|Episode 27 – Your Future Self Will Thank You w/ Twyla Lapointe|
Twyla has been a photographer for nearly a decade, and was involved in the Canada Photo Convention for 2 years, where she offered coaching for photographers on business growth and time management.
When Twyla was young, she vowed to never get so busy living that she never really lived, so when she saw her busy lifestyle taking over as her business grew, it was time for a change. After researching psychology, science, memoirs, books, and more to figure out the key, she found it: time is limited, but incoming information is infinite.
Productivity and efficiency only help you do more things faster, and this lead to burnout and health problems, but it doesn't have to be that way. So Twyla started Last Resort, an individualized program to re-program mindset and create systems for life.
WordPress/Photography Related News:
Where to find Twyla:
Transcription was done by Rev.com
Scott: Welcome to episode twenty-seven my name is Scott Wyden Kivowitz and I am unfortunately not joined by my co-host Rachel Conley from FotoSkribe. She is sick so she couldn't join us today and her son is sick so she has got a double whammy of health recovery to do.
But I am joined by my guest, our guest today, Twyla Lapointe. And I am very excited to introduce Twyla, she has been a photographer for nearly a decade and was involved in the Canada Photo Convention for 2 years. Where she offered coaching for photographers on business growth and time management. When Twyla was young she vowed to never get so busy that life ... Busy living that she never really lived. So when she saw her busy lifestyle taking over as her business grew it was time for a change. And after researching psychology, science, memoirs, books, and more to figure out the key, she found it. Time is limited but in coming information is infinite.
So productivity and efficiency only help you do more things faster and this led to burn out and health problems. But it doesn't have to be that way so Twyla started "Last Resort" an individualized program to reprogram mindset and create systems for life. And I have the honor to listen to Twyla and watch her speak at Canada Photo Convention in Toronto, just earlier this month and I was impressed. And I learned a lot. And I am ... She's got a way to put the things that a lot of photographers worry about and think about so often into words and educate photographers in such a great way. So welcome to the pod cast Twyla I am really looking forward to helping our listeners to learn more about what you offer and your insight into photography business.
Twyla: Thanks so much Scott it's super awesome to be here.
Scott: Yeah. Awesome so before we dive into what's going on with you. Pre-C.P.C after C.P.C, let's talk a little bit about WordPress photography related news. So a new feature that has been proposed for WordPress is to add a custom CSS block into the customizer. So the customizer is the default customizing panel that you can open up to customize your WordPress theme. And right now it is kind of limited and themes can actually implement new features in it. And there are plugins that also implement new features like a custom CSS block. So what has happened recently is the developer of one of the most popular CSS, custom CSS plugins for the customizer has proposed to take his plugin, tweak it to make it global for pretty much any theme or plugin and build it into the customizer. And if this happens that will be great news because it means less figuring out what plugin to use for so many photographers and WordPress users in general.
So anything you want to add to that? I think it is just great news overall.
Twyla: I am really excited about that as a nerd and someone who does a little bit of coding on my own. I have always had to hunt down that plugin. I have also found that as things move forward I feel like some developers, and this isn't true about everybody, but some developers are almost a little hostile to that CSS box. They don't want you to fix things. And so I am going on hunting in ways to circumvent the walls that around my WordPress theme. So I think it is really exciting to see that become a default because I think most people and most developers, most people who are doing it on their own and have any little bit of coding knowledge and most developers are going to see this as a positive thing.
Scott: Yeah and there are some complications that the WordPress community will have to figure out as they're developing this. For example, right now some of these plugins that do this feature, if you change themes you actually lose your custom CSS because they attach it to the theme. So we will see how they go they might, they're going to have to figure out a way to make that you know sticky. Make that stay no matter what. So but yeah, it should be nice. It's not something that every photographer will use but it's one of those things that if you need some minor customizations that your theme or plugin does not do then you will have that built into WordPress. And that is something that Square Space has. So there is in reason why WordPress should not have it by default. Even Smug Mug has it. So there is no reason, no reason why WordPress should not have had this already by default. So it's about time.
Twyla: You know I think maybe one of the only reasons is just that it gets maybe a little flack from developers right? Because they want to create these out-of-the-box solutions for people. And that's great but it doesn't always handle all of the needs that we have.
Scott: Yup. So the next thing is Google will soon be displaying mobile friendly search results before others. Making it more efficient for mobile users. Basically what this means is that right now, if you were looking on your phone or on your iPad and you start searching, it's showing you every result. And it is actually saying mobile-friendly or mobile ready or whatever they are saying, with the search results. But and that's great because they are actually making sure that your sight is ranking better when it is mobile-friendly. It is part of the SEO algorithm at this point.
