Episode 14 – We Chat Directories with Nick from Wandering Weddings

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Interview: Nick Edmundson from Wandering Weddings

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We’re excited to sit down and chat with Nick Edmundson about his directory for elopement photographers and vendors. They’ve seen massive growth in the past year, due in large part to their SEO successes.

We talk about photographer directories in general, what a photographer should look for in a directory when signing up, and if it’s worth it to sign up just for the backlink.

We also got the details on Wandering Weddings recently launched brand new website and rebrand. The process they went through and how they think it will improve the experience for their vendors.

Disclosure: Dylan pays for a Wandering Weddings listing and we receive an affiliate commission for new sign-ups using our links.

Dylan: Hey everybody. Welcome to episode 14 of the SEO for photographers podcast with Dylan and Corey from fuel your photos. Today, we have a special guest we're going to be interviewing Nick from wandering weddings.

Nick: How's it going, everybody? Hey, there really good. How are you

Dylan: doing awesome in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

So, yeah, Nick, tell us a little bit about wandering weddings and kind of your story.

Nick: Yeah. So, I am kind of like, I've been an entrepreneur since I have been young and have had multiple businesses and for the last decade or so, our full-time and my wife are both full-time, wedding and Logan photographers.

and for the last 10, 11 years, our full-time income has been, shooting weddings and elopements. because we are outdoorsy, adventurous people. For a while we were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and it, while Cleveland was a super cool place to be, it didn't necessarily fit our lifestyle. so fast forward, you know, seven, eight years we found ourselves moving across the country to Seattle, and transitioning our business from shooting more for shooting traditional weddings to more like adventurous, outdoor, smaller, intimate gatherings.

and then eventually into. I love in spaces where, you know, it's just a couple photographer and efficient and people are doing things. I wouldn't say for the right reasons, but for, for reasons that they want, which is celebrating their love and being married and being outdoors. so the more and more we started.

Shooting these weddings, these elopements, rather than, you know, traditional weddings. we were looking for places to submit our work. you know, part of building, you know, our SEO strategy was building backlinks, which is getting featured on blogs and publications. And the more and more we've we shot these allotments.

We were looking for somewhere to submit them and we were getting declined by all of our. Normally publications because they wanted to see, you know, invitations laid out and they want to see Jimmy Choos. They wanted to see, you know, a bunch of vendors. so being the entrepreneur that I am, instead of, you know, Waiting for someone to make this blog.

I basically started wandering weddings at that time. It was wandering photographers and it was a blog that was basically showcasing Epic elopements and couples kind of doing these outdoor hiking, weddings.

Corey: And when was that? What w what year was that?

Nick: I started in early 2017. I think, yeah. Yeah.

So we, we, it started as. A blog. And I was reaching out to photographers that I knew, to feature, you know, Epic, Lovins, that they've shot. It was just like a, for fun thing. And we were we're publishing weddings, publish elopements. And, you know, I was like, okay, like, how do we get traffic to these?

These publications are these blog posts. Then we started social media. So then we started like Instagram and Pinterest and our Facebook group. And. Yeah. And at that time, you know, Instagram, you know, things started doing things in that nature, like outdoor Lovins and travel started to get a little more viral.

so our Instagram blew up pretty quick. and that is where we were receiving most of our traffic. and then, yeah, it came, it became more of a full-time job for me. You know, we opened up submissions to other photographers and just through Instagram and other social media channels, we were getting.

You know, 10 to 30 submissions, a day of people that want to be featured on our blog. And I'm like, I can't, I shifted to, okay, this is something that was for fun too, to get to elopements out there and, and, you know, to the world, to Holy crap, this is becoming a full-time job. So I shifted to how do I monetize this and, and turn this into something that's not just like a, a passion project for me.

Corey: Man. There's like so many things to unpack here. This is the whole story of you doing photography and working on SEO there and backlinks the whole thing with building a new website slash blog and trying to get traffic there to monetize that there's like so much, but ever a random question here. You said you've always been an entrepreneur since you were young.

What was your first entrepreneurial venture?

Nick: I mean, I've just been a hard worker. I've always had two and three jobs. And I think my first, my first business I ever LLC was actually, my first legal LLC, other than like selling baseball cards and like burning CDs and for my like downloading illegal music and burning CDs for my friends, you know, like charging 20 bucks, My first real business was, was Nick Adams and imaging my photography business.

you know, since then I've, I've owned a coffee roastery and a couple of cafes. obviously wondering weddings now, but, my mind is. Functions like an entrepreneurs. Everything's a business idea. Everything is an idea. And whether it turns into something or not, it that's just how my mind works.

Corey: Yeah.

Cool. So when did the, directory of wondering weddings come into the picture?

Nick: April, 2017 was our first, it was the first time we took on a member on our site.

Corey: So that's actually pretty early on too. I mean, I know you said it started as a blog, but you must've started with the member aspect pre early, huh?

