The WordPress Photography Podcast
The WordPress Photography Podcast
Episode 21 - Keep Them Coming Back To Your Site w/ Nancy Nardi


Nancy Nardi

Nancy Nardi is the founder at BeMydo, Co-Owner at Makers Collaborative & Seniors Ignite. She helps photographers and entrepreneurs build their brand by leveraging the power of the web.

Nancy built her first website in 2002 for her senior portrait studio. As a business owner, she became obsessed with finding a better way of creating an online presence. That obsession led to her love affair with WordPress and in 2011 she launched HiFi Social Web (now BE MYDO) and started building websites for photographers.

For those curious minds, BE MYDO stands for Be Master of Your Domain.

WordPress/Photography Related News:

Google is now rolling AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) out across its search results beyond just “Top Results”.

Referenced Links:

Where to find Nancy:


Transcription was done by Rev.com

Scott: Welcome to episode 21. My name is Scott Wyden Kivowitz, and I'm joined by my co-host Rachel, from FotoSkribe. Hey, Rachel.

Rachel: Hey, Scott. How are you?

Scott: I'm doing well. Just got back from the D.C. area, nice and refreshed. It was a no-work vacation.

Rachel: Nice. That's wonderful. I know, this summer's sort of coming to a close. I can't believe it.

Scott: I know. It's really weird. Yeah, school's starting back up, and my wife's a teacher, so she's getting gears ready, and stuff like that. Yeah, where did the summer go?

Rachel: I don't know, but all our photographer friends are getting busy with the wedding season, and family portraits, and so all of this is very timely, I think. Right?

Scott: Yep.

Rachel: Perfect.

Scott: The last episode we had our second official Q&A.

Rachel: Yep.

Scott: That was really good. We answered a lot of really great questions, so thank for everybody who submitted, and if you want to submit for Episode 30, which will be the third Q&A, you can do so at imagely.com/podcast/q.

Rachel: Slash q, yeah, I know, it was great. It was really good to talk about that stuff and to see what people are asking, and, like I said, I always say there're no stupid questions. If one person has a question, there's probably ten, a hundred more people with the same question, so please reach out if you have any questions and let us know.

Scott: Yep. Today we have an awesome guest. I'm very happy we finally are getting her on the show.

Rachel: Yes.

Scott: We have Nancy Nardi. She is the founder of BeMYDO, and the co-owner at Makers Collaborative, and a website you've most like heard of, Seniors Ignite, which has been around for a while, and it's still going really strong, I'm really happy. Nancy helps photographers and entrepreneurs build their brand by leveraging the power of the web. Nancy built her first website in 2002 for her senior-portrait studio, so that's very important. Nancy, although she's no longer an active photographer, she was a photographer, a very active photographer at one point, and she stills works with photographers on a daily basis. As a business owner, she became obsessed with finding a better way of creating an online presence, and that obsession led to her love affair with WordPress. In 2011 she launched Hi-Fi Social Web, which is now BeMYDO, and started building websites for photographers. For those curious minds, BeMYDO stands for Be Master Of Your Domain.

Rachel: It's an anachronism, BEMYDO, Be Master Of Your Domain.

Nancy Nardi: Yes, yes.

Scott: Welcome, Nancy, we're very happy to have you on the show finally.

Rachel: Yes.

Nancy Nardi: I'm excited to be here. This is awesome. Thanks for having me.

Rachel: This is definitely in your wheelhouse, so photographers, WordPress, websites, building the better web, we're just really excited to chat and see what your perspective on all these things are.

Scott: Before we get into what's going on with you and your new BeMYDO venture, let's talk real quick about some WordPress photography-related news. The last episode the news was that WordPress 4.6 was around the corner, at the time we're recording this episode, it's still around the corner. I think it's still the release candidate one, so there will probably be one or two more release candidates before the official version is out. The other piece is that Google just announced something pretty major. For a while, Google has been testing their AMP, which is Accelerated Mobile Pages, and you can basically install a plugin on your site, and it'll enable this feature for your WordPress site, and basically it is a way for Google to load your blog content fast, like instantly, or nearly instant, milliseconds versus seconds, and what it's doing is basically stripping out your entire website, just stripping out your theme, it's stripping out most of the function, and just doing the content itself, basically the text and images.

