Ten Web Portfolio and Blogging Mistakes

Maintaining a blog with fresh stories and images can attract attention to your business and help your positioining in search engine results with increased traffic. There are a lot of guides that offer tips to create a better web portfolio, but they often don’t mention the things an artist should avoid. Below is a list of blogging mistakes and how to fix them.

1. Adding music or sound effects

Flash animation that is done well can provide an extra touch if it’s not too distracting, but playing sound is an unwelcome surprise to readers in an office environment.

2. Neglecting to include easy-to-find contact information and an About page
Your potential clients want to know who is talking and how to reach you. Transparency in your portfolio is a big aspect of attracting more viewers.

3. Using the default template
If you don't have custom design, there are lots of great templates to choose from. Instead of just using your Web or blog provider's first default option because it’s easy, find the template that best fits your personality or consider creating a new one.

4. Using the hosting platform domain
Everyone needs to start somewhere, and trying out a site hosted on a blog or website-building domain makes a lot of sense. However, professional photographers really should purchase their own domain name. The domain name is part of the URL address people use to navigate to your site, e.g. joecameraphotography.com, and it should be your brand identity, unencumbered by your host site's name.

5. Not tagging your photos
Make sure to add some text information around your images, ideally with some tags, like a title, keywords, and a description. This doesn't need to burden your workflow but significantly helps bring search engine traffic to your site and provides a reference for your viewers.

6. Posting sporadically
Keeping a posting schedule means that readers know when to find new images. It doesn’t have to be very often but it should be consistent. Leaving a site unattended can result in the loss of precious momentum and viewers and lower your search engine ranking.

7. Flooding a site with ads
Ads can be an acceptable way of recouping some of the time and money you spend on a site. Advertising has to be highly relevant and appropriate for your viewers and your style, non-intrusive and well placed or it can turn off your viewers and make it difficult to find your content. If you choose to put third-party ads on your site, plan ad placement carefully and sparingly and you can still end up earning some dividends.

8. Including links that open in a new browser
You don’t want viewers to leave, so you may be tempted to always select the option to open links in new windows. But viewers can be annoyed at new windows they didn’t ask for. Your potential clients will know how to get back if they want, so new windows aren’t necessary.

9. Posting blindly
Add tools like tracking widgets that give you information about how viewers are finding your site. Is traffic coming from previous clients praising your work in their own blogs, from links in your online advertising, or as a result of your own posting in pro photographer forums where you aren’t liable to reap new clients? Just having this information can give you ideas about where you need more exposure. Targeting your content to the readers you want can build your audience.

10. Everything is a Masterpiece
We know your work is perfection, but making your Web images 10MB will grind things to a halt. When you prepare an image for Web viewing, you need to strike the balance between speed, quality and size while remembering that all three are factors. An excellent place to start is by preparing a copy of your image at 72ppi in a size that will fit on an average monitor, convert it to sRGB color profile, and use Photoshop's Save for Web (CS2 and earlier) or Save for Web & Devices (CS3) option. The Save for Web 2-Up tab shows you the original compared to the more compressed version, tells you how long it will take to display at a given connection speed, and allows you to change the compression and image quality settings accordingly.

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Contributed by the engineering and support team of Squarespace, a premium Web hosting and design tool for individuals and professionals. To access Squarespace designs for photographers, visit photographers.squarespace.com.

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Comments (2)

Thank you for excellent advices. I learned that many couples would love to read articles about wedding photography I have on a website. This help them to create a positive opinion about the photographer. In other words - blog is not everything!

Marc:

Thank you for a great post. All excellent points!

I just wanted to add that even with domain masking to make your URL brand appear, it is still way better to self host the blog platform. WordPress is free and takes only minutes to setup on your own host, plus it provides an almost unlimited number of templates. Some particularly well designed for professional photographers.

-Marc
Tour Kertesz - the Hybrid WordPress Blogsite for Professional Photographers
http://www.ProPhotoBlogsite.com

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