Episode 26 – Outsourcing Website Tasks In Your Photo Business w/ Chris Aram

Chris AramChris Aram is a husband, father, photographer, the co-founder of Gively.com and beer snob; but most of all, a student of life. He loves images that are beautiful, yet authentic.

Chris also takes great pride in being easy to work with and someone you can trust to sweat all of the details.

WordPress/Photography Related News:

  • The 2017 theme is likely to have some drag and drop style features. That means WordPress could finally have a standard for page builders. Or a page builder which any theme can begin to utilize and any plugin can integrate.
  • Canada Photo Convention is over, and it was incredible. So many photographers are taking the 300-word challenge.
  • CoSchedule as some big things in the works, like Instagram integration, and re-queuing social content.

Referenced Links:

Where to find Chris:

Transcription:

Transcription was done by Rev.com

Scott: Welcome to episode number 26. My name is Scott Wyden Kivowitz and I'm joined by my co-host Rachael Conley from FotoSkribe. Hey, Rachael.

Rachel: Hey Scott. How are you?

Scott: I'm doing well. It was an interesting week and actually, the last episode was a snap episode. It was the first of our snap episodes which is pretty cool. Anybody who's listening, and if you don't like the name "Snap" or the short, 5-minute episodes, please submit your suggestion for a new name. We are not set in stone with the word "Snap" and we are opened to suggestions. I also want to do a little call-to-action to everybody to please, leave us a review on iTunes, on Stitcher, wherever you're listening because any review that you leave will help us improve the podcast or get the podcast in the ears of new photographers who should be listening.

Rachel: We really take the feedback seriously. We definitely want to know what you want to hear and then we can change it up and make sure you are hearing what you want to hear.

Scott: Last but not least, we are getting close to episode 30 and that is our next Q & A episode so if you have any questions you want included there or if we get to 10 and we start the next queue for episode 40, please submit your questions at imagely.Com/Podcast/Q and that's how we will get your questions to be used on each episode that's a Q & A episode.

I'm excited fro today's episode. We are talking with Chris Aram. Chris is a husband, a father, photographer, the co-founder of Gively.Com which we'll have a chance to talk about as well, which is really cool service. He is a beer snob, but most of all he is a student of life. He loves images that are beautiful, yet authentic, and he takes a lot of pride in being easy to work with, and someone you can trust to sweat all of the details.

Chris does a lot of work for photographers. He's done work for some of the other guests that's been on the show. You'll get to hear a little bit of what he does, what he offers, and all the cool things that is going on in his life. Welcome to the show, Chris.

Chris: Thank you. Thank you for having me, Scott and Rachael.

Rachel: Yes. We're very happy. Chris is actually my go-to person, and we'll hear more about the consulting services you do for photographers, but when they have WordPress problems, I always send them to Chris, so we're very excited to talk to you today.

Chris: Thank you.

Scott: Before we dig into what's going on with you, Chris, we're going to jump into little bit of WordPress photography related news. The first, I got 3 pieces. The first is the 2017 theme. WordPress, one of our new major update to WordPress comes out at the beginning of a new year. They release a new default theme. The new theme will be 2017 and what's really cool is they started building in a page builder into the theme settings. This is new for a default WordPress theme to do. The cool thing is that by doing so, they might be starting the official standard for Page Builder's for WordPress so that means that, if this happens and this becomes a standard for Page Builders, it's going to change WordPress forever, making it even easier for every photographer to make pages and things like that.

It also means that plug-ins that already are page builders might need to adjust themselves to adapt to the new standard. It should be really cool to see what comes of it. There's not really any live demos of it yet, but it's just in the planning stages and I think it's going to be neat. It's pretty cool.

Rachel: Yeah. I think there's a lot of potential there. Right now, we talk so much about adding the plug-ins that do that but making WordPress easier for anyone in anyway is just a good thing, all around.