With additional plugins, extensions, for the AMP plugin, you could do additional features. For example, there's Glue for AMP, which is basically a connection between Yost SEO and the AMP plugin, and it's actually made by Yost as well. There's a lot of things you can do like that. AMP has been out now for, I think, about six months or so, and it's really been on the top result, which is basically for news on Google, so what that's like, The New York Times, and stuff like that, could use AMP, and they would show up through Google Results on a mobile device, in Google Chrome and things like that. Well, now, Google's rolling it out to all results, not just top results, so if you're using the AMP, eventually you're going to start seeing your own website show up in search results with the AMP signal, and it will start loading the AMP through the Chrome browser on your mobile device.

Rachel: Is the plugin the AMP plugin that you need to install?

Scott: Yeah, so it's made by Automattic, the company who is the main force behind WordPress, and we'll link to it in show notes, but, yeah, you need to install that, and then you can configure it a little bit with color and logo, like I said, you can add additional extensions if you want to connect certain things to it.

Rachel: Does it only pull from blog posts natively?

Scott: Yes, it's only blog posts.

Rachel: It would be really good for photographers who are blogging.

Scott: Correct.

Rachel: Awesome.

Scott: Google did say a while back that AMP could, potentially become a ranking factor for SEO, but right now they're still saying it's not. That's just something to keep in the back of your mind if you're worried about SEO, and we're going to talk about SEO in a little bit.

Rachel: Yes.

Scott: Or really not SEO, but if you're concerned about it, and you want to stay ahead of the curve, then you might want to consider the AMP plugin, maybe, so think about it.

Rachel: Good information.

Nancy Nardi: Yes. Very good information.

Scott: Nancy, tell us about BeMYDO. Obviously, as I said in the intro, it came from another company that you started, and you're sort of rebranding it and redoing what the products offerings will be, so tell us about it.

Nancy Nardi: We've seen a lot of pain around photographers just trying to get a website and not being really informed. I think the focus a lot is on tools and popular tools rather than actually getting a website working for your business, so we were creating some products and services that more helped them use their website that actually got them clients versus setting up just a portfolio. People get so focused on tools, and they spend all their time tweaking their site rather than working on the actually content for their site.

Rachel: We talk about that a lot too, especially with WordPress can do it all, but in the days of Flash, they had a Flash site and a WordPress blog, and now combining them all. For my own interest, I'd love to hear your back story. You started as a photographer and then moved into Seniors Ignite, is that right? What's your story of how you got to where you are now?

Nancy Nardi: I had a senior portraits studio, and actually my first site was a Flash site. That was the first site I built, and that was what everyone was using. As I started to work with WordPress, I started to help other photographers too. I'm like, hey, you have to try this out, because Flash was really starting to get outdated quickly, and that was right around 2006, 2007, so I started helping people, and it was very do-it-yourself, but I loved it because if you were an early blogger, you got really fast SEO results back in those days, so it really was significant. I just started to do that more and more, and enjoy it more and more, and so I found myself doing that more than photography and letting that kind of fall to the wayside. As I branched into web design, that's when I started HiFi Social Web and closed my studio down. I also, at the same time, we started Seniors Ignite, which was sort of a side project, and then it turned out to be the main, it overtook my business.

Rachel: Well it's such a great resource for photographers, especially focusing on high school senior portraits, because they really have a unique set of needs as high school seniors, and Senors Ignite definitely hits all those points that you need, so if you're listening and you haven't checked it out, and you're shooting high school seniors, you need to go check it out, because it is a very good resource. It seems sort of that you have that senior portraiture part and then the overall website photography, so where are you now with helping photographers? What is your number one piece of advice that you tell every photographer that you meet for their website?

