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- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Commercial Photography Handbook: Business Techniques for Professional Digital Photographers
- Tabletop Photography: Using Compact Flashes and Low-Cost Tricks to Create Professional-Looking Studio Shots
- Low Budget Shooting: Do It Yourself Solutions to Professional Photo Gear
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photographer
- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images
- Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
Professional digital photographers know that a Web site is an essential tool to showcase their work and generate clients, which is why there are approximately one million such sites. This creates an obviously challenging competitive playing field; but the odds are not as bad as you might think because a significant number of pros’ Web sites are not as healthy as they should be. These Web sites suffer from a number of ailments that you don’t want infecting yours. It’s time to give your Web site a check-up (and regularly) and apply any of the 7 cures below to bring it back to total health, which will make it more competitive and effective.
Display High-Resolution Images.
Fill your Web site with low quality or low-resolution photos and people will avoid your site as if it had the plague. It’s best to select just a few examples of your best work and display them at a high-resolution, a minimum of 800 pixels in height and width. Apply a watermark to each to protect against copyright infringement.
Reveal Your Location.
Potential customers will obviously have difficulty determining if your photography services can serve their needs unless they know where you are located. Although this “cure” applies predominately to professionals, such as wedding photographers, who work within a specific geographic location, you can never be sure who will visit your Web site. Someone may want to hire you to shoot photos of places that are exclusive to your area, or maybe he or she needs a local contact or scout to find locations in your area where he or she will be shooting. More importantly, don’t just state your location; use it as a marketing benefit.
Don’t Expose the Patient to Flash Technology.
The Flash application is certainly a marvelous creative tool, but it only benefits certain types of Web sites and a photography site is not one of them. To achieve a top position in search-engine results, the search engine must be able to recognize and read the text on your Web site. Any text in a Web site developed with Flash is unreadable by search engines, rendering your site essentially invisible and a barely-breathing marketing tool.
Make It Easy to Contact You.
A contact-information page should be a major navigation tab on every page someone might visit on your Web site. At a minimum, it should contain your email address and phone number; however, the more ways people can contact you and the easier you make it for them will generate the most traffic to your business. Better yet, create an email contact form, so you can ask interested parties for their contact information and to describe how you can serve them, specifically. This form should also be accessible via a link on every page, and prominently displayed.
Blog Your Way to Health.
As stated in #3 above, search engines need text to recognize your site and give it a great position in the search results. This text, however, can’t be limited to brief introductory copy on the various pages or short descriptions of the photos in your portfolio. You need a blog, where you post your articles, comments and observations on a regular basis: once a week, three times a week, etc. As your blog grows, your search-results position should improve. Much more can be revealed about you and the type of photographer you are through a blog than just a portfolio of images. The contents of your blog will help potential customers answer their primary question, “Why should I hire this photographer?”
Energize Your Web Site.
A photography Web site that slowly wheezes and moans as it appears on screen is more likely to cause potential customers to visit another site than almost any other ailment. Plus, slow-loading Web sites do not receive preferential treatment from search engines; in fact, they push them lower in the results. Again, avoid using the Flash application or other “flashy” displays that a Web developer may have convinced you to add to your site. Sharpen your scalpel and cut them from the patient! Other causes of slow Web sites are very high-resolution images (10 MP) that you are trying to display at 800x600 and failing to upload JPEG images.
Your Web Site Thrives on the Simple Life.
Create (or re-create) a Web site with a simple design and easy navigation. Sure, give the home page some pizzazz and use a template design on every page that uniquely identifies the Web site as yours. Avoid complex navigation, with unnecessary movement or an overly artistic concept. People are more likely to visit your site again if they can easily and quickly find the information they seek.