Why a regular clean-up is recommended
We’ve been looking at websites for some time now (if you haven’t followed, put my name in the search box and fish out the articles – they’re still wriggling), and you got the gist of how to build one and make it visible, and have it up there shining as a beacon in the galaxy, attracting visitors from near and far. Brilliant.
And then the same visitors come back again, because of another useful link to it — and they see the same thing again…and again…and again. Same home page, same galleries. Same images, same text. Nothing new under this particular galaxy’s sun.
Keeping the look and feel of a website consistent is a good thing, as people recognise your brand by its colors, fonts, copy (that’s a fancy word for text), and general “mood.” But when everything on your website looks the same for years on end, people may get the feeling that you’re neglecting your virtual shop, that cobwebs are gathering and dust bunnies are lurking, and that the only place you’re sweeping up weekly is your blog. Which is a good thing, don’t misunderstand me, but in the long run just not enough.
More visitors, higher interest and engagement, better organic rankings
Changing images and copy in your galleries and on your main pages is just as important, and will result in more visitors, higher interest and engagement, and ultimately better organic rankings. So why don’t people do it?
Easy to say laziness is the biggest culprit here — because who wants to spend ANY time making changes to a website that is perfectly fine and dandy when it’s not absolutely necessary? But in reality it’s mostly lack of attention. Most people just don’t know how important it is, therefore they don’t even think about it. Tell the truth…how often do you think of updating your website? Maybe only if it’s over three years old!
Yet, a couple of times a year it’s really good practice to give it a little sprucing up, adding a few strong images, taking the weaker ones away, writing a couple of lines that sound more like you, updating testimonials and maybe even a few headers. It doesn’t have to take long. Planning a couple of hours every few months is simple, and organizing an ongoing folder to store new images to be used will make it a breeze.
What if you don’t have access to your website, and the developer requires money and an insane number of weeks to make even a simple change? That’s the second reason people don’t update their website, until the day comes when they have to do it over completely from scratch because it’s grown old and doesn’t represent them anymore. The best way around this is to make a new one before you need it, not a year after you realise it’s a zombie disaster.
Use a template system to always have full control
If you don’t want to keep paying a developer to work on your website, use a template system and make it yourself — or have it set up by someone who will then teach you how to tweak it — so that you always have full control and can play with it to your heart’s content. Having a bespoke custom-made website is wonderful, but we get so carried away by our perfectionism that we lose sight of the fact that, as photographers, it’s important to keep our website looking and smelling fresh.
And since I’m extremely pragmatic, I’m going to give you some homework:
- Make a folder on your desktop for good images you’re working on at the moment. Chuck them in as you edit. Name it Ay-up :)
- Take 15 minutes, open Lightroom or whatever archive you use and export your 5-star images from the past six months into your Ay-up folder.
- Plan two hours to open up your website and get rid of some old stuff and replace with new. Don’t forget to alt-tag the images!
- While you’re in there, read your copy again and tweak it a little, make it simpler, update a couple of testimonials if you have them.
- Give yourself a pat on the back. After six months, rinse and repeat.
Do you need any help with your website? Comment here or contact me, I’ll be happy to give you some more pointers.