Nancy Nardi: I tell them to start usually with a brand. Beyond the tools, come up with a brand and just some interesting content that they need to attract people to their site. I find that they kind of work backward. It's SEO, then tools, and it's an afterthought, because when I first started HiFi Social Web, I was actually setting up sites for people, and so I'd get their WordPress site set up, and then they'd email me back and were like, "Okay, well, I have this site. Now, what do I do?" BeMYDO kind of picks up with the "now what do I do". The tools are there, so that's where we come next.

Scott: What kind of tools are you going to be offering to photographers at BeMYDO?

Nancy Nardi: Educational products and services. No software or theme specific. We have do-it-yourself education stuff, and then we also have we'll do it for you.

Scott: Cool.

Rachel: That's awesome. Now both Scott and I loved one of your recent emails that you sent out, and we wanted to talk a little bit more about what you do to attract your audiences, and what photographers can learn from that and how they can take their content marketing to the next level.

Nancy Nardi: Well, Seniors Ignite grew very quickly from content. We blogged in the early days a lot, about three days a week, and we sent a weekly email, and that helped us tremendously, so much so that even pulling back, we create content far less than we used to, but that early content, especially the key content, continues to bring in traffic. Content's one of those things that just continually pays off. Writing posts, sharing images. Images actually do a lot for us too. Image search kind of gets overlooked a lot. That was how we grew it.

Scott: One thing that I think a lot of photographers need to realize is that if you have a piece of content that is constantly bringing more traffic to you over time, even if it's seven years old, you can go back and update it and add more content to it, or add more images, or add a call to action about something. I actually just did that this morning to an article that is still bringing in a lot of revenue for me, and so I just went back, and I just updated it, very small update, but it's important. If you actually put in the phrase saying "last updated on this date," search engines will see that, and that will help.

Nancy Nardi: That's good to know.

Scott: The email you sent out was really interesting because it was sort of talking about SEO and how, and I know that you actually value SEO, right?

Nancy Nardi: Yes, yes.

Scott: The funny thing is, the email was like, you know, SEO is not that important compared to what this other topic is. I think it's a really good discussion because I agree that there is this fine line between just being organic overall, adding that SEO in, and adding this conversion optimization in. Let's talk about conversion optimization a little bit, and specifically, if you want to explain what your definition of conversion rate and conversion optimization is.

Nancy Nardi: Conversion rate is you want your visitors to take some type of action on your site. You want to, whether it's to fill out a form, to call you for a consultation, or to book a session, you want them to do something when they come to your site, and you have also to keep them coming back to your site. Conversion rate optimization really is optimizing those things. With SEO, what I tell people is, it is important, but I think people, you know, the non-experienced people will view it as a tool, but they forget that there's a content part of it, or there's the other part of it too, so it's like, well, we need to create some type of page content or blog post, and that's kind of the SEO part that usually gets missed, because it's hard, it's a lot of work.

Rachel: It's definitely whether you're talking to the robots that run the SEO or the people that are viewing your site, and I've had a lot of discussions with people who have great SEO, and they have thousands of people, but may not necessarily have the booking rates because if a thousand people are viewing your site and only one of them wants to book you in your local area versus only a hundred people looking at your site, but ten of those people want to book you and are in your area, and stuff like that, because your content is better suited for them. That's the argument between what are you sharing versus are you just sharing it to get people to see your site, and which is more valuable to your business.

Nancy Nardi: Exactly.

Rachel: That's a hard conversation because I don't know that there's a right answer, and I think every business may be different. I'm sure you have that with all the photography businesses that you're seen. It's almost customized to suit the person, right?

Nancy Nardi: Yeah, and the high school senior photographers don't feel like high school seniors are looking at blogs, and they may or may not be, but there are still other things that people can do, but you have to have some type of content somewhere on your site.

Rachel: Right, right.

Scott: For seniors, it's not always the seniors that are looking for the photographer, it's the parents.

Nancy Nardi: Right.

