How to Drive More Traffic to Your Wedding Photography Business Website (2018)
Are you looking to drive more traffic to your wedding photography business website?
Of course you are!
Who wouldn't want more traffic to their wedding photography business website?
By turning qualified prospects that just stumble upon your website through internet search and social media into leads, client session bookings should follow if you have manufactured processes into your business to effectively convert them.
While there are a number of time-tested standard marketing methods of driving traffic to a website (we discuss some of these below), also included are ideas that are unique to specifically driving traffic to a wedding photography business website.
convert visitors into leads
Your website can be extremely powerful - a digital portal by which you can attract highly qualified visitors and convert them into new clients. Out of all the online presences you can have, your business website can be uniquely your own. You are not sharing traffic bandwidth with all the other businesses out there as you will do by just having a Facebook or Instagram page (though these are useful platforms to have in addition to a website!).
While there can be a rather large precipice between getting traffic and actually converting that traffic into paying clients, the purpose of this article is really to focus on the traffic portion of this equation.
Put simply, the more traffic your website receives means, at least, the potential for more leads (and, ultimately, paying clients) exists. For the purpose of this article, a lead will be someone who actually proactively reaches out to you using your contact form. This generally takes the shape of an inquiry into your services. Of course, it is important to be mindful that traffic, in and of itself, doesn't necessarily mean that you will get more client bookings; however, it is still a critical factor in the equation.
The goal is then to not just get more traffic to your website, but quality traffic that will convert for you. Ultimately, if you aren't getting more sales even after applying tips in this article, there may be other issues at play.
Our personal experience with growing website traffic
Getting more traffic to your photography business website comes down to effective marketing.
While some people out there may find traffic coming to them be sheer luck, most of us need to be deliberate in what we are doing in order to attract visitors. As with anything, the goal is not just growing traffic for its own sake, but rather being able to attract more traffic that you want to cater to. For example, if you are trying to sell a product or service, it's not going to be useful to attract visitors who have no interest in potentially buying what you are offering!!
In our experience, growing our website traffic has come through several different channels. Put in a different way, there are some very specific things we do and concentrate on actively with the intent being to bring in more viewers:
- Creating more and more content (expanding to include blog posts like this, as well as photographic stories of our clients and personal travels, all allow us to produce content)
- Optimizing our website with SEO (tagging images, using keywords on our website, etc.)
- Sharing and promoting our content on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter)
- Sharing our content (when relevant) in conversations on forums such as Reddit
These are just some examples of things we aim to do consistently and with a high level of frequency. We are going to touch on each of these in more detail through the rest of this article.
The reality of growing your own website traffic is not particularly complex, but it does require a lot of time and effort. This is one of the most important things to understand, especially when many marketing agencies online will suggest you will get yourself to "page #1 of Google in 48 hours."
Google webmaster tool: the hidden secret
One of the most frustrating elements of growing traffic to your website is better understanding what keywords people are already using to find your website. In the background analytics on Squarespace, and even through Google Analytics, this information is seemingly difficult to come by. The best resource we have discovered is Google Webmaster's "Search Console" tool, which does an excellent job at showcasing what keywords are driving traffic to your website. Even more, it shows things like the click-through rate, page your website shows up on Google's index for a particular keyword, and so on.
You may find some of your common keywords to populate on here - as you would want. Other long tail keywords may show up as well, helping to provide more insight into what is driving traffic, and maybe even provide some new content motivation. For example, we originally posted a review article about the Canon 135mm f/2 camera lens that appeared to be driving more traffic than expected. Based on our analytics review with this tool, we found a new keyword to specifically target and produced a new article: The Best Canon 135mm Camera Lens in Photography Money Can Buy!
Ultimately, having the right keyword data will help you to better target your ideal audience. Finding keywords to target through Google Keywords is a good starting point, but building on the data already driving people to your website is also invaluable.
Update: In May 2018, Squarespace rolled out a built in feature that allows you to integrate Google's Search Console tool right into your Squarespace dashboard. It makes getting this search data all the more easy for you if you use this web hosting platform!!
creating website content
Driving traffic to your website is contingent on having content to drive them too.
There is no easy way to go about this, unless you have money to fund paying copywriters to produce your web content.
The most important thing to keep in mind with regards to content is to make sure the content you are producing is valuable to your viewers. We break down the type of content we produce into a few categories:
- Pillar/staple content. This is the type of stuff that is basically unchanging, often long (3,000 words+), and serves a very specific purpose. For example, our About Us page is an example of content that is virtually unchanging. Another more recent article is Essential Equipment for Wedding Photographers.
- Brand content. These are article dedicated to elaborating more on our brand. They are not really oriented towards reaching a large audience through internet searches, but rather are specifically designed to share with clients and prospective clients through social media, and as a means to better understand who we are and our photography process. Examples of these types of articles include What is a "Day After" Session? and Sage: A Farm Luxe Bridal Experience. Both of these articles provide detail on something we offer (the "Day After" session) or something we are doing (we participated in the Sage bridal show).
