Episode 57 – Sell With Your Photography Website w/ The Blumes

Episode 57 – Sell With Your Photography Website w/ The Blumes

 
 

00:00 / 39:38
 

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The BlumesPhillip & Eileen Blume are award-winning photographers and filmmakers just crazy enough to believe art can change the world. As owners of three unique photography brands specializing in weddings and portraits, the Blumes seek not only to celebrate life, but also to reclaim lives through humanitarian projects. Whether speaking at top industry events across the country, presenting on the TEDx stage, or interacting with students inside ComeUnity photo workshops at their private studio, these world-traveling industry leaders champion change-making through creativity. They live with their children in rural Georgia, where they love hiking, good conversations, and spontaneous dance parties.

Listen to the full episode for Phillip & Eileen's question to you. Then comment on the show notes post with your answer.

WordPress/Photography Related News:

Referenced Links:

Where to find The Blumes:

Transcription:

Transcription was done by Rev.com

Scott Kivowitz: Welcome to episode 57. My name is Scott Wyden Kivowitz, and I'm joined by my guests Phillip and Eileen Blume. I'm really excited to have them both here for many reasons. This is the first time we're finally talking face-to-face, and let's just give you a little bit about the two of them. So, Phillip and Eileen Blume are award-winning photographers and film-makers just crazy enough to believe that art can change the world. As owners of three unique photography brands specializing in wedding and portraits, the Blumes seek not only to celebrate life, but also to reclaim lives through humanitarian projects. Whether speaking at top industry events across the country like WPPI, presenting at Tedx Stage, or interacting with students inside community workshops at their private studio, these world-changing industry leaders champion change-making through creativity.

Scott Kivowitz: They live with their children in rural Georgia, where they love hiking, good conversation, and spontaneous dance parties. So, you never know, if you're watching this episode, if you're listening to the episode, you never know what might happen. Oh, boy.

Scott Kivowitz: So, welcome to the show guys. I'm really excited you're here, as you know. You as well. So you just got back from WPPI, and then apparently a big babysitting thing?

Eileen Blume: We have lots of nieces and nephews.

Philip Blume: Exactly. This has definitely been one of those big years of transition for us, and I think that all of us experience this in our business. It doesn't change, no matter how long you've been doing what we do and find your rhythms. The past two years, really, for us have been huge life transitions. So, what used to be Eileen and I as newlyweds working together, shooting everything together, editing everything side-by-side, over time we've learned to delegate tasks between us and balance things. For the first time after several years speaking at WPPI, Eileen stayed home to be with the kids while I went there and had the opportunity to meet a lot of the photographers and people who we've known online, and speak at that event. Then, got home.

Philip Blume: This has also been a year where we're trying to say yes more and more to our family, and keep business in its arena, and be there for our family as well. We were babysitting cousins of our children, our nieces and nephews on Eileen's side, and then a family of cousins on my side, back-to-back. Big families, so like five kids added to our group, all of them at the same time. It was fun. But if you hear my voice leaving me, it's because I've been yelling at a lot of kids.

Scott Kivowitz: Yeah, it's fun when you get to get all of that family together for an extended period of time. Exhausting.

Eileen Blume: Definitely.

Scott Kivowitz: Exhausting, but fun.

Philip Blume: Good tired.

Scott Kivowitz: Yeah, good tired. So before we move into what's going on with you guys, what you have coming up and things like that, let's talk a little bit about WordPress photography related news. Big news is that a new beta of NextGEN Gallery, the redesign, is available for download and feedback. It's likely the final beta before it's released. The release date is probably sometime in April, if all things go well. In the show notes I'll link to where you can go and download the beta, see before and afters of the redesign, and you can test it. Both NextGEN Gallery, and NextGEN Plus, and NextGEN Pro are all available for testing. Of course, NextGEN Gallery is free, so the beta is free for anybody. But if anybody who's a pro or plus user and wants to test those betas, you can download those when you're logged in.

Scott Kivowitz: WordPress now powers 30% of the internet. 30% of the internet. Just a couple of months ago it was 28%, so you can see the rapid growth it's getting. Every time I share news about its growth, the numbers are jumping higher and higher, by more than 1% each time, so it's really nice to see 30% of the internet now powered by WordPress.

