Yes, blog critique time again!
It’s no secret than I am a fan of photography. For a couple of years now I have dabbled with my photography blog, been unhealthily addicted to Flickr and even have a couple of clients in photography and related industry. Portrait photographers are a special breed. While I have photographed two weddings that were successful, the stress of having only one chance at getting it right with no room for mistakes made me decide I could never do it professionally and gave me a great deal of respect for those who do!
With this in mind I enjoyed looking at todays blog critique victim customer, *bliss —“ Seshu’s Wedding Photojournalism. Seshu is a wedding photographer in New England. He uses Nikon cameras and TypePad for his blog but I won’t hold either against him (joke!).
There are important factors that make a blog for this kind of professional service work.
Service business is about people first and foremost, people dealing with people. Do you come across as a real, approachable, competent, credible, professional, likeable?
You have to project that you are:
People think I am crazy when I say you don’t need lots of traffic to a blog such as this. It’s true, you just need enough of the right people. With that in mind it is more important to have the blog/site work well than be extremely popular. Get it right then promote.
I’m pleased to say Seshu does a great job. Of course being the nitpicker I am, I’m bound to find something to criticise, heh.
- It’s quite clear where we have arrived, who the author is, what he does, well done.
- The design is friendly and professional, from the colours to the ease of use.
- Good trust marks in the professional associations.
- Seshu comes across as a nice guy, someone you would feel comfortable trusting with your big day.
- Everything has been thought of, it’s all there in About, FAQ, what wedding journalism is, little photo and bio in the sidebar. Almost like he has been reading my previous critiques, ha.
- Send to friend with a $100 gift card is a nice touch.
- Clicking around you can see examples of his work, and well-written but sporadic blog posts.
- Less “We” More “Wedding” – Try to get your photography up early in the page, for example in the header area try adding some pictures that say “wedding” in a classy way. That way you are saying and showing. Remember you have seconds to make an impact. Reinforce in your posts.
- The Fold Factor – the send to friend form with gift card reward is a great idea but does it have to take up so much room? Be aware that your most important features should be above the “fold”, that is you shouldn’t have to scroll down to get to it. It’s great that right away people can see who you are and what you do, but I think you can reduce some of the wasted space.
- Do You Differentiate? – you have my interest, you have my trust, I like your pictures and style – is there anything you can show me or tell me to tip me over? Why you and not another wedding photojournalist? You are doing a good job but I think your blog could work harder.
- MyBlogLog No More – Lose they MyBlogLog popups, they damage the good work you have done by confusing and cluttering and, well, they are ugly.
- Fresh or Stale? – Dates work powerfully on our subconscious, like in a grocers, they can show your shop is open for business and there is fresh produce, but by the same token old dates have the same effect as passed “sell-by”s. The first date presented is September 06 …
- Lift and Separate – The sticky post needs to be differentiated from the blog posts, can you set a different background or styling? Which is news and which is orientation/housekeeping text?
- Prove It! – bring case studies and testimonials to the forefront, I would like to see proof
- Build Authority – I look back on my wedding and think about stress and worry. What do wedding photography prospects worry about? What do they really need? What do they often forget to arrange or do badly? Answer these and other questions and you will have a perfect flagship content. This will build your authority allow you to talk about your service offering.
- Survey Customers – Your past clients are a mine of information, call and ask them if there was anything missing, bad, wrong, good, useful, useless, confusing, clarifying. Ask them for testimonials. Don’t miss this opportunity to improve, you will never have a better focus group and the longer you leave it the more the chance of getting this feedback will slip away.
- Tag Cloud Confusion – Be careful with your categories/tag cloud – phrases like QTVR, E-Session, Web/Tech say “technical” which can be a turn-off. Categories are for your readers navigation, not your organisation. Reduce your categories down to what your reader might want to read about, don’t get tag-happy and confuse or put off your less geeky prospects.
- Ruthlessly Audit – Go through your blog and look at each element from a prospects point of view, justify to yourself “why” for each – if you do not have a good reason for each element, a benefit to you or your prospect, then remove it. Be brutal.
As I said, this is a good blog, done well. With a bit more focus on potential customers needs it could be a brilliant asset to Seshu’s business.