Think of your photography website like a physical store. Would you ever open your doors to customers when trash coats the floor, spilled food covers the counters, and a thick layer of dirt fills the entryway? I know (well, I hope) the answer is no. You would never invite your ideal client into your store if there was a can of La Croix spilled on the floor with flies gathering around it. And if you did, you know you’d have a really hard time closing a high-dollar deal.
As a creative, your website is your storefront. And there’s simply no excuse not to clean things up. This type of clean-up just looks a little different than getting a broom out. But the great news is that it’s actually easier with no physical labor required!
Here are eight little messes with a huge impact you need to clean up on your site before directing clients to it. These quick changes will help you run a squeaky-clean photography website that screams “experienced professional!”
1. Customize the favicon for your photography website
“So, uh…what’s a favicon?” –you, probably.
A favicon is the small logo that appears in the top left-hand corner of the little tabby of your photography website and in the search bar. To see if you have a favicon on your photography site, all you have to do is open your website, then open your website! If there’s a gray globe, black square, or the logo of your site host chilling up in the tab next to the name of your website (this is also a good time to make sure that name up there is actually the name of your website), then you don’t have a favicon.
Typically, businesses use their logo as a favicon. But you don’t need a professionally designed logo to have a clean, professional favicon.
Here’s how to create one yourself:
- Get a free Canva account.
- Click “design Instagram post”—the 1×1 size is ideal for favicons.
- Choose one of your brand colors as the background.
- Type your initials in your brand font in either white or black.
- Export it – congratulations, you have a favicon!
Now, how exactly do you put that into your site? Here’s a quick guide for WordPress users:
- Start on the home admin page.
- Click “Appearance” on the left-hand menu. Then Customize -> Site Identity.
- Upload your favicon and save changes.
If you use another platform to host your website, don’t worry! A quick Google should give you a shortlist of easy-to-follow instructions.
2. Clean up those broken links
A broken link is a link that takes you nowhere, comes up with a 404 error, or takes you somewhere it’s not supposed to. I know this sounds tedious, but the best thing you can do for this step is to check all the links on your site annually. Where are they taking you? If you don’t have a good place to link to, just get rid of the icon. (No, linking to your personal Pinterest page full of recipes and Halloween decor ideas is not a solution for not having a business Pinterest page to link to!) Here are some problem areas you should check:
- Icons leading to your social media accounts
- Links within the site body text
- Internal links throughout your site
- External links, especially in vendor shoutout lists
- The “Places I’m Featured” section of your website
3. Make sure your location is clearly listed
The location you serve is one of the first things potential clients will be looking for when they land on your photography website. So why make them comb through to find it? Even if you’re willing to travel, be sure to put the primary area you serve, so clients know if they will have to pay airfare and hotel fees to get you to their venue.
Make sure your location is listed in these places:
- In your tagline
- On your homepage (at least three times)
- In your Instagram bio
- Anywhere a new client might land for the first time. (For example, you might be promoting a blog post heavily on Pinterest. Make sure your location is on your Pinterest page or the blog, or both!)
4. Make your font easy to read
Shakespeare-esque script and loopy cursive worthy only of John Hancock himself can be pretty and delicate……or a freakin’ headache to read. Pale pinks and beiges can match your light and airy aesthetic or just make it, so your clients have to turn on dark mode to decipher what the heck your site even says.
Remember, the goal of your photography website is to make it as easy and seamless as possible for clients to book you. So don’t make them wonder if you’re writing in a dead language!
Watch out for these faux pas:
- Super small font—your website body font should never be smaller than 14 point
- Loopy cursive/script that is impossible to decipher
- Light-colored font on a white background
- Big blocks of text that stretch across the entire width of your site
- Oddly spaced font, like extremely wide letter spacing or very narrow line height
5. Lose the Linktree, and just get clients to your photography website
The fewer options a buyer has in front of them, the more likely they will walk away having purchased something. It’s called Decision Fatigue or Choice Overload. If you’ve ever clicked through every single streaming service to try to find one show to watch, you’ve experienced it. So, stop flooding your Instagram link with an army of links!
