1. Make your location very clear
This may seem obvious, but I'm blown away by how often I end up on a website of a service-provider who doesn't have their location listed (and I don't even mean just their city, but even sometimes their country!). I'm like, "but where in the world are you, photographer/florist/hair stylist??"
If your clients can't work out within a few seconds of landing on your page that you are based in the same city as they are, they're likely to return to their search results and keep searching for a local company. And if your location isn't listed, Google won't even know to display you in it's local search results!
This is across the board for facebook, instagram and your webpage! Unless you are purely an online store, and a physical address doesn't matter as you ship worldwide, then you need to be listing the city that you are providing a service to.
[This doesn't mean you have to list your actual address, if say, you work from home and don't want every stranger from the internet pitching at your front door! But telling people which city you're in is rather important!]
2. Tell us about yourself
I get it, I get it - putting yourself out onto the worldwide web is a scary prospect - but if you want your client base to trust you (especially if they have to do something like inviting you in to document the intimate moments of their lives, such as their family photo session or wedding), you need to put your face up on your website and tell them why they should believe in you and believe in your brand!
3. You're only as strong as your worst photo/project/offering
This is a principle that I have stuck by for the longest time - that your portfolio of images/work/services is completely weakened by showcasing poor/outdated work. Rather have a smaller, stronger portfolio of images/services listed - a more focused showcase of what you offer, and what you would you like to offer.
I'm constantly going through my online portfolios - on my website, facebook and instagram - and deleting old images, in order to make sure that my portfolio is fresh and relevant. My style has grown and evolved so much over the years (and strengthened!), and I don't want my old work pulling me down or reflecting badly on me.
So do a big refresh!
4. Keep it simple
Google has all the numbers on this one - varying anywhere from 2 seconds to 15 seconds to 59 seconds - but whichever it is, it is a frighteningly short amount of time that potential clients and consumers are spending on our websites before deciding whether to buy/book.
Make sure your best images/work comes up first, your location, what you offer and how they can easily get hold of you/book your service.
I do have more pages and more options for those who do like a little bit more convincing, but I always aim to keep the home page streamlined and simple!
5. Update it regularly
Trends are changing ALL the time when it comes to website design - and if you can keep your finger on the pulse through Pinterest searches and following leaders in the web design and development world, such as Promise Tangeman of Go Live HQ, you can do a quick and simple update annually to keep things looking fresh and new. Don't be left in the dust.
Robyn Davie is a lifestyle photographer, based in Johannesburg South Africa, but loves to travel! She's been building her business since early 2013, and in that time, has expanded from a simple head shot & family photography one-woman show, into a business with six associate photographers, an office manager and a couple of editors.
She loves sharing the tricks of the trade, and empowering other businesses with the knowledge she has gained as she's built up her own brand. Check out her other workshops here.