Photographers love graphics. And when it comes to your website, your images should be the central theme. However, people come to your site over and over again to see what’s new. If you had the “design it and leave it” mentality when you originally put your website online, you’re missing some very crucial pieces to the online world.
While all websites are not created equal – just like all business niches are not created equal – there are some design rules that flow from industry to industry. Are you breaking any of these rules?
Mistake #1: No Action, No Changes
Why do you visit a site over and over again? It’s because when you visit, you find something new.
Why don’t photographers use that same concept on their own sites? Photographers prefer to create a dynamic site with bells and whistles and images that rotate round and round. The problem is when you head to a site like this, it takes seconds for the images to load and the “show to begin”. Once it does – once a person has been to the site – they’ve seen it all before. Why return? People want new. They want action. They want a reason to return.
With a site that offers a lot of different options – from content, to news stories, to new images, to extras like video content – there’s a reason to come back and check things out. When you predominantly place things on the home page and change them out regularly, people will happily come back to see what you have been up to.
Mistake #2: Not Paying Attention To Your Content
You have a website with a few navigation buttons. You even have a button for your blog. Yet how detailed do you get from there?
The more you hide your content, the more discouraging it is for your readers to come and browse. When they are interested in a topic, they find things relevant to them and begin to click around. If nothing is relevant, they stop clicking and move on to something else.
Imagine if I wanted more information on weddings, and I come to your site and find a button “blog”. Does that entice me to click? But what if I come over to your blog on a post I enjoy, and I find a whole selection of categories on weddings, advice on everything from engagements to trash the dress sessions, and its all relevant to the locations I’m thinking of using form my own wedding?
Quit making it difficult for your potential customers. Take them by the hand and lead them every step of the way.
Mistake #3: Ignoring How Your Customers Talk
Do you speak the same language as your potential customers?
Your first reaction was probably “of course”. But there is a difference between how you communicate online and how your customers think when they are online. Let me give you an example.
Head over to your site and see how you talk about your niche. What navigation buttons do you have for content related to your niche? How do you speak about your line of photography?
Ask a photographer what she specializes in, and you’ll probably get 30 seconds of demographics. “Oh I specialize in baby portraits. I love working with a couple that is expecting their first child, and has marveled at the process they’ve just come though. I love photographing a mom to be a few weeks before she gives birth, and then follow it up a few weeks after with a newborn image. Nothing is as precious as watching a child grow during that first year of life, and I love capturing it all with my imagery.”
Now head to her website and she has one page – portraits – on her site. Does that say anything about what she does? Can Google understand from her one word phrase “portraits” exactly what she does for her customers?
Mistake #4: Focusing On One Social Path
How many photographers have you met that say something like “I’m on a shoestring budget, so I only have a Facebook page.”?
Or maybe they’ve stretched a bit and actually put together a simple site that’s been around for years. “I just don’t have time to figure out what the fuss is all about with Google +”.
The purpose to being online is to be found online. If you have your site and also have a Facebook account, make sure you use the icon to let people know they can follow you there as well. Better yet, use one of the handy widgets available through most social sites that allow you to connect directly with your account and have people “like” you in one easy click.
Convenience is always the key online. You don’t want people searching for you. You want to be where they are looking.
Mistake #5: Move Forward Without Testing
Why did you put up your website in the first place? Was it because that’s what is expected from a business in today’s world? Or did you decide to move forward and give people what they are really looking for.
A 20 something client is going to react to your site differently than a 40 something client. Which one is your client? Have you designed your site to appeal to that type of person? Have you asked them what they like about your site, is it easy to navigate, and can they get what they came for?
Websites are in a constant flux of change. If you’re not adding, changing, or thinking about improvements, you are missing out on the biggest advantage websites have in the marketing world.
And if you aren’t working towards giving your end user a better experience when they get there, you are missing the one crucial goal of marketing that can impact your business greatly now and well into the future.