Optimizing web content for 2022? But it’s only October! Well, my friends, it’s truly never too early to get your photography website ready for the new year. Why wait for the busy holiday season of engagements and new client inquiries to get your site in order? Let’s just do it right now! Later often means never, and now is the best time to give your site a refresh for booking season and the new year! So, let’s explore some photography website tips to get you started!
Your website is not an archaic document that you write once and put in a glass box, to be looked at only and never touched. It’s a living storefront—a fluid and ever-changing experience. Websites require as much attention and care as anything else in your business. And there’s no better time than right now to put your website at the top of your to-do list!
From writing to creating to designing to optimizing, here are my top photography website tips on how to prep your website for 2022 like a pro!
1. If you’re not writing for your ideal client, it’s time to start!
This is one of the most overlooked photography website tips, but it’s also one of the most essential! The internet is more saturated with content than ever. There are nearly two billion websites, with around 380 new ones being created every minute! Wild, right? And how can you possibly stand out, especially in the saturated photography market?
Creating for everyone truly means creating for no one because competition is simply too high. So it’s time to nail down your ideal client, meet them where they are, and create content for them and them only. There’s nothing worse than your hard work getting lost in the sauce of the massive internet we all use and live in every day.
Some quick tips for writing for your ideal client:
- Create a fully-formed fictional person who represents your ideal client. (Make sure they’re realistic, even though they’re not actually real.) Say their name is Jane. Whenever you’re working on your business, ask yourself questions such as, “Would Jane like this? Am I putting this somewhere that Jane would be able to find easily? What am I trying to get Jane to do with this piece of content?”
- Use feedback from clients and followers. Did an Instagram post generate tons of comments? Did a recent email have a super high read rate? Do you see similar words and phrases popping up routinely on feedback forms? Use the data and feedback you accumulate on your content to determine what your clients are loving and what you should emphasize and share.
- Read your work out loud and pretend you’re talking directly to your ideal client. Because you technically are, right? Pull out that email you’re prepping and say, “Jane, I have something to tell you.” Then read your email out loud—you’ll discover so much to cut, add, and revise just by doing this simple exercise. I know it feels silly, but I promise the payoff will be worth it!
2. Write, design, and create content that is skim-reader-friendly
People (not to mention search engines) are skim readers. When reading a page on the internet, peoples’ eyes typically track in an F-shape: they read the first and second lines, then skim down the page to see what’s coming next. They want to be greeted with clear headers, explanatory images and graphics, and short sections of text. Your bounce rate will decrease, and your conversions will skyrocket if you make it easier for readers to digest the amazing content you’ve written.
Here are some tips for writing for skim readers (a.k.a., everybody):
- Bold important lines to draw attention to them.
- Use lists and bullet points often.
- Include detailed headings and subheadings as much as possible.
- Add images and diagrams that are helpful, descriptive, and explanatory.
- Put the most important information first, and don’t make your readers hunt for it.
- Design infographics sharing tips that are pin-able and shareable.
3. Refresh old content to make potential clients and search engines happy
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you want to publish new content. You just need to follow this simple photography website tip! One of the ways to make your life easier is to refresh the content you already have! Here are some quick updates you can make on old blog posts and web pages to get your content noticed by search engines and read by new readers:
- Add a few paragraphs to an old blog post and then update the date published to say “date updated.”
- Regularly change out the images you feature on your website
- Add an interactive feature to a page, such as cards that flip when you click on them or moving elements when you scroll.
- Create a part two or follow-up post sharing new perspectives or tips.
- Update stale content on your about page or details page to reflect your current approach and values.
4. Set goals for your content before writing or creating it
You would never go to the grocery store without a goal (to buy groceries) or click on a link without intention (to see what the rest of it says). For the same reason, you should never write content that doesn’t achieve your audience’s goal. Goals can be simple, such as “share more about the company’s founder” or “entertain.” But there has to be some kind of goal tied to all of your content, or else no one is going to look at it!
Before you set out to work on a new piece of content, ask yourself what the goal of the content is. If you don’t have a goal, scribble one down. This will help you establish direction with everything you do in your business.
Here are some possible goals to use:
- Educate clients about why they should include a first look in their wedding timeline.
- Entertain social media followers by offering a quick look into the average day of a branding photographer.
- Inform email list subscribers about an upcoming discount on prints.
- Announce to website visitors that you’re doing a podcast collaboration.
5. Outline after you write to see what you might be missing
This might be one of the weirder photography website tips I have, but it’ll totally change the way you write blog posts forever! The post-writing outline is a classic trick of the trade used by tons of professional writers. Contrary to your grade-school education, outlining before writing is not always a good idea because it can constrain your writing, stifle creativity, and cause a major writer’s-block-induced headache when none of that is necessary. Instead, outline after you write and create, so you can see what you’re missing and what you need to add later.
Simply add the headings and a few bullet points under each one describing what you wrote in each section. If something looks like it’s missing, then you know to go back and make some adjustments. Once the content is complete, you’ll find that you can easily look at and analyze it as a whole.