Scott: Without a doubt. Next on my list is, I just got back from Canada Photo Convention, which was in Toronto and it was incredible. I did a talk on ImageSEO and I gave a challenge to everybody to do less, to include less photographs in their blog post and do more words. In fact, it's "The 300 Word Challenge" because search engines prefer 300 words to rank well. Ideally, you want 500 but 300 is the minimum, really. I challenged everybody, all the attendees of the conference, to try The 300 Word Challenge, and a lot of them are going to take it up, take me up on the challenge, and I hope that they follow through from it. I hope anybody who's listening who also wants to try that challenge, also follows through. It's difficult but it's definitely possible.

The last is that co-schedule, who we just had Nathan from Co-Schedule on the show. Co-Schedule just made some announcements, some pretty big things that are in the works like Instagram integration which is awesome.

Rachel: Wow.

Scott: It looks like they're going to have an Android and iPhone app available. It will sort of work like how the Buffer app works and the LaterGram works where you edit your contents of the queue, it notifies you on your phone, and then you can quickly add it to Instagram. That's the way that Instagram wants you to do it because there are services that do it automatically but those are not technically allowed by Instagram. Co-schedule is going to be doing it the right way.

There's also going to be re-queuing of social content. It's a different way from their current automation feature, and it looks pretty neat. A lot of exciting things and we'll link to all this in the show notes for anybody who wants to check it out further.

Rachel: Does Co-Schedule do Pinterest?

Scott: Yes, they do.

Rachel: That's it, right? They do all of them now?

Scott: Yeah, they do all of them. All the big ones, yeah.

Rachel: That's awesome and to be able to do it, I mean, I know Co-Schedule has a standalone app but to be able to do it from WordPress and right form the dashboard, it's a one-stop-shop almost, you know?

Scott: Yeah, it's amazing. The fact that, not only will you be able to send it to Instagram right from a blog post. Basically, you publish your blog post then boom, you're going out to Instagram is that you're literally scheduling it for the best time on Instagram so you're scheduling it for the most engagement, the most likes, and things like that so really cool stuff.

Rachel: I still take caution with that because we are photographers so our target audience maybe different than their proposed target audiences so I still say, "Test that on your own."

Scott: Without a doubt.

Rachel: ... but if is nice to have that feature, so it's just one less thing that you don't have to think about.

Scott: If you are going to plan on scheduling your Instagram or if you're already doing it, you might want to change your Instagram account to a business account, which actually tells you your best times.

Rachel: Absolutely.

Scott: ... based on all the analytics it gives you; you can determine your best times. Cool stuff.

Rachel: Awesome.

Scott: Chris, what's going on with you?

Chris: I'm actually, I'm sitting here thinking I wish I was taking notes. I'm going to have to come back to this. It's already ... That all actually sounds really interesting. I got to come back and check that out later on. Otherwise, I'm good. We're here in Ohio. It's Fall. It's ridiculously beautiful outside. It's been 70's and sunny for a month+ now so it's good.

Rachel: Awesome.

Scott: You're probably about to get the ...

Chris: It's awesome.

Scott: You're probably about to get the cool wave that we're getting on the East Coast, right now.

Chris: Yes. Yeah, it just actually, it had dropped about 15 degrees here a few days ago, but it's been great.

Scott: Nice. You've been doing a lot of work for photographers lately, which is really cool. You have, you've been getting a lot of referrals from the 2 of us ...

Chris: Yes, thank you.

Scott: ... and many others. Tell us some of the things that you've been doing ... You don't have to name who you're doing it for, but some of the things that you are doing for photographers in the industry already.

Chris: Well, so a lot of times people come to me with their theme gets the half-way there or it's mostly what they want, but they want custom code or custom functionality, or things that maybe a plug-in doesn't gracefully handle, necessarily. In some cases, it is pointing people to a plug-in and I'm learning that as I go, too. Other times, it's easier just to code it for them so mostly, I've also had a number of people who are coming from a SmugMug-based site or a SquareSpace-based site and they want to go to WordPress so just helping them out with that.

