There's a very good chance that you know how to build a photography website - they're very easy to do these days with the advancement of technology. You've also probably heard that a photographer without a photography website is not taken seriously. What you may not know are key questions that will assist you to build and maintain a successful photography website.
For me, it is very difficult to be objective when assessing the photography marketing effectiveness of my website. I have a great deal of trouble being objectively honest with my assessments of my websites. But, fortunately, I'm able to use a series of questions that helps me not to get sabotage by my inability of be objectively honest when assessing my website's effectiveness.
I'm a firm believer in photographers building their own websites. It's much easier to do these days - if a photographer can send and receive email, they have enough computer skills to build and manage their own photography website. I build all of my photography websites. And, as mentioned, I'm too biased to accurately assess the photography marketing effectiveness of my photography website.
Consequently, I ask myself - and answer - the following questions:
- Do your pages load quickly? I never cease to be amazed at all the photography websites that have home pages that take a long time to load. Most of the times, it's the flash type pages. Unfortunately, many of us photographers don't realize that most web surfers don't have computers sophisticated enough to handle all of the latest website gimmicks. The home page should load instantly - always!
- Is it instantly apparent what type of photography niche your business is in? Too often, our creative artsy side blocks what should be clear messages. You should know your photography niche and communicate what that niche is on your website. Your visitor shouldn't have to guess what it is that you do. They visit your website looking for information - not interested in guessing what it is that you do.
- Is your website menu viewable and easy to navigate? Links and navigation buttons should be simple and take your visitor where they want to go. Also, a navigation menu should be on every page.
- Is your website free of unnecessary gimmicks and graphics? On a personal note - when I visit a photography website and music begins to play, I click away from the site immediately - always! Because you and I might like specific music doesn't mean that everyone likes it. Visitors go to "music" sites to "hear" music. Research companies that track web surfing habits and trends, report that most visitors leave when they come across irritants like music, pop-ups, slow-loading pages, etc.
- Does your website offer valuable information? Too many website owners, especially photographers, forget that people use the internet looking for information, not looking to spend money or look at pictures. Displaying your best work on your website is preferable. But, keep in mind that new customers will find you on the internet by looking for information (typing in keywords at internet search engines). If your website doesn't have that information (content), visitors will never find you - never! Put content on your photography website. Help your visitors find you. Do a little research about optimizing your web pages (don't let the word optimizing intimidate you, it only means putting certain words in the content on your page) - don't overdo it. Less is more! Always offer valuable information on your website and visitors will keep coming back.
- Does your website reflect your commitment to quality? In my opinion, too many photographers confuse flashy bells & whistles with quality. The flashy bells & whistles usually only impress web designers (who build the flashy bells & whistles websites in the first place) and photographers with websites that don't have these eight questions. Also, you should only display your best work in your galleries offline and in your online galleries. Categorize your various photos and display them together.
- Would you want to do business with your photography business? This is a key question and maybe the most difficult to be honest in answering. But, your honesty is critical here.
- Is your contact information easily accessible? Website visitors expect to see normal things at different websites. For example, your contact information must be available and easily accessible.
These 8 questions aren't the only questions that will assist you to put your objective judging hat on and take a clear look at the photography marketing strength of your photography website. The questions will put your website through a process that should make it more magnetic to visitors. Sometime, the components that make out sites work aren't as obvious to us. Give the questions to a trusted friend and ask them to help you by using them to assess the effectiveness of your website - the least internet savvy that they are, the better.
Your photography website can be your most productive photography marketing tool. It doesn't require a lot of time or money - just regular consistency. And of course, objective assessments are like taking the pulse and heart rate of your website. Keep an eye on them. It's like keeping your website healthy and you happy!