Blogging is a great form of content marketing that can create real and productive relationships with your ideal target clients. Do you have a blog for your photography business? If not, what are the obstacles preventing you from starting one?
If you’re struggling with your photography blog right now, or you don’t have one but would like to start one, these ideas and tips can really help you approach it correctly.
In this episode, I talk with blog marketing expert David Risley about his experience and ideas on blogging and what it means for today’s professional photographer.
Here are some of the great topics David and I talked about during our chat in this episode:
- The primary role of a blog in the overall marketing plan for a business…
- The top 3 mistakes people make when starting a blog for their business…
- How can we best balance photographs and text in a blog post?
- Which is more important: design or functionality?
- The top problems that have the biggest impact on a blog’s success…
- How to overcome the obstacles of starting a blog…
- 3 words of advice to someone thinking about starting a blog…
- And a lot more…
Photography Website Design: Why Your Site Can Be Ugly As Sin And Still Work Perfectly Well
You’re an artist, deep down. You choose to express yourself via your photography, but in the end, you CARE what things look like.
You likely can’t stand things looking unprofessional.
And you know what? I totally GET IT. I really do.
But, in this post, I want to explain to you why letting go of some of your natural tendencies here when it comes to your photography website design can actually do more for your business than you might expect.
Yes, ugly sites CAN function quite well. 🙂
What (Far) Too Many People End Up Doing
Over at the Blog Marketing Academy, I work with a lot of people who are looking to use their sites to promote a business. Over the years, I’ve noticed one HUGE thing that trips people up.
People get into an endless cycle of tweaking.
They’ll set up their photography website, choose a theme, and get the basics in place. But, then it doesn’t stop.
They’ll keep tweaking. They’ll go out and hunt for cool plug-ins to install (as if a plug-in is going to make or break your success). They’ll keep messing with the logo. They’ll tweak the code to mess with colors.
It gets much worse when this person is comparing their site to other sites and thinking you HAVE to look like that in order to succeed. The whole time, you’re chasing this made-up hidden standard. You keep moving the goal post, too, so you really have no earthly idea what you’re shooting for with all this tweaking.
You’ll know it when you see it, you think. But, will you?
Or are you just delaying the real work of expansion by finding refuge in messing around with your photography website design?
The REAL Purpose Of Your Website (And Never Forget It)
As a photographer, you likely know what you’re REALLY shooting for with a good photo.
You’re looking to communicate something, right?
You’re looking to communicate a thought or emotion. You’re trying to convey some emotion through your photo, and your purpose is for that emotion to be manifested in the person viewing your photo. When you’ve managed to evoke a reaction, you have succeeded as a photographer.
Now, not unlike that, your mission with your website is to communicate.
Not necessarily to communicate an emotion (your photos will do that), but to communicate a message. And, what is that message when we’re talking about marketing yourself as a photographer?
Your message is “Hire me”, most likely. 🙂
In order to effectively communicate, you have to do what? Well, communicate!
You don’t do it by trying to look great. That would be like trying to pick up a date by just sitting in a bar and being well dressed. It CAN work, but the “conversion rate” isn’t going to be very good, is it? Most likely people won’t notice you because you’re so quiet and alone. Instead, you’ve got to get out and talk to people.
So, with your website, you need to do the same. Worry less about what it looks like and more about actually getting your message out there.
Does This Mean Photography Website Design Doesn’t Matter?
Of course not. Design most certainly does matter.
The professionalism of your website can help with the marketing of your photography business – there’s no doubt about that.
But, you’ve got two priorities here:
- Quality of communication.
As artists, what you’re really all about is quality of communication. Thing is, when you move into the realm of marketing and business, you tend to forget that before you can have quality of communication, you have to have communication happening in the first place.
FIRST you worry about getting your message across. And, secondly, you worry about what it looks like.
What I Would Do If I Were Promoting A Photography Business
Now, I’m going to guess on what I would see if I were to look at the “typical” website for a professional photographer…
I would see a portfolio of all kinds of pretty images. Not much text at all. Not really any real content. And a little link that says “Contact me”.
Why? Because I’m guessing more pro photographers are good at photos, so you’re going to want to feature those. But, you’re not very good at marketing. You’re assuming that people will be so impressed with the images that they’ll contact you. But, that doesn’t happen all that often, does it?
So, here’s what I would do (in a nutshell) with regard to a functional photography website design…
On my homepage, I would focus on the big, core benefit of what you do. It should be something with an emotional hook to it. For example, if you’re into wedding photography, then find the right emotional hook which is going to strike a chord with the typical woman shopping for a photographer for her special day. Under that, I would have a “call to action” to collect the lead information.
That’s one thing to never forget about online marketing: You MUST have a call to action. You have to directly tell people what you want them to do and make it SUPER EASY to do it. Don’t expect people to click on a “Contact me” button and send you an email. I would use a lead capture form with name, email and phone number.
None of this has to be gorgeous. Let your photos do that. But, as for the site itself, it simply needs to communicate. And you do that by putting the right message in front of the right person at the right time, and then getting them to talk back.
Your prospects are going to be much more interested in what you can do for them and how you can solve their need than in the little details of what your website looks like.
Two Different “Modes”
I’ll leave you with this…
When you run your business, you have to have two different mindsets. One is the creative mindset, and that’s what makes you awesome at photography. The OTHER is a marketing mindset.
Many pro photographers out there are just no good at marketing because they haven’t learned that these two mindsets are DIFFERENT.
Don’t try to do your business marketing with the same mindset you would use when you’re behind the camera. It just doesn’t work that way.
Yes, your site CAN be ugly and still work. Your creative side might think it is utter garbage, but from a marketing perspective, it still works.
Because it still effectively communicates the core message to the viewer and walks them right into becoming a lead to your business.
So, get the message and marketing down right.
You can worry about making it pretty later. 🙂
Food For Thought
Bad design shouts at you. Good design is the silent seller…
This is something important to bear in mind when designing your photography website.
To restate the big message here: Don’t be tempted to allow the design of the website to overshadow the main function of the website (to get new leads and customers).
Instead, the design of your website should support and elevate the purpose of your website to further your goals in as simple and easy a way as possible for the visitor.
About Our Guest: David Risley
David Risley is from Tampa Bay, Florida and he currently makes a full-time as a content marketing strategist and online publisher, with over 15 years of experience. For the first 10 years, David was exclusively a tech blogger.
One of the things that really impresses me about David is that he’s a straight-shooter and will tell you how this business really works, with no get-rich-quick nonsense.
He firmly believes, and I agree 100%, that blogs don’t make money – BUSINESSES do, and he helps a lot of people discover how to create a real business with blogging as an effective marketing tool through the blog marketing academy.
In this episode I talked with one of the Internet’s top experts on blogging for business – David Risley. If you’re struggling with your photography blog right now, or you don’t have one but would like to start one, these ideas and tips can really help you approach it correctly.