After some long nights (and a whole lot of coffee), you’ve finally set up your little corner of the web. But where’s all the traffic? If your business site isn’t pulling in client inquiries as effectively as you’d hoped, or your web analytics show a high bounce rate, here are a few things that might be making your visitors close the tab.1. Long load times.
The internet is a wonderland of instant gratification. So when a prospective client visits your website and it takes more than, say, 0.000003 seconds to load an image, they’re going to get impatient. When you’re preparing images, resize them (at 72ppi) rather than letting your web editor scale the full-res images to fit. Ideally, your web images should be in the kilobyte range.2. Automatic noise.
It’s no secret that clients are probably Googling photographers on their work computer while they should be working. And nothing is worse than furtively clicking on a website and -- LA LA LA LA! -- having sweet music blast out of your speakers. The fastest fix, of course, is to close the page in a panic. Audiovisuals can give clients a sense of your personality, but don’t surprise them with it. Give them the option to turn on the soundtrack for your gallery, and put a play button on your intro video (or mute it, Vine-style).3. It’s mobile-unfriendly.
If your flash gallery won’t load on their phone, or your text is microscopic, or they can’t click your links with human-sized fingers, they’re probably going to give up. If that’s not motivation enough, starting April 21st, Google will penalize sites that aren’t optimized for mobile. Click here to see if your site passes their test.4. Location, or lack thereof.
Your photos are beautiful. But where are you? If your location isn’t prominently displayed on your website -- on your contact page, your bio, and maybe even your homepage or header -- someone could stumble across your amazing portfolio and not realize you’re right down the road.5. Your site is showing its age.
Was your web design cutting-edge…in 2009? Do you still have artifacts from your portfolio-building era? Are you showing images with outdated processing trends (heavy vignettes, texture effects, selective color, berry-tinted black-and-whites, etc)? You don’t have to jump on the latest editing craze, but make sure your website reflects your current style and doesn’t give the impression that you’re stuck in the early aughts.6. Pop-ups.
Nobody likes them. That’s all.7. Poor navigability.
Can a client find what they need quickly and easily, or do you have important links buried in drop-down menus? Is it obvious where your links point, or did you use flowery language? Will they need to a thesaurus to find your pricing page? If it isn’t user-friendly, the user will move on to a more welcoming website.8. Typos.
Attention to detail is everything for a photographer. Spellcheck your emails and blog posts. If you’re texting or messaging a client, be that guy who uses proper capitalization and punctuation. No matter how friendly you are with your clients, keep it professional and spell out y-o-u and f-o-r and t-h-a-n-k-s in written communication. Get acquainted with the rules of grammar. If the written word isn’t your strong suit, keep it brief and/or hire an editor.9. Irrelevant content.
Fresh content is crucial for SEO, but don’t post content for content’s sake. If someone visits your photography blog and the last three posts are recipes, they may wonder if you’re trading your camera for culinary school. And if you blog about a hot-button topic just to boost your SEO, keep in mind you might turn off some readers. Make sure your posts are engaging, original, and photography-related.10. No call-to-action.
So they’re on your page -- now what? Don’t rely on your images to sell themselves. Give your visitors some direction. What new content should they check out? Where else can they see your work? Should they call you? Fill out your contact form? Reserve an appointment in your online scheduler? Sign up for your newsletter? Your CTA is a big part of turning visitors into clients.
Above all, keep an eye on your analytics. A high bounce rate means visitors aren’t making it past the homepage; a high exit rate could clue you in to a specific page or post that’s driving them away. Your website is an insanely effective marketing tool, so use the data available to make sure it’s pulling clients in -- and keeping them there.
From a very early age I loved taking pictures and looking at them in magazines and books, but the art of photography captured my heart when I was a teenager, on my first overseas trip to Wales. From that point, I began shooting with a little film SLR and having my friend model for me. In college I took some digital photography and visual communication courses as part of my communication studies major, and decided to pursue a career in photography. I became a legal business and took my first paid client at age 20, and it's been quite a journey and adventure over the past nine years.