1. The first step is the domain name:There are a few schools of thought here. A good choice for me might be, www.mikeconnorsphotography.com. I want people to remember me, so choosing a domain with my name, makes it is easy and can be less confusing on clients. Another idea would be www.michiganfunphotos.com. This is good for a couple of reasons: I live in Michigan and choosing a neutral name might be easier to spell and remember for everyone. Also, I may decide to sell my company at some time in the future,a generic name would make the business much more marketable. The bottom line is,if you are a very high end portrait photographer,using your given name might be the best option. On the other hand,if you are a high volume studio photographing schools and sports,you might want to go with a more basic name that is short, easy to spell and will flow easily off the tongue.
2. Now onto design. The two main options are a custom site or a template based site. While a custom design sounds better at first,there are a couple of downfalls:Custom costs are much higher and you will need to call your designer every time you have a change,which you may want to do often.Choosing a template would cost less and you control the changes yourself. You should first check out the limitations of the template and see what options you have for design before choosing one. We have created new templates that have as few limits as possible and even your grandmother can design one in a very short time.We have added options that only photographers would want,such as portfolios where the music is timed with the images, theme site designs that could turn on the December 1st and revert back automatically on January 1st. I have suggested more than a few times when a photographer does not want to design his own site,have a designer design one using a template.This way the photographer can update it if he or she would like. And make sure the template is responsive, meaning it automatically adjusts to different browsers.
3. Next you are ready to work on the look of your site. It is important to come up with your "brand", which can be shown through the colors that you choose for your site and your logo. If you already have a logo, you can choose colors that are already present in your logo, or you can choose colors that will compliment it. A great site that you can visit is www.colrd.com, there you can browse color palettes that others have created or you can choose the "create" button along the top to come up with your own color palettes. You can also check out this link for color palettes examples as well: http://www.dtelepathy.com/blog/inspiration/beautiful-color-palettes-for-your-next-web-project
4. Next up is your site content:And if you have not heard it before, let me be the first to tell you- Content is King! The more you talk about what you do the better. One of the reasons Blogs work so well is that they are updated often and search engine looks for changes.If your site doesn't change often the search engine will take note and leave you behind. Besides the basics of the who, what, where, when and why pages.your site should contain additional information as well. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you could put up a reception page and talk about the locations for weddings, with beautiful images of the location. And if you post the size of the locations (holds 400 people) you now have a directory on your site.And to cap it off with romantic photos for the prospective client to view is a killer combo. Sports photographers could set up a page of all the teams with links,stats, and a schedule. Basically talk about your area,"love to take pictures on Lake Leelanau" and show a few photos. It also helps to put your location service area - Based in Traverse City Michigan servicing 60 mile radius.
Success Tip #1: Having a Website... What is Myth and what is Fact.
5. Search engine optimization (SEO) We touched on this a little in number 4 - but again, Content is King, so if you are talking about what you do and what areas you service this is a great start. An important step is to make sure your site is indexed. Wikipedia has some great information about this at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_crawler.I have never foundanSEO company worth the money, though I would not rule out paying anSEO company at least at the start.
6. Since we are talking with Professional Photographers we must talk about the shopping cart! When I first came out with a pro cart for photographers, I had already been marketing for photographers for ten years. The biggest thing I liked about the idea then,and it has not really changed much,is the pure marketing aspect of it. As a sales type person, after the session I would bring my clients back in the studio and conduct a presentation to sell them the images I created. And after I sold them these beautiful images I wanted them to brag about it,which just opened the door for more. So as they walk out of my office I say to them"I will post these images on my site so you can show your friends and family". How cool is that? Even if their friends do not buy anything, I just received more marketing value than running 10 ads in the local paper. This subject needs an article of its own because this aspect of marketing is one of the most powerful things you can do if done right.
Writing by Michael Connors – www.morephotos.com