Creating a less broad website to bring in ideal clients can really make a difference. Here’s why you need an elopement photographer website.
Imagine your Instagram got hacked and you lost your number one lead generator to your business. What do you do? What do you turn to get leads for your business? That is the power of having a converting website and what SEO will do for you.
You don’t have to be reliant on a social media platform that might go away anytime. So in this post, we are going to talk about the specific things you need to have or need to be doing on your website to help you bring in business so you don’t have to rely on social media. We’re going to talk all about SEO, copy, and brand messaging with Dani Purington!
About Dani Purington
Dani Purington is an elopement photographer and photographer educator. She got started back in 2016 and started out with large weddings for about five years and then decided she liked elopements because they’re smaller and more intimate and more intentional. That was the best decision she made for her business.
She did that at the beginning of 2020 before COVID, and it worked out well because everybody just started doing more elopements, which is great, and it was great for the switch. Since 2020, she’s now been really focusing on elopements and specific locations like Utah, Hawaii, and Yosemite. Just getting to shoot in those places all the time is the best part of her job and she loves taking people outdoors.
She also has Rooted workshops, which are photography workshops that she hosts yearly and she has an online community as well. She also did a website-running workshop, which was successful and showed her that there’s a great need for people and their websites.
Changes to make when making a switch
So what changes do you make to your website when you’ve made a switch in your business? The first thing to look at is seeing your brand as more than just logos and colors. Your brand goes down to the messaging, who you’re talking to. What Dani’s current website was doing before she started doing elopements was talking to people wanting big weddings, and that had to change.
There are a lot of photographers out there that might do weddings and elopements, but Dani advises that they separate the two because they’re very different brides. A bride who’s eloping doesn’t care about the reception or the bridal party or the details, they care more about the experience and the landscape and the adventure part of things. That’s very different from a big wedding bride.
Everything had to shift on Dani’s website. She started over, hired a designer to design a whole new website for her, and wrote the copy herself. Not everybody is skilled in doing that. If you aren’t, hire a copywriter to write your copy for your website and have it go directly to that marketing person.
She also made the messaging on the website. Even the images and everything on that website was directed toward the elopement bride who was reading her site. Showing off some of her best works helped, with some of her best adventures elopements.
On her site, you won’t see anything in line with big bridal weddings. You see landscape adventure, and emotional images of the bride and the groom reading vows. It’s important to show what you’re about, put it out there and attract what you’re about. Start with yourself and your brand because that’s the easiest way to start
Most converting pages on a website
There is a page Dani likes to call “My Experience ” page and she views this page as a sales page. Someone who wants to ever sign up for a workshop or an online course or something will go through a sales page. Most times photographers don’t have that, so sell yourselves a little bit.
You have little snippets on your homepage, a little summary of what to expect, and here’s what it’s like to work with me, and let them know your key messages in summary.
Take them to your experience page where it’s all laid out for them to just dive in. So your home page and your experience page are the most important pages that you should want to focus on with your brand. Your “About” page too, but that’s going to be about you.
Your experience page should be about what it’s like to work with you. What are some of their key pain points and how do you solve these problems? What language are you speaking that’s like music to their ears? For example, a couple is looking to elope and they’re not looking for a stressful day, they’re looking for something stress-free.
So you say you want to take the stress off of planning a wedding or an elopement is like music to their ears. Laying it out in a way that’s like telling a story and convincing them a little bit with testimonials and beautiful images and copy that just speaks to them directly. Be specific about things that are going to stand out to them and are going to apply directly to their gut feeling as that’s the biggest driver for purchase decisions.
Approach to main pain points
Dani sees a lot of home pages for photographers and it’s just like a portfolio. It has images but you don’t see anything else about who they are as a photographer. Some other websites would have a big image which is great because you want that on your homepage as a wow factor. Then they’d have a little about me section and then they’d have a “Contact me” button.
