Lets talk Websites with The Imagefile
RISE: Theimagefile is specifically designed for photographers, tell us a little more about the company and why it specialises in photographer’s sites?
Like you Karen, I worked as a professional photographer for many years and therefore I am experienced with the workflows and requirements of the field. Theimagefile was originally designed to fill a gap in the market for me and provide functionality and a general platform specifically designed for the photographic industry. Over time, we began to realise how the system would benefit other photographers and those working in a creative vein and therefore opened the system up to others. We now work with over 2,000 photographers, from the fully established to those just starting out in the industry.
RISE: You don’t just deliver websites, you offer a whole host of functionalities, tell us more about this?
Theimagefile goes beyond just getting your photos elegantly online and provides a complete web strategy specifically designed for the photographer.
This strategy includes functionality such as built-in WordPress blogs, proofing, sales with full e-commerce, order fulfilment through the best labs in the business or through self-fulfil options, discounting tools to maximise customer spend, integrated direct payment options, the ability to sell downloads in multiple sizes, beautiful HD video display and sales options, price plans to sell prints and products as well as shop price plans designed to sell gift certificates and non-photo products.
This, of course, is just a fraction of the functionality that we provide photographers and we pride ourselves on constantly improving and updating this strategy and workflow to help you save time, make money (and keep money, we charge 0% commission) and help your photography businesses grow.
Due to the world events over the last 12 months, we have focused on sales of digital products to aid as many photographers as possible to keep some sort of income flowing. We understand it’s very difficult for nearly all photographers at the moment, and we are doing what we can to address those needs.
RISE: What are the most important things we should be considering when building a website?
The world is moving online more and more with every passing year and after the global changes of 2020 now, more than ever before, an online presence is vital for every business.
Arguably, the most important thing to consider when building a website is the customer journey. Everything you display or add to your website should be considered from the customer’s point of view rather than the photographers. Your website should take the customer on a “journey” leading them on a particular route through your website encouraging them to react in a specific way (i.e. using call-to-actions).
RISE: Can your tools integrate into a currently designed website, to maybe add e-commerce to clients?
Absolutely. Whilst you can create a beautiful website within theimagefile system, without any coding knowledge required, of course we understand that creatives love to create and so we also provide and integration option which contains all theimagefile sales tools, client proofing and photo ordering into that website.
We also offer a mirroring tool that was specifically designed to mirror your WordPress theme but works on many custom websites. This gives you the ability to display your web pages hosted on our system with the same branding as your existing website, making the integration seamless.
As well as the above, theimagefile offers hosting through cPanel as well as WordPress (.org).
RISE: If I am not very good at designing a site, do you offer this facility?
Yes, we understand that photographers are not all web experts, while others simply might not have the time design a website themselves. With that in mind, we offer a Website Build Service – the turnkey solution to getting you online in no time. We will put together a beautiful website for you using supplied text and images as well has help you set up your domain name, SSL certificate, social media links and on-site SEO.
RISE: As creatives we want a very visual, impactful website, do you think it is all about the images or is there more to a beautiful site?
Being in a creative industry, absolutely, the images should be front and centre hence. However, there are many things that need to go into a website to make it work hard for your business.
One of the most of important things is information. Now, we know that many creatives do not enjoy writing about themselves and it’s understandably tricky, however, customers tend to want to know a little about the business they are investing in as well as what to expect. For example, session information, pricing (or at least a starting price) and contact details.
Another important aspect to focus on when building a website is your search engine optimisation. Search engine optimisation (or SEO) is one of the main methods for getting visitors to find your website and therefore your business. Considering your on-site SEO, for example browser titles and meta descriptions as well as your image search engine optimisation is a great place to start.
Adding this detail into your website from the start, through text and search engine optimisation will allow your images to really sing. (There’s a lot more to come on this very soon!).
RISE: How regularly should we be updating our websites with new images to keep them fresh?
The short answer is as much as possible. A regularly updated website is great for search engine optimisation not to mention, keeps your business fresh and interesting for repeat visitors and loyal customers that will be viewing your content more than once.
Whilst we have developed a randomise portfolio option to show new content to each visitor adding new images (which changes the date stamp on your pages) provides the search engine robots with fresh content to index.
RISE: Is it true, if you don’t update regularly, you won’t be found on google?
All search engines, like Google, are a business just like any other and as such, want to give their customers the best possible experience so that they keep coming back for more. If there are two websites and one is being updated and changed every month compared to the other which was updated two years ago, Google will assume that the updated website will provide a better experience for their visitors and therefore, rank that site higher in the results pages.
However, Google also takes into account an enormous amount of other data, including how long a visitor stays on a website. Therefore, it’s important to not only keep your site up to date and fresh but to also update it with relevant, high-quality content.
RISE: So the BIG question….does SEO REALLY matter?
Let’s compare two shop keepers. One shop keeper dresses her windows beautifully, displaying products and merchandise for the visitor to view. The other shop keeper, paints her windows black and the only way of finding out what that shop is selling is to contact the shop owner. This is like having a website and not bothering about SEO. However, I would like to point out that search engine optimisation is not the be all and end it will be the content that sells, but it is often the entry point for the new customer.
There are lots of different ways to improve your search engine optimisation. A couple of places to start is through your on-site SEO, which is probably also the easiest place to begin, for example your browser titles and meta description as well as your image search engine optimisation.
RISE:. What top 3 tips would you give to someone looking for a new website?
Firstly, don’t start on a Friday afternoon wanting to launch Monday morning.
Secondly, plan it on paper first. It’s much easier to erase and re-draw than create pages and then wonder how to fit them in.
Thirdly, don’t try to be everything for everyone. You know what you’re best at. Stick to that.
Thank You so much James, this has been a great interview and if you would like to find out more about the Imagefile and what they can do to help with your website need, you can get in touch via the following
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