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The 6 Biggest Photography Blogging Mistakes to Avoid


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You’ve likely seen a lot of other blogs out there that do fancy, innovative and unique things that “welcome” visitors and attract attention. Trust us: don’t make the same mistakes. In our book on strategies for photography blogging success with Zach Prez, we listed the top mistakes that photographers make with their blogs. Also be sure to check out the Ten Biggest Website Mistakes Photographers Make. Here are a few!

1. Playing music

Don’t do it! Do not play music on your photography blog. Users absolutely hate when a website does something that they didn’t ask for, and playing music is number one on this list. They’ve come to your site to look at your photography; if they’re not already listening to their own music, they likely want to read your site (like they do every other site) in silence. As much as you want to create a full-fledged multimedia environment for your blog visitor, avoid playing music altogether.

2. Forcing links to open in new windows

Again, users hate when a website does something that they didn’t ask for. Opening links in new windows (especially full screen) is one of those things. The vast majority of users have their own routine for clicking links – some right-click, some middle-click, some just regular click and are happy to use the Back button (the vast majority of Internet users do this). Forcing a window to open is breaking their normal flow, and it’ll distract them from the experience of your blog. Let them click like normal, and trust that they’ll know exactly how to come back to your site after clicking a link.

3. Displaying full-length posts on your home page

Display post excerpts instead of full-length posts to allow the visitor to see your content more quickly, and encourages them to click through content to see more. Displaying full-length posts on a homepage will hinder the loading of additional images and content, and can often be frustrating for a user. Allow them to click on the Read More link or the headline to read the full post, and just put an enticing photo and paragraph for each post on the home page. (Read “Elements of a great blog post” in our book Photography Blog Success for information on creating the post excerpt using the More tag.)

4. Focusing on tags

Tags don’t add SEO value and often just create clutter on your blog. While it may be fun to tag your posts like crazy, your blog will create pages for each of these tags that can often detract from the key terms that you want to rank for. Use categories to help visitors navigate through your content, not tags.

5. Changing your theme too often

Take time deciding on the theme that you want to use on your blog, and stick with it until you go through a revamp of your brand. Changing a blog’s design too often is a sign of someone who is indecisive or unsteady with their branding; visitors will remember what your site looked like before and will wonder why it changed. Visitors get comfortable with familiarity, so unless you go through a major logo redesign or brand overhaul, don’t change your theme more than once every year.

6. Slow load

Heavy page load times really detract from a positive user experience; it can’t be said enough. Large e-commerce sites like Amazon have found that milliseconds of page load time make hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of difference – the longer your page takes to load, the less confidence and patience your visitor has in your site. Google even takes your page load time in to account when it ranks your site. Plugins are the Achilles heel for many blogs – it can be a lot of fun to use them, but are they worth the additional load time they create for the visitor? You should track your page load time using Google Webmaster Tools or a browser plugin like Page Speed or YSlow.

For more photography blogging mistakes to avoid, or tips on how to create a great blog, get new blog visitors and turn them into clients, check out our book, Photography Blog Success!

This week’s blog post was brought to you by Lara Swanson. Lara is a professional web developer based in New Hampshire and also co-founded So You’re EnGAYged, where she vets dozens of photographers’ sites each month for their LGBT-friendly vendor list.


No Comments

  1. Bethany Gilbert on August 22, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Great article. I think there is a solution to #4 however. I use the city of the shoot/event as my tags then create a custom tag template to display only links to the posts with some SEO rich content about the shooting locations in that city, etc. This gives an additional resource page for my visitors while also giving Google something else to index. (This isn’t live on my current blog since it crashed recently). What do you think?

  2. Bethany Gilbert on August 22, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Sorry to double post but I thought this would be helpful. I did a video a while back explaining how to create the tag/category pages with the description text for ranking purposes.

  3. Maryanne on August 22, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Great list. Must be me, but I HATE excepts more than anything on photoblogs. Lots of times I only want to have a looksy at the photos. What do you think about music on main sites? Does it encourage people to stay longer? It does me sometimes.

  4. Suzanne on August 22, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I agree with Maryanne. Despise excerpts on photoblogs. I just want to scroll down quickly and see all the photos, not have to open each individual post. I do agree with the rest. I hate sites that play music. 99% of the time I am listening to my own music already and have to search around for the little tiny pause button on the site to make it stop. And normally I really dislike the music playing on the site anyway so that really puts me off.