Nick: Yeah. Yeah. It was probably to be honest, like four or five months in, yeah, it may have been like. Late 2016 that we actually like bought the wandering photographers.com and, and made it a thing. but yeah, our first revenue we ever brought in was in April of 2017.

Dylan: Nice. Awesome. What do you think kind of makes your D directory different from the typical wedding directory that most photographers are familiar with?

Nick: I mean, the first and most obvious one is that we were hyper-focused on the outdoor elopement space. so even as far as. Not, we don't really show a lot of urban, you know, like city elopements. It's more so like these couples, hiking and backpacking to two Epic locations and focusing on, on just a moment.

So that's that's number one. number two is I, I think we. We're very plugged in to the community. So like as a little bit photographers ourselves, we kind of see what's going on in an industry and we can kind of adjust and we're very plugged in, in our community as well. So like any member will tell you that they've probably either had a video call with me or emailed with me or talk to me on Facebook.

And we really listened to like our members, because that's how we grow. Like we want to receive feedback and make, make changes. you know, we started this. Not to make a ton of money. We started this because we really wanted the elopement space to grow and to grow the exposure. For elopements as a whole.

so yeah, we, we do make money, but that's not the goal. My goal is not just to like, take people's money and like buy a yacht and fly around in my private jet. It's like, I, I really want this space, like it's still open space to grow and be something really cool.

Dylan: Yeah. I do. I feel like that's the opposite from kind of the.

The corporate directories that exist, like the nod or WeddingWire like, they feel like they're parasites on the photography world. Just trying to extract revenue from photographers and give just enough benefit to not have them get sued by the photographers that paid for it. But yeah, it's, it's refreshing to see.

You guys in the space,

Corey: you know what I mean? You'll see Nick and pretty much every photography group that's out there and he's like definitely staying connected. I see them commenting on things and interacting with photographers all the time. You're not gonna see that from the knot or wedding wire, whatever.

Dylan: They'll just leave the voicemails.

Nick: Yeah.

Corey: Yup. so speaking of, you know, your main goal, not being, Hey, let's just. Take as much money as possible. And talking about the directory, what else is involved? Like if I join wondering weddings as a photographer member, what, what else is part of that membership?

Yeah.

Nick: So as we evolved, our, our biggest thing was how do we provide value to our members? so they're actually receiving value from whether they're paying for it, right? So we kind of break it down. one big thing, our memberships are pretty affordable. So our standard tighter for membership for photo and video is $200 a year in all our other vendor types are a hundred dollars a year.

so one thing you receive in that that is really big. And at one thing, I'm sure we're going to touch on here in this podcast is a backlink from a high domain authority website. so I'm gonna keep going and we'll hop back to that. So you also, we also shifted to, we featured on our blog. You have to be a member.

So instead of receiving. submissions from anybody in the world. we kind of made it exclusive to, you have to be a member of our website to submit to our blog. So it's kind of a perk. you know, there's things out there like, you know, to write lights where you have to be a member to submit a certain, certain publications.

that's kind of what we were, we were going after, where we want to reward. Add additional value to the people who are our members part of our

Corey: community. Yeah.

Nick: Yeah. and then, yeah, also with that, you get to submit to our Instagram. So you have a, you have a direct link to submit to our Instagram account, so you can get featured on our, on our social media channels.

obviously with, with any blog submission that we receive, that we publish, we push it out to all of our social media channels. Pinterest, Facebook. Instagram. so it's another incentive for people to, to submit and be featured, because they get, they get, you know, exposure over our social media.

Yeah.

Dylan: Corey, do you want to talk a bit about backlinks from directors right

Corey: now? Yeah, I mean, that's, that sounds like a good thing for us to jump into. I have some. Absolutely. Interesting opinion. Totally. Yeah. So Dylan and I are always kind of if like we keep each other balanced when it comes to backlinks, both of us believe that they are absolutely.

A part of SEO, a big part of SEO it's undeniable, however, exactly how much influence rankings and when, and what kind of links are actually going to move the needle. There's a lot of room for debate there. and so we definitely debate this a lot and not in a like, heated way where we disagree. Usually we actually ended up bringing pretty well on it.

It's mostly just, okay. I hear what you're saying, but prove it show me. And it's hard to do sometimes. but when it comes to a directory listing, I think there's more to it than just like the juice that comes from a back link. There's also this idea that, Google looks for signals of authority and they look for, things that different websites in a space have in common.

They have certain things that are kind of expected. and you know, when we look at directors like the knot and wedding wire they've come becomes so massive. That it's almost like if you're not listed on one of these, it's like, are you really a wedding business? And I know that's maybe taking it a little bit to the extreme, but that's a really good signal for Google to say, are these people legit?

