There are so many options out there. Where do I start?
A successful photography business uses its website, blog, and social media outlets to attract potential clients, and then effectively communicate and connect with them. There are lots of different ways to start out your web presence for your business, however keep reading to find out my simple, easy, and effective strategy. You will probably shift your e-communication plan as your business grows and become more savvy with all of the social media outlets. But, the last thing you need to worry about now is keeping your business active on 27 social media sites that you end up getting overwhelmed and lose focus. We will cover how to use social media to gain clients and market to them in a later blog post. This one is just about getting your e-communication strategy in place, not necessarily marketing.
What do you recommend?
Back when I first started my business, the only option was a website and a simple blog. Facebook didn’t have pages for businesses. In fact, I didn’t even have a personal account until 6 months later! Needless to say, the industry and how we communicate online has changed. It continues to change and fast. In fact, at least for the photography industry, traditional flash websites are starting to become obsolete. I’m sure there are those who would disagree with me, however if you have a Facebook page and a blogsite (a blog and a website combination), your business is set. A blogsite can show your business’ information, portfolio/galleries, and updates. And then you have a Facebook page that compliments your blog where you can easily communicate with your client base and potential clients (through marketing and advertising. Again, we’ll cover that very soon!).
Some photographers just start out with a Facebook page. It’s completely free, so it is easy to get your business out there quickly. The negatives with this plan is there is not a strong web presence (online searches, SEO, etc.), and your business will not seem as professional as the next who has their own website, with their own domain name, separate email, etc. I do not recommend this plan of action, however you need to ultimately decide what is best for you and your business.
How do I set up my photography blogsite?
- You need to purchase a domain name. Using the house as a metaphor, this would be your address.
- Next, you will find someone to host your blogsite. This would be your house’s lot.
- Finally, you’ll purchase a template (or build your own blogsite). This would be your house.
Let’s start with #1. You must buy your domain name through a registrar. It costs roughly $10-$15 per year to maintain ownership of your website name. Here is a link to the 5 Best Domain Name Registrars. Make sure that when you are checking out, you do not add on anything extra. All of these sites try to sell you more stuff that you really do not need. All you want is to buy your domain name.
Before purchasing your website name, make sure you are 100% sure about your business name. See my previous blog post on Choosing a Business Name for more information regarding this topic. Choosing your website name is just as important as deciding on your business name. It should be:
- Easy to spell
- Concise and easy to remember
- Consistent with your business name
#2 & #3: There are lots of options out there for purchasing templates for photographers. I’m going to give you one to avoid and two I highly recommend. The first one I’ll give you is the one to avoid: Bludomain. I had a horrible experience with them and have heard of worse stories stories than my own. The BBB has an F rating for them. I did not even think to check there before I opted to purchase one of their flash templates. They do seem very reputable, especially since they have a lot of top photographers representing them. I know of a few photographers who had positive experiences, however why take the chance? Just go look up Bludomain on BBB.org if you are still not convinced and see the list of complaints for yourself.
I will highly recommend Portfoliositez for several reasons. Not only can you purchase beautiful blogsite templates, but they will also host your site as well. And, they are very reasonably priced, have great customer service, and if you want a fresh new look to your site, you can easily change it out for a new one. All of my photography sites and this blog are templates from Portfoliositez. Definitely worth a look to see if they are a good fit for your business!
Even though I do not have a personal experience with this company, I know that ProPhoto Blogs is very popular for photographers. The only product they sell is blogsites, no traditional flash templates. They do not offer hosting, but they do recommend hosting through a company called Bluehost.
How do I set up my Facebook page?
This step is much simpler than setting up your blogsite. All you have to do is go to Facebook’s link for creating a business page, and then just follow the step-by-step instructions!
This is just one suggestion for you to pursue. There are definitely other options! If you are a seasoned photographer, what do you do for your web presence? What would you suggest for someone starting out?