Your website is pretty important. It’s the face of your business online and as we all know, everyone is online. But, is your website actually doing its job and getting you client leads? There are a lot of easy-to-use templates to help get you up and running, but there are additional steps needed that often get neglected in the midst of going live quickly. It can result in having a website that really doesn’t do anything to help your business. If you want to improve your website, check out these seven tips.
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How To Improve Your Website
I’m a professional food photographer and when I was first getting my website set up, I only focused on highlighting my food photography in a pretty template and didn’t really think about anything else. As creative entrepreneurs, I think this is a common practice that we all fall into. You find a nice looking template, add your content and voila, you’re live! It’s great to get a website up so quickly these days, but there are still other important steps that you need to take to make your website work for you.
My website wasn’t a very strong marketing tool for me in the beginning because I didn’t know about these important steps. My work may have looked good, but Google wasn’t finding my site in searches and I wasn’t really standing out to my potential clients.
After taking the time to work with Tonic Site Shop and some SEO experts like Brain Child Studios, I have learned a lot about what my website was lacking and now my website is my shining star for my marketing. The best part is, I’m summarizing these eight steps for you so you can start improving your website right away. Let’s dive in!
1: Looks Matter. Be Different.
When I was first getting my old food photography website up and running, I wanted it to look like the other professional photographers websites: pretty and simple. But, have you ever noticed that a lot of photography websites look the same? They’re all about the images. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re a photographer, you should be highlighting your images. But, having the same website experience as everyone else you’re competing against doesn’t help you stand out at all. It makes you blend in. There are a lot of beautiful website templates out there, but make sure you can customize every piece of it to look and feel like YOU… not everyone else.
2: Customize Your Website for Desktop & Mobile
Once you find a beautiful template, it’s important to be able to customize your website to look beautiful on a computer and on your smartphone. A desktop view of a website is a completely different experience than a mobile view.
Luckily, a lot of templates are responsive for both desktop and mobile. But, the problem I’ve run into in the past is being able to customize these two experiences separately on my own (without a developer or coding knowledge). This required time I didn’t have and extra money that I wasn’t planning to spend.
This was a big reason I decided to work with Tonic Site Shop & ShowIt. They have an easy-to-use, drag and drop platform that lets me edit my mobile view and desktop view separately right on the dashboard. It was a breath of fresh air to discover them and this feature. I am able to customize so much on my own now without any code knowledge or needing to hire a developer.
Learn More About Tonic Site Shop (save 15% using code: REGANSENTME)
3: Get The SSL Certificate
This part sounds a little more technical, but don’t worry. As a non-technical person, I can assure you this is an easy step because your hosting provider will handle it for you. SSL stands for “secure sockets layer” and is a level of security that websites need to safely send information over the Internet.
Does your website have the SSL Certificate? You can check by looking at your main URL. Does it start with HTTPS or HTTP?
If your website does not have an SSL Certificate, it will start with HTTP and an alert is sent to the user from Google saying that your site is “NOT SECURE.” This can potentially scare people away from your site pretty quickly. Google also doesn’t like this and will not rank your site in searches without an SSL Certificate. The requirement for SSL happened years ago, so not only does it make your website look unsafe and unprofessional, it also makes your website look pretty out of date.
The benefits of having an SSL certificate include:
- PROTECTS DATA SENT AND RECEIVED
- BETTER SEARCH ENGINE RANKING
- NO ALERTS SAYING THAT YOUR SITE IS NOT SECURE
Getting an SSL Certificate set up is easy. Contact your hosting company and they will get it done for you. It’s a quick fix on the backend and usually requires an annual fee. It’s worth it to keep your site safe, secure and search-friendly.
4: Get Google Analytics
Setting up Google Analytics (GA) on your website will help you evaluate and track your website’s performance to see what’s working and what isn’t working. It’s FREE and full of helpful information about who’s coming to your site, where they’re coming from, where they’re going, how long they stick around, how they got there, what devices they use, demographics and a lot of other great information. You can also set custom date ranges to see whether or not your website is improving. Knowing these types of statistics will help you make good decisions about your website rather than just guessing what could be best.
If you’re not super familiar with Google Analytics, it may seem overwhelming when you first get started. I found a great online class from SkillShare that is incredibly helpful to become more familiar with GA. I’m linking it for you below. Trust me, GA is an amazing tool to help you know how your website is doing.
Learn More About: The Fundamentals of Google Analytics
5. Add Copy
As a photographer who avoided having any copy on my website for years, I understand how this step may seem a little confusing and potentially daunting.
The only copy I had on my website in the beginning was my name and an easy way to contact me. I didn’t want a lot of copy on my website. I’m a photographer. My work can do all the “talking” for me, right? Wrong. No matter what your business is, adding copy to your website is incredibly important for these reasons:
- COPY HELPS GOOGLE FIND YOU IN SEARCHES
- COPY GIVES YOUR CLIENTS AN IDEA OF WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU’RE DIFFERENT
Keywords help Google know what your business is all about. They are words that people use when they’re searching for something in particular. When you use keywords on your website, Google likes this and will lead people to you.
