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October 24, 2018

SEO and Web Analytics 101 for Your Photography Website

This article on how to improve marketing for your photography business will probably be the densest to digest. But it will also reward you as it will help you measure and perfect your marketing tactics.
First things first, if you haven’t already, here are a few pieces of reading material that will help put this article in context:

So if you have followed along with the articles listed above, you are already on your way to a well-rounded marketing strategy. If you haven’t read them, that’s okay. You may be looking to dive right into SEO and ROI. In which case, let’s get down to the brass tacks. Now let’s talk about measuring your marketing investments and what’s next (i.e. Are you investing in the right tactics?).

To measure your ROI, you’ll need some help with the whole measuring thing. There are a few different platforms you can use for this, but the most comprehensive and totally FREE option is Google Analytics (or its competitors, but why not use a free tool that is the backbone of all these other paid solutions?!).

In plain terms, your website’s analytics give you metrics that help you determine how your site is performing. It shows you how many visitors, to which pages, for how long, etc. It can give you detailed information about your visitors such as their geographic location (which is incredibly helpful if you’re a local photographer looking to engage clients near you). This will ultimately lead to a strategy to help optimize your site for search engines (or SEO). You can access an incredible six-part series about SEO with Brett Snyder from PPAedu.

Google Analytics will also show you where visitors come from. This is the biggest indicator of how your ads are performing. Are they coming from a specific ad? Or are they coming organically through a search engine?

This all happens through something called the Google Analytics Tracking Code. Defined simply as a piece of code that goes on your website to activate all these tracking capabilities. With this, you can gauge ad performance (how many people are visiting the site from your ad), conversions (how many people are doing a specified task on your site), and it will add cookies to a visitor so that you can track how many times they visit your site.

Setting up analytics can be a little complicated, but that’s why Google has created a step-by-step video to help you through the process. The good news is that once this is done, you’re well on your way to getting incredibly valuable information to help market your business. Luckily, the whole program is set up to help the business-focused and not the techies. So, if you aren’t yucking it up with the IT folks on the regular, have no fear. You can do this!

Now that you can track so many different things, it’s time to start measuring your ROI. First, decide what you consider a good return. Is it a client booking? Is it someone visiting your site?  Is it a client booking a second session? Because we’re essentially starting from the beginning, let’s assume that you are marketing your business for the first time. You can’t expect people to just throw money at you upon first glance of your business on social media. However, you can measure whether you’re engaging people enough to at least come have a look at your website.
So, let’s call a website visit a good return (which is also referred to as your conversion). If you spent $20 on an ad and got 100 website visits, do you think that’s a decent ROI? It could be, but you won’t really know until you repeat this process several times over. Because what is our favorite word in marketing? Testing, of course!

Over time you’ll be able to see if that number goes up or down. You can test to see if changing the ad copy makes a difference. Maybe changing the image makes a difference.

Also, don’t forget that your time is very valuable. As a business owner, you may be reluctant to put a price tag on your time, but time is value, value is cost, cost is a part of measuring ROI. So, even if you’re not spending money on an ad, writing a blog has an hourly cost; be sure to figure that in when evaluating your investment.

This is where you get to use your creative side. You get to try different things, make creative decisions on what you think would appeal to your target audience, even get funky with the images you create/use. As an artist and a business owner, this part of the marketing world is your oyster. So, bon appetit!

If you really want to nerd out on the ROI investigation, there are some other sites that break it down with a little higher level terms. And if you’re still a little worried about when or how to measure, Chainlink does a good job of walking through some of that. And you can even access some pre-made ROI calculators if you want the math help.

In the end, it’s all up to you. It’s your business; it’s what is important to you. Just like anything else in life, set up a goal for yourself, and track how you’re getting there. And remember, if you need help along the way, PPA is here for you! So, if you’re not a member yet, consider doing something good for your photography career and join! Check out all the benefits you’d get if you were already a part of this 30,000-member strong non-profit photography association!