Jared Bauman is our guest today. He was once a fulltime working wedding photographer, but after 11 years he sold the business and co-founded ShootDotEdit. To this day he continues running the industry’s premium post-processing company for professional wedding photographers worldwide. The ShootDotEdit’s website is running on WordPress as well are 25% of wedding photography websites. Combine that with Jared’s expertise in photography business and his incredible education around the topic both on the ShootDotEdit blog and on CreativeLive, Jared is a great choice for a guest on the show.
WordPress/Photography Related News:
WordPress 4.4 is now out with responsive images built into the core. This means faster load times for websites with images. Which, of course, is great for photographers! Basically, if you upload a photo that is 1600 pixels at the longest length, WordPress create multiple versions of the image, like at 300 pixels. Then on a small screen, like a phone, WordPress will display the smaller size automatically so the website loads faster.
- WordPress 4.4
- Colorvale Planner
- Paper and Prosper Briefcase
- VSCO Keys now open source
- CTRL + Console
- The 90/10 Model of Outsourcing
- Yoast SEO
- Ninja Popups for WordPress
- Yoast Google Analytics
- 6 Plugins you Need for your Photography Website
Where to find Jared:
Scott: Welcome to the WordPress Photography Podcast where we strive to make WordPress easier for all photographers around the world. I'm your host Scott Wyden Kivowitz, and I'm the Community and Blog Wrangler at Imagely. I'm joined by my co-host Rachael Conley who is the founder of Fotoskribe. This is Episode 4. Hello Rachael, good morning.
Rachel: Hello Scott. How are you?
Scott: I'm doing well. We're recording this on a lovely December morning when it's, here in New Jersey, about 70 degrees, which makes no sense for December.
Rachel: In Boston it's 60, so we love it.
Scott: It's really interesting weather this winter. We've got a really good guest today. Jared Bauman is our guest today. He was once a full-time working wedding photographer, but after 11 years he sold the business and co-founded ShootDotEdit. To this day he continues running the industry's premium post-processing company for professional wedding photographers worldwide. The ShootDotEdit's website is running on WordPress, yay, as well, and so are 25% of the wedding photography websites out there, so that's pretty cool. Combine that with Jared's expertise in photography business and his incredible education around topics both on the ShootDotEdit blog and on CreativeLive, Jared is a great choice for a guest for the show. Welcome Jared, we're glad you're here.
Jared: Hey, hey.
Rachel: He's in California, so you're used to the 60, 70, 80 degrees all the time, huh?
Jared: I actually wanted to point out that this morning when I left my house it was 31.
Rachel: Oh, wow.
Scott: We're winning here on the East Coast today.
Rachel: We are.
Jared: It's a bit of a cold snap right now out here in California. You guys are getting better weather than us.
Rachel: That never happens.
Scott: Before we even get into what's going on in your world, we'd like to start out the show with just a little bit of news in the WordPress photography space. Today the news we're going to share is that WordPress 4.4 is out. Now this may not sound so significant because it's just a minor point release, point release being it's 4.4, but it's actually very important for photographers because this is the first time WordPress has built in responsive image support into the core software. That means it's faster loading times for websites when they have images, which pretty much every photographer's going to have. This is great for photographers.
Basically this will happen for every new photograph that you upload through the media library. You basically upload a photo that is, let's say, 1600 pixels, just throw a number out there, at the longest length and WordPress creates multiple versions of that image, for example, 300 pixels. Then on a small screen, like on an iPhone or an Android, WordPress will display that smaller size automatically so the website loads faster. That means on a small screen you're not loading a 1600 pixel image, you're loading a 300 pixel image. WordPress is now doing this built-in to the software. No plugins needed to do that with the WordPress media library.
Rachel: That's huge. That is a big, big advantage for photographers. We should say that the size of the images that you upload depends on your theme. I know a lot of photographers use ProPhoto themes and up above the 'publish panel' it will tell you what the optimum size is for your theme. Scott throwing out the number 1600 pixels is really just throwing out a number. It really depends on what theme you have on your WordPress installation.
