Are you a baby photographer, wedding photographer or landscape photographer currently using Zenfolio as your catalog? Are you looking to expand your photography business with your own e-commerce website?
Most photographers utilize Zenfolio or similar online portfolios as their shop windows and then use their own websites over which they have complete control for their actual business.
None of these pre-packaged portfolio venues – Zenfolio, Smugmug, or Photoshelter have the ideal setup. While all are good, each one has plus points and also lack in other areas. All of the photographers we deal with as clients use one or the other, however, they all run their own e-commerce website too.
Much of this depends on where you want to go with your photography. Is it a hobby only? Are you looking to turn it into a business? Or are you making the transition from hobby to business?
And which lab did you ultimately decide on to process your prints? Two giants in the industry are MPIX and WHCC. You only need one excellent print house to cover your needs. Choose wisely.
Besides pricing, mobile issues, and some other considerations such as the purchase page, here’s another big issue you’re going to need to deal with.
SEO. Yes, that’s right, Search Engine Optimization. None of the portfolio venues excel in this area. This is why we advocate for you to have your own e-commerce website, complete with blog and social media interactivity.
You can have the prettiest website in the world, or the most over the top visually stunning website, and if there is no quality SEO being done, you will not be found in the search engines. Without being found in the search engines, you have little chance of success.
There are those who will argue that if the potential customer knows the photographers name, who needs SEO?
The flip side of that coin is you will not be found for random searches where the photographers name is unknown but your site comes up because of proper sitewide background SEO, proper usage of product tags and proper usage of blog post tags. This is where the bang for your buck comes in.
Whether your goal is to have a hobby of photography that generates occasional income, or a full blown career as a photographer, you want some kind of income generated.
How to do that? Spend hard earned dollars on Adwords or other paid advertising or pay per click – otherwise referred to as PPC? Not likely.
Get yourself a reputable SEO consultant to work with. You should begin seeing results within 3 – 6 weeks, basic results, and much improved results in 3 – 6 months. If they are worth their weight, they will work out a plan with you for website SEO plus social media SEO – which boils down to using the correct and most relevant hashtags to start getting the eyeballs to your photography website.
It takes the consumer on average 7 – 11 visits to your website to place an order, so patience is an absolute must, but also is a properly set up Google Analytics account so you can see where the visitors are coming from and what search terms they are using to bring up your website.
All of these factors are super important for the success of your photography website and sales.