Blogging FAQ

A few weeks back I asked on our Facebook page what are some things people want to know about blogging. I know, you are probably tired of all the blogging talk but this month is my 2nd blog-aversary so I wanted to share some of the things I have learned to help you! Here are some of the questions I received.

How do you come up with ideas?
I have an editorial calendar notebook. Basically, I created this massive 160 odd page notebook. It includes a page for yearly goals and then is broken up into months. At the beginning of each month is a calendar, next page is a list for monthly goals and then a planner section where I can write my daily to-dos. After all the months are TONS of blank pages for me to create topics and blog posts. I love this notebook! It is my saving grace! I typically create a months worth of content at the beginning of the month and write down the topics on the calendar. I do not necessarily write all the posts but I have the idea. Then when it is time to work on posts I know exactly what I’m going to write about. I use the blank pages in the back to draft up the post and points I want to touch on.

I get a lot of ideas in the shower. Weird…I know. I keep a dry erase marker in our bathroom. It is mainly used for writing a little love note to my husband on the mirror (it wipes right off) but if I have a great idea when I’m in the shower, I’ll hop out and write it on the mirror. It always makes me laugh when hubby comes home and sees an idea on the mirror and reads it confused. I also keep a notebook in my purse for when I get an idea when I’m out and about.

How does this come into play as a photographer blogging for your business? Well, if you have sessions scheduled be sure to plug in when you will blog about them on your calendar. You do not need to blog everyday and I will touch on that later. You can do monthly prompts like 10 on 10 or other themes you find interesting. Just because your blog is for your business and showing your clients a preview of their session you can still show off your photography skills and let people get to know you.

I would also consider writing a post that would entice your reader to want to come back. Think about it, who is looking at your blog? Future clients and clients. You want them to come back to your blog even after their session is complete. You want to be on their mind the next time they want to book a session. How to do this? Give them a reason to come back. Maybe write a monthly photo tip. You don’t have to share your secrets. It could be something simple like picking out clothes for a session or how to take pictures of their kids birthday party. You aren’t going to lose your clients by telling them a few simple tricks to improve their photos. You are going to be a blog they come back to.

Any tips for photography business blogging?
Keep in mind, I’m not in business. But like I said in the answer above, give your readers a reason to come back. If you only post your sessions they are going to get tired of looking at strangers. Blog about your life if you want. People like blogs because they feel they are able to get to know a little more about you through your writing and photos as opposed to a static website. Decide how much you want to share about your person life.

Don’t put the pressure on yourself to have to blog daily.
In fact, I read a great post on ProBlogger about how posting everyday could actually hurt your numbers. If your readers get behind on reading your posts and they have 12 to catch up on, it will be too overwhelming and they may not read them. I have heard people say you should give your posts some time to “simmer”. I used to post 5 days a week. I have since cut down to 4 times a week.

Post consistently.
I know I just finished saying you don’t have to post daily, and you don’t. But you want to have some consistently to your posts. If you only post every 3 months people are NOT going to keep an eye on your blog and come back. Why would they? Every time they check it’s that same post you wrote two months ago. Try to make it a goal to post at least once a week. It may seem like a lot but if you use an editorial calendar and plan out your posts at the beginning of the month it won’t seem as overwhelming.

How do you make the time scheduling work for you? Do you create blog posts at a certain time of day or day of the week to ensure more traffic?
I love, seriously love, the schedule feature on blogs. I write a lot of my posts during nap time and in the evening. Like right now it is 11:32pm and I know when I’m done I don’t want to publish it when most of my readers are asleep. I schedule my posts to go up at 8am. I started that time when I lived in Japan because it was 7pm EST and I found that to be a great time. A lot of my readers were online in the evenings and it worked. Being a creature of habit, when I moved back to the States two months ago, I kept the time at 8am. I realize for everyone else that changed when my posts went up. Now they go up at 8am EST instead of 7pm. I haven’t noticed a drop in my numbers. In fact my numbers have gone up since I moved back. Maybe the morning time is better for everyone. I would play around with different times. Maybe try posting in the morning for a few weeks and watch your stats. Then post in the evenings and see if there is a difference in your stats. It really depends on your readers.

