Some photographers choose to have a blog with personal posts. Some photographers choose to keep their private lives separate. Some photographers choose to maintain two blogs – one for their business and one for their families. But the question, remains … what type of photographer are you?
If you are like me, I maintain two blogs. While I would love the ease of maintaining one, in all actuality, the many snapshots and personal rants I post on my personal blog, might not be the best to be inter-mixed with sessions of babies and families. I post out of focus photos that I adore of my kids . I post about my boys’ sleeping habits and how messy they eat. I post about the random occurrences of my life. And while a client may find and read my personal blog, they don’t need to browse through that to get to their session.
But don’t get me wrong, I do blog about personal stuff on my photography site. I blogged about being MIA 3 months prior to my scheduled “maternity leave” due to my boys premature birth and my daughter’s yearly birthday photos.
My husband often says I put too much of our life out into the internet world. I know many people are fearful of the Orkut world and what they do to photos. Have you read the posts by Erin Cobb about finding her family’s photos on the internet? You can read about it here and here.
If you do choose to maintain a private blog but do not want to password protect your blog, you can at least try to maintain a sense of peace and security while sharing your family experiences with your family a half a globe away. Now remember, these 5 things should NOT be used if you have a business and personal blog in one as it WILL affect your SEO.
- Always watermark your photos. I admit, I don’t on my personal blog and I should. Usually it’s a spur of the moment sort of post and I just randomly pull it from my Flickr account. But watermarking, and doing so in an obvious place, will allow others to warn you should your photos appear in a website that it should not.
- Use the robots.txt file. While as photographers, we want search engines to frequently visit and “crawl” our site – often on personal pages, we don’t want it to appear in searches. Ever. To remedy your site not appearing in searches, create a robot.txt file. Google Webmaster Central has an awesome tool to generate this to not allow search engines to index your site (and you won’t appear in the searches). Once you generate the file, you place it into the folder containing your blog.
- Remove your personal blog from search engines. If you did not have the robots file, chances are at some point (especially if you use blogger since it’s owned by Google), your site was indexed. So remove yourself. You can once again visit Google Webmaster Central and under the same “site configuration” areas “crawler access,” there is an option to “remove url.” I’ve done this on more than one occasion as it only lasts a few months before it gets recrawled. But if you add #2, it won’t, so you can ignore #3.
- Turn off the location AKA geotag option. You may be careful not to post you are on vacation or where you live. But if you have that option checked on your phone or camera, you might be doing it and not even realizing it. Don’t believe me? Check out this article about a famous TV host who left that function on while tweeting a photo of his new car … basically showing the world where he lived.
- See suspicious IP addresses under your stats? Ban them. Is someone visiting your personal blog a few times a day, staying too long and you can’t figure out who in the world they are? You can ban their ip address by simply placing their IP address in your .htaccess file CORRECTLY. The .htaccess file is not something to mess around with because you don’t want certain people or even your competition to visit your site. I’m talking about that weird feeling you have … like why are they visiting my site this often? Should you need help, visit the wordpress site (http://codex.wordpress.org/
Combating_Comment_Spam/ Denying_Access) or google it to find answers.
Hopefully that helps those of you who worry about safety just a little. Remember if you are that worried about it, don’t blog about it.