7 Deadly Mistakes You Might Be Making On Your Photography Website

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Do you know that your photography website can actually be damaging your business?

Image by: Greg Mason

Google tells us that there are almost one million photography websites on the web right now. This is bad news for you.

The good news is that most of these websites suck.

Photographers keep making the same mistakes over and over again, never getting the best out of their websites.

This post will show you what are these deadly mistakes and how you can fix them in order to get ahead of your competition.

1. Your Photos Have Low Quality Or Low Resolution

This one is a killer and also surprisingly common. Some photographers are afraid to upload high quality images to their portfolio because they think it increases the chances of unauthorized usage. Forget about this!

Use only a few of your best quality images and make sure that they’re shown on your website with an height or width of at least 800px. If you’re worried about copyright use a watermark.

Image by: Chris Blakeley

2. You’re Not Saying Where You’re Located

The first thing an interested prospect wants to know when he arrives to your website is almost always: “where’s this guy located?”. The second being how much do you charge.

Don’t just say where you’re located, advertise it! It’s one of the things that makes you different from your competition so show it on every single page of your website. Of course this tip is only useful to businesses that rely on location-based services, like wedding photography.

3. You’re Using Flash

Flash is a technology that allows web developers to create some impressive looking websites but it has a big disadvantage, search engines can’t read text inside a Flash website.

For a search engine, a Flash website is just like a gigantic blank page without any text at all. Text is king in the search engine world and therefore this makes it much harder to rank high on search engines, which is not good for your business.

4. You Don’t Have A Contact Page

Image by: Storebukkebruse

This is one deadly mistake that is more common than you think! You must have a dedicated contact page with at least an e-mail address and a phone number but the more information the better.

Also, try to set up an e-mail contact form because it increases the amount of people contacting you. Make sure you show it on every page!

5. You Don’t Have A Blog

A portfolio-only website is just not enough nowadays. The web is now more dynamic than ever and the photography website with 3 or 4 pages and little text doesn’t stand a chance!

The solution is to create a blog. Blogs are dynamic by nature and give a breath of fresh air to any stale photography website. They’re also great for SEO and people love them.

Image by: Timothy K. Hamilton

Now, don’t use your blog as a portfolio by posting image after image. Use it in a unique and personal way by telling stories, helping other photographers or sharing new ideas. Also make sure your blog and portfolio is under the same domain because it’s better for SEO.

6. Your Website Is Slow

I personally hate this one! A slow loading time is one of the main reasons why people leave a website. Search engines also dislike slow websites, it’s been proved that Google gives lower rankings to slow websites.

The solution is to get a fast and optimized web server for photography websites, avoiding Flash and other fluffy effects. Also, don’t upload super high resolution 10MP images if your website only displays them at 800×600! And remember, use .JPG for photos.

7. Your Portfolio Is Hard To Navigate

Image by: Charlton Clemens

Sometimes it almost feels like I have to re-learn the web with each photography website I visit. I know that all photographers like to have a visually impressive and unique website but please make it usable!

Again, avoid using Flash. Flash usually means a complex site. People like simple! Don’t try to be unique with the navigation or design of your website, be unique with your content.

Now be honest, are you making any of these mistakes? Let me know in the comments.

Peter Almeida is a web designer, treehugger and photography lover that specializes in SEO Photography Websites. You can read more about this in his free e-book, SEO for Photographers.

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  • Madhava

    No mention of “alt” tags?

  • My site is currently hosted through IFP3.com – which is all Flash. I didn’t want to go that route, but the templates and tools were all done & included, and I DO NOT have the time to do it myself.
    (http://terrygoss.ifp3.com)

    Any suggestions on foto-specific portfolio hosters that aren’t in Flash?
    thx!

  • Great article! And yes, I have been dragging my feet at the idea of developing an HTML version of my Flash Photography website…but I am going to get that fixed! 🙂 Thank you for the great tips!

  • Yes. I’m making these mistakes though I don’t know how to correct them and right now I can’t afford to have a web guy fix my site. 🙁

  • Some good tips there! Flash is great as a brochure type of site if you are sending in visitors, but won’t pull in as many natural, organic visitors as a blog. WordPress is the king of blog platforms and google loves it.
    I’m building up my site with it and getting around 500 natural hits a week and growing. Come and take a look and let me know what you think :
    http://www.creativephotoshop.co.uk
    Geoff – creative photoshop

  • Hi Terry!

    Well, that’s exactly what we’re building at Buzzrain, a fully hosted SEO all-in-one solution for Photography Websites. We haven’t launched yet but will do it very very soon! 🙂

  • @Peter –
    Excellent, I look forward to seeing more on that front.
    Heck, if you can integrate micro- & macro-stock submissions/mgmt, you’ll have a customer for life……… 😛

  • I’m pretty pleased to say I don’t do any of the above mentioned. I have high red images, watermarked. I have a personal blog, a simple straight forward layout with easy to navigate galleries, a contact page, my location and even go one better with some useful links! The only thing I don’t do is say how much I charge. That’s what my contact page is for.

  • Tony Blei

    While most of your information is right on the money, I (respectfully) disagree with a couple of points.

