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Tuesdays Tip

If you are currently have a storefront with WeddingWire and have received three (3) or more client reviews, you are eligible to place the WeddingWire Rated logo on your website! Learn how you can begin with our simple tutorial below:

  1. Log in to your WeddingWire account
  2. Click ‘Showcase Reviews‘ under the ‘Reviews‘ tab
  3. If you are eligible, you will see the WeddingWire Rated badge under the ‘WeddingWire Rated‘ heading
  4. Click the ‘Get the Code‘ button
  5. Copy the HTML code
  6. Open your liveBooks dashboard
  7. Click Content
  8. Click on the page you wish to add your ‘WeddingWire Rated’ logo
  9. Click the green ‘+‘ icon to add a content block to the desired page

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10. Highlight and click the ‘HTML‘ content block

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11. Paste the HTML code you copied from your WeddingWire account into the HTML box.
*For more information on how to use this content block, click here.

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12. Save and publish!

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Tuesdays Tip

What’s next once you have finished creating your website? Publishing it for everyone to see! This instructional video shows you how to add your domain name to your liveBooks settings and helps set up all DNS records to correctly point to your liveBooks site. Note: GoDaddy is used in as the registrar example but all settings and changes apply to any domain provider.

If you have any questions while publishing your site, we urge you to contact our Support team at support@livebooks.com!

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Have you been paying attention to how your website’s search engine mobile performance results have been doing? If you haven’t, it’s time to start now! Google has now announce that it will create a mobile index separate from its existing search engine. Due to the fact that over half of Google searches are now being made through mobile devices, it was only a matter of time before Google took actions to improve its users’ experience.

Google plans to create two separate web indexes – one dedicated to mobile pages and another to desktop pages. Mobile versions of the pages will be prioritized on its search results page. A desktop version will be displayed if the website has no mobile pages available.

What Does This Mean to Your Website?

Google will now place value on mobile pages when indexing a site and determining its position on search results. Once Google sets the change in motion, websites that do not have mobile-friendly designs will likely see significantly reduced search engine traffic.

If you host your mobile content on a separate subdomain, this could cause some problems for your search engine results. This is to say that if, for example, a mobile user attempted to access “yourcompany.com” on a mobile phone, they might see the URL displayed as “mobile.yourcompany.com”. If this is the case for your website, it may be time to revise the content you display on the mobile website. Google will be prioritizing the content on that subdomain rather than your desktop version.

Testing Your Website

You can now test how your mobile website is seen by Google’s web crawlers! Visit Google’s test for mobile friendliness to find out how your website performs. You will enter your website’s URL and click the “Analyze” button. If you’re website is seen as mobile-friendly, a green message will display letting you know.

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liveBooks is Ready for Google’s Mobile Index. Are you?

liveBooks is ready for this change in search engine indexing! We are proud to say that all liveBooks websites are fully-responsive. Regardless of screen size, your website will adjust its width and features such as text and images to optimize its mobile visibility.

If you haven’t started using liveBooks yet, start your free trial and begin creating your beautiful, fully-responsive website today!

October 28th, 2016

How Social Media Can Grow Your Business

Posted by liveBooks

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With so many social media outlets available today, it can sometimes become overwhelming to choose which ones you should be using to engage your audience and bring in new customers. It may seem like the best course of action is to ignore all the choices and just stick to one outlet. What many photographers do not realize, however, is that each platform offers opportunities for growth – whether this may be through brand recognition, followers, or potential customers is your choice! We have outlined the platforms we believe will give your photography business the biggest growth potential!

 

instagram

Instagram:

With over 200 millions users, Instagram has the power to become one of the most important means of outreach for your photography business worldwide. This platform offers you the chance to build a portable portfolio where you can showcase your work. This doesn’t mean that you have to post every picture from your shoot, but rather the one(s) you consider to be the best.

With its massive hashtag database, Instagram can help bring in clients that are looking for your type of work. By using specific hashtags, clients will be able to find you more easily. When used correctly, these hashtags can become similar to how SEO helps your webpage get views. In addition, creating a unique hashtag for your business can help create a viewing gallery for potential clients. For example, using #johnsmithphotography on your images and having your clients use it when they post your images on their profiles, will ultimately increase your brand’s recognition!

 

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Facebook:

Facebook is one of the first platforms that comes to mind when talking about social media. Having 1.71 billion monthly active users makes it one of the most widely known social media platform.  It not easy to figure that this platform can be a very powerful tool to drive new customers to your business!

