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Do you typically update your photography website on looks alone? Silly snapper! There is so much more to consider when putting together your website. Here’s a handy guide. How many crucial features do you have?
1. Responsive Web Design
What exactly is a “responsive” website? It’s a website design that changes based the device that is being used to view it. For example, a typical website design doesn’t look so great on a phone. The same website without gesture controls on a tablet also fails to take advantage of the device’s paradigm. And, a person viewing your site on a 27″ iMac has more screen real estate than an 11″ laptop. Scaling images, reflowing columns, device awareness – these define responsive website design. Since mobile browsing is projected to surpass computer-based browsing in the next few years (if not sooner), you need to make sure your work looks great from any device. Hint: If you have a Flash website, it ain’t responsive.
How many times did you google something today? Search is ubiquitous in the information age, yet so few photography sites have search capabilities. And as we add more photos to our sites, search become a necessary means of finding and navigating content.
It’s hard work getting people to your website with all the distractions on the web. You should make a point of trying to turn passive visitors into paying clients as often as possible. But to do that, you’re gonna need a website that allows you to sell images. Don’t fall into the old trap of strictly using your website as an online portfolio. That’s so last century.
4. Private Galleries
Whether you’re a pro or amateur, you will undoubtedly need to show someone images that aren’t meant for the general public. Definitely a better option than tweeting your nude selfies.
5. High Res Downloads
Sure, you could use file delivery services to send images to your clients (or your mom), but maintaining a consistent brand is a hallmark of good marketing. Plus, a photo website can display preview images, captions/meta data, and offer a number of different download sizes, which makes life a lot easier for clients who don’t know what to do with a 36MP file.
6. Social Media Integration
What’s good for other sites is good for your site. See all those Facebook like buttons on your favorite news site? That tweet button on the crowdfunding site? You might have even clicked those buttons yourself. Let other people help your photos go viral by adding social media integration into your website.
If someone searches for you on the Internet and you aren’t found, do you cease to exist? Pretty much. Although building good Search Engine Optimization requires a number of factors, your website needs to place key information in known formats for search engines to find and index you.
A website is a marketing tool for your photography, whether your a pro or not. Can you imagine investing time and money into a marketing campaign without knowing how it’s performing? That’s like TV without Nielsen numbers, radio without the Billboard charts, or a website without, well, analytics. Robust packages like Google Analytics are free, so what’s your excuse?
9. Copyright Notices/Image Security
Image theft is rampant on the web, and while you might not pursue every infringement you find, you should maximize your chances when you do decide to go the legal route. Registering your images with the Copyright Office and posting that copyright on your images gives you both statutory protection (up to $150k per infringement) plus Digital Millenium Copyright Act protection (up to $12,500 per infringement) if the copyright information is removed. Interest piqued?
Extra tip: Beam websites have all the above features, and more. Bold, beautifully designed sites combined with the power of PhotoShelter’s ecommerce, file delivery, and online marketing tools. What’s not to love?