Really, and maybe this is something that we'll get to shortly, but for me, WordPress has always been very powerful, but it's not always been easy to use so that's something that caught my eye about Imagely and what you guys are doing, is you're really, the hosting, the backing up, all of the technical parts of having a WordPress-based sites that are not necessarily fun or easy to do, you're really doing a lot of the heavy lifting for them.

Sometimes, those are things that me, I've been in IT for a long time, that's something that I help people out with a lot but it's really exciting to me that you guys are really innovating there and bringing that, again a lot of that more difficult stuff, you're taking care of that for a photographer who is not technical and does not want to be technical.

Rachel: My question to you, you've been in IT, we know that you co-founded Gively and I definitely want to talk more about what that is and what that means for photographers. What is your background, both in WordPress and as a photographer? How did you enter this space?

Chris: I went to school for Computer Science. That's what I had always wanted to do. When my wife and I got married in 2008, I was blown away to see what photography had become. What I knew of wedding photography was what we saw in my parent's albums, 24Film-based images and if there were in focus, it was a good picture. To see what digital was bringing along. This was right when the Nikon D-3 was coming out, and I think the storytelling. Just seeing there that this is literally the happiest day of someone's life, being able to tell that story. You're both married, you understand that day goes by so quickly. These things that we tell our clients as wedding photographers, they're true.

For me, that was a really, do I want to get into weddings? I was fortunate to have a friend who mentored me and I really enjoyed that. I've been doing those for 8 years, now. Again, IT again, as a day job most of that time.

Rachel: Where did the inspiration? Gively ... and I want to hear in your own words. I love the concept of being a registration fro couples who are getting married and want to spend some of the gift money towards photography. How did that come across? Is that built on WordPress? What is the back-end on that platform?

Chris: A couple of points there. We were just, my friend and I, Adam Nyholt who was actually my mentor in wedding photography, we were brainstorming a couple of years ago now, what are some ways we can just sell more? I don't remember to this day exactly, how it occurred to us but we realized people get married later in their lives, their personal and professional lives. They don't necessarily need the kinds of things that our parents registered for, kitchen-ware and stuff like that.

Rachel: True.

Chris: [inaudible 00:12:36] friends. In a lot of cases, you're consolidating 2 households. Family and friends still want to celebrate with a meaningful gift. Well, what if they could registered for a photographer, or really a vendor, any vendor. It could be a venue, it could be anyone. Photographers, naturally, we have the most amount of things that we can up-sell. We have value-adds, really. Maybe, if you are already committing to the photography itself, you want the album, you want prints, things like that. The idea was, well, what if you could register for that. Again, most photographers, not being particularly, technically minded or wanting to do that, what if we could code that as a platform.

I wrote that. It's been several years now. It's not on WordPress. We have toyed with the idea of releasing it as a WordPress plug-in, also. That maybe forthcoming in the next few months. It's really, if there's a platform, anyone can sign up. We do offer a truly unlimited trial. Being a newer concept, we felt like that was important. The people can try it with confidence. Yeah, it's an easy way to create registries, you can set up your own branding, you can add as many clients as you want to, customize the products and services that can be registered for it, and it works really well.

Rachel: Wedding photography, Gively, IT, and now you're helping photographers with their WordPress websites. These all are natural transitions. Really, you can see the journey from one to the other, but what is the thing that you enjoy the most working with photographers on their websites? What have you sort of discovered in this journey that you're like, "Wow, I didn't see that coming?" Is there something like that for you?

Chris: I think for me again, IT is problem solving. Really, that's what we're all doing. We're all solving problems and so again, I just empathize a lot. That stuff comes pretty naturally to me. It doesn't come naturally to other people. I know a lot of photographers, they're great at making images. They're very natural with people and I'm not necessarily natural with people. They're just very friendly. They have all these things going for them but their website is consistently giving them problems, or it's down, or they want to be able to accomplish something with that, that they can't.