Rachel: Right. It's two different markets. It's interesting because now with this Snapchat versus Instagram Live conversation coming up, Snapchat used to be where I recommended senior photographers because so many younger generations are on it, and now with Instagram Live, do you have an opinion on whether that's going to bring younger people over to Instagram or how does that fill in that sort of senior niche to you on web marking?

Nancy Nardi: What we're seeing is, actually, seniors and teens still are on Instagram, but they just aren't active on Instagram. Senior photographers are still getting a lot of engagement there, or at least they're getting people that are aware of them there, but they aren't engaging as much, and they are really engaging on Snapchat. It will be interesting to see how the stories play out. I think that it was actually a really good update. One of the things we talk about with a lot of senior photographers is Snapchat, absolutely you have to be engaging there, but then let's also find a way to kind of once in a while get them back to your website because that's where you'll eventually close the deal.

Scott: Can you tell us a few different forms of conversion, or things that you consider conversions, for somebody's website or their business, let's say, online and offline? What is considered a conversion?

Nancy Nardi: Well, offline, I would say if someone and this just happened to us this weekend, we went to a store, the store wasn't open, but they had this awesome information in their window, and we could go right to their website and get information right away. They had just a little sign in the window, and so if someone comes by your building or they hear about you somewhere offline, you need to kind of give them a point to go back and learn more about you or engage with you somewhere. That's kind of a key offline conversion, and so you want to track are you getting people contacting you from offline things, like events. Events are big with high school seniors.

Online it would be, I would say, an inquiry to book a session or a phone call to book a session. I would also say, getting them to follow you on social media is a conversion as well, email newsletter too. Some way to get people to repeatedly come back to your site. That could be from an email list, retargeting with a Facebook ad, social media, and some way of getting them to take some action on your site: book a session, view proofs, sign up for something. I would say also set up a customer account. I think that's kind of something; you want them coming back to your site, like viewing galleries, setting up a customer account to view a gallery, so that's another one.

Scott: Nice.

Rachel: Sorry.

Scott: What? Something ...

Rachel: No, my phone is still connected to this computer, so every once in a while I'll hear it ring, and I'm like, "What? This is a computer." Again, all this technology, right?

Scott: Actually I didn't even hear it this time.

Rachel: Oh, good.

Nancy Nardi: I didn't hear it either.

Rachel: Oh, good. All right.

Scott: Did you have a question?

Rachel: Well, I'd love to hear the evolution of how you have used WordPress because you've been using it since 2006, and now we're in 2016. For you, and I know we've sort of talked about tools, but how has your use of WordPress changed, or has it?

Nancy Nardi: Oh, yeah, dramatically. When I started using it with my studio, I could let people book online, and I actually embedded the booking online software into my WordPress site. I used Acuity Scheduling at the time, and then also I did in-person sales, but then I wanted to make it available for people to be able to reorder prints from me online, and so I had some online software that kind of worked with WordPress so people could reorder prints and stuff, and that was also sort of a source of leads too, so if you had people that would send their friends there, you could capture their email address.

I started out doing that and that the same time I also started selling templates, so I also started using eCommerce and which was really rough around the edges when I first started, and that's how I branched off. Then I set up, obviously, my HiFi Social website. I started using that for web design and attracting clients there. Seniors Ignite, we use for everything: event websites, eCommerce, membership sites. I've used WordPress for just about everything. I think social media integration, too, was a huge thing, even in 2007 and 2008. You just couldn't do those things with a Flash site. That was part of my reason for moving; there were some things you couldn't do.

Rachel: Yeah, I didn't even think of that. That's interesting. I wonder when did the Facebook API even become public, things like that. WordPress would definitely be the first one to adopt that, right?

Nancy Nardi: Yeah, they were the first at everything, and so you had almost enterprise-level software for small business people, and that's what made me start it. I had no experience with it, but it was fairly easy.

