Today we’re going to talk about the top 3 mistakes birth photographers make on their websites.
You might be thinking, “Who cares about my website? People care about social media. People go to my Facebook page; they go to my Instagram. People don’t care about my website.”
I want to show you what making a few updates to your website can really do for your business.
Why Having a Website is Important
Here’s the thing about your website: You own it. You own two things in your business:
- Your email list
- Your website
Your website is super important because—like we always talk about—Facebook and Instagram could drop off the face of the earth tomorrow. You would lose all your fans. You’d lose all your followers that you spent so long trying to get to follow you.
Your website and your email list are the two things that you own, so your website is super, super important.
Not to mention the fact that your website is your digital storefront. Your website is where people are going to go when they first hear about you. For instance, if I Google ‘Ana’, the first thing I’m going to see is her website. So your website matters. Your website, especially your homepage, is super important.
Choosing a Website Platform
I understand that tech issues are really annoying. Maybe you have a website and you’re not sure how to update it, or there are things you want to do that you can’t do. If you don’t have a website that you love, now is the time when you can switch and get something you actually like using. You absolutely need to be able to go in and change your website any time you want.
I use Showit.co. I did actually use the WordPress PhoPhoto theme for a long time, and it’s just not my favorite. I couldn’t figure out how to customize it, so I switched to Showit and I am obsessed with it. I think Wix is similar in that it’s a lot of drag-and-drop stuff. So if I’m like, “I want a button to go here” and I don’t know how to code and create a button, all I have to do is grab a button and drop it there. Make sure you have a website platform that you understand and can customize easily.
Common Mistakes I See on Websites
The more websites I look at, the more I see the same mistakes again and again. I see them quite often, so you might be making these mistakes yourself.
The first mistake is not having a single birth image on your home page. I’ve seen so many birth photographers’ websites where the first image is a family, or a senior, or even a newborn.
If you want to book birth photography clients, you have to have a birth photography image appear first thing when somebody clicks onto your website. You have three seconds to get somebody’s attention when they click onto your website, so you want to have some kind of one-liner, something that’s going to get their attention as well as a photo.
You can do a gallery like a lot of people do, but if you want birth photography clients, the first photo has to be a birth photo. Not only a birth photo, it has to be an emotional birth photo. A photo of mom in labor typically isn’t going to get much response from people. A photo of a hallway or of baby’s feet is nice, but it should not be the first one or two photos on your website.
The first photo on your website needs to be a birth photo that makes people go, “Wow.” It needs to be an emotional birth image.
The second mistake I see people making is that they have huge chunks of boring copy on their website. I’m sorry, but people are not going to read huge blocks of text. People are scrolling. People want to get the gist, they want to get through quickly. If they’re engaged right away, if there is something that gets their attention, they might keep reading, but huge blocks of text are just overwhelming, and people are going to just click away from your site.
If I click onto a website and I see huge blocks of text, I just click away because I’m like, “I don’t have the time to read this.” So if you have information you want people to read, you have to make it readable.
Now, I say that, and I really believe there is no such thing as too long, only too boring. However, even if you can make your text interesting, I still wouldn’t make it simply huge blocks of text. What you want to do is keep people scrolling. If you can keep people scrolling, they feel like they’re getting somewhere. Here are some ways you can keep readers scrolling:
- Make one-sentence paragraphs.
- Use bullet points.
- Bold some things, italicize some other things.
- Write one or two words on a line for variety in paragraph length.
- Be interesting, tell stories.
- Write like you speak in real life. Let your personality shine.
That last point is big. A huge part of what’s important about the text on your website is writing like you speak in real life.
Do what I call the “BFF test” and read it aloud to your best friend and see if it sounds like you, or just read it to yourself and see if it even sounds like something you would say.
Let your personality come out of that page.
Don’t be afraid to write like you talk, and be yourself. If you’ve ever seen me write any kind of copy, I do not follow proper grammar at all. I use “…” and lots of exclamation points and lots of capital letters because I want it to feel like we’re having a conversation and you know me, not like some sort of formal copy.
What about content? I want to see you speak about the benefits of birth photography if you’re going to write something. I want you to get into those details and emotional things like seeing baby for the first time, or things you missed in labor like your parents in the waiting room. Pull on those emotional things that you can include on your homepage that’ll get people to keep scrolling.
The third mistake I see birth photographers make on their website is they haven’t updated their portfolio in 500 million years. They’re like, “Oh yeah, my portfolio. I need to go update that.”
(By the way guys, I’m totally guilty of this.)
That is where people are going to see your work, so spend a little time to update your portfolio. Sometimes I email myself reminders. Of course, we’re in our email inboxes constantly, so I’ll send myself a reminder that says, “Hey, go update your portfolio.” I’ll put it in my iCal, so I’ll schedule time on my calendar to go update my portfolio.
Make sure you’re spending a little time updating your portfolio because that is what people are going to go click on.
They’re going to click on your homepage and your portfolio, so that is what needs to be the most up-to-date and the most recent.
In that gallery of images, I’d include 10–15 of your absolute best images. I wouldn’t overwhelm them. I would start out with a few labor images, I would do some of the actual birth, what I call the “I Did It!” moment, and some after baby images.
The bonus mistake that I see birth photographers make is that, on their website, they have nowhere for people to enter their email address and join their mailing list.
This is a huge missed opportunity, and it’s not just birth photographers, it’s all photographers. We’re just not great at growing our lists.
My email list is the number one reason my business is where it is today.
Being in someone’s inbox allows you to connect with them. If they see your
Make sure that at least a simple “join my newsletter” link is on your website.name in their inbox, even if they don’t click your email, they’re still seeing your name and they’re still getting that brand recognition.
To recap, these are the top 4 mistakes:
- You do not have a single birth image on your homepage, and if you do, it’s a (sorry) boring one. I want emotion on that first image. I want something that’s going to make them go, “Wow!” and stay on my website.
- You have huge chunks of kinda-boring copy on your website. I do think words are important, but make sure it’s engaging and make sure it’s scrollable, so people can scroll through.
- You haven’t updated your portfolio in 500 million years. Spend a little time every 2–3 months updating your portfolio.
- You have no spot on your website to collect email addresses.
Correcting these mistakes on your site should really help your business to grow and reach more potential clients. Keep me posted on how implementing these changes adds to your success in our Facebook group!