As a photographer, your website is a potential client’s first impression of your brand. Have you ever visited a website that left you less than impressed, or worse, confused? Often times, if someone lands on your website and they don’t find what they are looking for immediately, they will simply click away to the next photographer’s website.
In the last blog post, we discussed a list of reasons why it is vital to have a website for your photography business. Today, I am going to tell you exactly what elements should be on your website so your visitors will turn into inquiries and booked clients.
- Home page: The first thing most visitors will see is your home page. For that reason, it is important that this page is not only beautiful, but also clear. The home page is meant to act as an introduction and guide your visitor towards the more important features of your website. Your home page should have at least one image that represents the style and type of photography you offer. There should also be a welcome message that is inviting and gives the visitor a little glimpse into your personality so they are inspired to take a “tour” of your site.
- Clear Menu: One of the first things a visitor should see when they land on your site is a menu. The menu should include all the different things on your site without being overwhelming. If you make you menu too long, it will clutter your site. One way to avoid this is by using submenus. For example, you can have a “Galleries” category with a drop-down selection of different genres in your portfolio, such as Newborn, Senior Photos, or Family Portraits.
- Galleries: You should absolutely have galleries on your website so potential clients can see the quality and style of your photography. If you offer more than one type of photography (such as newborn and families) you should present those in different galleries. Someone looking for a family photographer will not want to sort through the newborn images in order to find the family photos. Within each gallery, there should be a variety of images from unique sessions. If possible, avoid putting 3 images of the same person in a single gallery. Ideal gallery size is no less than 8 images and no more than 15 — I find 10-15 images per gallery to be the sweet spot.
- About Me page: The About Me page can be one of the most difficult pages to write and is also the most frequently visited page. That being said, it’s important to make this page stand out.. If you are funny, include small bits of humor. If you have unique qualities or interests, talk about them. Whatever it is that sets you apart from the rest, the About Me page is where you can shine. Include a little about your personal life, some solid credentials about your business experience, and something that will pull the client into your world.
- Services: Having a Service or Investment page is important especially for people who have never hired a photographer. . Many people don’t know exactly what they want in a photographer, so price is a deciding factor for them. I suggest putting SOME of your pricing information on your website, but also encouraging the client to contact you to discuss the rest of what you offer and your full price list. One thing you can say is, “Most of my clients spend between $__ and $___.” This gives them a ballpark on what they should be prepared to spend. If you don’t give them any pricing information, many people will feel frustrated and click away. If you give them all the pricing information, you miss the opportunity for a phone or in-person connection that might convince the potential client you are worth the price.
- Blog: Having a blog on your photography website is an important element for several reasons. A blog can showcase entire photo sessions, which gives potential clients a better idea of your style.. A blog also does wonders for your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Good SEO increases the likelihood that your site will show up on a Google search. However, if you have a brand new business, I suggest waiting until you are more established to start a blog, perhaps in your second year. It can be very time consuming and might overwhelm you in the early days of business.
- Call to action: A call to action is when you give the visitor directions on what to do next. If you don’t tell them what to do, they will do what is natural – click away. In order to stay connected with your potential clients, you should suggest they sign up for your email list. This gives you have a way to follow up and potentially book them as a client. Don’t let this stress you out. The process is very simple and my next blog post will explain the simplest way to implement an email list and sign up form.
- Contact: Give your clients a very easy way to contact you and find out more information. I think it is great to have a formal contact form on your website. You should also consider including your direct phone number right there on the website. People want immediate results and first contact is important. \ While you don’t have to be on call 24/7, keep in mind that the first person to respond is often the one to get the booking. Particularly in the early stages of business, it’s important that you are easily reachable.
- Social media buttons: After you have worked so hard to set up your social media channels, don’t forget to invite people to come on over from your website. Your website might be the first place someone finds you, so be sure to include your social buttons on the homepage of your website. This will help the potential customer stay engaged with you beyond their firstvisit to your website. Also, don’t forget to add a “Pin it” button to your images. How fun is it to find out someone has “Pinned” an image from your photography website? You can also get more traffic to your site when other people click the pin, so make it easy for visitors to share your work!
- Responsive design: This one may not be as familiar to you, but it is one of the most important things to include on your photography website. Your site must be responsive. What the heck is that, you ask?! Well, it basically means that when someone visits your website from a mobile device, they are able to see a mobile version and not the desktop version. Have you ever been on your phone and visited a website that looks all wonky and then clicked away? Well, that is exactly what people will do to your website if they are not able to navigate it easily on their mobile device. These days, you will likely have more than HALF your traffic coming from a mobile device, so don’t miss this step – your site must be mobile-optimized.
So there you have it! Now you know all the reasons why you should have a photography website as well as all the important elements you should include on your website.
Once you have your site set up, the maintenance will be minimal and your bookings will become more consistent. Feeling overwhelmed? Try not to take everything on at once. Just remember, take it one step at a time. It is easy to do each small step one after the other. However, it is also easy NOT to do each small step, so don’t fall into the trap of overwhelm and paralysis. We have all been there, but keep moving forward and each little step will move you in the right direction to a successful photography business.