Thursday, April 14, 2016 by Kevin WoodThe long tail is a fairly new concept. Yet, it’s one that should penetrate all of your marketing and branding efforts. The days of marketing to large masses of people are over. No longer are you going to build a company that looks at everyone in the world as a potential customer. Today you’ll find that niche markets are large enough to sustain most companies, and can also be incredibly profitable, as you’ll be able to offer more customized services and more tailored marketing campaigns. You’ll hear the term long tail get thrown around a lot in SEO circles. This concept can be used in both keyword research and when defining the target market for your business. Below we dive into what long-tail keywords actually are, and the benefits you’ll realize for your business when you implement them into your SEO and marketing strategies.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 by Syed BalkhiWebsites are essential for all photographers because modern day clients increasingly look to online portfolios when deciding who to hire for their next photo shoot. If you have decided to use WordPress for your photography site, then you’re half way there. In this article, we will share the 14 best WordPress plugins for photographers that can help enhance your site and add much needed functionality.
Envira GalleryEnvira Gallery is the best responsive gallery plugin. It allows you to create beautiful image and video galleries for your WordPress site in minutes. Envira comes with a variety of pre-built templates and 25 different addons. This gives you tons of customization options and features, such as albums, watermarking, eCommerce integration, image proofing, tags, slideshows, and much more. To save time, you can import your pictures directly from Lightroom, Instagram, Dropbox, and variety of other sources. Envira Gallery is SEO friendly and helps you get discovered in search engines. Cost: Free with paid upgrades starting at $19 / yr
PicuPicu allows you get your photographs proof-read by your clients. Simply create a collection of photos and send the link to your customers via email. When your client approves the photos, you will be alerted by email. Cost: Free
Easy WatermarkTheft is an all-too-common problem that photographers have to deal with online. Easy Watermark is a free watermark plugin that can help. It automatically adds your watermark to all photos uploaded on your WordPress website. You can also add or edit any watermark manually. Cost: Free
Yoast SEOSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) is important for getting your photography website found by potential clients. There isn’t a better WordPress SEO plugin than Yoast SEO. It runs on millions of websites, and is by far the best solution in the market. Yoast SEO comes with all the features you need to optimize your photography website for search engines, including page title, meta description, focus keywords, sitemap, social meta data, and much more. This plugin is a must-have for any photography website. See this guide on how to install Yoast SEO. Cost: Free with paid upgrades starting at $69 / yr
WPFormsNo photography website is complete without a contact form. WPForms is the most beginner friendly contact form plugin for WordPress. This drag & drop online form builder allows you to easily create contact forms, email subscription forms, order forms, payment forms, and other type of online forms with just a few clicks. You can even use it to allow your clients to book and pay for their sessions right on your website! There’s a free WPForms Lite version available for those who are looking for a simple solution. Cost: Free with paid upgrades starting at $39 / yr
StoryformStoryform allows you to create full screen, full bleed layouts to your WordPress site. You can easily add it to a post, and it will turn the post into a photo-essay for you. This feature rich plugin comes with a responsive layout, multi-column content space, large photography, animations, captions and much more. It supports mouse and keyboard shortcuts. If you want to attract visitors by telling them the stories behind your photos, then you definitely need to try out Storyform. Cost: Free with upgrades starting at $8 / mo
SoliloquyNeed an image slider? Soliloquy is the best WordPress slider plugin. It comes with tons of features such as slider themes, dynamic sliders, video sliders and various styles of animations. You can also import images from Flickr, Instagram, and much more. All Soliloquy sliders are fully responsive, so they look awesome on all devices. Cost: Plans starting at $19 / yr up to $249 (flat fee)
W3 Total CacheThe big problem with many photography websites is that they take a long time to load. Caching helps to speed up your website, making it more user friendly, reducing bounce rate, and helping you to rank higher in search. W3 Total Cache allows you to cache your WordPress photography site with ease. With more than a million trusted users, W3 Total Cache performs great in all categories. See this guide on how to install W3 Total Cache. If you’re a photographer who uses a lot of images on your website, then this plugin is a must. Cost: Free
Wordfence SecurityFor your business website, security is essential. Wordfence Security gives you free enterprise-class WordPress security that protects your site from hacks and malware. Here’s how it works: Wordfence Security first analyzes your website to see if you have been previously hacked by scanning your server and source code. After that, it secures your site. It even makes your site up to 50 times faster: a great added bonus for photography websites! Cost: Free with paid upgrades up to $4.92 / mo
