3 Tools to Optimize Your Photography Website

Question: What are some tools to analyze your website’s effectiveness?

You can’t determine your website’s “effectiveness” until you define its goals. Is the goal to attract new clients? To make sales? To encourage people to share your work via social media?

Depending on the purpose of your website, you’ll want to focus on specific features and check out how well they’re operating. But assuming that almost everyone wants to get “found” online by potential clients and provide a good visitor experience, here are three free tools to help analyze the most crucial components of your website:

Google Analytics

This is arguably the king of all website analytic tools. While big, expensive analytics solutions are available, Google Analytics is free and easy to set up on your photography website. There’s a lot of information available, so let’s focus on two major reports: Site Content and Traffic Sources.

  • Site Content helps you understand how people are interacting with your website. One metric that should be of particular interest is Pages, which ranks your webpages by number of visitors so you can see which are the most popular. Figure out what makes them popular and apply similar principles to the remainder of your website to improve your visitors’ overall experience.
  • Traffic Sources tells you how many people are visiting your site and where they’re coming from. It’s important to understand these metrics and see if current marketing efforts are driving the traffic you expect, and where you can improve to drive even more traffic to your site. You can also take note of events that might have caused a spike in traffic. For example, this peak here is from when we released The Photographer’s Social Media Handbook in January.

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There are four types of sources – search traffic, referral traffic, direct traffic, and campaigns.

  • Search traffic includes the people who visit your site via search engines like Google. Use this data to see which keywords people have searched for that led them to click through to your site. It’s a good idea to use this list in your search engine optimization (SEO) work —bolstering the presence of these words on your site may help you climb higher in search results.
  • Referral traffic is traffic that comes from other websites. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are often the top sources for referral traffic, especially if you are actively sharing links to your website on these platforms. Other sources might be blogs or external websites that are linking to you.
  • Direct traffic is simply people who type your URL into their web browser and come directly to your website. These are likely people who know you already or have seen your offline marketing campaigns.
  • Campaigns can be set up to track your specific marketing strategies – for example, using Google’s URL builder to track if posting a link on a forum leads to any traffic or conversions on your website.

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Majestic can help fine tune your SEO. Its Site Explorer tool offers important information that’s useful for figuring out how to increase your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). When you input your website’s domain (i.e. photoshelter.com, not www.photoshelter.com) into the toolbar, it spits back the total number of referring domains and external backlinks. This tells you the number of websites and also the number of links that link to your website, respectively. You can view Top Backlinks to see what sites are linking to you (the top five are free, but you can view the rest with a paid subscription).

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Backlinks are an important factor in determining where your website ranks in the SERPs. A good way to see if you could potentially displace the sites above you is to input their domains in Majestic as well, to see how many backlinks they have. Also check out their top backlinks to help brainstorm ideas where you might be able to score new links.

Website Speed Test

We’ve all had it happen: You try to visit a website, but it takes so long to load that you get impatient and end up leaving before it even finishes. Beyond it just being annoying, a slow loading website might also get penalized by Google – so don’t let this happen to you! If your site takes longer than three seconds to load, then consider what factors might be influencing its sluggishness and clean up your site.

For example, make sure your site’s designs and images are optimized for the web. At PhotoShelter, we automatically do this for all our users’ websites so that they can upload their images in whatever file type and size they want, and then we take care of rendering them for the web. Check with your website provider to be sure they do the same.

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There’s a lot to pay attention to when trying to optimize your website. A lot of useful information can be gleaned from Google Analytics, so try starting there and working on features that bring you the most business. As your website becomes more robust, revaluate your site’s goals and you’ll be ready to tackle new optimization projects.

If you’re a photographer looking for more info, check out this free guide: PhotoShelter’s Google Analytics for Photographers.

About Allen

Allen Murabayashi is Co-Founder and Chairman of PhotoShelter, the leader in photography portfolio websites, photo sales, marketing, and archiving tools for photographers. Allen is also an avid photographer and frequently speaks on how photographers can use online marketing to grow their businesses. PhotoShelter

Related Articles:

1. 5 Steps to Create a Website That Delivers Work

2. Dialogues Podcast: Optimizing the Engines of Success

3. Dialogues Podcast: The Artist’s Website in an Increasingly Digital World

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