That still doesn’t tell anyone anything about who they are as a photographer like your brand, the problem they’re solving, or their brand promise. These are things that don’t involve the SEO side of things but could get you a lead straight from Google because you’re addressing the client’s major pain points.
The importance of SEO
SEO means Search Engine Optimization. It means you’re optimizing your site to be found correctly on Google. Google’s trying to give the best answer to the user’s search. So if your website doesn’t have a lot of domain authority, meaning it’s not very trustworthy, they’re not staying very long.
They’re not clicking around and that’s going to hurt your domain score and it might not get you on page one. You want to be on the first page, that’s the goal. So the way to get that domain authority is to have things like other websites linking to your site.
The number one thing is to link other pages to your site. The second thing is to use keywords. If you’re a Minnesota wedding photographer, you want to have that somewhere in your titles and headings, throughout your paragraph text, but primarily in your titles and headings.
That’s what Google looks at. You should have skimmable content. So if you’re doing an educational blog on how to elope in Yosemite, make it skimmable because it’s going to be hard and overwhelming to read and people will just leave. You want to have titles and headings, breaking up the text making it skimmable, and making sure they get all of the info they need while also using keywords in little text and in that heading text. So keywords can be something like Yosemite and Minnesota wedding photographer if you’re focusing on a specific location.
Optimize your images
Make sure your images are optimized and they’re not huge. As photographers, you’d have big images. So if your site is taking too long to load, it’s probably because your images are too big. You want to make sure that those load quickly and people can skim your site. Also that it’s loading and all the images are popping up in time because people don’t have a lot of patience.
The best way to be found on Google for specific places, like if you want to be known as a Yosemite elopement photographer, is to do a complete web page. It brings in so much traffic. Once you build out the page, you’re using keywords, making it skimmable, and linking it to credible sites as well, then that’s the quick advice on how to get your SEO working for you.
You could do other pain point blog posts like five things to consider when eloping or how you can invite your family when you’re eloping, etc. If you have a gallery blog, optimize the labeling. Label your recent works with specific keywords and specific venues. That’ll drive a lot of correct traffic.
The last thing you can do to see if it’s working is use Google incognito mode with chrome and type in the keyword used and see what comes up, then see what they’re doing on their pages and then look into how you can make yours better.
About specific keywords
If you’re going to write a blog post on specific keywords like Yosemite elopement photographer, use something like a keyword planner within Google AdWords or Google ads. You have to sign up to use the tool. When you sign up, you can easily use the keyword planner. You can see how often that keyword is searched and the competition for it. So if it’s searched a lot and there’s low competition, then that’s the perfect term to use for a blog post as there’s little competition.
You can also use sub-terms. Incorporate the keywords in titles and headings specifically. Using things like Glacier point as a heading, underneath “the How to elope in Yosemite’ blog post. Think of it like Google using spiders to crawl on your site, so when the spiders are crawling you want to make sure that it’s finding the keywords that are going to be the right search.
You don’t want to use too much keyword stuffing because Google will realize what you’re doing and will penalize you. Make it natural, sprinkle them throughout the page where it’s like different varieties of related keywords. Use a keyword planner or Uber Suggests which is another free tool. Do that keyword research and see what’s actually being searched for and then how you can utilize the terms that are being searched for the best way on the page that you’re writing on.
Using location keywords as a destination photographer
Dani is based in California but you would never know that because she doesn’t share that. It doesn’t mean she does not take California weddings. She does; she takes a lot of local weddings. She doesn’t advertise it, she does it because it’s easier for her.
If you’re going to be local, be local, if you’re going to be a destination photographer, be a destination photographer. If you’re going to do both, have separate spaces for both because there are different keywords for each. The content you’re sharing has to match it.
So if you’re saying you’re a Minnesota photographer, and you also do destination work, but all your photos look like they’re from Minnesota, no one’s going to believe you. So go out and get the destination work. Attend concerts, like buy a ticket when tickets are low, and book like five shoots.
