Keep Your Website Stupid Simple

Today I want to talk about the KISS Principle, which is an abbreviate for Keep It Simple, Stupid.

The Kiss Principle was termed by the Navy back in the 60’s and it has since evolved into Keep It Stupid Simple in addition to Keep It Simple, Stupid. Although the term is now stated different, the principle is the same.

The idea of KISS is to find ways to simplify whatever you are trying to get across.

This works for your business marketing and advertising, the content your write for pages and blog articles, and even the design of your website.

Although you want your website to have that personal flare that illustrates you, the photographer, you also want to make sure it’s Stupid Simple so that your customers have as little confusion as possible.

You want them to know what you do, how to find you and how to navigate your website. The last thing you want is for a potential customers to visit your website, not know what type of photography you offer and not find your portfolio.

So please keep KISS in mind with everything you do for your photography business and website.

Before I wrap up this post I want to share one tip related to the KISS principle. I’m referring to the 2 second memory test. Check out this video to learn more about how to perform this test on your website.

Thanks for reading,
Scott

Your Photography Website Is Pretty, But Will It Get You Clients?

I’ve seen photographers spend piles of money on lovely photography websites with lots of fading images, music tracks, pretty pages and more.

I often wonder how good those websites are at converting a visitor into a potential client?

The “pretty factor” helps, sure. But what other elements can help a photography website: generate a visitor, engage them enough to cause them to stick (or return), and, ultimately, to get them to convert into a phone call, email or web form submission.

I spent the past eight years studying a variety of websites across hundreds of industries, not just photography. I’ve put together a list of things that I’ve seen be the most successful.

Three ways to ensure your photography website is performing to its fullest potential

1. Is anyone visiting?

A pretty website is worthless if no one, or not enough people, visit it. How much is enough? There is no “enough”.

I personally believe that in order to continue to be successful in your business, your website traffic should be higher this month than it was last month or higher this year than it was last year. For those of you in seasonal businesses, perhaps the comparison of same months within prior years is most relevant, where more steady photography businesses can just look month over month within the same year.

If you have no idea how many visitors are coming to your website, use Jetpack or Google Analytics or see if your hosting provider offers a stat package.

How often should you watch your website traffic?

Once a week is sufficient. You should be looking for a few things:

  • Where are people coming from? (ie what sources are they coming from? Facebook, Pinterest, Email programs, etc?)
  • What search terms are they using to find your website? (i.e., are people only Googling your name? Or are they searching and finding you using more general terms?
  • What is the quantity of traffic and how does it compare to last year, last month, etc?

2. If people aren’t visiting or finding you, fix something (or a lot of things)

Obviously I could write a dissertation on website SEO. If you’re really into optimizing your website for search, check out this amazing community here. I would write about SEO more, but I’d rather leave that topic to the experts. :)

People not finding you could be because of poor SEO. It could also be because of any number or combination of the following:

  • Your overall reach in social media needs to be improved (get more fans or followers!)
  • You need to post more links from social to your site (give those fans and followers a reason to visit your site!)
  • You need to get more links to your website listed (naturally) on other websites (a great way to do this is by guest blogging!)

3. You need to blog (or blog more)

Most photographers run a blog on their own website. But I believe the target audience for future clients is often lost in the process.

Take a look at your own blog and evaluate it based on these simple questions:

  • Does my ideal future client find anything of value in my blog?
  • Do my posts help my ideal future client make a better decision about purchasing photography (hopefully from me)?
  • Does my blog truly speak to the needs of my future client?

Editors note:  What’s your blogging strategy?

If the answer to those questions is “no”, then you may be using your blog as a diary of what you’ve done.

Instead, consider using your blog to diary ways in which your clients prepared for a shoot, participated in a shoot by holding a prop or light reflector, added to the fun of a shoot or any other idea that might help your future client see what a shoot with you can be like.

Educating your future client is key.

There is an insanely overwhelming list of things that new photographers need to learn as they launch their photography business. A website that converts visitors to potential clients is just one of them!

art-photo-business

I recently wrote a brief e-book titled: The Art Of A Photo Business: What Every Photographer Wished They Learned Before Starting Their Photography Business. It contains marketing advice, business tips and miscellaneous motivational “umph” for every single photographer seeking a better way to approach their business. Photocrati readers get it for just $7 until 4/30/13. Buy it by clicking here and use coupon code LH48A.

Angela Pointon is the founder of Steel Toe Images, which offers marketing advice and inspiring motivation for photography business owners. She recently published her first book, The Art of a Photo Business. Find her on her blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Websites for Your Business: Yes, Your Images Matter

Sample Image Display Page

Sample Image Display Page

In my last two articles in this series, I talked about planning your business needs then organizing the structure of your site to best meet those needs. Today, I’ll talk about making sure your site and your images look great.

The background color of your site is important. Neutral colors are usually best, which leaves white, black, and shades of grey. Because colors tend to appear more saturated and lively against a dark background than a lighter one, I usually recommend darker greys (but not black) for color photographers, on the other hand, I think white or light grey backgrounds look great with a lot of monochromatic work. Spend a little time experimenting with your own images and different background tones to see just how big a difference it makes. [Read more...]

Site Navigation: Websites for the Business of Photography

Your navigation bar is perhaps the most important element of your website.

A navigation bar is perhaps the most important single element of your website.

Last week I covered some of the basic strategic questions you need to answer for yourself before putting together a web site. This week, I’ll talk about making your web site usable. If you have a large web site, it’s very likely that most folks who come to it will never see more than a couple of pages. It’s essential that your customers find the information they need.

To start, take out a piece of paper and jot down a list of what information you’d like to include on your site. Minimally, you need some of your images, and contact information, but depending on your business and how you hope to use your web site as part of your business (as we described last week), you may want to include: news, reviews, perhaps a blog or links to other social networking sites, and/or a biography that explains who you are, what you do and why. Don’t include an item on this list until you have a clear understanding of how it fits into your business. For example:   “If a customer wants to place an order, they’ll need to contact me, so I’ll give them contact information.” [Read more...]