Those of you who want to make a living as photographers, I have some advice.
Apart from the obvious “Don’t!” or its opposite “Follow your dreams!”, I am going to give you some very simple practical advice. About your web site.
This is prompted by me addressing interior decorators and home stagers in my town, and in doing so, seeing their web presence. And it is very clear to me which ones I would never hire. Ever. In 100 years.
And that is the ones that:
- Have an overall amateurish web site. A starting page with just a “Click to enter site…” button is dumb. Seven fonts on one page is dumb. Spelling mistakes on a web site are dumb.
- Have a Flash web site, i.e. one that you cannot copy/paste from. That is not searchable by Google. That takes time to load.
- Have a web site like “www.wonderfulphotos.com” but that then have an email address like “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Come on… get an address at your own site already!
- Have a bad snapshot portrait. Whoosh, there goes the illusion of professionalism.
- Use bad photography in general. Your front page had better have a perfect photo.
- Have no email address that you can copy/paste (i.e. it is a picture).
- Have no email address at all, but a “contact” page. You should not inconvenience your potential clients for your benefit. They will not have a record of what they asked you; they need to do extra work; and it shows that you do not respect them.
- Even worse, have a contact page form submission that does not work – that is a totally deadly sin.
- Have only an “info@” email address. As a photographer, you probably want to be known by name, yes?
- A domain web site. “My site is www.blogspot.ca/jennysinteriors”. That sort of thing.
- have other pages that do not work. A contact page that gives you a 404 error – “page not found”. Yes, I have seen that several times in the last few hours.
- Have an anonymous site that has your photo. but not your name, only a company name. What, you’re afraid of your clients finding out who you are?
- Music. Puh-leeze… need I say more, as I am suddenly startled by whatever you think is cool blasting out of my speakers?
- Having NO web site, just a phone number. God help me, there are people like that out there trying to build businesses. Trying being the key word.
- Having your web site die. Ouch.
- That use amateurs to design their site, to save money. Many, many of these mistakes are due to such amateurs. Just like in photography, it pays to hire a pro.
And there’s more – I am stopping here, at 16 mistakes, because it is depressing enough. I need to see no more. And these are basic mistakes. I have not talked about the marketing. Marketing is tough. But the stuff in my list above is dead simple.
Dead, which is exactly what your business will be if you make those mistakes. Just saying.
2 – Flash. Egad, that thing needs to die. You can bet that if your website is in Flash, my locked-down browser will not let it run without specific permission- and I’m not going to say yes.
7 – Contact forms. A proper contact form has a “send yourself a copy” checkbox above the submit button. If you’re going to openly publish your email address in plain text, whatever server’s managing your mail should have some damned good spam control systems; it can be a dangerous thing to place out in the open if you’re using self-hosted MX.
I know my own site’s far from perfect…. but at least I don’t think I’m making any of the Big Screw-Ups….
Indeed not. But you would be surprised to see how many do make those mistakes. As for spam: run it through gmail and you will see zero spam… apple mail is good too, but gmail is well-nigh perfect. In any case- price to pay.