January 09, 2010

Off Site Storage & Backups for Your Files

After seeing the people's house behind mine catch on fire one evening, I started thinking, what would ever happen if I lost my house. Or even just my computer or my backup drive? Then I realized I didn't have my files stored off site. I know a lot of folks burn two copies of their disks and store one on-site and one off. But I didn't have an off-site location to store mine. I decided to created backups of everything to date and when I went to visit my family over the holidays, I left my duplicate DVDs with my mom, 3 hours away. Good plan to start, but what if my system went down and I needed something sooner rather than later? So I began the search for an online backup to use as well. I'm on a Mac and needed something that would work well with Mac, welcome to problem number one. Most of the online backups that were reasonably priced were made to work with Windows. I stumbled across MobileMe from Mac, easily syncs to my computer and I can back-up up to 20GB of files.

I've stored all of my client's purchased jpeg files, proofs and current working files on there. Clients know that there files are on record for one year, so the plan is every 4 months to clear out any files that are more than a year old. I will still have a DVD copy of any files over a year old at both my home and my mother's home, so no need to keep older files on MobileMe for more than a year. For $99 a year, you you get 20GB, not a bad deal at all. For an extra $49 a year you can store 40GB and 60GB for an additional $99. So if I get to the point where I know I'll be storing more than 20GB, I'll have additional options.

Hopefully I'll my system won't crash or my house destroyed by natural disaster, but just in case, it's nice to know that all my current client files, as well as my forms, actions and other purchased files are backed-up online as well.While MobileMe might not be the type of storage you're looking for, I highly suggest if you don't have a backup plan in process, get one now! You never know what could happen to your home or studio and of course computers and backup drives aren't perfect and may fail!

January 08, 2010

SEO for Photographers - Totally Over My Head!

I've been on a mission for the last year to improve my Google rankings. Currently when I Google Columbus Ohio Photographer - there are 1,860,000 results. Yep, that's a lot of pages to be clicking though for clients to even come close to finding me!! I've done tons of research on SEO from better blogging to getting my splash page right. While I've learned a lot of information from my free (aka internet) research I knew I still missing out.

I was really, really tempted to pick up some new DVDs that are out there specifically for photographers. Till, *gasp* I realized they were over $1,000. What? I don't have that kind of money to improve my SEO! So, I passed on those. I'm sure they're great, but I'm also sure I don't want to spend that kind of money to find out!

So, I keep seeing this crazy Ninja SEO School icon when I'm on various blogs. Honestly, at first, I thought that it was just some lame paid for ad and who knows what silly ebook they were offering. Then I read a few reviews about it and thought what the heck, it's only $39. I can spend $39 way easier than $1,000+. So I ordered SEO School by Naomi Dinford of Itty Biz. This ebook is not for everyone! If you're offended by some profanity mixed in, then it's not for you. Naomi is pretty funny about it, but I wanted to make sure I warned you off the bat! Is this the be all end all of SEO? No. Will it help you to figure out what the heck to do. Yes.

Naomi does not say go to your wordpress or blogger blog go to xyz and do abc. So if you want a quick fix, keep on searching and if you find it, please call me asap and let me know! If it was that easy, we'd all be doing it! What she does do is explain how search engines work, Google in particular. There were some things that she talks about that I already knew, but there were other things I had no idea about. As I read the ebook I started making changes on my blog and website. Do I have results for you? Not yet, it's been too soon to see if the changes I made have worked. BUT from what I previously knew about SEO and how she explained everything, I'm pretty darn sure that it will help.

The SEO School - How to Become an SEO Ninja covers a few things: What search engines are looking for; how to find the right keywords for your business; the do's and don'ts of both optimizing your site and also optimizing links coming into your site; and a section for bloggers.

You do need to know how to do some minor tweaking to your site. If you're too scared to go into the back end of your blog or website or cannot update your own web template, then do not get this book. If you're fine with changing a few little things here and there (no major code writing involved) then I say go for it. This ebook is for any sort of business, so unlike a lot of other SEO tips and pointers for photographers, this is for anyone with a blog or website.

I've marked down where my blog and website were before I started making changes. I'll be tracking any improvements over the next few weeks and months and keeping everyone posted on how the SEO optimization is going for me!

January 04, 2010

Free E-book - The Boutique Experience

Sarah Petty shared the below link to her new e-book, The Boutique Expereience. She and Erin Verbeck discuss what a boutique business is and how in this economy it's harder than ever to compete. I haven't read the e-book just yet, but knowing Sarah, there's probably tons of good info in it. To get the e-book, follow this link https://app.e2ma.net/app/view:Join/signupId:66977/acctId:11781 and fill out your info to download.