It took me a while to actually understand the power of a good website (and also how incredibly expensive it is to have one). Being a visual person, I love looking at sites with great eye candy, so strong visuals are a must.
I strongly recommend that you keep high quality photos and records of any jobs you do. This might mean adding the cost of a great photographer or videographer to all of your jobs. (If you cannot afford your own, make sure you befriend the job’s photographer, though at times they might not be good enough for your purposes.)
Of course, most of the time photographs do not do your job justice, however they are a very strong selling tool. My first book Design for Entertaining was just that, a compilation of all the jobs I did at that time. Don’t forget that a picture tells a thousand words.
I am a firm believer of that so these are my suggestions for creating a good website (focusing mostly on the visual aspect):
- Tell a story. Your website and its images will be, for many, the first impression they get of you. Make sure you have a consistent message and tell your story throughout your entire website. Is your message, “I’m the best wedding planner out there”? Make sure your images and content support that claim.
- Have a strong portfolio section. Show a diversity in what you can do. This will help potential clients get a sense of who you are and what you can accomplish.
- Establish a “look” for your images. Some folks may just use any pictures they have. This is a sure way to make your website look like its having an identity crisis–the photography style will be all over the place. As always, focus on quality over quantity. It’s better to have 5 really amazing pictures than 50 poor representations of what you can do.
- Add some sizzle. Choose images that excite you. Throw in something that may be surprising or unexpected. Don’t be afraid to go behind the scenes. Pictures of the process are sexy and interesting.
- Update on a regular basis. The Internet is constantly changing. A good benchmark is to update your site’s images and text at least once a month. If you have more time, aim for once a week, and if you have even more time (or a dedicated resource) try to update your site daily.
- Make sure your contact information is accessible. I can’t tell you how many vendor websites I’ve looked at where I can’t find the phone number, address or even email of someone to reach. If your main goal is to bring in clients, make sure all your contact information is prominent and easy to find.
Do you think having a good website is necessary for your business? Let me know in the comments.