By Jess & Stephen Robertson [http://togtools.com]
We want you to think about building your website like building your dream home. You purchase the perfect piece of property when you secure your domain name. Next, it’s time to build.
When you build a home, you have to start with a foundation & a framework. It would be kinda odd if you were trying to install your stainless steel appliances and decorate the rooms before those things existed, right? Just like there are different types of frameworks you can use when building your home…wood, steel, etc., there are different types of frameworks you can build your site on (WordPress, etc).
Then, once you have chosen your framework, and it’s complete, you get to incorporate your style and make it all pretty. Part of this next step includes coming up with content. And this is where some people get stuck.
The question we most commonly get when talking about websites is “What should I include on my website?”
Today, we wanted to share 5 Must-Haves for Your Photography Website. We want to start by pointing out that these are components you should all have, whether you’re just starting or you’ve been in business for years. And regardless of whether you’re shooting weddings, portraits, landscapes, or cats in tutus.
The 5 must-haves for your website are:
1. About page – This will probably be one of the more time consuming components of your site. The most important thing you want to do on your about page is CONNECT with your reader/visitor. If you try to do anything without first connecting with your audience, your message will not get across. The best way to connect is to tell them a story about who you are that shows exactly what makes you unique and why you do the things you do. Connection often requires a bit of vulnerability. But there is so much power in being vulnerable, in being authentic. You also want to be sure to include a headshot (at minimum), but preferably more images to help aid you in telling your story. An image of you, or you with your family, or you doing something you love, helps to put a face to your brand. It increases trust. Show as much personality as you can on this page. We think that Tiffany Farley [http://tiffanyfarley.com/] is an amazing example of how to use your about page to connect with your visitors.
2. Portfolio – This one may be the most obvious, but we still have to mention it. You may be just getting started, or you may have a solid portfolio under your belt by now. Either way, as you select the images for your portfolio, keep in mind that less is more. Think about your ideal client, who you want to attract, as you are selecting your images. If you only want to shoot weddings, we don’t recommend including images from family sessions all over your site. You can still DO photo shoots for families, but just don’t advertise them if you don’t want others contacting you for family sessions. Never use low-resolution images that look blurry or pixelated. And make sure your images are easy to navigate. We recommend using an HTML5 gallery, as Flash galleries will not be viewable by anyone on an iPad or iPhone.
3. Contact Page – Even though we are talking about a contact PAGE, we believe it’s important to include your contact info on every page. You want to make it as easy & convenient as possible for clients to reach you. People don’t have very much patience these days and may not contact you if they have to search for your contact info. It’s also important to note that even if your website includes a contact form for people to email you through, this is not the same. You need to actually provide your contact info as well. So, what should be included on this contact page? The most important things are: Your name, your email address, a phone number, and your location.
4. Testimonials – We don’t know about you, but we are the type of people that read reviews on an item before making a purchase. By including a testimonial page with quotes from previous clients, you are once again establishing trust. This is another aspect of your site that will help set you apart. If possible, try and incorporate photos of the client with their quote. This will help connect people to you and your work more effectively. Get in the habit of asking for feedback from your clients immediately following a shoot. You can easily include this in your workflow, and it can be a simple email or it can be a link where they fill out a form. Wufoo is a great form builder that allows you to create a free account with a set number of forms. We also suggest offering a small incentive to clients who write a testimonial. Something as simple as a complimentary 5×7 print is a great way of saying “thank you” for their time.
5. Blog – Having a portfolio-only website is just not enough nowadays. We believe the best solution is to create a blog. A blog brings life to your website. Again, people love to connect with YOU, and this gives you a space to not only share your client’s images, but to share about yourself and things you value in life. The possibilities are endless! You can share photo tips, reviews on your favorite vendors, even personal posts. Use this amazing free tool to tell your stories and help people connect with you. It’s also worth mentioning that a blog is great for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)!
You may have noticed that we didn’t mention a pricing or investment page. That’s because this is a topic that deserves an entire blog post dedicated to itself! Sequel maybe??
About the TogTools team:
We are a husband & wife photography team based out of Southern CA. We believe that business skills & tools are vital to the success of a professional photographer, so we created TogTools to help new photographers become business rock stars! We connect new photographers to why their art matters, while helping them build a solid business foundation so that they can share their art for years to come.
We both enjoy embracing our inner nerd. In our down time, you might ﬁnd us at a local coffee shop or bookstore, shooting just for fun, playing with new toys at the Apple store, or having impromptu dance parties with our son.