Are they showing up where we would expect them to same kind of idea with a Google, my business listing or a Facebook page or any of these things that, you know, Facebook page nowadays, like how many people are really using those to push forward with their photography business? Not that many, but it's still one of those kind of expected citations.

and I think that sometimes as an industry evolves and things like what Nick was talking about, where, you know, he wants to see the elopement space grow well, what's happening there is wondering weddings is becoming a name that is. Synonymous with elopements, right? It's becoming a big brand that Google expects to see some association with on a loop, elopement photographer, websites.

And so, you know, as that becomes more and more the case as that's like saturating more and more. Photography a little bit photographers websites that they have like a link to wondering weddings, or they mention it, or they've got a link from them. It becomes more and more expected. And so I think that's something that's really interesting to think about besides just, should I join it for the back link because it's going to increase my domain authority.

I'm going to rank higher. but maybe you could talk a little more directly about that. What do you think?

Dylan: Yeah. so I think that the. I'm just looking through, like right now, the top performing pages on wandering wedding site and they're covering every topic all around the world for elopements in this space.

on the first page for multiple cities, multiple States, multiple countries, huge, huge volume topics in the elopement space. I would guess that right now, wandering weddings is getting like. 30% of all allotment traffic or something like who knows what that real number is, but like, they're one of the main players.

therefore if you're getting a link from that site and you're in that same, specialty, it's hugely relevant. and I think that so much authority is going to be passed just because of that. And then I look at these, these posts that are performing well, like one of them is, Airbnb wedding venues.

they have a great post about different. A wedding venues that you can rent on Airbnb. And it's linking to photographers that are members from that post in the actual body text of the post. you just, I don't know, like if we can debate like actual directory profile links, having a ton of value, I think that they do have some, but the value from a, a link in a post like that is just.

Corey: Not very high. Yeah. I would agree with that. And I think that's one of the interesting things like Nick, you're saying you're looking for those opportunities to give value. It's not that if I sign up for $200 a year, I'm definitely going to get one of those links on a strong page. But if I plug into the community and I'm able to be part of that community by joining.

There's going to be those opportunities. I mean, it's the same kind of thing with our, our course community for fewer photos. A lot of times, whenever I'm writing a new blog post on fuel photos, I'll be like, Hey guys, I need this or that like a photo of this or an example of this. And whenever they. Answer in the Facebook group, I'll throw their link in that post.

And I think that's, it's always good to be connected to people who are publishing things regularly, because they're always going to need something. And there's always opportunities there for contributing and being, getting links that way.

Nick: Definitely. Yeah. We, we even get emails and people say like, Hey, how can I get.

You know, take the most fans of my membership and get the most out of it. And we tell people like we, when we were requesting content for articles, we post in our members only Facebook group. you know, we just posted a resource for new England, the whole new England area. And, you know, you know, who got those, those backlinks, those are the members that are active in our community.

So, yes, there's some value in receiving, you know, signing up, getting your, your backlinks for your, your listing, but just being part of the community and being active in our community will get you, you know, there's some people that have our guests, you know, 30, 40, 50 links throughout our site, just because every time they post something, they have content there.

They're sharing it. And, there's somebody into our blog and yeah, they're getting, they're getting tons of exposure.

Corey: I want to talk for just a second, a little bit more about like, should I sign up for, or directory for a backlink just as a general topic. There's some rules that I tend to look at whenever I try to answer this question.

We get this question a lot, actually, because there's a lot of different places where you can sign up for anything from. 30 bucks a year to, you know, $600 a month or whatever it gets pretty astronomical sometimes. and so like, I guess one question and this Dylan, you might could talk about this. What's the actual value of a backlink in, in dollar signs, like in the SEO space, if you're going to buy back links, what would you typically be paying for them?

Dylan: Yeah, so I think any backlink that by itself, if you're paying for it, just like one backlink, If you're spending less than $25, it's probably spam and not, it's not likely to help you probably. Generally, if you're getting manual outreach, real back links from real sites, you're going to be spending around a couple of hundred bucks.

At least

Corey: I would say like anywhere from 50 to $300 is typical for even like just regular bloggers who, you know, it sounds people are probably like, wait, wait, wait, wait. I thought you don't want us to buy backlinks. And honestly, I don't, I don't like the idea of buying backlinks because I think there's plenty of opportunities to get them naturally.

But even if you're going at it pretty naturally, and you're reaching out to bloggers and things like that, there's a lot of pay-to-play happening in this space. And a lot of those blogs will ask you for money. To get that link and they'll be happy to give it to you, but you're gonna have to pay them. And the w when I've seen it, generally, people are starting around $200 for those.

Anyway, just for any kind of placement, if you're buying something on like a decent PBN or whatever, and if people don't know what that's talking about, just. Ignore it, but I mean, maybe like 60 bucks is like a general average, like 30 EDA link or something like that. so I mean, there's definitely some inherent value in any link, if you're thinking about it, like, am I buying links?