    If you are worried about copyright infringement, watermark. There is an advantage to watermarking. One: It allows the infringer to know who they’ve infringed. Two: If the watermark is removed it supports a legal claim of malicious intent. Unfortunately, I believe that watermarking distracts and blocks up an image. Some people are so paranoid that they conspicuously put their footprint right in the center of the picture (bad). Honestly, the best thing you can do is: Make sure the photograph’s metadata is fully filled out — the image is placed on a Flash Web site — and you’ve registered the work with the Library of Congress (Copyright Office) for $35.

    The other point I disagree with is: Flash Web sites aren’t necessarily bad. I have a Flash Web site that makes all of my metadata searchable. Not long ago I was checking my search-term stats and a name kept popping up. I wondered who that person was and so I Googled it. Wouldn’t you know it. My Web site was the top hit. I clicked the link that took me to a photo and the man’s name was in the caption (and meta data).

    Register your copyright to fully protect your images and search out a Web site that is easy to navigate, has a blog and contact page that quickly loads. I find that Flash Web sites load fast and provide excellent security. Check me out at: http://www.TonyBlei.com.

  • Vanessa

    Regarding the navigation, I sometimes wonder what would be the most fluid page order (About Me, Contact, Blog, Portfolio, etc) and could there be “too many” pages. Probably not a big deal but I was just wondering this.

  • I’m not making ANY of the mistakes. I use hi-res photos, with the link embedded to a larger size, all you have to do is click on it. My location is part of the name of the blog, “Lorain County”. I hate using flash. I have a separate contact page on my blog. The pages load quickly, and the larger size photos open another window, so you don’t have to keep paging back. And I have the site navigable by category and time posted, with the last 10 posts in a separate block. There is also a “search” box at the top. I shoot some sports for the local high school, and most of the players use the photos for their Facebook pages. I do video, some occasional HDR, shoot local events, and help the local historical society as well as the Visitor’s Bureau.

  • Thanks for the great article, absolutely agree with you! This problem is not just related to photography sites but you mention some things which are very typical for people who are messing around with pictures.
    I have a digital scrapbooking site with a shop and a strict policy when it comes to uploading layouts to the gallery and also the store. I think nothing is more annoying than waiting forever until the site is loaded!
    Thanks for the great tips!

  • I`m building my first website at the moment using Photium to host my Domain. It`s early days and i only have limited knowledge about these matters. My idea was for a simple site displaying a small amount of Images at high res and easy to navigate, also uploading has to be fast and simple. It provides galleries a contact page / links and two pages for further info all at the basic price. Does anyone have any experience with them. Any advice would be gratefuly recieved.
    Thanks for the Tips…!

  • rapscallion: I think you could improve your information hierarchy. It doesn’t make much sense using links for Photos and Blog. You’d want something more specific

    The rest of on-site SEO seems pretty good, your robots.txt is as it should, you have a sitemap (have you used Google Webmaster’s tool to upload it?). You have 154 indexed pages in Google (that’s most of your pages, so it’s good). One thing, you are not using your meta description tags as you should, get the All-in-one SEO WordPress plugin.

    I see that you have Google Analytics. That tool is handy, learn to make the best out of it!

    Shakira Duarte: Your website looks good but you have to add more pages. You need an about you and a contact form. I like the easy 2-click navigation to the blog posts, this is good for SEO.

    Vanessa: I think it makes sense for the user to first see an About You, then a Gallery or Portfolio, then the Prices, then the Blog and the Contact page. This is what makes sense to me as an user.

  • A mobile freindly website makes sence too, seen as though a lot of people now use their phones to view websites (ie, iPhones, iPads)

  • Musica1

    Another reason not to use flash: the minute a person sees the familiar “This website uses a newer version of flash. Click here to update,” they will leave your page. Any good website developer will not use flash as there are better ways to make your page dynamic.

  • Thanks for the tips. It´s really funny how often people do mistakes. I can say this by myself! I’m actually a beginner in photography and reading/learning so much that we´re creating a special menu in our website dedicated to photography. We used to shoot with a G1 Panasonic, a Micro 4/3 and just bought a 60D Canon trying to reach the next step.
    Tom Carbaajo from Brazil.

  • Francesca

    Another reason i to use flash is that the us of the iPad is increasing and I
    Pads cannot read flash!!!

  • Jewell

    Peter….

    Thank you so much for this article. It couldn’t have come at a better time as I’m hoping to get my website finished and online by the end of this weekend! =)

    It was heartening to read that your do’s and don’t’s are those that I’ve had outlined in my mind as I’ve been plugging along.

    Do you have suggestions on how often the blog should be updated? Once a week? Each day? Your thoughts on that would be appreciated when I sit down to actually write the posts.

  • tess

    Obviously this software does magic- making cranky people appear serene and flushed upset ones appear sedate……however…IMHA the most appealing are the natural ones- and still well-lit, composed, etc. Just sayin’

  • Jewell: Thank you for reading it!

    I think that in the beginning it’s not worth it to write posts every day because you don’t have any readers. I suggest that you post once or twice a week and use the rest of the days to promote it. Only once you create an audience can you maximize the potential of a blog.

  • Like the article and found it useful. Would appreciate any comments to help me improve my site

    Thanks

    Lou

  • The best solution for me seemed to be to install WordPress and buy the $199 theme ProPhotoblogs 3 for it.