Scott: Right. It also depends on really the lightbox displays. If you want a photo to be expanded in a lightbox, a mobile window so to speak, if you click on a thumbnail and it enlarges, that is not reliant on the theme. That's reliant on whatever is driving that lightbox and really whatever size you want that image to load for whatever screen size. On my site, I personally have all my photographs uploaded at 2048 pixels, which is iPad size really, so it's optimized for an iPad, nothing larger than an iPad. Mobile devices are what people view the most these days ... They view websites the most these days on mobile devices. Optimizing for me, I prefer optimizing for the iPad because I know people are coming on an iPad are smaller for the most part. I also want it to look nice on a large screen for the people who are viewing it on a large screen.
Rachel: So there's a little geek talk for you.
Scott: Yes. We got past the news. Jared, what's going on with you?
Jared: Oh, man, it's busy. You talked about how it's December, so we're getting ready for another upcoming busy year and really the start of trade show season and getting out in front of a lot of photographers, meeting with them. I think probably January through February and March is the busiest time for photographers. They have the time to get out and go to trade shows, learn, educate, figure things out, get ready for the next busy year ahead. That's what we're getting ready for as well, trying to make sure we're all dialed in.
Scott: You're going to be displaying at WPPI?
Jared: We will. Yeah, we'll have a booth at WPPI again, as we always do. That's probably one of the biggest ones that everybody's heard of, but there's a lot of other good ones we'll be at this year, too, some smaller, some bigger, but a lot of good opportunities all over the country these days to learn and pick up a little education.
Scott: Awesome. Hopefully, I'll see you at WPPI. We're not doing a booth this year, but we will be there hopefully, knock on wood, walking around, having meetings, chatting [inaudible 00:05:50] friends and [crosstalk 00:05:51].
Jared: Great place for that as well [inaudible 00:05:53] wander.
Rachel: Now since you're out there and you're seeing the photography industry, what do you think the trends are for the upcoming year in terms of education and things that photographers are looking for?
Jared: There seem to be a lot of people that are showing an increased interest in learning about the business side of photography, learning about the marketing. Marketing's changed so much in the last five years from where it was even five years ago. I mean I know that sounds kind of funny. We used to talk in terms of decades, and now it seems like the horizon has shortened a lot. Judging by a lot of the content that we publish over here at ShootDotEdit and what's getting the best traction, a lot of people are really gravitating more and more towards that marketing, that business education.
I'd say there's also a lot of people that are very interested in learning more about how to streamline their post-production. We might be a little biased in that we hear about them even more than the majority, but there definitely has been an increased interest in people trying to learn how to make it less cumbersome. There's definitely tools out there now with expansive options for pre-sets and companies like us who can take on that color correction. Over the last couple years there's been a lot of interest, and it's been building to where right now we see a lot of interest in how do I streamline my work flow? How do I make it more efficient? How do I tie all these things together, if you will? I think there's going to be a lot more focus on that, too, judging by what we've seen so far.
Rachel: There's a hashtag on Instagram, I think it's the Rising Tide Society, that they do these Instagram challenges for photographers, and one of them was less work, more family or more time. I think outsourcing some of the business tasks of your photography business is definitely what people are talking about. You guys have been on the cutting edge for that at ShootDotEdit, for a long time. I think a lot of the content that you've put out reflects that. When you talk to photographers about content marketing and blogging, what is your number one, number two piece of advice to make it easier for them?
Jared: You kind of hit the nail the head. Obviously, we focus on helping photographers out with their post-production, but really we're trying to help photographers grow their businesses and be better business owners. The way we do it is through taking that post-production component off your plate. When we started to look at it from the standpoint of we're here to help photographers in business, not just with the post-production, but in the all those things, that's why we stared doing all of that. That's why we started creating all that content for photographers to help them.
When it comes to blogging, we stared hearing about the blog being so important because people were so concerned with making sure that the images that came back were blog ready. People wanted to make sure when they started using ShootDotEdit, that was something we would hear a trend of, which was how do I make sure as I set up this work flow that my blog images can get categorized, they can get tagged appropriately, these sorts of things. That's where we started talking about blogging to photographers.
It's funny, if you're a professional photographer, the biggest thing that we've heard from our photographers that leads to success for them and blogging [success 00:09:02] is the blog calendar. It's something where I think photographers tend to not realize the effects that a consistent blog can have, because they might blog a lot more in the off-season and then not as much in the busy season. Setting up a blog calendar even if you blog 10 blog posts, like you might normally do in the winter or in the off-season, scheduling that out so you have consistency because your audience begins to expect that, begins to count on that, and begins to appreciate that.
