Website design and user interface is something that I find interesting. There are so many different templates and designs from Squarespace to Flothemes and Wordpress to name a few, that it is interesting to see how people utilize them to look different (or the same). But there is one thing that can kill your site before your customer even begins their journey. Noise.
(Disclaimer: I am still working on this on my site. I’m not perfect, I just like to help others as I grow)
Donald Miller over at Storybrand talks about this in every podcast and hammers it home in his book Storybrand.
But what does this mean? For the most part, it means that you are confusing the customer before they even know what you do. I see this often enough with photographers. They are not clear on what it is they do. Sometimes they even start with the landing page on the about them section. Now, in all honesty, no one cares about you. What I mean by this is that when the first thing someone reads on your site is
“I love love; it makes me giddy to see two people walk down the aisle….”
No one cares, and worst of all you just made it all about you.
I am also not saying that you shouldn’t have an About page, just don’t let that be your hero. In your about show your personality in a way that describes you, but try to keep it short.
When you start saying “I photograph families, seniors, children, births, weddings, engagements, dog maternity, and boudoir.” They get that you are a photographer, but it really doesn’t set you apart.”
Now what I mean by this is think about it from you clients eyes. When they show up on your site and there is a gallery filled with a bunch of “random” images they might know that you shoot all that but at least be concise. Maybe lump it all in to family photographer.
For example, if you are booking a hotel room at a private resort, do you REALLY care about the detergent that they use on their sheets, the photos of the conference rooms, or the energy output of the sauna? (I know that there will be the small few that do) or would you care more about if your time there is going to be relaxing and stress free?
One of the best websites that I have seen recently is from Adventure Instead (Maddie Mae and her business partners rebranded). Let’s take a look at the first things that you see when you open the site.
The Navigation is simple. The first link is to provide more info then about the photographers, then pricing, then the planning resources.
There is a Contact Us Button right at the top. The call to action that pushes visitors to hit them up about their elopements.
The Main header calls out what they are and what they do
Followed by another call to action (leading those that want more to dive deeper).
Right under this they utilized a space above the fold to tell people about their style in simple words. Relaxed & Stress Free/Intimate & Meaningful/Unique & Adventurous.
Even on mobile the experience is the same, minus the Contact Us button. You still know who they are and what they do.
There is no question in my mind about what they do, who they are, and what the brand is about.
Now here is the big thing. Don’t copy them. Like actually think about your site and your brand. Maybe use elements, but the words and content is theirs.
The other thing that their site and brand does well, is that they make the client the hero, they solve the problems, and provide resources for their clients to have the relaxed and stress free experience that they claim on the home page.
Get rid of the nonsense.
A majority of people are browsing on mobile devices, so when a newly engaged girl is looking for a wedding photographer on her phone while at her desk at work, will she really have time to read through why you shoot sony, or why you like pies, and then go searching for where you are located, pricing, and how to contact you. Might you have the same luck with a landing page showing some of your work, where you shoot and pricing? Especially if they came from a place like pinterest or instagram and have already seen your work?
What about a mother who is booking for a family session over the holidays, right now she is thinking about 9 million other things, and probably doesn’t care to read about your life story, She wants family photos, that look good, and she can send to family and friends and look like life is as put together as she portrays.
People don’t have time. So here are a few tips to cut down on the noise of your site.
Make sure what you do is stated.
Make sure your location (or where you serve) is stated.
Make it easy to contact you
Put at least a starting price on your site (In my opinion, you are wasting time if you don’t, yours and clients. And no one likes that)
Make your site more about your client than you.
If you are looking for insight and brand mentoring shoot me a message. Or check out my page on brand strategy mentoring here.