And soon, they said soon, they said in the next few months so who knows how long. They are actually going to be showing the mobile-friendly results by default first. Before non mobile-friendly results. So and that is only on your phone that is not going to happen on desktop from what I can understand. It is only going to happen on your mobile devices. But if that means that your non mobile-friendly site is ranking well on desktop it will not rank well on mobile. So you are really going to have two different forms of ranking well of SEO. You are going to have mobile and desktop. If your site is already mobile optimized then you don't even have to worry about it. But if it's not you've got some issues to have to figure out.
So if your sites not already responsive, mobile-friendly, just move on it because your time is running out to figure that out. So yeah anything you want to add on that? Or should we move in, move on?
Twyla: I think that basically, I think this is going to affect the photography community a little bit. Because so many of us are so bad at updating our websites [crosstalk 06:31] so much is back logged. So I think it is really important for people to understand that Google is being credibly active at forcing people to make this change. And so it's inevitable, go with the flow, make it as soon as you can and reap the benefits.
Scott: Awesome and so when we were at C.P.C. you announced something you were working on can you share what that is? Because I am excited for it. So I want everyone else to be excited for it.
Twyla: Awesome so I am very excited to start announcing that I have officially started writing my first book on time management, it's called "Be Kind to Future You". I am actually planning on spending quite a bit of time on it here and this coming November. I know that November is novel writing month but I am cheating and writing non-fiction. I am really extremely excited to talk about a lot of the things in my journey that got me started in time management and how other people and other messages really caught me and let me know just how important it was to have a life and also how to do so. So I am going to be putting a lot of those really core concepts into this book. And the number one concept of course is this concept of what it means to be kind to future you and how that fits into a time management or a productivity landscape and also how that fits into the lives of entrepreneurs like photographers.
Scott: Yeah I mean from my own standpoint, one of the things that I am excited to learn is to how to figure out how to optimize my time between working for Imagely, for having my freelance business, and for being with my family but still doing everything I need to between work, freelance, speaking, teaching, everything. You know, how do I balance that? So I think the book is going to be very helpful for me to figure that out so I think that is going to be helpful just for you know wedding photographers and portrait photographers who are so busy that they can't find time for their family. Which is extremely important as we all know.
Twyla: Absolutely and I am hoping to dispel some of what I believe are some of the myths in the productivity industry. You have to understand too like productivity is an industry like anything else. People will tell you a little bit of at least of what you want to hear, you'll want to hear that you can absolutely do everything and the fact is you can do everything with help from programs and people.
Twyla: You know it's all possible it just takes different mind sets and so I think that I am really excited to talk a little more about, about that and about my own early disillusionment with the whole productivity industry and seeing how it was making people burn out. Because it was causing people to be able to do more things but not necessarily to fix the problems that were the root of some of the issues in our lives.
Scott: Yeah great! So that is going to be a fantastic book. Do you have an estimate of when that might be available? Or are you just still ...
Twyla: I am still in the writing stage. I am hoping to self publish it so it's in my own control when it gets published. I am definitely looking to have it out before the end of twenty seventeen. So it will be coming out in the next year.
Scott: Great, cool. Anything else that is coming up that you want to share?
Twyla: I think I am just really excited about having had some speaking opportunities for different kinds of events. And I think I am also excited about the fact that I have been in the business long enough that I have started sort of graduating some of my students that I started working with. You know a year or two ago and seeing some incredible changes in their lives so it is a really cool place for me to be in my business from getting started with people who are in real crisis situations with their time and working with them. I have now started to graduate people, you know 3 or 4 people have now been completely graduated, feel like their lives are completely back on track and in a normal space. And I am really proud of that because it affects those peoples lives and their families and their friends and everyone around them and I know that I am starting to be able to give people their lives back. And that is an incredible thing to be able to say. So I am really proud of that and excited about it.
Scott: You know it's one thing to teach people photography and see them become successful or teach them business and see them become successful in whatever they are doing in their photography genres. But it's another thing to see them learn something that's both good for them in their business and good for them in their personal lives. And to actually see that implemented is got to be such a good feeling.
Twyla: It really is, it really is. And everything that I teach is something that you can implement all over the place. And I think it's incredible to see people start doing outsourcing in their own lives. You know one of the most taken piece of advice I have given people is to start outsourcing cleaning things like cleaning the house and laundry. It is one of the most taken piece of advice I have given and one of the most highly recommended.
Scott: So you know my wife and I started doing that because you know she's a teacher so she's working everyday I have got all my stuff going on. So we are both working. It is hard to find time to spend with our daughter and clean the house. You know without her sort of counteracting us cleaning the house.
Twyla: Fair enough.
