You’ve spent time and effort creating an amazing body of work. You want to grow your online photography business…so, what’s the next step? Researching and selecting the right website platform to display your photographs is often next, but can be a daunting process if you’re not sure where to start. Not only is the market flooded with tons of options, but not all websites are created equal. And let’s be honest, not all websites were built with professional photographers in mind. Below we lay out the best websites for photographers for 2020.
Best Website Platforms for Photographers in 2020
- WordPress and Divi Builder by Elegant Themes
Weebly is a great option for those who are new to website design. With drag and drop elements, you are able to create custom photo layouts, add text, videos, and more. With built-in contact forms, it’s easy to add calls-to-action (CTAs) to your site, prompting visitors to inquire about your services. Weebly gives you the ability to add HTML or custom CSS to your site, but it is not necessary to do so. To get started you will need to create a free account to start building your website, but to create a custom domain name (without ‘.weebly.com’ at the end of it) you will need to purchase a membership plan. Weebly sites are automatically mobile-friendly — something of increasing importance as desktop computers die out and people search more and more via phone/tablet.
Pricing: While Weebly has a free version, the most basic plan starts at $6 a month and gives you the ability to have a custom domain; however, the professional package or higher is recommended for those who wish to have more flexibility or an online store.
Squarespace is another great option for novice web designers. With a wide variety of templates, Squarespace has a myriad of premade options to fit any type of photographer’s design needs. Squarespace is known for having some of the most visually appealing layouts that tastefully highlight images. Just select a theme or start from scratch—then simply drag and drop elements onto the page. Squarespace also integrates with Instagram so that you can showcase your most recent Instagram moments right on your website to further promote your photography business. Squarespace is also mobile-friendly.
Pricing: With the most basic plan starting at $12 a month, Squarespace is a solid option for photographers looking for something sleek, modern, and no fuss.
WordPress and Divi Builder by Elegant Themes
If you have some web design experience, WordPress with the Divi Builder plugin is the way to go. This drag and drop builder is fairly user-friendly, but the WordPress interface allows much more flexibility when it comes to customizing your website. You are able to create more technologically advanced designs and have the ability to easily optimize for mobile viewing (although both previous options are also mobile-friendly too). While the Divi Builder does require more upfront investment, the results are well worth it if you want more power to manipulate and customize your website. WordPress is also the most scalable option should your business grow in size over the next few years.
Pricing: WordPress starts at $4 a month and the Divi Builder plugin is $89/year or a one-time payment of $249.
Courtesy of WordPress
Courtesy of Elegant Themes, Divi Builder
Read, ‘SEO for Photographers & Printers: How to Outrank Competitors on Search Engines’ for more insights on how to market your business
Choosing a Website Platform for Your Photography Business
When it comes to choosing a website platform, if you want to attract viewers and turn them into repeat customers, it’s important that you put a lot of effort into user experience—making it visually stimulating, creating relevant content, and making it easy to navigate. By utilizing the following online marketing tips and tricks, you’ll reach new audiences and have them coming back for more.
1. Make it visually appealing
Too much or too little design can result in a potential customer leaving before they even see your work. One of the best ways to avoid a sensory overload on your homepage is by dividing your work into categories. It will help users find the type of photograph they are looking for, it makes your site easier to use, and it emphasizes universal appeal. Everybody from casual hobbyists and interior decorators to professional photographers and art collectors will be able to easily sift through your work to find what appeals to them.
2. Make your site easy to navigate
Prominent navigation buttons that create a call-to-action, or lead customers to your information or work, will make for a smoother user experience and keep potential customers coming back. Also, make sure any external links open in a new tab, so they aren’t directed away from your site.
3. Consider the customer’s intent
Look at other photography websites that you visit frequently.
Do you appreciate a lot of bells and whistles, or is a simple, straightforward design more appealing?
Can you find what you’re looking for? Start by identifying who your audience is and how you want them to interact with your work. Then think about what you appreciate on your personal favorite websites and then replicate those same customer-friendly attributes on yours. Make all aspects of your site easily discoverable and accessible. After all, the only thing holding people back from seeing your work is you!
4. It’s about them, but it’s about you, too!
Make sure there are easy ways for customers to contact you with questions, comments, or special requests. Include links to your social media accounts. Be consistent with your profile pictures, taglines, and any other branding. Have a “Contact Us” page prevalent and obvious in the navigation bar.
As an example, look at Scott Papek’s website. Scott is a nature and landscape photographer with an excellent photography website. It’s easy to navigate while remaining visually appealing and provides a simple way for visitors to view and purchase his beautiful work.
Tools to Market Your New Photography Website
Fortunately, having an online presence makes it easy to reach potential customers directly. Here are three effective starting points.
1. Start a blog
A photography blog is a great way to record your photo shoots, provide useful information about your creative process, and serves as a record of your journey. It’s also a wonderful way for your potential customers to learn more about you as a photographer.
Not sure what to write about? When you’re on a photo shoot, jot down some notes or explain why you chose that location.
- Were there any unusual or unexpected events that contributed or detracted from what you hoped for?
- What equipment did you use, and why?
While your blog posts don’t have to be painfully long, it is best practice to write a minimum of 500 words. Keep the quality of your blog post in mind, share your experience and provide something of value to your readers.
Informative blogs are also a great way to break into new search results and pique the interests of new users. For example, writing a post about “The 5 Things Every New Photographer Should Know” may not be in your wheelhouse. However, publishing a quality article on the topic could show up in search results relating to aspiring photographers. This is a great way to establish your voice and expertise on various topics revolving around photography, as well as drive traffic to your website for users to make purchases or check out your work.
Nature photographer Aaron Reed has an interesting and informative blog. It is visually spectacular, including one or more photographs, and he discusses the story behind the shot. Wisely, Aaron has either a call-to-action or encourages comments on each post.
2. Maintain a Consistent Social Media Presence
When planning your social media strategy, consider which platforms you enjoy and focus your initial efforts there. Start with one or two that you are already familiar with. If you like Facebook, set up a business page for your online photography store. Show off your equipment, store, or your latest shots on Instagram. Twitter is a great way to promote blogs and articles and interact with your audience in real-time. Each platform has its purpose, so utilizing them to their fullest potential will go a long way in your promotional efforts.
Sites like 500px will help you to expand your interaction and include links to your website. Don’t forget, social media is meant to be social. So, make sure you’re not just sharing your own posts. The more you like, comment, and share other people’s posts, the more likely they will do the same for you.
3. Build a Robust Email Marketing Campaign
The rumors are wrong. Email is still going strong as a favored form of communication. Make sure to ask your customers to share their email and opt-in to receive information from you. Include an email sign up tool on your website. Then periodically provide your email subscribers valuable information, discounts, or other incentives, so they look forward to receiving your emails. Be sure you don’t send mass emails too frequently—it will turn people off of your brand and if too many people mark your emails as spam, you could be penalized by your email service.
4. Leverage Google My Business for Local Brand Awareness
Google My Business is a free tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Map results. Not only does creating and completing your profile help people in your local area become familiar with your business, but it also helps your discoverability on search engines. According to Bright Local, “Nearly 60% of consumers say that local search results with good images capture their attention and push them toward a decision.” Make sure your photography business is visible to people in your local area by leveraging Google My Business. Read ‘Hyperlocal Marketing for Printers & Photographers: Google My Business Optimization’ for more information on how to claim and optimize your business listing.
Be True To Your Brand
Last, but not least, make sure your website captures your unique personality and authentic self. Users want to get to know you. Being genuine and letting your personality shine through will make your photography website more appealing than the thousands of other cookie-cutter websites out there.
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This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.