    1. Get webhosting
    2. Install WordPress – http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress
    3. Buy, download and install the theme – http://www.prophotoblogs.com/

    Looks about like that and Google loves it:
    http://schwarzenfeldphotography.com/blog/

  • jenny

    Forget making your own site – there’s too much to it – let someone with expertise do it for you. I’ve been using jpg10.com for it. It does better then i expected and free.

  • Hi,

    I think you made some excellent suggestions, i am trying to follow most of these, I need to work on my blog.
    http://www.creativesnaps.biz I welcome any comments, well done and keep it up

  • Please go through my website and let me know any suggestions that you may have.

  • Emily Smith

    I am curious to know your thoughts on a Facebook page. Many people have them and I can tell that they are riddled with problems. For instance low resolution, no watermarking or copyright and a poor description of their education. I have one but I am still working on it. What would be your advise as to either keeping it and making it web worthy or developing a blog?

  • SequeiraPhotography

    Awesome article. Thanks a lot, man! Trying to set up my first professional site and this is exactly what I was looking for.

  • nutlisadward

    Amazing artical.Appreciate it and Photography.Thak you gentleman!
    Congrats done the following, you actually incorporate some excellent skills. Best of luck!:)

  • Azhar

    Thank you so much. I have already created a website, if you don’t mind, please have a look at it say what do I lack in.
    http://www.azharphotography.com

  • seoatico

    Atico Export is Fluid Mechanics Lab Equipments manufacturing and export company in Ambala, India since 1954 with a vast range of high quality Fluid Mechanics click more

  • Becca

    I totally agree with #2. So many photographers travel for their work and post so many locations for SEO purposes that it’s hard to figure out where their home base is. Not everyone wants to pay a travel fee!

    On #5, I would say a blog can also work against you. A potential client wants to know that they wouldn’t be the only one to hire you that season, so if you can’t commit to regular posts, don’t include a blog. Also, make sure you’re including enough paid client work — using pictures of your own kids or pets as filler won’t fool anyone.

  • patrick dinneen

    Nice post, most seem obvious but easy to forget about. I’ve updated the first line of my about page (http://www.photoblog.ie/about/) to “I live in beautiful Galway, West Ireland”

  • a good way to speed up your site is to compress those large images as much as possible. I use a site called https://tinypng.com/ which can compress your images by 70% without loosing quality. All the images on my site have had this treatment http://www.paulcliftonphotography.com

  • Good post. I’ve never really thought of that but it makes sense. 🙂

    Priyanka jain- http://www.foduu.com

  • If you have your photos on Instagram, Flickr or Facebook, then Siftr (http://siftr.co) is what you should try.

    You will not have to upload a single photo, and Siftr will automatically find your best shots and create beautiful website for you, all in a couple of minutes.

    Here’re a couple of showcases of our users –

    http://markgoldstein.siftr.co
    http://sri.siftr.co
    http://simonhowellphotography.siftr.co

    Here’s a video explaining the product –

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=2&v=yLqT0hx94VU

  • Rudi van den Heever

    I am using Prophoto on my WordPress website http://www.linrucommercial.com/ and blog http://www.linruphotographyblog.com/. Both are hosted by Bluehost and the combination of the three works a charm!

  • great article. thanks for sharing.
    ????? ???? ???? ??

  • felix

    Great tips. The slow website is a real issue for a lot of photographers and no one wants to wait for hundreds of images to load. Personally, I like Format.com for a website builder. Nice article!

  • Brian Merry

    Yep, I’m making a few of these mistakes. My images are a little too large making my website slow to load (2 strikes). And, my gallery plugin needs some polishing to switched to a new plugin. I have some work to do.

  • Photography by Steve

    Nice write-up. I’m (we) are just starting to put together a website to offer our photographic services. Nice to read others are also looking for sound advice.

    Please feel free to comment and provide feedback, feel like its going to be a tough ride. https://phototrinity.com

    And Yes; we are still moving a few things around , early days yet.

Some Older Comments

  • Emily Smith January 15, 2013 05:16 am

    I am curious to know your thoughts on a Facebook page. Many people have them and I can tell that they are riddled with problems. For instance low resolution, no watermarking or copyright and a poor description of their education. I have one but I am still working on it. What would be your advise as to either keeping it and making it web worthy or developing a blog?

  • Niraj April 2, 2012 03:59 pm

    Please go through my website and let me know any suggestions that you may have.

  • Creativesnaps Photography April 1, 2012 05:14 am

    Hi,

    I think you made some excellent suggestions, i am trying to follow most of these, I need to work on my blog.
    http://www.creativesnaps.biz I welcome any comments, well done and keep it up

  • jenny January 10, 2012 02:55 am

    Forget making your own site - there's too much to it - let someone with expertise do it for you. I've been using jpg10.com for it. It does better then i expected and free.

  • Paul vS October 10, 2011 06:39 am

    The best solution for me seemed to be to install Wordpress and buy the $199 theme ProPhotoblogs 3 for it.

    1. Get webhosting
    2. Install Wordpress - http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress
    3. Buy, download and install the theme - http://www.prophotoblogs.com/

    Looks about like that and Google loves it:
    http://schwarzenfeldphotography.com/blog/

  • Louis Capeloto September 27, 2011 12:40 pm

    Like the article and found it useful. Would appreciate any comments to help me improve my site

    Thanks

    Lou

  • Peter Almeida September 24, 2011 11:25 pm

    Jewell: Thank you for reading it!