Scott: It's funny that you've mentioned Flash now twice. It's just funny timing because just this morning I published an article on why you shouldn't use Flash anymore, and photographers should never use Flash anymore. Through one of the wedding photography websites that Imagely runs, I see a lot of wedding photography websites, and I would say half of them are still Flash.

Rachel: Really?

Nancy Nardi: Yeah, I see the same.

Scott: Oh, yeah. If you go to Pandora, I removed Flash from my computer because Adobe, they discontinued it, it's done, you can still download it, but they're not updating it anymore. It's discontinued.

Rachel: Right, right, that's why I'm so surprised.

Scott: If you remove Flash from your computer and go to Pandora, a very popular music streaming website, you can't use it.

Nancy Nardi: Oh, I had no idea.

Rachel: Yeah, I didn't either. That's interesting.

Scott: It's like you could easily build it on HTML5, right? Now this is techie for all the photographer, whatever, if it's going over your head, doesn't matter, they can easily build it on an HTML framework that works across all devices, but no, they decided to do it in Flash, so they're basically saying that all of their members, paid and non-paid members, that don't have Flash are just basically screwed. Right?

Rachel: Well, they could still use the iPhone app too. It sounds like they probably spent all their money, and that's a conversation too. When did the first iPhone come out, 2006? That was the point where they refused to use Flash, and so Flash then became obsolete. It took a little while, but for visual people, they're necessary. Even WordPress didn't do visual well until recently.

Scott: That's true. Actually, that's another good topic to move into. Is the visual aspect and how things have changed ... Nancy, you've seen a lot of progression in WordPress over the years. You've designed for WordPress. What are some of the latest trends you're seeing photographers do with their WordPress sites, either in pre-made themes or the customs themes they're having made, what are some of the design things you're seeing more often these days?

Nancy Nardi: I would say bigger images, big hero images, on the home pages, is one of those, and that's a great one. I think I do not see as much in the photography community. I would say image and [inaudible 00:23:03] outside of the photography community are huge, and the drag and draw builders are really getting big, because photographers, this is one of the things that I've heard most, is they want to be able to see it visually and move it around in a way that's intuitive, and so you're seeing a lot of front-end website building now, and that's huge.

Scott: Right, there's a lot of page builders popping up for WordPress that is either trying to innovate or basically copying other services. We've talked about a few in the past, we've even had a guest from one that I know you like, and I personally have my like and dislike of page builders, and I think there are very few companies doing it the right way, and Beaver Builder, the one that you're going to be talking about in a little bit, is one that I think is doing it the right way. There's another one that's free that I've been talking with one of their developers, it's called Elementor. They're doing things the right way as well, and they've got a little bit more work to go, but they're moving in the right direction. Let's talk about that. Page builders, we talked about it with Beaver Builder about 2-3 episodes ago.

Rachel: Yeah, that was a great conversation.

Scott: That was a really good conversation. It's funny, the episode kind of came off there like an advertisement for Beaver Builder, but it was just because they are one of the few doing it the right way.

Rachel: Right, it's hard not to have that conversation with a specific company that's doing it right and not to like tote them, but I think Nancy made a great point in that it's definitely an up and coming, because I think photographers realize that they're not on the cutting edge of it, but then they think of WordPress, and I think we've all heard the complaints of it's just too hard, it's too technical, and as visual people, obviously, code is very, even HTML5 is like totally a stopping point for people, so that's why I think those drag and drops ... Has that been your experience with them? Before we chatted, Nancy had mentioned that she also uses Beaver Builder. We were like, oh, we met that guy, he's great. Have you had clients come to you and say specifically they want something like that, or have you proposed it to them?

Nancy Nardi: Well, I propose it to them. What I find is that a lot of photographers aren't necessarily aware of the drag and drop builders, and that, I guess, if you're in the WordPress community, of course, you're very aware of it, and I tried a number of different page builders, but I try to explain to people that WordPress is, you know, you can drag and drop and create a page, just like you can with Square Space. It's just with Square Space you go to one site, and you only have so many options, so there're some constraints there. With WordPress, there're many options, and most people just don't know where to look.

