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Why you need to Re-Build your Photography Website

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

10 Reasons to Re-build your Photography Website!

I created my last photography website with Tumblr about 7 years ago. The reason for this was three fold. Making a website using a Tumblr templates was a snap; back then I found website builders, Wix and Wordpress, to be too confusing for me. Second, was that Tumblr, was a social media format, which would hopefully mean that my website was linked to a social network. Lastly, Tumblr was free. However, last month, I learned that Instagram no longer links to Tumblr. Yikes!!! This was a bit earth shaking! It is like having your computer crash on you and losing your history. Potentially…

So I had to make the decision to build a new website. Building a website is no cup of tea. It requires hours and hours of laborious work. There is text to be written and edited, images to curate, blogs to write, SEO key words to create, captions to write, on top of learning how to use your website software. What was most daunting was having to go through my entire photographic collection and choosing my favourite photographs. I also wasn’t looking forward to having to pay for my website now. Ouch.

But slowly I was able to overcome my anxiety and my fear and within a month, I created a whole new website. Now that I am on the other side and I can tell you why I’m glad I did.

1. Making a new website, finally made me get my own domain name!!!

2. I used Wix to build my website. It offers many beautiful templates to choose from and I have to say it has come along way from 7 years ago and it is super user friendly. My site now looks outstandingly professional, in my humble opinion. What’s also great is that you can use their online platform to build your site before you actually pay and publish it. This was what I did, I spent a month building, so that meant one month’s free usage in my mind. At the end of a month, I received an email coupon worth 50% off of a two year subscription from Wix. Good things come to those who wait (or procrastinate). It was a nice surprise. But now I can share with you this great secret deal.

3. Making a new website allowed me to really evaluate my work. I really wasn’t sure how many photos I would need to publish; I was scared of having to re-create, re-build an exact collection that I had on my old website. That would mean having to upload 7 years of work. Fortunately, after some research, photographers are advised not to publish every photograph; that each page should have about 20-30 images. This made making my website a less daunting task. I have to say, this is really good advice. It was hard to choose only 1-2 images from each of my favourite sessions, but I think my photographs really do sing, now that there is less noise.

4. Endless scrolling begone! My last website looked great on a computer or laptop screen. The layout made sense, there were word-buttons to push. But my website looked horrible on mobile screens, there was no layout design, just an endless scroll of images. It must have been annoying to look at! Now my website has menu options images are presented as a masonry grid, not an endless scroll and a menu that makes sense. Yay!

5. BLOG. There were was no blog on my old website, even though I did blog on other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. There was no way of publishing it with my old template. I didn’t think this was even necessary. But I learned that blogs is what makes your website more searchable for Google. A photography website without words won’t mean anything to Google; you need fresh content and text. I’m so happy I did blog on my other platforms, I was able just to copy and paste my favourite content into blogs on my new website. Plus, I just really enjoy writing about my work and the people I work with, so it’s nice to know that featuring blog content also makes your website function more optimally.

6. Portfolio. I do lots of types of photography: Family, Professional, Product, Food, Weddings & Events and Travel. This is how I’ve been able to keep engaged as a photographer for more than 20 years. Each style of photography informs the other. I started out as a visual artist using photography as a medium to express my conceptual visual ideas. When I started my own family, I became a family photographer. When I travelled, photographing filled my creative cup. When friends had extravagant parties or weddings worth documenting, they hired me as their photographer. I love to cook at home, so started a food photography blog. When I took up pottery, I wanted to create dynamic photos of my work. It’s great to be able to master many genres or styles of photography. And it’s nice to be able to show all my work on one website!

7. What is “ALT-TEXT”? When I was first building my site, I would keep my title and description forms blank. I didn’t want to caption my photographs, that would take too much time! Wouldn’t I ruin the photo experience with my words? But the more I read, the more I learned that alt-text, where you put your title and description words is very important. Like a blog, words make your sight more searchable for google. It can’t read an image of a dog (..yet), but it will read what the image is described as, ie, “dog playing in the field” and put it in its search engine. When your image takes to long to load, the viewer can read your description. Also, it makes your website more accessible to users who can’t see your images. Accessibility is a huge priority for Google which gets you brownie points. As much as I was dreading this process. I thought I would just make it fun and poetic. So my Title and Description captions are sometimes a bit cryptic than descriptive, sometimes more like songs, sometimes they simply are captions, sometimes they are streams of consciousness. But at least I can say that I had fun and it’s done! So google, please tell me if it’s working!

8. Chat boxes, Session Booking Calendars, Contact Forms, Maps and more. A website used to be a glorified online brochure. But so much has changed to make your website more accessible to your viewers and clients. There are so many ways you can be reached. You can chat with a potential client in real time, if you have a chat box set up. Clients can book sessions on their own by having access to your calendar. (I can also take payments on my new website!) Clients can ask specific queries easily through contact forms. Other details like, showing a map of your location, having links to your social media accounts, address and phone number just helps round out the professionalism of your website!

9. Technology, apps and algorithms are always changing. I’m so happy to be “finished” my website, but I also know that I’m really just beginning. I’m grateful that my new website building process taught me about Google’s search console or writing headings that are congruous to my searchable keywords. But there are probably a million other SEO tweaks I can still make; in the near or far future, Google may decide to rewrite an algorithm for their search tools and who knows what else the future holds? It’s nice to know that I’m using a web building platform that’s ready to handle these types of global changes.

10. Is a website even necessary? I’m really grateful as a local Calgary photographer to have been in business for as long as I have. I think word of mouth marketing has worked wonders for me. It’s helped me get published in magazines; I’ve been hired by hundreds of families and individuals; I love it when businesses reach out to me. I’ve only just this year started to advertise. I often wonder if people even click on my website through my social media channels? You can easily learn all about me and my work from my Instagram and Facebook profiles. But I still believe that it’s a wonderful platform for telling your own story, where your creative content isn’t merely free fodder for Instagram and FB. People who land on your website can take the time to get to know you and your work. To me, it is like being able to have someone over for tea at your home, instead of giving someone a quick wave at the mall. Your website, like your home, always feel more secure when you own your own. welcome to my new home!

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