New Year's Resolutions for Your Website in 2017

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New Year's Resolutions for Your Website in 2017

Websites are like hugging Jell-O, tough to get your arms around. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on yours, it’s time for a change.   The painful reality is, to keep up with the changing online marketplace, constantly moving targets for SEO, and a world with a very short attention span, an annual website update is mission critical.

Your site is the hub of your marketing program. It’s foundational. Any marketing you do beyond a website is designed to drive traffic back to the site. A lackluster, dated, ho-hum, less-than-professional online presence is reckless behavior. Best to step it up.

In the spirit of looking ahead and we’re-in-this-together, I offer these tips to move you toward a high-performing website in 2017:

Assess your graphics.  It’s recommended that businesses update their logo every three years. Colors become passé. Fonts fall out of favor. The last thing you need in these forward-thinking times is a brand that looks and feels dated and out of touch.  When was the last time you updated your brand?  Make 2017 the year to feel fresh again.  Contact your favorite graphic designer or the folks at Hearthfire Creative offer a free brand evaluation to help you figure out where your brand is in its life cycle.

Designer working on a logo

Get a new headshot.  It’s only been a year since your last one? The About page is typically the most visited page on your website.  Keep that headshot fresh and professional.  Headshots should be updated annually and it’s great to have a few so you can update during the year. 

Update the headshots on your website

Update your product photos. Maybe you’ve expanded your offerings or added products to your line, or you’re ready to rid the shelves of your non-performers. Clean house. Show the world what you’ve got with snazzy, up-to-date product photos.

denver product photography

Commit to your blog. Nothing enhances your SEO like regular blogging. Underscore regular. Search engines are most responsive to blogs that post predictably; in other words, every Tuesday at 11 AM. Whatever schedule you commit to, do it, and keep doing it. Adding photos to your posts will increase the odds of someone paying attention to what you’ve got to say… just sayin’…

photography for your blog - pan boiling on a stove

Update your content.  Experts say that part of search engine optimization for 2017 is going to be focused on “dense content”.  Over the last couple years the trend as been toward “epic content” which means someone has written an opus on a topic.  Dense content addresses the idea of providing a thorough look at a topic with an emphasis on brevity. It isn’t just about cramming in extra words, it’s about being truly informative. If you haven’t integrated dense or epic content into your website, it is time to start doing so. Have you raised your prices? Added a team member? Revised or refined your service offerings?  This would be a great place to start integrating dense content.

Woman's hands working on laptop keyboard - denver blog photography

Freshen all banner images. Think about retail stores and how often they change displays, move products around within the store, bring in new products.  Even if you are selling a service, your website is your “storefront”.  Websites get stale quickly.  People who visit your site on a regular basis enjoy seeing something different. Banner images are a great place for new eye candy and help make your website feel fresh.

Example of a Denver stock photo for a banner image

Branding photography sessions with me can help you knock off most of this list, and send you to my go-to professionals for content and graphics

Ready to schedule a Branding Session?  Contact Me!

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Branding sessions tell the story of your business - Denver Branding Photography

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Branding sessions tell the story of your business - Denver Branding Photography

If you’ve ever taken a writing class, you’ve heard this one: show, don’t tell. I’ve got an even better idea, stolen from kindergartners: show AND tell. Provide the narrative juice and the photographs that make the words come alive.

Denver branding photography sessions tell the story of your business

As a lifestyle photographer for families and business, I hit on the idea of Branding Sessions awhile back to help business owners tell their story. My last post featured branding photography for Hearthfire Creative, a Denver-based graphic design firm. The images communicate the heart and soul of this group of rowdy, ultra-cool women who do kick-ass work, and have a good time doing it.

Images bring your content to life. Even the best copy is enhanced by the right imagery. A high-performing website features text and photography that work in synchronicity to describe your business, communicate its personality, and give your prospects a “feel” for what you do and how you do it.

Prospects visit your site to learn about your business. They’ve also come to decide if you and your colleagues are people they can relate to, trust and rely on to deliver the product or service they need. They want to know who you are and what you’re about. They’re looking for a connection.

Images fast-forward those connections. It’s one thing to say your company is friendly, energetic and professional. Showing those qualities in photographs carries the weight and credibility that words alone may not convey. Best case scenario? Great copy and strong images that create lasting impressions. I’ll give you great photography. This woman will give you terrific copy.

Convinced? At least curious?

Contact me to schedule a Branding Session. We’ll choose a setting (or two or three) that showcases you and your business in the best possible light, literally and figuratively. We’ll also consider tone (fun, serious, cooperative, creative), who to include (owner, management team, all the players) and whether to invite a customer or client. I’ll help you with what to wear and how to sit, stand or do a back flip. I know, no one likes to have their picture taken. In five minutes, you’ll forget what’s up and start having fun.

A few weeks later you’ll own the rights to a boatload of images to use on your website, blog posts, MailChimp and Constant Contact templates, brochures, ads, postcard mailings, and holiday greeting cards. I specialize in photography that’s real, honest and full of heart. I usually work outdoors, rarely in a studio, and give a lot of thought to the setting, time of day, time of year and color to portray who you are and what you stand for.  I’d love to help you show the story of your business. Give me a shout.

