Module 1-Why Market on the Internet

Welcome to “Building a Website for Photographers!”  The purpose of this guide is to help you create your own professional presence on the internet which will increase the profitability of your photography business.

Why market on the internet?

The past decade has seen an explosive growth in the amount of online commerce.   More and more, people are turning to the internet to find information on where to shop and what to buy.  It is truly becoming a digital age.  This is evident by the number of newspapers that have recently gone out of business.  So if no one is reading the newspaper, where are they getting their information?

Google

You probably already know the answer to this…Google.   Google has become the source for the majority of people for a wide variety of information.  Think about the last time you tried to find a new restaurant, or perhaps needed information on schools in a new area.  What did you do? Did you look in the phone book? Did you look in the newspaper? I’m willing to bet that you went online to search for the information you needed.

So if you are searching online for information, where do you think your potential clients are going to look for a photographer?  You got it.  Online. So if you don’t have an effective presence to capture their interest, then you’re missing out on a whole boatload of potential customers.

The purpose of this course is to help you capture those customers so they become your best clients!

What this course covers:

This manual will cover focus specifically on what is needed for you to build an effective business website and drive traffic to it.  The topics we will cover include:

  • Keyword research
  • Choosing a domain name
  • Setting up a website
  • Building traffic
  • Capturing new clients
  • And more…..

You need this manual if…

This course is designed for a certain segment of the population.  Specifically, this course is designed for you if…

  • You want more clients
  • You want control over your website

This manual is not for you if…

If all you want is a blog, then this manual is not for you. We will go into much more detail than just setting up a blog.

If you want nothing to do with your website or the marketing online of your business, then this course is not for you.  This will require work to implement the site and keep it running. I will show you tricks to minimize your time involvement, but unfortunately having a successful photography business isn’t always just about taking pictures!  You will have to devote time to your marketing efforts.

An Effective Website Defined

So we have talked a lot about building an effective website.  What is the definition of an effective website for a photography business?

An effective website for a photography business is one that:

1.      Brings in new clients

2.      Helps retain current clients

3.      Screens out bad clients

If you already have a website and it is not doing each of those three things, then it is time for a major overhaul.   But don’t worry, we will show you how to accomplish all three of these objectives in order to maximize your business profitability.

Additionally, there are some other critical elements of an effective website that you don’t want to do without.  These elements are:

  • Easy to update
    If it is difficult to update your website, then you will never do it. Anything that takes too much time is the first thing to go when things get busy and you can’t afford to have a website that is more pain than profit.
  • Inexpensive
    Most small business owners don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a website. Nor do they have hundreds of dollars to spend each month on maintaining it.  The good news is that I will show you how to create your website for very little money up front.  And to maintain it each month will usually cost less than the price of a movie ticket.
  • Professional Appearance
    Putting out a bad first impression is worse than no impression at all. So your website needs to present an appearance that impresses your potential clients. After all, you’re in the photography business right?  How would it look if your website was ugly?  Would your client’s think your photography skills would reflect that same lack of quality?
  • Engages the visitor
    How fast is the average visit to a website?  Probably under 10 seconds. So you have 10 seconds to capture their attention and want to learn more about what you offer.  We will show you how to do just this
  • Tracks Results
    The single most important item in successful businesses is the ability to track what works.  By knowing how and why people are visiting your site, you will be able to capitalize on trends and increase visitors. All of which means more clients for you!

Your Website Options

There are various options out there for building a website.  I am recommending that you use WordPress.

Note:  If you want to know why I recommend WordPress then read the section below.  If you want to trust me on this one, feel free to skip to the next chapter.

A brief overview of some of the more common website options is found below:

Static HTML

Sites made from HTML are recognized by the .htm or .html extension found at the end of the website page.  You may have had experience with HTML and using a program called FrontPage or Dreamweaver.  These programs allowed you to create static HTML pages that would be uploaded to a server for a new website.  However HTML website have the following distinct disadvantages:

  • Requires at least a basic knowledge of HTML, even with modern HTML editing programs.
  • Hard to update.  Special programs must be used to edit the HTML and then the file must be uploaded to your server.
  • Difficult to change designs.  Once a design has been set, it is much harder to change the look of a website than other solutions.
  • No built in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  SEO is the process of optimizing a website so that it is ranked high in the search engines.
  • No built-in community features.
  • No built-in tracking features.

Flash

This is a popular form of website with many photographers.  In fact there are companies that specialize in creating Flash websites for photographers.  One of these is Bludomain.   Now these sites are usually identified by extravagant front pages with amazing fades, cuts, rolls and animations.  Usually some song you never heard before starts playing and then you try to search for the information you want in a dizzying array of animated buttons.  And this is the problem.  The functionality is lost in the design.  I know Photography is an art, but your website needs to capture your visitors attention in 10 seconds or less right?  So if they have to wait 10 seconds for an animation to play out it is more likely than not that they are gone.

Typepad and Blogger

Typepad and Blogger and “server-side” programs that allow you to create and edit your website online without any special software.  Sounds great right? Well it is except they aren’t really designed for commercial use and they are locked in with proprietary technology.  So you won’t find the flexibility that you will want and need with your commercial site.

Joomla and Drupal

If you don’t know what these are, then don’t try to research them. Just trust me.  These are too complicated for your needs.  Run away. (And yes I have built sites with both of these platforms so I do know what I am talking about.)

WordPressWordpress

And finally we get to our winner. WordPress!  This is the optimum choice for the small business owner.  WordPress provides you the following features:

  • Free to download
  • No monthly license fee
  • No initial setup fee
  • Easy to use
  • Editable online without requiring special software
  • Thousands of free plug-ins available to increase functionality
  • Built-in SEO features
  • Built-in tracking features
  • Strong community support

Now I wasn’t always a fan of WordPress. A few years ago I looked upon it with utter disdain.  It was limited in functionality, it was gimmicky, it looked ugly.  But…over those few years it has matured into the top choice for fast, efficient, search friendly websites.  I am now a devoted fan.  WordPress has definitely become the weapon of choice for marketing your business on the internet.  Therefore it is no surprise that we will be using WordPress in this report to build your business website.  We will also be showing you all the tricks and techniques that will get you noticed ahead of your competitors and ensure your success online.

Conclusion

WordPress is the best solution for getting your business on the internet.

Action Steps for This Chapter

1.      Decide which solution to use for building your website.
(Hint: WordPress!)

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