6. Optimize for visual learners
Some of your clients will want to process information visually. Meet them where they are by creating visually optimized content. Use Canva to make charts, lists, and infographics in your brand colors and font. Place helpful, explanatory images throughout the post that illuminate the content you’re writing. For example, if you’re writing about a new wedding trend of having micro-weddings, include pictures of micro-weddings. Simple and self-explanatory, but lots of people forget to do it!
Here are some ways to optimize your site for visual learners:
- Design infographics and charts.
- Include photos in all of your posts and pages.
- Bold important words and phrases.
- Write in lists and bullet points.
- Use headers and subheaders.
- Make your site interactive.
7. Optimize for auditory learners
Just like how you should optimize for visual learners, be sure to optimize your site for everyone taking in the information auditorily. A great way to do this is to add alt-text to all your images. Alt-text is just a brief explanation of what’s in the image and how it fits with the rest of the content. This text is read out loud by screen readers. It’s a great way to increase the accessibility of your site, as well as help search engines recognize what your images are.
Here are some ways to optimize your site for auditory learners:
- Write alt text for all of your images.
- Write captions underneath photos.
- Make video or podcast versions of your content.
- Read your content out loud to make sure it sounds right when spoken.
8. Write with longtail keywords
Gone are the days of super-specific search results. Whether we want to admit it or not, Google is smart and shows users what it thinks they’re searching for, not what they’re exactly typing in. Longtail keywords can help your site get noticed because they are more descriptive and can hit those proximity searches that Google is a pro at now. I recommend creating a list of longtail keywords you want to target, such as “beach wedding photographers in California” or “senior portraits Detroit,” and creating content focused around them.
Now that you have a list of longtail words, where do you put them? Here are some great places to integrate your longtail keywords throughout your site:
- Blog post titles
- Blog post meta descriptions
- Blog post content
9. Long-form is always better
This is one of those photography website tips that will set your teeth on edge, but it has to be said. There will probably always be a debate circling around how long the optimal blog post is. But the truth is, I don’t think exact word count matters. Helpfulness and usefulness to your audience are what truly count, and the more information you pack your posts with, the more helpful they will likely be. And longer posts mean you can hit more keywords without venturing into keyword-stuffing-territory. A longer post also helps reduce bounce rate because it means your clients will be on your site longer.
My recommendation is to write a long piece once every two weeks or once a month. I know you’ve got tons on your plate, but time and effort into that piece instead of just trying to rapid-fire shorter pieces. Repurpose bits of that content into social media captions, and boom! You’re on your way to being a savvy 2022 web pro!
10. Use a simple design on your site to draw attention to certain elements
It might be time to ditch the picture-filled sidebar and the busy hero image. Simple, clean, minimalistic designs are taking off in 2022, so consider giving your website a facelift by getting rid of any unnecessary photos, designs, or text. Consider using simpler, shorter sentences and fewer images. Create more white space by getting rid of unnecessary text.
There’s something so refreshing about a minimalist website, and I’m excited to see where this trend goes in 2022! Here’s some inspiration to get the ideas rolling.
11. Cultivate a color scheme that is unique to you
Color trends are widely debated, as usual. From soft, “comfortable” palettes to bright “juicy” colors, there is never a consensus on what the next new thing will be. But something that everyone can agree on is that your color palette should be true to your brand, not a passing fad. Take a hard look at your website and your branding. Has it been done a million times? Is there something you can change to make it more exciting and unique to you? Compare yourself to your competitors. What stands out on your site?
Switching up your branding can help you create a content experience that is unique to your brand and vision. Here are some cool website color palettes to get the ideas rolling.
12. Up your game with education
It’s never been easier to learn something new. Consider taking an online class or getting certified in a skill that is instrumental to your business. I’m all for outsourcing to professionals, but sometimes just an extra day dedicated to learning something new can take your website and skillset to a new level. Everything from content marketing to UI tools to graphic design is available to learn online. Or, read about how other people are succeeding in their own entrepreneurial efforts!
In 2022, there will be no excuse for not having a top-notch website. And if learning a new, adjacent skill means making your site’s user experience better, then it’s worth it.
13. Optimize your site’s mobile experience
You likely get a lot of traffic from mobile sources, whether it’s from your Instagram bio, your pins, or your blogs. So, your website absolutely must be optimized for mobile experiences, so you don’t risk losing potential clients. Do a deep audit of your site’s mobile experience and find out what needs to be fixed. Then, work with your developers (or watch a whole lot of Youtube videos about WordPress) to make those changes.
14. Use bold, big text to make a statement, not just an image or video
When writing for the web, images don’t communicate the 1,000 words you may hope they do. And in 2022, it looks like using bold text as a statement header rather than solely relying on images and video could really take off. Text-based hero images are already finding their place in the design world. Consider making a statement with big, bold text of your own!
