Please take a look at my site and help me!

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by SmilingSunflower, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. SmilingSunflower

    SmilingSunflower TPF Noob!

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    I created a website 3 months ago. I am trying to get the hang of marketing myself, but it's an uphill battle for sure.

    I have had 650+ views to my website and no inquiries, calls, emails, NOTHING.

    How can this be? What is the norm for this sort of business?

    Everyone told me my photography was great and I should try to make some money at it. Last Fall I built my portfolio a bit and had many photoshoots with friends and family. I have 180 Facebook fans, many of which I actually know and they all rave about my photos. Yet NO ONE wants to pay me to do it.

    I had my prices on there for awhile and they were in line with the competition in my area. In fact, I know for a fact my work is better than some of the others around where I live and I'm a better deal. Finally I removed all of the prices but the sitting fee to see if that was hindering people from contacting me. It's made no difference.

    I guess where I'm at is... I read and study and learn about all these things to tweak and do when you are starting out and how to not overwork yourself and what to charge and this and that. But all of the 'advice' assumes you actually have a customer! I have NONE.

    I have tried to look at my website objectively and I think it looks fine.

    Could you please take a look and give me any advice? I am thinking I may shorten the opening slideshow. But I think that little things here or there will always need to be tweaked on anyone's website. The overall shock is that no one has said ONE WORD to me since I launched it. With over 650 hits, averaging 26 hits a week, I'm just standing here with my jaw on the floor. I'm really starting to take it personally.

    Also, any marketing advice would be great! Facebook and Craigslist are my main ones now. But I also can run promotions on FB and no one cares. Oh they love my stuff, but NO ONE cares even if I said I'd do it free and give them free prints. (Not that I've said that, but I'd lay money no one would even respond.)

    What gives? Anyone else having this problem? Thanks so much in advance for any advice!


     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  2. Dominantly

    Dominantly TPF Noob!

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    :lol:

    Sorry, I shouldn't laugh, but I couldn't help it as you said a few things that hit the funny bone.

    For one, that everyone you know on Facebook loves your photos. This is the case with everyone, your friends and family will always tell you your photos are awesome, how many will really tell you all about your flaws? Second, most facebook conversations and posts are empty.

    The next amusing part was about the customer base and your frustration at how silly they are for not seeking you out and paying you to take photos of them. The reality is you have to know how to market, you need word of mouth, you need exposure, and most of all you need to realize the photography market is flooded. Make friends with stay at home moms and take photos of their kids and have them spread the word.

    Just for reference I get 10,000+ hits on my site (most as from here), and no one buys my photos :( (don't expect them to though).
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2010
  3. SmilingSunflower

    SmilingSunflower TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, I appreciate you taking the time to reply to my post.

    I really don't expect anyone to 'seek me out and pay me'. I'm just wondering if there is something off-putting or lacking about my website.

    Unless I totally suck or the website is turning people off I'd think I'd at least have 1 person say one word to me in 3 months with having over 650 views.

    Mostly I just want advice on is there something wrong with it?

    I even run a FB ad and it gets hits daily that lead to my site.

    Maybe it will take a lot more people to get any interest at all? I don't know. I'm just really taken aback.

    Thx again!
     
  4. bennielou

    bennielou TPF Noob!

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    You know what? I check out sites for people everyday, but this is a really SUPER FANTANSIC one. It draws you in. You get attached. It's perfect.

    Many blessings and I hope everything turns out wonderful.
     
  5. Jeff Colburn

    Jeff Colburn TPF Noob!

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    You're site is fine, what you need to do is make yourself known to your target market. From what I saw, you specialize in photography of children. Make friends with local businesses that deal with children (baby clothes, toy stores, etc.) and maybe have some of your prints hanging in their stores. Offer them a referral fee for every completed photo assignment (after you get paid). Write an article on baby photography for the local newspaper and any local magazines. You have to get out there in the real world, not just online, and get known.

    Have Fun,
    Jeff
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2010
  6. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I actually like you site, I think its fine. It loads relatively fast, its nicely laid out, simple.... much better than other sites I have seen.

    One comment as I navigated was that when I clicked on a section (ex Information) and then clicked on a sub section (ex Investment) the Information menu tab would be covered by a black box. Might want to maybe have it a different shade or slightly more legible.

    But yeah, thats a nitpick really.

    - I clicked on the flickr menu bar and I got a message saying "We're sorry, Flirck doesn't allow embedding within frames. If you'd like to view this content, click here"

    No biggy, but any type of annoying message like that is a turn off. Might be on my end though, I dunno
     
  7. photolamorte

    photolamorte TPF Noob!

