Having a beautiful website for your photography business is awesome, but having a beautiful website that actually gets seen is even better. Today I want to share some common mistakes photographers make with their website and what you can do to fix them.
Mistakes Photographers Make With Their Website
A lot of photographers only focus on setting up a website that shows off their work. I totally get it, because I did the same thing. While our work as photographers is super important, your work alone can’t do all the heavy lifting for your website.
MISTAKE 1: PHOTOGRAPHY WEBSITES ALL LOOK THE SAME
Have you noticed that most photography websites all look the same? When I was first getting my old photography website up and running, I wanted it to look like the other pretty sites that I was inspired by. As long as it highlighted my work and there was an easy way to contact me, it was good enough for me.
The problem was that my website was the same experience as all the other food photographer’s websites. I didn’t realize that having a similar website to other photographers was making me blend in — not stand out. The message of many food photographers’ websites say the same thing:
“I’m a food photographer and my work is what makes me different.”
This message isn’t exactly compelling. In fact, it’s forgettable. The bottom line is, you won’t stand out if you’re doing what everyone else is doing and saying what everyone else is saying. If every website experience is the same, even the most beautiful work can get lost in the shuffle or not even seen at all.
MISTAKE 2: THERE ISN’T ANY COPY ON PHOTOGRAPHY WEBSITES
The only copy I had on my website in the beginning was my name, a couple sentences about being a food photographer, loving cats and my email. I just wanted to keep my site simple and let my work do all the talking for me.
But, here’s the thing… copy is actually important for two reasons:
1) Copy (like special keywords) helps Google find you when potential clients are searching.
2) Copy (like a solid brand statement and a short About page) gives potential clients an extra hint into who you are, what you offer and how you’re different. It’s important to get to the point and tell your ideal client how you can help them. It’s ok to get a little personal and let your personality come out, but keep it simple. Elaborating about loving cats probably isn’t going to get you the job. 😉 Save it for the happy hour to celebrate winning the job.
TIP: A book I highly recommend is BadAss Your Brand by Pia Silva
MISTAKE 3: NO SSL CERTIFICATE
SSL stands for “secure sockets layer” and is a level of security that websites need to safely send information over the Internet. I’m not a very technical person, but I do know that if your website doesn’t have and SSL Certificate, an alert is sent to the user (and to Google) saying that your site is “NOT SECURE.” It looks really unprofessional.
BENEFITS OF AN SSL CERTIFICATE
1) Protects data sent and received
2) Better search engine ranking
3) No alerts saying that your site is not secure
If you are doing any of the following things on your website (and we’re all doing at least one of these), an SSL Certificate is needed to ensure that all the user’s information is safe and securely protected:
1) Collecting reader’s emails
2) Trying to sell an e-book or online course
3) Sharing a Contact page with your email or a form for people to get in touch with you
Contact your hosting company to get your SSL setup. It’s an annual fee and well worth the money to keep your site safe, secure and search-friendly.
MISTAKE 4: LACK OF DESKTOP AND MOBILE CUSTOMIZATION
This mistake isn’t necessarily the fault of the photographer. A lot of website templates today will translate just fine between desktop and mobile. But, the issue is you usually can’t customize the two experiences separately without a lot of coding headaches or hiring a developer.
For example, have you ever had a hard time deciding what image to use on your homepage? A desktop view would look best with a horizontal image whereas a mobile view would look best with a vertical image. Being able to customize which image shows up on desktop vs. mobile eliminates this problem. This level of customization also eliminates the problem of how your copy is formatted and edited. Your copy could look beautiful on a desktop screen, but could look like way too much to read on a mobile screen.
MISTAKE 5: NOT ASKING FOR HELP
I think we all can relate to trying to do everything ourselves and wearing too many hats. In the beginning I found a template I liked, purchased it, added my work and hit publish. This is what a lot of people do not realizing that there’s a whole backend element that is getting neglected. Web designers have a job for a reason.
I finally came to the conclusion that it was time for me to get help with my website, because I didn’t have the time to learn the in’s and out’s of how to do it right. I wanted a template that would be easy for me to customize, but I needed to work with someone who could ensure that everything on the backend was setup correctly.
Why I Chose Tonic Site Shop
I decided to work with Tonic Site Shop for my website and blog redesign and it solved all of the mistakes I listed above. Read on to learn more about why I chose Tonic.
Use Code: REGANSENTME for 15% off your purchase from Tonic
BEAUTIFUL, UNIQUE & CUSTOMIZABLE TEMPLATES
This solves mistake number 1.
There are several templates on Tonic’s site to choose from and they are absolutely beautiful and unique. The templates are also named after cocktails, which is pretty clever and catches your attention… it caught mine, anyway. Happy hour, anyone?
Knowing that everything within each template was completely customizable was super important to me too. This ensured that I could create a unique website experience that was different from what I had seen before.
THE HEMINGWAY TEMPLATE + BLOG
This solves mistake numbers 1 and 2.
I was really drawn to the Hemingway + Blog template because of the simple, one page website experience.
I wanted the portfolio (the client experience) to be on one page since it’s targeting potential clients who might want to hire me. The main template allows me to highlight my work in different categories, add a brand statement, an about section, testimonials, a client list, recent blog posts, a contact section, my instagram feed and anything else that my heart desires all on the same page. No crazy clicking around needed, because potential clients don’t have time for that.
I wanted the blog (the reader experience) to be a little different experience from my portfolio since it’s targeting readers who want to learn more about food photography and business. This template allowed me to customize my client’s experience as well as my reader’s experience separately and I am in love with how it it’s coming together.
HOSTING WITH SHOWIT
This solves mistake number 3.
I discovered that in order to use Tonic’s templates, I would have to switch my hosting over to ShowIt. After doing some number comparisons with my current hosting, I realized that I would be saving money by switching. They offer three different plans depending on what types of bells and whistles you need, all of which include SSL support and full blog migration. This was huge for me, because I had no interest in managing any of that on my own.
SEPARATE DESKTOP & MOBILE CUSTOMIZATION
This solves mistake number 4.
The ShowIt dashboard for editing the design is super easy to work with. I’m not a technical person, so you can trust me on that. It’s a “drag and drop” experience and lets me customize my mobile and desktop experiences separately. I have never been able to do this type of customization with my website design before. It’s peace of mind knowing that my website is easy to use and read across all devices.
AWESOME CUSTOMER SERVICE
This solves mistake number 5.
Last, but definitely not least, Tonic’s customer service is a top-shelf experience. They know how to work with creatives because they are creatives themselves. I think the main reason people don’t ask for help is because they don’t think the work will get done or that it will get done well. I’ve chatted with Jen, Jeff and Christina multiple times and despite being super busy, they are always really friendly and quick to respond with thorough information. They also have a lot of well-written, easy-to-read online resources if you get stuck. And, if there’s anything you simply don’t have the time to do, they will get you in the schedule to get things fixed.
In a nutshell, you can trust Tonic to take care of you and help you build a beautiful website that gets seen. They’re pretty awesome.
If you like what they offer as much as I do, be sure to tell them that I sent you using the code: REGANSENTME for 15% off your purchase!
Cheers to your new site!
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 2020.