When first starting out as a business, people often ask themselves, especially photographers, whether they really need to set up their own website or not, which was the subject of today’s #askVENTH episode. So, do you? In a word, yes, you do. Regardless of what stage you’re at in your photography career, the sooner you start thinking about yourself as a business the sooner you’ll actually start to make the progress that you’re looking for.

Why do I need a website?

Having a slick looking website set up from day one is not only going to give you a great platform to display your work and let people know what you’re all about, but it will also make you look super professional, helping to attract interested customers and business opportunities to get you started. You can add a page to explain who you are and what you do, to give your customers the opportunity to get to know you and what inspires you, as well as clearly laying out what your products and services are so that they can book you out easily, or collaborate with you. Even if you’re not thinking about turning photography into your full time career straight from the word go, it will be beneficial to your business to keep these steps in mind for the future.

Having that base to direct clients back to will also help to develop your photography. Say for instance you want to work with models, you’re going to want to be improving the quality of the work that you’re doing for your portfolio, so you’re going to want to be attracting better and better models each time. If you present yourself in a professional way through your website, it’s going to attract the models you want to work with by easily showing them your most awesome shots, making them want to be involved with what you do.

But I’m on social media, isn’t that enough?

Social media is amazing for networking, finding new people to work with, and promoting your work; but people will still ask you if you have a website that you can point them to so that they can check you out further and really get a feel for what it is that you do. You might start building a fantastic following across Twitter and Instagram, who are engaging with your posts and who you enjoy interacting with, but when they are going to want to see your website you always want to keep that professionalism element in mind. If you point them to your whizz-bang website which showcases your work beautifully, they’re going to be impressed, they’re going to tell their friends, and they’re going to keep you in mind should they require any of your products or services in the future.

Say for example you’re a wedding photographer and you’ve got a really great website showing off your best wedding shots. Your followers are going to click through to your website, see how fantastic and experienced you are, then they’re going to be reminded of that when they have their own or a friend’s wedding on the horizon. If you do a good job, which you will, you’ll then have that connection locked in for future life events which you can offer your services for, like a baby shower. It really does give you a good platform to start building upon your career, whether that’s something that you want to go to now or just to have that option into the future.

Get to know Google

Just by having a website, you’ve already started building the history in Google for your domain name and generating traffic to your photography, widening your target market and getting your name out there into the interwebs. Awesome, when you’re a little more confident with what you’re doing, now you can work on strengthening your keywords and SEO to boost you up in Google’s rankings and keep pulling those customers in from the search terms that they’re using. If you keep working hard and developing your SEO, you could eventually boot yourself onto page one of Google for the search terms that apply to you, and that’s when you can hope to really start getting attention.

How do I choose a name?

There’s nothing worse than having picked out a business name and then going to register it a year later and it be gone, so the sooner you can lock these down the better. It’s good to be as consistent as possible with your naming conventions, so that when you’re on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, your website – ideally they should all have the same name. The less confusing you make it for your customers and the easier to find you, the better it is for you. So for example, Brian has his domain set up as brianventh.com, and is @BrianVENTH across every social media platform that was available, apart from the odd one where someone else got in first with his name – bummer.

Once you have a domain name in mind, buying and setting it up is fairly straightforward. We’ve actually had some experience in this and are happy to point you in the direction that we went down! If you’re looking for the whole package and would like to purchase both your domain name and hosting together, you can do so via Blue Host and save 30%. Or if you’ve already got your website hosting sorted out, you can reserve a domain name only through 123-reg.co.uk, the UK’s largest domain registrar.