Every day I look at dozens of websites and I keep running into people who are "two tacos short of a combo!" The result is an entire recipe book on ways to totally confuse your audience and lose business. Follow these guidelines and you just might develop a new income stream of royalty checks...from your competitors!
· Don’t give people a way to talk to you! I keep seeing websites where photographers refuse to share a contact phone number! Come on people, I can understand if you work out of your home and don’t want to post an address, but give your potential clients a way to talk to you personally! I’m tired of template designed web email forms that allow me to contact the photographer, but don't list a phone number. Even worse is they take forever to respond.
· Show your clients everything you’ve ever photographed. There are certain categories that work well together and others that don’t. I was on a site recently that had weddings, babies, children, family, commercial, landscape and macro work of bugs, birds and flowers! It’s great to have multiple skill sets, but let’s hone in on the categories.
Here’s the challenge as an example – a commercial client looking for a great table-top photographer is going to walk away from wedding and baby galleries on the same site. They might be drawing a terribly wrong assumption, but it won't matter. They won't spend time mining for the images they want most to see. Put your images in categories that make sense together and give your clients different paths to choose from. Personally, I like multiple sites that focus on different specialties when the categories are just too far apart.
· Use your about me section to talk all about your awards and how you got started! That’s sure to have people beating down your door. NOT! Seriously, awards are wonderful, but people want to know why they should hire you – they want to hear about your heart, your passion to capture their personalities in a photograph. They don’t care that you’ve won awards. They don't care what you shoot with or that your grandfather gave you your first camera when you were twelve. There’s nothing wrong with listing some of your accolades, but don’t waste the About Me real estate on a bunch of things that people don’t even understand unless it’s the Pulitzer Prize!
· How about listing every testimonial you can think of? Testimonials are like references. Has anybody ever read a bad one? There’s nothing wrong with a few of them, but choose the ones that are the most relevant and show the actual images you captured of the subjects giving you the testimonial. Personally I wouldn't list testimonials, but if you are, at least make them more relevant.
· Don’t take the time to proof read anything you’ve written! I’ll be the first to admit I spend a lot of time in an editorial mode so I’m more sensitive than most of your clients. However, God made punctuation and spell check for a reason. You’re talented artists. Work to make what you’ve written sound intelligent. Stay away from disjointed thoughts, spelling errors and run-on sentences. (side bar - a big thanks to @dcharlesphoto who suggested I do a closer check on my own proof-reading this morning...what can I say? It's hard to get good help! LOL)
· Confuse your audience a little more by calling yourself a professional and show mediocre images anybody’s Uncle Harry could create! Your website should only show your very best work. Don’t compromise your reputation just to fill up space!
· When people do contact you, don't bother to call them back right away. After all, it's the weekend and you worked hard all week. Seriously, if somebody has sent you an email inquiry or called you, then they've got the bug. They saw something they liked. Your response has to be just as enthusiastic as their need to contact you. Don't let inquiries sit with potential clients waiting to hear back from you.
Years ago people used to say you couldn’t be in business without a yellow pages ad. Today, you can’t be in business without a website, but you have to use your Internet real estate wisely. It’s your potential client’s very first stop and just like shopping in your favorite retail store –you’ve got to focus on making it a great experience.
Photo credit: © Melis82 | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos