What is website conversion and how does it work? How do I book more weddings from my website? If you're asking these questions then you've come to the right place.
In this video, Taylor Jackson and Lachlan Shum will go into detail about how website conversion really works and what you can do to make improvements on your own website. Hear the perspectives of both a world-renowned wedding photographer (Taylor), and the CEO of Focal (Lachlan).
Depending on your preferences, this content is conveniently available in both it's original video format, as well as a text-only transcript.
If you found this content helpful then you should check out Taylor Jackson's youtube channel, for more videos on similar topics and just general photography tips; or Focal's blog for business tips and stories from other photographers.
Taylor Jackson (00:00):
Today, we're talking about website conversion for your wedding photography business.
Keep waving. It's good stuff, man.
Taylor Jackson (00:16):
Hello and welcome. What is website conversion? Maybe that's the first question to ask. I'm Taylor Jackson sorry to derail the question I'm a wedding photographer from an hour outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I'm making these videos every single day, the entire month. Please subscribe. Turn the bell on if you want a new video every single day and film photography videos on Mondays only. Yeah, that's a thing. Website conversion is essentially when people come to your website, how many of them actually go through and send you an inquiry? How many of those actually end up booking? And that's the short of it. How you increase that is a much bigger thing to talk about. So we're gonna talk about that over the video today. I'm gonna talk to Lachlan the focal CEO, somebody that actually has visibility on a number of different photographers' websites and has spent the past years really kind of diving into the stats of that and how to increase website conversion - people actually booking you from your website.
Taylor Jackson (01:05):
I have a few things to talk about quickly off the top here and things that I feel like could be helpful. When it comes to website conversion, it's essentially trying to generate as much trust as you possibly can on a website. And there is obviously no kind of like "do this one thing and everyone will trust you." It's a number of different things and not only a number of different things on your website, but also over your social presence, over Instagram, over everything. So the first thing I wanna mention is to find ways to include social proof as best you can that includes testimonials and testimonials with images from that wedding day. Don't just put text up, have text and also images with people the focal website to speak, I guess, briefly about that. I'm sure if you've been following this video series, you've heard lots about it.
Taylor Jackson (01:46):
Basically the focal website over on the packages page, it will actually have your Google star rating which is amazing. And also if people click on that, they go to the more reviews and they can read more about that. And then the other benefit when people are actually searching on Google the stars will show up underneath your Google listing and make you look even more credible and it is, in fact, easier to get to that place of trust. Number two is to track how people actually use your website. I talk about this a little bit in the video. That's coming up within this video with Lachlan, the focal CEO. And what I realize is that most people, when they come to my website, even before I clearly led them to it, most people would try to find pricing. So they would head over to the contact/pricing tab basically immediately upon arriving at my website.
Taylor Jackson (02:27):
I suspect the thinking is we've arrived at this website. First photos look amazing. We wanna make sure this guy isn't $45,000 for the wedding day. They go through, they make sure that I'm at least kind of within their ballpark. And then they come back and they experience more of the website and they read a bit more about me and watch some videos cuz they don't wanna get hooked on something that they just, they can't afford. So definitely track how people are using your website. I feel like that is definitely a key. Next up: strong call to actions, CTAs, use buttons instead of links. So what I immediately discovered, so basically focal built out this entire website for me. We had a call, we talked for a little bit and they went out and they built me this turnkey website. They will build one for you too within the month of January, if you sign up, you'll save the $935 setup fee.
Taylor Jackson (03:10):
So there's a link in the description to get in on that list. If you're interested, again it has to be January, 2022 to get on that list in order to get this deal. And they'll have a call with you and they'll actually write copy and they'll make a website that sounds exactly as though you had created it. And one of the biggest things that I've noticed with my new website that they have created is how many calls to action there are, how many buttons, floating buttons beside in order to get people to head on over to the pricing page cause that is the next piece of the conversation. So make your website as easy to follow as possible. And over the next month there will also be an availability calendar. So essentially when somebody actually inquires, they have all of the information, they have all the packages, they have the fact that you're available.
Taylor Jackson (03:47):
They're likely just ready to book at that point. So you're now getting incredibly qualified leads through this website. And then the backend of the website through the focal website is also awesome because you can just send out your contracts and emails that look amazing. You can accept credit card payments and keep everything in one spot. So it really is a true turnkey solution. Next up increased trust by being transparent with packages. This is another I guess step up that I did with my focal website was the fact that my packages are now online. The other bonuses that they're now ranking on Google, that people are finding them organically on Google, which is awesome. Beyond that, I feel like the transparency and the trust created by having my pricing out there is kind of next level. There's really nothing to hide.
Taylor Jackson (04:27):
No one feels like they're getting a different price cheap, cuz they're coming in from a more expensive venue. It just fully transparent. And I feel like it's a very, very good thing. Next up: AB testing. If you're using a focal website, you don't really have to do this, but if you are building your own definitely AB test things where for a little while, it's challenging, honestly, because the weeks and the months are so different that you can get 10 inquiries one week and zero the next week and there's no rhyme or reason for it. But if you're AB testing and you're letting something set up there for a month and it's doing very well, it's keeping people on the page and lots of people are inquiring. That's a very good thing. And then if you try something else next month, that's maybe a little bit different from that.
Taylor Jackson (05:04):
And it performs less then, you know, to go back to the original thing if you're using a focal website Lachlan and the team have already done all that, so it won't be a problem. And you'll definitely get a bit of a leg up next up is to address objections or to at least kind of talk about pain points that people at your website right now might be experiencing when it comes to booking a wedding photographer. So for instance, for me, I like things to be as efficient as possible. I like that people are there to get married and I am there to create some beautiful photos of the wedding day that they're not having the day to have a photo shoot. Some couples honestly are that they're a little bit more interested in creating something that looks amazing rather than actually enjoying the day.
Taylor Jackson (05:43):
And they will sacrifice a lot of their enjoyment of the day to create beautiful photos and videos. And that's usually not the client for me. I'm happier to kinda go the other way. So I'm happy to talk about that in the video content that I do on my website in my emails and everything. So yeah, find those pain points and ways that you can get on the same page by basically sitting down and describing what your perfect wedding day is. If you've been to maybe 10 weddings at this point, you can definitely come up with a lot of things that you do not enjoy, that you can probably also find couples that would not enjoy that as well. Like nobody is really, or at least my couples are not interested in a three hour wedding photo session anymore. Whereas 10 years ago, that was a little bit more normal.
Taylor Jackson (06:20):
That was kind of what I did every single weekend. I feel like you also very much increase trust by talking about these as well and being fully transparent to your beliefs in wedding photography as well. That if you're somebody like, yeah, if you're getting married, please hire me. You really haven't narrowed the scope of who you would like to photograph a wedding for. The more narrow you get, the more sticky and the more conversions you are going to get from your ideal couples. Sure. You're not gonna get everybody. You're not gonna get that accidental super non-ideal couple. That's gonna book you, but that's honestly a good thing. So now that date is open for an ideal couple to come in, maybe a little bit closer to the wedding day and be like, Hey, we're getting married in two weeks cuz we don't plan things, but we'd love for you to come on our helicopter elopement and then you can do that.
Taylor Jackson (07:01):
Next up page speed. This is something, if you have a focal website, no problem at all, if you are like me and for a long time, we're on a very, very terrible GoDaddy shared server. It is not ideal it's a very slow load speed. And I know that I got a lot of people that just tried to load the website and they're like, well, next photographer. If they don't know you, they're not coming from a qualified referral, then there's a pretty good chance that lead is gonna bounce and they're not even going to ever see your website. So make sure you have a fast website that's loading as quickly as it possibly can. And also as responsive as possible when they click a link, just go to the thing, make it work like they expect it to work. And my next point is to make the page skimmable.
