Why Blogging is Overrated and Better Alternatives for Photographers
Blogging has been a mainstay for many photographers since the early 2000s. An active, well crafted blog helps clients browse your latest work and has SEO ranking benefits for long tail keywords. However, blogging takes some serious time and photographers are busy. So it’s worth asking, is blogging still relevant in the new decade? Did social media feeds take its place? And are the SEO benefits really that great anymore? In this article, we’ll discuss why blogging might be overrated and what you could do instead.
Note: In our business training, we teach our students the importance of blogging. This article is to supplement that education and provide updated guidance.
The Primary Challenges to Blogging
Below are the primary challenges to blogging that most photographers face.
Issue 1: Blogging takes time!
On average, a blog entry takes 1-2 hours for a wedding session and 30 minutes to an hour for each portrait session, such as a maternity, newborn, family or engagement session. It involves a process of choosing images, creating spreads, inputting text and vendor information. Contrast this with posting on social media, which takes 5-10 minutes on average.
Issue 2: Blogging Requires an Audience
Blogging also requires you to have an audience that will want to read what you are posting, but this can be hard if you’re just starting out. Contrast this with social media, which have discovery tools in place like hashtags, location tags, and recommendation feeds.
Issue 2: Blogs Can Get Repetitive
Unless you’re a creative writer by training or by nature, coming up with interesting ways to describe similar content can be challenging. I mean, how many synonyms are there for words like beautiful, incredible, and amazing? As a result, the blog entries can become stale and repetitive. Contrast this with social media, where you have minimal pressure to fill up your captions with paragraphs of text.
Issue 4: Keyword Cannibalization (the biggest issue)
But perhaps the biggest issue many photographers face when blogging is the SEO concept of Keyword Cannibalization, where multiple pages rank for the same keyword phrases.
Here’s an example. If you have a wedding photographer with decent search engine ranking and you have multiple posts about the same wedding venue, then all of these posts are going to be competing against one another for rankings in Google Search results. You could end up having a situation where your most recent posts never have a chance to rank because the older post is essentially “taking up the spot.” The result could be that instead of a ranking on page 1 of Google, you have multiple webpages ranking on page 2,3,4 and beyond.
Alternative to Blogging – Well Crafted Pages
Are we saying to abandon SEO and blogging? Absolutely not! We still think that SEO should be the long term foundation for marketing photography studios. But instead of blogging any and every shoot, it might make more sense for photographers to slow down and plan out pages for their websites that tackle very specific keywords.
In the SEO section of our business course, we teach you exercises on how to come up with these pages, but in general, here’s what the process entails.
Ask yourself what your target audience is looking for, i.e. what keywords they are typing into the search bar Use the available tools on the web to find numerical support for those assumptions. Are people actually searching these keywords/Topics? Then create pages that answer those questions or provide those solutions with long form, high quality text and images.
For example, wedding photographers might consider creating pages for wedding venues, vendors and photo locations to provide prospective brides with information and inspiration. Maternity photographers might answer questions on “when to take maternity photos” or the “best locations for maternity photos in [insert city].” Headshot photographers might choose to educate their clients on the different types and styles of headshots. Each genre and niche will be different, and a certain level of creativity will help here in coming up with an approach that’s both unique and effective.
How to Use Your Blog and Instagram Together
With all of the SEO pressure off of blogging (and placed onto the targeted web pages), you can then free yourself up to use your blog for other reasons. Your blog can now be reserved for your best shoots only. Or your blog might be just images without any accompanying text.
You might even decide to stop blogging. To show off your latest work, you might put a bigger emphasis on social media, like Instagram, and display your feed directly on an embedded iframe on your website, in addition to or in replacement of, your blog.
The exact course you take will be up to you and your business model. Some of you might still value the blog and have enough readers to justify the time spent on it. Some of your clients might be expecting blog placement of their shoot, so making changes might damage their overall experience.
Take all of these things into consideration in making your decisions, but keep an open mind and continually evolve your business to be more effective and efficient.
What do you think? Are you still maintaining a blog? Let us know in the comments below.
For more SEO guidance, be sure to see our Business Training System, a full A-Z framework for launching and growing the business of your dreams.