5 Tips to Building an Awesome Website by Lucas Wiman
Building a professional website should be an important step in your business as a photographer. Having a permanent portfolio other than Instagram that potential clients can look at will help you reach more clients and be more easily searchable on the web. Most of my clients come through a contact page directly on my website after spending time on my portfolio page. The accessibility is extremely important, especially if you don’t have a business account on Instagram where someone can send you an email directly from your profile.
I’m going to talk about 5 tips to building a professional website and hopefully you can learn from some of these and see your business grow and website look even nicer than it already is.
Buy a domain name
First impressions are everything. If someone is trying to find your website and they see it is name.wix.com or name.squarespace.com etc., I guarantee they are already turned off to your business before even seeing your work. By not investing the tiny yearly cost it is to get a domain name, you’re presenting yourself as someone who is not very professional and trying to do the bare minimum to get by. I bought my domain on Google Domains for 20 dollars a year. That’s it. That is less than 2 dollars a month. There’s no excuse to not have a domain name. Just by purchasing this you’ve gone from a wannabe professional photographer to someone serious about their business. Not to mention, by purchasing a domain you can take this to the next level by purchasing a personal email address from google for just 5 dollars a month as well. The domain name is great, but by adding an email address such as email@example.com steps your game up even more.
Diversify your portfolio, but remember Quality over Quantity
One of the most difficult things about building a website is determining what images are portfolio worthy and what type of work you want to include. It is completely okay to show off the different types of work you do. I personally have my portfolio broken up into a few different sections of the different type of work I do. You can check it out here. While it is good to add different types of work, it is not good to add every single image you’ve ever taken. Remember, this is a portfolio. This should include only your best work and if starting out that is only 3-4 images in each section, then so be it. It is better to have less work on the portfolio showing that you are critical and selective than add work that isn’t up to standard just to make it look bigger. One thing that I did when building my portrait section was to go back through folders of shoots I knew had portfolio material and picking no more than 2 photos from each set to go on the portfolio. It’s not smart to have extremely similar images next to each other in a portfolio. It shows that you are struggling to decide which to add. Just pick one and move on.
The Simpler the Site, the Better the Site
You want people to get lost in your site looking at images; but not lost in your site because it’s complex and they don’t know where to go. Add a few key menus such as portfolio, about, pricing, clients, blog, and contact and stick to that. Make them easily accessible. It get’s tricky when you start linking pages that can only be accesible via another page and not a menu. Everything on your website should be important information therefore you should want it to be viewed as easily as possible. A nice clean look is what is popular right now and I think it is wise to follow until things start changing, if they ever do.
This is your business. You’re the face of this company. Be personable. Tell people why you love capturing images. Tell people what your goals are and what you look for in clients. Tell people why you like shooting specific things and what story you are trying to tell. A company isn’t hiring a robot for a job, they are hiring a person and contrary to popular belief, people are getting hired for more reasons than just numbers on social media. They want to know they can trust the photographer and that his goals line up with theirs. So talk about yourself. Give some background. Don’t speak in third person. It’ll pay off.
You might say, “Well isn’t Instagram basically a blog?” I would say that Insta can definitely be a place to share new work but having a blog on your website is just as important. This is a space where you can share entire image sets. You can talk about how shoots went and you can give tips. You can talk about that trip you went on to Iceland and post as many photos as you want. One of the biggest reasons for maintaining a blog is because it gets more and more photos on the website without cluttering the portfolio and it brings back readers to your website. These clicks are important! Someone might see the blog post you did about shooting going on a vacation with a family shooting photos for them and think, “wow, we should bring him/her on our next vacation too!” Getting these website views are so important. Someone might visit your site and think that nothing is for them yet, but what if they come back 2 months later and see something on a blog that they need? It’s important! So start that blog!
I hope you’ve learned something from this. If you have any questions or comments feel free to drop a comment here or find me on Instagram.