Scott Kivowitz: The last bit of news is Yoast SEO has had a major overhaul, and one of the post popular plugins ever, version 7.0, is now out. They simplified the interface big time. There's a lot less options, and what they've done is they've combined multiple things to make it so that you don't have to think about it as much. Right out of the box it is optimized for the majority of people, the majority of sites, but you can still tweak a bunch of things, of course. But they've simplified it big time, just a bunch of on/offs, yes/nos.

Scott Kivowitz: Again, a lot of things like you won't see the sitemap settings anymore. They've removed it to automate the process. It's now combined with whether you want something indexed or not. So if you say, "Yes I want all my blog posts indexed," not only are they going to be indexed but it's going to be in the sitemap. If you say now, they won't be in the sitemap and they won't be indexed. There's no reason for those to be separate, so the Yoast team merged them together.

Scott Kivowitz: All right, so three bits of news. Phillip, Eileen, tell us what's going on with you guys? What's coming up? What's the good stuff going on?

Philip Blume: Now I'm kind of distracted and excited by the news, because Eileen and I are so non-technical. I feel like we fell into having to learn all of this stuff for our business, like many of us listening here probably. But we did, just like weeks ago, finally started thinking the SEO might be important after a decade of work. So, a big expert in the SEO field, who I've had the pleasure to get to know a little bit, Keith [Breese 00:06:01] recommended that Yoast plugin for us. I'm just happy to know that it's becoming easier, because those things intimidate me. But, yeah, already been using that.

Philip Blume: Looking to the future and the coming year, we're excited that besides a lot of the conferences we've been speaking at for years, we've got our first, in fact, it's sitting right in front of me, we got our first invitation to speak at Imaging USA.

Scott Kivowitz: Nice.

Philip Blume: PPA is one of these great, non-profit organizations that's been around since photography began, so that's exciting. I think our big projects, going forward this year, are ... Like I said, we're not very technically inclined so we've always loved in-person workshops, and that's how we've met all of our students over time. This is the first year that we're really diving in with a lot of online courses, and being able to reach out, and meet, and work alongside a lot of you photographers who maybe haven't had the chance to work with us in a workshop at a convention, or in person at our studio or something. So that's something I'm actually really excited about, especially since we've got help to do it. We couldn't put it all together on our own, that's for sure.

Scott Kivowitz: Yeah. That's awesome. And congrats on the Imaging invite. That's pretty big. It's nice that they sent a formal [crosstalk 00:07:25].

Philip Blume: Oh man, they're so classy. They do a good job.

Scott Kivowitz: That's awesome. All right. So, let's dive into some WordPress discussion here, or just website discussion in general. One of the things what we were talking about of what can we talk about on this episode with you both is how to sell with your website. Can you talk a little bit about that? I'm assuming you're meaning sell without selling, how to sell just naturally, right? Or were you going a different direction?

Philip Blume: No, that's exactly right. I mean, our websites, I think in the past we would always have described websites as the storefront for your business. That was a pretty apt description. It's important that a lot of us don't have brick and mortar studios. Even if we do, what most people are passing by and searching for us in online.

Philip Blume: At the beginning of our business, this is what, 2008 or something? Our whole business sort of took shape on accident, because Eileen was working at Starbucks, I was a high school teacher, and it was a hobby for us, our photography. But a friend asked to look at some of my portfolio pictures because she was getting married and wanted a cheap wedding photographer. So even though I wasn't a professional yet she wanted to look at the work.

Philip Blume: Eileen is the classic overachiever, so instead of emailing the pictures to the friend to look at, she created our first little website, just hacked it together. It wasn't probably too easy. Had to figure out a little-

Eileen Blume: [crosstalk 00:09:12] visually, but I just wanted a place that she could actually go to online and view the work, so put it up quickly.

Scott Kivowitz: Intense.

Philip Blume: So, after she did that, this is 2008, to our shock and amazement, we started to get phone calls from strangers as well. It was a little bit easier back then, I think, if you had a website. Not even everybody was there yet. Some people were still in the yellow pages, right?

Eileen Blume: Right.

Philip Blume: I think that really helped boost us, but then that's not the world we live in anymore. Your website can't just be your storefront, because there's so many storefronts, you're in a shopping center complex now. Every photographers online, and people are just going to, "Yeah, you have a beautiful storefront," but they're going to walk on by.