- Sales content. As a business, one of our goals is to sell our photography service to prospective clients. Content we produce is designed with this in mind. Our Pricing page(s) are specifically designed to elaborate on what we offer, and the costs. This only touches the surface of "sales" content, though, as we also use affiliate marketing through Amazon and other third parties. If you are unfamiliar with this, basically when we discuss products and services in our articles - we link out to these products, and can earn a commission on each sale. Some content we produce is specifically with this in mind. Of course, there needs to be a value added to your target audience - and for us, the items we refer to are only things we own, use often, and actually like. An example of content like this is 5 Must-Have Canon Lenses for Iceland Landscape Photography.
Most of the written content we produce fit into these buckets. Everything we produce has it's place, and often these articles are interlinked with one another. The key is in how you execute the creation of this content as to whether or not you will have success.
Speaking again on the topic of pillar content - which is one of the most valuable types of content you can produce for your website - it's worthwhile to look at it from the perspective of the internet marketing industry. I've aggregated a few choice quotes from industry professionals to give some more insight into this!
Another term for pillar content used is "cornerstone" content. This is a concept expounded upon heavily on Copyblogger in an array of articles. Some select quotes we have grabbed that really highlight the value of this type of content are the following:
Some attributes of a great pillar article based on what we have seen online, and what we have seen perform well for us include:
- At least 2,000 words
- Links to relevant external sources
- The content is actually valuable to the reader
- The content is engaging, and incites conversation in the comments and on social media
- Includes high-quality media elements such as photos, videos, graphs, etc. when relevant
A single pillar article can have the power to stamp a near permanent imprint on search engines, causing them to drive traffic to your website for a long time to come.
As far as any content you produce is concerned, the most important thing you should keep in mind is this:
Content Has to be Useful to the reader
There was a time even 10 years ago when internet searches were much more in the "Wild West" stages, and search engines could be easily manipulated by crafty writers. While keyword research and use still has a place today as a part of search engine optimization, the overall value is far less than it once was, as compared to creating content that is useful to readers.
In his book, Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help Not Hype, Jay Baer discusses this in much detail from the context of marketing. Surprisingly, in a world with many different marketing theories that can be aggregated from business school textbooks and throughout the internet, many approaches seem to strip away the human element and emphasize too heavily the desire to convert into sales. In it's most simplest form, most people are attracted to other people who are human, kind, decent and well intentioned.
We understand that, as a business, it can sometimes be difficult to make sure what you are offering is not just about the money, but rather about the whole experience. Within the realm of wedding photography, talking finances and going through the steps of signing a contract and invoicing are probably our least favorite parts of working with new couples. It is the part that feels most inauthentic to our desire to capture artistic images of people in love, which is why we do as much as possible to streamline this process (both for ourselves and for our clients). It has led us to invest in certain services such as Honeybook - for contracts and invoicing done in a simple and digestible way that is also convenient as it allows online payment.
The key takeaway is that usefulness is directly related to value.
When people discover your articles, they HAVE to be useful. This means that people have to be able to consume them and walk away with tangible actionable things that they can immediately apply to their life.
Search engine optimization (seo) as a means to growing website traffic
Search engine optimization, most commonly referred to as SEO, is a topic that many bloggers have written in detail about. Covering it thoroughly can really become quite exhaustive and complex. In many respects, while some of the core ideas may be unchanging, there are many aspects of SEO that evolve over time.
As we mentioned earlier, the change towards a mindset oriented around providing valuable and useful content is, honestly, the result of changing search engine algorithms. There was a time when ranking highly in Google search was as simple as loading a single article with the same keyword over-and-over again. The algorithms have been changed, and it is not crystal clear what exactly influences your placement in the search engines. As such, SEO is as much an art form as it is a science.
As we are not SEO gurus, to read more on this topic we would suggest a few articles specifically crafted on this topic from other sources. A few include: Rank in 2018 SEO Checklist, 8 Game Changing SEO Trends that Will Dominate 2018, and Google Fresh Factor.
With this said, we do not mean to suggest that we are inexperienced or lack knowledge on the topic of SEO. For this article, we will just cover the basics as it pertains to a wedding photographers website - and in particular, search engine optimizations we have made on our website that have directly impacted our traffic.
Pick your keywords wisely
Use the Google Keyword tool to find keywords you would like your website to target. Typically, it is best to target low competition but high search keywords, but this requires some experimentation at times.
From there, a select few key words should be chosen specifically to target all over your website. As a photographer, this often is tagging your local area with photographer, such as "[Local Area] Photographer." You may also opt to target a larger metro area nearby (if you serve clients there), as this may likely harbor more potential client leads.
In the context of individual articles and web pages, you can be more selective regarding keywords specifically for the piece of content you are creating. For example, on an article page like this you might think to target a long tail keyword like "how to increase website traffic."
Tag every photo on your website
An extension of using keywords is making sure you tag your photos with alternative titles designed for capturing search engine attention. As a wedding photographer, this is especially valuable as it is one of the few industries where people may not just be searching through the link results in Google, but rather the image results. Even early on in our photography business website, we saw a jump in traffic related to our high placement on Google image searches for an array of local keywords.