Scott: Regarding a blog calendar, in the last ... I think it was the last episode, or, no, it was actually Episode 2, we talked to Christine Tremoulet. One of the topics that came up multiple times was actually CoSchedule, which is a editorial calendar plugin that has a bunch of cool features built in. That's a plugin that can help for photographers who want to digitally manage their blogging calendar. There's a free plugin called WordPress editorial calendar, which is very basic. It's literally just a drag and drop calendar. That's completely free. For anybody who does not want a digital editorial calendar, I personally recommend ... Colorvale Action has a really nice printed organizational book. I forgot what the actual name of it is, but we'll link to it in the show notes.
Rachel: They do a great job.
Scott: It's a physical book that you get in the mail. You fill it in with your content, organize everything that way, so it's really useful.
Rachel: They also have a sister company called Paper and Prosper. They have a book for all entrepreneurs called The Briefcase. What I really like about that is if you are a pen-to-paper-type of person, they have slots for all of this editorial stuff. I use [Asama 00:10:43]. Actually Jared, you were the one who introduced me to that, because it's free online. It's great. It's very robust, and you can do that editorial calendaring online as well. It's adding another workflow and another piece of software. My question for you Jared was was there any other consideration for your website other than WordPress when you knew blogging was going to be important? Did you have other platforms? How do you guys use WordPress in your everyday?
Jared: WordPress is fantastic. When we decided on WordPress, it was actually even bigger than just a blog. WordPress ... as we evaluated the technology that we had at our disposal, the reason that we chose ... I don't want to say it's the only reason because I'm not the only guy around here who has a lot of smart education about this. I'd say there are actually people around here who are smarter than me about this kind of stuff. I know for a fact that as we sat around evaluating it, WordPress gave us the most flexibility to be able to do many, many things on one platform.
We could have our website run on WordPress. Our website serves a very different purpose than our blog does, but our blog could also run on WordPress and our blog, which does so many different things for us, we had so much flexibility around what we were doing and having it all managed in one central location. To us, that was really valuable because, and I think this applies to a lot of photographers, if you are looking to streamline your web presences, WordPress, from what I can tell, gives you the most bang for your buck. It gives you the most cross-platform management in one area, so you don't have to become one expert in a whole variety of softwares and even hardwares. You become educated in one area, and you can use that to manage multiple platforms.
Rachel: You guys have an editorial team in terms of creating content. How many times a week do you put out posts and dynamic content for your readers?
Jared: Well, let's see. We'll be doing about three to four blog posts a week in 2016.
Jared: We'll probably be doing anywhere from one to three guides a month in 2016, probably 30 to 40 webinars in 2016.
Rachel: That's great.
Scott: Basically you're saying 2016 is going to be a very slow year for you.
Jared: Yeah, 2016, I figure we're definitely winding down I guess.
Rachel: That's a lot of content. What do you recommend to photographers to stay inspired and to put out all the different types of content? I know your audience is photographers so it's a little bit different than photographers' audiences who are their clients. How do you stay inspired?
Jared: I don't think it actually necessarily is that different. Certainly we do ... if you would call it B2B, business-to-business and maybe certainly as a photographer your doing more B2C, business-to-customer, but really it's not that much different. I think that it can be overwhelming. We certainly didn't start there. Rachel, you and I've been friends for a while now, and you know our genesis or our journey to get there. That's the first step is start small. Start with baby steps. Learn, evaluate, measure, and then pivot and do more of what's working and do less of what's not working.
I think the consistency is the most important thing that you can do. In my opinion, it's better to do, for example, one blog post a week but do that consistently, than do three blog posts one week and then wait a month. In whatever communication you're having with your customers, whether it be email or blogging or even on your website, consistency is probably the most important thing. You want your customers to be able to know they can count on you. If it's a weekly email, if it's a daily blog post, if it's a monthly update, whatever it is, that consistency, going back to your question on inspiration, it keeps you in the rhythm, which keeps your mind focused on it. I think that consistency, not only for our photographers who follow us but our side, of the creation side, has been what's allowed us to keep that process going and keep churning out, hopefully, what people value is good content.
Scott: I've got one question before we move into the next topic. This just came up from what you were talking about. Being aspired is one thing, but actually wonder what tips might you have for photographers watching or listening or reading on how to come up with potential topic ideas. Because you guys are spitting out great content all the time and it's impressive because it's always something that is very valuable for your audience. I wonder where do you find the inspiration for the topics that you're actually putting out?