But what I like to think about is, is there value for signing up for this besides the back link? And if so, that really sweetens the pot. also what I like to think about is. What is the focus of this website? Does it focus on the end user, the person searching for vendors or does it focus on getting vendors?

Obviously, there's going to have to be some of both, but there's a lot of directories out there where all of the calls to action on the page are sign up for our directory. All of the main navigation is. Clearly for the vendors in there's like, you know, full ads on the homepage. Like it's all about signing up for the director.

I'm like, what is, this is crazy. There's no point of this website. It's like, A scheme or something, right. If, if that's the case, I would just steer clear. However, whenever you see a directory that is clearly making end user search a priority, the ability to find information, find vendors, find what they're looking for.

If that's the case, then there's very likely significant value to being part of a directory like that. I would say that's clearly true for when you're waiting, especially with this new website design.

Nick: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, going back to like the providing value to our members thing, you know, For me, I've been very transparent with our community and all of our members.

And to be a hundred percent honest, if we cannot provide you the value that you're looking for, I want you to leave. Like, I want you to cancel your membership and go somewhere else. And that, like, I, I pull my hair out every day thinking about like, how do I provide more value to these? These these members.

so what we did kind of go back to like the, if you build it, they will come thing. We focus on growth first. And as far as like the end user, which is a couples plan, their Lovins, if we can get 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, a hundred thousand of those people a month on our site, The vendors are going to come organically.

You know, people are gonna want to be listed on our site if we're in front of a hundred thousand couples planning their little bits. so that's kind of, our mindset is like, we want to focus on providing the value and then, you know, doing things like this and, and, and growing as a whole, the vendors will come.

You know, we, we've been pretty fortunate where. Our growth has came organically. We haven't paid for ads or, you know, everything's word of mouth with us. Like we we've built this platform that we on providing value to the members and it's happening organically. Could we have grown faster? If we like force sold people bullshit, they don't need.

And like paid for ads probably. But again, it goes back to the point of like, I didn't start this just to take your money and like, you know, scale this business and sell it to the not and move on with life. I started this business because I really genuinely want to grow the elopement space and. And exposure for, for Logan's as a, as a whole and help vendors in that space.

I was kind of ramped, sorry. Yeah. But I think

Corey: that's a key distinction and selling point for, for your website and, and for the photographers featured there. Tell us a little bit, well, I'm thinking here about, I'm still thinking about like, should I sign up for a directory and I'm thinking about, of like the, the cost analysis is so interesting to me because.

$200 a year. Pretty much seems like a no brainer to me. but I know that that's still a good chunk of change. and it's like, well, I don't want to just throw it away. A lot of times I see people talking about like, they signed up for the nod, but not, it gets ridiculously expensive. Like I'm surprised now.

Oh, I mean, it really is 600 or $1,200 a month in some areas. Yep. And I see people who are like, yeah, I paid $3,000 for the year for the nod. And I got at least one inquiry. So I guess it was worth that. I'm like, no, that's not, that's not always true though. It could be worth it whenever I was a, starting out wedding photographer.

And I was trying to kind of expand my, area of service I'm I'm located in Columbia and I wanted to also, do some weddings in Charleston. And so I signed up for the not right. In Charleston, like as a Charleston wedding photographer. And I only probably got two bookings out of the year, and I think I did pay 2,500 or $3,000 back then for the year.

So my, my profit, like if you're looking at benchmarks for how much you should spend on marketing or advertising, it's should probably be like eight to 12%. So really if you're spending $200 for a year, you should be making $2,000 back off of it for it to be worth it. from just that perspective. But also, you know, the fact that I got those two weddings in Charleston got me in the door and that was interesting.

Right. So, yeah. In that point in my business, I was willing to pay a hundred percent to, to acquire a wedding because I got to meet the right people in the Charleston market, the planners, the venue owners, content that I needed to write on my blog to start ranking for those areas. And so I think that's an interesting.

Way to think about like, should I sign up for a director and how much should I pay? And is it worth it because realistically, most people are probably not just looking at wondering weddings. Right. They're looking at, okay, well, I've got a budget of a thousand dollars a year for this, which ones should I join?

There's going to be a multiple or something like that, potentially. and so anyway, that's just, I'm ranting too, but just thinking about some different thoughts that I've had over the years, as I thought about joining directories and is it worth

Nick: it? Do you want to touch on, like w what the difference between a follow and a no-follow backlink is, and directories like the, not the do not follow and directly like ours that have follow back backlinks.

Totally.

Corey: The one, your thoughts on that?

Nick: Yeah. So,

Dylan: no follow links, for people that don't know or. I think created in

Nick: about

Corey: 2012 ish.

Dylan: I can't remember

Corey: the date,

Dylan: but it was spam was out of control and Google wanted a way to have webmasters, be able to discount a link and say that I'm, I'm not going to vouch for this, this website's credibility.