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Branding Session for Denver Graphic Designer

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Branding Session for Denver Graphic Designer

There is a perfect harmony of working directly with graphic designers for branding photography.  Photographer and designer can communicate about colors, types of images, on-the-nose and more subtle imagery for a client’s website and content.  What’s even better is doing a branding session FOR a Denver graphic designer.  In this case, Hearthfire Creative’s Lexi Steele was able to tell me exactly what she was hoping for, the style of images and the message she wants to convey.

We pulled members of her design and marketing team together to get headshots of the group, and team photos of them working.  We also got a ton of just beautiful images that can easily be used as banner images, in her marketing materials, or in blogs.

Lexi’s business name came from her connection to a powerful tarot card the Hearthfire.  We have done previous branding work together showing her sense of community and the actual fire.  In this session, we were focused more on work product and her growing business team.

We also focused on humor and heart, because Lexi’s team is full of heart.  She supports working women who have kids, everyone on her team (including a couple folks who were unable to make the shoot) works from home and mostly on their own schedule.  Lexi has so much love in her and is so passionate and fun, it shines through in every moment with her.

We all agreed the photo of the day was with Courney and her son – trying to juggle her kid, computer, and phone – hey just like her real life! 

This session is part one of two, we also did a Day in the Life session which is coming soon to the blog!

Are you ready to schedule your unique branding session?  Contact me!

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Thanksgiving Documentary Family Photography in Denver

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Thanksgiving Documentary Family Photography in Denver

Thinking about the Thanksgiving, I can’t help but remember my own childhood.  Some of my favorite memories are of Thanksgivings spent at my grandparent’s house.  My grandparents had a fancy dining table with a matching china hutch which was rarely opened except on these specialholiday occasions.  Then we got to take out all the good stuff, china, crystal, and silver. 

 

I remember Grandpa liked to use an electric carving knife to cut the turkey.  Why such a thing ever existed is a mystery to me, but I remember the sight and sound of it well.  My grandmother, Tutu, was fond of assigned places at the table.  The younger generation was tasked with making each place card, and sometimes we would be allowed to decide where people sat – a big honor!   I also remember Tutu had a set of tiny cordial glasses that looked like miniature versions of her cut crystal stemware, and she would let kids have a tiny glass with a tiny amount of wine with the dinner just like the grownups.  She had little crystal salt cellars on the table, an old-fashioned thing that isn’t really used anymore, but I recall being so fascinated by them because they were so small and held tiny crystal spoons.  They had beautiful Noritake china and this amazing set of hand-embroidered napkins and table cloth to match the china perfectly.  The kind of thing you just never see these days.

At the end of dinner while people had cake and coffee, my grandmother would retire to the kitchen where she would load the dishwasher and wash the dishes, often not partaking in the dessert at all.    As I got older, I joined her, and often it wound up being all the women in the kitchen, cleaning up as the guys visited with each other at the dining table.  Looking back, I think there was bonding that happened between those of us who cleaned after the meal.  It showed respect to the person who cooked and served all day.  But it also brought us all together in a quiet moment, when all we were doing was focused effort on cleaning.

Vivid as these memories are to me, they are just stories to you – and more importantly to my kids, or my husband, or other people with whom I share my life.  Wouldn’t it be cool if I had photos from some of those events or those little details that only live on in my memory?  I wish I could show my sons photos of my grandfather with that stupid electric carving knife.  My grandfather passed away when I was still in high school.  My husband and my sons never met him.  I wish I could show them what our family looked like when I was growing up.  But of course, documentary photos of your family were almost nonexistent back then.  Usually what you have is one or two terrible photos taken by one family member and with luck, the picture is in focus. 

I’m advocating documentary family photography over the holidays because I think these moments should be captured.  And I think everyone in the family should be a part of the story.  Hiring a professional to capture your friends and extended family over a holiday is a way to share your history and your traditions with future generations, in a way that reaches far beyond family lore.

Much as I love oral family history, I think it can be made so much more real if you have photography to accompany the stories.  Our lives are constantly changing; people move, china breaks, walls get repainted.  Documentary family sessions help you tell the story of your Now, and be able to share it or many generations in the future.

Are you interested in booking a Thanksgiving family photography session?  Contact me!

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Documentary Family Photography in Denver

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Documentary Family Photography in Denver

Part two of my Day in the Life for Business session with Denver yoga teacher Celeste Williamson.  We broke her session into two shoots: part one where we focused on her physical yoga and massage practice, and part two where we focused on her personal life.  I was very interested to see how her life and her yoga intersect.  She had a friend in town for the weekend, it was a pleasure to capture a moment in time of their very busy lives. 

Celeste has a husband and three sons, one who is a very grown-up 17 year old who heads to college this fall, and the other two are youngsters of 6 and 8.

I loved how the boys were hanging out in the living room doing yoga poses, totally unprompted. 

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