Philip Blume: What we realized, not from a technical point of view, but very much from a human psychology, marketing psychology point-of-view, is that you can't just stand out and succeed by the quality of your work. There's plenty of people doing beautiful work, plenty of people who I admire who I aspire to do work at the level that they're doing it, but who even with that level of work aren't succeeding from a business point of view because they're not doing the marketing side as well. On the other hand, there's people who have very mediocre work who are killing it. Really, their businesses are thriving.

Philip Blume: I would love to continue to pursue the quality of art on a personal level, but also make sure that right away I'm doing whatever I can to make my business thrive and support my continued growth and learning. So, what's very important to us was going in, and what we just recently, within the last months, relaunched to our new website. It's very different in the sense that, I think traditionally our websites have had maybe a landing page, and maybe with a slideshow with photos on it, and then there's a link to go to an About page. How many people really end up on your About page? It's kind of hidden in the back.

Philip Blume: But, really, we started to restructure things, from looking at it from a human marking psychology point-of-view. We really have to sell ourselves now, not just sell the quality of our work or say we're the best. Everyone's on, holding up little signs saying, "Choose me, I'm the best." But if you can sell yourself to connect to your potential client on a personal level, find some values that you have in common, find out who your ideal client is and appeal to that, that really sells you, which is what you have to sell before you sell anything else.

Eileen Blume: We moved our About section to our homepage, so when people go to theblumes.co, they see our faces on there, they hear our story, and that's something that they can connect with right away.

Scott Kivowitz: That’s great. That's great. Did you put that towards the top, or did you put it at the bottom, like after some photo examples or anything like that?

Eileen Blume: We can talk, right?

Philip Blume: Yeah, it is. So, if you go to our website it's much more ... The website we had, we'd had for about seven or eight years. It worked. The amazing thing was, it worked. We had built this WordPress, at a time, ProPhoto theme, easy to put together kind of website for photographers who had no idea what they were doing with their website. That sufficed for many years, in terms of at least we had a presence. But, what we have now is a banner that has our logo, the branding, some of the imagery, but just immediately below that we changed everything. We used to be Blume Photography, and even details like that we decided we needed to personalize that more. We want to appeal as a business as people, not just ...

Philip Blume: You know, you hear, "Blume Photography," and you think, "It's a business." You don't know how many photographers are a part of that. You don't know if it's a national chain or photo mill, so we changed that to The Blumes. That's really the whole spirit we wanted to give the website, was you're connecting with us as a couple so you're going to immediately see our faces, and learn about our story as the most important thing on the page.

Scott Kivowitz: I definitely think that when it's a couple that's the photographers of this business, this whole approach totally makes sense. It is definitely the way that photographers should be thinking now. It's going to be a little bit more difficult when it's a wedding business with just a single, main photographer who owns the business and then nine associate photographers, or something. That's a little bit trickier, but still do-able. But, when you're just a couple, and even if you have associate photographers, what you're doing is definitely the best approach, in my opinion as well, because you are definitely personalizing it from top to bottom, which is a great thing to see.

Scott Kivowitz: So, tell me about a mistake that you made more recently, since you've redesigned your website, since you've rebranded, and a mistake that you don't want others to do.

Philip Blume: Sure. Eileen is the one who fixes all my mistakes, for the most part, so you can probably answer this better. She's also our website designer, so ...

Eileen Blume: Yeah, I try to figure things out as I go along. I'm kind of self-taught with a lot of things graphic design related, or just website related, so I'm always trying to figure it out or look at tutorials. But I would think one mistake that we had made, actually for years, is just forgetting about SEO. We're not experts in SEO, but I know that it's super effective. So just remembering to put the important keywords when you're naming your blog posts, just when you're writing copy in those blog posts, just making it relevant to your location, especially. So just, Athens wedding photography, or something like that, just not forgetting to include that. Because when you forget to do that, or even forget to rename images, then you'll notice a difference, too, that when people are searching for us our page isn't' in the top ranks. So, just remembering SEO and just how important that is.