Taylor Jackson (07:36):
So there's lots of good content on there. Maybe some images, maybe some videos, if you're skilled at creating videos, which you should be - and get better at it if you're not good at it, because it's very important. And make very easy to read paragraphs as well as just very easy to read headlines and just an easy way to get value. You don't need to write 45 paragraphs about something. If you can do that in four headlines and three small two sentence paragraphs. So since website conversion, as a concept is a little bit new to me. I've obviously been doing these things over time, but I never really sat down to think about how to specifically increase it as far as metrics go. I thought it made a lot of sense to talk to Lachlan who lives and breathes this stuff. So let's go there.
Taylor Jackson (08:10):
So today we're talking about website conversion and website conversion. Isn't something that comes to my mind as like ah, when I'm designing a website, I'm like, that's not ever a term that enters my mind. I'm like I wanted to rank on Google. That's a thing that I know about. I kind of know how to do that (ish), and then I want them to contact me, but I'm never really thinking about that journey. I think in the past I've just built my website after another website that I saw that I liked and I'm like, oh, I can emulate some of these features and I like the features from this and put it all together, but I've never really thought about website conversion. I don't really have any of my own metrics on it. It's not something that I've ever tracked. So I'm curious to what you have to say about the topic. Obviously you kind of know a lot.
Lachlan Shum (09:01):
Yeah, for sure. We spent a lot of time looking at metrics and I guess the first thing I'd suggest is: if you aren't keeping track of anything you should do that because it's really valuable and it's the only way that you're ever gonna be able to learn and improve essentially. So I think it's really important to at least know some pretty basic stuff. Just like how many people are coming to your website, how long people are spending on it, how many people are actually turning into bookings, that's really important to know.
Lachlan Shum (09:30):
Yeah, but as far as website conversion goes, I think it all always starts with the customer journey. How are they winding up on your website? Who are they and what are they looking for? And so like with your website, for example, I'm sure people are finding you from a lot of different places. Maybe it's YouTube or finding you on Google or word of mouth and they're just typing the URL in. And then they're landing on that page and then you just wanna think about like, okay, what is that person you just wanna kind of get in their shoes and think about like, what does that person want to know? Now that they're on my website? Like, like we talked about in a previous video, like sometimes the first place they click on is like pricing, right? So yeah, maybe they click on pricing. And then, you know, you're thinking about what they want to do, what they're gonna see there.
Lachlan Shum (10:15):
And I think one of the interesting things that we've seen with photographers who have switched from a more traditional website to using focal and, and using our packages is that the engagement level of clients on focal sites or on their packages is really high. We've seen, like we had a photographer, she went from like under a 1% conversion rate on her website to over 20% and her engagement, like the time customers are spending on her site increased from 30 seconds to over like three minutes or four minutes. And I think that's just indicative of just like serving customers, the content that they're looking for in a really simple way. <Laugh> So like you said, if the customer's looking for the pricing, well, you know, give them the pricing for one, but also don't just give them the pricing. Tell them about what's special about you as a photographer and why they should book you over other photographers, or what makes you different at least so that they can, you know, when they're looking at other photographers, maybe down the road, they're thinking, well, Taylor mentions one really cool thing that resonated with me and I'm gonna go back and, and check him out again. Right.
Lachlan Shum (11:24):
I think when you get low interest it's like, okay, here's my three bullet point pricing, three packages, eight hours, 10 hours, six hours. And these are the prices. And then obviously if there's nothing else to read or look at on the page, that customer is gonna bounce pretty quickly, maybe a 20 second engagement versus take your new packages. Right? They'll probably click on one, read about that one, look through the photos and then probably look at the other ones. And then they're spending three minutes on your site, really engaging and learning about you.
