A website is a very important marketing tool – not just for photographers – but for all businesses. It’s pretty easy to get a website up and running quickly these days, which is awesome. But, in the midst of going live quickly, important steps get neglected resulting in a website that doesn’t really help your business. If you’re wondering how to improve your photography website so it can actually help your business, this post shares important steps you need to take.
This post contains affiliate links. Read the affiliate disclosure.
Important Steps To Improve Your Website
I’m a professional food photographer and when I was first setting up my website, I found a pretty template I liked, added my images and hit publish. It was oh-so-easy and my website, overall, looked really nice.
But, unfortunately, my website wasn’t a very powerful marketing tool for me in the beginning. It looked good and I could update my work easily, but I didn’t realize there were other important steps I needed to take. After doing some research and taking some actionable steps to improve my website, it is now my number one marketing tool. Let’s dive into how I did it.
First things first, do you have Google Analytics (GA) set up on your website? This is a super important step, because GA helps you see how your website is doing. It’s a really great place to start learning more about what’s working and what’s not working for your website, so you can make more informed decisions about what to fix and what not to fix.
If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics, it may seem a little overwhelming when you first get started. I found a great online class from SkillShare that is incredibly helpful for learning more about setting up GA and how it works.
READ MORE ABOUT: THE FUNDAMENTALS OF GOOGLE ANALYTICS
SSL stands for “secure sockets layer” and is a level of security that websites need to safely send information over the Internet. SSL Certificate sounds like a more technical step, but your hosting provider should be able to set this up for you very easily.
How do you know if your website has the SSL Certificate? You can check this by looking at your main URL in the search bar. Does it start with HTTPS or HTTP?
If your website starts with HTTPS, you are good to go and there’s nothing you need to do.
If your website does not have an SSL Certificate, it will start with HTTP and an alert is sent from Google saying that your site is “NOT SECURE.”
The cons to not having an SSL certificate include:
- Your website won’t be able to get ranked in searches
- People get scared to browse your site due to the “not secure” alert
- Your website will look unprofessional
- Your website will seem out-of-date
The benefits of having an SSL certificate include:
- Protects data sent and received (this includes something as simple as an email contact form)
- Better search engine ranking
- No scary “this website is not secure” alerts
- Google will love your website more
Getting an SSL Certificate set up is super easy. Contact your hosting company and they will get this done for you. It’s a quick fix on the backend and can be built into your annual hosting fee. It’s worth it to keep your site safe, secure and search-friendly.
SEO & Keywords
As a photographer, I didn’t have very much copy on my website in the beginning and knew absolutely nothing about SEO or keywords. The only copy I had on my website was my name and an easy way to contact me. I figured since I was a photographer that my images could do all the “talking” for me, but I was wrong.
No matter what your business is, learning about SEO and adding keywords to your website is incredibly important because they help Google rank your website so you show up in searches. If your website isn’t ranking, people aren’t going to find you.
WHAT IS SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process of getting traffic from online searches. Where does your business rank when you do a search on Google? The higher the better, because more people will see it resulting in a lot more traffic to your website.
WHAT ARE KEYWORDS?
An effective way to optimize your website for SEO is through keywords. Keywords are the words people use when they’re searching for something in particular and they help Google connect people to what they’re searching for. When you use keywords throughout your website, Google likes this and will rank your site higher when people are searching.
But, you can’t just add whatever words you think are good keywords and place them haphazardly throughout your website. There are strategic ways to add keywords that will help you improve your website’s ranking with Google.
HOW TO FIND KEYWORDS
Figuring out keywords is not meant to be a guessing game. There are programs out there that can help you learn what keywords will be helpful for your business. I use a tool called KeySearch to help me learn about relevant keywords to use for my business and it’s $17 per month.
You can always start with some free options, though. I would recommend checking out UberSuggests and Google’s Keyword Planner to get started.
WHERE TO ADD KEYWORDS
Consider adding keywords to a variety of areas to your website:
- HEADING TAGS (H1, H2, H3)
- PAGE TITLES
- META DESCRIPTIONS
- YOUR BRAND STATEMENT
- ABOUT PAGE
- YOUR BLOG
READ MORE ABOUT: HOW TO FIND GREAT KEYWORDS FOR YOUR WEBSITE TO BOOST YOUR SEO
Add More Copy
Ok, so how do you add keywords to your website? Basically, you need to add more copy to your website. A lot of photographers don’t include much (if any) copy on their website, which is a huge miss from an SEO perspective.
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?