Philip Blume: We've literally neglected that side of things, I think, for years. What we were experts at was the whole word-of-mouth marketing, and local relationship building, and some of that classic stuff, which I believe whole-heartedly is the nuts and bolts core of building a strong brand, especially a local brand.

Scott Kivowitz: For sure.

Philip Blume: But then, when some of our much smarter tech-oriented friends just showed us some of those basic things ... I think I've always been intimidated by the idea of "SEO, I have to now be a professional in this just to make it work." But just do the basics, the hygiene, of renaming our images and everything, it's been amazing. We just did it with the redesign of our site in these past few months. Really, you can over a matter of days, plug in your web address to some different tools and see how it climbs. In days, it just climbs. I think so many people just don't do it, and that's why they're not succeeding up at the top.

Scott Kivowitz: Yeah, so would you say that the one change that you made to your website which has a major impact on your business is adding and doing the SEO stuff when you do the redesign, after making the mistake of not doing it?

Philip Blume: Oh yeah, yeah.

Eileen Blume: I think it was huge.

Philip Blume: And how about just with the homepage and everything? You started putting in some keywords and things in there for the first time, ever.

Eileen Blume: Yeah. So even just what you name your homepage, things like that, even just what you write on your homepage; all of that factors in to their algorithm, Google's algorithm. I don't even know if I'm saying the right word. But something like that is just super important. It's also free for you to do. It does take time, but it's something that you can implement that is free. You don't have to spend any money on.

Philip Blume: Yeah, there's so many marketing strategies that I know that especially early in our business as photographers, we're trying everything. Most of us are distracted by we want to be the king or queen of social media, because if we have a million followers, I know business will become easy, all that stuff. We're throwing paper against the wall, trying to see what sticks, trying everything.

Philip Blume: There's a lot to be said about that 80/20 principle. Find the 20% of all the ideas that really will give you 80% or more of your results, and focus on those few things. SEO is one of those things. Renaming pictures, in particular, is one of those things that it feels mundane, so I wasn't doing it, but it's one of those things that makes the big difference, so it certainly helps a lot.

Scott Kivowitz: Awesome. So what is a change that you made to your business overall which has made a big impact?

Philip Blume: So, I guess we would call it our turning point. The big shift in our business happened two years after we started. So we told the story, we started our business on accident, essentially, and it took off. Man, we felt like we were living the dream. If I could hear listeners reactions, I think all of us would say that one of our goals is to go full-time. A lot of us are part-time photographers trying to escape the day job, the second job. For us, within that year, we went full-time. Did not see that coming. It was so exciting, like all of a sudden we had 20 weddings booked. All of the retainers had been paid to us. We're shooting engagement shoots all the time. It all hits the fan, kind of, to the point where there's no time in our life. We had to quit our other jobs just to keep this thing rolling.

Philip Blume: We did that as bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, naïve young people and hadn't run any of our numbers, so we didn't realize that we were doing a whole lot of work. We were working throughout a whole night editing images. Our new marriage was suffering because there was no personal time together. Yet, for all of that, after a year we realized, "We're not going to be able to pay our bills because what we're charging, the cost of doing business, the math doesn't add up."

Philip Blume: So we got to a point probably within a year after that where all of our friends think we're living the dream, and we had thought so too. Then we realize, "This is sink or swim time. We either have to make a huge change, or we're going to have to go back to our old jobs."

Philip Blume: That was a messy time in our lives, as well. We had gone through some personal grief and trauma. We had been so excited because Eileen was pregnant for the first time. I was able to go with her to her OB appointments every day. We're listening to our baby's heartbeat, and watching her grow. Then one day, that appointment, we go in and we just don't hear that heartbeat anymore.

Philip Blume: So, all the sudden, I think, in my mind I was just kind of processing, "What matters anymore?" All these plants, and thoughts, ideas we had about the future were no longer a reality. We didn't know if our business was going to survive the week, and we just decided we had to step back and make a big shift in our business. So for us, personally, that was get away from sacrificing our life on the altar of business, and just trying to pay the bills and everything, and let's do what's important to us in our lives. For Eileen and me, just the way we were raised and throughout our lives, that was charity and mission work. We decided, "Let's get back to that, whatever it costs."