Scott: So we started outsourcing to a cleaning company that's local and shop local. But what a lot of people don't realize is depending on the cleaning company you get , if you don't get just a person, you get a company. They supply the cleaning supplies. So although they might be a little more expensive they are costing us $30 more a month or each time they come than the cleaning lady we had before then. And they come 2 people instead of 1 so they are faster and they supply the cleaning supplies, which in theory makes up for that $30 difference. Because we don't have to keep buying cleaning supplies. They even buy the mops and they bring it all. [crosstalk 12:46]
Twyla: Full service cleaning is the way to go.
Scott: Oh yeah.
Twyla: I love it too. I think it's great and I don't always get it for ourselves now but I get it when we are busy enough that we need it. And I absolutely love that fact that you can support the community in that way. And support people and one of the things that is real interesting to me is that there's this perception that absolutely everyone hates cleaning and a lot of the cleaning people that I have met love it. They think it is the best thing they get a huge charge out of seeing things going from chaos to clean and I love that I can support somebody who is actually enjoying that process as well.
Scott: Totally. [crosstalk 13:23] Yeah definitely. All right so lets dig into WordPress a little bit. So learning your tools right? So WordPress is a tool for photographers, it's a pretty powerful tool if a photographer wants to go that route because they can be the bulk of your photography business. It can run the bulk of your photography business. If you really want it to. So we all know that WordPress is difficult so I know that you feel that it is important for photographers to learn WordPress if they are going to be using it. I know you feel it's important for them to actually learn it and not just use it. So you want to talk a little bit about that?
Twyla: Yeah I definitely want to talk about that. I get a lot of discussion with photographers in community about, how can I, they like to crowd source spot information about tools that they use. It's a little bit like "I don't know how to do this one little thing" or "I don't know how to do that" and it is painfully obvious to me, over and over again, that people have not sat down, taken 2 hours and learned how to use programs. And this is never more evident than in probably 3 of the biggest programs people use. Which are Photoshop, Lightroom, and now WordPress. I honestly believe that it is kind of up there in terms of daily use for many photographers who are looking to increase their business and recognize the value that it has.
So I can get very challenging with people sometimes when this happens. When they are asking very spot specific questions about a program. Being like have you taken a full view of what this program can do? Have you checked out, I mean WordPress has some pretty fantastic documentation of it's own. And also it's one of the most, it's one of the easiest things to find. YouTube tutorials and free information on how to use it.
Twyla: So your only excuse is did you take the time to do it? And most of us and this goes right back to this be kind to future you concept. Most of us don't realize that the opening the box and never looking at the instructions thing waste an absolute metric ton of time. For many of us because we spend so much time playing with things as opposed to using them. And WordPress is huge like this for many people, for many photographers and because I know WordPress quite well I started on with it early on. I mean I have learned in my life to approach things by learning basic usage as quickly as I can. And I think that it is really important to recognize that WordPress is really hard when you are trying to learn it one tiny bit at a time.
Scott: Yeah, oh yeah.
Twyla: But as a program if you learn it as it's own program and as it's own package. I feel that it tends to be less daunting as a whole.
Scott: Yeah it's kind of like anything else, like if you were to open up Photoshop and try to learn Photoshop, which no one can ever learn Photoshop quickly. That's a robust software but so maybe that's not a good example. Let's say you open up, let's say you got your hands on a new Macphun app right? On a Mac you are used to using Lightroom and Photoshop and you open a Macphun and you are like all right let me try this and you close it. If you were to spend an hour or two with that software you would know it so much better because you would realize, it's just like everything else. It's just a different interface then the others. But really in the long run, it is exactly like everything else. So it's sort of the same thing, WordPress you go to create a new blog post or a new page, it's just like Microsoft Word. It's just like Google Docs. It's the same thing. It's just a little bit of the language is a little different and the user interface, the actual design of the backend is a little bit different.
And then there are things like plugins and themes and what the difference are and what to get and that kind of thing. So there are, there is more to it of course but I am going to recommend some of my favorite places to learn about WordPress and if you have additional please add if you have additional. I am going to start with my Facebook group that I run that is "WordPress for photographers" so I will link to it in the show notes if you are not already in there. It is a close group which means that I actually look at every single person who requests to join. So make sure that in your personal profile because we won't be friends on Facebook, if you have privacy I will not be able to see that you are a photographer so make sure that somewhere it says that you are a photographer that is public so that way I can see it and I can approve you. I am only approving photographers because we have had some spam issues.
