So everyone knows that websites are to small businesses, what a good old business card was 20 years ago. Not only is a virtual requirement for photographers, but it is expected for a photographer’s website to be many things. Today we are going to talk about photography websites and why yours may be hurting your business!
Photography Website Mistake #1: Trends
Much like clothing, websites are a visual statement and often the first impression of your business. You would not wear yard work clothing to photograph a wedding, so why then, would you allow your website to put off a similar impression? Also, like clothing, trends come and go in websites. Flash sites, musical slideshows, mismatched trendy style photography… all of these things can date and outdate your website quickly! Stay away from “trends” when building your website. Instead choose simplistic styles that showcase the real reason why you have a website… your photography.
Photography Website Mistake #2: Templates
For many years, photographers believed that flash based template sites were the pinnacle for photography websites. While some could argue that WordPress “Blogsites” are a trend, we would argue the contrary. The world wide web is built on WordPress and if your site is not, it should be. Stay in tune with the changing demands of online society by utilizing WordPress templates. This will allow your site to be dynamic enough to change at will.
Photography Website Mistake #3: Audience
One of the biggest mistakes that any photographer can make when building their websites is to ignore their target audience. Most of the time this is accomplished unknowingly. Did you know that 55% of website visitors will spend 15 seconds or less on your site? This according to Hubspot.com. That’s right! You have 15 seconds to capture the attention of your audience. This is why many photographers are choosing to specialize sites according to genre of photography. New moms are not interested in seeing senior photos, brides don’t want to think about baby photos. Be sure that your first impression is a good and lasting one!
Photography Website Mistake #4: Hot Mess
Yes, we just said that your photography site could be a hot mess! In so many ways. Oftentimes, simple is better. Keep your backgrounds and navigation simple so that your photography speaks for itself. Some photography sites have a tendency to want to be so “artsy” that they overlook good sound design and navigation. Stick with navigation that is intuitive making sure that buttons appear in the “normal” website locales. Also avoid the tendency to be “edgy” that would lead to abnormal navigation. There is a reason why newspapers kept certain information “above the fold”. The same applies to your website, grab attention, draw your potential clients in and then win them over!
Photography Website Mistake #5: Contact Info
The whole purpose of your website is to show off your business and to incite them to hire you. One would them, have to think, that one of the most important parts of a photographer’s website would be contact information. Yet it is often the last tab and the last thought about portion of the website. Make it easy for people to contact you. Include your contact information on more than the contact page. Start right at the beginning and allow your splash page to do the hard work for you by giving contact right up front. Offer your contact details in several locations on your site aside from your contact page to enable viewers to easily find and contact you.
Additionally, allow your contact information to be diverse. Offering only an email contact, when someone needs a quick turnaround answer and would rather phone you, can deter them from contacting you at all. When designing your site, try to get into the mind of your clients and offer them all of the information they could possibly want.
Photography Website Mistake #6: Mobile Site
Mobile sites are the way of the world in the year 2017 and beyond. According to BGR.com as of November 2016 the number of mobile internet users have surpassed the number of desktop users for the first time in history! This is HUGE and if I had to guess, this percentage will continue to climb. If you ignore mobile site viewers, you are losing half (or more) of your viewers almost instantly. DON’T! If you do not have a mobile specific version of your site, go get one, NOW. It is no longer an option. If your website shows up on mobile but is distorted or poorly designed, get a new site now that has a mobile friendly version, NOW. No, yesterday.
Photography Website Mistake #7: Image Quality
While we all want to protect our images on the internet, stripping the image quality is not the way to go. Think of using a simple watermark that does not detract from the images instead. Years ago you had to worry about whether the images would “load” quickly on your site as the populous was split between dial up and broadband. But today, the majority of users, even on mobile sites have access to high speed LTE or WIFI so loading larger, higher quality images is not a problem. Take the leap and go big or go home! Potential clients will EXPECT your images to be of professional quality both on your site and in person. Give them what they want.
Photography Website Mistake #8: SEO
We could literally talk all day long about SEO for your photography website and we may do just that in an upcoming article, but for today, we will simply state a few things. It doesn’t matter how brilliant your photography website is crafted or how beautiful the images are if it is never FOUND on search engines. Spiders and search engine crawlers read test and alt tag text on your site. Do some research of key terms that you would like to rank for, but also for ones that you CAN rank for. Maybe you would have a hard time ranking for “YOURCITY+PHOTOGRAPHER” but you may easily be found for “YOURCITY+WEDDING+PHOTOGRAPHY”. Knowledge is power. Make your site very appealing to the search engines and you will have a winner.
Photography Website Mistake #9: Blog
Or truthfully the lack thereof. NOT having a blog on your photography website is a huge mistake. Offering up new, exciting content to the search engines is one of the only ways stay “current” and at the top of searches. For more information on making your photography blog work for you, check out our article here: Why Every Photographer Needs a Photography Blog.
Photography Website Mistake #9: Typos / Grammatical Errors
This may sound like the simplest thing on earth but typos. GAH! Typos or errors in grammar are inappropriate and uncalled for. Check, double check, recheck and let others check your site before it goes live. Do NOT let your clients find typos on your website. This is a huge turn off and makes you look less than professional. Even if you need to pay someone to proofread your site, it would be a worthwhile investment. The same goes for your blog. Be 100% sure that all areas of your site are 100% up to snuff on grammar and spelling.
All in all, website building is a lot of work, but worthy work. Your website can say all the right, or wrong things about your business and your art. Make sure that your photography website is a tool and not a hindrance to your business!