Let’s talk website builders, content, and design so you can start booking those dream clients and creating beautiful films.
Building an exciting, appealing website for potential clients can seem like a wild undertaking. There’s an amazing amount of things to consider when you begin building a website for your brand-new business. It’s terrifying! And isn’t that exciting?
Not everything in this process is hard and some things you’ll even know inherently. But, we’ll begin by selecting the perfect website builder for you. Let’s take a look.
Choose a Site Builder
Make sure there’s a video option on your site builder. Image via Rawpixel.com.
The most important thing you want to look for in a site builder is how friendly it is with video. Is there a video player option? Is embedding an option? Can you upload clips directly into the builder?
In my experience, hosting your videos on a platform like YouTube or Vimeo and embedding them is the best route to give you the fastest open speed for your website. Uploading videos and relying on your website to store and optimize them will really slow it down. Also, services like YouTube and Vimeo have been optimizing videos for years, which really isn’t the specialty of website builders. Better to rely on the professional platforms for that.
Additionally, Google DOES NOT work well with slow websites (it’ll push you back on searches). Worse yet, clients are less likely to stay on your website if it doesn’t load quickly. Some recent research suggests that consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
More than half of web traffic happens on a mobile device. So, it’s particularly important that your website loads quickly and is easy to view on a cell phone. Most website builders now come equipped with a mobile device optimizer.
Another important aspect of building your website is SEO capability. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) affects how visible your site is on search engines such as Google, Bing, etc. Some website builders will do all of the SEO work on the backend for you, while some builders require you to handle it on your own. If you’re not terribly familiar with SEO, it might be a better option to let the builder handle it. However, if you are familiar, or want to learn, you can certainly have more control by handling it yourself, thus receive better, more precise results.
Showit is a user-friendly, creatively diverse site builder. Image via Showit.
Showit has options ranging from $19 to $34 a month, with a yearly contract. They work with WordPress to help you build a blog or easily migrate from an existing blog. WordPress is the top dog for blogging and SEO. Showit is a drag-and-drop builder that makes customizing your design simple. Once you choose a template, you can also import sections from other templates. There really are no creative limits. They have incredible technical support with an in-app chat box and are also available by phone or email. Showit offers a free fourteen-day trial. If you have some history on website design, and work quickly, you can design your entire website in those free fourteen days before you even have to start paying.
However, you’ll need to purchase your domain from another service. GoDaddy is an easy go-to and you can usually find a coupon code.
With Squarespace, you can customize elements like color scheme and font. Image via Squarespace.
Squarespace is more of a structured builder. While you have full control to customize things like color scheme, fonts, and images, the overall look of the website remains the same. Depending on the level of involvement you want to have in building your website, this can be positive or negative. On one hand, no matter what you do, your website will be attractive and well-organized. However, on the other hand, it may not be unique, or stand out as much as you’d like. This can, however, make it a bit easier if you’re just starting out.
They offer subscriptions from $12 to $40 a month, with a yearly contract. Any package you pick includes a one-year domain registration. You can also try out Squarespace with a fourteen-day trial.
Wix is a user-friendly, drag-and-drop site builder. Image via Wix.
Wix is another drag-and-drop builder that’s probably as user-friendly as it gets. It’s a perfect starting place if you don’t yet have experience in website building. What’s more, they have a range of SEO tools that guide you through getting your site connected to Google. Subscriptions range from $13 to $39 monthly, with a yearly contract. All of the packages include a one-year domain registration. They offer an unlimited free version, but it does lack a domain. Instead, Wix assigns a URL that looks like: username.wixsite.com/siteaddress.
Explore your options and see what makes sense to you. Try not to feel like you’re too tied down to anything. The thing to know about website builders is that no matter what you choose, your website will look professional.
Pages to Include
Try to always keep the idea of simplicity in the back of your mind when creating your website. Give people the information they need to know. Don’t over complicate it. However, there are some pages that your website just cannot exist without. Dispense the information in an organized and guiding way to keep clients moving through your website, gathering information, and eventually landing on the inquiry page, armed with the information they need to book.