I'm still linking to it, but don't count it for me or against me. and it's, it's, it's, it's been used to kind of clean up link profiles of the web, but. Like anything that on the web it's it was quickly used incorrectly. Google can't really look at it like a clear signal. And so they, they use it as a hint and it definitely means something in some cases, but it's not universal, in general and no follow back link is going to carry less weight than a followed back link it all other variables equal.

and so when you get a link from a directory, if it's no followed. If we already think that directory links on like just a profile page are going to really depend on how relevant that page is and how much traffic that page is driving and where it's featured in the site and all of these other things that they might have value, they might not.

Then if you add a no follow on top of that,

Nick: it's

Dylan: another giant hint

Corey: that it's probably not going to

Dylan: carry much weight, not going to really help the site outside of being a citation where it's. Another place on the web that has the name of your company, has the address, has the phone number, et cetera. being a directory that has followed links, is giving Google at least a chance to, say that this profile has some authority and is going to count positively.

Corey: Yeah. I think that what you're talking about there, like for me to sum it up and how I believe about it. I think that the directory profile link is going to be treated essentially like a citation. Across the board. I mean, whether it's follower no-follow I think they're basically going to try to treat it the same.

I th but like you said, there is at least some chance of authority being passed through a followed link, whereas without it, but I mean, authority, you know, like it's, we're, it's, we're so far beyond just pure domain authority. Like we were in the old days, Where well, true. This is the part where we can get debate.

Like how much, exactly weight does it carry? we, we don't know exactly. but I think that Google is looking at trust signals for authorities that, you know, are you listed on this directory is a trusted, like, so I think there's some interesting thoughts there. I think it probably counts. Either way, but having that phone link, especially the in context followed links that we were talking about earlier, like within an article is going to be significantly stronger.

But the follow the link within the directory listing itself is potentially stronger, at least. Yeah.

Dylan: my, my biggest theory is if I'm a, an elopement photographer

Nick: and I'm

Dylan: targeting the term Portland elopement photographer, and my homepage is ranking okay. For that. And that's what my whole page is really targeting with its title tag and content and H one heading and all that stuff that we talked about.

If I can get a link from a directory, that's already ranking on the first page for that term as well. I think that's, a no brainer at, especially at $200, you know? I would have to really think about it if it was $2,000 a year.

 

but at 200, I think that that's like, it's even if you take away the SEO considerations, they're already ranking on the first page and you have the chance for the referral traffic.

And that's probably worth $200. Right. so

Corey: yeah. What are your, what are your thoughts about if they are not ranking? Let's say I'm trying to rank for, you know, a little bit of photographers in, I'm just gonna make one up like Asheville, North Carolina, let's say wonder weddings isn't there. Maybe they are probably, but, if they're not, what does that change?

The value of signing up there? Give it

Nick: to

Dylan: Penn. So like, Then I think it goes back to your thoughts earlier

Corey: on.

Dylan: If, if wondering weddings is ranking for every major market elopement, more or less like 80% of them in the country. And if they're ranking for on the first page for like the top 20 topics on how to plan a low payments, where to elope all of those things, there's so much relevance that I still think it's, if it's in a market that wandering isn't ranking already, probably still worth it, but.

Yeah, that's an interesting one.

Corey: Yeah. And adding your profile to that list may help them to rank for that potential market, especially if they don't have very many vendors on that page. I think that's a chance that. They're not going to rank as well until they get more members there. So signing up inherently may help the ranking of that particular thing.

Okay. So speaking of that, and this is something that I actually talked to Nick about a little bit yesterday. This is kind of off topic slightly,

Dylan: but w

Corey: let's talk for just a second about if you're signing up for a directory, what are some SEO tips for optimizing that directory listing itself?

Nick: Nice.

Corey: Yeah, bill.

And you're, you're a King of this.

Nick: This is a great one because it goes along with people trying to get the value out of their, their listing. you know, because we see people that will create their listing and throw a sentence up there about themselves, or copy that bio from another source and just kind of plop it in there and their listing.

yeah, so I'd love to like, kind of elaborate on what they should be putting in their vendor profile and. Is it smart for them to optimize that as best they can to rank for their keywords in our site, within our site.

Dylan: Yeah. So yeah, I recently signed up, I think probably two months ago for wandering weddings.

Is that

Nick: somewhere sounds awkward.

Dylan: Yeah.

 

and my theory there was that I was looking for a terms that I wasn't ranking for, with my homepage or. That I wanted to rank, my homepage and my wandering weddings profile possibly.

Nick: when I did

Dylan: that, I looked at like, how much text copy could I fit on my profile page?

And then I, I wrote out like some pretty monster paragraphs. I think it was about a thousand words or something, and just built out my profile with that. And it was just trying to be relevant, without going over the top with just like pure SEO nonsense. just. I think in general, people need to provide more information about their business, their, their home market, what they offer, their services, all of those things.

