I look at 5-6 photographers’ websites each day as I go through applications for So You’re EnGAYged‘s vendor list. Some are superb: they have well-organized content and are incredibly user friendly. You can tell that their sites are very inviting to potential clients. Others are hard to navigate, or do annoying things for the user (like play music or resize their window). The best photo websites, though, have one major thing in common: their content helps the potential client learn if they’d be a good fit.
Imagine you’re a potential client, visiting your site as one in a list of many wedding photographers they’re scoping for their pending nuptials. What does this user want to see? Wedding photos.
If your gallery names are Gallery 1, Gallery 2, and Gallery 3, your potential client is going to have to work hard to see your wedding photos.
If the gallery names are too vague or fancy, like “falling in love” or “creating your union”, your user is still going to need to do some thinking before clicking. You want their user experience to be seamless, intuitive: leave out the workout. Organize your galleries by type of photography (wedding, maternity, product, etc.) and name them as such. Your photos will speak for themselves; there’s no need to spice up your galleries with distracting names!
Here’s where your most recent content should go. You should have a sense, based on your stats tracking, whether most users land on your blog first or your portfolio first.
If they land on your blog first…
Most users will still have the “who”, “how” and “how much” questions in their heads. Offer an easy way to get there with a direct link to each.
I don’t recommend duplicating the About content for your blog – if the user has an easy way to get to that section in your Portfolio, there’s no reason to duplicate it, and even more reason for the user to go check out your best work.
If they land on your portfolio first…
Ensure there’s a way for the user to get to your blog from the main navigation. Link to it in a clear way: “Blog” is better than “Recent Work” or “My Journal”. Users know what they’re looking for – don’t make them work for it!
On your blog, showcase your clients. Tell their stories, highlight your gorgeous pictures, and be active in your comments section. Potential clients will see the love you’re putting into your work, and they’ll want to be showcased the same way. Potential clients will learn much more about your personality and personal style from your blog than they will from your portfolio. As you write posts, imagine what a new user will be reading in it. Think through what they will get to know about you and how you treat your clients!
As Zach says in his free email class (you should signup now), blog posts are for reaching people that don’t know you via search. Social media is for people that already know you. Social media is an opportunity to connect with your clients, their friends, and their family. It’s for giving them a place to gawk and “twee!” and fawn all over their loved ones. Blog comments can be a good place for this, too, but social media is going to help you grow your blog readership and portfolio viewers. Focus on showcasing the most flattering photos of your clients as you tag them (even if they’re not your favorites from the event or session – save those for the blog!). Invite people to see more photos with a direct link to your blog post, and above all, be sure your settings allow anyone to see your posts. “Friends of friends” or “just friends” on Facebook will kill your views!
So, as you organize your content, focus on:
- naming your galleries and simplifying your About section on your portfolio
- showcasing clients and your personality on your blog
- engendering fawning over your clients on social media
No matter where a potential client may land, they’ll be able to find what they’re looking for!