There is also a WordPress for photographers eBook that I do not, it is not mine, it is one that, it's a little bit older book but it is still a fantastic resource. So I will link to that in the show notes. Of course the WordPress docs, as you mentioned, the documentation for WordPress that can be a little bit more overwhelming then the others but it has everything. Of course there is this podcast and others. Just do a search in iTunes for WordPress, you are going to see a lot of different podcasts. And last but not least, I am actually building my own course, it's going to be called "Camera to Completion, Photo Blogging Workflow". So it's actually going to be a multiple or multi course. It's going to be my blogging workflow right, and then it's going to be an actual WordPress 101 type of course in that at the same time. So you get the best of both worlds. I will link to other show notes and there is actually a place where you can sign up to be notified when it's ready and if you sign up you are going to get a really nice deal once it's available.
Twyla: That's super exciting to hear that you are developing that. And I think that's really important because photographers look inside their own world for help. And so I want to see people knowing how to use these tools and being able to use them to the best of their efficiency. And I don't say that just because I want you to know have a more efficient life. I also say that because I believe personally that WordPress is a money producing machine. And that if you create and it has been for me in my life, I have made lots of cash because I have used WordPress because it's been easy to optimize for SCO and well not easy in the sense that if most effortless thing I have ever done but something that I don't have to constantly fight it. To make it a well proportioned, you know, SCO post. So I think it is really exciting to delve into the possibilities that it has. And to see it's potential.
Scott: Yeah so let's talk a little bit about the ways you can make money with WordPress because there are many. For example, the 3 that come to the top of my head are or a few that come to the top of my head are; one you can do and I am going to talk from the strategic standpoint as far as the what plugins can do for you and then also just an over view or sort of a 30,000 view look down on this.
So first is you can do proofing. So you can not pay another service for proofing galleries and just do your proofing on WordPress and if you do proofing using your own site that has a lot of advantages because one, you are saving money on another service, you are hosting on your own website, so you got your own branding, it's coherent with the rest of your site and people when they proof they are in turn going to buy something. So that leads to eCommerce you can sell your photos with WordPress. You can sell digital downloads and you can sell prints right? So there's more money that you can make. Again on your site. And it is cohesive with everything else.
And then you also have the fact that blogging right, so WordPress, search engines prefer WordPress site for ranking because when people are using WordPress they know they are most likely blogging or search engines know that the person using WordPress is most likely blogging which means it's most likely going to be fresh content being posted quite often. So typically a WordPress site gets ranked better than lets say a Square Space site naturally, just because it's WordPress. it's silly to think that that's true but it is because naturally WordPress is a blog. So yes it's also a website and a blog but the software itself leads to blogging. So there is 3 ways right there so you can make some money with WordPress just because if you are blogging, and you are ranking well, you in turn are going to start making, you know converting people to customers.
Twyla: Yeah I think that's very true and thank you for putting that so simply and concisely. I mean, I remember this one quote or one discussion that I had with someone about social media things and about WordPress in particular they were saying, you know, as far as Google is concerned the most ideal, best website on the entire internet is Wikipedia.
Scott: It's kind of true, I mean, search engines do prefer Wikipedia which is funny since it's all user contributed and some of the content in there might not be real but or validated but yeah it does.
Twyla: Yeah they don't prefer it because it's the most, you know, the best source on everything. They do because it's constantly changing, there's images, there's words, there's lots of interaction and to Google that's what they think is the king of all websites. And so it's really not surprising to me blogs and in particular WordPress would be the next best thing.
Twyla: As far as a search engine is concerned.
Scott: Totally, totally. So any other ways you can think of the top of your head to make money using WordPress?
Twyla: I think being aware of the fact that while there are huge numbers of people searching the most common search terms there is also tons of people that search, that always search in full sentences. Or search very specific search terms. And that was when I started in SEO optimizing my website I was always very certain to include things like that and I get a ton of my business and I can verify this by or at least I used to before Google screwed up how they tell us about our search terms. But at the time when this was really happening to me I could verify independently that someone, I had gotten a client through a search term that was a little bit more unusual. So the more you are able to put new words and new phrasing's and new ideas into your website the more you can catch those people. The outliers. And often then you are automatically first. And especially for someone in that business area you can catch that business. And I think without a platform where you are blogging and including that much text and continually adding more information that's not going to work.
So to me, that is one of the big ways that I have made money using WordPress is by attracting people who don't search the most common search term.
Scott: Yeah so lets talk a little bit about search key words that you might want to rank your or optimize your site for and potentially rank well. My go to tool for figuring out what keywords to use is the Google keyword planner. And I say that because even though that tool is made for advertisement or for Google ads specifically. You put in a keyword that you want or a keyword that you think is good. This is going to give you a list of other search terms that might be related to it. And it's going to tell you how many times that keyword is being searched both globally and locally to you. How many times a month it's being searched and how hard it would be to 'rank well for'. And now the 'rank well for' is going to be a number that is actually based off of ads. So it will tell you it will be very difficult, it will be an 8 on difficulty at 8 out of 10 based on ads. But that number really correlates to organic SEO as well. If the ad difficulty is high the SEO is going to be high in difficult.
