Well it's been two years since the last Maine Imaging website was designed, and I felt it was time to "refresh" our look. So for the last month or so, I've been working on the new site (off line) on Squarespace. Squarespace offers several different templates that you can choose and make your own. And, as we're a small company, it makes sense to use this formula to put together a website. I know that website designers are people too, and that they have to make a living, but after much research, I decided to continue on my own. What is it that they say about a man who chooses to defend himself in a trial? Well, here's my thinking behind the decision.
With the help of a friend, who was in Marketing and SEO for several years, I have learned much about SEO (search engine optimization) and what the search engines are looking for when someone types a query into a search bar. Maine Imaging currently shows up on Google's front page for everything that we want it to. Which is exactly what you want, right? And yet, I still get spam from SEO consultants, telling me that they could get Maine Imaging to the front page of Google. Do these guys even look at your site before sending out their spam? Most of the folks doing site design and SEO want you to purchase a package that includes both of the above, and some extras. But these packages are expensive, often several hundred dollars a month. This is a tough pill for small companies such as Maine Imaging to swallow. I also wonder what you get for that sort of money. But I digress. If you're working your own website, here are a few things that I can recommend. I'm no Guru when it comes to this stuff, but I have had some success (and don't forget the help from my former marketing buddy...) with my SEO.
1. Use Smugmug, or a similar service, to host your images.
I use Smugmug to host all of my images and video clips. Smugmug is a wonderful service for photographers, as they not only host your images, but they also handle their SEO incredibly well, back up all of your image files, and have an online store to sell your images. And, their customer service is excellent! Smugmug is very well thought out, and while there is a learning curve, it's easy to use.
2. Name your files before uploading.
This is a biggie! Search engines will get people to your images faster if you name them correctly. For example, I have a night time, aerial, shot of Boston. Actually, I have a whole gallery. Let's say the image files current name is MIP_1234.jpg. Should I leave the image file's name the same way as it came out of the camera? NO! I should change the image files name to something that tells what it is, such as: MIP_AERIAL_BOSTON_NIGHT_MA_1234.jpg. You might think this is a pretty long name, but it tells the story of what, exactly, the image is. And this file naming helps the search engines find your image out of the millions of other images floating around in cyber space.
3. Add keywords to your images before exporting for upload.
Use your keyword tool in Lightroom, or whatever editing software you use, to add keywords to each image file. When I got back from that night time flight over Boston, I imported the images from my CF card into Lightroom. In that process, I added specific keywords to ALL of the image files. Keywords like "Boston, night, aerial, ma, mass, massachusettts, helicopter, city, fall, photo, image, nighttime, dark, etc.". Now, all of those keywords are attached to all of the images I've imported. And, they will stay with those images when I export them for uploading. As I select which images, out of the several hundred or thousand I have taken on a flight, that will ultimately be exported and uploaded to my on-line galleries, I will add more image specific keywords. For example, I have a killer shot of the Custom House clock tower, so I will add, "custom house, clock, tower, custom house clock tower," to my keyword list for that image file. I might also add "Custom House" to the image files' name before uploading. Now, if someone uses a search engine to look for "night time picture custom house tower boston", the search engine will have an easy time finding the images that I have taken the time to properly name and keyword
If this helped at all, please leave a comment. I have never been a blogger, but with the new site, comes new responsibilities. And blogging is supposed to be good for SEO!
Thanks for taking the time!