    I think that in the beginning it's not worth it to write posts every day because you don't have any readers. I suggest that you post once or twice a week and use the rest of the days to promote it. Only once you create an audience can you maximize the potential of a blog.

  • tess September 24, 2011 09:26 pm

    Obviously this software does magic- making cranky people appear serene and flushed upset ones appear sedate......however...IMHA the most appealing are the natural ones- and still well-lit, composed, etc. Just sayin'

  • Jewell September 24, 2011 11:34 am

    Peter....

    Thank you so much for this article. It couldn't have come at a better time as I'm hoping to get my website finished and online by the end of this weekend! =)

    It was heartening to read that your do's and don't's are those that I've had outlined in my mind as I've been plugging along.

    Do you have suggestions on how often the blog should be updated? Once a week? Each day? Your thoughts on that would be appreciated when I sit down to actually write the posts.

  • Francesca September 24, 2011 02:52 am

    Another reason i to use flash is that the us of the iPad is increasing and I
    Pads cannot read flash!!!

  • Tom Carbaajo September 24, 2011 01:59 am

    Thanks for the tips. It´s really funny how often people do mistakes. I can say this by myself! I'm actually a beginner in photography and reading/learning so much that we´re creating a special menu in our website dedicated to photography. We used to shoot with a G1 Panasonic, a Micro 4/3 and just bought a 60D Canon trying to reach the next step.
    Tom Carbaajo from Brazil.

  • Musica1 September 24, 2011 12:14 am

    Another reason not to use flash: the minute a person sees the familiar "This website uses a newer version of flash. Click here to update," they will leave your page. Any good website developer will not use flash as there are better ways to make your page dynamic.

  • James Dolan September 23, 2011 10:45 pm

    A mobile freindly website makes sence too, seen as though a lot of people now use their phones to view websites (ie, iPhones, iPads)

  • Peter Almeida September 23, 2011 08:06 pm

    rapscallion: I think you could improve your information hierarchy. It doesn't make much sense using links for Photos and Blog. You'd want something more specific

    The rest of on-site SEO seems pretty good, your robots.txt is as it should, you have a sitemap (have you used Google Webmaster's tool to upload it?). You have 154 indexed pages in Google (that's most of your pages, so it's good). One thing, you are not using your meta description tags as you should, get the All-in-one SEO Wordpress plugin.

    I see that you have Google Analytics. That tool is handy, learn to make the best out of it!

    Shakira Duarte: Your website looks good but you have to add more pages. You need an about you and a contact form. I like the easy 2-click navigation to the blog posts, this is good for SEO.

    Vanessa: I think it makes sense for the user to first see an About You, then a Gallery or Portfolio, then the Prices, then the Blog and the Contact page. This is what makes sense to me as an user.

  • Colin September 23, 2011 05:05 pm

    I`m building my first website at the moment using Photium to host my Domain. It`s early days and i only have limited knowledge about these matters. My idea was for a simple site displaying a small amount of Images at high res and easy to navigate, also uploading has to be fast and simple. It provides galleries a contact page / links and two pages for further info all at the basic price. Does anyone have any experience with them. Any advice would be gratefuly recieved.
    Thanks for the Tips...!

  • Monja September 23, 2011 03:02 pm

    Thanks for the great article, absolutely agree with you! This problem is not just related to photography sites but you mention some things which are very typical for people who are messing around with pictures.
    I have a digital scrapbooking site with a shop and a strict policy when it comes to uploading layouts to the gallery and also the store. I think nothing is more annoying than waiting forever until the site is loaded!
    Thanks for the great tips!

  • Mark September 23, 2011 11:32 am

    I'm not making ANY of the mistakes. I use hi-res photos, with the link embedded to a larger size, all you have to do is click on it. My location is part of the name of the blog, "Lorain County". I hate using flash. I have a separate contact page on my blog. The pages load quickly, and the larger size photos open another window, so you don't have to keep paging back. And I have the site navigable by category and time posted, with the last 10 posts in a separate block. There is also a "search" box at the top. I shoot some sports for the local high school, and most of the players use the photos for their Facebook pages. I do video, some occasional HDR, shoot local events, and help the local historical society as well as the Visitor's Bureau.

  • Vanessa September 23, 2011 09:04 am

    Regarding the navigation, I sometimes wonder what would be the most fluid page order (About Me, Contact, Blog, Portfolio, etc) and could there be "too many" pages. Probably not a big deal but I was just wondering this.

  • Tony Blei September 23, 2011 08:08 am

    While most of your information is right on the money, I (respectfully) disagree with a couple of points.

    If you are worried about copyright infringement, watermark. There is an advantage to watermarking. One: It allows the infringer to know who they've infringed. Two: If the watermark is removed it supports a legal claim of malicious intent. Unfortunately, I believe that watermarking distracts and blocks up an image. Some people are so paranoid that they conspicuously put their footprint right in the center of the picture (bad). Honestly, the best thing you can do is: Make sure the photograph's metadata is fully filled out — the image is placed on a Flash Web site — and you've registered the work with the Library of Congress (Copyright Office) for $35.

