Sole Proprietor, branding expert, marketing photography
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Being Self Employed as a Sole Proprietor

“What is a Sole Proprietor?”

My oldest daughter has been doing career research at school. My youngest tells her I’m the boss of my work. I tell her that while I am, I’m also the finance department, the administrative assistant, customer service, the cleaning lady and IT because a sole proprietor is someone who is the only employee of their company.

Being a sole proprietor involves learning to do a lot of things yourself, but it also means finding great resources.

This month the studio has been closed while awaiting business licence approval. During this time I’ve been brushing up on my IT Department skills. I love sharing about great resources I’ve found with others.

Sole Proprietor, branding expert, Calgary photographer, marketing photography
Wondering about the books I recommend?

Moving from Fort McMurray to Calgary means my website needs to step it up. Ranking on the front page of google takes work in a city of over a million people. Evidence shows people rarely look past the first page (or top 10 results) of a search.

Some of the work to improve my website has been complex and requires me to stay at it and be consistent. There have also been some great tools and tips I can pass along for others who would like to start looking into their own personal IT departments though.

Quick and Easy Website Tools for Sole Proprietors

I run my own website, using wordpress, and relying heavily on Yoast. It’s one of the few platforms I do pay for a premium membership with because it explains things in really easy language. Another great tool to use for writing and organizing your content in a way search engines will respond is the free wincher on page SEO checker. Be warned though, the free programs only provide you so many attempt to check your pages. I signed up for a free trial because I knew I could focus for the month on this task. The last easy website tool also limits your number of attempts with a free account, but it can check your site performance for you, and is called GTmetrix.

wincher see rate, improve your set, improving your website

Hosting and Building Websites

While I didn’t have to completely rebuild my website, I did need to clean up a big mess on the back end.

One of the things I knew I had to do, but had been dreading, was changing host providers. My old host provider was using outdated versions of wordpress. They were also constantly spamming me to buy more things that I didn’t need. The worst part though might have been that the service was horrible. Bots were the default for service, and it was very difficult to ever get a human to connect with. WPX came highly recommended by web industry experts, and I can’t say enough great things about them.

GTMetrix, website speed, diagnosing your website, quick tips for website performance

I did a before and after with GTMetrix. My site was taking 2.9 seconds to load with my old host, and without any other changes it is now loading in 0.5 seconds. WOW! What an improvement. I did also have my domain transferred to WPX as I like to keep those in one place.

The other thing I love about WPX is they have a human available through the chat within 30 seconds. They migrated my site themselves, so all the fear I had about switching turned out to be wasted energy.

How I help Sole Proprietors

Hiring a professional brand photographer means someone who understands how to craft your image for what it says about you. This isn’t limited to what humans see though. We also understand how search engines see you. Believe it or not Google can’t see pictures. Instead google reads the title and keyword descriptions of an image. Then it uses these as one of its many decision making factors to rank your image and website results.

When we discuss your brand, and your goals, we will also determine which keywords are important and relevant for your images. In addition there will be web optimized images of a specific size so that your website can load quickly. We don’t want your audience leaving before your image loads because you’re uploading high resolution files. Google also doesn’t like that, so they will rank your website much lower if you don’t have properly sized images.

Google Analytics

One search engine reigns supreme and we all know it’s google. Google offers a free tool called google analytics which can show you way more information than you’ll probably ever use. However, it can provide you with great insight onto which of our pages are resonating with your audience, where your audience is, and how long they’re spending on your site. If you are paying someone else to run your site I would highly recommend that you at least monitor your google analytics. There’s an app for your phone, so it’s super easy to spend a few seconds glancing at. I use it to see if writing blogs like this has actually been of any interest to my audience, and if so then I write more of them. If not I change the topics up.

Google Listing

While it’s not exactly your website, your google listing is also crucially important. A healthy google listing will also impact your website performance. Your location can make you more relevant to local audiences, which is important if your target audience are local. Getting google reviews will also help you build authority online, which is one of the factors that helps your website rank higher. On that note, if you’ve had a great experience with Life and Portraits I would love for you to leave a review! Don’t forget to ask your clients to do the same for you too. Let your audience be part of your success as a sole proprietor. People love to champion those they believe in.

Not a Techie

I am not a techie, thought I do love learning and data analysis. When I share these tips it’s from the perspective of a business owner who needs to be able to have a website do it’s part. I am grateful to have found expert software and service providers I can trust, that make it possible for me to do the work on my website myself. While some would say hiring an expert to do these things for me would be better, I believe that as a brand specialist it’s important for me to learn it myself. It’s important to learn the insights so I can do a better job for my own clients, in helping their website and online performance improve.

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