Spotlight On…‘Tips for Photographers When Setting Up a Website: Part 1 - Optimisation'

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Every now and then, I’ll be hand-picking some of my most awesome friends in the business (who come 100% recommended) and asking them to give you glimpse into what they do and more importantly offering you guys some really helpful and interesting information which will no doubt be so useful.

I’m really excited today to introduce you to my friend David Leng of StarrySky Design, an awesome web design company in Sheffield, UK,

David has assisted me with my main website over the past year and I was so blown away by his work, I knew I had to introduce him to you guys as maybe he could also help you out in the future.

So in this three part feature, David will take you through some of the fundamental considerations when putting together your first website. I hope you enjoy it. RD

Tips for Photographers when setting up a website – Part 1 - Optimisation and Social Networking.

Having a brand new fantastic looking website is absolutely pointless if no one can view it. This is why optimisation and social networking is vital for a new website. Social networking has become a massive part of everyones life over the past few years, with Twitter and Facebook you can keep in touch with anyone, anywhere and at anytime. You can get a Twitter and Facebook account for free and start interacting with fellow photographers or possible clients immediately so what better way to find new friends and clients and let them know about your latest offers or your latest achievements than to broadcast it to everyone at once. You easily achieve this by linking your Twitter account to Facebook and you don’t have to do any posting twice! Facebook also allows you to setup a business page via their homepage rather than a new profile account for your photography business, by doing this you can then suggest your business page to your Facebook friends and contacts with a message attached and then they can do the same to their friends so without really trying you can have people viewing your business page on a daily basis.

I have come across so many websites with absolutely no optimisation but the website looks fantastic and it is a shame because they will not be getting as many people admiring their work as they should be!

Webmaster Tools:

I recommend starting out by signing up to Google's webmaster tools, here you can add a xml sitemap which holds a list of your website pages and tells google what pages to scan on your website (you can get a sitemap example from me), keep track of your impressions and visits, what keywords are being generated from your website and where your website is ranking when certain keywords are being searched. To get started simply search webmaster tools on google, also Bing now offer this service so signing up there is also recommended.

Meta Tags:

Meta tags are very important to a new website as when a search result of your website shows up it has the title, description and domain showing. There are specific guidelines to follow for character length on the title, description and keywords and it is important to not go over these guidelines as it could mean in your website being rejected by the search engine. I recommend keeping your title short using 2-3 keywords such as the main location of your target audience, your service and company name so for example if I was a Portrait Photographer from Sheffield called John Smith I would set up my title as follows;

Sheffield Portrait Photographer | John Smith | Portrait Photography

A good domain to go along with my title and company would be something like;

johnsmithportraits.co.uk or johnportraitphotography.co.uk

HTML:

Using correct HTML is also beneficial and can mean a higher ranking if you make full use of all your content, this means;

Adding titles to hyperlinks

Because Google and other search engines work off keywords, hyperlink titles could be very beneficial as it is giving more information to both the search engine and a potential customer. You can add titles to your hyperlinks by adding in title=”mytitle” in the hyperlink code.

Adding alt text to your images

Alternative text to your images is important if a image fails to show or a link is broken then a potential customer will see the text rather than the image so they know what the image is representing. You can add image alt text by typing alt=”my alternative text” in the image code.

Adding your navigation or sitemap into the footer of your webpages

Not only is this good for search engines but also for visitors to your website. Having navigation at the top and at the footer is great for a website where scrolling is needed as they can navigate through the website at the top or the bottom and by adding titles to all your footer hyperlinks google can pick up more keywords and content from your website. I personally like to use lists for my navigation as it makes access for Google and a client very simple.

All the help mentioned in this short post is free for everyone so doesnt cost anything to set up and is very important to a new and existing website especially if no optimisation is present at all! There are many areas such as header tags, Google Analytics, Google Adwords, using tables and divs which have not been covered in this so please get in touch for more information, examples and any help you require.

David Leng www.starryskydesign.com