Five Tips to Improve Your Photography Website

Five Tips to Improve Your Photography Website

A website is one of the most important tools for any professional photographer. A website allows your work to be found through searches, can be used as a great digital portfolio in a pinch, and is an excellent way to interact with your potential clients and fans of your work. However, when I look through others photographers websites, I find a long list of ‘No-No’s’ on a design level. So here are five tips to help improve your website's presence on the internet.

1.) Avoid Adobe Flash at ALL COSTS
I cannot echo this enough. Don’t get me wrong, I love flash, and I was one of the photographers who stood by flash when everyone else started abandoning it. It just no longer serves a purpose for photography websites. While it makes a seemingly boring website look pretty, it can also make it load slow, and in many aspects, make your website unavailable to mobile devices.

And the mobile devices is a big thing. Looking at my websites own stats for example, shows that over 40% of the people viewing my website are from a mobile device. That's a huge segment of viewers that would no longer be able to view your website, and your work, with a flash-based website.

NoFlash

Another problem with flash based websites is the inability to add keywords to your images alt tags. This makes your site very difficult for search engines to read, which will hurt you dramatically in Google search rankings. Which brings me to my next point...

2.) SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
A great breakdown of SEO was posted by our very own Nick Fancher last week, so I’ll try not to repost too much of his information on this. However, Search Engine Optimization is likely the most important thing you can do for your website. We no longer live in the internet era where you can just make a website, and search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo will eventually pick up your content and start displaying it for those who search. We must now use creative keyword placement, backlinks to popular websites, and create an easy viewing website, for both humans, and robots.

This is all done through continuous research, and is considered a full time job for a reason. SEO is the difference maker for shooting a paid gig once a week, and being fully booked 2 months out. One basic and great tip for SEO is to name your images. Most photographers websites are portfolio based, with virtually no words within the content of the main site. You must counteract the lack of keywords in your website with alt tags in your images. This is done very easily with Wordpress based websites, but can be done easily through adding alt=”keywords keyword keywords”> to the html within the < img > tags. Simple adjustments as this can push your website from being nonexistent to Google, to being among the top websites within your market.

3.) Blog
It’s a pain in the ass, no doubt, but blogging has some huge benefits to your website, as it gets people coming back. The average portfolio on a photographers website gets updated once every three months or so. With that being said, how do you expect to get repeat visitors if you rarely add new and interesting content to your website?

Blogging has huge benefits for SEO too. Its adding continuous content to your site, making it ever expanding and hitting multiple areas of photography. My website is portrait based, however, I’m able to put some landscape photos on my blog, and that might help me with getting some landscape gig in the future. As photographers, we dabble in everything, even though we have one specific focus to what we do. By having a blog, it enables us to be more scatterbrained in our work, and it’ll help our business grow as well.

Blogs also add personality to your website. People want to work with someone who is interesting and easy to work with. By having blog posts, about anything, it’ll help your potential clients get a general sense of who you are.

4.) Multi-platform Your Website
The internet is used for social media more than anything these days. We’re all addicted to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, so why aren't you using all those forms of media to present your work?

Lets take Instagram for example. Personally, I was absolutely against Instagram for the longest time. I thought it was devaluing the photography industry, and that it was a fad that would pass in no time. Eventually, some friends who are photographers talked to me about it, and presented it differently. Instagram is a social media device, that allows millions of people to view some of your work, that may not have the opportunity otherwise. Not only that, but it also presents your life and personality in day to day photos, so why wouldn't you want to use that medium to help gain your own exposure as a photographer? All social media has their purpose, and its important to use them all to help grow your business. More importantly, you need to link them all together, so that your work is easy to find on all mediums.

5.) Organize Your Content
Your website is your digital portfolio, and there are tactics that you should use to help present your work more efficiently. A portfolio is designed to show off your best work, in different categories. My tactic, has always been the same one I have shared with many photographers in print portfolios. You present your very best work first, and last, and have the middle portion of your portfolio with the filler. This strategy is used as you want to grab attention initially, with WOW factor, show them diversity in your work, and then wow them again.

A great tool I use is to look at the bounce rate of my website. Bounce Rate, in laymen terms, is the rate of which people are leaving your site without viewing a second page of it. So an important strategy is to move your pictures around, and see which combinations have the best success rate.
For a further look into improving your website, I recommend checking out the Fstoppers DVD "How To Become A Professional Commercial Wedding Photographer".

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39 Comments

Previous comments
Terry Goss's picture

If I might offer a personal-taste reflection, Flash(tm)-based sites suck. It's a terrible user experience, and amazingly inconsistent. Doesn't matter if it's a photo site or literally anything else.

James Tarry's picture

 i disagree. But then thats the magic of opinion and taste :)

Oliver Oettli's picture

Avoiding Flash at all costs is the best tip in the whole article. Period. If you disagree, you have no idea about Website optimization. It has nothing to do with photography skills, nothing to do with your name as a photographer, nothing to do with your overall website in aesthetic matters. Its simply a stupid idea to use flash if you want to have a successful website that google actually reads.  

Terry Goss's picture

" Its simply a stupid idea to use flash if you want to have a successful website that google actually reads."
- but it's more than that; you should avoid a Flash(tm)-based site if you want to provide a decent user experience at all. Flash-based sites SUCK.

Art Meripol's picture

just about to go live with my first website. Choosing between Livebooks, Photoshelter and Aphotofolio was easy. APhotoFolio is all HTML5...done!
avoid flash.

Jeroen Rommelaars's picture

I've had some experience 'optimizing' websites for SEO in the past, plus I have done some research on optimizing seperate video's with SEO factors, but actually getting a proper ranking on a website pretty much only showing embedded video is a bit frustrating. I guess this is mostly the same for you photography guys out there. Wish you all the best of luck!

My advice would be make maximum use of your website, so include keywords in the alt-texts for pictures for example :)

Thank you for the awesome tips. All of your photography homepage building tips are spot-on. Thanks for taking the time to write a great piece about photographer websites.

Website will never look fabulous untill you will not follow these advices- <a href="http://www.fotolobis.lt/vaiku-fotosesija" rel="nofollow">Vaikų
fotosesija</a> , believe me, only then best results may be reached :)

dear worldly photography members. i am a photography student at cypress college and one of our class projects is to find the best and the worst photography websites in our area of interest. my focus is environmental portraits and sports photography. i am a novice photographer and i am looking for the best and the worst tips i should avoid when making an environmental portraits and sports photography website. my goal is create my own photography website that is easy to follow and navigate for potential clients. is there anything else i should think about? thank you in advance and i appreciate all of your innovative ideas. warmly, kristyna blazkova.