Daylight Savings Sale

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012

If you’re like me, you really wish you had that extra hour you lost this week to DST. But what can you do? We’re all slave to time. What does that have to do with this sale? Nothing whatsoever. Just wanted an excuse to work in the word “savings” from Daylight Savings into a special of some sort, cause it’s been FOREVER since I’ve held one; My bad.

Anywaysss…I thought I’d put my newfound growing knowledge of WordPress options framework and web design to good use. One has exercised my nerdy, programming side and the other my creative, artsy fartsy side. But enough about me, let’s get down to business.

Here’s the run down:
$75 off of a Complete Blogsite package (orig. $500)
includes:
- 3 months of build + 1 month of support (standard)
- custom layout (must have logo pre-designed) including branding buttons, graphic elements to match your branding
- custom portfolio gallery page with javascript slideshow (iPad compatible)
- custom Options Panel: what do I mean by custom? Tell me what you want to tweak yourself and I’ll make it easy for you to do (within reason). Excludes custom font options (i.e. cufon fonts) and “structural” design changes to your blogsite.

Sale ends March 24th. Just fill out the Sign-up form and mention the “Daylight Savings Sale”.

* Already have a blogsite but want to spread the word? Get a friend to sign up and I’ll perform 5 customizations for you. Yay!

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Cyber Monday Sale

Last Updated on Monday, 28 November 2011

Urg…I just through this together last minute.
Expires midnight tonight (Pacific time):
- $75 off Blogsite packages
- $25 off Blogsite upgrades

And if you haven’t been following the progress of the Options Panel feature I’ve been working on, I’ve decided to build them for new blogs and blogsites for free. No, it’s not part of the sale, it comes standard!

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Top 5 Blogging Mistakes by Photographers

Last Updated on Monday, 29 August 2011

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while, and as you know I work with a lot of photographers in creating/updating their blogs, so I’ve seen all sorts of blogging mistakes. Most of them pertain to the use of images, and that’s what I’ll be concentrating on for now, but I may add more later.

In order of least to most important:

  1. Not blogging enough. I have the same issue myself, but like you I’m sometimes too busy to blog on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. But one of the most common questions I get asked is “how can I improve my SEO and Google rankings?”. Well, the simple answer is, you’re not blogging enough! And by blogging, I don’t mean just posting photos, but TALKING about the photos, photo shoot location, etc.. that help with generating more content that the search engines LOVE to read. The quantity and frequency of the content is what will send search engines crawling on your site. If you take a look at your stats, often you’ll find the search engine bots crawling, and that’s a GOOD THING! This is just one way to increase SEO, but the rest is for another post.
  2. Having too many blog posts on the each page.  This might be something you’re unaware of, but the default for WordPress is to show 10 posts per page. That’s fine if your blog posts are only full of text, but photographers (especially you wedding photographers!!!) are notorious for an over-abundance of image-filled posts. I have one client (I will not name names) literally had at least 100 images on their front page, and that was only with 3 posts!!! And they were wondering why their blog was loading so slow… Ok, so to set the number of posts per page, go to Settings—>Reading in your blog admin and set the “blog pages show at most” to something like 5, but it all depends on how many images per post you average. I would suggest 5 if you post no more than 3 or 4 per post. Make it less if you post more.
  3. Forcing large image files to fit your blog width. Some of you may not even know you’re doing this! But if you’re uploading full size image files (i.e. full res, larger than 1000 pixels wide most likely), but you see that they fit just nicely in your blog, it could be because your themes style sheet is FORCING your images to fit. That’s all nice and dandy except of course, your image file sizes are larger than they need to be and will therefore slow down the loading of your blog pages. The BEST thing to do is to figure out the width of your blog post and set the medium or large image size to THAT. So say your post width is 900 pixels wide, then go to your blog admin under Settings–>Media. These are the settings where you tell WordPress what sizes you want your image to be resized to after uploading a full res image file.  Now set the medium or large size to that width.  I also suggest using that same number for the height so that your files stay the same file size regardless of orientation. Lastly, you then use that size (medium or large) for the size you insert into your posts. Of course, you can set this number to be less than your post width, but DON’T set it larger or you’ll have unnecessarily large file sizes.
  4. NOT watermarking your images. This is the #1 way to safeguard your images. I know, some people think they’re ugly and intrusive, but some may be done discretely yet can be difficult to remove. I highly recommend doing it, either using a batch process in Photoshop or Lightroom, or using a plugin like Scissors that will automatically watermark your images after upload. Regardless if you have a right-click disable script in place or if you make sure not to do #5 on this list, there are still going to be tech-savvy people out there using the print-screen key stroke on their computer to take a screenshot of your blog. There is NO script out there that you can install on your blog that will prevent people from doing that. The kind of watermark I suggest is similar to the one I use on my photography blog, a low opacity strip across the lower section that doesn’t cover faces and would be difficult to remove without cropping off a good part of the image.
  5. Hyperlinking images to the full sized (full resolution) version. This has got to be my biggest pet peeve. I’ve seen photographers’ blogs that have copyright messages and right-click disable scripts installed everywhere on their blog, but then they don’t realize that they’re linking the images to FULL RESOLUTION versions of their web-sized images. That’s basically telling anyone, “hey click here and download this image for free!”  There may still be a few photographers out there that “give” away their images on CD for cheap, so maybe they don’t care that the images are then accessible on the web, but most photographers I know who want to protect their product wouldn’t want this situation to occur. So here’s the simple fix: before you insert your images into your post, make sure where it says “Link URL” in the image dialog box, it’s set to “none” and not “file URL” or “post URL”. Post URL isn’t what it sounds like. It will actually add the URL for the attachment page, which uses a page template you may or may not have, but it’s basically a page that shows just that image. I don’t recommend using it unless you aware that you have an attachment page template in your theme files.

I hope this list helps you in your quest to blog effectively, efficiently, and most importantly, creatively for your photography business.

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