One of the reasons I like Beaver Builder is because, you know, I've been using WordPress since 2007, it has grown with my business over the years, and I don't ever have to switch web platforms, I'm on the same one, and so I can start relatively easily and inexpensively, and it can grow as I need. I don't have to shuffle around and say, okay, and now I'm stuck with [inaudible 00:26:43], because people will come to be after a couple of years and they're like, this is not working for me, I've outgrown it, I need something more. Beaver Builder doesn't give you that lock-in effect, where you're not stuck with their tool forever. If you turn it off, you still have your content and [inaudible 00:27:00] through a bunch of outdated code or short codes, for a lack of better words, so that's why I like it. It's easy, but there are other good ones too, but they have kind of a lock-in effect.

Rachel: Yeah, I think that was the biggest sort of revelation with our conversion with the Beaver Builder guy is because if you have a theme, and you're using, what Nancy mentioned, short codes, if you change themes, all of those short codes then become obsolete. The most, biggest benefit of WordPress is that it's a Content Management System, so where Nancy's grown her business from 2007, it's all been in one place, so you can change a theme, change the dressing, change your brand, change how things look, but your content's all in the same place, unless you build it with these things, like short codes or things that can't be changed.

I do think that the WordPress community is very aware of it, and they're definitely building tools that can grow with these businesses, and that's where I'm hoping that photographers will realize and jump on the bandwagon. I had a question for Nancy in that when you mentioned the Google image search, is there something that you recommended to your clients, or that you do yourself, regarding renaming images or files sizes, so that your company can grow with the same website?

Nancy Nardi: There's a plugin called SCO Images, I believe that's the name, there's a free and a premium version, and the free one is awesome. It will rename all of your images automatically to match the page title. The nice thing about it is, if you already have an existing site, it will go back and do that for all of the existing images. I like to hand name the images and add my own alt text because ... You can set up like a meta data template in Lightroom or Photoshop that will automatically do that for you and add your info, but that's almost always overlooked. People don't see images as SEO necessarily.

Rachel: In a perfect [inaudible 00:29:06] it can be the biggest thing, and WordPress, if you rename the images, hand rename them, it will automatically put in the alt tags, but then you have the option to go in and change the alt tags, which we do recommend because it will give you the most SEO sort of bang for your buck, but it's work, it is time, it is a business task that takes times, so you have to really, I guess, prioritize what you want. Right?

Scott: Or you just outsource it to somebody else to do the block content for you.

Nancy Nardi: Yes, yes. If people do kind of ask, do I need a web designer, I'm like no. Go do headless content or branding, because the tools are there, and you can use the tools. You don't need a designer for the tools.

Scott: One of the nice things about page builders, whether it's Beaver Builder or most of the others, I know that Elementor doesn't have this yet but I think they're working on it, is in addition to being able to drag and drop specific things anywhere on the page that you want, for the most part, they have pre-made page templates. If you have a specific design for a landing page for mini sessions that you really want to use, you can just go into the page template gallery that they have, choose it, and it will implement it on your page no matter what theme you're using, and you'll have that design done for you, and then you can go in and customize the text and all that stuff.

Or if you want to make your own to use multiple times on multiple pages, you can do the same thing. You can go in and create a mini session landing page in page builder XYZ, and use it across multiple mini sessions every season that you do one. That's a big advantage as well, in addition to being able just to drag and drop wherever you want, reusing your content over and over again in your layouts.

Nancy Nardi: Yes, that's just a great feature that they have.

Scott: Obviously Beaver Builder is your recommended WordPress plug in. I love the fact that when you, if you, disable Beaver Builder, your content remains. There's probably only three-page builders that I've ever seen, and I've tested a lot of them, that do that, and that's the right way to do it. Keep your content there with no short codes, or no code at all, just your content, so that you can go in and edit it if you happen to disable the page builder. The other thing is, one thing that a lot of the page builders do is they load their scripts, and styles, and their JavaScript, their CSS on every page whether you use that page builder or not. One of my recommendations is if you're looking for a page builder, and photographers this might sound little technical, but I'm going to walk you through how to do this.