Instead of using your personal page to showcase your work, create a Facebook page that allows anyone to access your profile. With the use of analytics provided by Facebook, you’ll be able to measure the effectiveness of each post and activity on the account. Additionally, creating a page allows you to boost a post and create advertising campaigns. These two options allow you to choose your target audience (residing area, gender, age, etc.)!

Another great tool that Facebook offers is the creation of events. If, for example, you are giving a photography seminar and would like to invite your followers to attend, this tool helps you reach out to an audience, track the amount of attendees, and keep the discussion streamlined all in one place!

 

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Twitter:

Twitter is oftentimes overlooked by many photographers. It requires time and energy to fit everything you are trying to communicate about a shoot into only 140 characters. However, this is a powerful form of expression. You do not need to give your audience an entire explanation of what the picture is about. Rather, allow your image to speak for itself. The saying holds true in this scenario: “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

Many photographers do not realize that when they share their work through Twitter, it can get picked up surprisingly quick. The environment surrounding this platform is very much based around retweets. When your followers love your work, they are very likely to retweet your posts!

To start promoting your business through Twitter, you can see the marketing tips they offer on their website!

 

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YouTube and Vimeo:

As with Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo are often ignored by photographers. Many argue that they are not videographers and do not have any content to upload. These video-based platforms are often relevant to the type of photography that you dedicate yourself to. If you are a Wedding Photographer, uploading samples of the “Wedding Day” videos you have created would be a great way to showcase your work to new clients.

If the type of photography you dedicate yourself to doesn’t require the use of videos, you can create video tutorials for your audience and peers. These types of videos create a sense of trust in your viewers that can easily translate into a client-based relationship. By creating a channel on YouTube or Vimeo, your audience will be able to more easily find you and find more videos created by you.

 

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Pintrest:

Pintrest is a content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images and videos to their pinboards. The main idea is to create a variety of categories that contain pins, resources, photos, and other information that the viewer finds interesting.

As a photographer, creating your own account that not only showcases your work but also has pins of the type of things you like, allows viewers to better connect with you in a personal way. Landscape photographer, Joshua Holko, shares his work from his projects in various boards that viewers are able to see and pin onto their own boards.

It’s also important to note that this social media platform is largely based on shares. Since photography is such a visual business, it can be a great tool for photographers to market both themselves and their business.

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It’s important that as a photographer you choose the social media platform(s) you feel best represent your business. When starting off new campaigns or social media accounts, it’s important to have a specific goal in mind. With this idea, you’ll be able to accurately measure your success.

October 21st, 2016

Major Browsers to Block Flash Soon!

Posted by liveBooks

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The liveBooks team has been working vigorously this year to migrate many of its clients from the Flash-based Legacy platform to the HTML5-based liveBooks8 platform. The HTML5 platform offers responsive templates that you are readily able to edit on your desktop, tablet or mobile devices! With it a ton of new features are also available – including advanced SEO tools and options for customizations, such as varied portfolio and gallery layouts, a library of hundreds of font choices, drag and drop design, in-line editing tools and much more!

In addition to the added features that the HTML5 platform offers, there is one big reason why you should migrate from your Flash website as soon as possible. All major browsers have already set into motion the blocking of flash sites!

Safari:
In June, Apple announced that the version of Safari that comes on macOS Sierra will block Flash by default across all websites. This means that if your website runs on Flash, your visitors will be greeted by the following message:

safari-block

Apple has taken a very big stand against Flash since 2007. This is due in part to Flash websites having slow loading times, being a drain on laptop batteries, and continually having security issues. The measures that Apple has taken will continue to detract visitors from visiting your Flash website.
(Sources: PetaPixel, The Verge)

Chrome:
Google announced in May that Chrome would start to block Flash websites with the launch of Chrome 53 in September. More importantly – in December 2016, Chrome 55 will make HTML5 the default experience. Those websites that only run on Flash will need to be enabled by the user to display properly.
(Source: Chrome Blog)

Firefox:
Mozilla Firefox will retire Adobe Flash as soon as 2017. With the release of Firefox 53, Flash plug-ins will require the user to actively click-to-play. Though Mozilla hasn’t directly stated that Flash will be completely retired after the click-to-play change, the move is apparent.
(Source: ARS Technica)

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Though Adobe Flash helped make the Web a rich and dynamic experience, a new generation of technology has pushed for a big change in website platforms. The liveBooks8 platform is the optimal choice for our Flash users to transition to.

