Today’s review is of Victoria Johansson Photography. As far as I know, she’s not related to Scarlett, but like the Black Widow in the Avengers, she’s apparently from Russia! Victoria is just up the I-5 from the Flaunt Your Site San Diego world headquarters, in Orange County, and she focuses on wedding and lifestyle photography.
While the site is clean and simple, it seems a bit too clean and simple. Orange County is a very competitive market, and not only do your photographs need to stand out, but so does your website. I think a logo, menu and a slideshow might seem like a nice design, but your website is about selling you, and competing with everyone else in your area.
When I scroll down I notice there’s a little bit of text, but it seems like it was written for search engines, and not for people. I actually encourage people to have text on their home page as a way to connect and have your visitors figure out if this website is going to solve their problems. But this text isn’t really doing that. Adding a photo of yourself will help, but your text should speak to the website viewer. What kinds of things did you want to hear when you were getting married? This is a good place to do that.
I’m also not a fan of how the theme you’re using keeps this area “below the fold” and forces you to scroll to see it. A website’s main purpose for a small business like yours is to sell your product. And your photographs aren’t your product. YOU ARE! So you need to bring yourself forward as much as possible (without being annoying of course).
SEO Wise, you’ll want to use the Yoast SEO plugin and get your site set up properly. (Shameless plug… I have a whole video series that shows you how to do that, and set your site up to get more search traffic).
Your Title Tag (The words in the Browser tab) say “Home | Orange County Wedding Photographer” and it’s like that on every page/post right now. So the Portfolio page will say “Portfolio | Orange County Wedding Photographer.” But only one page on your website will rank for the term “Orange County Wedding Photographer” so you want to choose the best page for it, and only use it there.
I would change the site name in the WordPress settings to “Victoria Johansson Photography.” …because that’s your business name.
Then make sure you use the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin to make the necessary changes on your pages.
Your menu is laid out kinda like every other photographer.The way photographers organize their information bears to resemblance to what brides want, which leads to brides having to go on goose chases for that info.
Have you really thought about the thought process of a bride looking for information on a photographer? What do they want to know first?
So first.. Let’s tell them what you do. Let’s assume they haven’t scrolled down to read your blurb… You want to tell them right away what kind of photography you shoot. You can do so easily in the menu. By having Weddings, Engagements and Lifestyle (or anything else you shoot), the visitor can go right where they want to and not have to dig around for it.
Then those pages what I call Service Pages (because they talk about the services you offer), are where all the information your brides could ever want to know about. You can embed your portfolio slideshows there, you can talk about your rates, where you’ve photographed, why you love photographing weddings, etc.
Coincidentally since these pages have so much content, they’re also the ones that tend to rank in the search engines. But they do so because they’re useful, not because they have a bunch of keywords stuffed in them. 🙂
I tend to not like giving people a bunch of options on a site where the primary intent is to get them to contact you. And I’m also not a fan of drop down menus. So just let people go straight to the Blog. Don’t worry about giving them the option to read certain categories. I think people tend to do this because they saw it on someone else’s website and thought it was cool without thinking of how it affects the purpose of the website in the first place.
Every pixel on a website should be thought out. Remember, this is your main sales and marketing tool.
Reading through your first post here, it seems very much like a commercial for something. There’s nothing with writing that way, but you really want to find your own voice and not have your posts be about writing for Google. Blogs are great because they allow you to connect with an audience. So write for them first.
Stop bolding keywords. it’s weird. It’s an SEO tactic from 10 years ago. But it’s weird for human being. Write for them, not Google.
Think about why you’d want to take your time and read this and look at the photos… Then write that!
Also, looking at your Alt Tags, you’re just using the file names. Alt Tags should be unique for every photo, and not just a place to stuff keywords.
Photographers just need to stop using Alt Tags as a crutch for keywords. Google isn’t rewarding you for stuffing those keywords behind the scenes I can guarantee that.
Down at the bottom, you have a call to action. It’s good to be thinking that way, but again, you’re pandering to the search engines with the “If you are looking for a Malibu Wedding Photographer.”
I would suggest you figure out who you are as a photographer… “If you are looking for a better photographer than Scarlet Johansson, call me!”
Figure out what sets you apart from the other photographers out there, and bring that personality into everything including these call to actions. Figuring this stuff out is what some would call your brand or your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). It’s what makes you different. Do that, and people will start to share about you, and Google will reward you with rankings.
And make them huge! No P.S…. You want the call to action to be the first thing they see after they go through the blog post.
You’re bolding text and linking from a keyworded anchor text… This is all old-outdated SEO stuff. You can’t do that now. You have to think about people, not search engines.
You’re also not an Orange County Wedding Photographer (you just happen to do wedding photography). If you’re going to ask such a large question like that, be real… Connect with the people that are going to hire you. Saying you’re a wedding photographer is so surface.
Getting real here is what is going to have people connect with you.
Talk about why you love wedding photography… Talk about how when you were a little girl and you looking at the pictures from your parent’s wedding one rainy day… you could see the love that was captured in the images, and suddenly the sun burst through the clouds and lit up everything, and you had a glorious revelation that you wanted to bring that joy to people’s lives until the day you died!
Ok… so I have a flair for the dramatic, but someone reading a story about the ‘why’ will connect with you way more than just saying you’re a wedding photographer.
Rewrite this as a narrative. And the whole “I am me.” Is silly. Take this page seriously (unless your brand is to be silly, then make it really silly). But this is your product. You are selling you!
Use a great photo where you’re not hiding behind the camera. Get a photograph of you looking into the lens so people can connect with you. That’s SO important. People need to get intimate with you. This is the very beginning of that process. Also… you have more keywords in your Alt Tag. Again, describe the image, don’t keyword stuff.
One thing I noticed in this is you said that you only knew one Russian swear word. But you hadn’t yet established that you are from Russia. That threw me off.
Take all this information and make Services pages for Weddings, Engagements, and Lifestyle. If this is frequently asked information, it should be front and center on your Service pages so they don’t have to ask.
Pricing & Contact Page:
First, these should be two separate things. In fact the Rates should be on the Service pages just to make things easier on your potential clients.
As far as pricing… There is no clarity at all. Potential brides aren’t going to stick around on your site and try to figure out what you’re trying to say.
You need to be so clear that a 5 year old can figure out what you charge.
Package 1 – $1,900
This, this, this and that
Package 2 – $2,900
This, that and 2 other things.
What you have now is confusing, and they’re probably think that you charge $3,800 for the full day… Or does she even do full day weddings??? Again… use a 5 year old or your grandma to figure out if it’s easy enough to figure out.
With the Contact, it’d be nice to have a Thank You page that suggests they go like your Facebook page or read some more blog posts etc. The confirmation is nice. But again, you can bring some more personalization to the site.
Just think about what sets you apart from everyone else… Maybe it’s that you speak 5 languages, and you can design your site around that… (Flickr would always tell you Hello in different languages when you logged in, and it was one of those cool little touches that made them unique).