Building And Launching A Website
Building a website versus launching a website. If you're starting here, and you're thinking like several of you have said, that you don't have websites, which is the direction to go? Do you wanna build your website or do you want to launch one? Unless you are deeply committed to being a web programmer I would strongly, strongly advise you not to try to do it yourself. Not necessarily to pay a company, a big company, that's going to charge you a hefty fee for them to create something custom for you. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with custom sites. In fact, my website, Tamara Lakeman dot com aptly named, I used a combination of working with a site to build out my vision for what I wanted to be but then I transitioned over to using themes and plugins and working with a site that can help me get exactly what I want. And what I found using both methods is that when I worked with an agency that created the site I want, it was really expensive. Prohibitive for some small people, s...
mall businesses starting out. Small people. (laughing) You're big people. Small businesses starting up. So not only that but also a lot of times they control any changes you wanna make. You don't necessarily want a website where you are locked out of owning it, and managing it, and customizing it, upgrading it, and changing things on the fly. I am in and out of the backend of my website all the time. Whether it's, I'm running a special, or updating a blog post, I'm updating my gallery. I think having a great website and letting it sit there, be very static, and unchanging as you change is a major brand mistake. So really consider that. Unless you want to be a web programmer, an internet programmer, or a website developer, outsource this part of it. Just launch a site. So, I think there's a number of great companies out there that have templates that you can tap into that are ready to show what great websites look like. Here are all the themes and how, Imagine your work, your logo, and your images in this theme that's already built. Starting from there, and then recognize an ability to customize is a very powerful thing. Because just because you see a theme and it looks like that doesn't mean you adopt that as yours. Because then guess what? You look like everybody else. You don't want to do that. We were talking about standing out in your market. Not being forgettable. Not being in the middle of the pack. As a takeaway yesterday when we covered that, who has a piece of feedback from that whole talk, about standing out in your market, some takeaway you have from that talk in terms of not being in the middle of the pack. Not looking around from everybody else. I'm gonna put one of you on that proverbial hot seat. Give me one piece of takeaway that somebody had.
My takeaway is that you just need to do you.
That is so precise. You do need to do you. And you need to show you. And you need to let people know who you are, what you do, and how you do it. And if you're picking out a website that has look and feel that you're drawn to, start there and then customize it. Make it look like you. So if I'm getting a regular theme and it's got a big image on the front and there's really cool kind of plugins, and we're gonna show a bunch of websites, I'm gonna think first and foremost, what are the colors used? What's the font used? How are the images portrayed? How can I take a regular setup on a page and transform it to look and feel like me? We do all of our websites through Imagely. And the reason is, I was talking to the guys who run it a few years ago, and one of the conversations we had was he said, "You know we do the next gen plugin," we'll talk about that in a second, but it's had something like honestly 19 million downloads, it's a very popular plugin for a gallery, a way to display your portfolio, "and we're thinking about getting into website themes, what do you think photographers, new photographers, need the most?" And I said, "They need a theme. They need a combination of well designed themes that are very specific to photography that really showcase a photographer. But they also need seo. They need to be ale to jump in and be found through items on their website that will enable Google to find them." Because most of the time these great themes and templates out there look beautiful and get you up and running but you have to transition to some of the resources that will boost you from an seo perspective, like on the word press platform. Arguably the most popular platform there is for websites. So they came out with a process of letting you use the themes but the whole seo background that you want. And that combination I think is very powerful. So I recommend them a lot for that reason. Get up and running quickly. Don't build your own website. And be able to quickly access the marketing reach that you can have by good seo built in to a template or a website. Got that. Another question that comes up a lot about websites is do I still need to blog? Like I can get it out there on social media. I can Facebook. I can Twitter it. I can Instagram it. And by the time you're done doing all of that, you can even, we were talking earlier about looking at one platform and thinking it's another, you can even put your message out on the right platform across the board and be really cognizant of having a great social media platform. And by the time you're done, why do I need to blog? I've put it out everywhere. A number of reasons you still do need to blog. Number one. Is from an seo fresh content perspective updating your website with fresh content repeatedly and regularly tells everybody who comes to find you, and the search engines, that you're active, real, in business, and ready for business. So having content that's fresh and updated is significant and important when it comes to keeping a blog. Number two. Obviously it's a great way to get the word out about things that you're doing. Specials that you're running. Any