Jared: That's a good question. That's something we actually spent a lot of time talking about on CreativeLive earlier this year. It was how do you develop content, what do you do, what do you focus on, those sorts of things. The first thing that you have to do, especially the professional photographer, this is where we start, you have to know exactly who your target market is, who your target client is. You have to know who your perfect client is. If you don't know who your target client is, if you don't know who a perfect client is, you've got to start by figuring that out.
Once you figure that out, you want to speak exclusively to that person. You want to give them a name. You want to know who they are. You want to know where they eat, where they shop. You want to know what they like to do. You want to know the tenets about what make them who they are. Are they wine drinkers? Are they travelers? Are they homebodies? Are they family people? Are they in their 20s and 30s and their 60s? You want to know all the tenets about them. Once you know that, that's the first step because then you write to them. You build for them. You create for them. It's very difficult when you sit back and go, "I have to create content, I have to write a blog post," and you don't have that. When you start thinking about, "Hm, I have to write a letter that's valuable to this person today," and it's this person you've defined, it becomes to get a lot easier.
Then you start answering the question: What are their needs? What are their wants? What are their aspirations? Where are they right now? What are their struggles? Where do they want to go? What are the things they need help on? What are the things that I can do to help them out? It becomes a much clearer picture for you as a writer, for you as a content creator and for you as a marketer to try to help those people out. Building content and really all marketing in general is all about helping your target customer. It's all about helping them. It's all about making sure that you provide value for them and that you love on them. I do believe that the business will follow, if that's your model.
Rachel: I have to put a plug in for the CreativeLive content marketing class that Jared did. It was three days. It's really intensive. Erin [inaudible 00:17:38] came in at the end too, and she really talked a lot about your target audience and how they use it. We should talk to the [inaudible 00:17:47]. They have a really great multi-site set up in WordPress and they work on it. It's the [same 00:17:52] mentality as Jared. They really love on their target audiences with their target brand. We'll link to the CreativeLive course in the show notes.
I have one more interjection. I was talking to a photographer friend of mine recently and she said, "I blog once a week. I blog all of my sessions. I choose not to blog one wedding because it wasn't in my target audience but that client noticed." Do you have any recommendations, Jared ... consistency is key, talking to your target audience is key, but what happens when you have a wedding that isn't your target audience and it's the only wedding you don't blog? What do you do there?
Jared: Consistency. You need to blog it.
Rachel: Yes, that's what I said.
Jared: It's funny that you brought that up because that's actually something I've heard that a lot. "What do I do about this one topic? I shot a wedding that I'm not inspired by. It doesn't have images that I want my audience to really see." We did a whole webinar on that with Amy and Jordan Demos. It was all about curation. It was all about how to curate. One of the big topics in that webinar was how do you curate when you shot a wedding that you don't necessarily want published, because at the beginning they started by saying that consistency is key. It really comes down to curation at that point, knowing and learning how to curate. That's a skill, by the way. It's just like shooting pictures. Curation is a skill and to some degree photographers need to be good curators. For that person and those people that are in that space, I'd recommend better curation, really maybe not showing as many images, maybe telling more stories and those sorts of things.
To that point, I think also another thing that photographers can consider is how many images they're showing on their blog. I think there's a trend right now that photographers are showing a lot of images. To some degree, I think that's both bad curation, meaning it's harder to eliminate the good pictures than it is to keep them all in there. It's also partly we're not thinking about our target market when we're blogging. As a professional photographer, you've got to understand what they want to see, not necessarily what you want to see. Why did I bring that up? Well, because it's a lot easier when you shoot a rough wedding or a wedding that doesn't necessarily have everything that you want. It's a lot easier to get 20 images out of that to blog than it is if you've created a consistency pattern of blogging 150 images.
Rachel: That's so true. It's good that we're on the same page because that's exactly what I told her.
Scott: Let's talk real quick about outsourcing, specifically outsourcing your WordPress website design and photo-processing. A lot of photographers will wind up going and just buy a WordPress theme and will just stick with the template as it is, which is fine. But there's a lot of photographers now that are starting to take this new trend of actually either taking that theme and then having it customized or just having one built from scratch. I wonder do you think it's valuable for photographers to [inaudible 00:20:55] customize a theme that they've purchased or got for free, or hire someone to customize one from scratch? Do you find either are important and/or one more important than the other?
