Your website is more important than ever. It is likely the first place potential clients look when they want to evaluate your work and if you are a good fit for them. So, to increase the chances of landing the job, make sure you do not make this mistake.
Nowadays, most people turn to the internet when they want to find a photographer, which means that often, they will wind up on your website. And undoubtedly, if we do not pay someone to do it, we design our websites on desktop or laptop computers and likely test them in desktop browsers. But the majority of users are likely not using desktop browsers to view your site; rather, they are using mobile browsers on their phone or tablet.
Here at Fstoppers, we see hundreds of thousands of users and several million pageviews every month. And you might think that a photo site is likely viewed in all its glory on a large, color-calibrated monitor, and there is probably some truth to that. But in actuality, the majority of our traffic comes from phones and tablets (even before the pandemic).
And that makes sense, if you think about it. The web has become as much a place of consumption as it has a repository of information, and as such, most people browse on their choice device for media consumption: their smartphone or tablet. I know I certainly do the majority of my casual consumption and Reddit perusal on my phone, only opting for my computer when I need to do serious work or absolutely need the larger display.
That is why it is so crucial that your website has a good mobile design. You can follow all the tips out there about SEO optimization, putting forth your best portfolio, etc., but if your mobile design is unwelcoming, bloated, or simply a pain to use, you will probably lose clients before they even get to your photos.
Thankfully, nowadays, many dedicated website design tools and platforms automatically create a separate mobile version for your site that is optimized for phones and tablets. For example, I use Rapidweaver for my site, and with just a few clicks, I can easily generate a clean, easy-to-navigate mobile version.
What Makes a Good Mobile Site?
While the job is generally easier nowadays, it is still worth talking about some of the aspects of a good mobile site.
1. The Home Page and Navigation Are Intuitive and Uncluttered
Screen space is precious on a phone. Don't waste it on a large splash screen with a call to action like "click here." Put everything the user needs to know front and center where it is easily found immediately. Similarly, make it easy to navigate the site. Nothing is more frustrating than watching nested menus bleed off the right side of my screen as I click onto the fifth level without an end in sight. It should be quick and obvious to the user to get around your site.
2. Check Those Load Times
Sure, you want users to see your images at their best quality. But mobile data connections are often not particularly fast, especially away from urban areas, and if users have to wait a long time just for your images to load, you are going to start losing them. Generally, keeping everything at or below 2,000 pixels on the long side is a good rule to follow. I also run all my website images through JPEGmini before uploading them. It is a fantastic app that normally shaves about 60% off the file size of a JPEG with no discernible loss of quality. That adds up to major data savings and faster loading times when you are dealing with an entire photography portfolio.
3. Nothing Unnecessary
It can be tempting to add flashy visuals to your site or the like. In fact, with the ease of modern design tools, it is more tempting than ever. But don't lose sight of why visitors have come to your site: to view your photos. No one ever made a sale because they had a cute animation on their site. Keep things as straightforward as possible. Cleanliness and simplicity are the formula for an elegant site.
4. Make Sure Image Galleries Are Responsive
This is a really crucial item. Phones and tablets come in all different sizes, resolutions, and aspect ratios, and a layout that looks great on one device might be totally wrong on another. Responsive galleries automatically detect the device the site is being used on and readjust the galleries to fit the screen, ensuring that your portfolio looks professional no matter what device it is viewed on. Most modern templates and design tools employ responsive galleries, but be sure to check to be safe.
5. Link to Instagram
Many people also look to Instagram to find a photographer or to see more of your work, so make it easy for them to find yours. As you can see on my mobile site, there is a small but visible icon at the bottom of the site menu. Of course, working in the other direction, don't forget to link to your site in your Instagram bio.
6. Keep Users in One Tab
No doubt, if you have spend any amount of time browsing the web on your phone, you know that managing multiple tabs in an annoying affair at best. Avoid using links that open a new tab; keep everything in one tab so users don't become disoriented by a new window popping open.
7. Make It Easy to Contact You
Don't forget to make it straightforward to contact you. Make it easy to find a contact form or information on your site. Remember that typing on a phone is not something anyone wants to do for a long time, so don't ask for an abundance of information; just make it easy to get in touch with you and provide basic relevant details.
Having a good mobile website is more important than ever. Be sure to take time to ensure that yours is in top shape to ensure that potential customers have the best possible experience and are more likely to select you.