choose 1,000 pixels along the long edge as this is a good size for fitting on the screen. I find these settings to be a good compromise of photo quality v download size.

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When the export settings were ready all I did was click on the Add button under the Preset box and name the preset. Now, every time I want to export images for my website I can click on the Website Ready preset and the settings will automatically adjust leaving me with perfectly resized and watermarked photos ready for upload to my website library.

 

Making a Movie Portfolio

On my website I want to include a short ‘movie’ of some of my photographs to demonstrate the type of photography that I enjoy. The movie will be no more than a minute in length.

I have chosen to include the photographs that I used in yesterday’s Location Based mini portfolio blog entry as I think these give a good overview of my style.

I started by importing the photographs into a new event in iMovie, then created a new project with a modern theme as this will work best with my website. I dragged the photos into the project in the order that I wanted them and adjusted the length that each image is to be seen to 2.8 seconds to ensure the film was no more than a minute in length.

I then checked the transitions and adjusted the Ken Burns effect where necessary. Finally I removed the credit at the end of the film and renamed the title at the beginning.

I want people to focus solely on the photos and not to be put off or influenced by the music I choose but for the purposes of this course I am required to include some background music, so for the time being I have included a piece of royalty free music that is available within the iMovie software.

iMovie automatically saves my work as I do it so all that was left was for me to share it to my YouTube site. I was already logged into YouTube through iMovie so I simply double checked all of the settings and ensured the movie was set to private (just in case something went wrong or I wanted to make changes after it was uploaded) before pressing ‘ok’.

When the upload was complete I went to YouTube, double checked all the settings, added a few tags and gave it a final run though before making it publicly available. Once it was made public I was able to get a link and post it into my website and include it here.

Website Ideas

In order to decide the format of my website I have looked at a few examples of other photography portfolio websites.

www.worldinmylens.com has been designed by someone who runs a web design agency. It is a very glossy travel photography site and I really like the nice clear galleries split by continent and country. However I don’t like that at the top you scroll horizontally but you are also able to scroll down the page vertically too, it makes it a bit confusing. Also on my mac when I scroll horizontally I keep accidentally opening the preferences panel. Its a bit annoying. It also isn’t very clear how to get back to the home page.

www.stanseatonphotography.co.uk is a lovely wedding photography site. I really like the clear, straightforward, elegant layout with a large display photo and smaller photos used as links to other areas of the site. The menu is simple and it feels like there are not many pages. My only concern is that the Journal section seems to lead to another website – I would prefer everything to be in one place.

Initially I thought I was going to like  www.jeremycowart.com but I didn’t really. The thumbnail that I clicked on from another site showed an image with four images below labelled Artist, Humanitarian, App Creator and Teacher. When I actually clicked on the thumbnail, the site had clearly been updated and all the photographs on the home page were displayed in a collage which looked smart but felt a bit muddled. I had liked the idea of galleries that were a labelled according to activities rather than subject area or style of photography.

www.ericryananderson.com has a simple clear website that looks a little more contemporary than Stan Seaton Photography. I quite like the short, snappy, honest bio that he has.

In summary, I would like my website to:

  • scroll vertically and not horizontally
  • Include clearly labelled and defined galleries
  • Have a simple straightforward menu
  • Include a larger display photo and smaller photo links
  • Everything to be on one website
  • The galleries to be labelled according to my activities
  • Short, snappy, honest bio

I have several target audiences for my photographs so my website needs to appeal to couples planning to get married as well as commercial businesses, travel companies and stock images businesses. Therefore I think I would like my website to have three or four main menu pages and the following sub-pages and galleries:

Website-Plan

I think I would like to borrow heavily from Seaton Photography and for my website to be laid out something like this. I will use the branding that I developed last semester and use the colours I have chosen previously for each of the main areas.

Website-Layout

Tools for Creating a Professional Web Portfolio

Throughout our second semester we will be developing a website that uses the branding we created in the first semester.

The first step is to research which tools are available to help me create my portfolio website. I don’t have any coding skills so I need to look at any templates and programmes that can help me create something professional.

Blogs

This far I have been using a free WordPress.com website that allows me to create pages of static information as well as this blog. I like writing this blog and would like to be able to incorporate it into my new website. The only problem I have is that it is not easy to include my new branding in the WordPress templates.

WordPress.org offers a lot more flexibility, templates and plug-ins but is a little more tricky and expensive to set up.

Website Builders

There are a number of great web builder programmes available on the Internet like Wix, Moonfruit, Go Daddy and Weebly. These are online programmes that include a wide range of templates that can be customised easily using drag and drop software. Most have a free plan and include email services, an online shop and easy purchase of domain names.

I have created websites in Moonfruit before and have found it to be easy to use. The help section was comprehensive and there is a range of plug-in programmes that can be used with it to expand the functionality of the web pages. The online shop is easy to set up and is great for individual items but not quite so straightforward if you are selling prints of various sizes. I haven’t found a way, as yet, to automatically send purchases straight to the print company.

Photographic Website Builders

Some website builders have been designed specifically with photographers in mind. Smugmug, Zenfolio, pro galleries in PhotoBox, and Defrozo.

Most photographic website builders have a free plan or are completely free. They either print photos themselves or have links to professional photographic printers and they handle all of the online ordering automatically. Again they use templates that you can personalise but I haven’t found them to have has much flexibility as the general website builders.

Defrozo is worth a particular mention here, although still in Beta form at the moment it describes itself as the ultimate marketing platform for photographers. Functionality is limited at the moment but is developing all the time and promises to include a CRM system and client websites.

Photographic and Art Communities

Behance, DevianArt and 500px are all photographic or art communities where you can create a web portfolio and network with others that have similar interests.

At the moment I have no strong feelings as to which tool I will use. Once I have decided everything that I want to include in my website I can come and make a final choice.