And then the next step was I, I did build a few backlinks to my profile, which I think is something that people kind of, they all. Are a lot of people understand that they should probably build back links to their website, but they don't also realize that building backlinks to their features or to the sites that they already rank for can help as well.

And that can be as easy as if you have a, link

Corey: tree,

Dylan: or something like that, or a site on your page, on your site where you link from Instagram to all your favorite profiles, adding it there, or. On external sites, like linking from your Facebook business page to your wondering weddings profile, things like that can work.

it's just going to give you a higher chance of ranking that profile page, for, even as terms as simple as your own brand. because I like to be in control of everything in the first few pages of results that shows up when people search for Dillon and health photography. And if I can curate which photos are on the wondering weddings profile and what information is presented, that's going to be something that I want.

Corey: Yeah. And I, I mean, I feel like even just super basic, Tips here don't copy and paste your bio from your about page or from your not listing or whatever else, if you have to, to just get started fine, but that's not the best use of your profile. Every profile listing that you have out there that can be unique.

Is more opportunities for you, like Dylan say you can rank for your brand for it's possible for these two to rank for other terms as well. Not very often. Will you see like a user profile ranking for like random keywords or, you know, comp competitive keywords, but sometimes you'll see that. Yeah, I think that that's key.

Like let's write something that is unique to that site and think through like, who are the users of the site and how are they different from users of other directory? So who's the person who lands on wandering weddings. And like the end user, the eloping couple. What does the message of wondering wedding say if they land on the homepage or they land on one of these information pages, what's the kind of the philosophy of wondering weddings, making sure that your profile like aligns with obviously your own business philosophy, but also like the target market of the website that you're writing the list, you know, that the listing is going to live on.

I think having that match is it's similar to. The way that you're going to, you know, improve conversions on your own website, you're basically trying to have a message to market match. So anyway, just spend some time on your profile. If you have them on any directory and make them unique, you know, build links to them, there's a lot of things you can do to really maximize those.

Nick, do you guys have a user generated content, like reviews of vendors available on wondering weddings or no?

Nick: Yeah, on our new site, we have a submit, a testimonial, a button where they can, you know, users can share past, or they can share that with their, their couples and, and get reviews directly to our site.

Or they can submit, you know, past reviews if they wish. I know there's kind of mixed reviews or mixed feelings about like, should I copy and paste reviews on our platform if they're already somewhere else or should I get unique views know reviews on, on wandering weddings? I don't know if you guys have any thoughts on that or what's good or bad, or it doesn't matter.

Corey: Does the end user write the review or can the vendor pipe paste the review in

Nick: both?

Corey: Okay. Yeah. I mean, I feel like this is probably a whole separate topic that we could talk about later, Nick, but I'm getting that. paying attention to Google's policies on user generated. Content for reviews could be something valuable for wondering weddings and getting the right schema markup on there and everything.

anyway, but for, for other the other part of your question, if it's possible, I would. Always want reviews to be unique across different platforms. I am not a big fan of like copy and paste from all the different places. Especially if the vendor is doing it. If the users themselves are doing it, like, I think that's somewhat normal behavior.

I think that people often do that kind of thing anyway. So it's not like Google is going to say, Oh, if we see that we're penalizing it we're suppressing it completely. I don't expect that to happen, but I don't know that it has as much value as let's say. You're, you're wondering wedding's profile has 10 unique reviews that don't show up anywhere else on the web.

Well, that's now making your profile even more valuable as a result.

Nick: Got it. Cool.

Dylan: Cool. Nick. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your SEO journey with wandering weddings?

Nick: Oh yeah.

Corey: I mean,

Dylan: I pulled up a GRA, a graph of the last 16 months,

 

traffic and it's just, yeah, it's amazing.

Nick: Yeah. So like, like many people in, in the photography industry or, in a creative industry that have websites and have blogs, we quickly found out there's a difference between.

Just blogging and getting content out there and then getting, you know, blogging and, and driving organic traffic, and doing, I'm sure if you're looking at our, our, our curve there of like real clicks and traffic to our site, you'll see. we, we had 400 plus posts in our website and we thought the more posts we put out.

The better we would do. And we were still doing it early on. We were still doing like 30 to 40 clicks on our website a day. Wow. And it's like, wow, that sucks. yeah, so we, we had content, but it wasn't ranking for anything. And then, and then we. Honestly, it was with you guys. We really discovered like what it takes to drive organic traffic to our site.

You know, we, at the point where, okay, we're kind of capped out of how other than going viral, you know, capped out on what social media can provide for us as far as like daily traffic to our site, you know, only so many people are gonna, you know, swipe up on our, our thing and Instagram, So we really dove in, we went like literally two feet in, is that a saying till two feet in, in my pants, to SEO, and you know, we went through your course and we really. W w w where we're at, I think is, is, is beyond the basics of SEO. It really taught us like where to start and what to focus on and how to build a content strategy, for our, for our website. I remember early on Dylan, I was sending you pictures of like, these webs is content webs.

