STAWPP: Style Me Pretty & Green Wedding Shoes Aren’t the Only Wedding Blogs to Exist

I am part of several Facebook groups dedicated to creatives or wedding professionals. At least once a month, I see someone write a sad sap post about how they’ve been rejected from Style Me Pretty and they just don’t.know.where.to.go submission wise.
wedding blog submission
They even share photos of the rejected submission pleading on *why* they’re right for SMP. Guess what? I looked at those pics, your style is definitely not SMP.

Equally unhelpful are the commenters who say the OP (original poster) should submit to Green Wedding Shoes, Grace Ormonde, or Junebug Weddings*. Because somehow you’ll have better chance there.

Really? You’re in the wedding industry and you could ONLY think about four wedding blogs. And those four wedding blogs, by the way, get not hundreds, but thousands of submissions a month. And somehow you think your style is always right for these blogs?

Please, stop it.

You need to sit down and reevaluate what your business is and who your clientele is. I will guarantee for the majority of you, it is not 99% SMP, GWS, or any of those acronyms. Your clientele are the brides who love beach weddings, or the brides who care about the emotion and not the details, or the brides who are celebrating their religion.

And guess what? There’s a wedding blog that will take that clientele. Obsessed with Disney weddings? Check. Got married in Pittsburg? Check. Doing the Big Fat Indian Wedding. Check. Love pastels, hate mason jars? Check.

There are dozens of wedding blogs out there that could be the perfect fit for your submission. If you are at a loss at where to start, you can check out Aisle Society or my own curated wedding blogger list. Sure, they don’t have 30 million pageviews a month, but they might have a powerful social media audience. Or they might be awesome at resharing your work over the year; not just a one time thing. Or they will make sure your work gets shared on social media.

In the end, if you want leads that represent your business, then you need to start visiting wedding sites that your clients do. Not everyone sits and obsesses with SMP. And not everyone needs to be featured in the ‘it’ blog of the moment.

Get off that pity party couch and do something valuable for your business.

*No offense to any of these companies, they produce amazing content.

Wedding Pro Tips: How to Create an Awesome Wedding Submission

Howdy wedding photographers and wedding vendor professionals! Today I’m going to share a little behind the scenes on how you can submit a wedding submission that gets approved AND featured right away on The Big Fat Indian Wedding.
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Now, these secrets of ours aren’t really secrets; many wedding bloggers will feel the same way. Please, take a moment to read these tips, put together your story, and submit away. Submitting a wedding that is in near ready-state will stand a much better chance to get featured within a couple weeks. Of course, if our schedule is full, then you will at least be able to pat yourself on the back and know you are a badass for getting it done early.

Before I go through the list, have your initial photos in order and read the directions the wedding blog wants you to follow. It is cumbersome that we all have different rules, but we all are different blogs with different readerships. We wedding bloggers appreciate your patience!

1. Wedding submission must be of ONE wedding. This sounds insane to say, but when you submit a wedding to us for featuring, it has to be of ONE WEDDING. Don’t submit your portfolio. Don’t submit your ‘best of pics’ from different weddings. Those types of submissions we consider sponsored.
Protip: Only ONE wedding per submission

2. Meet the minimum requirement of photo size. We require a MINIMUM WIDTH of photo to be 1500px wide. That’s *not* 1500px tall or anything else you come up with. If you don’t want to submit photos of this size, then don’t submit at all. We need these size photos to meet requirements for responsive designs and eventual scaling up with higher-res screen quality.

3. You may watermark. We understand that the industry is full of bad apples, so we allow for *tasteful* watermarking in the corners only. We prefer images to have no watermarks, but understand the reality of the photography world. Some wedding blogs will not allow watermarks and that is acceptable too.
Protip: Borders are *NOT* allowed on images
Protip: Watermarking across the middle of the image is *NOT* allowed. There are a couple exceptions to this rule, and unless you are *that* photographer, we cannot accept the photos.

4. Get the vendor list sorted out. If you do not know the vendors that were present at the wedding, find out. Get the list from the planner. We *must* know the wedding vendors that were involved. This includes the company name, city/state, and website.
Protip: Don’t send us your vendor list piecemeal because you’re too confused to make a doc or a draft email.
Protip: If we do get hate mail from vendors that were forgotten in the list, we’ll forward that mail to you. That’s how important it is to get it done right.
Protip: To all wedding vendors, don’t send us hate mail that you were left off the vendor list. 100% of the time it’s because you were never on the list to begin with. I don’t read people’s minds, and there isn’t a malicious intent. So please don’t think the world is out to steal your stuff or strip away your hard work.

