The Art of Web Appeal: 6 Tips to A More Effective Photography Website
Ok, have you ever been speaking with a photographer and asked to see their website or asked what their website address is only to hear them say, "oh, you can look at that but I haven't updated it in a long time." OR have YOU been one of those photographers?
One of the biggest mistakes I see when working with photographers is that they aren't keeping their websites updated. A stale website means several things: 1. That you can't be bothered with one of the most basic business tasks that ALL business owners need to be bothered with and 2. Google will stop or slow down including you in search results. The worst thing that you can do it pay a ton of money to have a website made OR spend hours doing it yourself only to find that it isn't working to bring you the clients you need.
As visual creatures we want our websites to be pretty and functional but remember, Google doesn't see images. You can have the most gorgeous imagery and it won't matter unless you set your website up in a way that is easy for the Google machine to see and index. So how does this happen? Here are some of my top suggestions when it comes to getting your website on Google's radar so it shows up in the local searches.
1. Set up your Google My Business page.
This is a free resource offered by Google that allows you to have a place on their platform where you can post images, information, etc. . . This is the place where people can see your reviews, directions to your studio, images, hours of operation, messaging features, and more. I highly recommend you keep this profile up to date. To me this is becoming more important than updating my Facebook or Instagram profiles. Those don't bring me clients very often. My Google my business page bring me inquiries every week.
One word of warning though, you need a business address other than your home address to safely use this feature. You don't want your home address on this page because it will post a picture of your address in your profile. It integrates with Google maps. Unless you want a picture of your home shown on your business profile, make sure you have a business address. (You should really have this anyway. I use an address at a UPS store for my business. It gives me a street address and the convenience of having someone there to sign for packages)
2. Use the blog feature.
I never wanted to have a blog. I really don't like blogs, I rarely read them and I didn't want to have the added pressure of putting out a regular blog. But I have changed my tune. The main reason is that Google requires new and fresh content that is added regularly on your website. A blog allows you to add that content without touching all the other things on your website that you may not want to mess with like pricing and process information.
BUT one word or warning about blogs. You do not want to copy any written blogs post you source from ChatGPT and you need to be very careful about done for you content you might purchase. I have nothing against using those tools and they can make life much easier when it comes to idea creation. The idea of adding a blog is that it need to be new and unique content. That is what Google demands. It will know if you are copying information from other sources and will penalize you if it thinks you are. No matter how you put together your blog make sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is completely new and unique content just for you and that it can't be sourced by anyone else.
3. Set up your blogs posts with proper, SEO friendly formatting.
This is done through header tags and keywords.
Want to know about how to set up your blog content with the correct headers? Head over to the blog and check out this post about using headers and how they help Google read your content. Really, go read this blog post.
4. You probably hear this all the time but your images need to be the correct size for your site.
Your website provider probably has guidelines that work best for their site. Yes, you can load images that are too big but if you include these larger images it can slow down your site speed. This will be a ding against you for Google and cause more people to bounce from your site.
5. Please for all the love, put your location on your site in an easy to find locations.
Preferably on your home page. You are most likely a local business, people need to know where you are located. It is shocking how many photography websites I look at that do not list a location. Yes, I know you might be willing to travel all over the world. That is great, put that information on your site but you also need to list your home service area.
6. Have an updated, current headshot or branding image of yourself on your site.
I think photographers are the worst at this. There is one photographer in my area who hasn't updated his image on his website in over 20, yes, TWENTY years AND he is in the business of telling people how important it is to update their business image. No, that old image doesn't make people think you are younger than you are, it doesn't make you look trendy, and it isn't doing you any favors. Just like we tell our clients they need to update their images, YOU need to update your image on your website and marketing materials.
Be sure to hire a professional to do it. Yes, your spouse, friend, or family member can take your image but working with a pro will help you in so many ways. Book a session.
These are just 6 tips that you can use to start getting your photography page ranked higher in Search Engines. There are more things that I listed here but this is a really great start.
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