In this age of the Internet, things change rapidly. First it was the emergence of the website, then blogs, Facebook and other social media. And now, your photography business has to stay on top of updating all of these digital avenues.
When I decided to start this blog, I realized finding time to manage this blog, along with my photography business website and blog, was going to be tough. With the evolution of blogs to blogsites, I decided to combine my photography website and blog into one single blogsite.
Just so we are all on the same page:
A website usually has static content that is rarely updated. It has your portfolio displayed beautifully, as we as a contact page, information for the client, etc.
A blog is a place to post samples of your most current work.
A blogsite combines the features of a website and framework of a blog into one comprehensive site.
I have listed below reasons why you should make the switch to a single blogsite for your business and how to go about doing it.
Why should I switch to a blogsite?
You are probably asking yourself, “Why would I take the time to move all of my content to a single blogsite, when my website and blog are working perfectly fine?” I’ve listed a few reasons below why this change is something to strongly consider for your business, despite the additional effort it takes to implement:
#1 – Simplifies and saves time
Simply stated, you are saving yourself time by only managing one website vs. two. When you update your blogsite with a new session or wedding, you are essentially keeping your work current for potential clients to see.
Another way you would save time is if you have to make a business or pricing change. There is just one location where that change needs to be updated. And, like many photographers, I’m sure you are also currently maintaing a Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and probably a Pinterest one as well. Save yourself time and simplify your business presence on the web.
#2 – Blogsites have the same functionality as both a website and a blog
With how far blogsites have come in the past few years, there is much more you can do. Essentially your blog doing everything your photography website can do! You can now display your portfolios and information cleanly and beautifully, as well as make it easy for clients to contact you directly from your blogsite.
#3 – Better for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This is a biggie. A blogsite gives you much more freedom to maximize the power of SEO. You do have the same ability with a blog, but if you have a flash website, it can be extremely difficult to utilize it. With a single blogsite, all of your informational pages and even your portfolio become tools to help bring in more search engine traffic. See my post on 6 ways to get photography clients for more information on maximizing your SEO to gain clients.
#4 – Mobile-friendly
Nearly everyone has a mobile device of some kind that enables you to browse the internet. Unfortunately, traditional flash websites will not work on mobile devices. That means if a client does not have a desktop computer at home (many do not!), they will not be able to access your website or information at all.
If you are unsure about how your website will work on a mobile device, take a peak at it and see how it would look to a client on both a smartphone and an iPad. If you don’t have access to either, I’m sure you know of a friend who can help you out. 🙂 Regular blogs are typically mobile-friendly, but then what is the point of maintaining a website in addition to your blog? This further strengthens the argument to merge both your website and blog into a blogsite.
#5 – Less redundant and confusing for clients
Do you currently list your pricing information on both your website and blog? What about an “About Me” page? Or a “What to expect from your session”? If you have this information posted twice, you have to maintain it in two places (see reason #1). And then, what is the point of having two separate sites if you are listing your information on both your website and blog? If you do not list important information on both sites, what if a client only visits your blog? Are they going to miss out on information that you only post on your website?
It is simply easier for a client to visit just one page for your business, especially with the emergence of all of the social networking sites (Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). Having a single site keeps it streamlined and simple for the client to access whatever information they need to gather.
Ok, I’m making the switch. What do I do now?
First things first, you should assess what you have right now. Who do you host with? Are you going to change your domain name? ProPhoto has a neat questionnaire and walkthrough on what you need to do based on your current website and blog setup.
Now that you have an idea of what you need to do, you need to find a template. There are two fantastic companies out there who have pre-designed blogsite templates ready for you to use. They both have excellent customer support, video walk-throughs, SEO-friendly, use WordPress, social media integration, and have multiple customizable template styles to choose from when you initially set-up your blogsite template.
There are differences between the two, and one may suit your business better than the other, so choose carefully!
(The links below are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you decide to buy a product through their site. It’s how I am able to keep this blog going for your benefit!)
Blogsite template, iPad/iPhone mirror sites, and Shopping Cart
Hosting with blogsite: $11-$16/month
Blogsite template: $150
iPad/iPhone mirror sites: $40
Shopping Cart: $250 or $50/month with premium hosting
All-in-one hosting, email and blogsite
Customizable shopping cart
Where they are lacking
Have to pay extra for mirror sites and does not have as many features for customizing and designing blogsite as ProPhoto.
Why you should choose PortfolioSitez
Need hosting and email set up, as well as a blogsite template
Want everything through a single entity (hosting, email, template)
Want shopping cart option On a budget or just starting out
Easy to use and many options for customizing and designing your website
Can purchase a variety of template styles from designer store
Customizable mobile sites for no additional fee
Where they are lacking
Do not offer email and hosting services (although they do partner with a site and offer a rebate if you host through Bluehost.com)
No budget-friendly option
Why you should choose ProPhoto
You already have hosting and email set-up
Can afford the larger price tag
Once your new template is installed, it will not be live right away. After you have customized everything, uploaded your images, and migrated your blog entries over, it will be time to move your site to your main domain name and go live! If you are unsure of how to do this, it should be an easy issue for your hosting company to take care of for you.
Ask yourself, “Why do I need both a website and a blog?”
Really think about this question and what the benefit is to you and your business of having both a website and a blog. Unless you feel as though the combination of the two are going to gain you more clients, it isn’t worth it. In my opinion, having only a blogsite is the direction the photography industry is heading, for the reasons I’ve outlined above.
If you are just starting out your business, don’t even bother doing both a website and a blog.
I would simply purchase a blogsite template from one of the two businesses above and only have to manage just the one site. While this may seem overwhelming and time-consuming, it will be well worth the effort in the end.
I always felt overwhelmed having to update both of my photography sites. But now that I have just the one blogsite, everything is streamlined, simple, and easy. You won’t be sorry after everything is complete!