Jared: It's a great question. My angle on that would be to look at the best use of your time as a professional photographer and where you get your value. The beauty to me about a WordPress platform is, honestly, less on the creation side of things and more on the maintenance side of things. I think that WordPress provides a lot of value for a photographer because you don't necessarily have to hire a technologist every time you need to make a little tweak. That's why it's so valuable. The issue if you were to look at doing everything yourself is the time and the energy and the expertise that goes into that. The issue with not doing everything yourself when it comes to your website is maybe you get the initial build done by someone else but is it in a platform that you can make an adjustment here and an adjustment there?
I would really recommend that in the initial build or in the initial modification, I don't really think photographers are using their time best if they're spending their time on that. I think they're using their time best if they're out doing other things. I mean that's the same approach we take here with the color correction and the post-production. Is color correction something that photographers can do? By and large, yes it is. However it's not the best use of their time. Every minute they're spending doing color correction is a minute they're not getting paid for. It's a minute they're not out growing their business, and it's a minute they're not out doing what they love, which is photography. There's really not much reason to be doing it.
When you're building your website, sure, you have the assets in terms of the images and you have the word or the copy in terms of what you want written, but the actual building of it is, in my opinion, not the best use of your time. Maintain it though, updating it, that's something that WordPress gives you a lot of flexibility in doing. I think that's where the value is.
Rachel: That's a really good point. I mean WordPress allows you to do that, where some of the other platforms do not.
Scott: For photographers who can't afford right out of the gate, can't afford a custom theme or to have a theme customized, there's a lot of theme developers that will offer an affordable installation package where they will actually set up your website for you, do whatever tweaks, they'll chat with you either phone or email, whatever's offered in the plan, and they'll come up with whatever customizations that the theme can do that you want done specifically for you and help get your website off and running so that you don't have to go through that process and waste your time when you could be out shooting, making money that way.
Jared: That's a great idea because then you get it set up properly. Then if you need to make tweaks and updates, you can do that because you know it was built on a foundation that was done with an educated expert in mind. Somebody who's an expert set it up and built the base for you. Then if you need to make an update or two, you can always go and maybe do that if that's something you choose, but it gives you a lot more flexibility. I mean that's like the 90/10 model that we employ over here at ShootDotEdit, which is we don't tell photographers we're going to do everything for them. We can. For a lot of photographers that do have us do everything from cull to color, some artistic edits, to publish, but most photographers use us to do the heavy lifting, to do the hard part, the part that takes them the most amount of time. That's the color correction.
We like to say that we do 90% of the heavy lifting for you, just leaving you that last 10%, the fun part, the editing of the artistic stuff, but we take off 90% of the workload. Same kind of principle where if you need to go in and tweak some things, you have that flexibility and that capability, but you're not doing the majority of the laborious work that you're not an expert in and that somebody could help you set up a solid foundation with.
Rachel: I love that 90/10 model. I really feel that, throughout the photography industry, photographers are recognizing that they can do that, like we do it here for blogging at Fotoskribe and then with color correction for ShootDotEdit. Imagely is going to be, I think, a niche partner for WordPress or WordPress websites in that they'll be able to have that 90/10 where Imagely can do 90% of it and then, again, the 10% that they want to do, the little tweaks, the uploading that they're able to do. I love that 90/10 model. I tell it to everybody because I think it's so important that as solopreneurs, photographers think, "I'm going to do it all, I'm going to save myself money," but by doing it all, they're actually spending time, which time is money. So doing the analysis of what is worth more, your time, your money, your clients? There's no perfect answer, but I think 90/10 gets you there.
Scott: Jared, you don't happen to have any downloadables about your 90/10 methodology that photographers can learn about the value of that with ShootDotEdit?
Jared: Yeah, we do. We have a blog post actually. I actually just searched for it last week because I was sending it to somebody. If you just go to our blog and search '90.'
Jared: The top post. Actually I just did it last week. I was sending a photographer the blog post about it.
Scott: Awesome. Then I will ...
Jared: [crosstalk 00:26:10] actual definition.
Scott: I'll definitely link that in the show notes then. I'm going to pull it up right now. Yeah, I got it. Okay, cool. I'll put that in the show notes. Now let's move on to what theme or plugin, and possibly plural, do you recommend for WordPress that photographers could take advantage of and why?
