- Testimonials: Unless you were just written up in a major magazine or even the local newspaper don't waste space on your site with testimonials. It's like checking references - has anybody ever seen a bad reference? Personally, they're not believable, unless it's from a publication or a noted member of the community.
- Policy Statements: I keep visiting sites where photographers list all the major components of their policies, including copyright issues, deposits, cancellation penalties etc. Save all of that stuff for your contract discussion. You don't need to scare people away with policy statements. They're just coming into shop and hopefully buy - your website isn't a place to list all of the normal restrictions.
- Diversification: Don't create galleries of different specialties if you don't have any depth in experience or images to show. I was on a site recently where the photographer listed landscape, but only had two images to show.
- Photoshop: Don't use your galleries to show your ability with Photoshop. For example, I keep seeing galleries with the same exact image shown in color and then black and white. Doing this just makes your skill set look like a series of parlor tricks.
- Pricing: There's always a big discussion on pricing. My personal feeling is that photographers should NOT put prices on their site, but instead say, "Packages starting at __________". This gives you a starting point.
- Packages: Price your work in packages. In fact, one of the very best opinions on pricing comes from good buddy Sal Cincotta. His video about pricing is on the site and worth the time to listen to what he has to say.
- Contact Information: Give people every possible way to contact you. I understand if you work out of your home and don't want to list an address, but there's no excuse for not giving people a phone number and an email address. Make yourself accessible!
- Your Head Shot: On your about page, include a shot or two of you working with clients. One might be a shot of you with a camera in your hand, the other talking with clients or in the process of capturing their portrait. Don't waste the space on a cheesy head shot of you.
- Graphic Design: Pay attention to the colors of your site. Depending on your specialty, remember that in the portrait/social categories, women make 98% of the purchase decisions. Don't believe me? How many of you, as portrait or wedding photographers, have ever had a man call you and schedule a session? There are simply too many masculine looking sites out there!
- Remember the difference between your website and your blog. Your website is all about what you sell. Your blog is about your heart. Keep them separate and work to make your site habit-forming. The greatest thing in the world for a photographer is to have people talking about your images and sharing the link to your site.
Coming up tomorrow - The Sixth Step - Tradeshows
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