For me, that's what I enjoy, is just helping them bridge that gap in their service offering.

Rachel: I love it.

Scott: What are some of the things that photographers have outsourced or should consider outsourcing for the websites? Custom development of course. If they have an idea that they want, of course, that's more of the obvious answer only because that's what the first thing that comes to mind if you're thinking, "What should I outsource? I can't do this."

Chris: For sure.

Scott: Right?

Chris: Yeah.

Scott: What are some of the things that photographers might not think about outsourcing that they probably should consider? For example, blogging ... when a photographer can't come up with ideas for blog posts, they know the time, or they're doing well enough that they just can't stop doing the photography. What are some of the other things?

Chris: I do work with clients who have time but I work with a lot of them that don't. To your point that, that's the most natural thing. What can I outsource? What's the most effective use of my time? If I can pay somebody to do these things that I either don't like or that I'm not good at, why waste my time on it? Along those lines I think, what I see most are challenges with hosting. If your host doesn't, if they're down constantly, and this is a very common problem, a very common complaint. Unfortunately, there are a million hosts out there, where do you begin if you're a photographer? You really don't know who to go to or how to tell the difference.

A lot of things end up being hosting-related. Maybe a recurring backup. I cannot tell you how many people I talk to who lost years of their web presence because they were hacked or because somebody dropped the ball somewhere. Making sure that you have your own copy of your files at all times. In the worst case scenario, you can get back online within a few days instead of it being just a lost cause. I'm still learning myself, but there are things that I feel like I have some valuable insight on, just pointing people in the right directions. Again, sometimes people want it very hands-on. They just want, "Take this. I want you to do it all and make it go." Other times they just need a little bit of advice. It definitely runs the gamut of different needs.

I don't know if that answers your questions, but I think, and really again, that's something that you guys at Imagely, that's a really valuable service. You managed to, and I use this term. I don't know if it's the term you use, but you're "Manged-hosting." You're really doing a lot of the heavy lifting for people again, who don't really want to or need to do that.

Scott: Right. That's exactly it. Are you doing any custom theme developments at all? Is it mostly maintenance and some functionality type of things?

Chris: Some and I'd like to do more. Again, you've probably experienced this. Some themes are very well written and some are not. All WordPress ecosystem, as a programmer, I know programming, but the WordPress ecosystem, it's really its own world, so I am getting better at that, but I'm still learning a lot as I go, also.

Scott: There's a lot of standards in WordPress and unfortunately, there's a lot of themes and plug-ins by the standards.

Chris: Absolutely.

Rachel: We have that conversation about, should you buy some theme for us? If you do choose, because they are cheaper, then you're paying perhaps, to outsource, to help have someone hold your hand through the process. If they don't have support available on their theme, even a programmer's dead in the water because it's their code, the one you're purchasing.

Scott: By the way, the [theme-for-us 00:19:18] themes might not be cheaper for much longer.

Rachel: Really?

Scott: Yeah. They recently announced that now theme developers and plug-in developers can name their own pricing instead of having to use some of their set scales, you can now name your own pricing. Now, there's themes that are on ThemeForest for $10,000 or something. Some crazy amount ...

Rachel: Wow.

Chris: Wow.

Scott: ... just because people can. They're not going to sell any, but it's because they can do so they edit it. The whole ThemeForest being cheaper, it might stay the same. We'll see how it goes, but it could just go away.

Rachel: Well, I think again, the price, $49.00 for a theme, a photographer sees that , buys it, and then has no experience of how to modify it. It may not even be the photographer's level of experience. I've purchased ThemeForest themes that legitimately, don't do what they say they do, but you've already paid the money, you've already committed, so you're in there and you're trying to figure it out. It definitely, I believe it brought WordPress to a next level because it allowed for it sot be accessible to everyone in any price range, but then it also allowed everyone to be accessible in every price range who couldn't then afford the support that it needed. It left a lot of holes.