    The other point I disagree with is: Flash Web sites aren't necessarily bad. I have a Flash Web site that makes all of my metadata searchable. Not long ago I was checking my search-term stats and a name kept popping up. I wondered who that person was and so I Googled it. Wouldn't you know it. My Web site was the top hit. I clicked the link that took me to a photo and the man's name was in the caption (and meta data).

    Register your copyright to fully protect your images and search out a Web site that is easy to navigate, has a blog and contact page that quickly loads. I find that Flash Web sites load fast and provide excellent security. Check me out at: http://www.TonyBlei.com.

  • Louise Mathe September 23, 2011 07:03 am

    I'm pretty pleased to say I don't do any of the above mentioned. I have high red images, watermarked. I have a personal blog, a simple straight forward layout with easy to navigate galleries, a contact page, my location and even go one better with some useful links! The only thing I don't do is say how much I charge. That's what my contact page is for.

  • pterantula September 23, 2011 06:31 am

    @Peter -
    Excellent, I look forward to seeing more on that front.
    Heck, if you can integrate micro- & macro-stock submissions/mgmt, you'll have a customer for life......... :P

  • Peter Almeida September 23, 2011 06:24 am

    Hi Terry!

    Well, that's exactly what we're building at Buzzrain, a fully hosted SEO all-in-one solution for Photography Websites. We haven't launched yet but will do it very very soon! :)

  • Geoff Beattie September 23, 2011 06:05 am

    Some good tips there! Flash is great as a brochure type of site if you are sending in visitors, but won't pull in as many natural, organic visitors as a blog. Wordpress is the king of blog platforms and google loves it.
    I'm building up my site with it and getting around 500 natural hits a week and growing. Come and take a look and let me know what you think :
    Http://www.creativephotoshop.co.uk
    Geoff - creative photoshop

  • Sharna September 23, 2011 05:50 am

    Yes. I'm making these mistakes though I don't know how to correct them and right now I can't afford to have a web guy fix my site. :(

  • Juan September 23, 2011 05:44 am

    Great article! And yes, I have been dragging my feet at the idea of developing an HTML version of my Flash Photography website...but I am going to get that fixed! :) Thank you for the great tips!

  • pterantula September 23, 2011 05:38 am

    My site is currently hosted through IFP3.com - which is all Flash. I didn't want to go that route, but the templates and tools were all done & included, and I DO NOT have the time to do it myself.
    (http://terrygoss.ifp3.com)

    Any suggestions on foto-specific portfolio hosters that aren't in Flash?
    thx!

  • Madhava September 23, 2011 05:31 am

    No mention of "alt" tags?

  • Steve Bottoms September 23, 2011 02:52 am

    I recently made some simple changes, including direct contact info, to generally follow your suggestions above. What I'm specifically missing is pointing out physically where I am, but after reading a couple posts it becomes evident. :)

  • Shakira Duarte September 21, 2011 11:59 am

    That was a good leson.. Afeter reading the article, I totally changed my website..
    Take a look at it now! www.shakiraduarte.com
    Thanks and greetings!

  • Richard - Accessibleweb September 21, 2011 12:49 am

    The biggest problem with using Flash these days isn't search engine optimisation, Google is quite good at understanding well coded Flash these days. No, the real problem is that none of your beautifully crafted photographs will be visible on any iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, and there are one or two people using those these days.

  • Sergi Barroso September 20, 2011 07:43 pm

    Perfect!!!! only blog left for me, but, maybe some day I will add it, but now I have perfect portfolio!

  • Simon September 19, 2011 11:47 am

    Yacko said "Another knock on flash is that many visitors will be using a browser or a browser+plug combo that blocks flash. Which means it takes a conscious decision to load flash"

    Yup, that would be me. I have the Flash plugin installed for the handful of sites that genuinely need it, but pretty much everything other than YouTube is blocked by default. And you can be sure I'm not going to override that block just for some random photographer's website...

  • Peter Almeida September 19, 2011 08:20 am

    Sergey Orlov: The thing is if you have two domains, one for your blog and one for your portfolio, people will either link to your blog or to your portfolio, dividing and diluting the chances you have to rank higher with any of these websites.

    One website with lots of content, strong social media activity and lots of links is better than two websites with less of these, any day.

  • Demon Lee September 18, 2011 04:04 am

    I don't have a proper blog, I don't change my images frequently or hardly at all, I am too busy working and running my business.

    What I have learned over the 27yrs as a professional photographer, is that all of the following counts for more than any website....

    Be Professional at all times, in your presentation of quotes, not underselling or overselling yourself.

    Keep it real, if a job is outside of your remit, say so and either sub it to a professional that can for your client or turn the job down and be honest, clients love honesty and it has never cost me one.

    A happy client is worth 100,000 hits to any website as they will recommend you to others and a recommendation is worth £1,000's....

    If you give away your copyright, then you do not value your own work, who will value you?
    If you sell yourself cheap, you will always be expected to work cheap.
    If you think Royalty Free is great for stock, why are the Stock Libraries losing millions?

    Photography is first a passion, then you need to learn how to turn it into a career, become a business person, learn about costs, expenses, overheads, proft and loss and still keep the passion and pay the mortgage - if you can't deal with all of that - do something else or you will fall into debt, despair and the passion will be gone.