Go to your home page, if you don't have a page builder template being used there, go to your home page, and look at the source code. Go to your browser. If you're on a Mac and Chrome, I think it's Alt+Command+U, it'll open your source code of your home page, and just do a search for that plugin that you're using in your source code, and see if they're loading JavaScript files, which would be .js, or CSS files would be .css files, on your home page when the page builder's not in use. If they are loading it, then that means the page builder's not optimized for site speed as far as the scripts and styles go. It might be optimized in other ways for site speed, but they're most likely not optimizing for that part of site speed, and that's a pretty big thing, because why should the scripts be loading when the plugin's not in use. Right?

Rachel: Right.

Scott: That's my biggest pet peeve with really any plugin in general, but page builders are biggy, those are heavy-duty plugins that should only be running when they're needed. That would be a recommendation of mine when you're picking one is test it, look to see if it's being optimized like that, in addition to not using short codes when disabled.

Nancy Nardi: Yeah.

Rachel: We don't want to scare photographers who may be less technical to say you have to test and what not. I really do think this is an area in which the WordPress community is moving towards because they understand the limitations of WordPress is that it's too technical, and I think that there's going to be plugins that are coming out because WordPress, I mean we've had this conversation a thousand times, WordPress versus SquareSpace, SquareSpace versus WordPress. I have a sick kid, and you're going to hear him in the background. Working from home, right? I think where the WordPress community is trying to emulate the Square Space success is in these drag and drop plugins. Do you want to move into the guest recommended WordPress plugins? We've talked a lot about these drag and drops, but I'm really interested in the image SEO plugin you mentioned, and to see, do you have that installed with the Yost SEO, do they work in conjunction?

Nancy Nardi: Yes, yes.

Rachel: Yeah, because I've never heard to it, and I think that's perfect because I have so many photographers say like, well, I don't know what to do. The thing I love the most about Yost is it tells you what to do. Does this plugin sort of tell you what to do with your images?

Nancy Nardi: It does. It gives you a default. It's very simple. You install it and then there're a few settings you can tweak, or you can use the default, which I believe is to name the page title and the alt text and the title the same as the page title. You can set that, and you can name it whatever you want, but it's very simple to install, and, I believe, it's called, and I should know this because I use it, SEO for Images. It's in one of, I have the link, I'd be happy to share it [inaudible 00:35:18].

Rachel: Awesome, and we'll definitely put those in the show notes. Is there anything else that you find for WordPress that you just can't live without?

Nancy Nardi: For me, personally, I would say WooCommerce. I would say, not a plugin; I would say good hosting.

Scott: Good hosting.

Rachel: Yes. We talk about that a lot, yeah.

Nancy Nardi: Because I think that also affects people's experience. I mean, I've gone in to help people, they're like the themes not working, and I go in and realize they're hosting can't even execute a simple task because its script causes it all sorts of ...

Rachel: Talk about technical, right, because that will stop you in your tracks.

Scott: Yeah, one thing, and this might be a little technical, I'll try to simplify this, with hosting, WordPress is a PHP software, that's a coding language, and PHP, there's different versions, just like there's a version of your operating system, there're different versions of PHP. Some of the lesser quality hosts use older versions of PHP, for whatever reason. They could update it easily, but they don't. A lot of themes and plugins, and WordPress is starting to do this, are cutting out the support for older versions of PHP. Whether it's supported in fully, like, this will not work without it, or just certain features will not work if you're not using the newer versions of PHP.

If you're finding that all the troubleshooting you've done is not coming up with an answer as to why things are not working, check with your host, check what version of PHP you're using. The most recent version is PHP 7. It's still fairly new, so it's not widely adopted yet, but if you're using version 5.4 or higher, you're probably in the clear as far as most things working. If you're using things older than that, I would say pay attention to it, and check with your host to see if they can update your PHP version to something more recent.