I think that's where we are. I think there's a value to charging more for a theme, knowing that you're going to get a better support behind it, just like talking about hosting. Making sure that you're paying a little bit more but knowing that someone's going to hold your hand or working with someone to handle your WordPress maintenance, make sure there's no secure themes, make sure you have a backup. It's not even a a question of if you get hacked, it's a question of when you get hacked? I think that's a concept that a local photographer may think, "Well, why would someone hack me?" They can.

Scott: Here's a short and simple story about when you get hacked. I was doing a test and I had a test URL. It wasn't live. It was on the internet, but it's not indexed by spike search engines. It was literally, a test playground where I can just test plug-in updates and themes, and stuff like that. I did not install a security plug-in on purpose and I did not make my password difficult on purpose. Still, that site was found and hacked. This is all on purpose, but it's because there was very low security on this specific test site on purpose, it wound up getting found and getting hacked easily. It is literally, a matter of when if you're not taking any appropriate security measures.

Rachel: If you're username is Admin and your password has some kind of functionality to the word "Password" in it, you're going to get hacked. Those things, you can change.

Scott: Yeah. A little tip for anybody is for any passwords. For one, I use 1 password for all my passwords so they're all super difficult to remember but, is come up with a phrase for whatever, for your website. Come up with a phrase to login so that way it's a phrase that has some characters mixed in. An "A" as an ampersand and a "1" or an "I" as an exclamation mark or whatever, but make it a phrase that you will remember all the time. That way, it's a difficult password but it's something easy to remember.

Chris: Just to comment on that, I was going to say I recommend, and I don't remember where I read this unfortunately, but take phrase, which you just said, and take the first 2 letters of each word so that effectively gives you a random password. The letters are random but again, it's very memorable. Like you said, add a punctuation mark or 2, then add the numbers, things like that.

Rachel: I was going to say the same thing. My son's learning guitar and he's 4. They have Easter bunny because it's like "E-B-A ... " I forget what it's called when they just pull the first letters of a phrase.

Chris: I know what you mean, but yeah.

Rachel: Right. Anything you can do to help you remember the seemingly not related letter stream with numbers and characters thrown in. I know we're saying it like, "Do it. No problem," but there are tools like LastPass and ... what's the one you use, Scott?

Scott: 1Password.

Rachel: 1Password, where they remember it for you.

Scott: That's the beautiful thing about things like that is you generate really difficult passwords per site, per app, per whatever, but then you have 1 password to unlock that. 1Password calls it a vault so you have 1 password to unlock the vault of all your difficult passwords. Actually, the 1Password is so secure that when they actually tell you, if you lose this master password, you're not getting it back. They have no services to unlock it. It's impossible. They actually give you ...

Chris: I think ...

Scott: ... when ... Yeah.

Chris: Oh, no. Go ahead.

Scott: I was going to say, they actually give you an emergency kit so when you create your 1Password account and you're vault, and you're master, your 1 password, they generate a PDF that you can print out and put it in a safe somewhere, that is your reminder of what it is to get back into it. Anyway, what were you going to say, Chris?

Chris: I think, too, to add to your point earlier like you say, "I'm a photographer. Why would anyone hack my site?" It's always, unless you're like a very valuable site doing millions of dollars in e-commerce, it's going to be an automated thing. It's going to be like in the same way that Google crawls the internet, it's consistently automated. It's scanning things on automated basis, it's the same way with these hackers. There's just a list of things that are coded in [nomaching 00:25:05] and it just goes around trying them.

I think that's, and again, it's two parts. It's using best-practices, which those are published. WordPress does publish some best-practices that they suggest. Again, some of those are technical in nature, and it's also working with the host that's going to take care of their end of the bargain.

Scott: If all, I think when it comes to somethings that photographers might want to outsource, custom themes, but what if there was a photographer who was like, "All right. I love this 1 theme that's on the WordPress.Org repository." It's free. 100% free, but I kind of want some tweaks." This is where a photographer that prefers that might go to somebody like Chris and say, "I like this theme. It's prefect for my photography except I need these changes. I'll hire you to make those changes because I don't know what to do."