Jared: I thought I'd talk about plugins. We actually just did a wonderful, fun plugin blog post where we went through a bunch of blog ... a bunch of, sorry, plugins that we thought photographers should really be using. I know that Yoast is a already popularly talked about one on your podcast show here so I won't go into it, but I will throw in another vote for Yoast and say that we use it. It's a fantastic plugin. It's really wonderful.
One of the ones that I also think has a lot of value for photographers that we use is Ninja plugin. It's a Ninja Popup plugin. Now I will caveat that popups, if done wrong, can be very annoying. The most important thing to start with is to understand the goal of a popup and to understand when and how to use them. With that understood though, we've found the Ninja Popup plugin is amazing, amazing as a plugin and so simple to use when it comes to WordPress. Again, we use it in a very focused fashion. We only use it in select spots, but that's what's so great about it. It's robust enough that you can decided exactly what specific URLs you want it to show up on. You can decide which URLs you want it to be excluded from. We only use it on our blog, and we only use it in certain blog posts.
We also can control the timing of it. That's another great thing about it. I think timing's a really important indicator of when you have your blog ... I'm sorry, when you have your popup go live and Ninja gives you the full capability. The third reason why I love it, and we can unpack and talk more about it too, but I just thought I'd get the top three out that I love about it, is that you can add all your own CSS on top of it. You can add your own branding on top of it. You can make it look pretty much however you want, as large as you want, as small as you want.
Then fourth, sorry there were four of them, is that you can serve different ones depending on web versus mobile versus tablet. So you can have the same popup, basically the same goal with your popup, but it will serve a different looking popup depending on where you're looking at it from. Those four areas, I think, make it ... We really researched it a lot. Over here our content team, we went through the thing, really researched a lot of it. We found it to just be the best option. Certainly in using it for the last nine months or so, I think, it's really been a great option for us.
Rachel: I'd like to unpack the timing because I personally didn't know about it until I downloaded Ninja Popups. I think that it's really important to talk about ... if you're going to use a popup and you put it in select places, like only on your blog, and then you have it come up if a person scrolls down past a certain ... or is on your site for seven seconds. I think the likelihood if someone's on your site for a certain amount of time and then a popup comes up, they're more likely to click on it than if it pops up right away because they're into the blog. They're looking for ways to interact more with your website by being on your website for a certain amount of time. I think that's really important to talk about.
Jared: We've tested it. You know me, I like to test everything before we says it's the [truth 00:29:42]. We tested the popup up against drop off rates, bounce rates, exit rates, time on blog posts, and all that, and we really found that, just as you would assume, go figure, the longer you wait to show your popup, obviously the less people it will hit dramatically. I mean the amount of people that on your website or on your blog for five seconds versus, say, thirty seconds is exactly quite a bit different.
The majority of people that read your blog aren't there for very long, unfortunately, so the amount of times that the popup, in this case on the blog, would be [served 00:30:16] to be a lot less, but the impact, the engagement is significantly higher the longer you wait, and so you want to find that balance. You don't want to wait so long that you lose everybody, but you want to wait until you're dealing with just the group of people that are really engaged in that specific webpage or blog post. Then that's where a well-timed and well-contextualized blog post pops up.
What wouldn't work very well is if you are a professional photographer and you're blogging about professional weddings, your weddings you shot, and then you had a popup come up about the local Christmas festival that week. You have to have something that's very relevant to your wedding photography blog post pop up in that space, and so it has to be very relevant for people. The timing's very important.
Rachel: I love how WordPress gives you the technology through plugins but you also need to understand the psychology behind it, too. That actually triggered another question I had for you. Since we're talking about plugins and WordPress, do you have any recommendations for those metrics that you collect so much and love and study?
Jared: Not through WordPress I don't. We have a number of different tools we use. We use Hootsuite for some of the different metrics that we collect. I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, CoSchedule came out after we'd already set up our system.
Jared: While I love it and, frankly, I'm kind of obsessed about it from the side, we don't use CoSchedule. I don't know if CoSchedule has the same metrics. Specifically for a plugin tracking, we use Google Analytics to track that. Specifically for Ninja Popups, we use Google Analytics. We set up a conversion path through Google Analytics so we know when people convert, when it works basically, sorry. Then we can see how many times it's been served and viewed, so we can evaluate our effectiveness in terms of how many people view it versus how many people convert and use the popup. Obviously the more people that convert on it, the more successful it is for us, but also the more relevant it is for people.
