Three Important Things Your Website Might Be Missing
SO HERE'S THE THING, THERE ARE A LOT OF PHOTOGRAPHERS OUT THERE. IT'S NOT LIKE YOU DIDN'T ALREADY KNOW THAT.
So many in fact, it can be overwhelming. I've said it before and I'll say it again though, I truly believe that you won't find your own success if you are constantly comparing yourself to others. While there are definite technical things you can learn from others, it's important to focus on you and your business. I've found that it doesn't help you grow or find your own way in the industry. I've worked really hard to develop my own style and what works for me. The time I spend editing now is MUCH LESS than ever before. I know exactly how I want my images to look and I've developed techniques to achieve that quickly and efficiently to keep my images on brand. Even though there are a lot of photographers, I also believe that there is room for all of us! We all start somewhere. We are in this together and all have something to learn from one another.
ALRIGHT THEN EMMA, WHAT CAN I DO TO STAND OUT AS A PHOTOGRAPHER IN A CROWDED MARKETPLACE?
I preach a few things regularly, but this one gets me the most excited! YOUR WEBSITE! I cannot express the importance of having not only a website, but a fabulous website. So here is a quick example I'd like to share with you. Which site would you be more willing to peruse around more or even book with based off your first impression?
It's kind of a no brainer on this one. At least I would hope you would be more drawn to the right (yep, my site!) I've worked hard to develop a website that not only creates a strong first impression, but one that is easy to use, beautiful, on brand and has good flow. Alright, so let's dive in to today's topic on what your website needs to stand out. Maybe you already have one, or maybe you have been holding off because you simply don't know where to start… either way, I want to start from the beginning on the "why". This is something I'm grateful for learning early on in my own career as a creative entrepreneur!
First impressions are everything.
In life and in business, first impressions have the power to completely make or break an experience. I cannot tell you how many first impressions have left me feeling icky or running for the door while others have left me excited to get to know someone, or the service that they offer. First impressions will either book you the client, or cause them to look elsewhere. I've included a screenshot of what potential clients will see when they land on my portfolio page. They are going to see beautiful and consistent images that will keep them scrolling (that's the hope at least!) I want whoever comes to my page and scrolls through my work to say to themselves, "I have to have her as my photographer and/or website designer." Have you ever landed on a website and you had to buy it because it was displayed so perfectly? Yep, that's me with Anthropologie. I have to make myself stay off their website because I always buy something, even when I go in with every intention of NOT buying anything.
You want your potential clients to be wowed. You want them to develop a sense of trust and connection with you and your work. First impressions are so important and could be one reason you aren't booking the right clients or many at all.
Convenience is important!
Let's be honest, people get ticked if they have to wait any more than 0.000001 seconds for anything these days. Not really, but close. We live in such a fast paced world that is so focused on instant gratification. When you have a client who wants to book, they want the experience to be easy. There are SO many things you can do within your website to make it convenient for your browsers from what you include in the main navigation to simple and easy forms to fill out throughout your site. I'm also a big fan of providing PDFS for anyone to open and read if they choose to do so. Even with the guides/PDFS I have placed ALL over my site, I still get the same email every day, "Hey! What are your prices?!" Having my website ready and available, I've been able to streamline conversations by sending them directly to my website to see everything for themselves and I then ask them to get in touch with me through my website if they have any other questions and/or want to get on my calendar. Before I got really busy I used to write out the same emails over and over again but quickly realized I was not only wasting my time, but theirs. Since those days I've implemented little things throughout my own website to take some the guessing out of what I offer, etc.
I also use a program called Honeybook that has been instrumental in my success for both my photography and website design businesses. <<<I wrote a post about it right here>>>…
STREET CRED, YO.
Credibility is HUGE! I'm sorry, but if you don't have a website, you are missing out on clients. If you only have a Facebook business page to send your clients, it does not help you stand out. If you have a beautiful website to send potential clients to that maybe found you on Facebook… that is what sets you apart. I can tell you from personal experience that I have never booked someone for something (my wedding, various projects, etc) who did not have a website. I didn't trust the others who only had a Facebook page. Yeah, maybe their work was beautiful but I wanted to see more. I wanted to trust what I was investing my money into and trust that I would be well taken care of.
By building and maintaining a website you are giving your business the opportunity to tell potential clients why they should trust you. Your website allows you to back it all up with testimonials and examples of what you do for your clients. Most people will search the internet for a product or service before the purchase to check the credibility first. They need to trust you. Trust goes hand in hand with street cred. And let's not forget about word of mouth. My photography business has taken off in part to my hustle on the web, but word of mouth has been huge. People talk about my website and they talk about my online presence. Without my website, I wouldn't be here sharing all this with you today, because I wouldn't have a blog. I never understood blogging before and once everything finally clicked, both my businesses exploded.
Why you need a great about page:
There is only so much information you can put on other social media platforms to give your clients a feel for who you are as a business owner and individual. Your about page is so important and the only way you can truly let people in the way they want to be let in is by having one on your own personal website. Your about page allows you to build on that first impression from your homepage and allows your clients to really feel like they know you. They want to work with someone that they trust (have I mentioned that before?) and they want someone who is passionate about what they do. The energy you put off on your about page is what will set you apart from others. I can't even begin to tell you how many clients have booked me based off my about page. And I know this because they have told me so! I love my website because it is a place for me to be ME and let my personality and character shine through with beautiful imagery and words that leave an impact.
WHY YOU ARE LOSING BUSINESS BY NOT HAVING A WEBSITE.
Based off what you've read so far, it should be pretty clear that if you don't have a website you are missing out on the opportunity for a potential client to identify who you are and if they are willing to invest their money with you. So yes, not having a website definitely creates lost opportunities but with that being said, a bad website can actually be worse than not having a website at all because a bad website makes your business look bad. As a graphic designer I'm going to say, YES HIRE OUT, but the reality is that there are so many template based websites that offer stunning and easy to use foundations for you to create a professional looking site. I don't need to get into all the details as to why I believe in putting such a special and important piece of your business in the hands of a designer, but it's very possible to create something yourself. If you cannot promote yourself and your business proudly with your current website, take it down. It's hurting you and your ability to grow. Take it down and hire someone to help you or just take it down and spend the necessary time to put together something that reflects you and your business more professionally. I've heard this before that a bad website is far worse than no website, but both are bad for your business.
I hope you find this helpful as you either already have a website or if you are wanting to start one! Like I said above, there are so many templates/hosts out there that make building a website pretty easy but I'll be the first to admit without knowledge or skill with graphic design, it's going to be more challenging. Yes, you can put it together, but by hiring a designer you are setting yourself apart that much more. Before you hire someone, do your homework. Read the reviews, ask the right questions before you invest your time and money with someone online. I've recently seen some horrible things online about disasters with working with a graphic designer found online. You should feel a connection with the person or team you are working with because your business and your branding is SO important. Don't be afraid to be picky and take the time to feel completely confident in your investment. For more about my own branding and website design services, <<<click right here>>>!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: EMMA ROSE
Emma Rose is a Squarespace website designer and photographer based out of the Pacific Northwest. She helps photographers not only stand out online, but dig deep to find the why in what they do. She strives to work with like-minded entrepreneurs who want to grow an audience, start and thrive their online business and change the freakin' world. She aims to help people create not only meaningful businesses but lives. For more about Emma, click here!
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