1. Good Design
A professional, smart looking design will give you credibility as a bona fide business. There’s nothing worse than landing on an awful looking website with ugly fonts, links that don’t work and missing images everywhere. It’s an instant turn off and leaves you with the impression of “well if their website is this bad, are they even a legitimate business?!” and in your case, as a photographer, you’re supposed to be a visual artist, so if you want to gain people’s confidence as a visual, creative, professional photographer, make sure your website looks the part or they’ll be running for the hills.... and honestly, would you blame them?
As I said, a well designed website is so much more than just looking pretty. Your website copy is even more important than the design of it. Good website copy will engage people, encourage them to explore what you offer, and trigger them into taking action, whether that’s to make a booking or simply make contact with you.
Your website copy should tell a story and put your client at the centre of it. Give them the opportunity to imagine themselves working with you, what the experience will include, how they'll feel, and what the end result will be. Emphasise the benefits of working with you rather than what type of camera you use or the type of paper you print on. Most people don't know the difference nor do they care. What they do care about is how you'll make them feel or how they imagine you'll make them feel.
If you don’t feel confident in writing your own website copy, enlist the help of a professional. It really can make all the difference.
PRO TIP: Use the "voice of your customer" when writing your copy. In other words, describe your clients' experiences and expectations for your products and services in their own language.
Usability Rules the Web
The usability of your website is also very, very important. Can people navigate your website easily? Can they find the info they need quickly and easily? Put yourself in your client’s shoes and ask yourself what you’d want to know if you were looking to hire a photographer like you.
Is it mobile responsive? With more people browsing the internet on their mobile phones than on desktop computers, it is absolutely vital that your website looks good and functions well on a mobile device. Do all of the links work and go to the right places? Is it easy for them to follow a path? Is it easy and obvious for them to know what to do? What is the main call to action? What is the secondary call to action?
Not only that but search engines such as Google use page load time in their algorithm to prioritise search results so you’re more likely to move up the search rankings if you have a lightning fast loading website. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to evaluate your website’s page load time:
PRO TIP: Optimise all of your images for web viewing to reduce file size and speed up load time. You can do this through most imaging software tools or you can use an online tool such as TinyPNG which is very effective at compressing files. This rule applies to all graphics used on your website – not just photos.
For example, if you are located in Huntsville and are a Wedding Photographer, your ultimate aim is to appear in the #1 spot (organic listings) on Google when someone searches for something like “Wedding Photographer in Huntnsville”. The higher your ranking, the more clicks and traffic you will get to your website. It’s as simple as that, but unfortunately, SEO is anything but simple! It’s a whole (and quite substantial!) topic in itself.
You can enlist the help of an SEO guru to help you optimise your website but be wary of the many so-called “experts” out there. Instead, do some research and see what you can do yourself first. Track and monitor your progress as you go so you can see if what you’re doing is working.
Here is a useful resource to check out, specially written for photographers: https://shotkit.com/seo-for-photographers/
4. Testimonials and Reviews
With the evolution of global communication and social media, it’s easier than ever before for people to share their experiences of services and products they have purchased. Tapping into that can really benefit your business through "social proof" by publishing reviews and testimonials on your website.
Social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon wherein people copy the actions of others in an attempt to undertake behaviour in a given situation. The term was coined by Robert Cialdini in his 1984 book "Influence".
Here are some interesting stats:
- For nearly 9 out of 10 consumers, an online review is as important as a personal recommendation
- Customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with “excellent” reviews
- 72% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 92% of users will use a local business if it has at least a 4 star rating
- 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review
- Reliability (27%), expertise (21%) & professionalism (18%) are the most important reputation traits for a local business
Just as positive reviews and testimonials can bring great benefits to your business, beware that negative ones can be equally damaging. In fact, 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews.
5. Addressing Common Objections
If the person didn’t have any reservations about your price, value, relevance, ability, offering, they’d have already booked you! So if you can anticipate the most common objections people have, you can address them through the content on your website, alleviate their fears, and help them to take the next step towards doing business with you.
When you’re writing copy for your website, put yourself in your client’s shoes and think about what objections they may have running through their heads as they browse your website to see if you might be a good fit photographer for them. People who visit your site will undoubtedly have at least one objection.
There are several ways you can address some common objections on your website to help them overcome them:
- Use your ad copy to show that you understand what their fears may be and then explain how working with you will overcome them (remember to use the "voice of your client" with language that resonates with them)
- Tell stories about some of your previous clients who had the same reservations
- Better yet, get your clients to tell their own stories of how they felt working with you
- Have an FAQ addressing the most important questions people ask
- Blog about it
When people know what to expect and have their fears alleviated, they’re much more likely to trust you and want to do business with you.
Let's take the example of a Boudoir Photographer
Some common objections might be:
- I’m not photogenic
- I’m nervous about being so exposed on camera
- Do I need to lose weight?
- Am I too old?
- Will the photos be airbrushed?
- Can I bring someone with me?
- Who’ll be taking the photographs?
- Will there be other people in the room during the photoshoot?
- I’ve no idea how to pose
- I’m not sure I look good enough in lingerie
How would you deal with the above if you were a Boudoir photographer?
Now ask yourself what objections do YOUR clients have?
Make a list and then write out your solution for each one.
Not only have you generated a whole lot of content for your website and blog, you have also armed yourself with what to say if it comes up while talking to a client on the phone or in person.
And that's it for now.... 5 more things to make sure your website is as effective as possible and working for you always.
Hope you found the content of this post useful and if you missed the first 5 Website Must-Haves, click here to read it now.
Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments below – we’d love to hear your thoughts :)