For me, people are either coming to my site to find a food photographer (potential clients) or they’re coming to my site to learn more about food photography (potential students). I use short form copy on the pages my potential clients are landing on (my home/portfolio/about pages) and long form copy for the pages my students or readers are landing on (my blog posts).
SHORT FORM COPY
Short-form copy is meant to be simple and direct. 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.
BENEFITS OF SHORT FORM COPY
- Short form copy is easy to read and quick and to the point
- People can quickly learn what you do and how you can help them
LONG FORM COPY
Long-form copy is exactly what you would expect – more detailed copy. And, here’s a tip, Google LOVES long-form copy, so before you rule it out, check out the benefits it does for your website.
BENEFITS OF LONG FORM COPY
- 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 searches because Google sees long-form content as incredibly valuable.
- Long-form copy also makes it easier to get people to stick around your site for a longer period of time. And, if the information is helpful, it will get shared, which means you’ll get even more traffic to your website. The longer people are on your website is a good thing and the more traffic you get is even better.
Start A Blog
Ok, so you’ve learned that Google loves long form copy, but how do you add this to your website? My advice is to start a blog.
Hear me out…
First of all, you are an expert at your craft. This means that people will want to know how you do what you do. A blog really makes you look more like an expert, because you’re not just showing beautiful images, you’re talking about how you created them. And, obviously, you can decide what you want to share and what you don’t want to share.
Second, you have an opportunity to monetize your blog with affiliate links, ads and sponsored posts. Passive income? Yes, please!
For example, I am a food photographer and I blog about food photography tips, equipment ideas and business advice. One of my most popular posts is The Best Overhead Setup for Food Photography. I posted it in 2019 and it still brings a ton of traffic to my website. And, because I have relevant affiliate links to the equipment I use for my overhead setup, I actually earn money on this post every month.
Once your blog posts are out there bonding with Google, they have the opportunity to literally “work” for you for years to come. Adding a blog to your website increases traffic, sends you extra income and helps you get higher rankings.
So, if anyone tells you that “blogging is dead,” they are totally wrong, because last time I checked, the internet wasn’t dying. 😉
READ MORE ABOUT: THE BLOGGING MASTERCLASS
Another great way to bring more traffic to your website is to build backlinks. A backlink is a link from another reputable website that links back to your website. When another website links back to your website, Google likes this a lot.
For example, one way to do this is to ask clients link back to your website when they are using your images online. A lot of my clients will credit me when using my images on reputable websites by adding “Photography by Regan Baroni” which links back to my website. If you’re a photographer make sure your clients are giving you credit with a link back to your website when they use your images online.
Another way to build backlinks is to write a guest post on another blog. For example, if you’re a fan of ProFoto lights, you could write a lighting-specific post for their blog that gets linked back to you. Not only do you get the backlink, but you also get your name, voice and work in front of a lot more people.
You can also build backlinks if you have a blog, because if you are sharing valuable information, it will most likely be shared.
Tonic Site Shop
We’ve covered quite a bit of actionable steps that you can take to improve your business website. Depending on what template and hosting provider you’re using, these steps will either be easy for you or a total pain to figure out. For me, it was a total pain at first, because I didn’t have a template or hosting company that made these steps very easy. I wanted to give up on my website, because I simply don’t have the time to become a web developer.
But, that’s when I switched to Tonic Site Shop and ShowIt. Not only are their templates absolutely beautiful, the hosting platform made it SO easy for me to work through all the steps I mentioned in my post.
If you fall in love with one of the Tonic templates, use my code for 15% off any of them: REGANSENTME
Switching helped me all of the steps I mentioned above:
- Add your Google Analytics code easily for accurate website insights and tracking
- An SLL Certificate automatically comes with your hosting package
- The “drag and drop” platform makes it really easy to update your heading tags, page titles, meta descriptions, brand statement, images, copy, colors, fonts, etc. with no coding knowledge or needing to hire a developer.
- All the templates come with a blog (through WordPress), so you can start your blog at any time. And, if you already have a blog, the hosting company will migrate everything from your old blog into your new one for you.
- Tonic loves to feature their customers new websites on their own website, so that’s an immediate backlink right there! And, with as reputable as they have become, it’s a very helpful backlink for your website to have.
Like I said earlier, my website is my number one marketing tool. If you can’t say the same for your website, it’s time to change that. Let your new and improved website do your hustling for you. Seriously, making these changes has been one of the best business decisions I’ve ever made and switching to Tonic made implamenting them so much easier. I can confidently say it will be the same experience for you. Best of luck and reach out with questions anytime!
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.