sort of interesting new announcements about your business. Companies that you wanna work with that you wanna share with other people. One of the simplest ways to manage your time here is make a great post on Facebook, or anything else that you wanna be putting the word out about, we talked about good ideas about what to post yesterday. Remember? We talked about ideas of, you know, sitting there thinking, ah, what do I wanna post about. There's about 50 things you could post about. We went through that in detail yesterday. Taking that, and basically copying pasting it, and put it on your blog. Modify it for the layout of your blog. Make sure your links are all working. Maybe add a few more images for great seo. And suddenly you've cut that work down by you're now doing 15 to 20 percent of the work that would of normally done from a blogging perspective by simply repeating, maximizing the effort you've already done. I want you think this up and down, and left and right. When I'm building a business all I wanna do is maximize the effort I already put out again, and again, and again. I will have all the benefit of that reach and that effort and that marketing. And people can find me. But I don't have to keep doing the work over and over. I just need to have it be repeatable. So from a blogging perspective that is really powerful. That is how search engines find you. When you do a blog post, don't just put it out there and be done with it. Repeat that blog post in a number of ways. So if I have a blog post I put out a year ago and I think it's great and it's helpful and it got a lot of reach and people really talked about it and shared it I can just let that be that. Or I can find a way to bring it up in conversation that I'm having on social media or any of the other platforms that I'm using as a way to refer back to a post I already did. So I might have this great post on women in photography, it's a topic I've been talking about a lot lately. I might have this great post of women in photography and be really proud of how it came out. I spent a lot of time writing it. I used some great photographs. I linked out to some great sites who then linked back to me. Add that great seo boost of linking out using hyperlinks where I'm linking to people and they're linking to me. Which is another great practice if you want to increase your reach from a search engine optimization perspective. So I'm already doing that. And then a year later some topic in the media comes up about women in photography and I can then say, "Yes, I had a lot of thoughts on that. In fact, here's the first paragraph of my blog post to read more, go here." And suddenly I've just filled a new post. Very practically. I used the existing content I already did. And I've maximized the effort. If you've done any blogging whatsoever, you can actually spend, fill up weeks and weeks of your time by going back to your posts, making them evergreen. Do you guys know what I mean when I say evergreen? Yeah, so just to clarify. Evergreen content is basically content that can be used all the time, year round. It's not dated. It's not limited. You haven't made it something that's only used through November of 2014. The best content providers out there try to make their content evergreen. Let it last and last and last. So you can repackage it, resell it, maybe if you do a few tweaks, and keep going. So when you've got a great post out there that has a time stamp on it of some sort, like, we're running these specials just through November of 2014. Go back. Review it from the perspective of where you are today. And modify it to be evergreen. Don't have dates and limits around it. And then share that again, and again, and again. On this topic of women in photography we recently had experience where a friend of mine a couple years ago had done this analysis of brands. Camera brands and major manufacturers who showcased women as part of their ambassador program. I am very fortunate to be a Nikon ambassador. I love that. I'm very proud of it. But when this whole kind of the recent event came out where people started really questioning women in photography and how well they are or are not being represented the entire community was kind of on fire with this discussion, and she had posted something a couple years ago, Nicole, Nicole Z., she had published something a couple years ago on her blog where she actually looked at all counts. How many people are part of this camera brand? How many women are part of the brand representatives of this manufacturer? Of this manufacturer? How many people are speaking at events? How many women out of the roster, are speaking at events? And on, and on, and on. And she had a collection of something like a dozen, kind of, major conventions or major brands to show how much of their ambassadorship, how much was made up of women. When this whole thing started again she wisely went back and updated the post. Said today, two years later, what is it looking like now. And she was able to keep it all in the same link because when you have a link that you're linking out, it gets picked up and picked up, you don't wanna break the link. You want to keep that link live. Do you know what I'm saying? So if people are sharing that link and you break it later, or you create a new post that has nothing to do with that original link, you now have lost all those leads where people were linking back to you. So she updated the existing post, and then went ahead and shared it. And then I picked it up. And a number of other people picked it up. And shared that too. Because the truth in the data was actually very different than the perception out there in terms of who is leading the pack, as, for using women photographers as ambassadors. And what's the perception. So that post got a lot of traction two years later. 'Cause she was smart enough to go back, update it, and then drive a lot more people to her site. It's a very interesting way to maximize your effort with evergreen content.