I was building, and they were just getting way too ridiculously large, And, and yeah, you know, a year ago we were doing 30 to 50 clicks a day, you know, and fast forward to, you know, traffic's kind of, I don't know if it's election or this time of year has dropped a little bit right now, but you know, month ago we were doing 900 plus clicks a day.

and that's just organic clicks. That's not including social media and everything. so yeah. You go grew that just a little bit over the last year. Yeah.

Corey: Serious. And I think one of the really interesting things right now is that you've got lots of data. So you've got rankings for a lot of different topics.

I mean, even yesterday we were looking at your, Search console for a page on a specific topic. And it was ranking for hundreds of keywords. And as we dug in and got down the list of ones that like had, you know, dozens of impressions, but zero clicks, we're realizing that, Hey, this is about the topic in general, but there's lots of sub topics here where this post isn't even necessarily relevant, but there's so much opportunity and you wouldn't even necessarily notice that or knowing exactly what keywords people are using.

If you didn't have that first post out there, that's going to start gathering some impressions, even if it's on page four or five or whatever. And now you can take those and kind of go back into those webs, take that one. That's kind of the hub about the topic, and then get more specific with the spokes.

You can really build out content. That's going to be relevant for the more specific queries. There's a lot of opportunity there.

Dylan: I'm just thinking the value of that data. Like. The impression data for every major market, for elopements in the world. Like Nick probably has the best data out of anybody else in the space on that, which is

Corey: unreal.

Nick: Yeah.

Corey: Cool. maybe real quick, tell us a few examples of. Successes that people have had from joining, wandering weddings, either with their rankings or with just bookings or anything that people are like, what, what are people saying about being part of wondering weddings?

Nick: Yeah, definitely. and this is kind of my, my favorite thing to talk about too, because we obviously we're putting in a lot of work and it, it really gets us excited when members share like their, their victories.

so a lot of times in our members only Facebook group, we see people post, actually I don't. Pretty good friend of mine will. Corey's a photographer in, Northern California. He signed up about a month and a half ago. And within like three weeks of him signing up, he posted in the group and he's like, I just booked like a dream three day Yosemite, backpacking, elopement.

through your site, I don't know how much we'll actually charges or, you know, what are you made out of that backpacking elopement? but essentially paid for his first month, paid for his membership for the next, you know, 15, 20 years. and I'm sure he's going to get more value out of that as, as, as it goes on.

but it's really cool to see, like in our members only Facebook group, people sharing. Their victories, whether it be, whether it is like, Hey, I received my first lead from wandering weddings today, or I received my first booking from wandering weddings today. They, my dream couple. And that's my favorite thing is when they're like, you know, I'm been shooting traditional weddings.

I want to shoot elopements. Like I just got an inquiry from like, for like my dream a moment. so that's super cool. And then fast forward, you know, two, three, six months out, we see people sharing. Photos of the elopements. They got to leads from on wandering weddings and like sharing, like, Hey, I got this booking and wondering weddings, this is, this is it, basically the photos from it.

and it's cool to see, like we were part of that process from, from the beginning, right? So from them getting the lead to, you know, they booked it and they're sharing the final product with us, which is just super cool on our end.

Corey: It's really cool. So, Nick, I know that, wondering weddings just had a major.

Facelift, if you want to call it that it's more like a reconstructive surgery of the entire skeletal system. Tell us a little bit about what that's been like and kind of what was the motivation and what's changed with the

Nick: site. Yeah. I mean, if you were ever on our old site, it it's very obvious, but if you were not on our old site, you know, we, I started wandering weddings myself.

I'm not a web designer. so basically it was a DIY site. it was originally built on Squarespace and then self migrated to WordPress built on a. Theme called Nevada that is very clunky, very slow and, very hard to manage. so as we grew and we were getting more, more vendors and more traffic, we really needed to be on a more scalable platform.

so about 10 months ago, we hired someone to, redesign our whole site, with the focus on speed and just a clean fast site with some features. That would allow us to onboard vendors easier. originally way back in the day, we were manually creating everybody's listing. So they'd fill out a form and then we would go in and like build them a page on our site.

then we used a plugin that was like a member plugin, where they were able to make a login. Manager listing. it was still very clunky. and I spent most of my time helping people upload their photos and manage their listings. so one of the big things on the new site was we wanted the onboard to be very straightforward and very easy for our, for our members.

we also, instead of. Having a directory page, if it's literally just a list of all the locations. Now it's an interactive, search vendor page. So you can pick like photographers and, and Washington or just florists and all your, Flores will show up in all those categories and, and locations. So, that's a big one.

and we also have plans to, to kind of roll out some more features in the future to, being on the, the modular platform we're on. Now we have the ability to scale a lot easier.

Corey: So. That's really cool.