Use the keywords “destination wedding photographer” to research the words that are around that keyword and similar to it, make sure that it’s a term that’s being searched and you’re not guessing. You want to make sure what you’re doing and the effort you’re putting into your site is going to work. So use the keyword research tool.
You can create a sales page that’s just specifically destination wedding photographers in general like I’ll help you find your destination, if you’re not sure where, we’ll find it together, and have your specific places too. You can make those other pages in line with that as well, create different pieces of content that specifically speak to those people.
When creating a copy for your site
Make sure you have a call to action throughout your website. CTAs will drive people to different pages on your website, and keep the funnel going. So make sure you have specific buttons, but you don’t want too many. Don’t have three buttons in one overwhelming section; have one focused button per section.
When it comes to copy you base it on your brand and who you are as a photographer. If you’re very personal, let it show. If you’re friendly, talk like a friend, and the voice on your website should be as though you’re talking to a friend.
You could just grab your phone, do a voice memo and talk about yourself if you don’t know how to bring your voice out when typing. The copy should be informative, but it doesn’t need to be, “hey I’m glad you inquired,” that’s business-like. Add some sparkle to your copy.
The second thing is you want to be talking like your brand messaging. So the copy, the titles, and the headings have to be skimmable. So you have the title and heading with the main point and then the paragraph underneath it explaining more with little sections that are great for copy.
Write your copy first
Before you design your website and tackle putting together a template for a website, write your copy first. Write out what you want each section to be on your experience page. Create a Google doc and have your headings, your important points, and then the paragraphs that are going to go with that, and then you design off of that because the copy matters.
You know that copy comes first, now when you are building out your site. Once the design aspect comes that’s when you begin incorporating the images that almost complement the copy as well.
If you’re struggling with copy, you can outsource it, or have someone help you because creating a sales page that converts and works is going to be worth it in the long run. You could voice out a memo and have an assistant transcribe it for you and make it have your flow.
Two big mistakes you can make with your website
The first is having a homepage that is missing a lot of your brand messaging like your whys. This won’t help you! Why are you doing photography, why are you shooting weddings or newborns? Figure that out and talk about it because it’s going to resonate more. Also, not having an experience page is part of your mistake.
The second thing is don’t have all your pricing on your page. You should only share your starting prices, and here’s why. It allows you in a meeting later to kind of upsell them to a higher package. If you were to just show all your cards at once, they’re going to be kind of turned off and shocked. They might not reach out to you.
But if a client sees a starting price that’s within their budget, that’s going to get them in the door. That allows you to hop on a meeting with them face to face and explain to them better what could suit them. You explain more and get almost a little more customized with them in that way and they see the value in a higher package. On your website, they just see numbers and think it’s too much and out of their budget.
Starting prices go a long way as a pricing page helps you weed out people that are looking for a $500 photographer and wasting your time.
If you’re charging a lot of money upwards of $5000 for weddings, and elopements, your website needs to show it. You have to show that quality is there and if your website is lacking it’s going to be hard to convince someone to pay $5000. If your website is beautiful and has beautiful messaging and speaks directly to your client, then they’re more inclined to book you.
Websites are very important. In 2020, Dani’s Instagram account was hacked and that was the biggest driver for inquiries for her business. When she got hacked, she had a moment of panic. She didn’t know where to get the rest of her inquiries. There was no hope in sight and that was her big wake-up call and she redid her website. If you don’t have a perfect website, just make it go live because something is better than nothing.
Your website is going to take a minute for the SEO juice to build so the sooner you get it live, the more SEO quality you’re going to have and that’s going to help you in the long run. Also as a photographer, it’s important to keep the creativity going and do honest, creative, and fun shoots.
Dani Purington can be found on Instagram at @danipurington and her elopement account is @danipuringtonelopements. You can also follow her on her education platform which is at @rootedwrkshp and also on her website!