When people ask how I get photography clients, the first thing I tell them is my website. Having a beautiful website to show off your photography is really important to attract your ideal clients. But, it takes more than gorgeous images to make your website do its job. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a website that not only looks good, but actually gets seen and gets you leads? Your website is the face of your business online and people are online now more than ever. Today I want to share some very common website mistakes and how to improve your photography website so your work doesn’t get lost in the Google abyss.
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How To Improve Your Photography Website
Most photographers focus on setting up a website that shows off their beautiful work and don’t really think about anything else. I totally understand this, because I did the exact same thing for a long time. While your work as a photographer is definitely important, your work alone won’t do all the heavy lifting for your website.
Mistake 1: Most photography websites 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 exact same experience as all the other food photography websites. I didn’t realize that having a similar website to other photographers was making me blend in, not stand out. How can you stand out if you’re doing what everyone else is doing? 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 and an easy way to contact me. I just wanted to keep my site simple and let my work do all the “talking” for me. Sound familiar?
Copy is really important for two reasons:
- Copy helps google find you when people are searching for photographers (SEO, keywords, etc.).
- Copy gives your ideal clients an extra hint into who you are, what you offer and how you’re different from the other photographers. It’s ok to let your personality shine through a bit. A big part of being a successful photographer is being a fun person to work with.
Also, did you know that each page within your website can have an H-tags, page titles and meta descriptions? All these things should include keywords that will help Google find YOU when people are searching.
Full disclosure, on one of my old websites, my H1 tag defaulted to a link that said, “back to portfolios” and I never knew it. Big OOPS right there.
Take some time to think through your brand, how you are different and how you can say this on your website. Don’t do and say what everyone else is doing and saying… otherwise, you’ll just blend in with the crowd.
Tip: A branding 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 super technical person, but in a nutshell, you know your website is secure when it has https instead of http.
If your website doesn’t have and SSL Certificate (https), an alert is sent to the user from Google saying that your site is “NOT SECURE.” The SSL requirement for websites happened years ago too. So, not only does it look unprofessional, it also makes your website look out of date.
Benefits of an SSL Certificate
- Protects data sent and received
- Better search engine ranking
- No alerts saying that your site is not secure
If you are collecting reader’s emails, trying to sell anything or even sharing a contact form for people to get in touch with you, an SSL Certificate is needed to ensure that all the user’s information is safe and protected.
Contact your hosting company to get your SSL setup. It’s an annual fee and a quick fix for your hosting company to set up for you. It’s worth it to keep your site safe, secure and search-friendly.
Mistake 4: No Separate Desktop & Mobile Customization
A lot of website templates today are responsive and will translate just fine between desktop and mobile devices. But, it can be tricky to customize the two experiences separately without a lot of coding knowledge.
For example, have you ever had a hard time deciding what image to use on your homepage? I have! A desktop view would look best with a horizontal image whereas a mobile view would look best with a vertical image. Sure, I could shoot an image that works both ways, but I find that to be a pretty annoying and unnecessary composition challenge. Being able to customize which image shows up on desktop vs. mobile would be a breath of fresh air.
Customizing both experiences separately also eliminates the challenge of how your copy is formatted for different devices. Your About Page write up could look beautiful on a desktop screen, but could look like waaaaaaay too much to read on a small mobile screen. Wouldn’t it be nice to edit how they both look without the code headaches?
Mistake 5: Not asking for help
I think we all can relate to trying to do everything ourselves and wearing too many hats. Hey, we’re entrepreneurs. It’s what we do! The thing is, we’re not specialists at everything and it shows when we try to do it all ourselves… especially with our website.
In the beginning I found a cheap template I liked, purchased it, added my work and hit publish. This is what a lot of photographers do not realizing that they’re neglecting a lot of other important steps. Why have a website at all if no one is really going to see it?
I finally came to the conclusion that it was time for me to ask for help with my website, which is when a friend referred me to Tonic Site Shop.
Tonic Site Shop
I decided to work with Tonic Site Shop for my website and blog redesign and it helped me solve all of the mistakes I listed above. I am SO happy with my new site and here’s why I chose them.
Beautiful, customizable templates
This solves mistake number 1.
There are several gorgeous and customizable templates on Tonic’s site to choose from and the variety ensures that your website won’t be just like all of the other photographers.
I like that everything within each template is completely customizable so I could make the site feel like ME. The templates alone ensured that I could create a unique website experience that was different from what I had seen before.
Like the templates? Use Code: REGANSENTME for 15% off your new website from Tonic Site Shop!
Vodka Soda Template + Blog
This solves mistake numbers 1 and 2.
I was really drawn to the Vodka Soda template for my redesign because of the beautiful simplicity and the ability to bring my blog more to the forefront of my website. This template allows me to communicate to both ideal clients and readers of my blog. Side note, it was super easy to set my H-tags, page titles and meta descriptions. But, rest assured, this is easy to add with any of their templates.
I also like that their templates are named after cocktails. This wasn’t a deal breaker for me, but it caught my attention quickly. Happy hour, anyone? See how adding a little personality can be a good thing?
Anyway, there are a ton of great templates on the Tonic site, so be sure to check them out. And, if you find one you love, use my code REGANSENTME for 15% OFF. Gotta love savings!
Hosting with ShowIt
This solves mistake number 3.
In order to use Tonic’s templates, you will have to use ShowIt for your hosting. After I did some number comparisons with my other hosting company (formerly GoDaddy), I realized that I would actually be saving money by switching to ShowIt and paying annually. 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 absolutely no interest in managing any of that backend stuff on my own.
Also, if you have a blog or are planning to start a blog, you’ll be writing and editing your posts through WordPress.
Ability to customize the desktop and mobile experience separately
This solves mistake number 4.
After you purchase your template, it’s time to start making your site all about YOU. The ShowIt dashboard for customizing the layout, design, fonts and colors is suuuuuuper easy to work with. I’m not a web savvy person, so you can trust me on this. It’s a “drag and drop” experience AND it lets me customize my mobile and desktop experiences separately. I have never been able to do this type of customization with my website before ON MY OWN.
Amazing customer service
This solves mistake number 5.
Last, but definitely not least, Tonic’s customer service is a “top-shelf experience.” Did you see what I did there? 😉 I couldn’t resist.
Anyway, while I was able to do most of my web redesign myself, there were a couple of things that I needed help with along the way. The team at Tonic knows 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 emailed with Jen, Jeff and Christina MANY times and despite being super busy, they are always really friendly and quick to respond with thorough answers.
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 know how to do (or don’t have the time to do), they will get you in their schedule to get things fixed. You can trust Tonic Site Shop to take care of you. They’re awesome.
Remember, if you check out their templates and like what you see, you can save some money using the code: REGANSENTME for 15% off any template.
Cheers to your new site! I can’t wait to see it!
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.