ImsanityFor your photography website to perform well, it is vital that you properly compress and optimize your images for the web. The problem is, compressing your images manually one-by-one can be time consuming. Imsanity is a sane resource to free yourself from the headache of compressing images. Simply upload your photos of any size, and Imsanity will take care of it. It can bulk compress previously uploaded images as well. You can also configure the maximum width, height and quality that you want, and Imsanity will automatically compress and resize any images above that limit. Cost: Free
Lazy Load“Lazy loading” is when resources on your website are only loaded as they are needed, and not before. This makes your website load faster. Lazy Load plugin for WordPress speeds up your website by only loading only the images that are visible to the user. If the user never scrolls down, then that content is never loaded. This saves your server bandwidth, and improves your page speed. Cost: Free
CDN EnablerA content delivery network (CDN) increases the speed of your website by distributing your content across the globe and delivering it to users depending on their specific location. (See this infographic about how CDNs work for a more detailed explanation.) CDN Enabler helps you to integrate your CDN with your WordPress website. Cost: Free
OptinMonsterAn email list is extremely important for your photography business, and OptinMonster is the best plugin for growing your email list. You can create multiple opt-in forms such as lightbox popups, scroll-triggered slide in boxes, floating bars, after post forms, sidebar optin forms, and more. Their exit-intent technology is the best in the industry. OptinMonster even allows you to customize all of your opt-in forms based on user behavior with page level targeting. Cost: Starting at $9 / mo. or $49 / yr
Pinterest Pin It Button on Image Hover and PostPinterest is a great tool for sharing photos. The Pinterest Pin It button plugin adds a “Pin It” button to all the photos on your website. You can choose to manually add it to individual photos, if you don't want the button on every image. Cost: Free
ConclusionBuilding your photography website can take a bit of planning, but good plugins can make the process a whole lot easier. Choose one of the plugins above to start with today, and you'll be well on your way to attracting more clients with your website.
Thursday, March 31, 2016 by Gregory OrtizHow well is your website working to turn casual visitors into browsers, browsers into engaged visitors and ultimately, into paying clients? If you’re like most professionals, you’re probably wondering how you can best maximize your website's potential. The good news is that even small tweaks to better optimize your website can help boost your conversion rates, increasing your profits exponentially. To get started, here are five quick tips to skyrocket your website’s optimization:
1. Utilize A/B (Split) TestingThere are very few “successful accidents” when it comes to web optimization, meaning you almost never just stumble upon something that works incredibly well the first time. Instead, professional web designers, SEO experts, and content developers preach the virtues of constant split testing, also called A/B testing. By pitting two different headlines, pages, graphics, emails or ads, etc. against each other, they can quickly determine which has maximum effectiveness with their audience – and will produce the highest conversion rate. For that reason, most businesses should have at least one A/B test running on their website (and with the rest of your marketing) at all times and carefully track the results. But setting up too many splits or A/B tests at the same time can get overwhelming and hard to follow – defeating the purpose of identifying which version is most effective and why. There’s plenty of expensive software that will manage your A/B testing, but you really should have to spend too much to get a great website conversion benefit. Try Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer or even Google Content Experiments, which is built into Google Analytics.
2. Make sure your website is simple, clear, and distraction freeOne of the biggest mistakes you can make is crowding your website with too much information, graphics, flashy functions and bells and whistles. I know it’s tempting to try to impress the website visitor (prospective client) with a host of information and options that demonstrate your unique value, but in fact, it’s counter-productive. One exception to this rule is if you’re using an info graphic that provides value to your customers for free. A prime example of this is this Ultimate Guide To Google Penalties info graphic I came across. If you take a look at the websites of the best brands and businesses in the world and you’ll notice they are all simple, clean, and follow the viewer through a very intuitive and easy path, including one call-to-action. Studies show that the more cluttered and the more options available on your website, the less effective your conversion rates will be. Stay away from stock images, unnecessary features, any text that is not one or two sentences long or in a bullet point format, menu bars with more than 4 or 5 items, and more than one big, bold call-to-action.