5. Use your cultural common sense. As a wedding blog that features not just Indian weddings, but Hindu weddings, Muslim weddings, Pakistani weddings, and weddings from all across South Asia, it is important that when you submit a wedding to us, you HAVE PERMISSION from the couple.

Listen, our terms exculpate us from any issues you have with your wedding party. And even though you may own copyright to those photos, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use common sense. We have had several weddings fall through because the photographer who submitted the wedding didn’t bother to confirm with the couple that it was okay to feature. Or sometimes we receive an email from the couple freaking out they were featured.

Protip: Once stuff is on the internet, it is ON the internet. No take-backsies.

Protip: South Asian weddings can be very conservative, ensure your couple is OKAY with their wedding being online.

6. Don’t submit racy/improper photos. I get it, those getting ready photos can be really gorgeous. And sensual. And that sweet Muslim bride getting her hair done before wearing a hijab is adorable. But please don’t submit those types of photos, they are just inappropriate to share. While we know those kinds of photos shouldn’t be publicly displayed, other wedding blogs may not know. Please save yourself the embarrassment and not share improper photos with anyone.
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Protip: For Muslim weddings, do *NOT EVER* submit photos of women with their hijabis off. This could be at the haldi when there’s dancing, or of the bride herself getting ready and she wears a hijab. And please know that a hijab is different from a chunni/veil.

Protip: *Don’t* submit photos where the bra, underwear, or anything intimate can be seen. Keep that for the b-roll for the couple.

7. Get the wedding interview completed! We are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy when the photographer or wedding vendor can easily get our wedding interview completed. And this interview is stupidly easy to get completed. You send over this hyperlink to your couple, have them fill it out, and you’re done.

Protip: Just get it done.

8. Please share the wedding! I know, we’re not always sending you an email when your wedding was featured, and for that we’re truly sorry. We are working to improve a system so that all vendors involved know about the publication and can share it with friends.

9. Put up a badge. We have some adorable ‘featured on’ badges. We love it when you put them on your website or Facebook page. Below are our styles, feel free to grab one and stick it up.
the big fat indian wedding featured badge - purple

the big fat indian wedding featured badge -orange

Alright wedding peeps, follow these 9 steps and you will be on your way to an amazing submission that will make our lives not only easier, but super happy to share the love with our readers.

Bisous!
Preeti

How to Fix a Google Violation: Unnatural Outbound Links

This week I came across a nasty manual spam action penalty from Google. It’s called Unnatural Outbound Links.

If you got this penalty, you’re in a state of chaos. The penalty is usually applied site-wide and it will take A LOT of work to clean.

Here’s what the email looks like:

Google has detected a pattern of links from your site to other sites that is either unnatural or irrelevant. This pattern attempts to artificially boost other sites’ ranking in Google Search results. Such unnatural ranking would cause search results to show preference for results not relevant to the user’s actual query. It also violates Google Webmaster Guidelines. Therefore, we are discounting the trust in links on your site. This manual spam action has been applied to WWW.SITENAME.COM. To fix this, remove the unnatural links on your site and file a reconsideration request. After we determine that you have complied with our guidelines, we will remove this manual

What is a unnatural outbound link?
While the penalty addresses the obvious issue, unnatural outbound links = links that were paid for, chances are, you are not directly engaged in this practice (if you are, you’re stuck in the stone age).

What this penalty addresses are compensated links in form of (edited from sugarrae.com):

  • free product in return for writing a review of the product.
  • free product to give away to your readers in a contest.
  • free experience in return for writing a review of the experience (hotel stays, amusement park tickets, access to an exclusive event, etc.).
  • free product to develop and publish content that uses a specific product or service (creating recipes using a specific product, makeup tutorial, clothing moodboard, etc.)
  • writing about products featured in a Swag Bag from a conference or event that you received for free.
  • recipe link ups or other content sharing link carousels that aren’t using a nofollow attribute (you’re only linking to all those recipes because they’re linking to yours = compensation by exposure).
  • links to affiliate programs on the base merchant’s domain without a nofollow (especially Amazon).
  • Guest posts from a company.
  • Links to advertisers in your sidebar, etc. that link to the advertiser without using a nofollow link.

