Field Report:

The Non-Glamorous Side of Photography

Be in Control of Your Own Destiny

I read on the Photo Business & News Forum yesterday that several template-based website services such as LiveBooks and BluDomain have been having problems with their Google rankings as of late. I personally do not have a website with these companies so I can’t say for sure how much if any control their photographers have over their own site design but from what it sounds like they don’t have much. If ranking high is really a top priority for your business then the only way to go is to either have a site designed specifically for your needs or to do it yourself. At the least you should understand how things work under the hood so you can give adequate direction to your service providers.

I might sign up for a portfolio site with one of these companies eventually but I don’t expect that their search engine rankings are going to be as good as what I can do for myself on my current site. If you think about it, if every photographer out there had the same website structure then it’s just random luck that you’d crack the top ten on Google for anything. But with my own website, I can tweak and adjust my web content at any hour of the day according to how I see fit.

Getting the most out of the search engines isn’t just about throwing all of your eggs in one basket such as “Las Vegas wedding photographer”, you need to have a strategy – casting a targeted net if you will to draw people into whatever it is you want them to do. If one word falls off the list then you should have other variations of the subject to make up for that. Lets say that tomorrow my ranking for Southern California coast photos drops, well that’s not really a big deal in my opinion because people can find me still by typing in Point Vicente Lighthouse stock photos or Venice Beach travel photographer for example, where I’m currently ranked at or near the top on Google, Google Images and Yahoo.


September 27, 2008 - Posted by | Photo Business, Web | , , , ,


  1. Excellent post Richard. I couldn’t agree more!

    Comment by Sherri Meyer | September 27, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks Sherri.

    Comment by Richard Wong | September 27, 2008 | Reply

  3. Very good points Richard. I still point some photographers to places like Smugmug if they want to get a site started. Taking on creating your own site (and managing it) can become quite a task. I hadn’t thought about search engine rankings, but what you state here makes sense.

    Comment by Mark | September 28, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thanks Mark. Smugmug is definitely an easy way to get images up for photographers that don’t have much knowledge of the web though I don’t think it helps much to differentiate your website from the next guy’s. True that creating your own site is very time consuming and something that every photographer should evaluate before deciding on what to do.

    Comment by Richard Wong | September 28, 2008 | Reply

  5. Btw, I’ve read advice from some consultants that say we are photographers and not web designers. That is true, but I really do believe that the only way you can run a web-based business is if you understand the site architecture and what goes on under the hood. If you don’t have any involvement with the creation of the website, is it possible to acquire that level of knowledge?

    To quote a phrase from Dan Heller’s book, “Never leave critical business income-generating tasks to others.” For Heller, his business is his website. It’s not the sexiest site in the world but it gets the job done for him.

    Comment by Richard Wong | September 28, 2008 | Reply

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