Scott: So that's my go to. And I will just put in whatever keyword I think might be what people search for and it will give me a list of actual search terms. Is that what you do? Or do you have a different tool that you use?
Twyla: No that is definitely the tool that I use. I think it's also important to not use it just once and leave it and set it and forget it either. Because people's search habits change over time. I am up for renewal on my own website. I need to go back and research but I remember one of the really fascinating things to me in my community is that when I led to that search about Edmonton in Canada here where I live, I found that people here typically search for a photographer, not a wedding photographer. There is far fewer people that search for wedding photographer then just searching for photographer.
Scott: That's really interesting.
Twyla: And that's not true everywhere, right? Like the in this city and this province when people search so that's why when I started working I was looking to rank for Edmonton photographer and there was tons more competition for Edmonton wedding photographer but fewer people searching for it. So that was really quite a fascinating thing for me as someone who was I was not just shooting weddings I shoot quite a few genres. But I think it's really fascinating that I would not have expected that as a photographer. It gives this wonderful glimpse into what other people are thinking outside of and we can be a little bit narrow focused in our own ways of looking at these things right? We don't necessarily know what other people are thinking or searching for. We think we know and that's dangerous.
Scott: So let's get some takeaways for this. Anybody listening or watching the video go to Google keyword planner, first open up a text document and create list of the keywords that you think is related to your business both more generic and also locally to you. And be specific and don't be specific so add wedding or add headshot or whatever your genre is and then take that one word away so it's just photography. So create this list and then go to Google keyword planner and fill that in and see the results you are getting and see what people actually searching for related to what you think are your keywords and see if it's actually specific to your genre. See if it's actually better locally or not locally. What I mean by that is including Edmonton in your keyword or not including Edmonton. Or just including Canada or whatever you know. Or I guess in Canada you even have it more difficult because you have to like "Toronto, Ontario, Canada", that makes it even more difficult. You know?
Twyla: Not only that but there is also all the satellite communities. In Canada most, big cities have 5 or 6 satellite communities. And Edmonton being no different so you also have to work at targeting those people as well to get your full-service area.
Scott: Yeah so really think, expand your regions. Think really about where customers are. Think about the different communities and neighborhoods. Create this beautiful list that you think might be good for you. Throw it in the keyword planner and see what actually is worth it. And what people are actually searching for and then you know exactly what keywords and what search terms, like long tail keywords that you need to start working into your SEO strategy.
Twyla: And for the time management perspective it might take you a day to find this information, but it could make you ten or fifteen thousand dollars.
Scott: Yeah and just so everybody knows, years ago when I was putting in a lot of effort this is pre-working at Imagely. Years ago when I was putting in a lot of effort into SEO for my own photography sites. When I was pushing it hard I was ranking number one for every keyword I wanted to and I was getting 5 or more inquires a day. A DAY! Ranking number one. So think about how much your business you are getting now not ranking number one and then think about how much you will get when you do rank number one. It will change your business big time.
Twyla: And for some reason you are only ranking second or third you are still going to get a huge amount of it. I was only number one for a little while but I have been on the front page and on the top 3 to 5 for most of my career in Edmonton and it is madness how much more work you will get getting on even the first 2 pages. So if you are just starting out and it is going to get you a while to build up there. Just know that every rank up you go that's way more clients that are going to see who you are and get a chance to look at it. So don't get disappointed if you are shooting for number one and you are still on the first page.
Scott: That's for sure, the top 3 spots are the ideal [crosstalk 31:33] yeah if you are still on the first page it's still good but you won't see the click through like you if you were in the 1, 2, or 3 spots. Have 1, 2, or 3 as your ideal number 1 being the best of course and then first page is still, you're good.
Twyla: I have sent most of my career at about third which has given me as a single photographer, plenty of work to do. I have never lacked as a single photographer having been in the third spot so I think shooting for the top is fantastic but if you are just starting out I am saying that every spot you move up is going to be great for your business and all that work will pay off.
Scott: Totally, totally will. Anything else you want to talk about before we move into your recommended WordPress plugins or themes?
Twyla: You know I think, I think just to Segway into the recommend plugins and themes the same learning thing I was talking about applies with plugins and themes as well. Just setting aside enough time to actually learn how to use the new tools that you add to WordPress and learn what their capacities and capabilities are. I think that is kind of the Segway that I use the same thing I said about WordPress applies to the things you add to WordPress. The add-ons, the themes, the plugins, recognizing what they can do for you and how they work is going to be great. And this is even true if you are paying someone else to do the work for you. If you are able to recognize what's happening and trouble shoot a little bit. One of the things that has happened to people in the past and this is in particularly involving plugins and for plugins that come with themes for contact forms. I have encountered numerous situations now where photographers have not gotten, have suddenly stopped getting inquiries and not realized that it had to do with some form problems on their website. And I think that is an issue that people need to be aware of. You need to be checking those things.