Taylor Jackson (11:56):
I guess another thing that I definitely saw when you guys designed the site for me is how many calls to action and how many reminders there are that it's like, oh, you are here to contact me. You are here to look at the pricing, you're here to continue this conversation. And that wasn't something that was very apparent on my old website so I would suspect that my conversion rate has already kind of skyrocketed above what it was based on that alone and just those reminders. So it's it's a really, really cool design.
Lachlan Shum (12:26):
Totally. Yeah. It's like, it's all about just designing the experience in a way that the customer knows like what the next step is, right. If they're, you know, if they're looking at your photos, they probably, you know, love your photos. And then they're like, well, what do I do now? Well, I probably wanna figure out what Taylor offers, and what I can book. And so it's good to have a call to action. That's gonna take them there. I think another really important tip, I guess just a general tip, is you just wanna keep your website really simple. You don't need to do crazy animations. You don't need to have side navigation bars or text that's like really close to the background colour, really small or crazy cursive fonts. Just keep it really simple so that customers can digest the content easily, look at your photos, and hopefully fall in love and book you.
Taylor Jackson (13:16):
And then another thing for when it comes to the mobile website as well, is that the more simple you keep everything like my website looks great on mobile now and it's just so easy to use. Whereas in the past, maybe I tried to do a little bit too much and I tried to make it a little too custom and tried to do some, like, you almost don't need to make the unique things that you think you need to include. You usually don't need to include them. So I definitely agree with keeping it as simple as possible.
Lachlan Shum (13:45):
<Laugh> yeah, you're absolutely right. Like any complexity you add, usually it's to the desktop site, you're like, oh, I wanna have this like crazy animation or this thing, and then like on desktop, but it definitely will not look on mobile. And I think we're talking about this before easily over half of the traffic. I'm sure that goes to your website. And from what we see at focal is, is mobile predominantly. And so making something that's really easy to navigate is so important.
Taylor Jackson (14:15):
I think a really great example is if you go check out Taylor's packages, they're super easy to navigate on mobile. It's really easy to tap through the different photos. Yeah. And read about each experience.
Lachlan Shum (14:27):
Yeah. Cool. All right. Anything else you wanna add to this at all? Yeah, I guess the last thing I would add would be you know, no matter what, no matter what I say or anyone else says always test your site, and always test it with non photographer, friends. So if you get a new site built - whether it's by us or, or anyone - I highly recommend going out to your friends and just saying, Hey, can you play around with my site? Do you like it? Is there anything that's frustrating? Is there anything that you'd like to see different? Usually non photographer people are gonna give you the best advice.
Taylor Jackson (15:05):
So there you have it: have non photographers look through your work. Because if you're just getting photographers to look at it, they're gonna, they have a full perspective. Like I've seen so many wedding photography websites that even if you do something horribly wrong, I can still probably find the thing that I'm looking for. I've designed enough horrible ones as well. And I can still probably find that content. Whereas if you are giving this page to somebody that has not seen a lot of wedding photography websites, or is maybe a little bit older in age, there's a pretty good chance that if you're able to do that, and you're able to watch them try to navigate through the website, that you're going to learn a lot more than you can learn by just trying to do it all yourself. Just ask, ask for help. You know, that's all for today.
Taylor Jackson (15:41):
If you're interested in getting a focal website, there's a link in the description below, I promise. You'll not be disappointed. If you are interested, this is still the month of January, you will get a free setup fee. So you're saving almost a thousand dollars US and they will build your website for you for signing up for that annual. And they'll write all your copy, they'll put all of your packages up, and they'll be like, here you go. What do you think? And you'll be like, cool. Put it on the internet. It's done. Which is what mine was. I made, I think about 20 minutes of tweaks, total, to the website. And I am very, very happy with it. So that is all for today. Don't forget to subscribe. Turn the bell on. There are going to be a new video. That's not correct English. There's gonna be a new video coming up every single day of the month. And you can watch that if you want. That's all I have to say from here in the studio, until next time.