CHAPTER 10-: This is the tenth chapter of “The Complete Guide to Starting a Photography Business.” – In the modern business landscape, the goal of every enterprise is to innovate new ways with which they can reach out to their targeted audience. The better the connectivity between the business and its prospective customers, the higher are the chances of the business succeeding in the long run. One of the most fundamental ways of staying in touch with the targeted audience and keeping the attention of the consumers hooked in to your photography business is by creating a fully functional website.
Website Creation is Not a Formality
A lot of people are of the view that the creation of a website is nothing more than a form of formality which must be carried out in order to keep pace with the modern trends that are being followed all around the world. When you are creating a website for your photography business, you cannot harbour this same perception towards owning a website. If you do, you will end up making the big mistake that a lot of budding entrepreneurs commit in the earliest stages of their careers.
One of the biggest problems that start-up companies, especially those that are based on photography, face is the inability to make the most out of their website. It is very easy for an enterprise to set up a website, upload some informational content and provide an option for the visitors to place orders. However, this alone does not suffice when it comes to making the best use of websites. The most established photography business organizations around the world place great importance in the creation, development and designing of a website for a number of different reasons.
A website is not simply an online profile that validates the existence of your company. If that is how you have been thinking about websites, then it is high time that you change your perspective. There is so much more that you can achieve with a website, and the quicker you learn about these perks that are up on offer, the sooner you will be able to craft a photography business model that has a dominating online presence.
The Need to Have a Strong Online Presence for your Photography Business
One of the questions that are frequently asked by inexperienced entrepreneurs or business people who have a traditionalist approach towards conducting business affairs is, “what is the need to have a strong online presence?” Now if you are acquainted with the massive advantages and benefits of digital marketing, then this question may appear quite laughable to you.
If not, then you are perhaps scratching your head and trying to figure out how a business may lose out on money by not coming up with a fancy website for their consumers. First and foremost, the purpose of a website for a business organization is not fluff up their reputation with flair, flamboyance and modernism. The purpose of a website is to simply create a new channel for the business to draw in more consumers. The creation of a website is more of a marketing ploy than a standard business practice.
Since there are countless business organizations, including photography businesses, that are opening up websites for the sole purpose of driving up their sales, there is absolute no reason why your photography business should be missing out on all the fun. As a matter of fact, if you are focused on improving the state of your photography business or giving it a head start from the onset, then you will find it extremely difficult to compete with those businesses which have already strengthened their online presence. This is the age where a very large percentage of the consumers are engrossed with the use of technology that pertains to the online or the virtual world.
The Online World Has Your Consumer’s Attention
Almost everybody who is likely to subscribe to the services of your photography business owns a laptop, a personal desktop computer or a cell phone with which they access the internet and keep themselves busy for a considerable portion of their days.
In other words, if you are looking to attract the attention of the consumers, then you need to take your business the online world because that is where most of the attention is concentrated. There is no denying the fact that gathering the best team of photographers, producing the highest quality of products and services and maintain exemplary customer-retailer relationship can work wonders for your business.
However, if there is no website for consumers to get to know your business better, you will struggle to place yourself in a position from where you can maintain a steady flow of income and revenue. In other words, the opportunities of doing business with people and upholding the highest standards in the industry in terms of the quality of your work will be restricted significantly. The simplest way of explaining the need to perceive the online world as the home for your business would be to state that businesses who refrain from setting up websites will be deprived from exposure both in the short term and in the long term.
Of What Use is a Website for a Photography Business?
Websites can be particularly beneficial to photography businesses due to the nature of their products and services. Most of the businesses, which utilize websites to their maximum potential, resort to inbound marketing practices that are incorporated through various components of the website. As explained in the previous sections of the book, inbound marketing is a method of promoting your business and increasing the appeal towards your products and services by offering high quality content to the consumers.
In the case of most businesses, inbound marketing is put into motion through the creation and distribution of textual content. Although that technique still applies to photography businesses, there is one added advantage that photography businesses enjoy which comes in the form of photographic content or visual content. As a photography business, you should proudly own some of the most spectacular, unique, original and breathtaking visual content there is in your locality.
In other words, the expertise of your photographers should not only be used to satisfy clients, but should be channelled towards bringing in more clients. It is like hitting two birds with one stone. The same visual content that you may have used to fulfil the requirements of a client can be recycled in order to provide high quality visual content for your website that will attract new clients that visit you online.
A Platform of Growth
The one thing that you need to get straight about websites is that they offer a fantastic platform for the growth of a start-up photography business. As mentioned before, the major advantage that a photography business has over other enterprises when it comes to setting up websites is the strong appeal created by visual content.
No matter how credible, intriguing and engaging a piece of text is, there is hardly any denying the fact that visual content can easily outmuscle written content on any day of the week. You may think that the word “outshined” would have been more appropriate when describing visual content and comparing it with written content, but the fact of the matter is that visual displays serve as a much more powerful mode of communication than textual content.
Not everybody in the world has the time to read through the lines and understand the meaning of the words that you have placed in your website, either through posts or through blogs. However, when it comes to pictures and images, almost everybody can be influenced by them and thus find a good reason to be attracted to your photography services because of the pictures that you have put out. This is promotional activity in its purest essence.
The Disability of a Photography Website
On the contrary, you need to realize that visual content, as effective as it may be in stirring the emotions of the visitors to your website, is not necessarily the best vehicle to drive your web traffic. Photos are not found by search engines as easily as words are. But there is no reason to be disheartened. There are ways in which you can negate the effects of search engines not being too interested in visual content.