  • ElaineTursoPhotography September 18, 2011 01:53 am

    One thing that isn't mentioned...music on a website...get rid of it!! Most of the time its obtained illegally, which doesn't set a good example to your clients. I will immediately leave a website if I hear music popping up at me. Trying to locate the mute button everytime I click on a new page...no thank you!!

  • Rich Copley September 18, 2011 01:35 am

    What Chris, Peter and Verena said about the auto-play music. If I can't find a way to turn it off immediately, I'm gone, and sometimes I don't even look for the off switch. Consider this: music tastes are all over the place. Why turn someone off from your images by throwing in something else your potential customer may not like?

  • Ernie September 18, 2011 01:19 am

    Is there a way to test the speed of a website and compare it to a useful benchmark?
    Thanks for the useful overview!!

  • rapscallion September 18, 2011 12:45 am

    thank you DPS,
    i've spent a long time integrating these points into the design of my site. now all i have to do is add more content!!

    Take a look:-
    http://rapscallion.eu/
    and tell me what you think.

    BTW, theme is Focal Point from GraphPaperPress

    Cheers all!

  • Peter Almeida September 18, 2011 12:14 am

    Lea: It's bad for search engines, you'll get less visitors from search engines. Also, among other devices, it doesn't work on Iphone and Ipads.

    Mantas:: To make your website faster the most effective way is to get a fast webhost that is optimized for photography websites.

    Rich Copley: Ahah! Indeed, prices is much more attractive.

    Chris: Yes, I forgot that one! Please, don't put auto-playing music on your websites. It's not good. Not good!

    Your website is very nice, I like it a lot. The only minor thing I would add is a clearer call-to-action. For example, in the text below the about box where you say "I am a creative...", I would add to the top of that text a big header saying something like: "I am an enthusiast photographer from Gloucestershire and I'm ready to hire. Hire me now!" and then a link to your contact page. You have to tell the visitor what you want them to do.

    Henk: In terms of SEO you still have a lot to improve and I think you would benefit immensely from using it.

    Your biggest problem is the way you manage your information. For example in the header menu, your links are not relevant at all. I see that you have lot of nature and bird images, so why don't you have a Nature Photography or a Birds Photography link in your menu? You need to have post categories. Links like "All Photos" are not useful.

    Your blog posts are good, they have plenty of information, although you can make better use of your header tags and better formatting in general.

    I think your website has a lot of potential but you should definitely learn more about SEO and Blogging. You can check my website and my free e-book for more tips about these topics. There's also plenty of information out there, try Google!

  • Henk September 17, 2011 11:04 pm

    Mine is a non-commercial, fun website. It uses no flash and no gimmicks. Seeing the number of visits every month, I think I should start selling some prints :-) Take a look: http://photo-bytes.com :-)

  • Kathie M Thomas September 17, 2011 10:55 pm

    Good to see I'm on track! Thanks for the list - always nice to get confirmation that I am doing the right things.

  • Dave Green September 17, 2011 10:30 pm

    I appreciate the advice which would be true for every website not just for photographers. You might note that for the users of iPads Using Flash means that they can't view it at all nor can any who use Macs.

  • Chris September 17, 2011 09:21 pm

    Some very good points there, especially about flash and having decent sized images. I can't stand portfolio slideshows either, i like to be able to click through images at my own pace rather than through some over-the-top slideshow.

    One thing you didn't mention is...Music. I have actually been on local photographer's sites that have auto playing music *shudder*. That's an instant no for me.

    I'd like to think my website avoids all of these "sins", please let me know what you think.... :)

    http://www.iamchrisphoto.com

  • Verena September 17, 2011 07:49 pm

    I especially agree about the low resolution images. If I have to strain my eyes, I'm gone in seconds. Worst thing for me to drive me away is auto-playing music. That's an absolute no go, especially late at night. The page has to be simple, easy to navigate and display the pictures nicely. That's not so hard, right?

  • glimpse of ronj September 17, 2011 07:39 pm

    great article, very useful for me. check my page and see what other things I can do to improve my mini photoblog

    glimpseofronj.tumblr.com

  • Alan H September 17, 2011 04:59 pm

    Another thing to consider about Flash is that it tends to only look good at 100% scaling. Many (myself included) view webpages at 125% or higher and flash content can look a bit jaggy unless the design has taken this into account. This looks terrible on a photographic website.

  • Mridula September 17, 2011 03:09 pm

    I only have a blog but I think I have been making so many of those mistakes! But then I am still amateur amateur.

  • Gautam September 17, 2011 01:45 pm

    nice tips. Mine is a non-commercial photo website and have followed most of the tips.

  • wedding photography dc September 17, 2011 01:44 pm

    Thank you for advise.

    But how to make website faster ?

    I did in HTML, but is still little bit slow :(

    Mantas

  • Rich Copley September 17, 2011 11:40 am

    The one thing I didn't have was the phone number. I tend to prefer initial contacts by email, but I do have to understand some customers may prefer to pick up the phone and be ready to accommodate that. I am also looking at switching to a theme with a larger photo display.

    I never got sites with no location, particularly with photogs who are clearly selling local services. On the SEO side, I think you want to repeat your location as much as possible to help people looking for shooters in your area find you on Google, etc..