Then you compare that up against the same Google Analytics that have exit percentages and how long people are on the site, and if you're finding that you serve a popup after 20 seconds, and then you look at and compare the month before you served the popup and the view time was a minute and thirty seconds, and then after you start serving the popup, the view time dropped to an average of 50 seconds, you really know that it's intrusive for people. They find it annoying.
My last point on metrics, if you can, if you don't have a good base to evaluate on, then it's really hard to evaluate. If thinking about putting a popup in but maybe it's not something that you have time for right now, the best thing you can do is start tracking your Google Analytics right now. Because then when you do go to have your popup and when you do go to test these things, when you go to use anything you want to test down the road, maybe it's you want to start testing three blog posts a week instead of two, you have a base of numbers that you can compare up against. That's really the only way to evaluate is if you start tracking now even if you're not going to add some of this stuff in right now.
Rachel: That's a great idea. I don't have a plugin for Google Analytics. Do you, Scott, have one that you that you recommend to install it on a WordPress site?
Scott: Just for a standard Google Analytics plugin?
Scott: Yeah, Yoast Analytics.
Rachel: Oh, right, duh. Hello.
Scott: It's fantastic. It has a lot of cool features. I can add this to the show notes now too, just typing it in. It has a lot of features that you can tweak and see things with Google Analytics within, and it has a little bit of stats all within WordPress in your dashboard. It's fantastic. There's a premium version as well, which has even more features.
Rachel: That's a great piece of advice Jared. Even if you're not ready to do plugins or conversions or some of the more serious marketing, get that Google Analytics on your site and start tracking.
Jared: I think that goes back to having an expert. I mean Google Analytics, I'm a numbers guy. I majored in college in statistics basically, and I love numbers. Even Google Analytics, when I open it up, it can be a little scary if you don't know your way around in there. However, I know what I want to see. I want to see how well something's performing. We all understand that. We all understand, "Hey, the longer people are on my blog or my website, the more they're enjoying it." We all understand these things, but having somebody come up in and help you in setting up your Google Analytics ... If the Yoast plugin isn't enough for you to get the analytics you need, have somebody come in and help you but then you can do the [reading 00:34:52] on them day in, day out. You can interpret them. Because once you have an expert help you in setting up what you need, then it's pretty easy to actually go to read them, and then study them, and then know what to do based on them down the road.
Scott: I have got one question for you before we wrap up. This is not technically WordPress related but this falls right into Jared's wheelhouse. VSCO Keys has existed for a while. It's now retired from VSCO. VSCO Keys was a software-based Lightroom controller that you can basically make your own keyboard shortcuts to do a bunch of things. VSCO retired it, made it open sourced. It's now available for free for anybody. But there's now a new software out there, and I'm wondering if you gave this a try. I have it, haven't actually had the chance to use it yet, but I'm wondering if you or anybody on your team tried it and if they recommend it for photographers. It's called CTRL+Console. It's an iPad-based app that you can basically do a bunch of natural swipes to do different tasks in Lightroom. I'm just wondering if you have tried it, seen it, or anybody on your team has tried it.
Jared: I can't speak to that one specifically, but I know that we've evaluated Lightroom on an iPad for quite a while. It's not a good workflow tool for you if you're talking about setting up a sustainable post-production workflow. That's why we tend to avoid recommending those only because when it comes to who we see ... Again, going back to target marketing, I mean we work best with the professional wedding photographer. We're best suited at ShootDotEdit to help a professional wedding photographer in everything they shoot, so we do all of the weddings, portraits, engagements, those sorts of things. For a professional wedding photographer, the workload that's required in Lightroom needs a more robust workflow than something you can do on an iPad. For our target market, it's just not something we spend a lot of time worrying about because our photographers aren't using iPads to do the majority of their post-production, maybe a quick edit here and a quick edit there, but it's exception to the rule not the actual workflow they set out.