Scott: Oh yeah.
Twyla: And making sure that you are not losing inquiries because of some technical issue.
Scott: Yeah in fact I would even go a step further and actually add to your calendar for once a week to not you test it but have someone else test it. Specifically someone not in your household and send them to your contact form and have them actually send you an email, it can be silly it doesn't matter, but have them test it. Make sure you are actually getting it. And if you are not getting it, my first go to and this is just from my experience with WordPress, my first go to would be contact your host. Because most contact form plugins use a server configuration call PHP mail which actually means that it is using the server to send that email to you and to your ... Whoever contacted you. So if that is not configured correctly on your server then it will not send an email. So that's typically what's create a contact form from not working. Now it could also be that the plugin was updated and then something broke but my first go to would be go to your hosting company. If your hosting company can't help you that's a whole other issue. That should be able to help you pinpoint exactly why it's not going. Through error log or something like that.
Twyla: Absolutely. And the first step of that is just being aware that that could happen to anybody. And it does happen. The people lose, I've had people who didn't get increase and this happened to me once and I learned my lesson and it only happened for a month and half but that was long enough. Lost a lot of work.
Scott: There is another one. Want to hear another interesting one?
Scott: So also with contact forms so there's Automatic the company behind WordPress.com and many of the WordPress plugins that are available for everybody has a plugin called a "Kismet" which is a comment spam plugin. Now it's for comments on blog posts. However some form plugins, including my favorite "Gravity forms" actually have a feature that integrates with a kismet spam prevention. So you can actually make sure that a kismet is blocking spam form completions. Well unfortunately sometimes a kismet is known for having false positives and will actually block good valid emails. So my recommendation is not to use that on your form. If your form plugin if your using has a kismet integration, turn it off. Turn off that integration and just use something like recapture or just don't block, don't prevent anybody from contacting or just delete the one's that happen to be spam.
Twyla: it's easy to press the delete button.
Scott: Yes very easy. Very easy. So that's a little tip for everybody. Just look out for that, and that's an easy solution actually.
Twyla: That's great that is an easy solution keep that in mind. Because I am hoping to switch my contact form provider. I know that I have been looking at switching to Gravity Forms for a while so I have been using Form Assembly. Which I have like for quite a few years but it's not as mobile-friendly and I am looking to switch up to get a better mobile-friendly things. As everyone I think I have mobile-friendly site I am getting far, far, more people coming in from mobile and I want to make sure that they are able to access everything and particularly able to contact me because that's the biggest thing that I want everyone to do and I don't want to provide any stumbling blocks to stop people from contacting me.
Scott: Totally, totally. Cool. Any themes that you like using specifically or that you recommend for photographers to check out?
Twyla: You know I've previously, my business, I was using "Graph Paper Press". Because they had an integration with Photo Shelter at the time. And that was what I was using at the time so I liked that I have sense moved on at this point having a separate photography and blog and gallery system. I might like to reintegrate that again. But I would say in terms of themes I have more I would say cautions than recommendations. I love theme forest for themes but when you cheap out on themes you can also get themes that have really big issues. So I mean I have a theme on my site that I love the way it looks and I have not been able to find anything remotely like it. And occasionally things on my website will just disappear. Because of the way the page builder that they are working with works. So there is, definitely I always archive my site and so I have all of that that I can just plug back in but I would rather not have to do that.
Scott: Yeah. Yes.
Twyla: You know, so I think that buying a good quality theme up front and you know as a photographer I totally get the nickeling and diming when you spend your money. The okay this theme is $50 and this one is $80 so I am going to buy the $50 one and I am going to buy yourself dinner for that $30 or not have any headaches for the next 2 years. As you have your theme. So themes like those that Imagely offers or some of the other really good industry themes are going to maybe cost you a few extra dollars in the short run and a whole lot less headaches in the long run.
Scott: Yeah that's for sure. In fact, you know were talking about the you know forgot what term you used but the nit picking with the dollars that you want to spend.
Twyla: Oh yeah.
Scott: But some companies like Graph Paper Press and like Imagely like us like elegant themes and other offer what's called an unlimited or a lifetime license.
Twyla: Yeah those are great.
Scott: Yeah so you buy it once and you get it forever. No more renewals, no more nothing. You get the updates forever. You get support forever and so on. So for example at Imagely we have lifetime plan that's $400 right? So it is a big chunk up front but you are only paying that once. It's basically you are paying for 3 years of our, it's actually all of our themes and all of our plugins in one package for $400. So you are paying for basically 3 years of it upfront and you are getting it forever. So look out for ...