I recommend linking your website and your website ONLY in your Instagram bio. Or send them directly to a current, relevant offer. Your followers and potential clients should be able to find everything they need on your photography site—that’s why having a great one is so critical.
And if you’re married to the Linktree idea, I recommend no more than four links that are extremely clearly labeled. Remember, you don’t have to link to every single page a client might find relevant. Simply link them to possible logical starting points, and trust them to follow the well-laid path you’ve created for them (provided you’ve created a website with a narrative flow, that is…).
Your website should speak for itself! So, ditch the Linktree and let your professional photography site shine on its own.
6. Get rid of those typos
It’s common to have grammar errors when you write the first or second draft, but once your photography website is published, you absolutely must ensure that it’s free of errors.
Imagine going to a coffee shop and seeing that they spelled “latte” wrong on the menu. Big, big yikes! You might even take a photo of it and send it to your friends to laugh at if it’s spelled badly enough. That’s the last thing you want t a visitor to your website to do! So, treat your digital storefront with the same care someone would a physical one.
Ask a friend or family member to proofread your site to catch those pesky mistakes. Or, better yet, a professional copywriter…nice to meet ya!
Common mistakes to look out for:
- Extra spaces between words and sentences—sometimes editing in WordPress gets weird, so make sure you don’t end up with extra spaces you thought you deleted
- Its/It’s: Its is possessive; it’s means “it is”
- Peek/peak (psst…it’s sneak peek)
- Mixing up POV: don’t write for “you” and for “them”—stick with “you,” and roll with it!
- Capitalization: no need to capitalize words within sentences unless they’re proper nouns (like the name of a business), a.k.a just because a word feels important to you doesn’t mean it needs to be capitalized
7. Secure your website
This is something your web developer (hopefully) set up for you: your site needs to force HTTPS. Otherwise, your users get a “not secure” message in the search bar when they’re on your site, and it looks very unprofessional. It can also easily scare a visitor away from your site without ever visiting it. Having an unsecured site is like having your restaurant’s kitchen doors open to the public, so anyone can wander in and sprinkle a little something-something in the food. If your stomach turned, then good. Go secure your site right now! And yes, I have seen multiple photography websites with this issue, so it’s certainly worth checking.
If you’re unsure if your site is secure, type in HTTP://[YOUR SITE NAME]. If your site is secure, it will change to HTTPS while loading.
If it isn’t secure, don’t panic! Securing your site won’t even take an hour of your time. Read this article from WP Beginner to learn how.
8. List your prices
Have you ever been to a store or restaurant that doesn’t have prices listed? It’s basically code for “this is very expensive, so expensive, in fact, that it may cost you a month’s rent.” No prices listed? Off potential clients go, clicking over to your competitors who move with more transparency. And just because the “no prices” tactic works for high-end luxury photographers doesn’t mean it will work for you. So, be super careful who you’re trusting to advise you on this point. Remember, their ideal client and service may be starkly different from yours.
If you’re worried about listing your prices, ask yourself why. Is your investment page not convincing enough? Is your site lacking testimonials? Do you lack confidence in your own prices and services? Identify the issues that may be holding you back from booking your ideal client, and address them so you begin listing your starting prices confidently.
And if you’re not convinced, read my full post on why wedding photographers should list their prices. Don’t have time? Here are the highlights:
- For some brides, budget is everything. They need to be able to see if they can afford you quickly!
- Not having prices is code for “it’s too expensive.” Think fancy restaurants with no prices on the menu or art that says “price by request” on the tag.
- Brides are BUSY, and they don’t have time to inquire with many photographers just to figure out who they can afford. Reduce the number of hoops for them to jump through so they can say “yes” in a breeze.
- You’re wasting your own time by not listing prices. That’s right—you’re signing up for tons of extra phone calls and emails from clients who are just trying to figure out how much cash they’ll have to shell out to book you.
The Lowdown: Please don’t invite guests into your “store” until it’s “clean.”
Your website is your storefront. Let’s say that again. Your website is your storefront. Just like you’d never open your doors to customers if your store wasn’t clean, you should never invite clients in to look around if your site isn’t professional and polished.
And if you’re looking for a website facelift, I’ve got you covered! Check out my services to find the one that’s right for you.