I was talking to my partner the other day and he told me about a conversation he had recently with a photographer friend. They were catching up on what each other was doing, having not seen each other in several years and. After talking about what my partner and I were doing, she said that he wished she had known about that as she had a website recently built to promote her portrait photography business and would have rather worked with someone that she knew then picking the lowest priced website design company out of the phone book. She asked us to take a look at it and let her know what we thought.
What I found in reviewing the site is what is common in most artist websites. The website does not have a clear call to action of what the visitor needs to do. In this particular instance, the goal of the website should be to drive visitors to make appointments to get portraits taken. Instead, it highlights four galleries to showcase example photos taken (which is a good thing to do) but forces the customer to search through the website to fine even the location of this company, pricing information, how to schedule an appointment, etc. In other words, all of the things that make the artist money are extremely difficult for a potential customer to find on their website.
If that was not bad enough, the website was not designed to be found by the major search engines. In this web site's instance, the only way you could find this person's website would be if you knew the company's name. This may be fine if you already have great name recognition in your industry, but otherwise the only way that your website will be found is through online advertising, print marketing, and word of mouth. This really misses the boat to all of the free customer leads that the search engines can bring to your photography business.
The good news for her is after she asked us to do a full assessment of her website; that we are now starting to work with her to correct these shortcomings while still leveraging the existing framework of the website that she had built.
Whether you are looking for a website to just showcase your artwork, trying to market your work to publishers, or trying to run a full blown photography business – it is important to know that not all web design companies are the same in what they deliver and in most cases, you get what you pay for. In the coming weeks, I hope to follow up with another article discussing how these changes positively affected her business and how you can do the same with your website.