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Q&A #18: updating old posts & broken links, Analytics stats, licensing prices & fixing 301 redirects

I’m answering your questions about photography websites, business, marketing, SEO and more.

You can ask me anything. I’ll try to answer within 24 hours, and the most useful questions get featured here on the newsletter too. Need any help with your website? Don’t hesitate to write, I’m all ears.

Thanks to Ariel, Chelsea, Masa & Kathy for these topics.

Check out my answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts by sending me a message or leaving a comment below.



“Can I update old posts?”

Full question: “I have changed my newborn session style significantly, but have a few old newborn blog posts that seem to get some traffic. Can I just edit them and change the text and pictures? What CAN’T I change? Or what shouldn’t I change?”

Generally speaking though, you should be fine to change text and pictures, to improve those old posts. A few more important notes here:

1. If you’ve brought significant improvements to a post (you’ve made it longer and more useful to your audience), it’s also fine to republish the post complete as if it’s new, by changing its date to the present.

2. Most of the time, you SHOULDN’T change the URL (aka “slug” aka “permalink”) of the post, so any existing backlinks still work. If you do decide to change the URL though, just make sure you’re adding a 301 redirect to the new URL.

3. You SHOULDN’T change the main topic of the post, since that will only confuse Google: people are searching for topic A (because that’s what your post used to rank for), and they end up reading topic B. Overtime, Google will take notice and change your rankings, etc. So only republish old posts when you maintain the initial topic, but you expand on it.



“Should I go back to old posts and fix broken links to other sites?”

Full question: “I’d like to run a question by you. I write blog posts often that include links to other’s website, promos, etc. Then they close that offer or change their website and now my link is broken. Is it important to go back to old posts and remove the link?”

Yes, it’s important to get into the habit of cleaning up old blog posts.

Broken links create a bad browsing experience, and your readers might lose trust and leave your site. And Google will take notice of that and rank your site lower over time.

So it’s all about caring for your audience. You want to provide them with useful and relevant content, so that includes making sure that your external links are still valid.



“Why are the Google Analytics numbers so low?”

Full question: “I now have a beautiful website, but I haven’t advertised any yet…just redirecting some clients and photographers here and there to test drive the site… It’s been about two months since I launched it ….but the numbers from GA have been pretty ugly… Is this expected for a new website? I was actually expecting better numbers WITHOUT doing any advertisement….hoping to get some traffic from the blog posts or the Google indexing… Let me know your thoughts.”

Yes, that’s to be expected from a new site.

Just because Google can index a new site, doesn’t mean it will start ranking it high for everything, it’s a very competitive market. That’s the wrong “build it and they will come” mentality.

Any photographer can build a new site these days (either by using a quick template for a simple portfolio, or by hiring a web-designer like you did for a more complex site), but getting more sales/clients is a whole different beast.

And the blog just contains 4-5 short posts (with relatively random topics), that’s just barely scratching the surface of content marketing. Think of sites out there that have tens/hundreds of long posts (2000+ words) on very targetted topics.



“What’s the standard price for licensing a single image for use on a website?”

Full question: “Can anyone offer advice on the industry standard price for licensing a single image for use on a website? I understand the license would be time based.”

I think the most scientific approach would be to run the demo of the fotoQuote software here.

But their free demo doesn’t allow selecting anything other than Advertising Brochures.

Not affiliated in any way, I just know that PhotoShelter uses them in the background for the Rights-Managed licenses calculator.

So you can go to any PhotoShelter site that sells RM licenses, for example, this stock photography site (link) and then click the “Buy Image License” to test out their pricing calculator.

Play around with the usage terms, for example:

PhotoShelter Rights-Managed license calculator example

PhotoShelter Rights-Managed license calculator example

Otherwise, if you opt for a Royalty-Free license (which is unrestricted/unlimited), you can set the price to anything you want, I don’t have any suggestion there. I’ve seen examples ranging anywhere from $10 to $500 for a 1500px image.



“I made a mistake with a 301 redirect, can I change it?”

Full question: “Can I change a redirect after it was set up? For example: URL A > 301 > URL B, but now I want to change it to URL A > 301 > URL C. What would happen?”

In a scenario like that, sure, you can change the 301 redirect for pointing from “URL A” to “URL C”, but then I highly recommend that you also do a 302 (temporary) redirect from “URL B” to “URL C”.

That’s because browsers sometimes cache 301 redirects (and don’t bother to check if they’ve been changed), so users might still end up on “URL B”. So it’s useful to then take them from “B” to “C” with that extra 302 redirect to make sure. A geeky explanation here.




Your turn: ask me anything. I’d love for this to become a valuable “repository” of answers from the entire community of photographers.

You can help with that by getting involved:
1. Ask questions. Send them to me via email or on Twitter (@foreground).
2. Answer questions yourself. If you have anything to add to any of my answers (or can answer from a different perspective), jump right in! I’ll share relevant notes with other photographers so everyone can benefit.

Off-topic or inflammatory comments may be moderated.
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