by William Lulow
It used to be that a photographer would gather together his best photographs, make sure they were mounted in some kind of portfolio or “book” and begin to shop it around to various art directors, editors and business owners in an effort to procure clients. These days, it’s mostly done electronically, like most everything else. And, that is accomplished with the help of a really good website!
What makes a good website? Well, several things go into the construction of a good presence on the World Wide Web:
- Design: a website must be designed to attract attention. Keep in mind that there are literally millions of websites out there, all competing for the same business.
- Ease of Navigation: pages on your website should be easy to look at and have a “flow” to them.
- Fast Loading of Images: today, people are always in a hurry. So, if your pictures take a long time to display, they will lose interest in your site.
- Relevant Information: your site must have your contact information prominently displayed so people can get in touch with you by email, phone or text message.
- Be Current: nothing irritates me more than to look at a website and see images and articles from several years ago. Any articles you write or pictures you display must be current. A “What’s New” page normally takes care of that. But make sure it is continually updated.
- Be Multiple Platform-Ready: these days, it has been shown by many research groups, that most people do what’s called a “nano search.” That’s when they look for information on the internet in their spare time, while waiting on line for something or thinking about something else. They do this mostly on their mobile phones. So, a website must be completely visible and navigable on ALL devices including mobile phones (Apple & Android), iPads & other tablets as well as computers.
- Search Engine Optimization: Again, these days, if someone wants to hire a photographer, they have to be able to find you. So, you need to spend a fair amount of time writing and re-writing keywords to your site description making it as easy as possible for people to land on your site when they search for photographers. This doesn’t have to cost a lot, but it has to be researched. I paid someone who was an “SEO specialist” and found out that they didn’t really do anything for my website. What did work is some advice from my guru on web matters, Jarom Adair at http://www.internetmarketingforbusinessowners.com
Jarom helped me tweak keywords I had already included in my site and I quickly rose to number one listing on page one of Google. So, it pays to get good advice for this.
Since websites have taken the place of portfolios these days, it has become really important to set them up correctly and maintain them constantly. They need to be refreshed all the time in order to keep current. I set aside time in each of my workdays to make sure I review my site and add new and relevant material to it, just the way I used to with my printed book. Also, the search engines are able to pick up on relevant CONTENT for each site. If your material gets old or stale, you will drop in the rankings and potential clients will find it harder to reach you.