15. Use white space to draw attention to main elements
Across the internet, everyone is excited about white space. Sound boring? Not until you see it in action. White space is a great way to draw attention to the most important parts of your design while letting your users’ eyes chill out a bit. Instead of filling your site with images and text everywhere, consider using white space to bring the user’s eye to the center of the page. Here are some ideas:
16. Create a dark mode alternative
As more websites allow dark mode options, consider adding a dark mode alternative for your users. You’ll have to work with your web designers to do this, but creating a dark mode compatible site can be as easy as adding a few lines of code. Adding dark mode just shows an extra layer of professionalism and makes your site more accessible for users with eye strain or visual impairments.
17. Develop a killer link-building strategy
The quest for higher domain authority is real, and one of the best ways to jump up in rankings is to get backlinks from other sites. Whether you’ve been featured in tons of other sites or you’re just starting your link-building strategy, it’s important to work on getting links in 2022.
How exactly do you get other sites to link to you? Here are some tips:
- Offer to write a guest blog on a fellow creative’s website.
- Create pins that link to your site.
- Collaborate with vendors to get your work featured on their site. (Everyone needs photos, right?)
- Submit your work to be featured on sites like Style Me Pretty (I have a freebie for that!)
- Write and create super helpful, linkable content!
18. Write and create for voice-driven searches
Content created specifically for the impromptu question like, “Hey Siri, what is a first look at a wedding?” is going to show up more and more online. You’re probably beginning to see a trend: content designed for people searching in a variety of ways will perform better than content optimized for just one type of search.
Consider writing short, informative blog posts with titles like “What is a wedding day first look?” so potential clients and searches can easily find and use your content. Make sure your header is clear about the post’s contents since Siri will have a hard time deciphering a snappy, funny title.
19. Build a powerful brand story
In an age of less consumer trust and high competition, this photography website tip is a MUST! If you’re not building a strong, unique brand with a defined voice, you’re going to have a hard time attracting new clients. Build a brand that’s dripping with individuality. Here are a few tips:
- What problem are you solving for your clients?
- What makes your experience unique?
- What might potential clients want to know about your background?
- How can you use colors, fonts, and images to tell your story?
If you’re trying to identify your unique brand voice, I can help you with that! My two-day website rewrite comes with a brand voice deep-dive so that we can nail down the written voice of your brand! Learn about the magic of the two-day done-for-you experience here.
20. Become part of the conversation
Major news outlets and talk shows have been replaced by Medium, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit, and Discord. Instead of going to a PR company to get your brand’s message out, you can publish a story on Medium in just a few hours! Or you can make a host of pins linking to your posts! Or you can join a Reddit group and see what people with a similar interest are talking about! Or you can search a hashtag on Instagram and get some quick visual inspiration! The options are endless, and they all exist right at your literal fingertips. What are you doing to get your ideas out there? And are you linking back to your website when you’re communicating off it?
The best way to market your website in 2022 is not just through expensive paid advertising. It’s through putting yourself into the room with people talking about your industry. The internet is a place to participate, not just sit back and watch.
21. Be transparent
Buyers are becoming more immune to traditional hard-sell strategies. On your website in 2022, it’s critical to be straight-up with your clients. Be honest and transparent with your offerings, your prices, and your story. If you’re writing a blog post about some of the unique struggles and experiences you went through when starting your business, be upfront about them. In the digital age, everyone wants to connect on a human level. Being transparent is a great way to connect directly with your clients on that level. Now, there’s no need to overshare, but small moments of transparency and vulnerability go a long way.
Some great ways to be open and transparent to your followers and potential clients:
- Write a blog post about how you started your business.
- Create an Instagram post about a recent struggle you overcame.
- Detail your process in clear, numbered steps on your website.
- List your price (always).
- Make Pinterest inspiration boards so followers can see where your creative ideas come from.
22. Outsource to other professionals to save time
Time is money, and outsourcing is free money! Don’t feel like you have to write, design, and create all of this yourself: there are seasoned professionals out there who can do it all for you. Whether it’s web design, graphic design, or (ahem) copywriting, your 2022 website strategy can be built by fellow creatives, not by you alone! Meanwhile, you can be behind the camera doing what you love or connecting to new clients without feeling rushed and flustered!
Some tasks to outsource:
- Web development and design
- Graphic design
- Business coaching/strategy
If you’re a photographer looking for a website rewrite, you’ve come to the right place. I offer two-day website rewrites, and you can book yours today!
10dribble: https://dribbble.com/remonleijtens (stay simple)
10woven: https://wovenmagazine.com/ (says Woven at the top of the picture)
11dribble: https://dribbble.com/orixcreative (new look)
11dribble.1: https://dribbble.com/logancee (moon-ex labs creative studio)
14Amanda Martocchio Architecture: https://amandamartocchio.com/ (plain white background with text)
14dribble: https://dribbble.com/mandarinastudioco (choose your taste)
15dribble: https://dribbble.com/justYogesh (oil-free shine)
15dribble.1: https://dribbble.com/shots/16222864-Ecommerce-Website-Sellina (sellina)
16dribble: https://dribbble.com/steffanperera (ava williams)