Rachel: What I really liked about ShootDotEdit ... Well, what I love about ShootDotEdit is you guys were supporting Aperture for a long time. You moved from Lightroom 4 to Lightroom 5. I mean you've always stayed on the cutting edge, which is why we really wanted you here to talk about WordPress, the cutting edge of technology for photographers especially wedding photographers who deal with thousands of images at one time. The difference between a wedding photographer and a portrait photographer in that situation can be hours or days of editing.
Jared: I think you hit the nail on the head. I mean Lightroom CC had so many advancements and so many mobile advancements, too, by the way. It's no secret that as we as marketers, as business owners, as photographers, Scott, you mentioned at the very beginning, we've seen that more people now are on our website and on our blog on a mobile device than they are on their desktop. I think that's probably the case for most photographers as well. As we enter this world where more is done on mobile than it is done on a desktop or mainframe computer, I think that we at ShootDotEdit are paying attention to what that looks like for the post-production side of things as well. I will tell you that the majority of people are still using a desktop to do their bulk post-production work and to run their business kind of work. We're going to have to see how that develops as the years go by and see if actual work production shifts to a mobile environment as well. That will be interesting to see.
Rachel: Well, great.
Scott: Any final thoughts before we wrap up?
Jared: No, I appreciate you having me on. I think this is a great topic for photographers. I've never see this get so much attention. I think it's really valuable because increasingly, not that it ever wasn't, but increasingly the ability you have to connect and meet your customer is they like to consume and be met at. The increasingly ability you have as a photographer to do that, the more you're going to get traction, the more you're going to be on their radar, and the more you're going to be touch with them. This is the way that people are interacting with this world now. It's through websites, it's through blogs, and I think that you guys are doing a really good thing by having this on. It's fun. You guys have a real good team here between Rachel and Scott. [inaudible 00:39:31] team. I'm kind of jealous. You got the [inaudible 00:39:34] group of people.
Rachel: [inaudible 00:39:36], and then we bring it down. We bring it down so everyone can understand.
Jared: I could be wrong, but I image every one of these shows goes about, what are we at, 45 minutes here, and then you guys, before actually you guys stop the broadcast, then probably geek out on this stuff for another 45 minutes before you move on. That's just my guess.
Scott: Usually there's a few more minutes of fun geek talk afterwards, but sometimes we both have things to get to so we do [inaudible 00:40:05]. Yeah, it's been a fun ride already, and this is only Episode 4. The podcast isn't even public yet. This is the best part. We're recording this. We hired a professional to do intros and outros and the music, so I'm waiting for those to be finished before we can actually get the podcast out. The cool thing part is hopefully by the time the podcast is out and on iTunes to [inaudible 00:40:29] and all that stuff, there'll be five episodes. This is episode 4. Hopefully there'll be five episodes, knock on wood, before the podcast even goes life.
Jared: So we're talking into the future right now.
Rachel: We are.
Scott: We are talking into the future.
Jared: This is fun. I hope it doesn't date your podcast but last night I was driving and last night was the pre-premiere of the "Star Wars" [inaudible 00:40:53]. That would have been fun to get invited to that. How do you get an invite to that?
Jared: In it's own little way I feel like I got a little invite here to the pre-premiere of [inaudible 00:41:02] before it's even live. It's like the future's happening right [crosstalk 00:41:05].
Rachel: Right, because if you're listening to this now, "Star Wars" is out.
Scott: Yeah, officially, officially today.
Rachel: It is today? All right. I did see Scott recommended on Facebook, a Chrome plugin so that you can block all the spoilers, but you won't need that when you're listening because you'll have already seen it.
Scott: This is really funny. That's a good extension. Actually it's so good that if you go to a page that has the word 'star' or 'wars,' it blocks it.
Rachel: I was thinking about the mechanics of it. It's definitely going to block more than you want it to, but if you're a true "Star Wars" fan and you can't see it until later, it'll get the job done.
Scott: I got my ticket for Christmas day. There's my [nerdatry 00:41:47]. The best part is there's a button in Chrome that is two lightsabers as an X ...
Scott: ... so it's a nerdy Chrome extension.
Jared: That's fantastic. I love it.
Scott: Thank you, Jared, for joining us today.
Rachel: Thank you.
Scott: Thank you, Rachel, for being an awesome co-host as usual.
Rachel: Thank you, Scott. Thank you.
Scott: Just can find the show notes at imagely.com/podcast/four.
Scott: Yes, it's four. And be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Thank you again, and we'll talk soon.
— Imagely (@imagely) January 15, 2016