Ranking, Link Building, and Google Analytics

E-commerce Weekly Update

This week I went through the process of optimizing my website and also learning google analytics. It’s nice that such a powerful tool like analytics is free, since there’s so much else you need to pay for in the world of ecommerce. This week I’ve also been working on generating more content for my site. I’ve fallen a bit behind during all this COVID 19 craziness, and I’m working to get more content online for viewers. The good news is that I got a lot of people visiting my site over the past few weeks by using google ads, but the bad news is that there isn’t really much for them to do or see once they get here. I’ll be focusing n building more content in the coming days so that there’s more substantial reasons to visit and stay on my site. I’ll also be posting a schedule of sorts so that viewers can see what I’m planning to post about in the future.

Google Ads and Keywords

E-commerce Weekly Update

This week I went through the learning process with google ads and using keywords. I learned the ins and outs of using google ads and how to select appropriate and effective keywords. I learned that keywords function just like google searches do, in terms of looking for broad matches, specific phrases, or exact matches. I found that I simply needed to think like someone who was searching for the services I’m providing, and I was able to come up with some good search terms. Google also provided recommendations, which were helpful. It wasn’t hard to come up with the terms because I’ve often searched these things myself. This is one of the strengths of creating a business in an area I’m so familiar with. I’ll be sure to update my keywords as I go, adapting to the data I see. I still have a lot to learn about marketing my content and services, but I feel like I now have a solid foundation. I really appreciate how simple Google has made it to use their tools!

Legal Structure

E-commerce Weekly Update

This week I learned about the legal areas of running an online business. In my research I looked mostly at taxes and what I would owe based on my business. Since my business model is affiliate, I found that I don’t really have to do very much. The main thing I need to worry about is setting aside the 15% taxes I’ll owe from my earnings. If I don’t set it aside along the way, I’ll have a lump sum that I’ll need to pay next time I file my taxes and I might not have the money to pay for it. So I’ll be doing business as a sole proprietor, and at some point in the future I might consider getting an LLC. I also got my website all built this week, and I’m just figuring out how to get my affiliate links from Amazon to appear on my posts. That’s the next step! Then I just need to start creating content.

Site Design

Continuing the E-Commerce Journey

This week I went in-depth into site layout and design, and I studied a couple of websites that had similar business models and ideas as mine. I made note of some things I liked, and some things I thought could use improving. Obviously I’m not a web designer, but I feel like I have enough of an idea of what I’m looking for and wordpress’s designing tools are advanced enough that I’m confident in getting my site up and running without many issues. I might need to watch some refresher tutorials if I forget something, but otherwise it should be smooth sailing. On this site I already have a blog format, so it will be easy to translate that into my Free Film School blog idea. I’ll definitely be redesigning the look of the website as well. I’m excited to get started. I’ll likely start by redesigning my homepage. From there I’ll organize the content I already have online, and rebuild my navigation/menu system to match. Finally, I will get started on creating new content to populate with my Amazon affiliate and B&H Affiliate links.

Site Builder and Hosting

E-commerce Escapades

This week the main focus was on finding a system for getting our businesses online. I looked through vatious options like SquareSpace, Wix, and Weebly. I wondered if I could find something a bit simpler than wordpress so as to simplify the business process. In the end though, I realized that the simplest approach would be to continue using the platform I had just spent so much time learning and building on. I could even continue to use this same website if I felt like my business would be ok being attached to my name (since that’s the name of this site). I’m currently just deciding whether to create a new wordpress site or use this one, but I’ll soon start the building and/or redesigning process. I learned a lot about hosting this week, since the school just chose our hosting for us when I created this site. It was also helpful to see the pros and cons of other site builders, this actually gave me more confidence in using WordPress.

Sourcing the Product

Continuing Adventures in E-commerce

I’ve been learning this week a lot about various business models and how they compare to one another. Specifically we’ve been diving into drop shipping and working as an affiliate. These are similar in that with both these approaches you aren’t actually selling your own product. The difference is mostly a matter of involvement. With drop shipping you are pretty directly selling someone’s products, and you go through the process of marking them up for a profit and handling the sales, but not the shipping. Being an affiliate simply means you have special links on your website, and when visitors click on those links it gives you a little kickback. I’ve been thinking about the affiliate model a bit more since I’ve seen it in action more recently. A lot of the content creators on YouTube that I’ve seen trying out products use the affiliate links system. In the comments below their videos they place their affiliate links, and they explain this in their videos.

I’ve been thinking about trying to find a niche as far as video content creation and making a blog with accompanying videos that demonstrate certain video-related products. I’ll pursue this idea a little further and see where it goes, then I’ll report back here as usual!