One of the simpler techniques employed by photography businesses is adding a meaningful, relevant and catchy caption or textual detail with their visual content. This allows the search engines to pick the photos and images from your website, and then have them rise up the ranks and be presented to those who search for information that is even remotely related to the subject of your photographic works or the particular subject of the image or photo that is under the radar of the search engine.
The Importance of Blogs in a Photography Website
Besides the photos and images, your website can provide a multitude of other ways to grab the attention of the visitors. One of these is blogging. As the owner of a photography business, you are encouraged to focus more on the quality of the visual content of your website than the textual content, but this does not give you the license to churn out poorly written blog posts. You cannot imagine the detrimental effects that an atrocious piece of writing can have on your business, especially if you have a considerably large reader base who expect you to keep the quality on a high every single time you release a blog post.
Now the question that is probably making rounds in your head is, “What use does a photography website have for blog posts?” Well, the answer to that is quite simple. Incorporating blog posts your website will be part and parcel of your inbound marketing endeavours. Similar to how you are recommended to post quality content on your social media pages to establish your identity and showcase your expertise in the field of photography, you need to come up with unique, engaging and amusing reads for the visitors of your website in order for them to recognize you as one of the leaders of the photography industry.
For example, if your photography business makes money through wedding photography, then the onus is on you to create content or to hire able writers who can come up with content which appeals to the readers and makes them believe that your business is an authoritative source in the world of wedding photography or wedding arrangements in general. Your readers do not necessarily have to be the couples that are about to be married. They could be anyone from general readers, to amateur wedding photographers, to wedding planners, to other wedding photography businesses.
If you are able to create quality blog posts consistently for extended periods of time and if you manage to have your content shared on variety of online platforms including Facebook, then chances are that your website will soon become one the leading sources of information in the field of photography. Using blog posts to enhance the dignity of your business in society is actually pretty similar to reputation marketing and it is something that you truly need to concentrate on if you want your business to progress in leaps and bounds.
If you are planning on making your website content based, then you need to get your audience segmentation spot on. This involves choosing a target market from the word go and sticking to it for a fixed period of time at least. In other words, you need to come up with a clear idea in your head about the kind of visitors your want in your website and then cater the content accordingly.
Do not make the mistake that a lot of inexperienced entrepreneurs make when trying to drive up the traffic numbers. It is not just about the amount of traffic that flows into your website. The quality of the traffic and that of the sales leads created should also be a major priority for you and the staff in your photography business that are employed to keep the website up and running.
Therefore, it becomes obligatory to exercise great caution and display outstanding creativity when it comes to choosing the brand name, the domain names, email address etc. The idea is to remain in state of moderation and be neither too specific nor too vague. Both can have ill effects on the success of your website and the progression of your business.
Publishing Timely Content Versus Evergreen Content on your Photography Blog
One of the biggest dilemmas that are suffered by those photography businesses which emphasize on the need for quality content in their websites is evergreen content versus timely content. The concept of evergreen concept may be a little unfamiliar to you.
In the field of online content creation, there are two simple strategies that you can resort to. Either, you can come up with content which remains relevant regardless of the day, week, month or year you are reading it in. For example, a blog post which highlights the benefits of having your family photographed in portraits will serve as an evergreen content for a portraiture service. The visitors to their website, regardless of who they are and when they are visiting the website, will find the information on that particular blog post very useful.
However, evergreen contend does not always help your business create instant waves in the industry and it certainly does not allow your website to jump on the bandwagon of modern trends which can help a business earn a lot of followers in a short period of time. If you want your website to focus more on the recent events and dish out blog posts that deliver more news than opinion, then you can opt to create timely content.
An example of timely content would be a sports photography agency posting a gallery of pictures that is filled with images from a recent international sporting event such as the Football World Cup. If you are the owner of that particular sports photography agency, you can expect people to flock in to your website in huge numbers and share the trending and hot content that has been posted on your website.
As mentioned before, this gives your website and your business an opportunity to create some buzz and noise that will eventually lead to an influx of new clients. The only problem with timely content is that you can hardly ever keep up the momentum by resorting to appropriateness instead of timelessness.
In the case of the example mentioned above, as soon as the Football World Cup and the hype surrounding it passes away, the relevancy of your photographic content or written content that is based on the sporting event will fade as well. This will prompt you to look for new sources of inspiration and information for your website’s content. In other words, you have to constantly seek out and create valuable content, which coupled with your obligations of running a photography business, may not exactly be the easiest task in the world.
3 Commandments of Photography Website Creation
Before you launch your website, you need to ensure that its design does not let you down or reflect poorly on your business. If the design and the layout of your website do not complement the high quality content that you have posted in there, then you cannot expect your visitors to hang around for too long. With that being said, here are the 3 commandments of creating a photography business website that you should learn by heart.
1) Host Your Own Website
Not hosting your own website is a cardinal sin for any business owner, let alone that of a photography business. The design and the hosting package offers are nothing more than scams and you should not be tricked into any one of those ridiculous and laughable excuses of a website project. You would not be at fault for thinking that the creators of those packages simply want your business to be flushed down the photography industry gutter.
2) Keep the Blog and Website Together
Separating the blog and the website defeats the purpose of creating them both. The blog and the website complete one another. Without the other, they are quite ineffective on their own. Maintaining a separate domain name for your blog post is an act of foolishness that will most certainly confuse your clients and make them question your motives.
3) Register Domain Name with Keyword Photography
Photography is a keyword which must under all circumstances be a part of your domain name. You may not be aware of this, but photography businesses by nature are not best friends with search engines. As mentioned before, search engines are not too impressive when it comes to picking up photos and images and presenting them before the targeted audience. Thus, it is imperative that you place the word photography to emphasize the fact that the website belongs to a photography business and is specifically intended for those who are interested in photography services.