As a photographer, you already know that it’s extremely important to have your own photography website. You may already have one, or you may be looking for an easy way to create one.
In either case, once your website is up and running, you’ll want to make it grow. That is, you’ll want to expand its reach to new and potential customers, as well as increase its impact on your business, and the community at large. The way to do that is to figure out how to increase website traffic.
To that effect, this guide will focus on 3 major elements you need to prioritize in order to maximize your traffic:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The first important consideration for how to increase traffic to your website is promotion or the art and science of boosting awareness of your online presence.
The first step toward promoting your online presence is being present online. That means not only starting a photography website but appearing in various other places online as well.
For a photographer like yourself, these might include:
- Websites where your work is featured:
- Online galleries or museum pages
- Reviews or criticism, professional or amateur
- Online stores where people can buy the photos you sell online
- Websites where it appears:
- Business or personal websites who’ve acquired rights to use your images
- Profiles others generate about you on their own websites
- “About the artist” profiles, pages, etc.
- Your own activity on social media, forums, and other websites
- Accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Posts on forums and communities like Reddit, etc.
- Comments and interactions on media like news articles, blogs, etc.
It’s important to stay on top of these, especially the first few, which are relatively outside of your control. Network and establish connections with these other sites’ and profiles’ owners to facilitate a uniform presence.
Once you’ve established a presence online, there are tons of ways to promote your website, even if you don’t have much time to spend on it; some of the best include engagement on social media, email marketing, and uploading consistent content.
Engaging Social Media
Social media has blossomed into one of the most popular and important parts of the web. It has connected people around the globe, person-to-person, in a way that seemed impossible until websites like Facebook came along.
They’re also massively important for marketing and all forms of promotion.
Chances are you already have some form of presence on social media, whether professional or strictly personal. You can and should use these platforms to promote your photography website.
Build your network
If you’re not on social media already, this is a must. If you are on social media, you need to build your network (friends, followers, etc.). If you’re on, but primarily in a personal way, you might consider editing your profiles, or creating new ones, tailored to your career as an artist. Many social media sites allow you to have a professional or business page that caters specifically to those who want to grow their following.
Once you have a profile you intend to use for promotion, look into the following activities:
- Accumulate friends and followers: You should look for any way to increase your overall network, such as:
- Inviting connections from existing contacts lists
- Reaching out to friends of friends
- Following users that you have things in common with
- Following local small businesses and organizations
- Post and engage with content: This is both a means and an end in networking. You should engage with content because it both helps you grow your network and is the ultimate reward for having built a network. For best results:
- Post regularly to encourage others’ engagement
- Like others’ posts to show support
- Comment on posts to spark discussions
- Share content, both from social media and from external sources, such as your website
Friends and followers can drive your traffic for you
Social media is the new word-of-mouth.
Just like how people talk about and recommend things to each other in real life via face-to-face conversations, those same conversations happen all over social media.
These social media engagements are also a perfect way to direct people toward your site, especially by sharing content and links with friends and followers on social networks. They can, in turn, re-share this content with their friends and followers. And the cycle continues.
Another great way to increase web traffic is to ask for it, whether directly or indirectly, via email.
Emails are an excellent way to court both new and returning visitors to your site, and you should email all visitors and potential visitors regularly. Your email lists can and should be informed by your social media and overall presence, as well as real-world points of contact, through email sign-up forms.
Just like you want to increase your following, you also want to accumulate subscribers to your emails. While planning and drafting emails may seem burdensome, email marketing tools and services can streamline the process for you.
Some best practices for email promotion include:
- Creating lists and tailoring emails to specific categories of recipients.
- Being concise. This means instead of including an entire article in your email, link back to the blog page of your website with a “read more” link.
- Making your emails stand out. Use 2-3 images in your email campaign to make your email pop and link each one back to their corresponding page on your website.
Promotional emails are not only a form of content in and of themselves, but also a great way to drive traffic to your website.
Finally, you should update your site regularly with new content.
Physical museums and galleries in the real world regularly update their collections and exhibitions in order to attract both new and repeat visitors. Hearing that a museum is going to acquire the work of an artist you love might inspire you to check it out for the first time; knowing when a gallery is having a new opening helps you schedule your regular visits.
Likewise, a website that posts new content frequently accumulates reasons for visitors (new and returning) to check it out. The difference is that unlike real-world limitations — like physical space, which limit catalogs — your website can accumulate content near-indefinitely. Just be sure that your website shows off your best work, not necessarily your most recent.
So what kinds of content should it accumulate?
As a photographer, one obvious kind of content you’ll post to your site is, well, your photos. You should have at least one gallery page that showcases your work. You might also curate multiple galleries, organized by theme, subject, time, location, etc.
In addition, you should consider…
Other kinds of content
In addition to your photos, you should also consider other kinds of content, such as:
- Works in progress
- Variations on finished products
- Documentation of your process
- Videos, images, etc.