Another tip: tag venues you shoot in, too!!
Structure your website well and index
Optimizing your website for search engines is not just about what you write, but how accessible your web page is for robot crawlers to find out what your website is about. Layout your site in a logical way that is easy for the average viewer to open up and find the information they are looking for. You can find more objective data on this if you leverage Google Analytics.
Separately, you will want to make sure your website is being indexed by Google. In the past, this has been a frustrating sticking point for us, as we thought Google indexes web pages naturally over time. While this does happen, by using Google Webmaster tools you can expedite this process. You can request indexing, and even upload a /sitemap.xml to help show the Google search engine how your site is laid out. It's pretty cool, and all very easy to use.
Standardize image sizes
Given that you will be using a lot of photos on your site, it is especially important to make sure you are sizing correctly. Uploading all high resolution files will not provide a good user experience. Aim to keep each photo file under 1mb at a minimum. Depending on the platform you are using (such as Squarespace or Wordpress), there may be built in utilities to compress or confine the size of the image in some other way, too. Get to know the interface you are working with, and once you find an ideal photo size for your website, keep all exports the same.
grow traffic by thinking outside of the box
While there are a number of SEO boxes for us to tick, the websites that perform the best tend to be those that experiment. As we mentioned earlier, there are no hyper clear rules regarding what will get your page(s) indexed on the first page of search engines. In this section, we will share a few ideas worth considering adding into your website content - but first, a little anecdote:
Capturing the Sharks attention
In 2009, after the airing of a Shark Tank episode, a friend of ours wrote an article reviewing Notehall, a company that was featured on it. If you are unfamiliar with Shark Tank, this is a show where entrepreneurs, who are seeking investments, pitch their business ideas to a panel of 5 investors (known as "sharks" on the show).
Knowing that interesting businesses generally see a surge in traffic (as a result of increased search activity) following their company being featured on this show, it made all the sense in the world to write an article. After publishing, he saw a rapid uptick in traffic to his article - along with one of the co-owners even commenting on his article to thank him for the article he had written.
While the company wasn't in the photography market, you can see, through this scenario, how you just may be able to - with your publishing of a well-timed, quality article - be able to capitalize off of a popular trend. This can be in relation to something that goes viral online or, like our friend's experience, in relation to an anticipated surge of traffic following the featuring of a particular thing on more traditional media like radio or television.
One thing to remember is that humans generally work in their own best interest, in pursuit of their own goals...and if you can figure out how to simultaneously work in someone else's best interest (our friend provided that owner with free advertising just by simply writing an article about his company), while also working in your own best interest, this is the beauty that business is made of.
Other out-of-the-box ideas for getting more traffic
Increasing traffic to your website can be influenced in many ways. While we may emphasize a lot of search engine optimization, organic search results are only a part of a plan for growing web traffic. There are other elements at play, and things you should consider as a part of your overall approach:
- Long term traffic growth by natural business expansion. Making relationships with current and future clients, and doing the same with other vendors in the wedding industry helps to bring brand exposure. In 2018, we have 20 weddings and numerous other sessions planned already, and we expect to form some great, lasting relationships with those we photograph and those we interact with in this process.
- Increase traffic with qualified leads and business relationships through word of mouth and print media (such as business cards). Every time we photograph a wedding, or go to a bridal show, or work with other vendors - we give out our business card and share information about our website and social media. This is probably the best form of traffic your site can get because people are pre-exposed to you and likely have a genuine interest in what you are offering before even visiting.
- Be more active on social media - posting links to your website frequently and consistently (use Later to schedule posts, makes a world of difference for us). Search engines look at how your content is shared. Engaging an audience on social media has a world of benefits when done when, from engaging conversation on the platform itself and driving new traffic to your website.
- Create website content specifically to be shared. As a wedding photographer, it can sometimes feel like we are limited to just photographing weddings and sharing photos from them. With a little time and artistic thought, setting up a styled shoot can help you refine the style you are trying to capture, and can even become part of your brand image and social media campaign.
- Start guest blogging. Find other websites in your niche, and reach out to offer a guest blog post. Often, these are short and sweet posts that will allow you to drop a link to your website.
- Cross link your website pages together when relevant. This goes along with the structure of your website, and linking articles together that make sense to go together is an essential part of any traffic growth strategy. It makes it easier for search engines to understand what is going on on your website, and makes it easier for visitors to find exactly what they need.
- Build a community. Engage in discussions in the comments of articles, consider setting up a Facebook group for discussions, etc. Brands with real staying power have devoted communities that like talking about the things they like about the brand.
webpage traffic growth made easy
We hope that you are able to find this article on growing your web page traffic to be informative and useful. There is a lot of information to digest, but the key thing to keep in mind is that this process takes time. By knowing the basics, you can begin to strategize and decide on which areas to focus your energy first. Some of the biggest websites out there have entire teams dedicated to producing content, so it can feel daunting if you are doing it on your own, but don't let that be a deterrent! Set some realistic and smart goals, and you will be on your way in no time.
And of course, if you have any questions/comments, feel free to leave a comment below!