Your online portfolio is one of the most critical tools you have at your disposal when looking to make a sale. Clients are looking to your website as a sign of both your skill and professionalism. The customer wants to find a photographer who is the perfect fit so your website needs to be built to enable that feeling. Below are four priorities that photographers often overlook when designing their websites.
This one feels so obvious that it almost seems absurd to be on the list. However, I have noticed a trend that makes me put it at the forefront. Photographers who forget to prioritize the actual photography on their website amaze me. The moment you make a viewer hunt to find your work you have created a losing situation. Your photography is the most important part of the website. It should go without saying that it is the purpose of your website. Don't lead with a giant logo or long rant of text talking about what you do. Don't hide your work behind complex navigation structure. Your absolute best work should be the first impression that grabs a viewer's attention upon arrival to your page. If, for any reason, that isn't the case, you need to make a change.
If I had a penny for each time I visited a photographer's website and was greeted with the words "international photographer" I'd finally have the means to satiate my gear obsession. I know it sounds awesome, as if you are some rock star traveling the globe available to virtually any client at any time. I have a secret for you though, the clients who have the coin to hire photographers and ship them around the globe generally aren't randomly browsing photographer websites on Google. Furthermore, they know that the words "international photographer" mean squat. Meanwhile any local client who can't afford big travel budgets will take one look and assume you would be too expensive. So cut the crap. If you are actually an international photographer, you don't need to say it. If you aren't, tell people where you are so they can actually hire you.
Their Brand Identity
When most hear the word brand they think a color scheme and logo (which can be important). A brand, however, encompasses more than that. It is a reflection of a consistent vision throughout your dealings. Most photography sites that I encounter simply don't leverage a brand in any real sense. Instead, they feel like a scattering of ideas and guesses. Simplify yourself, define what your brand is, and cater to it. Everything from your photos, to the text, to the design should reflect that brand identity so that a potential customer can feel comfortable in trusting that you are the photographer for them.
It can be very easy to get hung up in the technical grind of creating a website. Things like search engine optimization mean nothing if you don't optimize your page to project a confident, professional brand to the world. Your website is the reflection of your work to those who haven't worked with you yet. It is the first impression and chance to build trust so tighten things up and make sure that your prioritize what is most important. Take a good, long look at your website and make and ask yourself: Am I one of the photographers described above? If so, time to make some changes.