To learn more about liveBooks8 and its main features, please visit this link.

To see our migration options and schedule your migration, please visit this link.

Tuesdays Tip

Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is one of the most important features that your website can have. SEO is the ability for online search engines to recognize your site through proper indexing. With a sound SEO strategy, you will be able to organically drive customers to your business, based on keywords and common search terms.

The liveBooks8 platform allows you the ability to add SEO settings on an image/page level as well as site-wide level. This article will focus on the setting for page level SEO settings. To begin adding SEO settings to your pages, see below:

  1. From the Content tab, enter your page by clicking its title
  2. On the righthand sidebar, select SEO and dropdown the settingstuesdays-tip-seo-1
  3. You will notice 5 input boxes: Title Tag, Description, Keywords, Navigation Label, and Canonical URL.

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  • Title Tags: the title of the page that you see in your tab of the browser
  • Description Tag: a concise explanation of the content of your web page for search engines to crawl through
  • Keywords: keywords relevant to your business to be crawled and catalogues by search engines (separate keywords with commas)
  • Navigation Label: set a different title/label for the navigation menu on your site
    • For example, yoursite.com/about-us can be changed to yoursite.com/abouttheteam
  • Canonical URL: helps prevent duplicate content from being indexed
    • If someone tries to copy the information you have on your website to theirs, search engines will recognize you as the primary owner of the content!
  • The first toggle option will allow search engines to index your site and display it in search results (we recommend always having it on!)
  • The second toggle option will allow search engines to follow links and index them as well (we recommend always having it on as well!)

4. Select Publish and you are finished!

Is there a new liveBooks feature that you are excited to learn more about? Let us know at social@livebooks.com.

 

Tuesdays Tip

With incredible visual appeal and ability to connect with large audiences, it is no surprise that Instagram has become a huge social media platform for photographers and creatives. While there is so much potential to reach your target audience, it does take a bit of planning and research on your end to make the most of your Instagram account. Believe it or not, by using a little bit of strategy, you will be able to take your profile from an account to share your day-to-day activities to a powerful business networking tool. Today, we are sharing our top tips for making the most of your Instagram profile:

Image Source: Pexels

Image Source: Pexels

  1. Post often, but quality over quantity:
    • It is important to provide your audience with regular content. Once you develop a regular posting schedule, stick to it. Chances are, your audience will get used to seeing your account in their feed and will start to look forward to interacting with your content. With that being said, each post should positively contribute to your personal branding goals. Sometimes it is easy to post just to post, but ensure that each photo’s mood, content and quality will sequence seamlessly with the image next to it in your profile, while allowing your audience to get to know you and your business a little better.
  2. Find your style and stick to it: 
    • Some people love landscapes, and some people love portrait photography. Some people are interested in a behind the scenes look at your daily life, and other’s want to see your perfect final images. It is up to you to decide who you want to reach, where you want to be in the future, and then go all in. It is great to vary the content in your feed, but consistency is key when it comes to voice and styling, The most important piece of the puzzle, however, is to make sure that you are staying true to your own personal voice and style. Your clients are coming to your social media to learn more about YOU and YOUR work. In the end, people that are interested in the content you are producing will follow and interact with your profile. Find your personal style and use this to guide your content and online image while connecting with your ideal audience.
  3. Use hashtags, but make them specific:
    • Hashtags are a great way to connect you with professionals in your industry as well as potential clients. Beware though, hashtags are also a great way to connect you with spammers. Keep hashtags specific to your location, the content of the image, and your industry to drive up interaction with your target audience. While it feels great to have a large number of followers, you want to make sure that the right people are following you. I will let you determine who the right followers are for your account, but it is our hope that you are able to connect with people that are genuinely interested interested in the content that you are producing (and could, hopefully, turn into potential clients!).
  4. Genuinely network with other professionals in your industry:
    • How good does it feel when you receive a compliment or comment on an image? Pretty good, right? Stay connected with professionals in your industry by commenting and interacting with their Instagram profiles too. Most importantly, make sure your comments and interactions are genuine, thoughtful, and productive. Instead of posting a generic: “Great image!” comment, let the poster know exactly what it is you love about their post or profile. Taking an extra second to generate genuine feedback has the potential to translate into deeper connections and a larger following base overtime. Keep in mind, however, that each user’s Instagram post is essentially a public platform, despite any security settings that are in play. Make sure you are conveying your personal brand image at all times. You never know who may be following them!
  5. Make sure your client (and potential clients) know how to find you online: 
    • Know that once you have gained followers, they may want to interact with you in every way! That means that when they visit your website, they will want to check out your social media outlets as well. With the new liveBooks 8 platform, you are able to create a bridge between your website and your social media accounts. Inserting custom social media icons into your website’s footer or navigation is a great start. Read this blog post to learn how to integrate social media icons into your website’s footer. Also don’t forget: you can also add your website link to your Instagram profile. This will help lead your Instagram followers into potential clients!

