Beyond SEO - 7 Steps To Optimize Your Entire Website
May 13, 2016 | By: Holly H
We sometimes get calls from clients who are concerned that their sites aren’t performing as well as they like, and their first thought is usually SEO.
While some sites could use a little SEO love, more often than not there are other issues at play that are driving customers away from their sites.
Perhaps a website is hard to navigate. Maybe the content is unfocused. Sometimes it’s impossible to find the Contact page!
Let’s take a look at the 7 most common website pitfalls and how to correct them. With a few tweaks, you can ensure that customers on your site can find what they need and complete the sale easily.
Clean up Your Navigation
Your website’s navigation is like a roadmap. Not only should all roads lead to “Contact Me,” there should be as little clutter as possible to distract a visitor along the way.
Organizing your navigation in a logical way makes it easy for clients to find what they need and arrive at the inevitable conclusion – the sale.
Try to limit your navigation to only a handful of top-level links.
Start with Home. Give a little info About yourself. Provide compelling examples of your Work. Share your Investment or Products for sale. Link to your Blog. Then ask visitors to Contact you.
Another way to declutter your top navigation is to use list item pages.
Drop-down menus can get cumbersome, and long ones can cover up important info or images. Instead, consider linking to a page that provides a portal to your different galleries. It’s cleaner and provides a better experience than trusting a user to navigate a drop-down menu.
Build A Solid Homepage
Make sure that even if a visitor only sees your homepage they know everything they need to know.
Show a few choice images that reflect your bread and butter work (or the work you’d like to attract!). Include a little information about your business. Then end with a strong Call to Action to contact you – or better yet, embed a contact form right on the page!
Fine Tune Your Galleries
It can be difficult to pare your body of (frankly genius) work into just a few photos to show on your website.
But you gotta.
Huge numbers of photos can overwhelm visitors and cause long loading times. Statistically, visitors only view the first 10 or so images in a gallery. We recommend limiting your galleries to about 20 images each.
In addition to making sure your galleries are the right size, you need to keep your images fresh and up to date. This is for three reasons:
1. You’ll give repeat visitors incentive to act. A prospect can visit your site multiple times before they make up their mind to book a session. Giving the appearance that you’re busy churning out amazing photos will help clients feel that you’re in high demand – and they should act now!
2. You’ll avoid looking out-of-date. The second your work starts to look dated, you’ll lose visitors who are looking for an active, modern photographer. Cull any photos that look “old,” clothing and hair styles included.
3. You’ll draw in new visitors. Google loves it when you update your site. This is partly why regular blogging is so effective for SEO. In addition to getting Google points, you can promote major updates on social media to drive visitors to your site to check out your amazing new galleries :)
So if you can’t decide between your reams of images, don’t despair! Keep in mind that you can (and should!) change up your galleries every few months to keep content fresh and exciting.
Strong Calls To Action – Make Sure All Roads Lead To “Contact Me”
Ending your top navigation with your Contact page is a great start, but make sure your other pages also include strong Calls to Action.
You never want a visitor to feel like there is no “next step.” A page that just ends is a dead-end. So take the opportunity to ask customers to contact you at the bottom of info pages, on blog articles – whenever it seems appropriate.
Strong calls to action are personal, to the point, and urgent. The best ones also let customers know what benefit they get once they click.
“Secure Your Session Before They’re Gone”
“Get Your Personal Quote Now”
“Give Him Boudoir Photos He’ll Treasure Forever”
That kind of thing.
Take A Close Look At Your Style
It seems like it goes without saying, but maintaining a consistent, modern look to your site makes you more attractive as a photographer.
Take a look at your fonts. Are they easy to read? Do they clash with the background? Test your site on multiple browsers and devices to make sure your site looks good across many platforms – you never know which one your visitors will use!
Also, take a look at your template and layout to make sure it’s fresh and modern. Change is hard, but we try to make it as easy as possible to stay on the crest of modern design trends.
Most photographers do more than one kind of photography. But what is your bread and butter? What pays the bills? What do you want to do most?
A website that features many kinds of photography often struggles, because both visitors and search engines can wind up confused.
If I want to book you as a newborn photographer (but I mainly see weddings on your site) I might continue to look for someone who appears to do newborn photography all the time.
So what can do you do?
Separate your industries. At a minimum, group your photography types and examples into their own pages and galleries. Make sure your homepage clearly expresses your bread and butter industry. That will help to draw in your preferred audience and keep things tidy on your site.
Advanced website builders should consider making subsites for their many areas of photography.
Blair Phillips, for example, photographs seniors, newborns, weddings, families – he even does speaking and workshops! That’s a lot on one site!
To make it easy, Blair has separated out his different kinds of photography into their own subsites, which allows him to further tailor the visitor’s experience according to their interest.
What works for landing newborn sessions won’t necessarily work for boudoir. Customize the look, layout, and content of your sites according to your target market.
Update Your Blog!
We love blogging! It adds tons of relevant searchable text to your site, engages readers, and provides heaps of shareable material for you to use on social media.
An active blog lets visitors know that you, too, are active, and is a great place to post about your recent work and give an even more in-depth peek into what a session with you is like.
Show sneak peeks about your favorite sessions, promote sales or specials, share your experience and insight with the world. You’ll add credibility to your brand and bring in even more visitors through search than your website can do on its own.
How often should you update? As often as you feel comfortable with. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, pick a schedule and stick to it. Treat blogging like work, because it is vital to your business and draws in leads and customers.
Need help with any of these steps? Want advice on your website design, layout, navigation, or marketing?
Give us a call and we'll be glad to take a look. Our experts are here to help you grow and succeed!