Dee Mcmeeking is the lead tutor for our new Diploma in Floral & Event Styling which is currently offered through our UK and Australian campuses. She is an Academy alumnus, floral expert and the successful owner of Dee Mcmeeking Wedding Styling and Wedding Flowers. In today’s tutor blog post, Dee encourages you to question the current methodology behind your wedding business website design and layout and demonstrates how small changes can make a huge improvement to the look and feel.
You are emotionally attached to your business and sometimes this will blind you because you know what you mean when you say XYZ, or when you see XYZ. But you have to ask yourself will a future client get it?
Sometimes looking at a competitor website will scare the life out of you but sometimes you can learn from it!
I had a very interesting conversation with a friend who happens to be a wedding photographer recently and she was talking about her competitor’s website. We’ve all done it! And it can be a soul destroying experience if you are feeling a little wobbly or down about the state of your business. You know the grass is always greener on the other side feeling? They have it all and I’m just rubbish and no one is ever going to pay me enough for my services and maybe I should quit? And everyone will book them and not me! Well, it was like that really – to start with but then this happened.
While looking at the competitor website we noticed that her photos were grouped into mini stories. Three to four images physically blocked together from one wedding. The first few showed an urban scene, followed by a rural scene. Then the next block showed detailed shots, and then bridal party shots. There was a clear structure to it and with the images being big they appealed straight away and screamed happy wedding day capturing the emotion of this amazing event in your life. I was emotionally attached to the images straight away! An important thing for people looking at your website for the first time!
Then we looked at her site. There was no narrative in the images, there were too many images and they were too small to see on a phone. That’s not to say that they were not great images, there were some amazing photographs there but they were confused in their appearance. And I found a few bloomers in there that really didn’t look like they were wedding photos at all – like a groom and his mates having breakfast (could have been any hangover cure photo taken on a Sunday morning anywhere!), and some DIY décor detail shots (amazing if you know the story behind them like if Granny made them for the bride) that would not appeal to a higher end client.
So to fix it – remove the images that won’t make a bride’s heart sing. Anything that needs explaining is to disappear; anything that doesn’t obviously look like a wedding is to go. And make the images larger with the best photos near the top of the page. So how did we know which images were the most popular? We looked at her Instagram account and found which ones had the most likes – simple as! She had the right photos just in the wrong order and mixed with some that really didn’t need to be there. Thankfully overnight she changed this and it’s looking better already. But more importantly, she is now thinking about the presentation of her images in a slightly different way.
Time to take action:
- Does your homepage explain clearly what you do?
- This could be in a tag line, logo, site name, photograph
- Will I know what you do from a glance – if I don’t I’m gone to the next site!
- Do you love what you see?
- If it annoys you then it is likely to annoy your ideal clients too – just saying!
- Make a list of what you don’t like and do something about it today
- Are your images a good reflection of the standard and style of your work?
- People will assume this is what you do so you better have your best work out there on display for them
- Please make sure that potential clients know the difference between images of YOUR work and aspirational work – credit everything correctly including photographs
We all learn by looking and here are a few of my favourite home pages:
Love this home page. He sums up his entire vision and purpose in one great quote that shows his personality, the effect of his work and his enthusiasm for what he does. A very quick scroll shows all the elements of his work so you can find what you want quickly. And there is a very clear style and vibe about the page too.
Those images – wow I am in heaven!! So I get that not everyone starting out can have a website like this but you can take aspects of this and make it your own. I love the idea of having key photographs that sum up what you do. You don’t need a huge portfolio to do this and if you don’t have what you want, get involved in a styled shoot with other professionals and create it! There is a clear style as soon as you look at the page and if you are their ideal client then you are going to love them.