Twyla: Hugely worth while.
Scott: Yeah, yeah. So if your not a fan of like I am not a fan of paying monthly fees when I don't have to. Right? So I know a lot of other photographers are the same way. So if you don't like paying monthly fees look for lifetime plans and pay it once. Get it off your plate, you'll pay it off with one job.
Twyla: Yeah totally.
Scott: And you won't have to think about it ever again.
Twyla: I love that and yeah I guess in a sense as a cautionary tale because I have always had well, you know with the exception of I think of Graph Paper Press everything else I have tried to do with themes there has always been difficulties.
You know there's always been something that has come up where or the theme is just somehow not compatible with any plugin you put into it or all these other things because they are not built with longevity and simplicity in mind. And so finding a theme from a proper developer or getting a theme developed specifically for your website those are all things that can be good.
And I think the thing that's important for photographers to understand is that, it's great to have a different looking website but not at the expensive of your time and your sanity and all these other things too. You need to make sure that you are creating something that will not fall apart every time you change it that will not be an issue.
These are all part, we go right back to my "be kind to your future you". When it is being very kind to future you to do something like have life time access to support. it's being kind to future you to buy a good quality thing up front. My parents always used to teach me that you spend the most money on things you use everyday and your website is happening everyday even when you are not there.
Scott: Same thing goes for the camera you are using you know?
Scott: Same exact thing. Like, don't you know you are not going to buy a knock off cheap camera when you are ... That's one of the biggest parts of your business. So ...
Twyla: Absolutely. It scares people to spend that much money on something. And I recognize that that's the truth and I have been scared myself. But I have never regretted spending a big chunk of change on my website. Never. Even sometimes when things don't work, even when it was a mistake to spend that money, I learned from it and moved on.
Twyla: I think that it is really important to recognize that you can ... You are dealing with something that has the potential a really good living. And if you are looking at something like if you are going to buy a suit for a job interview and you came upon a suit that was $70 and a suit that was $150 and one of them looked way better on you which one are you going to pick? Right? Most of us, if it was for a job interview would pick the good suit and excuse the money but we don't do that for our websites which is a little silly because the website it the suit. You know? It's the way that people see you.
Scott: Exactly, exactly. And I like to tell people whenever I teach WordPress, actually I just did this set the Out of New York Photography Conference. On Friday when I taught WordPress I tell people you know we all have our personal taste in photography websites that we want for our photography websites but really the design doesn't matter. It does not matter. Because as long as it looks good, it doesn't have to be custom, it doesn't have to be the most unique site out there. It just needs to show your work. It needs to show your content. It needs to show about you and connect help you connect with your potential customers cause your customers won't care if you spend $3,000 on a custom website. They won't care if you spend you know $40 on a theme and they won't care if you spent $400 on a lifetime theme. They won't care. They won't care at all. They want to see your work and to be able to connect with you and that's what's most important so stop worrying about what ...
How do something that is 100% unique and don't also take the cheap way out because the cheap way out is not necessarily good for your business? It goes both ways of the scale. And just get it done and start making money.
Twyla: Yeah I cannot stress enough from a time management perspective how the cheap way out is killing people's lives.
Scott: Yeah, yeah.
Twyla: I cannot stress to you enough how often I talk to people about how they are struggling and struggling to justify spending money on outsourcing stuff. And it is a tiny amount of money compared to what they could make if they had the time to invest to actually make a living. And to have a life.
And so I hear this all the time and I talk to people about it all the time and especially in certain kinds of cultures, and I know, in Canada where I live, in western Canada has a similar kind of mentality to a lot of people in the Midwest in terms of we believe that we should be able to do everything ourselves and if we cannot do it our self our sister or brother or cousin can do it and if those people cannot do it then might have to maybe, possibly find someone else who could. And that self reliance is a value that we have and something we believe is the best and there is people like that all over. Who are grown up being taught that self reliance is an incredible, wonderful, thing and I think for many of us in particularly as business owners it can be a trap that we fall into and we don't fix and create the lives that we really should have.
Or honestly from a broad perspective we are not allowing other people to have those jobs. We are taking everything and too much upon ourselves so I think that that's finding ways to do that in your WordPress site is also an important and great thing and you know I'm sorry Rachel cannot be here because I am sure she would be very happy to hear me say that. You know I think what she does and Christine [Trim-uh-lee 46:28] does about helping people find their voice those are incredible things. And they are very, very helpful and very, very good on my side of the time management coin. I see people finding more freedom and of course success that way.