Philip Blume: At that moment we decided to dig into our meager savings, the little bit we had laid aside. We had done no video at that point. It's still early, not everybody was doing video yet. We didn't even have iPhones or anything, so we had never recorded any kind of video clip. But we heard about this ministry, this organization doing amazing work in the slums of Guatemala.

Eileen Blume: Rescuing boys from gangs and giving them a new life, but little was known about this organization or the people who were running it and the work they were doing. They asked us to make a short promo video just for their website, so just three or four minutes of video so they can put up on their website. Like Phillip said, we had not even done video at all before. So we ordered all of this video equipment that arrived three days before left on a plane for Guatemala, so rushing to just learn the equipment and familiar ourselves.

Philip Blume: I'm one of these guys, I don't read the instruction manuals. But I'm telling you, I have these manuals in my bag in the airplane, pouring through them. "How am I going to do this?"

Scott Kivowitz: It's one of those things like, "How does osmosis work?"

Philip Blume: Right, exactly-

Eileen Blume: Exactly. That's kind of what it was like.

Philip Blume: ... stuffing them in your pillow case. That's awesome.

Philip Blume: Then we got down there and they knew. Pro-bono projects like this are a great way to learn skills, because if you're honest with them like we were, we just told them, "This may not work, but we would love to help you and we're going to try our best." We were doing it for free, so no one's going to complain. The video was much more accessible than we had feared. It was meant to be a three-minute or four-minute promo video to help them out; ended up being a feature-length documentary film that. After we came back and edited -- learned how to edit video together -- we ended up traveling with that film in 30 states all across the US, helping this organization grown and succeed more at what they were doing, just through support and recognition of what they were doing.

Philip Blume: We continue to work with them today, years later, in some exciting ways. I don't want to get distracted right now, but I'll tell you later. That was just, I think, mind-blowing to us. We realized how powerful visual media is.

Philip Blume: All the same, we got back home and we still couldn't pay our bills. In fact, we were poorer for having done this project. So that's when we decided, "Let's stop trying to run our business creatively like artists. We'll continue to be artists when it comes to taking pictures. We need to run our business with proven principles."

Philip Blume: Eileen was a business major, and for some reason, up to that point we had not fallen onto that expertise or thought much about it. So we continued to learn and dig into that. When you get into the trenches, that's really when you start to learn. Not just what you learned in school, right, but when you put that into practice?

Eileen Blume: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Philip Blume: So we decided, "We're wedding photographers. We can't put all these new business principles into practice, and then wait for a year out for the weddings that we booked to see if it works. We've got to do something now to get income flowing." So we created, very strategically, we didn't do it like most people do them, but mini sessions. We did a really strange twist on mini sessions, and we applied all these business principles to it, and it was successful, man. It was like a day and a half of mini sessions we shot, and made $8,000, keeping our bank account afloat.

Philip Blume: Then we found out some cool ways that we could, without undercutting our normal length portrait sessions and family session, or over-advertising, we could actually quietly market mini sessions to specific groups in our market, one at a time, and keep mini sessions flowing through our studio all the time, high profit ones. To the point that our sales average became higher for a single mini session than it used to be for a full wedding that we shot.

Scott Kivowitz: That's impressive.

Philip Blume: When you think about, "If I can only shoot 15 weddings this year," then you're like, "Or I could do 15 mini sessions in one weekend, and every single one of those sessions would be the equivalent of a wedding-

Eileen Blume: One of our earlier weddings.

Philip Blume: Basically, I think we're averaging around 1500 or 1800 per mini-session with this strategy, so that was huge. That was the big turning point. Our highest sale on a 20 minute mini-session was $2600, I believe that was the high. So that just changed our business. It helped us become an official fastest-growing business.

Eileen Blume: I do want to insert, because I guess that listeners might be wondering, "What was it they implemented?" A huge difference was doing in-person sales, so starting out as a "shoot and burn" photographer where you just hand out the digital images, and then going back to what was important to us, was just for families to go home with that physical heirloom art product that they can pass down for generations. That was important to us for them to have that, so that's what we implemented differently in our business.

Scott Kivowitz: For everybody listening, the last episode, episode 56, was Chris Scott from Swift Galleries was on and we were talking about in-person sales pretty heavily the entire episode. So if anybody wants to dive more into in-person sales, definitely check out episode 56. I will link to that in the show notes.