Showcase stills from your work here. Make people want to stick around. Give them things to look at and then guide them through your website. Incorporate your own images with design elements that give a clear idea of your brand. Also include some key statements on who you are and what you stand for in your business.
Be sure to work in links to other pages on your website, beyond just the navigation bar. Lead them in the direction you want them to go through your website and make it simple. Think of your website as a map, with the inquiry page as the end goal. There should be a variety of ways to get there, but the end goal is always the same. Guide them through multiple pages and lead them to the inquiry.
This is where you want to go all in on your “why.” Your “why” is the reason you’re in this niche position of making films for people on that specific day of their life. This “About” page is not a résumé. People care less about your experience, or your education, or the equipment you use, and more about your passion and how it plays into serving them.
For example, our “why” (in short) is that on our wedding day, our photographer was not present or professional. We received our photos several months late and were given an incredibly small number of photos. Our day was essentially lost. Fortunately, we had a friend who made us a short wedding film as a gift and that’s where our day lives. Our film holds a very special place in our hearts.
So, we translate that into how we’ll serve people by talking about how much each couple means to us, and how present we’ll be on their day. We talk about giving them a great experience and making the best film we possibly can for them, because we know already how it feels to be let down and don’t want anyone to ever have to experience that devastation for themselves.
Include some photos of yourself. Don’t just use some photos you have of yourself holding your camera — that’s tired and outdated. Hire a professional to take some photos of you that match your brand, be a real person, and have some fun with it. People love knowing they’re hiring a real human they can relate to.
Don’t have the funds? Trade the photographer for a short branding video!
Lastly, showcase a few of your reviews here. Use reviews that match what you’ve just promised in the text above — and back it up.
There’s this weird stigma around talking about money. It makes us uncomfortable — but shake that off! People are literally on your website to see numbers and talk about prices. Be straightforward about what you offer, and offer it at a price that makes real and honest sense.
When discussing price points, be upfront and honest. Image via Studio Peace.
Have packages (or at the very least, a starting price). Most people offer three different packages with a listed starting price. Clearly list out everything that is included in each package.
For your own personal use, price out all of the things you offer individually. Make sure your packages make sense when all of those items are added up. Now that you have everything priced individually, you can offer to add, or remove, different parts based on your client’s needs and budget. Stay flexible.
Put your films here! However, do it strategically. Put your best films in a position to be viewed first. But don’t feel like you have to include every film you make.
This is the place to showcase the kind of films that fit your brand in order to attract the kind of clients you want to work with. If you’re just getting started and don’t have a lot of films yet, it can be about quality over quantity at first, and that’s okay! You can change your website as often as you’d like.
Keep in mind that the speed of your website is essential. Image via Rawpixel.com.
We’re going to take a moment to, again, touch on website speed. It’s vital that your website move quickly in order to hold the attention of your audience. Start with a video host like YouTube or Vimeo and embed your videos into your website. Video files are massive and they can really bog down the speed if you rely on your web builder to house and optimize them. Your website as a whole will load quicker, and the videos themselves will load quicker coming from a video host. Most people are familiar and comfortable with these outside video-hosting platforms and will never take issue, or even notice, that you’re using them on your website.
All of the website builders I’ve talked about include contact forms and are usually pretty customizable. Ask questions that are valuable to you and to your couple. For example, both of their names, wedding date, wedding location, their budget, email address, and a spot for them to ask questions or leave you an extra message.
An important note about inclusion: LGBTQ+ weddings are always a hot topic, and inclusivity in your work is important. If you don’t serve every couple then you’re not in the business for the love, you’re in it for the money. This career will not carry you far if you can’t see beyond the dollar signs and recognize that every couple is valuable and important. Weddings are vulnerable, raw experiences for couples, and if you can’t meet that vulnerability, you’ll end up with unhappy clients. It’s not okay to toy with such a special day, and anything less than an exceptional experience is an absolute disservice.