Basically, ANY link you didn’t come up with on your own is subject to the Unnatural Outbound Links violation. The reality is that people get advice and tips through others. But Google being Google, wants you to no follow ALL those links.

  • Got a button from a conference and posted a pic with a link? NO FOLLOW
  • Got crayons in exchange for a review? NO FOLLOW
  • Part of a blogger network and got stickers to make your own DIY card? NO FOLLOW
  • Have banner ads? NO FOLLOW
  • Have affiliate links? NO FOLLOW

The violation oversteps common sense, but hey, Google doesn’t have common sense, they just wage war on anything that appears to be paid.

  • Google’s John Mueller stated:
    “This includes links to the product itself, any sales pages (such as on Amazon), affiliate links, social media profiles, etc. that are associated with that post.”

How do I fix the violation?

This is what Google will tell you to do:
action.

Here’s how to fix this problem:

1 Identify unnatural links on your site – Look for links that were added to your site in exchange for some type of compensation like money, goods or services, or reciprocal links.

2 Remove or use on these links- The nofollow attribute allows you to tell Google not to crawl a specific link.

3 Submit a reconsideration request – Include any details or documentation that can help us understand the changes made to your site.

What you need to do is:
1. Be a detective and figure out what happen. You HAVE violated their terms, so arguing with Google is fruitless. Now is the time to buck up and fix your issues.

2. Create a spreadsheet with all the website pages that the issue appeared on and that action has been taken. You will need this spreadsheet. Every piece of work you have done to rectify the problem needs to be documented.

3. File the reconsideration request. Be polite, be nice, and most of all, DON’T BE ARGUMENTATIVE. Do feel free to ask for more clarification if what you did wasn’t right. YOU NEED TO FIX THIS, so get help.

Once the request has been, you’ll wait from Google. If they approve your fixes, you’ll see changes in the search results almost immediately. If not, they will tell you to keep working. At this time, you can ask for guidance from them to make sure you remove the violations completely and wholeheartedly.

boyfriend
Have you received an Unnatural Outbound Link penalty? Do you need help? If so, please reach out to chotipreeti at gmail dot com.

Facebook Ad Dissection: Quick Case Studies

As an effort to demystify Facebook advertising, it is sometimes best to look at what others do. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be picking a real ad that was in the my Newsfeed and will dissect it.

There are of course limitations, these are ads that are delivered to me, so they could appear different to you. I am also focusing on ads that are in the Newsfeed only since sidebar ads require a slightly different strategy. Some of these ads will be Newsfeed desktop, others Newsfeed mobile.

I’ll discuss the content in the ad, the purpose of the ad (at least what we think it is), and equally important, the landing page of the ad. The last thing you want to have is a great ad and a terrible landing page.

Here is the breakdown outline for each of our case studies.

Last, we do not know what the real success rate is with the ad. That is unfortunately information we’ll never get from the ad itself. But we’ll definitely take a stab at it and guess!

Facebook Ad
Newsfeed mobile or desktop?
Photo: What is in the photo? What does the photo convey?
Above photo text: What’s the text? Is it easy to understand? Catchy? Is there a CTA?
Below photo text: What’s the text? Easy to understand?
Listed URL: Do they list a destination URL or text? Does it matter?

Landing Page
URL: What’s the URL? Can we learn anything from this?
Content: What content is above the fold? What information is the advertiser trying to collect? What is the advertising actually advertising?

Ad rating: 1-5 stars (1 – terrible, 5 – excellent)
Success potential: 1-5 stars (1 – unsuccessful, 5 – extremely successful)

Hate Facebook Page Reach? So Do I.

I have a secret. Maybe it’s not a secret if you know me, but it’s certainly something social media consultants won’t openly discuss with you. Or with anyone.

Facebook Pages suck.

There, I said it. Let’s get to that elephant in the room and talk about it. A lot.

I mean, check out this crazy stuff. Coca Cola, one of the largest brands and corporations in the world has 99 million fans on Facebook. 99 million!

And when they post on Facebook, guess how many likes they have?
970.

Not 970,000, I mean 970. Not even a thousand people like the post.
facebook-page-coca-cola

Now, check this video out from Tip Hero. They literally make a bunch of videos, some decent, some clickbait, and some dribble. They have 17 million Facebook fans. What’s the stats on their video?
257,000 Likes
850,000 Shares

tip-hero

Holy guacamole.

What does this tell us? A. the number of fans you have is meaningless (Facebook admits to that). B. Videos matter. C. Substance doesn’t really matter.