Scott Kivowitz: Awesome, so let's segue into a little bit about Showit because you do a lot with Showit. I want to talk just briefly about what is Showit, and what's its relationship to WordPress, because I know this, and maybe some of the listeners do, but your website is Showit but your blog is WordPress. So, let's talk a little bit about that. What's the relationship between the two?

Eileen Blume: Yeah, so Showit is our web hosting, as well as what we use to design our website and blog. So it's a WordPress blog, but it uses a Showit theme. What that means is what Showit is big about is just having a drag-'n'-drop website. You have a lot more customization with a theme. Instead of a cookie-cutter theme that you're stuck with, there's a lot more customization with placement of things and sizing, which is what we really love about it.

Philip Blume: That's where it's really geared toward photographers more than anything, or other creatives, artists. There's all kinds of artists on the Showit platform, because whereas there's other websites like Wix, Squarespace, that are kind of drag-'n'-drop, easy to build, but you've got your template and you kind of stick with that template, minor tweaks. Showit, you can start from scratch, or you can start with a template-

Eileen Blume: And tweak it.

Philip Blume: ... and completely customize it, and that's where we love to get creative instead of messing with our creativity when it comes to the business and the numbers. But being able to design your website in a way that really does show off your personality and does introduce the client to you, in a personal way right away, is really powerful. It's so cool because you have the WordPress blog side of our site where so much of our content is can look identical and flow completely through the rest of our site.

Eileen Blume: Right, you can match the aesthetics.

Scott Kivowitz: So they make it really easy to do that. It's great. So WordPress does have drag-'n'-drop capabilities using additional plugins. Obviously, it's not built into WordPress, so where Showit, you just go to it and you just move things around, WordPress, you need to now add a theme that is compatible with a page builder plugin, and then go find a page builder plugin, and install that. So it's a little bit more effort to do it. WordPress 5.0 will have a simpler page builder built in, which is slotted for April but I doubt it's going to come out in April. That page builder is not ready yet, so I don't think it's going to be in-

Philip Blume: You never count your chickens before they hatch. Just kind of assume there's going to be a little delay.

Scott Kivowitz: Right. They're saying April. They're trying, but I don't think it's going to happen. But anyway, it's platforms like Showit that's actually pushing WordPress ahead even further, because people want page builder, so they're actually building a page builder that is backwards compatible, which is really nice, so it'll ... Anyway. I've talked about it on this show previously so many times, I'm not going to go into too much detail.

Philip Blume: What we love about working with a company like Showit is they're 100% focused on basically their software that allows you to design your website, but they're a small enough company that when you're working with them the customer service, and the one-on-one attention, the help you get is just amazing. That you can have that kind of service and use it, it's really just since they created Showit 5, the newest version of Showit, not only has Showit exploded, but it's really for the first time that using all HTML 5 are you able to design your whole WordPress blog and site from Showit. So, it's just all of this power through, thanks to WordPress. But, yeah, it's a marriage made in heaven. We love it. We really enjoyed the big change. It's been great.

Scott Kivowitz: Yeah, and they've got a nice community, and they've got their conference, so there's definitely some advantages to using the Showit site. Especially because they're still hand-to-hand with WordPress, as far as that relationship. They're really tight as far as still requiring people to use WordPress for the blog, so there's a lot of advantages to it. So, it's a nice segue into the guest-recommended WordPress plugin, and or theme section of the show.

Scott Kivowitz: We've now talked about a plugin, some themes, so what do you recommend for photographers to check out? This probably going to sound similar, because we were just talking about it.

Philip Blume: Yeah. Well, Showit, I don't think of it as a theme, per se, but you can go in there and get all the sorts of themes. They actually have some really talented designers who partner with them who actually provide. You can go through their store and chose a theme to start with, and they are numerous. One in particular, what is Jennifer's store called, the Tonic Shop?

Eileen Blume: Tonic Site.

Philip Blume: Tonic Site Shop is a great place to get themes for Showit and the WordPress side of Showit design. That's some of my favorite work in terms of the templates and things. But then, Yoast, which we just touched on earlier, has been really ... We never knew enough to use a lot of plugins and things, but I'm fascinated by this Yoast plugin now. It's awesome to know they're just updating to make it easier for stupid people like me. So that's something that you've got to get in there right now.