Choosing a Business

My Intro to E-commerce

As I’ve been studying in my web business class I’ve started to reconsider what kind of business I want to have to start. My initial thoughts were to simply to create a page advertising my video and photography skills. This would be a service-oriented localized business where I do product photography and business/corporate videography. My instructor mentioned recently that he believes in business ideas that make you money while you sleep, and this got me thinking (always a dangerous thing). I’m already to the point of being nearly overwhelmed with my current workload with school, work, and our new baby. It would be great to start off my business ventures by creating something that’s as automated and hands-free as possible. So I’ve begun expanding my ideas of what kind of business I’ll create for this class. Ideas I’ve considered include creating After Effects Templates to sell online, or going into stock photos or videos. This way I would make an initial time investment, then I could see the results come automatically over time.

I’ll keep brainstorming and come back here with updates!

Comm 316 Portfolio

My Portfolio from Comm 316

Well it’s been a wild semester and an even wilder year! I’ve taken two photography classes, celebrated my first wedding anniversary, and we are expecting our first child to be born any day. Among all these adventures I’ve also gone on a few photo excursions and I’ve learned an enormous amount as a photographer. I wanted to create a post showing my best work from this year, more specifically from this past semester of school. I’ve learned that I love exploring new places and finding unique angles for landscape photography. I’ve also recently taken more of a dive into product photography. I love being in full control of light, and I haven’t found any other type of photography where you can modify light with such precision. Very small and subtle lighting changes can make a world of a difference, and I love that challenge. It’s sort of the opposite of landscape photography in a way. This year I’ve really deepened my love of light and color, as well as my appreciation for the beauty in the world around me. I’ve learned so much about so many different types of photography, and it’s been a blast. Here are some samples of what I’ve captured these last few months:


Comm 316 Portfolio

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Another person from my Comm 316 class who’s work I admire is Christie Bryant. Here is her Awesome Comm 316 Portfolio. Check it out!


Custom Saber Photography

Old Scrolls Custom Saber Product Photography


As I’ve been developing my style, I’ve come to really appreciate the ability to shape and direct light within photography. This has quickly become my favorite part of photography, wether it’s manipulating lights during shooting, finding creative solutions working with existing light, or editing photos to emphasize certain areas through brightness or color contrast. I’ve found the most flexibility in manipulating light with small subjects, since it requires less powerful lighting and small adjustments go a really long way. I’ve recently been practicing more and more with product photography as a practical application of my specific style. I have a friend who has begun building a business making custom Star Wars themed lightsaber props, and he is about to get his website up and open to the public. I approached him about taking some photos of his products to display on his website and on his social media accounts. He does a lot of marketing already through Instagram and Facebook, and I thought that having some more professional quality photos might help him reach more people. He agreed and proceeded to ship me several of his products that were nearly finished.

The Process

I made sure to do a variety of styles for his photos, including detail shots and themed shots using colored LED lights. I communicated with him throughout the process to make sure I would be meeting his needs. I used a couple of Neewer continuous LED lights, 2 RGB LED wands, and some homemade diffusion and snoots made from shower curtains and aluminum foil respectively. I also used small pieces of paper and a 5-in-1 reflector to bounce and flag light. I’ve included a video demonstrating the very homemade nature of some of my set-ups below:

Case Study

After I finished, I decided to design a small magazine-style booklet providing a sort of case study that I could show to others in the future who were interested in having me do their product photography. I wanted to have this blog post in order to share the behind the scenes details for those interested, and then something more tangible that I could bring with me and show others in person.

Custom Saber Photography



Finished Photos


Custom Saber Photography

Custom Saber Photography

Custom Saber Photography

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Check out Danny Spencer’s business, Old Scrolls, here.

On a somewhat related note, check out this really unique light painting photography done with a custom “lightsaber” style light.

Grand Teton Portrait Photography

Grand Teton Portrait Photography

While on a visit to Grand Teton National Park I decided to do some portrait photography with some of my fellow photographers. We found a couple locations and took turns posing, sometimes with props or products clearly visible to practice a more commercial style of photography. Grand Teton National Park makes for an incredible backdrop, and we had really great conditions for taking photos. The park had a light dusting of snow across the mountains, while the areas we were at were still green. This created a lot of good color contrast in the backgrounds. We also had some beautiful sunshine, and together with a reflector this made for some glowing portraits. The trickiest part was probably finding the balance of how much light to shine on the subjects. Too little and they appear underexposed at worst and deemphasized at best. Too much and they can either be overexposed or it simply looks unrealistic and artificial. There’s a careful balance to be found. Take a look at some of the results below!

Grand Teton Portrait Photography

Grand Teton Portrait Photography

Grand Teton Portrait Photography



Find some great locations to take portrait photos in the park here, if you’re interested.


Aidan Griener

Aidan Griener

Aidan Griener is a photographer, cinematographer, and screenwriter from Palmer, Alaska. He is currently studying communications at Brigham Young University - Idaho in Rexburg, ID, where he lives with his wife Emily.

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