Rachel: Sometimes they won't even tell you, and when you talk about troubleshooting, I always recommend to call your hosting plan anyway. What are you paying for if not the conversation of, things are breaking, help? Sometimes things like that, like the PHP updates, you'll call, and it will get mysteriously fixed. Like, oh, there's nothing wrong, and then it works on your end, and it's because they've done something that you can't see, and those kind of sort of behind the scenes stuff that's not upfront, that really makes me uncomfortable because I want to learn, and I want to know, like, well, why did it break, can I stop it from happening again, and that's where having a trusting relationship with the people that are, you know, it would be the same as if you had a building and you had a landlord. If something broke, you would call your landlord and say, please help me fix it. You may have to incur the cost, depending on your lease agreement, but I really think that your hosting plan should be thought of in that same way. It's not something you just pay for and forget it; it is hosting your website. Your website is your storefront to the world. That's a great thing to look at, an important check on your WordPress checklist.

Scott: Awesome. Anything, Nancy that you'd like to share with the listeners, or just with the photography and WordPress community in general, any words of wisdom, any final thoughts you'd like to share?

Nancy Nardi: Wow. I would say the hosting thing is so important, I would say, because it starts with a good partner, because not only, and the reason is they're able to recommend good plugins, and I think that's an area where people really start to have not a good relationship with WordPress is they choose a bad hosting provider, and they choose bad tools. A good WordPress provider will be able to recommend, because they know WordPress, especially if it's a specialized host, they know WordPress, they know the tools. I've had hosts tell me, get rid of that plugin, it's horrible. I'm like, well, thank you. Your Walmart kind of hosts aren't going to be able to give you that, and they don't have the experience, they simply don't. I would say start with that. Go with a page builder. Photographers like to lay things out on their site, and the other thing many of them are aware that it's very easy to drag and drop, and create something that's very visual, which is how they like to work.

Scott: I think, I don't know if you agree with me on this, but I'm going to continue what you just said and say, when you say page builder, you mean page builder plugin.

Nancy Nardi: Plugin. Oh, yes.

Scott: Not a page builder theme, but a page builder plugin.

Nancy Nardi: Yes, thank you for saying that. That's huge; that's huge. You want to make sure that whatever tools you choose, that those features will follow you to your next website, because you are going to change your design, and if it's all locked into your website design, your website theme, it's going to be a lot of work to start over.

Scott: Yep, for sure. Cool. Well, thank you, and we're going to link to everything we talked about in the show, and we'll link to Nancy's website in the show notes.

Rachel: Please visit the BeMYDO, because I think to be my do. Do or doe?

Nancy Nardi: Bee-my-doe.

Rachel: Thank you, BeMYDO, because I think that this kind of educational information is there, plus a thousand times more. Right?

Nancy Nardi: Yes. We're going to have lots of hosting information and stuff like that, for choosing hosts and themes and stuff, to help people.

Rachel: Great.

Scott: I'm really looking forward to seeing the launch of it. I'm really excited. It's going to be cool.

Rachel: Yeah, I mean, just this kind of resource is so new. This is why we started the podcast, and we've had some great reception and just having a place to go to just talk about this, we're very excited.

Nancy Nardi: Especially for photographers specifically.

Rachel: Yes.

Nancy Nardi: They have some unique needs.

Scott: Oh, yeah.

Rachel: They really need to be aware of it. You're selling your images as a photographer, and your website needs to support that, not your photographs supporting your website. It needs to be a one way, the other way than most people are going.

Nancy Nardi: Yes, yes.

Rachel: Awesome.

Scott: Thank you, Nancy, for joining us today.

Nancy Nardi: Thanks for having me.

Scott: Yeah, and thank you, Rachel, for being an awesome co-host.

Rachel: Thank you, Scott, you as well.

Scott: You can find the show note from today's episode at imagely.com/podcast/21

Rachel: Twenty-one.

Scott: Until next time.

Rachel: Bye.

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