Are you on Instagram? We want to feature you! If you have an image that you are interested in having us share, send us an email at social@livebooks.com.

Tuesdays Tip

Organizing portfolios can seem like a daunting task. Whether you’re a photographer, an artist, or an art gallery with various artists, it may seem difficult to choose the amount of portfolio galleries necessary to showcase all of your amazing work. With some planning and organizing, your images and portfolio galleries will begin to take shape before you know it! Here are some steps that we have found helpful to get you started:

  • Categorize your work before uploading to galleries

This first step is sometimes overlooked when starting off your website. If you’re able to categorize your artwork or images into categories, portfolios will soon develop. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you may choose to organize your weddings based on the bride and groom’s last name. You may also choose to sort them by season, location, or year. Whatever means you choose to sort your images, ensure that you have a cohesive system in place on your site.

  • Bulk uploading your images onto portfolios

Once you are able to organize your work on your computer, bulk uploading will become easier. This allows for a multitude of images to be uploaded to your website’s gallery/portfolio at a time.

  1. Once you have added the “Portfolio” page, click to add a new block. Choose “Image Gallery”.TT1
  2. Once added, choose the “Select from computer” tab and select the images you’d like to upload to the portfolio

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3. Once ALL images have been uploaded, refresh your browser. Some pictures may not be in the same order as they were on your computer. You can click and drag the images to organize them as you’d like.

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  • Adding image details

Adding image details can help index your work in a more organized way. Attributing the correct information will also help search engines pick up on what your image is related to and will help explain what you’re trying to show the world. Ultimately, these simple steps will help boost your images’ SEO.

  1. Select the eye icon next to your image

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2. Add all image details needed

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  • Title – Name of your work
  • Description – Short explanation of the work (viewers will see as a hover/pop-up on most browsers)
  • Tags – Helps organize all of your images into a sort of filling system on your “Image Library”
  • Photo Credit – Helps attribute credit to the photographer
  • Photo Credit URL – Links viewers to the website of the photographer or rightful owner of the work (if you are the owner, you can leave blank)

 

  • Adding hyperlinks and deleting images

If you would like to hyperlink your image to a specific website, you can do that through the “hyperlink” icon. In order to delete an image, you can select the “trash can” icon.

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You can find all of the images you have uploaded to your liveBooks website builder through the “Image Library” tab in your “Content” section. You can use the “Filter images” tool to sort through image tags (i.e.: if you tagged “Smith Wedding” in the “Tags” section of the image, you would type this into the Filter images box to see all of your images with this specific tag).

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Is there a new liveBooks feature that you are excited to learn more about? Let us know at social@livebooks.com.

April 22nd, 2016

Spring Cleaning for Your Website

Posted by liveBooks

Spring is officially here – the time of year where we can start putting away our winter coats and boots and get excited for warm weather, sunshine, and being outside. Spring is also the time of year that allows us to take inventory of the old, polish it up, sweep it out, and dust it off. This same concept of “spring cleaning”  should apply to your business as well – and most importantly your website. When was the last time you really did an overhaul of your site? If it’s been awhile, now is the perfect time and we’ve compiled a list of things to focus on first to get you started!

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Content Clean Up

Make a conscious effort to do a truly comprehensive content clean up. This can range from something as simple as going through your portfolios and galleries and deleting older photos, adding new work, or moving images around, to actually digging in to your analytics and seeing which pages get the least amount of traffic and editing from there. Website design trends are moving toward cleaner, simplistic, and clutter-free – so really evaluate whether each page of your website is absolutely necessary and providing value to your audience.

Update Your Events Page

One of the things we see all too often is event pages that are far outdated – even by a few years. Take the opportunity to make sure your website is updated with your upcoming workshops, speaking engagements, photo expeditions, or any other important events you’re partaking in. Nothing looks more unprofessional than inaccurate information on your website – plus, this will be a great way to promote the events you care about and hopefully garner more attendees.

