In the Squarespace Super Bowl ad, John Malkovich is screaming into the phone at his namesake.
John wants to launch a website, but the hard part is not in creating a website. It is in getting his name. You know the message coming will be this...The easy part in creating a website will be creating a website.
If you are a photographer, by now you know you should have a website. The easy part in creating a website is in creating a website. The difficult part is in creating a website - that works.
Here’s a roadmap to help you build your own photography website.
Listen to the podcast
Have a clear goal - What do you want your photography website to do for you?
- Just show your work
- Build a following
- Sell your images
- Book more clients
Pick a short, descriptive name - Use “photography” a location or a term that potential clients might be searching.
Decide who it is for - Make that very clear to visitors. Don’t make them guess.
- Visitors will wonder, "is this for me?" Make it obvious.
- Example "we photograph your firsts"
Choose your personality - Who are you?
- What is your personality?
- How can you show it on the page?
- Can you be upbeat? Whimsical? Thoughtful?
- Let a personality shine through.
- Write the way you talk.
Select a platform
- Squarespace or WIX
- SmugMug or Zenfolio,
- Showit or similar
- Stay away from the freebie options. You get what you pay for
Include these elements
Simple standard navigation - Don’t make visitors work to find their way around.
Next action - What do you want them to do at the end of the page, the end of the visit?
- What's the goal of the page or site?
- Follow you on your favorite social media platform?
- Join your mailing list?
- Call you or write you?
- How do you get them into your community and coming back?
- The most visited page on most sites.
- This is where you tell your story.
- It's not just your history, give a little insight into you...and what it is like to to work with you.
Galleries of your best
- Less is more.
- Best is better.
- Don’t make visitors work to find you. Make your contact page prominent
- I like it on every page, or at least on the pages where they will be making decisions.
Pricing - Show your pricing. No one wants to contact you.
- This is an important marketing element for businesses and search engines
- People often search for 'photographers in my city'. Spell out both on your site.
- People connect with people. They want to see who you are.
- If you are a photographer who can’t get a photo taken, what does that say about you?
Social links - It’s a given that people will want to see what you are doing on social media. Showcase the links for the platforms where you are most active.
Try these performance improvement
Mobile optimized - That’s how we all consume media these days. Are you on mobile now?
Secure site - Google is favoring them
KISS - Keep it Simple. In everything. In design and productivity
Website and blog on the same site
- Maintaining two sites will be a bigger hassle than you think.
- Let your website benefit from blog updates and vice versa.
Page links with keywords
- Change the names of your page links to something Google will recognize
- Size - Large enough to be seen but not so large that it slows down loading. Try between 700 - 1000 pixels wide.
- Compression - 72 dpi or compressed for web viewing. JPEG Mini is a great new option
- Make the site mobile ready. What is the experience consuming your site on your phone or tablet?
- Make the file names something Google will recognize
- Use the alt tags to describe the image
Beware these no no’s
No video intros. People are busy. Let them choose if they want to sit through a video.
No flash - Steve Jobs or Google killed it. Let it die.
No ads - They take people away from your site when you want them to stay
No long load times - People are just too impatient
What about you?
Where are you in your website creation? If you have one, how is it working for you?
Helpful & related links