Your website is one way potential clients can get to know you and size you up against your competition. If you aren't putting your best face forward with an informative and easy-to-navigate website for your business, you could be slashing your earning potential.
Mastin Labs CEO Kirk Mastin is a veritable fountain of website wisdom, which he has shared in the community website critique video you can find here. Watch the video to see his full critiques of two wedding photographer's websites and find the Cliffs Notes version below.
Every website has six factors to analyze to make sure you're offering your potential clients everything they need to make an informed decision about your services while avoiding mistakes that step on your own toes.
Keep it simple! Above all, you want to make sure that a visit to your website a straightforward experience. Less is more, and including too many options can give potential clients "analysis paralysis" and drive them away. Don't forget to make it easy to see your location - if someone wants to book you but can't tell if you're five or five thousand miles from them, they may move on.
As with the site's overall navigation, it's better to keep things on the sparse side to keep from overwhelming your site's viewers. Showing too many images can water down your brand and make it harder to see just what it is that makes you the best choice. Coco Chanel famously said, "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off," and you can say the same of image galleries. Leave only the best, and only show the type of work you want to shoot more of because what you put out there is what clients will hire you to do again.
There are so many photographers out there that it's hard to create work that someone else couldn't make. There's one thing nobody else can do, though, and that's "be you." Your bio page is your opportunity to show someone who's looking to hire a photographer who you are. Clients want to know if you're someone they'd enjoy spending time around and can make them feel comfortable in front of the camera.
Don't make your bio a novel - your site visitors aren't going to read Dostoyevsky to distill the essence of what you're trying to say about yourself. Do include a great photo of yourself, a picture is worth a thousand words, after all.
There are two schools of thought on pricing pages. Some photographers prefer not to use them in favor of having people reach out for consultations where you can talk to them directly about why they should hire you. Kirk prefers the second approach of posting pricing; it eliminates the need to spend time consulting with people who are window shopping and looking for something in a different budget range.
Beyond that, showing high prices can establish your services as a luxury purchase. It seems counterintuitive if you're used to looking for the best bargain (or being contacted by bargain shopping would-be clients,) but there are clients who feel more comfortable with a high price as an assurance of quality. If your work is impressive, but you put a low price tag on it, people are going to wonder what's wrong.
Beware of listing too many products and packages. It's that overarching theme of the whole website lesson: simplify, simplify, simplify. Three packages are ideal - a top tier for the people who want the very best, a bottom tier for those who want to book you but simply don't have as much budget, and a "Goldilocks" middle tier that most people will choose.
Mobile devices are how most people are viewing the internet most of the time. It's likely this is the way prospective clients are going to see your site. We lead busy lives, and people are browsing with their phones on their lunch breaks or the bus ride home, and they're clicking links from your Instagram or other social media while they're looking around.
Most site builders will have a built-in mobile view that works wonderfully for site visitors on mobile devices. Still, you need to look at your site in a mobile mode to make sure important things aren't changing in ways that don't look right or inhibit functionality. If you're working on your site on a desktop computer and want to take a quick peek, in many browsers, you can make your browser window phone-shaped, and it will change to a mobile view.
Entering metadata for your site will help you come across as a polished professional. It will affect how Google reads your website and presents it when your site comes up in a search, and how it presents when linked on social media. Different site builders will have different ways of entering metadata, so check the FAQs for yours to see how to do this part.
Here's the bottom line: the website for your photography business needs to be as confusion-free and straightforward as possible. The goal is to come across as the professional who's the best fit for the job, and you want to do it with as few barriers as possible. Make it easy for clients to see exactly what you do and who you are. Contacting you should be pain-free. Every single thing that makes the experience of viewing your work, ascertaining your location, and talking to you about booking diminishes contacts. Make your website awesome with these tips and watch the leads roll in.