Have you ever wondered why your photography website doesn’t seem to get much in the way of engagement, sales leads or enquiries? Well, let’s do something about that.
The blog this time is all about learning how to create a photography website that converts visitors into customers. I’m absolutely passionate about educating photographers on the importance of having a website that delivers results.
You’ll probably already know this if you follow me on social media or have seen my webinars and presentations. The website style I talk about and suggest is quite different to the traditional gallery/portfolio-style photography website.
I know that this other way of doing your photography website works so much better. So much so that I’ve even launched a new company called The Photographers Suite which specialises in creating what I call “Scroll to a Sale” style websites for photographers.
This type of website style is now even more important because Google changed the way it ranks websites in August. The big change focuses on ranking good-quality written content. Producing keyword-stuffed content written for search engines has never been a good idea. If you want your website to do well in the rankings, it’s essential that you provide value to your readers.
Be honest, does your photography website produce results?
Your website is your online presence and your shop window to the world. But it has got to be a whole lot more than a pretty portfolio of pictures.
Unfortunately, the majority of photographers have very poor lead-generating websites. Yes, they may look nice but generally, that’s all they do, and they have no functionality other than to look pretty.
That’s a BIG mistake! If your photography website isn’t generating enquiries, bookings, or direct sales then it’s not effectively working as a tool for your business.
Additionally, your website needs to capture email addresses from your website visitors and add them to your subscriber list. If your photography website isn’t capturing emails how can you ever remarket to your visitors and tempt them with seasonal promotions or special VIP offers?
The way we use websites has changed a lot over the past 10 years.
The way we all use and navigate through websites has changed massively over the past 10 years. This has a lot to do with social media and our habit of scrolling, especially on mobile devices.
Today Google favours websites with extremely quick upload speeds, ideally coming in at under 2 seconds. But even if your site loads quickly it must grab a visitor’s attention and communicate the right message in less than 10 seconds. Otherwise, they’ll be gone and heading over to your competitor’s website.
As consumers, we have so many choices and the ability to find a solution to our problems or purchasing needs in just a few clicks. We have no patience to hang around on a website that doesn’t connect with us or communicate the right message.
Unfortunately, most photographers still use portfolio-style websites. They believe that their images alone will be enough to create desire in the mind of a website visitor, but sadly this just isn’t the case.
Think about it, would you book a luxury break in a hotel that only displayed images, with no information about their facilities, menus, surroundings, or even their prices?
Would you buy a car from a dealership whose website only showed images of their models without talking about the main features and benefits to the customer of each car in their range? So why as photographers do we expect our website visitors to do just this? Remember our customers aren’t photographers, they don’t look at our images the way we do. You need to have written content on your website that connects with your visitors, builds their trust and creates the desire for your services. You need to write for your visitors, not for search engines and this comes from Google’s own words, not mine!
Google’s 2022 algorithm update changes everything
For many years I’ve been trying to convince photographers that a website with more text is better at converting visitors into clients, and now Google agrees too!!
Google wants its users to have a great experience by producing search results that meet their needs and offer the perfect solution to their search enquiries.
Google has named its 2022 algorithm update its “Helpful Content Update”. This is part of their broader effort to ensure people see more original and helpful content written by people for people. That is not content which is keyword stuffed or created by bots.
Remember that when writing this content not only will you be helping your website rank better in the searches, but you’ll also be building a great relationship with your website visitors too.
It’s all about creating a great user experience as Google puts it. That is answering all your visitor’s questions and giving them as much information as possible to help them on their journey to a sale.
What does a visitor want to know when they arrive on your homepage? Your visitors are consumers, most consumers want to establish the following factors when making any purchase.
Think about it, would you yourself make a purchase from a company or business online, if you didn’t first have a rough understanding of the key areas listed below?
- What is it you do?
- What can you do for your visitors, what solution do you offer?
- What are the main benefits of your products and services?
- How does your service work?
- What is the rough cost if they want to work with you?
- How have others benefited from your services, think testimonials.
- Your *Company Authority and reputation.
*This includes details like the number of years you’ve been in business, your 5-star reviews, the clients you’ve worked for, the awards you’ve won, and the guarantees you offer.
This is why photography portfolio-style websites produce very poor results. Because pictures alone don’t connect with a consumer or help them make a purchase.
Your website visitors don’t want to know how you got into photography or what camera you use. They want to know why you are the right person for the job and why they should put their trust in you.
Wow them with your authority and reputation. I say to my UK mentoring clients we need to be a bit more like my American photographers, don’t be shy, sing your own praises.
Make the perfect first impression on your photography website visitor
If you want a website visitor to stay on your website and read your awesome content, you need to grab their attention right from the beginning. You want to ensure they stay and don’t hit the back button, you need to do this in the banner or header area of your homepage.
This part of your website is often known in marketing terms as “Above the Fold”. Above the fold refers to the header area on your website, this is always the first thing a potential client will see when landing on your homepage.
In the newspaper world above the fold is the headline area on the front page of the paper. This is the crucial part of your website. It’s the area that a potential purchaser will first see and will undoubtedly prompt them to make a purchase. But that will only happen if the headline is compelling enough.