    One thing I see that kind of annoys me is "Investment" used as the button word for prices. I understand the psychology of wanting to communicate to customers that you are buying something that has long-term value, but when I see "Investment" I think you're going to sell me stocks. Prices or Rates.

  • dane September 17, 2011 09:59 am

    Flash also doesn't work on iPhone/iPads. Not to mention you can do most things you need in html/javascript anyway and most people hideously overuse flash animation. keep it simple stupid

  • A.Barlow September 17, 2011 08:58 am

    Good list thank thank god I don't hit most of these.

    And the one about the blog is really subjective. If you have a "photo"-blog, arn't photos kinda the point? I don't think business and a blog with photos is mutually exclusive. :)

  • Lea September 17, 2011 08:50 am

    Yes, I use a flash site. I upload images that are 1200 pixels on the longest side and roughly 72 dpi. Is that bad?

  • Peter Almeida September 17, 2011 07:48 am

    ErikKerstenbeck: It would be even more effective to get your blog and your portfolio under one single domain and with the same overall design in order to seamlessly merge your blog with your website, creating a super-blog-portfolio-website! My goal with my company is to provide these super websites.

    Niels Henriksen: Good comment, I agree. Social Media, SEO and a blog is what photography websites need. We cannot do it alone, our websites have to stand on the shoulders of other established websites. Give and then take. This is how the web works!

    Ryan: Your correct, actually it's not a completely blank page for Google. It does index a some text and links but it's virtually useless because the big problem and this is always going to be problem is that Google cannot split the different pages inside the Flash website into different URL, which pretty much makes all SEO useless.

    Chen: Actually, it doesn't make much difference. Google is still indexing only your splash page and your blog's posts. You can see for yourself . The best is always to merge the blog and the main site into one seamless HTML(5) website. This is easier to use for people and better for SEO.

    Jason: Nice website! Good call-to-action.

  • v September 17, 2011 07:00 am

    nope. i'm good.

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer September 17, 2011 06:23 am

    I agree with Peter on all seven points. It really is shocking how few photography websites are well designed. I often cannot find where a certain photographer is, and if the photographer uses some super fancy gallery viewer for her/his portfolio, then most of the time I cannot be bothered.

    I think you need to splash your contact information everywhere possible, header, footer, each page really! You cannot go to any page on my site and not find my phone number and a link to my contact page.

    No doubt having a built-in blog helps. By far the blog portion of my website gets the most views, by ten fold. I also put up 3-5 blog posts each week.

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com

    I use Squarespace for my site.

  • Ann Courtney September 17, 2011 06:16 am

    Location and contact details are where I fall down so thank you, I'm away to fix that right now!

  • Maryus September 17, 2011 05:50 am

    I tried to keep mine simple when coding it. I recently started a blog but it's in french (I'm french) and wrote the others pages in english (to reach much more people, as it's the "universal" language). I only hope english visitors won't be too much disappointed when they get on the blog page...even though it's pretty empty now :)

  • Amr Maher September 17, 2011 05:17 am

    Now ur 1st point and 6th are contradicting each other..

    u said that u should not put low-res photos and asking them to make their webpage faster.

    the only way u can achieve this is by saving ur photod for web (using web optimization method) via photoshop.

    the photo will still look like high res. however it will be actually low res with minimum data loss

  • Nick P September 17, 2011 05:06 am

    1. Higher resolution images - check
    2. Saying where I'm located - check
    3. Avoid flash on portfolio - check (only changed that a couple of months ago!) [www.importedlight.com]
    4. Contact page - check
    5. Blog - check [www.nickpotter.net]

  • pam September 17, 2011 03:33 am

    Another website business killer: improper grammar and spelling. For goodness' sake, people, learn and use the English language correctly!

  • Bryan September 17, 2011 03:33 am

    all good advise and i think i am following most of it, time to tweak a little.....

  • Andrew September 17, 2011 03:15 am

    When I was looking for a photographer recently, I completely ignored all of the Flash-based websites. The sites are slow and make my browser unstable, and it just wasn't worth the trouble.

  • Dominic Brenton September 17, 2011 03:15 am

    A further crucial point is to operate a website that is optimised for search engine placement; ensure you create a decent 'title' and 'meta description' for each page. Effectively, they're your free small ads in Google. It also scans the copy on your page including image titles and alt refs, so this another aspect of the site design to consider..

  • MoShotz September 17, 2011 03:10 am

    I have a blog along with my portfolio, but I admit I don't update it as frequently (or consistently) as I'd like. What I'm interested in is learning others' opinions on watermarking images on your own photography site. I don't do this currently for my site or for Flickr, but I only post watermarked images on Facebook, since those are the ones people can share with others and I want to make sure everyone knows where to go for more! Anyone have a strong opinion one way or the other for watermarking your images on your own site?

  • Larry Bradshaw September 17, 2011 02:47 am

    I purchased a Wordpress template designed explicitly for showing off your photos big time and even includes a blog portion. All of this was only $35 and the developer is making constant updates based on users feedback.

    Take a look at my setup, I did a small amount of customization of the template at: http://www.larrybradshawphotography.com.