Scott: Oh yeah. You know between finding somebody to do your blogging for you between finding somebody like Christine to help you figure out how to present yourself on the blog and come up with your strategies for timings. Or between people like virtual assistants, just help you do whatever the task is. Or to out source your processing. There is so many different things.
Twyla: There is more ways than there has ever been in the industry of the world to outsource.
Scott: Yeah it is an amazing time to be a photographer or to be a business person. So before we close was there a plugin that you wanted to talk about to? Or any other final words that you or advice that you want to share or?
Twyla: You know I think the only plugin that I would mention because I think it's been installed in every single version of WordPress since I've had it is actually "Pretty Link" just because I often want to link people to things outside of my website but I also want to know if they have accessed the information and this is also great if maybe you don't have a nice way to linking people to galleries outside of your website. Basically it allows you to put your own web address in front of a tag that you create and you decide to create a nice short link to something. So one of the main ways in which I have used this is that I have a big listing on Google maps of different locations that I like to shoot in when people are asking me about locations and when get a map link from Google Maps it is the ugliest, longest, thing that you have ever seen in your life. And so that now is admiredstudios.com slash locations.
Scott: Much easier.
Twyla: Way nicer. Much nicer on the eyes and hearts and I can also see how much people use it when I send it out.
Scott: Yeah, yeah so another example of using something like this, let's say that you partnered with a venue and the venue gives you a custom link where they want to track your referrals to them.
Scott: That link is going to be ugly most likely. So you can throw that into Pretty Link and then shorten it to make it a much cleaner, you know admiredstudios.com slash venue and it's whatever the name of the venue is and then that goes to their site with your referral link that they gave you. So.
Twyla: Absolutely and this is beautiful especially if you are going to do something like ... I am also up for recommending digital magazines which I think are huge for wedding photographers right now.
Scott: Oh yeah.
Twyla: it's really nice if you create something like that to be able to visually present a nice link to somebody.
Twyla: And that's one of the ways in which you can do it. And it's extremely easy to install and to use and highly recommended and of course it has lots of longevity and tons of users. So it's not going to fall away anytime soon as far as I know.
Scott: Yeah so think about Pretty Links or pretty URL's as part of your business brand or persona. Think about if you are going to send an email to a customer, and it's a super ugly link that looks like spam they might actually hit that spam button so if you are including your domain in it, your website in it, that they are already used to that makes it just that much better and more, you know, cohesive with the rest of your brand in general.
Twyla: It's all part of professionalism right? You want to look like a professional in all things because professionals get paid more.
Scott: Yeah it's like you don't use the AOL email address for your company email. Don't use an ugly URL for something that you don't want people to ... Yeah, it's going to forward to that ugly URL, but they're not going to see that upfront.
Twyla: Yeah exactly. It's going to be a better user experience for them and better experience's for clients are a wonderful way to have a good business and make more money. So it all goes into that and I could be really focused on this conversation on how WordPress can make you money but it can. It's an incredible tool and resource and so I want people to invest their time and money in it simply because it does, it is going to have a return. You know it's not one of these surprise investments where you try and invest something and nothing happens. WordPress is a very, very, good investment.
Scott: Totally, great. So any final thoughts before we close up or?
Twyla: I think I just made that.
Scott: Yeah that was pretty good.
Twyla: I think WordPress is an investment of your time and money that is absolutely worth while is the best thing that I can say in terms of what you are offering here. And I also just want to say Scott I love what you are doing for the community. I think it's really incredible that you have stepped up to create Imagely to fill the need in the community for good education when it comes to WordPress, great themes and hosting. Like there's, especially managed hosting. I think it's really exciting to see that need be met in the photography community and thank you for doing that for everyone.
Scott: No thank you for that. I completely agree it's something that the industry and community needed and hopefully it gets in front of more eyeballs and ears because there is still so many photographers that we haven't reached that can benefit from whatever we are doing. Whether it is the free offerings we have or the paid offerings, whatever. You know? So I hope that a lot of photographers are learning from this and I think they are because are subscribers are going up so that's good.
Scott: So you know and things like kind of the photo convention Out of New York and I think I'll be at Out of Chicago and all these different things where I get to talk to people about WordPress in person is even better because you know sometimes online education is not easy. Sometimes you need to be in front of a face and be able to shake somebody's hand and show them a live demo using their computer. You know that kind of stuff so.
Scott: It's an ongoing process and hopefully we are making it easier for all photographers in the end. Great! Well thank you Twyla for joining me today I am so glad that you are able to join. And ill be including all of your different links and everything you mentioned in the show notes so please be sure to check out Twyla's website to stay in tune with her upcoming book because it's going to be awesome. And you can find the show notes from today's episode at Imagely.com slash podcast slash twenty seven. So until next time.
Twyla: Bye everybody.
— The WordPress Photography Podcast