Photography websites tend to be artistically creative. Beautiful photographs, elegant presentation and creative implementation together act as a driving force to make the difference. These attributes do contribute in making your website distinct, but how much do these really add to the effectiveness of your website?
If your site takes too much of time to load or involves a lot of guesswork for first time visitor to get in touch with you, then you need to re-think…
Re-think about the utility of your website. Is your website helping you to grow your business as expected?
If the answer to the above question is no, you definitely need to work on your website — just a little time and effort can help you in reaping higher benefits on your investment. Here are the immediate things you can do to promote your website and grow your business online:
Say “NO” To Flash And Boost Your Potential Online Audience By 25%
Most the photographers still prefer adding flash intros. If you are amongst them, its time to say no to flash. Flash offers all the goodness to make your website interesting and interactive, but it seriously fails in making your website “inviting” for your potential customers and search engines too. Some of the serious downsides with using the flash for the websites are: slower loading webpage, browser incompatibility (plugin upgrade, etc), negative SEO impact and incompatibility with iPad, iPhone (though there are workarounds, but not 100% successful). All these account for a loss of around 25% of your potential online audience. Are you still willing to use flash content on your website?
Keep The Navigation Simple And Elegant
One of the latest trend with the photography websites is creative navigation ideas. Hidden menus, “Enter Site” button (or links) and unconventional menu styles involve a lot of guesswork on the part of the first time visitor. And instead of contacting you and having a look at your work, your potential client finally ends up closing the site and moving to your competitor’s website.
Stick To The Purpose Of Your Website
To make the most of your photography website, you have to be thorough with the purpose of your website. Its like setting up a goal and then following it day in and day out.
If the purpose of your website is to sell your services and grow the client base, you will have to make it easier for the customer to view your work (portfolio) and contact you as soon as he lands on your website. So having your contact info in the header itself or an attractive “Contact Me” (or a “Hire Me” button at the top) and awesome portfolio on the home page will do the trick.
If the purpose of your site is to sell photography ebook, photo-prints or other photo-products, you need to emphasize on creating the respective galleries and simplify the process of adding the products to the cart. Depending on the purpose of your site, you will need to outline the features and highlight your expertise on the landing page.
Showcase Only The Best Work
Touching upon the portfolio, follow this advice as a sacred text: “Showcase only your best work“. The online platform offers you only 10 seconds to make the first impression. So don’t let your mediocre work harm your business. Showcase the best and mark the impression with your work.
Present Yourself As The Most Desirable Photographer To Work With
After looking at your portfolio, the very next thing a potential customer will be interested in, is to learn more about you — about your career as a photographer, your recognitions, your awards, your clients and your formal training as a photographer. Grab this opportunity by presenting yourself as the most desirable photographer. What better than a “About Me” page that speaks volumes about your recognitions and achievements.
Promote Your Identity & Work On Social Media Platforms
Your website is an excellent medium for promoting yourself and showcasing your work. But don’t overlook the power of social media platforms; be it Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. Most of the photographers are a testament to this fact that most of the clients land on their website & get in touch with them through Twitter and Facebook. If you are not already active on social media sites, its time to pull up your socks and get going with the social flow. Social media integration is the movement in the right direction.
Get Personal With Your Audience — Share The Client Stories, Your Favorite Gear, Etc.
Having a photography blog is the next step in the series to make your photography website effective. Share your photographing experience and expertise. As much as it helps you in establishing your authority as a professional photographer, it also makes your website favorable from SEO point of view.
You can blog about the latest assignments, share your favorite pics, talk about the photography tours, reveal your workflow, offer tips for adding final touches in Lightroom and Photoshop and at times you can also share stories about your valuable possessions — photo-gear, your favorite camera, favorite lens, photoshop actions which you use most of the times. All these things will work in building your image as an authoritative professional and fresh content will attract search engine bots to your website.
Regularly Update Your Website With Your Latest Works
Even if you don’t have time for maintaining a blog, pay keen attention on regularly updating the website content — your portfolio, information about yourself, client testimonials, photo-stories, etc. But having a blog is always a plus point.
Minimize The Website Loading Time
I have deliberately saved this one for the last. This is one of the most important thing you need to do. Google considers webpage loading time as one of the factors for ranking your website in the search results.
Assess your webpage loading time (using PageSpeed or SpeedTracer) and take the following steps to minimize the website loading time:
- Divorce the slow, unreliable host: Being vigilant in this regards pays you in long term. Slow and unreliable webhost can do a lot of damage to your business and goodwill. If you are facing such issues with your web host, do your research and switch to a better one.
- Optimize the Images: At any given point of time, photography sites are overburdened by the images. Uploading only the best images and optimizing the images for the web are the steps in the right direction. Fire up photoshop and save your images for web before uploading them to the website. Optimized JPEGs are the best option for reducing the load of the website.
- Avoid flash content: Repeating again, flash content tends to slow down the site. It is advisable to avoid the flash content as much as you can.
- Ask your web developer for web performance optimization: Your web developer can take steps like leveraging the browser caching, minifing CSS and looking into other technical issues to minimize the webpage loading time. Here are some helpful links for you: Speeding Up Page Load Times, 15 Tips to Speed Up Your Website.
Pay a little attention to these details and you will be glad to see the difference — an effective photography website that attracts more clients and generates more revenue.
If your website is lagging behind your competitors’ online portfolio, it’s time to be serious about website re-design. Need help? Contact me.