Self-Promotion For Photographers: Your website
Self-Promotion for Photographers Series, 3
Having a website has become the primary marketing strategy of photographers. With the easy availability of on-line photo-galleries, html and flash templates, and export-to-web functionallity of Photoshop and Lightroom, more photographers than ever are getting their images online in a site they can call their own. The advantage of this is obvious and how we’d now live without it, I have no idea. It also comes with a hazard – the proliferation of poorly designed and ill-conceived web efforts.
Here are a couple things to consider as you build or rebuild your website to better reflect who you are to the market(s) you hope to work within. Keeping in mind The Four Pillars, consider these:
1. Best Foot Forward.
If you want a professional website and not merely a showcase of all the great cat pictures you’ve taken, then you need to edit your selections tightly. Showing your potential clients fewer images – your very best stuff related to the market you’re wanting to work in – will give each of those images more impact. Don’t show them the B-roll stuff.
In addition to choosing the best images, you should be showing them in the best way possible. Flickr is not the place for an online portfolio. That’s not to say Flickr has no use, but it’s simply not a professional place to show your images. Spend the money on a great piece of gallery software that you can update easily. There are many options. Right now I prefer FLUID GALLERIES. But even some of the third-party galleries available now for Lightroom are pretty amazing. Here’s an EXAMPLE. Whatever you do, do it well.
2. Impact vs. Information.
Keep your website a strong tension between providing information and impact. The design and the content should work together to create a seamless presentation that leaves the client with a strong impression of your work and the basic details they need to proceed with you. Too much information doesn’t get read and dilutes the strength of all of it. Not enough information and you’ll have missed a chance to tell your clients why you’re the right choice.
3. Be Intentional.
Your website should have a purpose. If you intend for your site to be a strong marketing tool, then you need to have a focus and stick with it. Narrow your market down, keep your message tailored to that market, and make your image selections based on that market. Every choice you make in regards to your site should be done in consideration of your market.
4. Be Web Savvy.
The more easily your website is found by search engines, the more traffic you get and the better chance that someone looking for you is going to find you. The question is, what are they looking for? If they know your name they’ll Google it and find you, great. But they already know your name, so this is hardly a victory over the intricacies of the web. What terms will your market type into Google when looking for a photographer? Let’s say it’s PET PHOTOGRAPHER IN AUSTIN TX. The more you get your name and website associated with those words online, the more the search engines will give you up on the first page. So for every bio you write for every forum you belong to, every article you write, every comment you leave on every blog you visit – consider leaving a signature line that reads: JOE POODLE: PET PHOTOGRAPHER, AUSTIN TX.
Be sure to put the same keywords into the copy of your website, along with others. Gone are the days when you can fool Google with white words on white background so no one but the web spiders see them. Keywords in the html/headers aren’t as helpful as they once were either. More and more you need to earn your googleability the old fashioned way – Write it into the copy. Get others to link to you using the same kind of words. The more you do online – forums, writing articles, posting comments, writing blogs – the more your name will come up. A little effort goes a long way if it’s aimed in the right direction.
This isn’t rocket science, but it’s an effort to think this stuff out and be intentional about your marketing. Intentionallity is a resource fewer people are spending as they do their marketing.
Coming Monday, Article 4 in the Self-Promotion series – Marketing Material. See you then. Have a great weekend.