What is the first thing many couples do when looking to start planning a wedding? Chances are they are turning to their computers to start researching. Sure, there are a number of other ways to bring new business in… Word of mouth, direct referrals, wedding magazines, television commercials. The list goes on. The Internet has become the go-to destination to plan a wedding. If you’re looking to grow your business, investing a little attention towards your website is a smart move. It may be the first impression they have of your business. So, where do you start?
Website Elements to Focus On
(Search Engine Optimization) If you want your customers to find your website in the first place, you’ll want to work alongside someone who has experience in search engine optimization. The text on your website should be searchable.
SEO: The Downfalls of Flash-Based Websites
Many photographers in the industry utilize Flash-based websites. Although this medium may allow for more creativity in page layouts and special effects, it also has it’s downfalls. Sites built entirely with Flash, tend to be unsearchable and can have long page load times. Who has the time to wait around for images to load? I don’t know about you, but I think younger generations are becoming less and less patient as technology speeds increase. Having a website that is searchable by Google, Bing & other search engines is extremely important. Especially in an industry that is heavily focused on location.
SEO: Profit First, Imagery Second
It’s always a good idea to focus on what your customers might be searching for when thinking about your website’s content. Large page titles and headings are important to users (since they are larger visually). They are also important to search engines. Headings should always be HTML text and not images. In the wedding industry, you may want to focus on including search terms such as your key services (photography, invitations, entertainment) and also your locations served (nearby metro areas if you live in a rural area).
If your customers aren’t finding your website, chances are your content could use a second look.
Remember there are folks out there who write web content. When in doubt, hire a professional!
SEO: Blogging 101
Another great way to bring more traffic to your website is by setting up a blog. A blog will offer the most benefits if:
- It is setup on the same domain as your website
- It contains topics relevant to your business and what is happening currently in the industry
- It isn’t focus on selling or marketing your own business directly
- It offers easy ways to browse different categories
- It’s easy to read & informative. Good content is key!
- Titles and headings are targeting towards key terms your potential customers might be searching for.
How much information should you giving your customers when they are shopping around different websites for information? Everything you can! Making it difficult for your potential customers to price your services will likely help persuade them to work with another vendor. When considering all of the costs that go into planning a wedding, budget, for most, is very important. On the other hand, if your products are beautifully displayed and you have an incredible reputation for your work, it may not have any affect on your business.
Newer vendors who are trying to compete in the industry may find it beneficial to list pricing. Nothing is more frustrating then having to spend hours calling vendors just to find out they aren’t within the budget you were looking for. You’ll stay ahead of the pack if you can at least give a few price ranges or list “starting at” pricing. Having a web platform that you can easily update when listing out pricing is important as well. Assuming that you increase your prices every so often. Being able to update your website is key if your going to promote prices.
Poor photography can be the downfall to any website. In the wedding industry it can be even more crucial to success online. When anyone pictures a wedding, they don’t think of dark, or badly lit scenes. Having poor photos on your site can do more harm than good. Even if your only other option is to go without. I would suggest the later. Hiring a professional photographer to shoot your wedding cakes or capture your handcrafted designs can drastically improve your web presence.
It’s no longer just important what is displayed in your store. This may mean you need to rethink who you are networking and partnering with at your next event. Or maybe you could hire a photographer to snap some photos at your next wedding of some of your work. You might be thinking, “I already have a lot of customers knocking at my door, I don’t need to invest in a better web presence.” This is a common reaction that successful businesses have to the web. I find it to be a very poor outlook on business.
Why fix what’s not already broken?
If you do want to continue to build your business and not have your competitors take the spotlight, it may be time to spend a little money on your website. Don’t wait and try to play catch-up later. Stay a step ahead!
Simplicity & Focus
When planning out your website, think about what actions you want your customer to take. Your end goal should always be to get them to contact you. If you offer videography services, the first thing I would expect to see is video samples. Make it so simple that anyone can figure out what you do, what your work is like and how to contact you. Avoid adding too much content and frivolous items that the focus becomes lost. Give your visitors only what they need to see to make a sound decision to hire you.
Examples of Successful Website Designs
How About You?
Which wedding websites have you come across that were exceptionally well designed? Please share your favorites in the comments below.