Editor’s Note: Today we present a guest post (and special offer) from our friends at SmugMug, all about why having a well-organized photography website is good for you, and your photography.
* Why organization?*
We all talk about being organized, but how many of us actually are? For many of us, it’s more sweat than reward, and a thankless task… especially when it comes to the way your website is laid out. And many of us are very close to our own work, we get used to how our folders are laid out. But it’s essential to step back and view how you look on the web to total strangers.
* I’m sure my fans are smart enough to figure it out.*
Are they? How do you know? Your sister is likely to be one of the few people who would actually tell you they couldn’t find something. Anyone else is likely to just close their tab or move on. You’ll never know how many more viewers (and sales!) you’d have if you never get started on creating that welcoming, easy-to-follow experience.
* What sorts of things should I consider?*
At the VERY least, your photo website should have:
Sample Images – Show what you’re about. A link to a portfolio gallery. a slideshow, or simple photo tiles, etc.
Search function - To help them find everything else that isn’t shown on the page. Be sure you’ve correctly keyworded your photos for this to work.
Navigation – Your chance to surface your best stuff. Add things like your favorite galleries to this navigation bar, to a page that displays your biography, your previous publications, awards, appearances, your blog, your professional rates, etc. Whatever you want them to know.
Contact info – The biggest mistake we often see on sites is the lack of contact info. If someone wants to hire you to take photos, or to offer you an award for a beautiful photo book, don’t thwart them with a tiny bit of oversight! Be sure to include your email address or phone number somewhere on your site, or (our recommendation) install a contact form that pops up via a link in your menu bar. This will help cut down on spammers getting ahold of your direct line.
* Are there services out there that make this easy?*
Of course! There are many online services you can use to build your own website and fill it with the content that fits what you do, whether it’s photography, writing, landscaping, painting, or dog walking. Most services give you only a few basic templates, limited storage and features and no ability to customize and make it yours. However, SmugMug lets you do all of the above via tons of fresh, modern, ready-to-go templates and the ability to upload, store and share all of your best memories.
Best of all it’s completely ad-free, meaning that you and your story are front and center, and we’re integrated seamlessly with Blurb’s book-making tools.
Try out the many options, iron-clad security and unlimited possibilities at SmugMug.com! And to celebrate the season of sharing, use the code SMBLURB13 at checkout to get 30% off your new website. (Expires Jan 15, 2014)