  5. Kimi P. on August 22, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I agree with everything except the excerpts. I absolutely *hate* having to click on to finish reading. Especially if I get there and find it was only one or two sentences more than the excerpt.Nothing will drive me away from your site faster than playing unsolicited music. Drives me crazy!

  6. cindy on August 22, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I like music , I actually think its kind of boring when they don’t have music on their blog and I wont stay too long , I loved when florabella had a nice playlist to listen too , while i shopped but now all that is gone and it doesnt feel personal anymore , its just buy buy buy now …. @maryanne I dont like excerpts either and I dont always click on them , full posts always get me to stay longer …

  7. Michelle Stone on August 22, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Great advice and I agree with all of it, except the excerpts. 😉 I pretty much hate them… I don’t want to have to click around to view content, I want it right there so I can just scroll on through or past.

  8. Mindy on August 22, 2011 at 11:28 am

    agree with the above 2 comments – I am at a photography site and just want to scroll through all the pictures. Not click read more read more read more. I’m sure its a personal preference, but I prefer new windows so I don’t have to keep back clicking.

    • carrie on August 23, 2011 at 8:35 am

      I must agree with you! I hate having to navigate back to where I was. Much prefer closing the new window when I am finished and returning to where I left off.

  9. Sabra on August 22, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Point number one should be required reading for all photographers. I don’t care how cute and perfect your music is, as soon as it starts playing I’m outta there.

  10. Chris on August 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I totally agree on Rule 1, just because you love that song doesn’t mean anyone else will. But I do like having links open a new window, I think it makes navigation easier.

  11. Barbara on August 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I totally disagree with # 2 and #3. I hate when I click on a link and I’m taken to a site on the same page. I prefer to open a new page to glance at once I’m through reading what I’m reading. I hate going back and forth. Which leads to #3 – I hate having to click ‘read more’ to finish reading something. In other words, the less I have to click, the better! It also makes a page look too busy.

  12. kristin t on August 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    You’re singing my song! It also drives me crazy when a site is flash-based. I won’t even bother looking at them on my pc because I’ll just get my hopes up and then I won’t be able to look at them again on my iPad/iPhone! Grrr!

  13. Amy Loo on August 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    You totally nailed the two things I can’t stand! I loathe it when people play music! Especially because it resets after you move to the next page. So you end up hearing the same 20 seconds of the same song over and over. Irritating. And the opening a new window thing drives me crazy too. I like having things open a new tab, but not a new window. I agree with some of the other comments about the “read more” and excerpts. I want to see full posts…doesn’t take much to scroll through ones I’m not interested in.

  14. Tiffanie on August 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I agree with everyone else, I hate excerpts. I’m there to look at pictures now click a bazillion buttons! Plus, it makes it easier to read them in my Google Reader.

  15. Amy M on August 22, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I agree, mostly with the music and load times. Having the music suddenly blast in an otherwise quiet environment is the worst (especially because I rarely have the same music taste.) Plus listening to the start of the song every time I go back to the page…UGH.I agree with other comments on HATING excerpts. It just adds even more “load time”. It isn’t a big deal to scroll through one I might not want to read, but it takes forever to have to click on every single blog.

  16. jenny at dapperhouse on August 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    I always prefer a new page! I may end up forgetting where I was and I dont want to click through my Back button revisiting things when I could just click on the tab. As far as music…I usually have my sound on mute anyway so I dont care about that…it might be that person’s important expression. Good ideas though!! jenny at dapperhouse

  17. Susan B on August 22, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    I actually don’t like the scroll of the posts. Way too many photographers do this and it drives me nuts. I would like to pick and choose what I want to read and I don’t want to look at 30 photos from one session then keep scrolling to look at 30 more images from another session. Where is the tease in this? Where is the excitement to the client when their entire session is in one long blog post that never ends? I post 5 photos max of a Family / Senior session and 15 photos of a wedding. I have enough ‘content’ on my site that if my viewers can’t tell from those sessions with those few photos of what I can do, maybe I’m not for them and they are not meant for me.

  18. Nikki Painter on August 23, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Agree with all but #3, I’m likely to skip the post if I don’t see it’s entire contents and then likely miss out on some great photos!

  19. Cynthia on August 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Another solid article. Thanks!

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