3. Create urgency with incentiveIn 2016 and beyond, one of the most powerful tools to boost website conversions and drive consumer behavior is ephemerality - which is a fancy way to say that an offer, giveaway, sale, attendance at an event, etc. is fleeting or limited. This concept works so well because people’s fear of losing out is far greater than their perceived benefit of gain. Think about it – when you are looking at hotels online and the display shows that there are only two rooms left at a certain price, and ten people have looked at it in the last hour, you feel your pulse quicken and an urge to book it immediately. That’s also the whole premise behind Snapchat, which sold for $3 billion 2013 after only a handful of months in existence and now has 100 million active users daily. There are two forms of scarcity you can exhibit to ignite urgency with your web audience: showing that an item or service is only available in limited supply, or that it is only for sale or at a certain price for a limited time. You can even use both of these tools together to create a palpable sense of scarcity. So if you want to double or even triple your website conversion rates and spark your ROI, create urgency with fleeting incentives and limited offers on your site.
4. Compare to your competition before the consumer doesThere is a certain psychological process a consumer goes through before they commit to buying your product or service, including familiarity, a belief in the benefits it will provide or problems it will solve in their life, trust, credibility, perceived value, etc. One of the last items on that “checklist” - even when consumers want to click BUY NOW is the impulse to shop around with your competitors to make sure they are getting a fair deal. Too often, that means they will leave your website and start “Googling” other products, services, companies, and options. That also means there is a very high chance they will use your website as a foundation for information on the road to making a purchase – from someone else. But the good news is that YOU can provide a cost or service comparison right on your website, filtering and presenting the information as you wish. Setting up a simple graphic spreadsheet to demonstrate the superior price, benefit, features and value of your product or service – and the shortcomings inherent with your competitors – will keep a significant percentage of “shoppers” from ever leaving your website, therefore boosting your conversion rate and sales exponentially.
5. Focus on creating an airtight sales funnelDo you have a well defined and efficient sales funnel? Research shows that nothing plummets website conversion rates faster than not leading your audience through the logical sequence of the sales process or funnel. Of course, all sales funnels differ depending on what product/service you are offering, your audience, the cost and commitment you are asking for, and myriad other factors. But no matter what business you’re in, a well-planned sales funnel will lead the website visitor and potential client through the stages of familiarity, establishing trust, comfort, answering objections or questions, a demonstration or trial offer – all precursors to the sale. Generally people who practice SEO implement an airtight funnel as being crucial to their overall business. An efficient sales funnel needs to include a drip system of information, value, and problem-solving offers for those who don’t purchase right away, whether via email, social media, social affirmation, short video demonstrations, or other special offers. Consumer behavior studies show that most people need seven positive interactions with a brand, product, or service before they are psychologically ready to commit. But that can happen much more quickly - or all in one sitting, ideally, if you plan your sales funnel and integrate it into your website correctly.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 by Syed BalkhiBuilding an email list is important for every online business. Often business owners get overwhelmed when trying to pick the best WordPress lead generation plugins. Why? Because there are hundreds of lead capture plugins available. But you don't have to worry about those. In this article, we will share the 7 best WordPress plugins to get more email subscribers and grow your email list.
OptinMonsterOptinMonster is the most powerful lead generation plugin for WordPress. It allows you to convert abandoning website visitors into subscribers by giving you the ability to create and A/B test beautiful lead capture forms without hiring a developer or learning how to code. You can choose from a variety of form types including: lightbox popups, floating header and footer bars, scroll triggered slide-in boxes, full screen welcome gates, after post forms, inline-content forms, and sidebar forms, OptinMonster allows you to create highly targeted optin forms based on user behavior. You can show different forms based on specific posts, categories, tags, and even the traffic referrer source. Once you have created your forms, you can integrate with all popular email marketing services including Constant Contact, MailChimp, AWeber, and 20 others. Cost: Starting at $9 / mo. or $49 / yr
WPFormsWPForms is a drag & drop online form builder for WordPress. It allows you to create contact forms, subscription forms, payment forms, and all other type of online forms with just a few clicks. You can manage all entries from a single screen. You also have the option to connect your contact forms to your email newsletter. Lastly, you have the ability to redirect users to a thank you page where you can encourage people to join your email list. Cost: Free with paid upgrades starting at $39 / yr
