When it comes to developing websites, there’s one term that gets met with a lot of confusion — Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Recently I decided to redesign my website, and instead of just uploading pretty pictures, I made sure that everything was optimized for search engines. The hope was that I would be better found as a corporate event photographer in my area.
An Image-Driven Website
Before my website redesign, I focused on my images and highlighting them as best as possible. For me, this meant having a five-image slideshow that would go through the different categories on my website — Commissioned, Portraiture, Events, Food + Drink and Performance.
But while my website looked pretty, it was cumbersome to navigate and had its other pages hidden behind a hamburger menu next to my logo. This meant that important content like my about and contact pages were initially hidden to viewers.
Despite this, I was still in the top ten for most of the keywords I wanted to be searched for.
I’ve used Squarespace for my website builder for the past few years, mainly because it’s done everything I’ve needed it to do. I decided to look beyond just their photographer templates and see if there was something else out there.
I decided on a template called Pacific — which was initially designed to be a one-page scrolling website for restaurants. Despite not fitting into that genre at all, I liked the fact that it kept a big photo rotator at the top, and had a paragraph of text below.
Once I started building, it was easy to bring over my existing content and create different pages, and then link it in the header. The galleries aren’t really what changed. For me, it was about the homepage.
I loved the fact that I could have the about page content on the homepage of my website. I decided to rewrite my about page content so it would better fit in with my work, focusing on a few keywords and companies I’ve worked with. I also included links to my social media, a headshot and a select client listing.
Beyond the Homepage
In addition to the text, I added to the homepage of my site, I also did some basic search engine optimization on my site. This included things like giving my images alt tags so they’d be easier to find on search engines, rewriting my title text and summaries, and making a separate contact page.
I also integrated a contact/chat widget from Picr, the studio management platform I use, so prospective clients could easily contact me from any page on the site.
It’s important to stay on top of basic search engine tools that your website service provides because it’ll help you monitor what people are clicking on more. Staying on top of this will help you see what behavior your potential customers entail, and therefore help you to better suit your content towards them.
In the month that’s followed my redesign, I’ve seen about a 50% uptick in website traffic. But what’s more important is the uptick in emails I’m receiving. Thanks to the redesign, it’s led to quite a few different opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.
In terms of Google search results, I usually am in the #1 or #2 spot for “Grand Rapids corporate event photography” and the #3 spot for “Grand Rapids event photography.” Additionally, I’m seeing a 45% increase in views on the search engine. This is a pretty big jump, and it happened rather quickly after I did my website changes.
So take a look at your website. Is it clear where to click? Is it easy to find information about who you are as a photographer? If not, consider some of what I did and see how you can bring that to the forefront of your website.
For more on Photography Marketing, see our weekly column.
Learn more about Bryan at bryanesler.com.