Nick: Yeah. Plus our branding is actually like consistent

Corey: across,

Nick: like before it was just like, Hey tonight, which is my wife, like do like some mountains and I threw some texts over it.

And like, that's a logo.

Corey: And I mean, like the layouts were random depending on what type of page you were looking at. They weren't very consistent across the board. I feel like now it's very cohesive and unified across the whole

Nick: site. Yep. A hundred percent. Let me, I

Corey: think that's, that's a really important part of, of SEO.

It's really interesting. I was thinking, as you're talking about this, so many people ask us all the time, you know, I'm ranking well, but I'm getting ready to do, redo my site or I'm going to. Change designs or platforms or whatever, how do I save all of my SEO and what should I do? And they get paranoid about it.

And they like never do anything. And a lot of cases, I feel like this is one of those cases where, I mean, Nick and I had a call yesterday and we went over some of the stuff about like, Hey, here's some things that need to get cleaned up. And there were quite a few little things that add up that, that you know, needed to get fixed, but it's one of those cases where.

The overall improvement for user experience and consistency and professionalism on a site that requires. Gaining a user's trust in the first place. It outweighs any losses that you could take. Well, not any losses. I mean, if you lost all of your traffic, that would be pretty devastating, right? It's so important to your overall SEO and like, you know, you're going to be able to improve it and make it better.

I think that's something people often. Forget about, they always have this mindset of like, I'm getting ready to change my website. I'm going to lose traffic instead of thinking I'm getting ready to change my website. So that's going to be 10 times better so that I can get 10 times more traffic. where are you?

Like, I don't even care about the old traffic I was getting, because I'm gonna get so much more here in the future. Just an interesting difference in mindset

Nick: for sure.

Dylan: Yeah. It's going to be really fun to watch because I, I feel like your site is now to the size where. Technical changes. Like the stuff that Corey recommended

Nick: yesterday on your call will

Dylan: really, really take into effect.

Like when you have thousands of index

Corey: pages and you have

Dylan: a couple hundred pages that are ranking really well, like just small changes to the structure of your site and code changes. And all of that becomes much

Corey: more important.

Nick: Yeah,

Dylan: and it's going to be really cool to see, like, I believe your site's performing much better than it was, what effects that has on your traffic,

Nick: especially with

Corey: all the changes coming next year with yeah.

Corporate vitals. Yep, exactly.

Dylan: Yeah.

Nick: It's gotta be real fun. Cool. Yeah, I'm super excited.

Corey: Well, Nick, do you have any, thing that you want to say about wondering weddings or about SEO or buy anything else to our listeners today?

Nick: I would say, and we we've talked about this in the past too, and I actually brought this up yesterday when I was talking with my wife about, about the whole, whole scheme of things in our, our, our planning for the future, with wondering weddings is, Published is better than perfection.

you know, you, you hit on it too is kind of like getting that data, right. Is like, so we are trying to get as much content out as possible to rank for basically every single Lowman keyword in the world. and. Our goal or our plan is, and I'd like to get the content out there and then see how it's performing and see how we can hop back and re optimize it.

so my, my, I guess my suggestion or my recommendation for, for anyone listening to this, that's like, kind of on their own SEO journey is, you know, just start and kind of get content out there, that you can kind of circle back to it later and perfected, You know, kind of you who knows you might put a post up there and it might land on page one and then it might just take some fine tuning to bump it up in the first few spots.

or if it's on page two, you know, it might just take hopping back in there and adding some, some more details and, and, kind of perfecting a little bit, but, yeah, just, just start and keep, keep on keeping on. That's some good

Corey: advice. I like it. So if people are interested in joining, did they just go to wondering weddings.com?

Is there any special thing they need to do?

Nick: they can go to wondering weddings.com or wandering weddings.com/join hyphen. Now, you'll find the joint now in the, in the menu bar, but, yeah. And so we have a.

Corey: A link here in the description or the show notes for the podcasts. And I think it might even have a coupon code that can save you a little bit, if you want to get started on, you know, join in and get your profile set up.

Nick: Yeah. We can hook you up with like a temporary

Corey: sweet

Dylan: that's awesome, man. Well, thanks

Nick: so much for chatting with us.

Dylan: we've, we've loved being part of the journey and seeing how much progress you guys have made in the past year or so.

Nick: And it's going to be really fun to watch. Yeah. Well, thanks for having me and thanks for helping out.

Corey: Totally. All right. See you guys next

time.

One Comment

  1. This interview is everything I needed to hear~! I am signing up tonight~!

    Due to COVID-19, I’ve been photographing a lot more elopements and intimate weddings. I’ve noticed a huge shift and there have been a lot more inquiries coming in as well. It’s a breath of fresh air to be honest. I also think it’s a good chance to be able to expand business into this direction as well. So I appreciate the solid advice, as well, as speaking more about backlinks, larger wedding databases, and Nick’s personal story.

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