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Be Intentional About Calls to Action

One thing we’ve often noticed that’s missing from photography websites are clear calls to action. While most of the focus should be on your imagery, you also want to make sure you’re telling your audience what you want them to do. Whether that’s booking you for a job, project, ad campaign, or even buying prints, tell them what you’d like them to do and make it easy for them to do it. Have your contact information readily available in multiple locations on your website so that anywhere they look, they can contact you.

Check Your SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be something you focus on all year ’round, but if it’s not your strong suit definitely take the opportunity now to pay extra attention. If your goal is to increase traffic to your website (which we think it should be!) then make sure your keywords, tags, descriptions, titles, and content on your website are working for you. If you’re not ranking as high with search engines as you’d like, it might be time to overhaul your old SEO tactics and start fresh.

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Update Your Website Design

We know that completely changing your website design is a huge undertaking – but small, subtle changes can be made to create a fresh new look without all the stress of a total re-design. Switch up the images on your homepage. Change the names/titles of your portfolios. Add a new page – such as a blog – to your website. All of these changes will keep your website up to date, as well as give returning clients new things to look at and explore.

What “spring cleaning” are you conducting on your website? We’d love to know!

Building your client base as a photographer is a job that continues whether you’re just starting out or have been in the business for 30 years. You should constantly be seeking out new projects, work, and clients to fill out your portfolios give you a well-rounded client base. We thought it would be a good idea to offer some tips on the best ways to build your client base – that you can use as a new photographer or as a seasoned pro.

Utilize Social Media

Social media (when used correctly) will be your best friend when building up a client base. Figure out where your target client base spends their time and then get on those platforms. Are you a wedding or family portrait photographer? Get on Facebook and Instagram. Are you a lifestyle or commercial photographer? Make sure you blog about relevant topics to show your expertise and professionalism and then post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc to drive people back to your blog.

Don’t be afraid to follow or “like” plenty of other photographers in your industry so that you can get ideas, see their work, engage with their projects, and ultimately network and prove yourself a reputable person for them to refer clients to.

Also – make sure to always tag your clients in the things you post on social media. It keeps engagement high and allows their network to also see your work and become familiar with your name and business.

Set Your Pricing – But Run Specials or Promotions

Yo-yo pricing is never a good idea, especially if you want to build credibility in the industry. Know your worth as a photographer, set your pricing, and stick to it. If you’re a new photographer and want to book more clients, run specials or promotions to get people in the door – but make sure once you have a solid client base to make your pricing consistent with what your time and talent is worth. New clients will be attracted to your confidence in yourself and your work – and that will benefit you greatly in the long run.

Referral Program

Having some sort of referral program in place is a wonderful way to not only allow your clients to help market for you, but to reward them for doing so. Depending on how much you want to increase your client base, you can decide the type of program you want to offer. If you’re just starting out and really want to gain new clients, being more aggressive in the type of “rewards” you offer (such as a free session, 50% price discount) might be appropriate. If you’re a seasoned pro and are just looking to expand your current base a little bit, you can be more choosy in the type of program that you offer (maybe an electronic Starbucks gift card).

Much like setting your pricing and sticking to it – always make sure to crunch the numbers before you begin any sort of referral program so that you can make sure you won’t be losing money.

Network With Local Businesses

Networking with local businesses is a fantastic way to get your name out there in the community, and depending on the type of photography that you do can be extremely helpful in finding new clients.  Bartering your services can be mutually beneficial because it allows you to build your portfolio, gives local businesses an opportunity to have professional-quality photos for marketing purposes, and will serve as a good way for them to refer you to clients or even let you advertise your services in their place of business.

Make sure you choose businesses that are relevant to the type of photography you do or would like to do. If you’re a wedding photographer, consider networking with a local hair salon or makeup studio that typically gets a lot of bridal clients. If you’re a lifestyle or sports photographer try making connections at your local sporting goods or running shop.

Focus on Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) should always, always, ALWAYS be a focus no matter where you’re at in your photography career. However, when you’re trying to build or expand your client base, putting more time, effort, and resources into SEO will be well worth it. Who is your target client base? Make sure that your website, blog, and any other content on the web mentions those keywords in an appropriate manner.

Caption all of your photos with descriptions and keywords, and make sure your website is optimized for search engines to crawl. The new liveBooks8 platform offers SEO Everything tools to ensure that your website performs the best that it can on search engines and walks you through where and how to input all of the important aspects of SEO.

Do you have any other tips we should know about?

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