Simple question, right…does your website work? You would be surprised how many working photographers out there have websites that simply, don’t work. As a professional photographer – and maybe because I’m a little nosy – I like to keep an eye on what my competition (both direct and indirect) is doing in terms of advertising, capturing clients, and actual “work”. This leads me to hours online looking at photographer’s websites, and I am constantly amazed at just how many websites I come across that are actually “broken” – I’m talking broken links, non-working menu buttons, images that don’t load, slideshows that don’t…slide, etc.
As a photographer, I know how important it is to have a good web presence. I also know how difficult it is to get indexed in Google searches and actually get my product (which is my work) out there in front of perspective clients. Imagine that you have spent your time, energy and, all too often, hard earned money, to get a perspective client onto your little piece of the Internet. Imagine that they like what they see on your splash/home page, maybe they like your portfolio and services, and they’re ready to actually – gasp – contact you! Then imagine that they navigate up to your “Contact Me” link on the Menu Bar and…nothing. The page is broken. You actually had a client standing on your virtual doorstep and they were denied at the last moment. What do you think that client is going to do? That’s right, they are going to jump back to their good old “Google Search” and find the next photographer whose page actually does work.
Photography is a tough market, and if you have actually managed to pass out enough business cards, tell enough people about your website, share enough of your work on social media, etc., to get a perspective client onto your website, you don’t want that client to get frustrated and go away. If this happens enough, it could break you. What could be a potentially lucrative career doing something that you love will go down in proverbial flames.
So, Does Your Website Really Work?
It’s easy to figure it out. All you have to do is visit your website as a “customer” and go through all of your links. Be sure to check all of your navigation buttons, drop down menus, pages, galleries, slideshows, blog pages, etc. Go over your website with a fine-toothed comb and make sure that everything you see loads quickly, is properly displayed, that links take you where they are supposed to, etc. If you find an issue, address it quickly!
Let’s face it, we’re photographers, and most of us aren’t doubly blessed as talented web designers. We have to rely on our hosting service to make sure that our website is doing what it’s supposed to do. That’s a lot of faith that we are putting into someone else – our reputation, our work, our livelihood is partially influenced by where we choose to park that domain name that we all agonized over purchasing. So, when choosing a “service”, whether you’re a wedding photographer, landscape artist, or even just a hobbyist aspiring to get your work out there, make sure that you choose wisely.
There are a lot of services out there for website hosting, and there are a lot of services that are marketed directly to photographers. What sets Shutterforge apart is that it was created by a photographer for other photographers. It’s not a corporate conglomerate, Shutterforge actually cares about and works for each of its customers on an individual basis. We know how important it is to not only capture, but to keep those all-important customers, so our main focus is on exactly how to do that in the best way possible. This philosophy begins and ends with websites that actually work from a customer’s perspective.
Did you know that at Shutterforge, when there is an error on your website – whether it’s a customer/client clicking a link, attempting to make a purchase, etc., or you actually uploading images, creating content, etc. – we get an email notification? That’s right, if you have a problem with your website at 2 am on a Sunday morning, we’re going to know about it, at the same time or even before you do! Because we are also photographers and we want to see you succeed, we are going to fix that problem immediately.
Finally, we are always striving to improve our service by adding features, simplifying those “back end” processes, adding products, creating new template designs, etc. We do all that we can to make sure that you have to spend as little time as possible worrying about your website…that’s our job. We also know that where it counts – which is what the customer/client sees and experiences when they get to your website – we have one of the best platforms out there.
So, if you don’t have a website already…go to Shutterforge and create one (it literally only takes a few minutes, and if you have any questions or problems we are there to personally help you). If you do have a website, we challenge you to do the “does my website work” test. If you find something that doesn’t work, just imagine how long it has been “broken” and how many perspective clients/customers you have lost because of it – remember, at Shutterforge we will know when there is a problem and fix it. If your website doesn’t pass the test, consider allowing us to be your hosting service.
Written By: Sarah Williams of Mirror's Edge Photography
Sarah Williams is a working photographer and freelance writer in Grover Beach, on the lovely Central Coast of California.