Philip Blume: We've even been using it because I write every month for Shutter Magazine, and I like when people come to our site to be able to find all my articles, but I don't want to repost my articles that are already on the magazines website, and it look to the internet as if we're copying ourselves or hijacking their language. So when I post articles on our site, I'm able to redirect the backend and say, "The original content is on the magazine's website," and I'm not going to be penalized, and so forth. There's all kinds of tools.

Scott Kivowitz: Yeah, I do that as well for all my guest posts as well. It's called canonical, for anybody who's listening who wants to do that. The canonical link is where you could say, if you did a guest post, for example, on ShutterFest, or any website ... I write a lot on digitalphotography.com and many other places, so any articles that I will write there, you add the canonical link of that article to your post. Then when you post it, it says to Google, "I did write this. It is on my website. But really, I wrote it here, here's the original link." It gives all that SEO credit to that link you're putting in the canonical section.

Philip Blume: Right, yeah. It's great. So you enjoy the best of both worlds. You're offering the content and the service, which if photographers are listening we're adding just lots of education material that's free on our website. We have a great community that's through our website as well. You can download our ebook and so forth and be part of that. But it's great that we can provide that on our website without doing it under the table or harming those who we partner with from an online point-of-view. I would never have known that was there. It's a great little tool.

Scott Kivowitz: Totally. So, we have got a new section on the show. This is where Phillip and Eileen are going to ask you, the listeners, a question. What we want you to do is go to the show notes for this episode at imagely.com/podcast/57, and comment with your answer to this question. Phillip and Eileen will be seeing the answers to their question, and either they'll reply if they have time, or I'll reply. Either way, this is something that you can interact with us and everybody else who's listening. So, please, Phillip, Eileen, ask your question, and listen up.

Philip Blume: All right. So, I think the best way to phrase this, because this is a big-picture idea that drives our business every day and drives all of our decisions, and I think this is something that we need to ask ourselves daily. So, our question to you guys that we'd love to hear your thoughts on is: What is most important to you in your life? Not just your business, but what is most important in your life? If you could design your business vision around that thing, so that your business could help support that dream, that vision of yours, what might your business look like?

Philip Blume: That's something you can't just think about in 10 minutes and answer, but it's something that I'd love to know. What's important in your life? Maybe it has nothing to do with photography directly. For Eileen and me, that is on one side, adoption and fostering, being an adoptive family ourselves, and also helping kids who are without families in the third-world in places like Guatemala. So that was completely separate from photography, we thought, but we found so many ways that it relates and actually can be a part of our business and we can support those things with our business. So if there's one thing for you like that, what is it? Go ahead and name it. Write it down. Then start the process of thinking how you can incorporate that. In these short, precious lives that we have, how can you make the most of that dream?

Philip Blume: So, yeah, looking forward to seeing some of you guys answers, and maybe even brainstorming with you guys a little bit on how that might be possible. We built a business that we found the charity we do actually helps support our business and grow it, at the same time as our business can pour back into them.

Scott Kivowitz: That's fantastic. It's funny, so I met you guys because of adoption. As many of the listeners know, I am in the middle of the adoption process. You have adopted. So that's how we met. So it touches me as well, and there's definitely a drive in me to do more with my business because of that, and to do more with that as well. So, finding ways to incorporate adoption and family into everything I do is one of my goals. So, it's fantastic.

Scott Kivowitz: Please, please answer the question. Go to the show notes. Just comment and share.

Scott Kivowitz: I'm going to include every place you can find Phillip and Eileen on the internet, their website, their social media channels. They have a great ebook called From Posed to Playful. So please, you can download that as well. I'll link to all that in the show notes, as well as everything that Phillip and Eileen mentioned, all the different links.

Scott Kivowitz: Thank you both for joining the show today. I'm so happy you were able to join. I can't wait to finally meet you both in person, eventually. It'll happen one day.

Philip Blume: Looking forward to it soon.

Eileen Blume: Yeah, thanks for having us, Scott.

Scott Kivowitz: Yeah, totally.

Philip Blume: Thanks, man.

Scott Kivowitz: You can find the show notes from today's episode, answer the question that you just heard, and where to find the Blumes at imagely.com/podcast/57. Until next time.

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