Treat your photography website like a newspaper, if you get the banner area right then your potential clients are more than likely going to stay and read on. Remember it only takes a fraction of a second to hit the back button and jump onto your competitor’s website, do not let them leave!
Most importantly, a first-time visitor landing on your homepage should immediately be able to see what you do. They need to see the niche of photography you offer and how you help them.
They need to understand the key benefits of your service, which geographical area you serve, and what to do next if they want to contact you.
Does your photography website banner include the following?
Ok, so now it’s time to do a little test on your own website banner, you can even get a friend to help you. Ideally, someone who doesn’t exactly know what it is you do. Yes, they may know you’re a photographer, but what first impression does your website make on them?
Can they understand what you do and more importantly what you can do for them? Does your website banner include the kind of information shown in the image below?
If the answer is NO then it’s time to start looking at tweaking your design. This will help you better communicate with your visitors. Remember that online time is of the essence, you need to get your message across in a matter of seconds.
Above is a great example of a website banner for one of our UK photographers Adam Gray. Adam wanted to communicate a real premium feel to his photography website and also let his visitors know he’s a dog lover too.
Where possible try to include as much of the following information below as you can in your own banner. But don’t confuse your message, keep it simple and clean-looking.
- An attention-grabbing image that evokes emotion and communicates what you do. This image should also fit with the rest of your website. It should complement your brand colours and style. It should also communicate a message that sums up your business and style of photography perfectly.
- A call direct number for clients to contact you by phone. Some studios and photographers prefer not to take calls. I don’t have a direct call number on my own website, but instead, I direct visitors to book a consultation call or email me directly.
- An email sign-up button at the top right of your banner. You need to get visitors onto your email list. Not everyone is ready to buy today, but if you offer an incentive which could be a voucher, coupon, or helpful PDF guide this can be given out in exchange for an email address. This allows you to remarket to your visitor further down the line with seasonal offers or to notify them when you have published a new inspirational blog post.
- A book a call or session button placed in the centre of your banner. This is your main call to action, you want to make it easy for visitors to get in touch or book you. This button can take them to your online diary or a simple form to fill in.
- Is it easy for a visitor to identify the geographical area you serve? If you cover a town, county, or state, you can draw attention to this in your headline or subheading text. For example, London Headshot Photography.
- A keyword-optimised headline that states what you offer. For example, Attention Grabbing Headshot Photography or Beautiful Bespoke Wedding Photography.
- A keyword-optimised subheading that sells the main benefits of your service. For example, “Fun and Relaxed Wedding Photography that you’re Guaranteed to Love”. Or for commercial photographers something like, “Stand out from the Crowd Online: tell your business story with Personal Branding Photography”.
Go one step further, and add a key benefit strip to your banner
To go one step further I would recommend adding a Key Benefits Strip to the bottom of your website banner (hero section). This instantly communicates the benefits your services offer to the client.
People like reassurances, guarantees, quick turnarounds and ease of booking when it comes to any online decision. This can be on the banner itself or directly below, you’ll see this used by a lot of online businesses and major corporations.
I recommend going for three or four benefits in total. Try to communicate each benefit in no more than 5 or 6 words. Otherwise, your banner area will start to look cluttered.
These features could include
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- 24-hour turnaround or same-day service
- 100 Google 5-Stars
- Monthly payment options or 0% interest-free
- 2022 Gold award winner
- Tailored packages available
- All images keyworded or geo-tagged
- Wedding payment plans or free engagement session
- Hair & makeup available
- Number of years in business or date founded
- Number of weddings photographed, or portraits taken etc
Think about what is most important to your clients and make sure these key features appear in your benefit strip. For example, a business owner looking for a fast and reliable headshot photographer would have their interest sparked if they saw the following 3 benefits: 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, Quick 24-hour Turnaround, Backgrounds to Match your Branding.
You MUST get it right if you want a visitor to stay and read on
If you get your message right in the banner section of your website then you are likely to capture your visitor’s interest immediately and they’ll stay and read on.
Remember images aren’t enough. Yes, images create attention, but consumers need words to educate them about the benefits of your service and create desire. Desire is a very important emotion, if we can create desire then the sale becomes so much easier.
As I said helping photographers create an amazing Scroll to a Sale style photography website has become my mission. I even released a book in December 2022 entitled “Help, my photography website needs MORE customers!”.
Like my other two photography business books it’s a step-by-step solution. I break all the elements of online branding, website creation, and content writing to help you convert more of your website visitors into paying customers. My 3rd book, like my other two, is available through Amazon. Search for “Help my photography website needs more customers”.
Help! My Photography Website Needs MORE Customers – available on Amazon
My new company The Photographers Suite specialises in creating very affordable, high-end, premium-looking websites. These sites are all built to my Scroll to a Sale format. You can find out more at www.thephotographerssuite.com
Do look around the rest of the blog here for more helpful posts and free downloadable resources for growing your business.
As always, if you have any questions please reach out. I’m happy to advise. You can connect with me personally on LinkedIn where I always answer messages with a detailed voice reply.