Your Website and Your Business

Discussion in 'Website Creation' started by hjoseph7, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. How important is your website to your business. Do you maintain it, keep it up, or just leave it out there once it's up. My photography website does not get alot of hits. I don't have a full fledge photography business with hundreds of clients streaming in and out of my front door. Rather I work from home, part-time. So far my clientelle has been mostly word-of-mouth and who were not even aware I had a website out there.
    I also don't have one of those highly social sites were people can post any type of comment they want keep up with friends and all the other nonsense that goes with those sites. Actually, I don't even know how many people are really looking at my site, or if they are looking at it at all ! This would lead me to think that maintaining it might not be so important...
     
  2. The first thing you need to do, Harry, is get a handle on what kind of traffic you're actually getting, and where it's coming from. Depending on what sort of control you have over the content/structure of the pages, consider using something free and very powerful, like Google Analytics. You add a small bit of script code to your site's content, and then surf to the GA dashboard to periodically look at all sorts of juicy details about the sorts of visits you're getting. Of particular note would be the referrer data, which can tell you what other sites and search engines are handing you traffic, and using what keywords/search terms.

    Even more valuable would be your server's acual log data, parsed through a traffic analysis tool. You'd have to ask your web hosting guys what you have at your disposal, there. It's quite possible you're already paying for server-side log analysis tools and simply don't know where to look for the crunched numbers. You might find it very interesting.
     
  3. Actually, I don't even know how many people are really looking at my site, or if they are looking at it at all ! This would lead me to think that maintaining it might not be so important...​
    You're starting with the premise that you don't know something and then making a conclusion based on that. That seems a little strange.
    The important thing isn't how many people are looking at your website right now. What's important is how many of your prospective customers find photographers through the web. How many are you missing by not being visible or not converting them when they do find you. To understand this you need to understand your market and your traffic. Matt has given you good advice about understanding your traffic. It will take some market research to understand how your potential customers are finding photographers.
    To answer your original questions—how important is my website to my business: for me, very important. I live in a pretty small market, but have been able to support myself shooting for publications and organizations from outside that market. In almost every case their first impression of me is my website. At least for the kind of work I want to do, almost everyone is using the internet to find photographers. No website or bad website or out of date website = no work.
     
  4. "It's quite possible you're already paying for server-side log analysis tools and simply don't know where to look for the crunched numbers"
    Apparently I am, I sent the host an email regarding this and he showed me where to look on the administration page. My website is based on a template but it does allow for some custamization using HTML. It looks like I am getting some hits but from who I don't know. I'm guessing they just pass by and move on to more elaborate websites. I was thinking about redoing the entire thing but that might just be more time and wasted effort.
    Right now I'm concenrating on the services I have ot offer and making sure I have all the skills paper portfolios, that match the services listed on it to show the clients, this is not an easy task. It would be easier if I got more assignments, because I would have more material to work with, so it's sort of like a catch-22. Now I regret giving some clients the negatives from some of my jobs without making a back up or getting release rights.
    The good thing is that at least I am forced to keep up my skills or learn new one just in case someone is interested. I don't think I would be motivated enough to do this if my site was not up.
     
  5. Now I regret giving some clients the negatives from some of my jobs without making a back up or getting release rights.​
    Never give the client the negatives, unless they pay dearly for them. In this digital world, that means that you should never give away your RAW files.
    When you sell/license images to a client, make sure you retain the copyright and the rights to use the images for your own portfolio.
    I suggest you read "Best Business Practices for Photographers" by John Harrington and the ASMP publication "Business Practices for Professional Photography" to learn about licenses, releases, copyrights, etc.
    <Chas>
     
  6. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    My website is quite important to my business and I try to keep it reasonably up-to-date. I use it as an easily accessible brochure of my work for use by galleries etc. |I don't expect people to look at it unless I've directed them to it either because they're an actual or potential business contact or a personal contact. I don't sell directly from the site though I do sell a few prints a year to people who've come across my work online. Neither do I spend time and money securing better "findability" for the site. Point here is, there are different roles for websites. How you design and promote it needs to fit with your objectives.
     
  7. I don't use my Website to sell my images but to provide the information for my photography guide to Mt. Rainier NP, so traffic is important, where the eventual goal is to provide books or information for sale. That said, a professional or business Website is good if only to display your work, but you have to keep it updated to entice people to come back. Consider adding a blog about your work and photo sessions or trips.
    And yes, either get Google Analytics for your Web pages or talk to your Website host to get the statistics. I have a Menu bar app which downloads the stats routinely to see what pages visitors are viewing. The problem with Website statistics is that it depends on how your Webpages are displayed, meaning the presentation from the code to track them. The statistics programs have problems with flash Web pags since it's one URL and script driven pages if the code isn't embedded with each subpage.
     
  8. Admittedly, I don't understand much about Analytics other than how to access them through my host. On those, I derive that I've had 944 hits in the last 28 days, about 34 a day. However, visits average only 40 seconds and utilize about 1.7 pages. 1/3 of my hits exit from the first page and 3% exit from Contact US. Other % range across the other pages. Only 6% of my visits hit the Contact Us Page and 4% hit the investment page.
    From these numbers, I might surmise that there is something on my home page keeping people from going further.
     

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