We know how difficult it is for a newly qualified photographer to find customers. An important tool to be used for this purpose is our web site which serves as a business card and work portfolio. But the most important aspect is to be found by those using search engines to carry out a search on the internet. For this it is necessary that Google and other search engines notice our site and that it becomes indexed. It could take months. After our site has been properly indexed, the pages, content, photographs with all the metadata must appear ahead of thousands of other pages which have the same search keys. For example, try doing a search on “Photographer Florence wedding” on Google. You will realise immediately what a battle is going on out there. Search engines use extremely complicated algorithms to give a site prominence, allowing it to climb the ranking and appear at the top. Among these parameters are the importance of the platform where the site is located, the age of the site, the unique accesses, the length of time it has been on the page, the amount of content and its originality, the number and quality of links which it generates and of the return backlinks.
All these characteristics are present on our site www.thedarkroom.it and consequently on the sites associated to it located on the same platform which includes fotolowcost.net. To be connected to this platform means acquiring the importance that the search engines have already given to thedarkroom.it. Therefore the chance to quickly climb up the ranking. We want to use our web portal to help our students and future professionals to have at their disposition a means to optimise their presence on the web and attain that visibility that otherwise ends up as a great expense from constant and continuous operations of Search Engine Marketing. For this reason we are inviting our students to create their own personal web site right from the first classes of the professional and multimedia photography academic courses. And we teach them to look after their SEO on their own because a well optimised site is a successful site which will come out ahead of all the others.
Whom are we actually addressing?
All former students, enrolled or not, all former co-workers and teachers, present co-workers and teachers can be registered on the portal. You can get the benefits of the network both if you attended a three years course or a short term workshop of one day. Also our past participants to darkroom activities can take advantage with their presence on FotoLowCost.net.
There are no age or experience limits to be part of the web portal. Even former students who by now have achieved success in their career are invited to be part of our network. Actually, we encourage them to do so as they will be able to increase the visibility of their web sites. The common denominator for the specific section of our web portal is to be or to have been part of our training team either as students or assistants.
We have recently launched a new blog, InTheDarkroom. It is a means of getting the internal activities of the school known and providing writing and editorial photography experience to students and former students who have been invited to participate.
The InTheDarkroom blog is located on the same platform as our site. Apart from creating new and important access flows to the sites, the blog is a further SEM tool for those who are registered with the FotoLowCost.net web portal. In fact it allows the students who participate in the preparation of educational activities, before and after receiving their diploma, to put forward links from the published articles thus getting backlinks to their sites. The links which are started up by Pro Users of FotoLowCost.net are fully indexable and followed by spiders of the search engines, thus creating a real network of exchange content which keep onfeeding each other.
Prices on the portal
FotoLowCost is not necessarily a low cost photographic web portal. However, as it is directed mainly towards young, emerging photographers it is natural that the prices offered should be attractive. We do not set specific prices for your professional activities. We do not set any limit to that. Nevertheless you are not obliged to show your own prices on the portal. You can redirect your visitor to contact you for a tailored quotation or to visit your web site.
Direct contact with companies
TheDarkroom has always received enquiries from companies, private clients and agencies in this field who are looking for people to introduce to the business. Our commitment will be to submit on the web portal all those clients, companies and agencies who up till now have contacted us directly at the school office.
From today we will no longer be the middle-man between the enquirer and the company, but we will put them in direct contact with the client thus giving them the chance to research quickly into a selection of our work so as to choose from different web sites the most suitable person for the job. The web portal is a means to do research. With specific keys the client can find the person who is offering the required service in that particular location. We are not limited regarding the geographical area. Our students come from all over the world. We are offering budding photographers the world over.
How to use FotoLowCost.net
We are going to promote a high frequency use of the web portal, with frequent loading of new photographs, because this means a lot of activity for the search engines and an increase of prominence on the web. An active web portal is indexed more often and gets greater visibility in the search results.
1. For the visitors
Visitors to the site have a search page and a photo gallery. In the section “Look for photograph” the client specifies the type of work required and other features which are often requested from young photographers such as whether they have a car or what languages they speak. A list of suitable photographers comes up and the client can make further enquiries. In the section “Photo gallery”, the client can see the latest photos which have been loaded on the web portal and then choose the relevant photographer. The photo gallery is automatically updated for the visitors every time they access it and always shows up the last five photos from the last three photographers who have recently loaded photos on the web portal. The other less recent photos can be seen below the gallery and other photographers can also be shown. Old photos that cannot be fitted into the gallery are omitted from the display.
2. For registered photographers
Photographers on the web portal have a profile that can be constantly updated and have an unlimited photo gallery. The photos can be organised into albums and the profile includes a written presentation and professional information relevant for promoting themselves. All texts are freely indexable by search engines as is the metadata of the loaded photographs. This is a tool for further indexing ones work.
Type of users
There are two user profiles - Basic, limited and free or Pro which is indexable, unlimited and for a fee. You can choose to begin with one or the other, as you prefer.
The Pro user can show all their contacts and web site, have a personal slide show on their profile which shows the latest 10 photos to be loaded, together with all the albums, even the less recent ones. All data, texts, metadata of the photos are indexable. This profile has been designed to expand your presence on the web. The links of Pro users published on InTheDarkroom are indexable and followed by search engine spiders.
With the Basic profile you can become familiar with how the web portal works but it has its limitations. You can only load up to 10 photos and they cannot be organised into albums. You cannot show your email or other types of direct contact. And the Basic profile is not indexable by the search engines. Use of Basis is absolutely free for six months. After six months the profile is automatically deleted and no payment is asked for. The Basic user can upgrade to Pro at any time making use of all the possibilities offered by the web portal.
Registration fee for the web portal for Pro users is €50.00. Registration is valid for a non-limited amount of time.
Pro users will be given a short SEO guide with advice on how to improve your web site, elaborate it in the most effective way to avoid mistakes that could penalize the visibility.
Free for Basic users, up to six months and then the profile will be deleted.