Alright, I will let you onto a little secret- your website isn’t actually a portfolio and it shouldn’t be there to be a portfolio. In fact, the portfolio portion of your site is probably the 3rd or 4th most important thing about a website. Yeah, sure, of course your potential clients need to see your work, after all, you ARE a photographer and photographers take photos. But that’s the thing- all photographers, hobbyist and professional, take photos. Your potential clients are expecting that, so you need to make sure your website is a step above the rest and has you stand out against the sea of websites and every other photographer on the planet who is trying to win them over from photos alone. In this blog, I am going to give you lots of tips to get you started on making your website into a money making tool and attract the clients you WANT to work with.
1. First and Foremost- Figure out who your ideal client is and speak to only them through your entire website.
From your homepage to your investment page, to your blogs, to your social media. Even the images you choose to display on your website, including the images in your portfolio gallery, are to attract this person. Everything you say should be you speaking directly to your ideal client, to the person you are trying to sell your services to. So if you haven’t yet, sit down and dig deep. Think about WHO your ideal client is. Where do they live? What is their name? What kind of wedding are they going to have? Do they prefer beer or a fancy cocktail? What is their job and how much money a year do they make? How much does their partner make? So on and so forth. Think of every little detail about this person and speak directly to them. You want to attract this person to you and you want to deflect someone who doesn’t match this profile. Did I just say to turn people away? Yes, I did, and it is a great feeling once the only inquiries you start getting are your ideal clients and not people just trying to price shop. So get to it, figure out WHO they are and what problems YOU solve for them, why YOU are who they have been searching for.
Which brings me to the next thing…
2. Your “About Me” Section.
Your “About Me” section is actualllyyyyyyyy not about you. Sorry if this was your shining moment to scream to the world how you found yourself to be a wedding photographer. Sorry to be a jerk- but no one cares. Your ideal client will not connect with you learning that you first shot film in a high school class and fell in love and now you shoot weddings. And you just love love and authentic moments. They don’t care, so do all of the other photographers they have checked out. You need to flip your perspective on this page because this page is a VERY important page and one of the biggest assets on your website, arguably more important than your gallery portfolio. Your “About Me” section should be speaking to your ideal client from beginning to end. It should talk about who THEY are, so when they are reading it they can connect with you. Then,
when talking about yourself, talk about what makes you unique and what you bring to the table. How do you solve their problems and give them the experience they are looking for? Sure, you can add in some tidbits about your personality to give them some more ammunition to connect with you and say ‘Hey, I like this person. Our personalities would totally match and I want to have them around me for 8-12hrs on my wedding day.” You should also be including at least one photo of yourself that shows your personality (and your face, not the camera in front of your face).
3. Be Yourself.
This is probably the simplest idea but will have the biggest impact of keeping people on your site and having them want to contact you. You want to be yourself, the more unique the better. Use your own words on your site and don’t be afraid to jump out of the ‘prim and proper’ box. Your potential clients want to know YOU and they want to feel comfortable reaching out to you. At end of the day, a client will pick the photographer they feel they have the most vibe with so don’t be afraid to crack a few jokes on your site, mention things that are unique to you, and have fun with it.
4. Show your Value
Throughout your site, you should be showing the value that you bring to the table. I focus a lot of this on my homepage and my investment page, with sprinkles throughout the other pages. But by looking at my analytics, and the way I have set up my site, my potential clients go from homepage to my ‘investment’ page, to my ‘about me’ page, then finally hitting up my galleries and reviews before filling out my contact form. On those pages, throw in statistics about yourself, happy clients giving rave reviews, show only the best of the best of your work that will attract your clients and say ‘I want photos like that of me.’ You can mention your experience, show your social media platforms, and show the places you have been published.
5. Contact forms- Use them to your advantage.
These are amazing tools, not only do they compile the potential clients’ information which you can integrate into your CRM, they are also another wonderful tool to weed out clients you don’t want. The more inquiries you get of valuable leads, the more money you will make. You will also stop wasting time on dealing with inquiries that are unfit to be your clients. Time is money, as we all know. My contact form has the typical questions you need to know and then I add in other things to get to know them more and get to know why they are interested in me shooting their wedding. I also talk about what their ideal investment in photography is to further see if we are a fit, and I mention my starting prices on other parts of my website also. Use this to your full advantage to get a leg up into their commitment level and who they are.
5. Learn SEO.
SEO is something people seem to be scared of. In all honesty, it is pretty simple to understand. After you do some research and figure out the things Google and other search engines use to essentially verify your website as being valuable enough to show up on searches and what things it looks for, it is a fairly easy concept. However, doing all of the things are time-consuming and there are many, many things you can do to get on Google’s good side. Some things to start with would be all of the things I spoke about above- making sure your content is valuable to the client so they don’t stay on your page for 3 seconds before they go ‘meh’ then leave. You want to give them so much value and interest they want to go to multiple of your pages before filling out the contact form and bouncing off. You want to guide them and show them to go from the homepage to another page, to another, and then another. Which brings me to your ‘Bounce Rate’. You want to keep this as low of a percentage as possible, and you will be able to do that by guiding the potential client through your website which is jam-packed with value. You also want to blog and blog often. I won’t lie, it is not easy and something even I slack with once busy season is upon us. However, it is super important for SEO. Google wants to see you giving valuable content often and that people are interested. At the end of each blog, guide your potential clients to another blog. Keep them on your site for as long as possible. Then don’t forget to optimize all of your photos! Using JPEGmini for this is a game changer. Google wants to see how long your site takes to load, if it takes too long it will ding you for it in the search results. Make sure to tag all of your images and to use the H1, H2, and H3 text in your blogs and site. And lastly, submit your work to publications!! When a publication features you and gives you a credit for the images (with your website link!), it creates a backlink. Google LOVES backlinks, it is another tool it uses to verify if you are relevant and valuable, so submit away!!
I hope this helps you get a good start on creating a website that will work for you and bring you in all of the money. Now get to it and show your ideal client who you are and why they should hire you over everyone else.