Creative Geek

It Starts at the Top…

I can’t tell you how often I’m reading a blog or a website, and I glance up at the title bar on my web browser only to see a completely pointless title like “Home” or “Blog” even worse, the name of the company that mad the template you’re using for your portfolio.

Stop what you’re doing right now and go look at your sites. What is your title? What is it saying to people?

Titles are used in countless ways — first and foremost, it is the information that Google pulls when it is displaying your site among their lists. It is also what the people that read your site, your potential clients, see if they are using tabs in their browsers, when they bookmark your page, and so much more!

If your title isn’t clear, how will they ever find you again? If your title says something like Bl*d*main or Templates for Photographers, does that help you? Or the company that made your template?

To change your blog’s title in WordPress, log in and go to Settings (it is the last item on the column on the left). Under General Settings, right there, you will see “Blog Title” as an option – make it something that helps people and computers! Start with your business name, and then maybe include where you are located at. People always want to know that!

Be sure to change the Tagline as well while you’re there. I noticed yesterday that even if you don’t have that showing up on your blog’s template, it does get pulled by Facebook. Looks a little silly if it still says something about you being just another WordPress blog, because we know you’re not just another anything. You’re FABULOUS! Now help the world see that!

Getting Down to Business

You Need a Friend or Two… Emergency Planning for Wedding Vendors


If you follow me over on Twitter, you may have seen my post earlier today about the fact that it is the two year anniversary of me having major – nearly life-saving – emergency surgery today. Some of you may know the back story already. For those of you that don’t, feel free to check out the November 2007 archives. Oh, and that photo above? It is from 2007. Not today. I’m all healthy now!

As a wedding vendor, you have to take care of yourself. It is absolutely essential. Most of us are running a one person show, and if we’re not we’re still in a position where our client booked us and expect us to be there. You don’t really have an out. Especially as the photographer.

Have you spent some time thinking about what you will do if something happens and you can’t be there?

The fall of 2007, I was sick. I knew I was anemic, I had no idea how badly. I was seeing a doctor, but in hindsight he was doing a horrible job of taking care of me. When you’re sick and you’re scared, and super anemic on top of that, you might not be thinking so clearly, so I didn’t fire him and seek out other care when I should have. By the way, if you’ve never been anemic, the best way I can describe it is 1 margarita drunk. You can function, but things are a little swirly and just not right with the world. It isn’t that fun though – I don’t recommend it.

So here I am, super sick, and the only way to fix it was to give me three blood transfusions and do emergency surgery. The emergency surgery had a 6-8 week recovery time; I wasn’t even allowed to drive for 4 weeks. And I had a wedding scheduled for exactly ONE week after the surgery.

Fortunately, I used to work with the IT department of one of the big three law firms in Houston, and I also worked for two web design companies. For places like this, disaster recovery is essential, and worrying about the “what ifs” has always been a part of my business plan.

When I got sick, I already had a network of other photographers in Houston. I only had to make two calls, and I had found a replacement. I was also fortunate because I had a clause already in place in my contract that in the case of extreme medical emergency and if time allowed, would allow them the opportunity to approve the replacement, and if they did not, I would give them a complete refund of all monies paid. (Obviously this won’t work if it hours before a wedding and you need someone to step in for you, but I had a week.)

Going in to surgery knowing that all of my shoots were covered was a HUGE load of weight lifted off of me. My clients still were taken care of. Something like this can be business killer if you don’t have a plan in place to take care of your clients.

ShootQ is also now a big part of my business because of my “what if” planning. If something was to ever happen to me on the day of a wedding – lets say I was in an accident( I almost called lawyers from, seriously) and in a coma – my husband could log in to ShootQ and find out all the information needed about the wedding. He has a phone list of other Houston photographers to call. He could get on Twitter and start posting on my behalf. He could do whatever was needed to make sure the wedding was covered. Of course I would want him to rush to my side, but I would want to know that those calls were made first. Elaine & Brittany have this power as well.

