Dear Devlin, Can you help me with building a photography website?
How do I know if my website is any good? I built it myself, but I don’t have the money to hire a designer. Is there a way I can audit/do market research on the cheap to build a website with some flair and personality?
Distressed from Derby
Dear Distressed from Derby,
Building a photography website that represents your business effectively can be both exciting and daunting, especially when budget constraints prevent you from hiring a professional designer. It’s true, as photographers, our expertise lies in what goes on behind the camera, not necessarily in website design. If you feel that your self-built website isn’t doing justice to your business, it might be time to consider passing the torch to someone who specialises in web design. Just as we wouldn’t rely on an okay camera and expect exceptional images, we shouldn’t settle for an okay website when it comes to showcasing our work.
Investing in a professional website can indeed make a world of difference. Like you, I once found myself in a similar predicament and chose to prioritise a standout online presence. I sold my car to channel funds into a website that truly reflected my passions and set me apart in a saturated market. The outcome was well worth it, as my website became a vital tool in attracting my ideal clients and elevating my position within the industry. Yes, I still needed a car but I started to do Contract Hire instead.
However, if hiring a professional designer really isn’t feasible at the moment, there are still ways to make improvements on a budget. You’ve mentioned market research – creating a short questionnaire and sending it to your past clients can provide valuable insights into how your website is perceived and where improvements could be made.
Website reviews for wedding photographers is a service that I offer and it can be a cost-effective way of getting an understanding of what is currently not working as well as it could and how you can set your website up to do more selling on your behalf.
Some Tips for Building a Photography Website
- Streamline Your Portfolio: Take a critical look at your portfolio and curate it to showcase your best and most representative work. Quality matters more than quantity, so only choose images that align with your style and the type of clients you want to attract.
- Optimise Loading Speed: Slow-loading websites can lead to visitors leaving. Compress your images and optimise your website to improve loading times.
- Clear Contact Information: Make sure your contact information is easy to find on every page of your website. Include a contact form, plus an email address, and phone number – don’t make folk hunt around for this because they might just skip onto the next person instead.
- Update Your About Page: Keep your “About” page up-to-date. Share your photography journey, your approach, and what makes you passionate about your work. Personal stories always resonate with potential clients.
- Highlight Testimonials: If you have received positive feedback from clients, display their testimonials prominently. Social proof can build trust and confidence in your services.
- Improve Navigation: Simplify your website’s navigation menu to make it intuitive. Use clear labels that guide visitors to essential pages like portfolio, about, contact, and blog.
- Implement Clear CTAs: Use strong and clear calls-to-action (CTAs) to guide visitors toward taking desired actions. For instance, encourage them to contact you, view your portfolio, or download any freebies.
- Blog Regularly: Share insights, tips, or stories related to weddings or photography not just your latest weddings. Your blog should be the place where people go to get to know what you are about even more – a deeper dive. Regularly updated content can also improve your website’s visibility in search engines so it’s an easy win.
- Mobile Responsiveness: Ensure your website is responsive and looks great on both desktop and mobile devices. Many couples access websites from smartphones and tablets when they are doing their wedding planning.
- Refresh Your Design: Evaluate your website’s design and layout. Consider updating it with modern design trends that align with your brand and style. Melissa over at The Design Space has just released Style Cloud – easy websites in blocks that can be dropped into your current site and will intuitively take on your brand colours and fonts. I recommend looking at it if getting a designer on board is really not an option.
Whether you’re considering investing in professional design or seeking ways to improve your current website, remember that your online presence is an essential extension of your brand. Just as you’ve invested time and effort into honing your photography skills, a well-crafted website should reflect your dedication and passion. It is often the first impression potential clients have of you so it should reflect your style, professionalism, and clarity on the service you offer.