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Top Ways to Improve Your Real Estate Photography Website

January 27th, 2019

A couple of weeks ago, a reader who has been in the business for a number of years and was moving his website and looking for ways to improve the site. He was looking at some of the past posts about websites on PFRE and wanting some more in-depth information about how to set a real estate photography website. Just about that time, Patrick Hall had a good article on this subject (photography websites in general) over at Fstoppers.com.

In addition to the great advice that Patrick gives in his article, I would like to add the following:

  1. Take the time to have a number of people go over your website and give you feedback on their perception of the site.
  2. Have a variety of people review your site. If you depend on just your own or just one other person’s review, you might miss important issues.

Reviewing websites can be a task for using a PFRE coach or the PFRE Flickr discussion group.

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7 Responses to “Top Ways to Improve Your Real Estate Photography Website”

  • I’ve been looking at other RE photographers websites recently to get some new ideas on refreshing mine for the 2019 season and the one thing I notice missing on many of them is where they are located! Right up front on the first page, on the top, write down the area that you service. If the area has a nickname like “tri-county” or ” South Bay”, make sure you preface that with more specific cities. An agent searching for a new photographer is probably going to type in a search string like “real estate photographer mycity” so if you write “I am the top photographer in the tri-state area”, you aren’t going to be listed in the agent’s search. You don’t want to waste people’s time or your own by attracting calls from people that want you for work further out than you want to service. I’ll happily drive to Wyoming from California, but not for the rates listed on my web site so there is no use in my marketing targeting them if they aren’t looking for that level of investment.

    Try to see you web site through your customer’s eyes. When they find it they want to know where you are, what area you cover, a sample of your work and how to get in touch with you. Whether you put pricing on your site is up to you. You can even have a blind page that you can refer inquiries to after you have made first contact. Having a prep checklist and a blog can be very handy. I’m not a big fan of Social Media and don’t see a lot of value in spending too much time maintaining yet another online presence where I have surrendered an unlimited license to my work to, maybe, get some more jobs. If it’s easy to find your web site, an agent isn’t likely going to spend more time visiting an Instagram and Facebook page. They’re done; they found a photographer and seen your work. Hopefully, they give you a call or send an email and you can win their work. They aren’t gong to spend evenings looking through all of the homes you have photographed in the last year with a hot cup of tea and a bun.

  • Good article, but it missed a couple of very important items.

    1) The site must work good on mobile devices first. Yep, set it up for the small screen first and then the desk top. That is the trend in browsing. Add in additional elements and rearrange things as the viewport get larger. This is called a responsive layout. DO NOT, DO NOT expect someone to browse your desktop layout on their cell phone.
    2) Speed. You have 3 seconds for the page to load, any longer and you start loosing people and SEO points. There are a lot of ways compressing photos without loosing quality for websites.
    3) No flash period. Just don’t do it. Everything that can be done in Flash can be done better in other ways. Just say no to flash.
    4) You need text to help you rank well in the searches. That includes things like location, cities served, services provided and more. Without that, you might as well have a billboard in the desert.
    5) When check your ranking, turn on incognito mode and search for something other than your url or company name. Those are almost givens and will not likely to be the terms used to search for RE photographers.

  • @Neal, maybe you should have written “Adobe Flash”. I groaned when I first read point 3 until I reminded myself that we’re discussing web sites and not shooting workflows. Point 2 is important and why some hosting companies have tiers that cost more where they are putting your website on a machine with fewer others. The really cheap prices generally mean you’re hosted on a machine with hundreds or thousands of other sites. There are ways to keep from losing photo quality, but limiting the number of photos is a good idea too. You want to show your best work. If you try to show everything on an endless page, nobody is going to spend the time looking at all of them or even all that many. It’s just going to slow a web site down.

  • @brown: You are right, I went into web master mode and temporary forgot this was a photography site. To bad we can’t edit comments.

    There are ways of including a large number of photos and still have the page load quickly. This requires modification on both the server side and setting the page to only load photos as needed. Take a look at what I am working on now: https://hvolnew.com/Home-For-Sale/Farmington/227-Maple-Ridge . There is a large number of photos, but the page still loads fast.

  • “…I’m not a big fan of Social Media and don’t see a lot of value in spending too much time maintaining yet another online presence where I have surrendered an unlimited license to my work to, maybe, get some more jobs. If it’s easy to find your web site, an agent isn’t likely going to spend more time visiting an Instagram and Facebook page. They’re done; they found a photographer and seen your work. …”

    First, I remember people saying that about the Internet in general. Turned out, the World Wide Web wasn’t just a fad, after all. Neither is social media. Second, as for the notion that clients start out by stumbling upon your web site — I think that might have been true in the ’90s and even the early ’00s, but today, your clients are all on social media. You need to be there, too. Not doing so tells people that you’re out of touch with modern life.

    All that concern with Google SEO is aimed at the new clients you have Zero connections to. It’s essentially a fishing trip. But the overwhelming mass of new business, for an independent RE photographer, will come from networking — which is a social activity. The first client a new photographer has is sitting around the office one day, and the agent in the next cubicle leans over and says, “Hey, is that photographer you used any good? You got his number?” And boom, just like that, the photographer gets another call.
    There’s obviously still face-to-face networking, but like it or not, social interaction in 2019 (and this has been true for quite some time) is also largely done via social media (which is why it’s called “social”). One RE agent sees another agent’s FB post, featuring great photos (and a tag to the photographer), and voila! — a connection to the photographer is made. Again, clients are all on Facegram, Instabook, and Twitter. If you can point me to an epidemic of lost copyright due to Social Media TOS that has somehow escaped notice, by all means do so, but maintaining a phobia about something that isn’t actually happening is just foolish. Refusing to put your work in the busiest social space in existence because you’re afraid they might be stolen is shortsighted, at best. The last time I had a photo infringed on Instagram (about 2 weeks ago), it got me a $600 check and a new client.

    Not saying that Google searches don’t happen – they do – but the smart marketing puts your work where it can be seen by the most clients…and they’re glued to their Instagram.

  • Long time lurker, first time poster. I would also recommend for all websites, getting an SSL Certificate. You can tell a site has one by looking for the green lock icon in the address bar. It means that the connection between the user and the hosting provider is encrypted. If you don’t have a SSL on your site Google Chrome and other browsers will show a small pop up that your site is not secure. Not a good first impression.

  • It’s true that creating a good website can be easy, but if you want to do everything in the best possible way, you need to be able to handle several disciplines at the same time. You have to be good at UX design, graphic design, be a bit of a copywriter, sometimes an encoder, optimize the loading speed, ensure security etc … Also, it’s important not to forget that you’re a photographer. When the website is finished, you have to make sure it can be found because a website that nobody uses is useless. This also involves learning the basics of SEO.
    Previously, photographers had only one discipline – photography, and now they have much more. It’s exciting, but it takes a lot of time. On the other hand, there are a lot of tools today that will make your job easier for you if you learn how to navigate through the large number of them available and learn how to choose the best ones.
    Finally, when your website is finished, and you can’t afford user surveys as is the case with the larger companies, you can at least ask your friends and acquaintances because their experience will certainly be closer to the experience of any potential client than your own.

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