There are strategic ways to add copy and keywords to your website that will help you stand out to Google and to your clients. It’s not just about writing whatever you want and placing words haphazardly throughout your website.
To effectively add copy, you need to do some research on special keywords that are relevant to your business. Then, use them throughout your website in specific areas that make sense.
I use KeySearch for to find relevant keywords for my business and it’s $17/month. I use it pretty frequently for my blog, because I’m constantly creating new content about photography and business. If you don’t have a blog and aren’t creating regular content, I would recommend using one of the free options like UberSuggests and Google’s Keyword Planner. It doesn’t make sense to pay for something that you won’t be using very often.
Consider these things when you start adding copy to your website:
- USE RELEVANT KEYWORDS
- CREATE A HIERARCHY WITH HEADING TAGS (H1, H2, H3)
- ADD PAGE TITLES TO EACH PAGE
- ADD META DESCRIPTIONS TO EACH PAGE (INCLUDE KEYWORDS)
- INCLUDE INBOUND AND OUTBOUND LINKS
- ADD SHORT AND LONG-FORM COPY
- ADD A BRAND STATEMENT
- INCLUDE A CLIENT LIST
- ADD AN ABOUT PAGE
- INCLUDE TESTIMONIALS
- HAVE AN EASY WAY TO CONTACT YOU (TIP: DON’T USE A FORM)
- CONSIDER STARTING A BLOG (SEE STEP 6 BELOW)
ADD SHORT AND LONG FORM COPY
There are two forms of copy: short-form copy and long-form copy. When to use one or the other really depends on the user intent. Why are people coming to your site? What are they looking for?
SHORT FORM COPY
Short-form copy is meant to be simple and get right to the point. This copy could live on your Home Page, About Page or in a brand statement. Adding too much copy in these areas of your website would work against you, because nobody is looking to read a novel in these areas of your website.
LONG FORM COPY
Long-form copy is exactly what you would expect – more elaborate, detailed copy. You could use long-form copy in a blog post, for example. People who read blog posts are looking for more information about something. They will expect there to be more copy in these areas of your website, so sharing more information will not work against you.
Thinking about adding long form copy may feel intimidating, especially if there isn’t a lot of copy on your website to begin with. There are several benefits to long-form copy, however. Long-form copy makes it easier to use a variety of SEO-friendly keywords that are relevant to your business. Your website will rank higher in search engine results because Google sees long-form content as incredibly valuable. Long-form copy also makes it easier to get people to stick around your site longer and if you’re sharing valuable content, they’ll probably come back for more. And, the more traffic you get to your website, the better.
6: Start A Blog
If anyone tells you that blogging is dead, they are oh-so-wrong! Knowing the benefits of adding long-form copy on your website is one thing. But, how do you do it? My recommendation is to add a blog to your website. Blogs make businesses come across as experts, because they’re sharing insider information. Blog posts are where long-form copy thrives, because as I mentioned earlier, Google loves long-form copy and it makes sense to be more wordy in a blog post.
So, what do you talk about in your blog? Well, you’re an expert at your craft, so why not share how you do what you do? I guarantee people want to know! People love going behind the scenes and learning how to do something they’re interested in.
For example, I am a food photographer and my website shows off my work to attract potential clients as well as educational blog posts to attract creative entrepreneurs who want to learn how to improve their photography and stand out in their business.
This is another reason I worked with Tonic on my website/blog. All of Tonic’s templates have a blog built into them through WordPress. So, if you decide to upgrade your website and decide to start a blog, it will be ready for your content whenever you’re ready to add it.
7: Build Backlinks
A backlink is basically a link from another website back to your website. When another reputable website links back to your website, Google sees this and gives you a higher SEO score. For example, a lot of my clients will credit my images on their website by adding “Photography by Regan Baroni” and linking back to my website. If you’re a photographer this is one of the easier tips for how to improve your website. Make sure your clients are giving you credit with a link back to your website. Another way to build backlinks is to write a guest post on another reputable website. Not only do you get the backlink, but you also get your voice and work in front of more people. You can also build backlinks if you have a blog, because it’s very likely that some of your posts will be shared. And, if your website is gorgeous with truly valuable content, people will WANT to link back to you.
Learn More About: Blogging Masterclass & Building A Successful Blog in 2021 and Beyond
How to improve your website involves more than just using a pretty template. It is great to have a pretty website that you can launch quickly, but these eight steps have been game-changing for me to take my website to a much higher level of performance. Now, whenever anyone asks about how I get clients, I tell them my website. Yes, it’s really that simple and it has been a breath of fresh air for me and my business.
If you’re looking to upgrade your website (and if you’ve read this far, I think you’re definitely tempted), I recommend checking out Tonic Site Shop. I know I’ve mentioned them a bunch in this post, but here’s the thing… Not only are the templates gorgeous and completely customizable, but their platform made working through these eight steps SO EASY for me. Working with Tonic and taking the time to make my website actually work for me has been one of the best things I’ve done for my photography business.
Reach out with questions anytime!
Read More About: Tonic Site Shop
This post contains affiliate links which means if you click or make a purchase through my site, I might make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I actually use and support.
All images ©Regan Baroni 2021.