5 Web design tips – For Photography websites
Last year, I learned some invaluable things about building photography websites. Honestly, there's a real chance that I spend as much time working on websites as I did editing images last year. I've built out sites extensively in Squarespace, WordPress, and even Wix in the earlier days of my web design journey. With the rise of a diversity of photographer oriented web-store solutions, I wanted to explore some of the things I've discovered.
Here are a few of my biggest take aways from migrating my own platform from Squarespace to WordPress.
Load times are critical.
You have about 3 seconds on mobile and desktop before users, and Google, gets frustrated with loading delays. One of the best ways to navigate this is through exploring your page speed insights using Google's web dev tool. It will generate a list of what's impacting your loading times.
One of the main reasons websites take 5 to 8 seconds or longer to load, is the giant images and media libraries that many photographers have on their site. Website image sizes need to be in kilobytes, not mega-bytes, on both your homepage and in your blogs. In my experience, WordPress, far more than Squarespace, has the ability to batch delete, resize and optimize your images which is why I recommend platforms such as Showit and Flothemes for those seeking a code free, fully supported solution.
Make it easy for people to buy from and contact you.
Even the most aesthetic sites need calls to action in strategic locations to drive traffic towards your contact or web store cart. Clients prefer a diversity of ways to get in touch, so avoid relying on a large contact form alone. If you're in business, phone calls, emails and even chat icons, will reduce contact friction.
As a rule of thumb, your initial contact form should take no longer to complete than ordering a latte. If you're a print and product heavy store fronts I recommend a site that's built on WordPress integrated with Pic-time, or even a Shopify based storefront.
Optimize your site for all mobile and desk top users, search engines, and for data tracking.
This goes much deeper than peppering your site with keywords and using a popular template. Pages need meta data and descriptions, alt tags, and geo-locations to help your search engines understand their relevance.
Around 50 - 60% of websites are viewed on mobile, which is why "mobile first" design is a leading approach in the industry. The desktop dominant design approach is one of the only drawbacks I've discovered with Flothemes, although it's easy to customize your desktop and mobile views. For me, Squarespace was rarely mobile accurate for my design and offered no customizations – a main drawback of their platform.
If you're on WordPress (which I highly recommend), you can install plugins that submit relevant site maps to Google and easily input your meta data. Hotjar is another great app that allows you to explore how visitors browse and interact with your site – their free trial is more than enough to diagnose key interface issues. Some other great tools for broken link checking include Ahrefs. Google Analytics will also help you measure your website traffic, just be sure to block your own IP address so that you're not counting the visits from your own devices.
Keep your website and brand fresh and up-to-date.
Your photography brand depends on your artistic direction, the genres you enjoy capturing, and the diversity of clients you wish to attract. Your featured images, especially on your home page, must truly be work that represents your brand and quickly communicates who your services are for. Remember to regularly update your portfolio with new images that are fully accurate to your current editing style.
Start a blog and social media to promote your posts.
Consider starting a blog that showcases your work and answers questions that your clients may be searching for online. Not only will this help your Google SEO but you can better engage your social following. There's no need to rely on your link in bio to drive traffic. By cross linking posts to your IG stories, your social platform will become a more effective extension of your website. Unfortunately, links shared to Instagram stories won't be active on your Facebook stories; something to be aware of if you're posting to both platforms.
By following these tips, you'll be able to make the most of your photography website and attract new clients to your business. I'm looking forward to sharing more services and resources for photographers this year. Best of luck!
If you need anything, I'm here to help
I really adore supporting small businesses with improving their web presence. Demystifying the technical world of web-design has been a big journey, and I love sharing my knowledge and design expertise. I have some room in the coming year for small scale brand-oriented design projects, and would love to chat more about your web development needs.
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