Chris: Absolutely.

Scott: There's a custom theme without it being custom themed from the ground up. The cool part is you can now check, if you went this route, you can now check the WordPress directory fro reviews and support for that theme so you can see if that theme has been successful overtime, or if they're constantly running into issues, or what users of that theme feel about it. You're getting, there's a lot of data there for you to analyze for yourself to choose if that's right for you.

Rachel: A lot of people don't know that the WordPress.Org has a wide variety to themes. Chris, my question for you in doing theme customization versus theme ground-up development, do you do child-themes for those photographers? Do you recommend? I know Genesis, it's crucial to use child-themes but if you were just modifying any theme, do you recommend child-themes or how do you work that into your workflow?

Chris: I'll be candid with you. Like I say, I'm still leaning the WordPress ecosystem. The child-themes, I have not personally developed that way. I think, and not because it's a bad idea. I think it's a great idea. It's just I haven't ventured into that yet, but I think it's always a case-by-case basis for me. Sometimes again, sometimes it really is a custom theme from the ground, up. Other times, it's, "Well, I have this theme and I really just need this 1 theme," so it really runs the gamut.

Scott: 2 quick things. 1, I think we should talk about what a child-theme is. I know we've talked about this before in the podcast but let's just say it again. There's child-theme and a parent-theme. The average theme that's out there in the WordPress space is a parent-theme, or really it's just a theme. It works on its own. There are what's called, "Child-themes" which is basically, a smaller version of the theme that just references everything from the parent-theme, and then has the customizations there. What happens is, when you activate this child-theme in your back-end, the parent-theme has to be uploaded on your server. It needs to be installed on the website, and by activating the child-theme it, in turn, will also use the disabled parent-theme. Genesis is a good case study on this. All the imagery themes, for example, are all child-themes and when you install an Imagely theme, you also have to install Genesis and then you would activate whatever Imagely theme you want and just Genesis will be used without you realized Genesis is being used.

That's one. That's the difference between a child-theme and a standard theme. The other thing wanted to mention. Chris is, have you ever looked at the underscores-theme?

Chris: No. I've heard of it.

Scott: Underscores is probably a theme that you should start looking at for whenever you do custom work because it's made by automatic. Basically, what underscores does is give you a framework with no styling whatsoever. It's basically, starting you out with a WordPress theme using WordPress best-practices as your base-level, then you just build upon that.

Chris: That's awesome.

Scott: It's a really good starting point.

Chris: I'll look at that, for sure.

Rachel: I [resenue 00:29:35] what you said about not doing child-themes because again, you know, I have a certain level of knowledge and I feel like WordPress tells you to do these things but going in there and actually creating a child-theme in addition to modifying your theme, that's hard. It's hard for a photographer to do, it's hard for a beginner to do, and it's nice to hear that even at an advanced user-level, like you are, it's still something that, yes, it's "best-practices", quote-on-quote, but maybe the easier thing is, you know.

I do know that with Genesis themes, the child-theme is definitely the best-theme.

Scott: Required.

Rachel: Right.

Chris: It's required, yeah.

Rachel: Right, because the Genesis framework itself, is constantly updating. Every time they update, if you don't have a child-theme, you lose your styling stuff.

Chris: Right.

Scott: If there's a security update, you don't update your child-theme. You're just updating the parent-theme, or an SEO update or whatever.

Rachel: Right, but then I feel like if you're using a regular theme, like a ThemeForest theme or a ProPhoto theme, or one that's ... well, ProPhoto's built on a framework, but one that's not built on a framework. This is where this child-theme/parent-theme discussion, you hear about it but you think, "Wow, that's so much extra work."

Chris: Again, that whole model makes perfect sense. I think it's something that I just have not personally explored, but again, it's something that I'd like to get into and figure out.

