As I see it, there's a lot to be said for a well set-up photography website with great SEO structure and lovely, well placed keywords, but that traffic that you get as a result, you're not going to keep it if you forget to be human sometime. I was reading an article by the sassy Laura Roeder about remembering to be human on Twitter... and it certainly applies to your webbish type habits, too.. Here's my take on it!
So, you all know I am a "New Media Producer" during business hours, this means I try to find ways to make people come to certain websites and view content that we produce as a television company. It's taught me many things about SEO and all of that stuff, but I think the most important thing that I have learned after reading all the eBooks about traffic sourcing and tagging and key wording and community building is that you can't expect miracles of flooding traffic overnight and if your website doesn't work how it should, you're going to have trouble keeping that traffic when you / if you do get it with just search engine optimization and tags alone.
But I'm not really here to talk about my day job, what I wanted to bang on about today was my "other life" Social Media... Which is a horrific "you should be hit with a bat" term that tries to describe what we all do every day, that's right - talking to other people, saying hello... some of us just do it with a little more of a serious look on our faces... So, what does it all mean? and why would you bother?
Social Media (ugh) to me is all about communication and sharing information with the people around you, your contacts and their contacts... People use it differently, some of them choose to interact, some tweet and run, some set up auto tweeting / facebook posting gizmos and never reply to anyone, ever... I think this third method is nothing more than worthless spamming in a space that could be much better used.
Me, I'm an "engager" if someone posts on my wall or tweets @me or comments on an image or comments on a blog post, I will, 99% of the time, reply within about an hour (unless I'm asleep!...) You know where this all stems from? I'm the kind of bloke that will stop people that look lost in the street and try help - I'm also not that afraid to stop people, offer help and then admit I have no clue where the place is that they're after... So, translation into the "e" world... I have no quick fix Social Media strategy, but I know what works in terms of engaging people and I will try offer help where I can - in my field.
A lot of people that I speak to suggest that if you have a well optimized website and your SEO ducks are all in a row, that you will clean up in your area of expertise! Well let's look at that for a second, real world... If you and me stood beside each other at a market stall, you in a nice suit, me in ripped jeans and a wife beater.. and both of us said nothing at all to our customers, you might get more passing trade because you look nicer (to some people) ..and this is a bloody weak analogy (!) but if your website is nicely set up but you don't engage people and give them the content that's going to make them come back - the photos that inspire them, the musicality and pod-casts (if that's your thing) the stupid (yet sometimes amusing) insight into your life - your lovely, expensive SEO website is going to be nothing but a place-holder.
All I am trying to say is .....you can have the nicest photography website in the world, but if you don't offer something different and perhaps a little bit of community spirit, a cup of coffee every now and then and maybe some lovely cake... then you're not going to make your website work like it should.
So, in short, forget the SEO bollocks* for a minute, work at being HUMAN (You could have read the heading and then this line and been done with it, really)
*seo isn't bollocks, not really.