My new job with Design Aglow has me scouting for images on endless photographer's websites everyday. I look at 25+ photographer's websites a day. That is a TON of websites to cull through. To be efficient, I typically decide if I am going to stick around within the first 3-5 seconds after landing on their page. What makes me turn back? Probably the same thing that has your potential clients exit out of your site, too. Here are the Top 10 Most Common Mistakes I've seen photographers make on their websites and blogs.
1. No social media menu bar
Often times, I want to check out a photographer's social media accounts for a number of reasons. Chances are, your fans want to see your accounts as well. Not only is linking your social media accounts allowing your current clients to stay connected, but this also allows potential clients to follow you, and constantly be seeing your work pop up in their newsfeeds. A constant reminder of your beautiful work? Who wouldn't want that?
2. No email listed on your contact page
I would say 75% of photographer's do not list their email on their contact page. This is a big no-no. A lot of clients are wary to use the contact page. They don't know if their form was submitted, or if it made it's way through cyberspace to get to your inbox. I've even heard of photographers turning off their contact pages as their inquiries were getting lost! That's a scary thought. Be sure to include your email AS TEXT on your contact page. Including it in a pretty image is nice, but right clicking or double clicking makes it that much easier for a client to contact you the second they are thinking about it.
3. Your location isn’t listed on every page of the site
Sometimes clients find you in odd ways, like on Pinterest or from a blog. When they click on your site, they should instantly be told where you are. Better yet, have your location listed on every page of your site. I have my location in my site title, my sidebar, all blog posts, and in my footer. It's hard to NOT see where I am located.
4. Your website is confusing and hard to navigate
You want your website to be as user friendly as possible for your potential clients. Using terms like “investment” instead of “pricing”, “inquire” instead of “contact”, or “love notes” instead of "testimonials" can really confuse clients who aren't used to navigating their way around a photographer's website. Sure, investment is a great term for what we are doing, but if you have a potential client who is juggling kiddos and quickly trying to find your pricing, you may have just lost a session. Keeping it simple may not be as creative, but it's helping you book clients, so why not try it out?
I thoroughly enjoy looking at photos while listening to mood music. Editing marathons are always paired with a serene Pandora station in my house. But having music on your website and set to ON as a default could really cost you some clients. Imagine this: a possible client is at work and comes across your website (I do not condone this behavior, but I'm sure it happens ;]). She wants check out your work when all of sudden BAM, "Sweet Pea" by Amos Lee starts blaring, and all of her coworkers look at her knowing she isn't working. She quickly exits your site, never to find it again. Avoid this catastrophe by not including music on your site, or by keeping it OFF as a default, with the option to turn it on.
6. Broken links or links navigating away from your site
I always try to keep my links fresh and working. Broken links are frustrating to clients, especially if it's a link from your main menu. Another issue I've seen is having a link that takes a viewer to a new website and it doesn't open in a new window or tab. For example, all of my social media links open to a new window, so clients can stay on my page in the background. If I am linking to a website that isn't my own, I always choose the option to have it open in a new window.
7. No testimonials page
Having a testimonial page is, in my opinion, one of the most important things you can include on your website. When you are about to make a big purchase, what is the first thing you do? Google "Product Name from Company Name" Reviews, right? Why not include all the shining testimonials from your happy clients right on your site? I even go an extra step and link to their sessions so potential clients can see what I've done to deserve these kind words. My next step for this page is to include a slideshow with images from my clients who have given these wonderful testimonials.
8. Featuring work that you have no interest in photographing
This is a common website mistake that I was once very guilty of. Lets say you are a senior photographer and hope to become or already are specializing in senior portraits. Including a baby portfolio will indicate to potential clients who are looking for a baby photographer that you are up for the job. Why market a type of photography that doesn't interest you? Only show what you want to continue to photograph.
My blog is one of my biggest business tools. It helps me connect with past clients by telling their story in words and photos. It helps me relate to potential clients who are looking for the type of photography that I offer. It helps boost SEO. It keeps my website fresh and updated. Even if you don't have time to blog every week (or month), try to blog as often as you can, even if that means blogging in bulk and knocking out a few posts in one day. You can even schedule a post, or just save it as a draft to manually publish later, just like I am going to do with this blog post ;)
10. No about me page and/or photo
It's no secret that people buy from people. Clients want to feel a connection with the person responsible for their family's memories. I keep my about me page updated and honest. I want clients to feel like they know the type of person that I am. In addition to my likes and passions, I always include a photo of myself for a number of reasons. First, I want my clients to be able to put a face to a name. I am my business, and I want it to show. Second, I want my clients to be able to recognize me if we are meeting in a public place. These days, standing in a park with a camera doesn't make you stand out, it makes you fit in. Need help writing an about me page? Here is a great tutorial, "How to Write an Authentic About Me Page."
Want more ideas? Check out this Design Aglow Article: "5 Dumb Things Smart Photographers Do-Website Edition".* Affiliate link.
What are some other common website mistakes that you are seeing photographers make that could be costing them business? Please leave your ideas in the comments!!
**This post contains affiliate links**