As a Las Vegas wedding photographer, I have worked to build my studio blog intro a strong presence over the past year. After watching myself rise in Google page rank from page 10 to page one–and then to the top page one position for my primary search term (luxury Las Vegas wedding photographer), I feel that I’ve finally found the right mix of SEO and web marketing strategy. Just for the record: That rise in page rank didn’t cost me thousands of dollars. I only paid for Zach’s photographer web marketing e-books and a few plugins here and there, of which I will share with you in this post.
Disclaimer: The experts say to limit your use of plugins to seven or less because they increase site load time. I am way above that little number and have no complaints. However, you’ll want to be sure to use any of the free page loading tools out there to make sure plugins are not adversely affecting your site’s performance. Also, from personal experience, always create a backup of your blog’s database prior to downloading a new plugin. You never know when a plugin might break your site … The one I use is called WordPress Database Backup.
This popular SEO plugin creates a space within each blog post draft for the post’s title, description, and keywords. Once you’ve optimized those three components, simply add them in the provided fields. When you publish your post, that information is what the search engines see. This should go without saying, but just in case: Make sure your title, description, and keywords are relevant to your post content.
I found Outbrain while troubleshooting an issue I was having with the Linkwithin plugin. Both work similarly and both are effective. For some reason, though, Linkwithin was doing something odd to my blog design. The benefit to using a plugin like Outbrain is that it features posts that are somewhat related to the current post, thereby encouraging blog traffic and page views for posts that might otherwise go dark. Featured selections rotate when the page is refreshed.
I found Scribe through Zach’s affiliate link and am extremely impressed with its performance. The Scribe panel sits within each WordPress blog post for easy access. After you write your content, run the content optimizer. Using an algorithm that looks at various densities and ratios of words, the plugin identifies what it perceives to be the post’s primary keywords and offers additional options for changing or improving them. You can also research post keywords and analyze internal and external links, although I’ll admit that I don’t typically use those functions. Scribe SEO is not free, but it is very reasonably priced. The plan you choose determines the number of keyword evaluations and content analyses you can perform each month.
I appreciate this plugin because it alerts me to links that appear to be dead. This is helpful for readability as you don’t want to be providing your readers with poor links. Fortunately, you have the option to either unlink any bad links or keep the link broken, which results in a crossed out link.
If you’ve been reading up on SEO, then you know how critical current sitemaps are to discoverability in search engines. Each time your blog is updated, your sitemap changes. Rather than manually updating a sitemap to Google, Bing, Yahoo, or Ask, this plugin automatically does it for you. Of course, if you need to upload your sitemap manually, you can. Remember to add your sitemap URL (generally your blog URL with /sitemap.xml at the end) to google.com/webmasters.
Well there you have it; my five favorite WordPress plugins for photography blogs. I’m interested in hearing about your favorite photography blog plugins and welcome you to share them with me by visiting my Las Vegas wedding photographer blog.