PlugMatter Feature BoxPlugMatter allows you to create a beautiful optin feature boxes for your site. A feature box is a high converting email subscription box that is placed right under the header of your WordPress site, but before the main content. This allows you get maximum subscribers. PlugMatter integrates with all popular email marketing service including ConstantContact, MailChimp, AWeber, and dozen others. Cost: Starting at $37 / year
DreamGrow Scroll Triggered BoxDreamGrow Scroll Triggered Box is a simple WordPress plugin that allows you to add a slide-in optin box on your site. You can select the position of where the box displays on a page and how far the user has to scroll for them to see the slide-in box. If the user closes the box, then it stays hidden for a desired number of days. Scroll boxes are a great way to increase your subscribers. Cost: Free
SeedProd Coming Soon & Maintenance PagesSeedProd is the #1 coming soon, under construction, and maintenance mode plugin. Often people miss out on the opportunity to build email list from these key pages. When you're about to launch a new product, you should utilize the coming soon page to build your list. If your website is going through maintenance, then use the maintenance page to grow your email list and keep your subscribers updated. SeedProd works with any WordPress theme and is by far the best of it's kind. Cost: Free with paid upgrades starting at $29 / year
InstapageInstapage is a premium landing page software that helps make your marketing better. Landing pages are crucial for any lead generation campaign. While there are several WordPress specific landing page builders, often it's better to use a more comprehensive solution like Instapage that's not limited to WordPress but works well with WordPress. You can choose from over 100 landing pages to get started with and connect Instapage to all popular email marketing services like Constant Contact, MailChimp, AWeber, and several others. Cost: Free to try, various pricing tiers.
Comment RedirectComment Redirect is a little known technique that you can use to grow your email list. This plugin allows you to redirect people who left a comment to a thank you page. On this page, you can encourage this already engaged user to subscribe to your email list by giving them a coupon, eBook, or another incentive. Building an email list is a long-term strategy, but the sooner you implement the better off you'll be in the future. The plugins mentioned in this article are the most popular amongst smart marketers and business owners.
Thursday, March 10, 2016 by Jeremy JensenImages are one of the essential foundations to any good website. Functionally, aesthetically, and technically, images have many aspects of which a lot of website owners don't realize can, and should, be optimized. Every time someone opens one of your web-pages on WordPress, all of the content whether it's text, images or additional pieces of code that power the plugins, need to be downloaded from the server onto their computer. Images that are optimized correctly can greatly benefit your SEO by appearing in image search results, assisting to steer more traffic back to your web page. For the purposes of this post I'll be covering the basic methods for easily increasing your images search-ability from the WordPress dashboard, in addition to mentioning a few good plug-ins that will help load your images faster.
Image Metadata Within The DashboardSearch engines may be able to find duplicate images on the web, but unlike humans they cannot describe what an image is. Within the media uploader on WordPress there are four boxes capable of being filled out in order for your images to be fully optimized. The four boxes are the title, the caption, the alt text and the description. Title The title of your image is generated from the file name you had saved on your computer (Which can be changed). Rather than leaving your images named “Image_10.jpg,” give it a name that describes the photo in short form. It is most important to give the image context for non-essential information, but isn't taken directly into account for SEO ranking. Caption The caption does not directly affect how well your images rank in the search engines, but they do grab peoples’ attention on your page, and keep them browsing longer. On-page time is a huge factor when determining the value of your site in search engine algorithms. The caption will appear under your image in a grey box, and should provide a good description of the image itself. Alt Text Alt text is added to images for times when someone may have images disabled on their browser, or when images failed to load. Make sure to add alt text that includes the SEO keyword you're trying to rank for. Description The description section actually plays a vital role when someone lands on the attachment post page for the image. It is formatted to allow more text, and your focus should be to give a thorough description for long keyword searches, but keep it entirely relevant.
Image Optimization PluginsThe main purpose of image optimization plugins is to take images that may be too large (File-size, or dimension) and compress them to load faster, thus improving your sites ranking. WP Smush.it This plugin can optimize one image at a time, or in bulk, whether it's a .jpeg, .png, or .gif. It will take larger files (1mb free version, up to 5mb pro edition) and compress the file size without deteriorating the quality of the image. While many people are under the assumption that high-res photos are better for viewing purposes, you really only need a certain resolution to achieve the same result while greatly improving your site's functionality. PB Responsive Images In 2015 Google implemented a new algorithm penalizing websites that aren't adaptable for mobile devices. The same shift applies to sites that don't have responsive images and text. This plugin reformats your images to adapt to different screen sizes, giving you the greenlight when search engines crawl your site for adaptability. Do you have any additional tips to help optimize images for WordPress? Please share in the comments!