Facebook for brands is NOTHING what it was 1 year, 2 year, 3 years ago. In fact, unless you’re viral cooking videos, political dribble, or holistic garbage (the many un-truths rear their ugly with false information on health and wellness), Facebook sucks for you. Facebook sucks if you’re a large brand. And Facebook sucks if you’re a small business.

Really, it double sucks if you are a small business. Large brands can duke it out by getting more exposure by paying money. You, my lovely friend, cannot.

Before you go lamenting how Facebook is constantly changing things and you don’t get it, listen up. That whining won’t get you anywhere. Nobody cares at Facebook that things aren’t the same anymore for you, small business owner.

Facebook is a massively traded public corporation earring billions in advertising (well, that’s pretty much their only stream of income – notwithdstanding Oculus). They don’t give a shit about small businesses who spend $20 a month on advertising. Do you know how much some companies spend a day on Facebook? $40,000. FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS PER DAY.

And you can never ever compete with that. Nor with the $300 million dollars spent during the election cycle in 2016 (no joke). Which means, you have to play the game they designed and beat them at it.

How do you it, you ask?
In very simple terms, it’s a numbers game. You need to get reach, you need to get engagement in order to drive traffic.

That means, you need to:

  • Post often and consistently.
  • Post videos.
  • Post photos – cats, quotes, all that stuff people love on the internet.
  • Make sure pages on your website link to your Facebook page.
  • Have share buttons on the blog section of your website.
  • Activate reviews on your page.
  • Get every friend, dog, and peony to like your page.

That is the jist of it. Doing it and setting a strategy to it is a lot harder to do. If you need help with that, email me at chotipreeti @ gmail dot com and we can work together to create a plan right for it.

It’s time to play ball.

DDoS Attack Shuts Down Twitter, Pinterest, & More

There is a massive DDoS attack happening right now. Actually DDOS attacks happen all the time, what makes today’s attack especially worrisome is the scale and penetration into one of the world largest DNS provides, Dyn.
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What is a DDoS?
DDoS attacks, at the most basic level, work like a system overload. An attacker sends a flurry of packet of garbage data (data is sent on the web in ‘packets’), to an intended recipient. In this case, the recipient was Dyn’s DNS servers.

The servers are so overwhelmed with the garbage packets, they can no longer handle the incoming connections, eventually slowing down significantly or totally shutting down.

While most companies have systems to mitigate such attacks, sophisticated hackers can constantly barrage servers, essentially blowing a hole through them (like a dam) and creating a flood of crap. The whole server shuts down as result.

Is DDoS easy?
Sure, a low level hacker could take your photography site if they hate you. They probably couldn’t take out a huge hosting provider though.

What made DDoS so easy nowadays, is that there is basically DDoS for rent. You can just pay someone and they will DDoS for you.

Are DDoS attacks dangerous?
How dangerous they are varies, can be just a site taken down, or like in this case a name server provider, so it affect more people.

Bank DDoS attacks can create extreme vulnerability in the financial markets, so they many levels defense (though with enough money and skills, hackers can take them down).

Why do I hear about DDoS attacks so much today?
The internet is built on quite fragile technology . TCP/IP and the routing techniques used was never designed to withstand anything like DDoS, it was built for private networks.

We have entered the grim reality of these attack and how fragile our internet is. This isn’t going away anytime soon. If anything, these attacks, be they on the political system (like the Russian hackers trying to destabilize the election), to corporate systems, to financial systems are intended to create chaos.

And chaos we will have.

Schedule Your Best Posts on Facebook Using Google Analytics

By using Google Analytics, you can schedule your most popular posts on Facebook to create evergreen content schedule.

Pulling your most popular posts, i.e. your most viewed posts, is easy.
top wedding articles
Go to Google Analytics. Then click on Behavior –> Site Content –> All Pages.
google analytics content
Now set a date range. I choose a long date range to pull the most popular content over the past years. In the top right corner, choose your date range and click Apply.

This gives you the posts with the most pageviews. You can apply filters for certain categories or even keywords. I choose to have a plain list that I can then decide which to post to Facebook.

To schedule on Facebook, go to your page. Add a new post by adding the link and the post text. Instead of pressing ‘publish’ click the blue arrow button on the right and choose Schedule. The best is to schedule for times where you have the most interaction on your page.
facebook schedule post

Now you’ve got content scheduled AND you’ve learned to use data to make that decision.