How to be visible on the web
You have your website up, your branding sorted out, your logo is cool, your colors are gorgeous and it’s all spanking new and glittery. It looks just like you and totally represents you, your style, your energy, your personality. You run one last, quick but super-thorough check that all the links are working, and your mouse hovers over the Publish button. Click. There. You just opened up shop on the High Street.
At least, that’s what it feels like. You’re there for everyone to see — which can actually be a bit scary, and it’s the reason you hovered so long, thinking about what your friends might say. But it’s too late now, you’re committed. You’re out there.
Now your clients can find you and call you and book you, and your business will take off.
You send everyone you know a link to share on their social media, and you make a brand new Facebook page and Instagram feed, dedicated to your business. You spend the next few days adding all your gallery images to your social media, debate briefly whether you want to be swallowed by Pinterest for the weekend, wonder if LinkedIn might be useful too. Snapchat? Maybe not.
A week goes by and the phone hasn’t rung once. No emails come through, so you check the links again. Your Facebook page is getting likes by all your friends, and in the back of your mind you’re mildly annoyed that your friends are not booking you (I mean, what’s wrong with them?). So you sit down and realise that your shop is not on the High Street, and it’s not even on a side street, but it’s actually all the way out of town near a chicken farm. Argh!
Luckily, the internet is not like real estate and virtual estate can be moved without planning permission. But how?
The only thing that will make your website visible is traffic. A complete Catch-22 if you ask me, because it means that you need people to visit your website if you want people to see your website, and was it the chicken or the egg that came first? You gaze towards the chicken farm and know your answer doesn’t lie there, and get to work.
There are a number of things you can do to drive traffic to your website, whether you’re just starting or you’ve been out there a while and want to step it up, so I drew up a brief list of the best and easiest ones. We’ll look at a few of them in detail over the next couple of weeks, so don’t miss the next posts.
The first and possibly the most useful is blogging. Before you start getting cold sweats over your writer’s block, let me reassure you that you can make a decent job of it without having to go through an online class for it. It can be easy and it can even be fun, there are pitfalls to avoid but the work you do for it can be used in multiple ways if you do it right.
Another way is to build landing pages on your website for your special offers, freebies, model calls, personal projects — anything you’re going to advertise on social media (or any media), so that people are automatically directed to your website to get more details.
All the special information about your sessions, forms to fill, terms and conditions, contracts, etc., can be on invisible pages on your website too, through direct links you can send to your clients. More clicks your way! It all adds up.
Galleries for photographic projects are also great ways to get people over. If you have photos on different websites, like Flickr for instance, you can add a link to more images to be viewed on your website, and re-route visitors there.
Keeping the website fresh, updating it often, is really important. People like to see new things, and every time you have an update you can publish it on social media and set links directly back to it. Of course, this is exactly why a blog works so well, and why it should be part of your website and never a separate entity.
One important thing to keep in mind: It’s a good idea to have access to your website so you can update it as often as you like. Having a great website that is fixed (and needs lots of money to build an extra page on) is not a great idea. Keep it simple and either do it yourself or hire someone who can set it up for you but will give you the keys and a tutorial on how to keep it going in the future.
(I recommend X-Posure.com if you’re on a budget and want something good and also quick, but she’s an (albeit brilliant) one-woman band so she’s not always free.)
Next time we’ll have a good look at blogging, how to do it right and most importantly how to avoid the BIG mistake that most photographers do when they start a blog. Yes, most. As in 90% of them. And we’re going to make sure you’re not one of them.
Can you guess what that mistake is? Comment below and let’s see who gets it right.