As far as what day of the week works. I used to post on the weekends and noticed I did not get the numbers that I was getting during the week. Probably because my readers are out photographing the world on the weekends. Again, it really depends on who is reading your blog. I found that week days work best for me. In fact, I typically get the most hits on Tuesdays and Fridays. I keep this in mind when writing certain posts.

What is the best blog site to use?
That is a tough one. Personally, I like WordPress. I used Blogger for several years for a personal blog before I started Click it Up a Notch and decided to go with WordPress. I find WP to be very user friendly. I love all the plug-ins and layouts available. Especially as a photographer there are some amazing layouts like ProPhoto blog templates that are really popular.

Where do I start?
Starting a blog can seem so overwhelming but if you take it one step at a time it is much more manageable. I wrote a tutorial on how to start a photography blog you can read here.

How do you keep up with blogging as well as hitting all the social media?
I don’t sleep…ha ha just kidding! I’m not going to lie, my first year I pretty much worked on my blog non-stop. However, in my second year I have set some guidelines for myself. This includes the weekends are mine. I don’t answer emails or do much on social media on the weekends. Social media can be a full time job in its self. I would say focus on one social media platform to start with. I started with Facebook because I understood it. This past year I have moved onto Twitter which I’m still trying to figure out. I do use Hootsuite for Twitter which is the only way I can manage Twitter. I try to spend at least 10 minutes a day on the different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I don’t always hit them everyday but I try. You can typically find me on Facebook but it really does take some commitment to stay on top of all the social medias. I signed up for Google + but haven’t really figured that one out yet.

I have not figured SEO out yet. However, I do know a couple of tricks. One thing is this fantastic plug-in Melissa from Momcomm told me about, Yoast. This is an amazing plug-in that basically holds your hand to help you figure out the SEO in your post. It wants you to find your keyword and reminds you with green, yellow, and red signs to let you know if you have used it enough and to it’s fullest capabilities.

How to pick a keyword?
I use Google Adwords to help me figure out the best keywords to use in my post. This site helps you figure out what words are searched the most and how many other sites are using this site. Love this tool!

I’m working on getting a website up and running. Should I wait to start a blog?
Personally, I would definitely have a blog. Blogs are a great way for your readers to get to know you and they are also constantly updated with your most recent work. I’m not in business but if I did decide to go into business, I don’t even know if I would create a website, I would seriously consider only doing a blog. Read how to start a photography blog.

How do you get traffic?
I wish there was a magic formula for this answer. The best piece of advice I have and I promise it isn’t a cop-out to not answer this but to create great content on your blog. You can do all the SEO work you want but if your content isn’t great people will leave. You want to have great information on your site so your readers will tell your friends about your site. You want people to share it on Facebook, tweet it on Twitter and pin it on Pinterest. I know more then half of my traffic comes from referring sites like these.

How do you make time to work on your blog?
I get this question a lot. I’m a mama of 3 girls and one of them is 3 months old. Life is busy, I’m not going to lie. However, I don’t do everything. My husband is a HUGE help around the house and taking care of the kids. He knows how much I enjoy blogging and photography and is sweet enough to help me find time to work. My kids are also amazing nappers. I can typically get a good 2-3 hours of peace and quiet in the afternoons to work. Now, if you come to my house unexpectedly you will see it’s a mess. I sometimes choose blogging over the dishes. When we lived in Japan I had a cleaning lady who came every other week and did laundry (I know, I was spoiled). That freed up a ton of time to work on the blog and photography. My goal is to get up before my kids to work on stuff and answer emails then but I’m a night owl. I try not to work on my blog after nap time until everyone has gone to bed. I like the evenings to be family time. So, some nights I’m up late after everyone has gone to bed to work on things. If you are struggling to find time to work on your blog create office hours. Even if it is just 30 minutes a day. Lock yourself in the bathroom with the laptop and work.

Purchase my Blog Planner to stay organized and grow your blog here.

Do you have any other questions??

  • September 19, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Great article- pinning this for sure ;)
    (oh- and I’m totally getting a dry erase marker for the bathroom- tooooo cute!)

