July 4, 2023
You know that feeling of like “Man I need to post something today but I don’t know what I want to say!”
That’s how I felt before recording this episode. So, I went to the list of questions we get from students and I saw the dozens of website reviews we’ve done for them over the years. And I was like you know what, after reviewing all these photographers websites, there are really a few things I see over and over that my podcast listeners might benefit from hearing.
So this episode was born.
I’m going to share 10 mistakes you might be making on your website that’s keeping clients from booking with you.
Now, a lot of you already know the basics that you need for your website:
So I don’t want to dig into those details too much because those really are the basics. Instead, I want to assume that you know those things and you’re doing those things, and I want to dig into some more often overlooked mistakes that happen once you’ve graduated from the basics.
Making sure that your portfolio is user friendly, that there’s easy navigation, you’ve optimized images to load quickly on your website, and making sure that your portfolio is mobile-responsive is so important.
There have been so many times I’ve looked at some of these websites and I’ve wanted to scroll through the images and it’s challenging to do so or I can’t figure out where to do it or I can’t click the right thing.
Really go to your website as if you’re not a photographer. Pose as a potential client and you don’t know how to do things that photographers know how to do. Make it as easy as possible for them to see your images and to scroll through your portfolio.
When I visit someone’s website, I’m almost always going to their blog first. Not even necessarily to read the blog content, but I want to see if they’re still relevant. Are they posting content and sessions? Are they still shooting?
Not only does blogging of course help SEO but it might be playing more of a factor than you realize in if people are going to book with you or not.
I’m not a graphic designer, but we all know a high end looking website and a cheap DIY type website when we see one.
These days, there is really no excuse for having a cheap looking website. There are so many templates you can buy or get for free that are designed professionally and use high quality fonts and elements.
The aesthetic of your website reflects your brand and what people will think about you and your work, so spending the time to make sure your fonts, colors and design of your website look high end will be worth the effort.
We’ve talked a lot about the power of niching down and specializing on this show as a photographer – especially when you’re just starting out. Because when you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one. The best way to get hired is to speak directly to a specific ideal client and be known for a specific niche of photography.
But oftentimes I’ll visit a photographers website who tells me they’re specializing in newborn photography but the first image on their website is a family photo out in a field with a toddler and older kid … no newborn to be found anywhere.
If you want to specialize in newborn photography, then the FIRST image on your website needs to be a newborn photo and the copy on your website needs to speak to someone who is about to have a baby or planning to have a baby soon!
It could go away tomorrow. So if I have the option of sending someone to my Instagram or to my newsletter list – I’m sending them to my newsletter list every time.
Imagine someone is on your website and they’re thinking about hiring you and they go follow you on social media because you’re linking to your instagram everywhere on your website. How many of your posts will they see? On average you reach less than 10% of your followers when you post on social media. So that is not building the type of relationship you want to build with someone who is interested in working with you.
On the flip side, imagine someone is on your website and they’re thinking about hiring you and they join your email list. Now they’re hearing directly from you regularly, you’re delivering valuable content and sharing news about your studio and promotions and suddenly they’re much more likely to engage with you and potentially hire you because they’re actually hearing from you consistently via your email list.
FUN FACT: eMarketer.com did a study that found email marketing conversion rates are 3x higher than social media – that means someone is 3x more likely to become your client if they get your emails than if they follow you on social media.
Everyone knows that you love photography. And so what I often see on photographers’ websites is that they say something about how much they love photography.
So how can you use this really important section of your website to stand out and share something unique about yourself?
Share something that might be a little bit different, something that you love that people can connect with that’s outside of photography or outside of being a wife and mom. That’s probably what about 90% of the people are looking at.
So what else is there about you? Are you a Harry Potter fanatic? Are you a red wine snob and you like bougie flavors of red wine? Do you have a garden in your backyard? Are you a homesteader?
There’s so many things about you other than being a mom, wife, and photographer and so can you share some of those things in your about me page to connect with people so they remember you as more than just this name. They remember you for the thing that you shared that’s personal that has nothing to do with business or photography.
I actually did a whole episode on this show. It is all about Creating a Captivating About Me Page.
When you use Google analytics you can easily see where people are finding your website, which pages they’re visiting, the bounce rate of your website, and soooo much more useful information.
It’s so easy to set up – this is a bunch of data you’re missing out on if you don’t have Google analytics set up for your website and it’s totally free.
In addition to NOT just funneling people to social media – a big mistake a LOT of photographers are making on their website is not giving people an opportunity to join your email list.
Now of course most people won’t want to sign up for a newsletter, but having a simple opt in box that says “sign up for studio news” is better than nothing!
If you want to take it to the next level, create a valuable pdf or download they can get when they opt in to your newsletter.
If they do, oftentimes, what the photographer is doing is copying and pasting the entire testimonial and plopping it onto their website. Now, friends, nobody’s reading that. Very, very few people are reading that.
What you need to do is pull out the highlights of that testimonial. What’s the big takeaway from that testimonial so that you’re not just dumping a whole paragraph of text on your website that people are unlikely to read.
And when it comes to testimonials, what I used to do and what I see photographers still doing, is they have a reviews page on their website or a testimonials page where every single testimonial is stuffed onto that page.
Again, it’s better than nothing. But what I like to do is intentionally sprinkle testimonials throughout my website, so that people are seeing them as they naturally progress through my website. So it’s kind of like forcing them to read good things about me. They’re not having to seek them out, but instead, those reviews are right there in front of them.
You don’t ask people how they found you
Whenever I have a student inside of Marketing School who’s like, “I can’t believe this flood of inquiries that’s coming in, I can’t believe that all these people are finding me,” the first question that I ask them is:
How did they find you?
Because we want to celebrate that, we want to serve them well, but we also want to look at how can I find more people like that and if you don’t know how they found you, you’re not going to be able to duplicate that and continue to grow your business.
And so if you don’t currently have a line in your contact form that asks “How did you hear about me?”, please add it today and make it required. That’s how strongly I feel about this because sometimes people can’t remember.
Asking too many questions
I’ve seen contact forms that look like some kind of questionnaire almost and in the beginning of my photography business, I want to say I had 4 questions: Name, Email, How did you hear about me, and What type of session are you looking to book.
As I started to get more bookings as I started to stay fully booked, I started to be a little bit pickier, specifically with birth clients, on who I would take. And so I would start to kind of qualify them in the contact form and say, where are you giving birth and obviously when is your due date. Because I knew that there were certain hospitals I wouldn’t go to in certain due dates I wouldn’t be available for. So as you start to get booked, you can add some more questions but don’t go crazy and have like 25 questions for them to fill out before they can even contact you because most people are going to click away from that.
Those are the 10 big mistakes photographers often make on their websites that can make it hard for clients to book you.
Don’t forget, your website is more than a place to show your beautiful photos. It’s the way you connect with people, tell your story, and show off your work. If you avoid these mistakes and spend some time fixing up your website, it can turn into a brilliant tool that you OWN that gets you lots of clients.
As we finish up today, I want to challenge you: take some time to look at your website.
Make small changes, make it better bit by bit, and make it a place that shows off your brand and your work.
Remember, you’re not trying to make it perfect in one day, but you’re trying to make it better over time.
Focus on just being 1% better every day.
Thank you for making it to the end of another episode – if you have a photography biz bestie who might benefit from this episode, feel free to text them a link or a screen shot so they can stop making these mistakes too!