Scott: The one big advantage of it is, from your standpoint and from the photographer's standpoint, is anything major that is changed, you don't have to do that change every time. It takes a lot of the maintenance out of your work to update your custom theme to fix issues. I know I'll use a technical term and I'll explain what it means, but if you "fork" the Genesis theme for example, and you make your own theme built on Genesis without it being a child-theme, if there's a major Genesis update, you now have to go ahead and do that update in your own theme, as well.

What "fork" is, it's basically, a fork is usually, a legal copy of the software. It's when the license allows for a copy to be made. A fork is a legal copy.

Rachel: One would hope it's legal.

Scott: There are a lot of forks that are not legal that are out there.

Rachel: We usually move into favorite plug-ins or themes, or things that you use. Are there any that you use more than others in your journeys with WordPress?

Scott: Yeah. Either for yourself or for your clients, that you're using on a regular basis?

Chris: I would actually defer to the 2 of your there because again, just I have a lot of coding experience but not a ton of WordPress experience, yet. When people ask me to do things, I can read the PHP and I can say, "Well, yeah, " and I try to refer back to the WordPress best-practices.

Scott: If it's not a plug-in or theme, is there any maintenance tools that you're using on a regular basis that have been handy for your clients that you have under retainer or anything like that?

Chris: It varies so much. A lot of times, I like to use ChronJobs to run exports of their MySequel database, use FTP to back those up to move those around. Again, I'm not saying that's the best way to do it. That's just the way I've done it. I wish I could answer that in a more interesting way, but it's been really, just depends on who I'm working with and what their needs are, so far. I'm getting more into the universe of plug-ins. I ask friends who have a lot of experience, if somebody needs anything in particular that I don't have experience with.

Scott: All right. That's fine.

Rachel: Yes. I'd love to take this time, actually, because Yoast has been getting a lot of, we have a lot of conversation about it, but what I've noticed, and Scott, I'd love to chat with you, both of you, about this, you use Yoast to make your SEO go-green, by picking a target keyword, then filling out all the various boxes. Have you ever tried to have the content part of it go-green? The readability, what they're saying now?

Scott: No. I don't even. Honestly, I haven't been paying attention to that. I've been using Hemingway to optimize my content itself, for readability. I just, I don't know. I think it was, I respect Yoast and team, for trying to branch out a little bit from SEO in the plug-in, but at the same time, I don't think it was necessary.

Rachel: That's where I was going with it. I totally agree with you. I want to let photographers know that if you're panicking about the readability parts, I work with professional writers and we can't get it to go green because it's in that situation there, there really sort of dumbing it down and wanting you to make list. I don't mean the word "dumbing it down" because if you are getting it green, that's awesome. It says it helps your SEO, but I think if you're writing in complete sentences, and you're writing for your target client, and you're writing to really connect with that person, then even if your readability part of it is red, I wouldn't worry about it. I did want to bring that up.

Scott: Readability does have an impact on SEO. It does, but I just don't think that the plug-in is doing it in a way that's really beneficial for anybody. I don't think the tool is up-to-par from where it should be. I think maybe, in another year, maybe it will be at that point but the $10 app called, "Hemingway" does a much better job and you can optimize your content before you even put it onto WordPress. You can do it offline. I'll link to Hemingway in the doc. That's what I would recommend. For anybody who does want to simplify the words they're writing to make it easier for anybody to read, I would recommend the Hemingway app. Again, last I checked it was $10.

Rachel: I know, but again, even all these electronic tools, the worry I think is that you're not speaking to ... I think if you use a Chrome browser, you can install a thing called, "Grammarly." That can help you with your grammar but if you're telling the story of you as a photographer, and you're telling the story of your clients at that moment, I think that's going to be fine because we're not in the business to sell the words, per say. Yes, I agree with Scott about getting it to 300 words, but I really took issue with the Yoast plug-in and trying just to "automize," that's my new word.

Scott: Nice. I dig it.

Rachel: [inaudible 00:36:47] writer, right? To automize writing because you can't. You're using it for different purposes as a photographer.