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    Your site is great..
    I took a look at your meta data (stuff search engines look for) and you did a good job tagging words that other photographers would search for. Edit this section and add things like: baby, moms dads, nanny, hospitals, newborn, senior, high schools, environmental, bride, groom, DJ, music, planner, events, flowers, etc...

    hit anything you think someone searching for vendors would type in.

    Next.. target a community... offer to hang images appropriate to their clientele in their shop for free.. as wall art... and a small place for appropriate business cards. You should have a few varieties. A wedding, a protrait, maybe a infant, etc.. a bride does not care about your portraits, and a Mom does not care about your wedding stuff.. in most cases, been there, done that.

    I hope this helps...
    Pat
     
  8. JLEphoto

    JLEphoto TPF Noob!

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    The site looks great...though I am not a fan of the music because I typically listen to my own when surfing. I am in the same boat as you with all of my firends telling me how great the photos are but not much exposure beyond that. Take a look at my site and blog if you get a chance to return the favor (listed below). I will spend some more time on yours while I am at it. Best of luck!!!!!!
     
  9. JLEphoto

    JLEphoto TPF Noob!

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    P.S.... The photos are good too...I don't know you so I am telling the truth :>)
     
  10. SmilingSunflower

    SmilingSunflower TPF Noob!

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    Thanks to all of you for taking the time to look at my site and for your comments and advice. I really appreciate it!

    And to JLEphoto. I looked at your site. It looks really nice. You are very talented. I really loved the photo of the water and the photographer and camera beside it.

    The only thing I'd change may be your opening text. It's a bit small and it starts out talking about you. I think it should be bigger and start out talking about what someone stopping by your site may want. Like if they are there to possibly buy your stuff or if they may want a photo shoot. Then talk about yourself, etc.

    Some people won't take the time to read about you until after they figure out if they may want to use you.

    Hope that helps!

    And for anyone who cares, I have a strange dilemma. I used to live closer to the nicer suburbs of a City. Now I live in a small town/city that is in dire straits economically. The market is also saturated with photographers. I'm just living here for a year or 2 because it's less expensive than the City I'd like to live in etc. I'm saying all this because most of the advice I've gotten on here and from what I've researched elsewhere has said 'get out in the community, make yourself known, etc'. While that is sound advice, it's not going to work where I currently live. It is a low income population and has 20% unemployment. I doubt many will want to spend money on photography when they can't buy food.

    I thought by not having a 'studio' and by doing stuff 'on-location' that I could get around that by pulling most of my business from the bigger city suburbs, but they are about an hours drive away. While I can do a little to get in there, it's very hard when you don't live there. I guess I'm saying my hands are a bit tied due to location at the moment. But I hate to give up and say 'oh I'll wait until we move back to the bigger City', because you know how life goes and I just may never make it back to what I wanted to do in the first place.

    Weird dilemma and I doubt there's much that can be done about it. Thanks again for all of your time and advice!
     
  11. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

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    Everything has pretty much already been said, but I find it terribly annoying when i can't turn the music off on a website. Most people on a computer are already listening to music they want to hear, and if they're not, it's because they either don't want to be listening to music or can't be.

    I was already listening to something when I went to your site, and I couldn't quickly find a way to turn it off, so I left. The song I was listening to ended before I was done reading this thread, so I went back. But that won't be true for most people.

    Do you have Google Analytics? Who is looking at your site? What search terms are bringing them in, where are they coming from, how long do they stay and so on? That's all really important to know if it's working. Hits don't really matter. When I went, couldn't turn off the music, and left; that was a hit.
     
  12. Nicholas James Photo

    Nicholas James Photo TPF Noob!

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    Cant really comment on your site, although it looks great to me, because I'm rubbish at that side of my business. I did attempt to get a site up and running (after 20 odd years in business) but have now employed a pro to do it for me. It goes live next week. I am having a site done, although fully booked for 2010, because it seems to be expected. Keep plugging away at it but dont let it consume you.
    Over the years I have built up the business through word of mouth which seems to work for me, maybe you could try some of the following.

    Get in contact with associated trades. For example, if you wish to photograph weddings then get in touch with bridal gown suppliers. They have the brides ear. Offer to shoot for them free of charge but make them realise that if they use your pics, you want credit. I know it's a days work for free but the advertising power is great compared to say FB. Whatever you loose by the no fee situation you would have spent on FB adverts anyway, so what have you to loose. Make sure that if they are using prints on the wall of their business your name is on the print

    And this can be adapted to any type of photography. Baby shops, sports shops etc whatever your gendre of photography.

    Business cards are a must have and give them to absolutley everyone you come into contact with.

    Offer a commission payment to event organisers at hotels (weddings etc), or offer a donation to the school library (school photography) etc etc

    With lifestyle photography (as your site suggests) try going to mother and toddler groups etc etc.

    I know it is hard at the begining but just keep plugging away at it
     

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