  • September 19, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Great tips Courtney. I didn’t really care for twitter, and I cannot figure out how google+ works for the life of me. Love the notebook idea.

  • Rachel
    September 19, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Great advice! Enjoyed the post and LoVeD the selfie! :)

    • Courtney
      September 19, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      Thanks! I need to get better about getting in front of the camera again!! I need to take my own advice :O)

  • Lesley
    September 19, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    o glad you mentioned you do not have to post everyday. I don’t have a blog but I have stopped following some blogs because they post to often. I would rather have interesting content rather than a post about nothing just so one can say they made the quota daily post. And I actually am relieved on weekends when the posts slow down a bit, gives me time to catch up on household work rather than computer work.

  • September 19, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Great advice! I haven’t figured out Google+ either – glad I’m not the only one! I like the dry erase marker in the bathroom idea. I get a lot of great ideas at random times, but if I don’t write them down, I can’t remember them again.

  • September 19, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    I loved this post! It’s full of tons of useful tips. I love your notebook idea. Did you get a specific one or just a plain ole’ notebook?

    • Courtney
      September 19, 2012 at 8:53 PM

      It is actually one I created myself. I’m a dork like that.

      • Laura
        September 19, 2012 at 9:48 PM

        Maybe you could share pics of that? Please??

        • Courtney
          September 25, 2012 at 8:54 PM

          Yay! I’ll get this together :)

  • Tiffany
    September 19, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Help! We are having our family pictures made in November. It will be my husband and I, his 18yr old son and our 6 month old daughter. I have no idea what to wear. This is our first family photo and it will be on our Christmas card Please HELP! Thanks Tiffany

    • Courtney
      September 19, 2012 at 8:55 PM

      I know choosing what to wear can be a challenge. Think about your location and what would look there as well. I typically always start with what I want to wear and work out from there. I don’t do all the same outfit like everyone wears a white shirt. Try to coordinate as much as you can. Check out some of these what to wear ideas to give you some ideas on color palettes and different outfits.

  • September 19, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Great article, I just started a blog and these are wonderful tips, thank you so much!

  • Whitney
    September 20, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    I can’t thank you enough for this post, it is perfectly timed for what I am looking at, at the moment. It’s like you read my mind!

    • Courtney
      September 27, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      Yay! Let me know if you have any questions! I like talking about blogging just as much as I like talking about photography :)

  • February 6, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Just came across this – love your blogging tips (and your photography ones for that matter!) ! I’m relatively new to blogging (under a year) but am already finding it quite addictive! One thing I wanted to ask you, I notice you have Comment Luv for your blog – do you recommend or have you found you get a lot of spam/unrelated comments with it?

    • Courtney
      February 11, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      I do get spam comments but I don’t find that the Comment Luv brings any more. I use a plug-in to get rid of most of my spam but now it seems that the companies are getting smart and people are leaving “real” comments to seem less spammy. Obviously, if their comment is not relevant to my post and links to “buy blah blah blah blog”, then I delete them.

  • October 8, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    I thought I was the only crazy person with a dry erase in my shower. My other great idea spot is jogging…. but I forget so much of it by the time I’m home and gasping for air. Great article.

    • October 9, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      ha ha You aren’t crazy…you are a genius to have a dry erase in the bathroom :)

  • October 8, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    I always have great ideas in the shower, however when I take my glasses off I am as blind as a bat! I usually have great blog ideas when I can’ t have access to my laptop, so I use my voice memo on my cell phone to record key phrases that I can jot down when I get home. Great post!

  • October 8, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    I always get great ideas in the shower, but when I take my glasses off I am as blind as a bat! I get great ideas when I am out, so when this happens I use my voice memo feature on my cell phone to record my ideas and jot them down when I get home. Great post.

    • October 9, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      That is really smart to use your voice memo. I get a lot of ideas while I’m driving so that would be smart once the car is parked and safe :)

  • June 28, 2014 at 5:58 AM

    Building an audience is building a community. Creating great content is a big component of that but it’s not enough. You have to make readers feel invited in, respond comments — make it a dialogue and not a monologue. I think Courtney does a great job of that.

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