    The template is at: http://themeforest.net/item/invictus-a-premium-photographer-portfolio-theme/180096

  • marcus September 17, 2011 02:08 am

    Rule number one for developing web pages is to make it easy for people to find the information they want, and make it clear what it is you want them to do. If they want your email address or phone number and they only way they contact you is through a form, most people won't take the time. If they want to bookmark your price page, but the bookmark they saved reloads your flash intro from the beginning and they have to dig around to find your prices again, they're going to get frustrated and leave. If you want people to hire you, or buy your prints, or even just comment on what you've posted, make it easy for them.

  • Sergey Orlov September 17, 2011 02:07 am

    There is just one unclear statement: "Also make sure your blog and portfolio is under the same domain because it’s better for SEO".

    It seems controversial to me - I had an impression that from SEO perspective it's better to have different domains with cross-reference to each other... Are there any SEO-guru's here to explain?

    Useful article anyway, thanks. I'm glad that I avoided at least 5 of 7 mistakes on my new site :)

  • Yacko September 17, 2011 02:03 am

    Another knock on flash is that many visitors will be using a browser or a browser+plug combo that blocks flash. Which means it takes a conscious decision to load flash. If your site contains nothing but flash with no text or jpgs, there is little reason to click on flash as a leap of faith. I know when I visit a blog page (from an RSS feed), if there is no text summary of the story or the story is all video, I simply toss the page. If it';s a regular blog I RSS, then I'll check out other stories in that feed because I know this website bad habit is a minority of the content, but if I am visiting a blog or site for the first time, I won't bother finding out about you and will never visit again.

    For those relying on flash, whether for animations, ads, video or slideshows, out of 300 flash elements blocked, I click on one to find out more and flash discriminating users likely do the same.

    As for the suggestion for using high quality photos, you need to strike an even balance. If pics are too large they take time to load. If your page takes more than 15 seconds, give or take, to load, I am also gone, I just simply close the tab.

  • Chen September 17, 2011 01:57 am

    Great article! I’ve been using flash for my web site from the beginning. I knew SEO couldn’t do anything with flash contents, so I added a HTML page as my homepage. From there, people can go onto my portfolio site (which is flash). I don’t know if that would help or not for SEO. Please let me know what you think.

    But the interesting thing that I have noticed is that because my blog is HTML and updated way more frequently than my site, people find me from my blog first and then go onto my main web site. It’s like backwards now. The blog is http://sweetlighting.com/blog .

    Chen

  • Ryan September 17, 2011 01:27 am

    Just to clarify a few things that the poster didn't go into further detail on. Google has been able to partially index flash for several years now so it absolutely isn't just a blank page. That said, it is still better to have textual content as it is easier to index. The best course of action if you are using flash is simply to have the site fall back to a text based on in the event of no flash player (iOS, Google bot, etc)

    (and yes I know my site has no decent fallback right now, just been too busy and I don't make any $$ off my photos so SEO for that has been a low priority)

    Also another big SEO thing, especially for Photographers, make sure ALL your images have alt text. :) Google also can't read a photo.

  • Paul September 17, 2011 01:24 am

    I was! Used to have an all flash site, with little contact info and a rarely updated portfolio page.

    I switched to SmugMug a year ago - now I have a phone number and email contact button on every page (header and footer), no flash, my front page is a frequently updates, random portfolio slideshow, with galleries of pretty much any photoshoot I do one click deep. I have a blog, I just need to blog more (most posts go to my Facebook Page, also linked)

    and yes, making these changes did increase my business!

  • My Camera World September 17, 2011 01:22 am

    These are good solid suggestions but even when all is perfect there is still no reason for a person to visit the site. Sure it may some day show up in a random search but there has to be a reason people are coming to your site.

    There is where social media plays an important role. As a photographer hoping to make income from your photos you need to have multiple sources that advertise your products, which really should be you.

    There are too many same repeated images and themes that it is important the the product is you the photographer and your artistic vision.

    Have many places such as third party hosting sites that compliment your website or blog. Flickr has now become a good tool for people looking for images. Create sets of your best work only.

    Use facebook or other services to announce new images, services, special events for sale.

    Don't be afraid to promote your work. Now a days with all the great cameras there are many good photos to be found. Your style then becomes what will set you a part form the others.

    Niels Henriksen

  • Melody September 17, 2011 01:15 am

    Glad I'm in the clear with these!!! Also, a policies & disclaimer page(s) are key in getting your site noticed and noted by google.

  • Niraj September 17, 2011 01:13 am

    Thanks for the tips. Am just building my photography website.

  • Jurriaan Persyn September 17, 2011 01:13 am

    Your remark about Flash not being indexed by search engines is not correct. Search engines do try to index flash files, and they've been trying to do that for a couple of years already.

    Example: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/06/improved-flash-indexing.html

    Of course there can be problems with using Flash, but the same goes for other technologies. Search Engine Optimization is an issue for every technology, and a concern for every website.

  • ErikKerstenbeck September 17, 2011 12:58 am

    Hi

    I have tried to follow these rules with our Photo Website and Blog - the website does use Flash but The Blog is the most frequented as images are updated on a daily basis. We always follow up post on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to get the news out! We have had over 200,000 visitors since its inception about a year ago. Although not overwhealming, it does show that Blogs can be very effective!

    Check it out sometime: http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/

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