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Tips & Tricks

7 Common Website Mistakes You’re Making That Scare Away Potential Clients

By Hanssie on May 11th 2016

A website is the new storefront for modern business and commerce, and if your website isn’t up to par you can bet that your potential clients are Googling a competitor before your site even fully loads on their screen. Remember, your website is one of your top marketing tools and generates first impressions you give to a potential client interested in your type of services.

In this job, I’ve spent much time scouring photographer websites, and in my search I’ve noticed seven common (and easily corrected) website mistakes that many photographers are making that have the potential to scare away potential clients. They range from the mildly annoying to the completely frustrating, so read on to make sure that you aren’t making these seven errors and losing business because of them!

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Common Website Mistake #1: Takes Too Long To Load

Everyone is in a hurry these days. If you don’t grab someone’s attention in a few seconds that person has moved on already. Sure, it’s wonderful to have big, beautiful images from your portfolio on your site and it certainly is less time consuming just to upload the full res file instead of taking the time to resize to the optimal size for your site but if it diminishes the loading speed, you need to take action.

No one has the time, patience, or attention span to wait more than a few seconds for your site to load. Picture this:

A potential bride has a list from her wedding planner of vendors to research. She reaches your website and it takes forever to load; there are four other photographers on the list she can choose from. You can bet many brides will have skipped you and moved onto the next name on the list.

One major culprit, as mentioned above, is the size of your images. Make sure you are resizing those images and saving for web. That should help speed things up quite a bit. There are many free online resources that allow you to test how fast or slow your site is loading.

COMMON WEBSITE MISTAKE #2: Where Is Your Contact Info?!

A potential client is all excited to book your services. They love you! But they can’t find how to contact you. Make it easy for them to do so! Having a contact button is great, but it’s just one extra hoop for people to have to jump through. If you can figure out places on your site to put your contact info without being annoying, do so!

Also, consider that many websites have a contact form and nothing else, and this can pose a problem if there is an issue with your contact form. There may also be an issue if your client prefers to call/text/email, etc. Again, make it easy for them. On your contact page, in addition to a contact form, make sure you add your email address and/or phone number and invite them to contact you however they feel comfortable.

While researching photographers for a project recently, there were a handful of photographers that didn’t have any contact information at all! Some had contact forms, but I needed an email address so I had to scour Google. Think about it, would a potential client go that far to get ahold of you? A handful might, but most will not.

[REWIND: PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS CARDS: 5 WAYS TO MAKE YOURS STAND OUT]

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COMMON WEBSITE MISTAKE #3: Who Are You?

Many potential clients want to know there’s a real person behind “Beautiful Portraits Photography Studio.” That starts with your name. If your potential client is clicking on your ‘About’ page, they want to read more about the person (or people) behind the images they see. That’s a good thing! So, make sure you tell them a little bit about yourself and include your first name, if possible.

Doing so personalizes your studio, and if your potential client chooses to contact you they know they are talking to the right person whom they can address you by name, not an awkward, “Hello…um, Beautiful Portraits Photography Studio.”

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COMMON WEBSITE MISTAKE #4: Where Are You?

Another common website mistake is not telling people where you are based out of. Some people may not have the budget to pay for a photographer to travel to Nebraska. Others just want to support local businesses.

Putting your general location (i.e. Southern California) doesn’t have to limit you to only one region. If you are available to travel, tell them so on the site. But give them the choice to choose if they can afford to fly you from Georgia to Kansas to photograph their dog.

COMMON WEBSITE MISTAKE #5: Automatic Music

It’s 2016. Stop putting autoplay on your site. Nothing is worse than when you’re sneakily trying to not pay attention during a business meeting only to have a song come blaring out in a quiet room. With this I’m only half kidding, and studies show that a majority of brides plan their weddings during work hours.

Having a song automatically pop up with a website is intrusive and may disrupt something your website visitor is already listening to. Also, they may not like your taste in music and also it causes your site to load slower. More often than not, your potential client is going to be scrambling to find the stop button and most of the time the fastest way to make it stop is to leave your website altogether.

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COMMON WEBSITE MISTAKE #6: Non-BRanded Email Address

You are asking a good amount of money for your services. With that comes the expectation that you are running a professional photography business. Therefore, when a potential client emails you, they are expecting an email address like “[email protected],” not “[email protected]” or even “[email protected]

Get an email address with your domain name. Having a generic email address gives the impression that you’re new, part-time, not credible, not legitimate or not established. A branded email address is inexpensive, or free, and even though it may seem like a small thing, gives off a big impression.

COMMON WEBSITE MISTAKE #7: Site Redirects

If you don’t have a website, you should get one. Do not have your website redirect to an online portfolio service like Flickr or 500px. If a potential client is going to “www.beautiful_portraits.com,” and it redirects them to your Flickr, you lose credibility. When people look for a business online, they are looking for cues that show them you are a legitimate business. Just like the gmail example above, having your website redirect to something like Flickr or any number of branded photo hosting websites will give the impression that you are small, new, part-time, not established, etc.