An emergency like this can – and often will – happen to ANY of us. Matter of fact, I’ve stepped in two times as the primary photographer and two times as the second photographer in an emergency situation to help out other people. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

What is your emergency plan? Do you have a list of people who could step in in your place and take care of your clients if anything happened to you? Do you have an emergency clause in your contracts with your clients in case you ever found yourself in a bind?

SEO for Wedding Vendors

Making Your Blog Savory for Clients and Delicious for Google with SEO!

You want Seo Consultant to just give your site all the love and attention that you think it deserves. You want to be at the top of all the search results. You want your site to be usable, something that has everything that your clients need so that when they find you through Google or any of the other search engines they can figure out how to book you. But you’re lost. You have no idea where to start. You’re a photographer, wedding planner, florist, cake artist, caterer or (fill in the blank) — not a website designer or Search Engine Optimization specialist. How on earth are you supposed to do it all?

That is ok! The time has come – I’m here to help! (I feel like I should have a superhero cape on as I type that.)

For over 10 years, I’ve helped people build better websites. (Garden Ridge, Canyon Ranch and even Jewel (the singer) are on my list of companies I’ve worked with.) I’ve studied, researched, attended conferences, and learned so much over the years. Now it is your turn. I want to share my knowledge with you. This is your chance for your very own SEO, Better Blogging & Site Review! YAY!!!

SEO, Blog & Site Reviews will consist of an initial conversation to discuss what your target market is and who your primary competition is, and any goals you might have for your website. I will then review your site from top to bottom and behind the scenes for SEO, usability, and overall things that can be improved.

With Amazowl’s Amazon Marketing Training, you need to have a process for handling shipping, providing tracking, responding to emails, and every other aspect of the interaction between yourself and Amazon, and yourself and Amazon’s customers (most important of all).

When all that is done, I’ll prepare a CUSTOM report of my findings, going over different specific things that you can do to improve your site immediately, and boost your Search Rankings for the long haul. Full of tips to make your blog and your website better, from best practices to things that will make your business rock. We will then set up a 1 hour call (or meeting if you’re local) to discuss the report and any questions that they might have. It is all about you and what you need!

SEO Site Reviews will be $500 through the end of 2009. Want to sign up right now? Just can’t wait? Want a special deal? The first 10 clients to sign up and pay for their review will get a special rate of $250!

If you set up a One-on-One Workshop with me, even after those first 10 spots are gone, you’ll be able to add on the SEO Site Review for $250 through the end of 2009. All sorts of business goodness in one package!

Ready to have your site reviewed? Don’t want to sit in a workshop or read books and learn about things that have nothing to do with what you specifically need? Feel like you need more support along the way? I can’t wait to work with you! You can use this form to contact me. You can click here to learn more about me and click here to read about other things I can do for you. Want one of those 10 half-price spots? Hurry up before they are GONE!

Update: THREE of the first ten spots remain! (as of 10/9/09 at 3pm)

Getting Down to Business

SEO Goodness Coming Directly to You SOON!

It has been a long time coming – after lots of planning and preparation, I’ll soon be announcing custom blog & site reviews for SEO* and just general savory goodness. A top to bottom review of YOUR site, focused on what YOU need to do. You won’t be hearing the same thing that 20 other people in the same room hear, none of which is targeted to your exact needs and your way of doing business.

I’m finalizing the last of the details, so stay tuned for more details by the end of this week and a SPECIAL for the first 10 people to sign up! Photographers, wedding planners, florists, bakers, or anyone that owns a creative business – this is something that will definitely help you! It is something I’ve been doing for over 10 years, and I’m so excited to be helping my peers with this.

Let me know if you want to know more! You can always add this to your One-on-One Workshop if you’re interested as well!

Before you hire anyone to help you with SEO – whether it is an SEO expert that does the placement work for you, a workshop, or anything else – do yourself a favor and read this article on the 7 best things good SEOs should do.

* In case you were wondering, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization – it is all the yummy goodness that brings people to your website. It is more than your Google Page Rank – there is a whole planning process behind it. To help your business grow, you should know as much as possible about SEO.