Last week I launched the Essential Web Marketing for Photographers video course with over 50 tutorials on how to optimize your photography website and social media presence. The videos cover search engine optimization (SEO), what to talk about on Facebook and Pinterest, how to design a website that gets sales, and track your incredible results.
In honor of the launch I asked my Facebook fans to volunteer a website I could critique so you can get a sense for how many improvements an average photographer can make in just minutes. This 10 minute critique is just the tip of the iceberg covered in the Essential Web Marketing series.
A website’s title is always the first thing I look at, because it is the first thing Google will look at before deciding where you rank. A title should describe the page using terms people might search for. It should be a single, concise phrase. It should include your niche and city and probably exclude your business name.
- Existing title: Home – Amanda Wermers PhotographyAmanda Wermers Photography Maternity, Newborn, Children and Family Photographer, Parker Colorado
- Suggested title: Premier Newborn & Children Photographer in Parker Colorado
The new title tells Google (and potential clients) the main service you offer and will begin to attract that ideal client.
Next I look for homepage text. Google likes about 300 words or more to have confidence there is enough content on the page to address the user’s query. Amanda’s page has enough text, but doesn’t do the best job of getting a person to book a session. Consider linking to your best galleries or posts from the homepage, rather than sending them into an abyss of photos. Show who you are (perhaps with a headshot and bio) because a potential client will quickly want to learn about the person who will be working with them. Finally, offer a direct link to book a session straight from the homepage.
Navigation links need to be direct so users can find what they are looking for quickly. Change clever names to clear ones. Amanda should change “The Photographer” to “About Me” and “Investment” to “Pricing.”
I recommend removing Proofing and Client links from your website. You will email these links directly to your clients, so there’s no need to have a link on your site that inquiring minds won’t be able to access (frustrating and a waste of time for them).
Easy to find links to Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest are a must. Amanda’s are very visible, although I would use caution when placing content outside the body of the page. Most web users visually block everything on the sides and may not see important content if you have it too far outside the center of the page.
I don’t think photographers need to position RSS links. Most people don’t understand how to use RSS. Better would be to capture email addresses that you can email your blog posts to.
Again, the first thing I look at is the title. It should be written with search in mind, and target a different phrase than your homepage. Otherwise you have two pages trying to rank for the same thing. Update the WordPress title in your General Settings or SEO Settings area or All in One SEO Pack plug-in.
Never post a password protected item. If you need to, make the date really old (like 1900) so it doesn’t show on your homepage.
Use a Sticky Post to stick your most important post to the front page. Better to have a first-time visitor see a great post than your most recent post.
Name posts with search in mind (avoid client names).
- Post title: The B Family | Family Photographer | Parker CO
- Recommended title: Vintage family photo featuring twins in Parker Colorado
Use the More tag to speed up load time and eliminate the need for the user to scroll through the whole post.
Describe the photo in the alternate text (for Google).
Your post only needs to live in a single category. Categories don’t help much when it comes to SEO unless your category appears in the URL of the post (which it doesn’t for Amanda).
The end of a post is the time to get the user to call you and book a session. Use a better call to action at the end of the post by showcasing yourself, why someone should hire you, and clear contact information. You can also link to similar posts or recommended posts and try to keep them on your site.
Social media links at the end of posts are a great way to get people to share your content. Only Facebook and Pinterest are really necessary, Twitter and Google +1 are nice to have.
Your profile picture is the best way to brand your business since it will appear throughout Facebook and on users’ Walls. Replace a general photograph with a logo or headshot that will never change and continually give you name (or face) recognition.
Uploading photos is good for Facebook, but make sure those photos link back to your website. People will spend more time on your site than they will with your status update.
Talk about more than your latest sessions on Facebook. What are your users interests? Amanda is a family photographer so she can talk about new family movies, family activities in town, etc. That will get users engaged so your posts show to more people. Also you need to establish yourself as an expert in the photography industry. Give your Fans tips how to organize prints, talk about the equipment you use, give tips for shooting at home, talk about how Kodak is going bankrupt. Those types of posts will get more comments and Likes than your latest session and build your credibility as a photographer.
Twitter has limited real estate, so use it wisely. Use the same profile picture as Facebook (brand consistency). Take advantage of your bio – say what you do and what you like. Customize your background, as a generic background makes it clear you’re not a serious Twitter user.
I think photographers will drive more sales with Facebook than Twitter. I’d use Twitter as a relationship building tool. Talk about (or talk to) others instead of yourself. Amanda is doing that well.
Free Video Series
I share more tips in a video interview series with Frederick Van Johnson. Sign up for the free video series. This covers some more basic things you can do to get more sales from your website.
If you’re really serious about growth, get the full video package. Essential Web Marketing for Photographers covers everything you need to know to utilize search, social media, and web design. It has about 10x more information than what you saw above and includes some amazing bonuses:
- Use coupon code “launch” to save $150 through October 31
- Three Zach Prez ebooks included ($87 value)
- 28-full length video interviews with top pros ($47 value)
You won’t believe how much you will learn in this course. Get an unfair marketing advantage now.