Building a website that not only reflects who your personality and artistic ability, but also effectively driving more business!
Have you looked at other photographers’ site recently (oh come on, we all do it…) and thought, “Hmmm, this site looks a lot like the one I saw 5 minutes ago.” Or on the flip side, thought, “Wow! This site looks great and it tells me a lot about this photographer as a person.” Imagine if a potential client views your website and immediately thinks the latter point mentioned. There probably would be more of a chance of that client being interested in your services right? Right!
As your fellow peers, we wanted to share a few key tips that can help you fine tune your website design to have that effect.
1. You Need More than Great Photos
Do not count on your photographs selling themselves! I am sure they are fantastic and will capture many an attention, but do not overlook the functionality and design of your website for the sake of super high resolution photos. When I visit websites, I usually give up after 5 seconds of loading time.
2. What Does a Cookie Cutter Website Say About You?
Cookie cutter websites equal cookie cutter work? Some clients just might think so! The template that came with your operating system or computer might be good for a personal information website; however, you should be spending some money on a professionally designed website. Make sure you give your input as you would want to infuse the site with your style and personality; however, stick to what you’re good at and let a professional take care of the rest.
3. Eye Tracking Speaks Volumes
Your site should be unique, have visually appealing font/colors, load quickly, and tell a client about your work and most importantly, what you’re all about (well… not every personal tidbit, but you know what I mean!). The human eye perceives a brand through images, type/font, and logos. Pay attention to which area of your web pages your eyes are drawn to. Quite often, the human eye is drawn to the brightest point of the page. You definitely don’t want that sense of clutter when you go to the landing page of your website. Our marketing philosophy has always started with keeping it simple. No point having too much text because very few people would actually read it. Some types of font also work better on print versus the web. Before settling on a favourite font, make sure you have a chance to see it in various sizes on print and on your computer. Sans serif (without curves) fonts work better online, wheras serif (curved) fonts work better on print material.
4. What’s Your WOW Image?
Start with your “wow” image! People obviously want to see a photographer’s work when they are searching for a professional photographer, so give them a treat when they first enter your website. Place a nicely sized “wow” image to treat them immediately with! Having a gallery on the landing page could be slow on some computers and be cause for a disappointing initial experience. Like with the font selection, check out the size and resolution of your photographs on a variety of computers/monitors. Your site could look different on various browsers, different-sized monitors, and of course now with the other mediums like media players, tablets, phones, etc. PS – stepping away from a Flash site and moving towards HTML5 coding would be ideal… This way your site can be properly viewed on most hardware.
5. Color Influences Branding
What colors are you using? Zach’s Photography Web Marketing Guide talks about the affect of color to a web design. There are many interesting studies tied to the psychology of color. Black and red might be great for a vampire movie, but may not attract a bride’s eyes when she’s planning for her big day! Having said that, marketing experts will all tell you to use the color red if you want to draw attention. For example, did you know yellow is associated with laughter, happiness and joy? Orange is associated with excitement, enthusiasm, and warmth… a good energy color. Green… surprise, surprise, is associated with nature, health, and the feeling of plentiful. White is associated to purity (like wedding dresses!) and cleanliness. In North America, white is the dominant color when it comes to weddings so it’s probably not a bad idea to include it in your branding color palette. Remember to reflect your personality in your color scheme, but be considerate of how your clients view and more importantly feel when they see your business colors. There are so many color combinations that can invoke a variety of feelings at first glance. Too many to list here! In a nutshell, warm colors represent a bit of energy, excitement, happiness, alertness, and warmth. Cool colors tend to bring out feelings of calmness, loyalty, and trustworthiness. On the opposite ends we also have white (pure, clean, youthful) and then we have black (power, elegant, secretive).
Hopefully you’re not stressed out about having to redesign your entire website, but instead, walk away with a few thinking points on how you can compliment your wonderful images with your website.