Scott: Well, what I like about the Hemingway app is it's not really telling you, "Your writing's not good." It's telling you, "You're using this adjective way too many times," or "Try changing the adjective you're using," or "Try taking this adjective out because you don't need it." It's telling you little things like that, that will just improve the content without harming your persona in the content. It's doing it in a really elegant way.

Chris: I was going to say the same thing. I don't think it's the end-all-be-all, but it's a fantastic first step to just making what you're saying a lot better. The other thing, my personal experience with SEO, there's a lot we know but there's a lot we don't know. I've seen websites that violate virtually, every best-practice and they're still ranking highly in Google, and I've seen websites that are doing everything right and they're no where to be seen . I think it's an important thing. It's something that you want to spend some time thinking about and/or again, outsourcing that to someone who does. It is still a black box. There's a lot again, there's things we know, there's things that usually work most of the time for most people, but I wouldn't hang my head on getting the green light in an app. You know what I mean?

Scott: Yeah. Actually, I ended my ...

Rachel: Totally agree.

Scott: I ended my image SEO talk at the photo convention with this quote from Rebecca Gill from WebSavvyMarketing. "SEO is not about a green light." That's it. That's it, right?

Chris: Yes. Exactly.

Scott: That just sums it up. SEO's not about a green light. The green light, it's nice to be able to get closer and yes, it will be able to help. If you get that green light it will help, but that it doesn't end there. There's so much more to SEO than just that green light and everything that leads up to it.

Chris: Absolutely.

Scott: Tying it back to Rachael's original comment about the green light, regarding the content. The actual readability. Make that the least of your priorities when it comes to SEO because I'd like to say, "There's a fine line between SEO and branding." To me, the readability is on the branding side and I'd lean more toward branding than I would SEO when it comes to that.

Chris: I would agree.

Rachel: I'd agree.

Scott: Nice. If anybody's watching, Rachael's at a local university so she's not in her normal room with the photos and stuff behind her. She's in an office that looks like cubicles so that's fun.

Rachel: Living the freelance life, right?

Scott: Yeah, exactly.

Chris: That's right.

Scott: Rachael, anything else you want to ask Chris, talk about with Chris, before we close up?

Rachel: No, no. Thank you. I mean, I just wanted to tell people and photographers that if you do have a project that you need help with, Chris is literally, the one person I recommend.

Chris: Thank you. That's very kind of you. I appreciate it.

Scott: Chris, anything you want to close with? Any words of wisdom for any photographers or anything like that?

Chris: No. Thank you again for having me. I appreciate what you're doing. I actually listen to a number of your podcasts earlier throughout the week and I think there's a lot of really great stuff on here. I appreciate it and again, I've learned somethings in the first few minutes that I got to go check out, now.

Scott: That's great.

Chris: I appreciate what you guys are doing.

Scott: Totally. Cool. Well Chris, thank you for joining us today. Thank you Rachael, for being an awesome co-host.

Rachel: Thank you, Scott. Now Chris, where can we find you on the web?

Chris: For photography, I'm at ChrisAram.Com. Again, I still do weddings. I have a blog at ChrisAram.Net and then Gively, if you're interested in that, you can go to Gively, and I think it's going to be in the show notes. There's a link that just tells us that you heard about us on Imagely. Check that out there and again, we'd love to see you.

Scott: Yeah, so if you want to check out Gively, you can Google it, of course, or just type in the URL, or visit the show notes. That way they know that you listened to the podcast first. That would be awesome. You can find the show notes from today's episode at Imagely.Com/Podcast/26.

Rachel: 26.

Scott: 26, yes. Next episode, we will have Twyla, who is I got to meet her in Canada. She is awesome, extremely smart in all things business and she just has great stories to tell that I think a lot of photographers will relate to. Yeah, it should really interesting. Until next time, have a good one.

Rachel: Thank you.

Chris: Thank you.

Close Menu
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]