- Essays, etc.
Whatever the mode or medium you’re posting, consistent content creation is an apt vehicle for ramping up your traffic. One big reason why is that it enables you to leverage search engines to ensure your content is optimized for maximum reach.
Speaking of optimizing for search engines…
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engines are the backbone of the internet because they empower people to access information.
Many moons ago, if you had a question about something specific, such as an illness or symptoms you were experiencing, you would open up an encyclopedia or other reference text and hope that the entries you found would answer your particular question. If not, you’d have to go to a doctor’s office for answers.
Nowadays, to answer any question, all you need to do is type your question into a search engine, or even just your address bar, and you’ll find answers — potentially thousands or millions thereof!
Therein lies the problem: how can you make sure people find your answer to their question? If a person needs a photographer, how can you be the photographer they find? Especially with what may be thousands or even millions of pages that are linked to photography.
Welcome to optimizing your page for the search engine (search engine optimization).
What SEO is and how it works
While there’s more to it than this practical definition: SEO is ultimately the process of making sure that your website appears at or near the top of search results.
The way an engine like Google determines what appears first in a given results page has to do with many factors, but the most important include:
- Keyword matching
- Content that matches search terms and related search terms
- Websites with longer histories
- Websites that consistently post useful information
- Websites that are often linked to or shared
- Speed and accessibility
- Pages that are accessible
- Quick load times
While some of these aspects and strategies of SEO can be difficult to understand or put into action by yourself, powerful analytical tools can make SEO a breeze for anyone.
What SEO can do for you
Without SEO, your website is like a needle in a haystack when it comes to search results. SEO is then a giant magnet — it’s the best way to attract people to your website when they use Google or other engines to search the web.
SEO is an on-going process: it’s not a matter of just optimizing your first post, but ensuring that your website remains optimized for the duration of its life.
And longevity, as a goal, brings us to the last element.
When you create a photography website, or any website, you’re not carving anything into stone.
Once your website goes live, it truly is like a living being: it can, and should, adapt to changes over time. As the environment online evolves, you need to be willing and able to adjust your website to maintain and grow with it.
Flexibility is key.
Consistency through change
Of course, it’s vital to establish a strong brand that perseveres over time. How that brand survives and thrives, though, has a lot to do with reading the ever-changing room of the internet. You should always strive to keep current with things like:
- Design trends
- Sensitivity and political correctness
- Conversation(s) happening all over the web, etc.
Just being aware of these things doesn’t mean that you need to act on every single thing that happens. You just need to be in the know so you can determine whether to act or not, intentionally.
Additionally, much like your photography work, consistently changing and adapting to an audience helps to keep your content fresh and relatable.
To put it simply: Your work (and your content) adapts. The quality of your work (and your content) remains consistent.
What is web traffic, and why does it matter?
In real-life situations, too much traffic is annoying.
But on the internet, when it comes to traffic, the more, the better.
Web traffic represents the number of users who encounter your website. Unlike that never-ending line of cars on a highway, none of these concurrent users is an inconvenience. Instead, the goal of any website is to increase website traffic of all kinds.
Kinds of web traffic
That being said, what kinds of web traffic are there? Typically, web traffic happens in three major ways:
- Via promotion
This is when someone navigates to your website by typing your domain straight into their address bar. Regular users might even save your website as a bookmark so that they can navigate directly to it by typing in just the first few letters of your domain name. You will need a photographer domain name that represents your work.
This kind of traffic is impacted by all 3 elements, as well as offline presence: word-of-mouth, name recognition, and real-world networking.
This is when a user finds your page via a search, on Google or some other search engine. Typically, they will type in a question or keyword that they are looking for, and your page will appear as a result, so they’ll click into it.
This corresponds with Element 2: Search Engine Optimization
Similar to organic traffic, this is when a user finds your page via a link on some other, non-search engine website, such as Facebook or other social media.
This corresponds with Element 1: Promotion.
All these kinds of traffic are great, and they all feed off of and into each other.
Why you need to continue to draw in new user traffic
Why is a storefront in a busier part of town more desirable (and generally more expensive!) than one in a quieter part? Foot traffic.
Even offline, visibility and visitors generate buzz, which in turn generates more visitors and more visibility. All that buzz leads to online and offline forms of popularity, along with their correlated effects: influence, impact, and profit.
Just like how galleries, museums, stores, studios, and other venues out in the real world thrive on foot traffic, your website needs traffic for the same reasons.
Drive your traffic with Constant Contact
Now that you have an understanding of how to increase website traffic to your photography website, it’s time to get started!
- Start with what you can already control, taking smaller or less technical steps like working on your overall presence and social media engagement.
- Take the initiative and see how much farther the Constant Contact website builder can take you, with built-in tools for social media, email marketing, SEO, and many other traffic-driving initiatives.
- Keep up-to-date on the content you post. Ultimately, this is the impetus behind continued growth. Grow yourself, and your website will grow alongside you.