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If you’ve been following along with this series (part one, part two, part three), you should now have a great portfolio to proudly display on your website. Next comes to what many think is the hardest part – writing about yourself and your photography. Whilst it may seem hard, there are some tips and tricks for adding website content.
I cannot stress this enough. You need to know who you are talking to with your website. Are you talking to newly engaged couples looking for a wedding photographer? Are you talking to art directors who are looking for a photographer to shoot their next advertising campaign? Or, are you talking to family & friends, showing them your photography? You will speak to all of the people in these examples differently, therefore your website text must do the same. When you know who you are talking to, you know how to talk to them. Therefore, make sure you have an audience in mind before you start to write.
The main pages on almost all websites are; the Home page, your Portfolio, an About page, a Contact page and a Blog. We’ve already covered the portfolio in a previous post, therefore if you’ve not read that, do it first. The Contact page is super easy, simply let people know how to get in touch with you, that’s all there is to it. However, the Home, About and Blog pages are a little more complicated. Let’s have a look at these in a little more detail.
The home page is the introduction to you and your work and it is the first thing people see. For those of you who are art/commercial photographers, it is standard to lead with your portfolio. Therefore, if this is the field you are aiming for, it is best to stick with this format. Also, if your website is currently aimed at showcasing your work to family and friends, a portfolio is also a good option for your home page.
However, if you are setting up a website for selling photography services, things are slightly different. The main aim of your home page is to answer the three basic questions any potential customer will have within five seconds. Who are you? What do you do? Where are you based? If these questions can’t be answered in their first few seconds on a website, people will generally click back and look somewhere else. We live in a world where attention spans are shrinking all the time. You need to make sure that your website is geared toward this.
Your home page still needs to feature images to draw attention, therefore starting with a hero shot is the best idea. This is the main image for the page and can usually take up all/most of the screen when first viewed, therefore it is essential that this image should be your best work and relevant to your audience. This image will make the right people explore your site further and the wrong ones exit. Remember, you are not looking to please everyone. You need to attract your tribe.
Adding a good headline can grab your readers attention and get them to further explore your site. Write it for your audience. Photography is a service industry. People come to you with a problem (they need photos) and you provide the service to help them fix their problem (you take their photos). Explain how can you help them. What can you do to make their life better? Make it short, snappy and always tell them the benefits of using you.
The main text should be light in tone and friendly. It should tell the viewer about you, your site and services. Keep it focussed on your audience and include a Call to Action. A call to action tells visitors what you want them to do (for example, a click to contact button). You should try to have multiple calls to action on your page and preferably one that the user can do without scrolling down the page. Making it easy for the visitor to know what to do next is key.
Lastly, add a couple of testimonials for happy past clients. Not only past clients but awards and competitions you have won. This shows viewers you are able to deliver great photos and can be trusted. Think about it, how many people check a hotel on Trip Advisor before booking? Social proof shows you mean business!
This is where you get to show the real you. A list of facts will not interest anyone, neither will a simple list of how wonderful you are. This is the chance to showcase who you really are and what you believe in. This isn’t the place to brag about what cameras you own, this is the place to explain why you love photography.
You can tell the story of your photography journey. How did you get into it? What do you love about your work? Again make it interesting and try to avoid listing facts. Show your passion.
The about page is also a great place to add social proof. List any publications you have featured in, and showcase more reviews from happy customers. Remember, people want to know you can be trusted and social proof is the best way to show this on your site.
You should always write in the same way you speak on your about page. If your website speaks to people in a certain way, but when they meet you there is a disconnect it is never good. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Be you! Now, whether you write in first or third person is down to personal preference, but know your audience (and yourself) and write accordingly.
Lastly, you need a photo of you. A well-shot photo where people can see and connect with you is always worthwhile.
I’ve saved the most important (and most daunting) until last. No matter what type of photography you do, your blog will be the reason people come back to your site. Think of your blog as a magazine for your audience. It shows your latest work (and progress) as well as letting you explain your thoughts behind your photography.
I know some of you reading this now will be filled with dread. Not only do I have to write a load of stuff for my website, now you’re asking me to write all the time? However, like taking photos, writing becomes easier over time.
Some examples of good blog posts include “Why I like this image”. Talk about a photo you love and then explain why you love it and possibly the technical stuff behind it. A blog about each photo shoot you do. Again, explain your thought process and how you approached the shoot. Another post idea could be showing your personality. Talk about films or records you love. The choice is endless, but the important thing is to write them. One other thing to remember is to aim for at least 350 words as this works great with SEO (search engine optimization).
As with creating your portfolio, get others to give their opinion. When you have written your content, it is particularly important to check it thoroughly and get a couple of people to proofread your work before you go live. It is so simple to misread your work (trust me I do it often) and nothing gives off the impression of an amateur like spelling mistakes.
For example, my wonderful wife proofs all my work. Just remember, if you do spot a spelling or grammar mistake in my articles, it is her not me! (dPS editor’s note: or me!)
On that point (and whilst my wife shouts at me for that last comment), it is time for you to take these tips and begin to craft your own website copy. In the final installment of this series, you’ll learn top tips to help your site rank well in Google. Until then, get writing your copy and let’s see the fruits of your labor in the comment section.