When you decided to be a photographer did you have any idea how much business stuff you were going to need to learn? Gosh, I know I had no clue when I was starting up my photography business. My love for photography was quickly being weighed down with my entire to-do list for the business that seemed unending.
Building a website was at the top of my list of things to do to start my business…I mean because once I had a website that’d make me official right?
So I did what any good business person would do and slapped up a website as fast as I could…then I checked it off my list and moved on to the rest. Little did I know then that my website was one of the most important pieces of marketing my photography business and I really should’ve taken it more seriously.
I eventually figured it out. I made some big changes and saw some big results. We’re now almost 10 years later and from doing my own website and years of designing other photographers’ sites I’ve learned that there are some pretty big mistakes that photographers are making that are hurting their businesses. The good news is, the big mistakes are actually pretty easy fixes!
Website Mistake: Too Slow– This has to be the number 1 and most obvious mistake people are making. A photographer’s website is photo heavy so it’s easy to bog down your site with too much. The problem is that when a site takes forever to load you’re for sure losing clients. If something isn’t loading you better believe they’re hitting the x.
Solution: Resizing your images before you load them is a must have practice. You can simply do this in Photoshop or Lightroom or my favorite is Blogstomp. The other solution which will help with images you’ve already put on your site is an image optimization plugin. Some hosts include this type of plugin (like SiteGround) or you can add a plugin like Imagify. I also recommend using a caching plugin to help speed up your site. Again, SiteGround has this built into their plugin (can you tell I like SiteGround for hosting?) but you can also install a different caching plugin.
Website Mistake: No Location- This one makes me wonder every time I see it. You guys….LOCATION!!! Every single page of your site should have your location on it. It should be glaringly obvious where you are located. It should be in your site title, in your footer on your contact page…errrryyyywhere. Not only will this help with your SEO but it also is just something that should be there. Especially if you’re using social media to promote your business.
Solution: This solution is too easy…just add your dang location! 😉
Website Mistake: Not Mobile Friendly– This one I get….because it’s hard. Think about how you consume information…a lot of it is through your phone right? It’s a must that your website isn’t just “ok” on mobile but that it still wows on mobile. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your site is on a computer if someone only sees it on mobile. Now I know, you might be thinking your site is already mobile friendly….and it might be…lots of designers or website templates include a mobile friendly version…usually those are less than stellar. You want your mobile site to look purposeful and put together…not like some after thought of your business.
Also, good ole Google cares if your site is mobile friendly…if it’s not…you can kiss your Google rankings goodbye.
Solution: First things first, check out your site on mobile. Make sure it’s all working just right. If it’s not it might be time for a new website designer or platform.
Website Mistake: Not Secure- I remember when this first came up I thought “I don’t sell anything on my site so why does it need to be secure”. Well let me tell you…because Google says so! ha…ok, I’m sure there’s great reason for it but my reason for finally doing it was because not only does Google penalize you if you don’t have an SSL certificate but in some browsers (including chrome) your website won’t open up for someone if it isn’t secured with an SSL certificate. That’s reason enough for me!
Solution: Get yourself an SSL certificate! Depending on your host you might have to pay for one. Some hosting companies…like SiteGround give you a free SSL certificate for your site!
Website Mistake: Overwhelm: I know most of this article is techy…and that’s mostly how I think but over the years of designing websites I can tell you overwhelming your potential clients is a huge problem. This can happen in a few different ways. The first is distracting design (Suzanne will go into this in another post)
The second is too many photos…weird I’d say that right? I mean you’re a photographer so you should definitely have a lot of photos right? Wrong. You don’t need to show everything you’ve ever shot. No one is going to look through it all, it’ll slow down your site and overload your potential clients. Instead, show your best. I say a few galleries with 15-20 photos. Easy peasy.
The third and most common…too much writing. Goodness this is a problem. If you write so much that it looks like it might take them all day to read they’re not going to read anything. You’ve lost your chance to say anything because you’re trying to say too much. Remember that this is your first impression…not the only time you’re going to be able to deliver information!
Solution: Simplify! Easy as that. Deliver your best images and let them speak for themselves. Write your copy for your site with your potential client in mind. Is it something they can scan quickly and still get a great idea of what you’re offering?
Not so bad right? Some simple fixes and you’ll be good to go. If you’ve read this list and are feeling like your website might be in need of a complete virtual makeover be sure to take a second to checkout Website Refresh. We’ll be starting a new round in the next few weeks and would love for you to join us! If you just want to keep up to date on all things websites please take a second to subscribe!