[REWIND: 8 Photography Website Trends to Watch Out For This Year]

Conclusion

With the sea of photographers out there, it’s difficult enough for you to stand out and get the booking, so don’t let your website be a deterrent for that potential client trying to find the right photographer to hire.

What are some common website mistakes you have seen or done yourself? Comment below.

About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com and www.fittedmagazine.com. Follow her on Instagram. Email her at:
[email protected]

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Patrick van Os

    One of the big mistakes is not having a mobile/tablet friendly website. About 50% of our visitors are viewing our website on their phone. If you still only have a website which works fine on a desktop you’ll probably lose clients because of this.

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    • Hanssie

      I agree! I’ll bet more people are on mobile than anything else these days.

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  2. Robynn Winkelman

    Can I add one? There’s another photographer in my area whose entire site reads as a sensationalized click bait what not to do list. MISTAKE NUMBER 1: DON’T DO THIS OR YOU WILL GET TERRIBLE PICTURES!!!!!! MISTAKE 2: THIS IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE THAT SENIORS CAN MAKE!!!!!!!! Complete with huge all cap titles and everything. Its beyond annoying to read.

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  3. Thadd Grant

    Doh!
    I’m just starting and I keep finding new things that cost! Should it be gear here, website there, business cards there? I’ve heard all the recommendations before, and although I’d love to be fully compliant, you gotta start somewhere and work things into your budget as possible. Thanks for sharing good advice, but try not to look down your nose as I learn, grow and progress.

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  4. J D

    The email one is one that drives me nuts. Web hosting is like $15 for the year. I am sorry, you may be the best whatever you are, but if your business uses gmail or hotmail then I am going to bypass without a second thought. If can you spend thousands on gear, you can spend the $15-20 to get a branded web address and email.

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    • Mike Upton

      Agreed. It’s one of the cheapest things you can do for your business and it has one of the bigger impacts, IMO.

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  5. Sindy Strife

    well … i still have problems to write few things about myself. self promotion is not my thing :(

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    • Simon Grimley

      This is something I’m really bad at so I asked a friend who loved my work (previous business not photography I should add) to write it for me, worked really well and I just noted on the page it was written by a client (which was true even if they were not paying at the time).

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    • Hanssie

      Good idea, Simon!

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  6. Daniel Thullen

    Yep, I pass them all, but now it is time to cull through and make my web site a portfolio. Hanssie, any idea how may photographs is too much? I know they should be fresh too.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      In my experience Daniel, there’s no standard answer on this. It also can depend on your level of work, and caliber of clientele. Generally erring on the side of fewer is better. You don’t want to overwhelm them but leave them wanting to see more. You don’t want them to see them all in one glance on one page, but…. Curation is king, and that’s where the focus should be. Keep it in current, and only your absolute best. I know some photographers who have even adjusted their site when gunning for a specific project or client.

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    • Daniel Thullen

      Kish, thanks for the insight. When my website was first created I was given advice by another photographer to post everything that was in focus. Because I shoot sports, primarily on assignment for local newspapers, it was suggested that any parent might impulsively want a picture of their son or daughter. I’m moving away from that model of sales toward shooting for specific clients. My web site will need to change drastically in the very near future. Thanks again Kish.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Anytime Daniel. You can always pick our brains here and we’ll help if you can. Regarding posting all for someone’s kids to see – I see the logic, but I wouldn’t do it. If depends on the environment and if your’e covering a kid’s game, maybe a gallery would do well and they can pick the ones they want, but I’ll tell you that won’t do much for attracting discerning clients. All the best!

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  7. Mike Upton

    These are all great tips. I can’t tell you how much I mentally discredit a pro photographer when I see [email protected], or when I see their business card (complete with ragged edges from the perforations) and their website is listed as theirname.flickr.com. I’ve seen some insanely talented photographers fail these rules and it’s terrible but I immediately question whether the photos I’m seeing are TRULY theirs or some carefully lifted images from a Google search.

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  8. Justin Haugen

    auto-music makes me RAGE!!!! JASON MRAZ, RAWRRRR!!!!!!

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    • Justin Haugen

      seriously though, if I hear one more Mraz song auto played on a wedding photographer’s website, I will complain about it to my girlfriend some more.

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    • Mike Upton

      Just like the photos on display, a photographer’s website should always be SILENT.

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    • William Irwin

      I don’t do auto-music on my site. I’m Deaf…. I can still hear and it just annoy the piss out of me when I saw it on other people’s website.

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  9. Paul Empson

    yay.. I pass all 7… auto-music & movies do my head in… just no.

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