With that in mind, please be mindful of the language you use — both on your website and in your contact form. You will isolate LGBTQ+ couples if you use highly gendered and heteronormative language, such as “bride” and “groom.” When you build this form, avoid using this language. Instead replace it with “your name” and “your partner’s name.” Or, have fun with it (like we do), and go with “your name” and “your honey’s name.” You could even take it further with “your name” and “your sidekick’s name.” It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s neutral and ungendered.
Furthermore, you can provide an even safer environment by asking for their pronouns. This could easily look something like “your name (and pronoun)” and “your partner’s name (and pronoun).” It’s a simple step that will make your life much easier in the long run.
You really can’t know what kind of humans are inquiring with you. There’s no sense in making anyone feel unwelcome on what should be one of the best days of their lives.
I know a blog seems like a weird one, but it does wonders for your SEO. Let me explain: Google loves words and Google loves consistency. The more you talk about your keywords (wedding videography, wedding films, wedding video), the better. This can be so beneficial if you’re just starting out and don’t have a lot to show yet. You can honestly get your website to the front page of Google just by blogging consistently.
This seems super daunting, I know. Don’t overthink it. You can blog about anything. A fellow wedding vendor, mentor, and champion blogger, Vanessa Hicks, came up with this calendar to help keep your blog consistent and easy.
Alright, so now you know what you have to do and how to do it. But what are you supposed to make it look like? The aesthetics of your website are just as important as the information you’re providing.
It takes about fifty milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll stay or leave.
-Sweor: A marketing company that focuses on optimizing business websites for sales and leads.
When deciding the color palette for your website, choose no more than four colors. Image via Natalya Chernysheva.
According to Colorcom (a team of color experts), color increases your brand recognition by up to eighty percent. So, picking the right colors really does matter. Once you know your brand values, look into color psychology and find colors that align with your brand. Stick to no more than four colors throughout your website. Start with a few of our favorite color combinations for websites, or learn more about your favorite colors to pick a palette.
Much like color, choose a font that fits your brand. For most people starting in the wedding industry, they automatically go for a script font. They think weddings are romantic so they should use a romantic cursive. To be honest, your couples are a lot more complex than that. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a wedding that actually fits that overtly romantic theme.
If your target client leans more towards luxury, you probably want to go with a serif font. If you’re looking to book super modern clients, try a sans serif font. Or, if you want to work with fun, unique couples, try working in some decorative fonts.
At the end of the day, don’t overthink your website font. Pick something that is easy to read, unobtrusive, and makes you feel good.
When you go to pick the images for your website, use your own. It’s okay that they’re video stills and they aren’t the amazing quality wedding photographers have on their websites.
Curate an authentic website by using the images you created. Image via Igor Kovalchuk.
When we first started, I was filming weddings on a Canon Rebel T3i. I filmed everything in 720p at 23.97fps. It wasn’t crisp, BUT, you better believe we used those screen grabs! We filmed five weddings our first season, and we more than doubled that by our second season — all from that T3i. We worked with what we had and made it work.
The important thing is that we were using images we’d created; therefore, our clients knew what kind of product we were going to deliver. It was AUTHENTIC to us. Also, people tend to pay less attention to the stills and focus more on the films — it’s what they’re there for.
Lastly, let’s talk about your website copy. Web copy is the text throughout your site that guides people and sells them on your product.
One of the most common mistakes companies make with their web copy is spending too much time talking about how great they are. People don’t care about your company, they only care about how your company can solve their problems.
-WordStream: A company that specializes in online advertising.
Be direct about what service you provide and how you’re going to provide it. Try to write in your own voice because you’re going to be the direct line of communication anyway. People really appreciate a consistent, honest experience.
Now, when you’re writing all of this great copy (in your own voice), remember to be inclusive. Avoid limiting language like “bride” and “groom.” Instead, use inclusive words like: couple, partner, sweetheart, honey, people getting hitched. Get creative, have fun, be authentic, and don’t box in your potential clients.
Create an exciting, yet safe, website for your potential clients. Image via Rawpixel.com.
Firstly, you don’t know who’s looking at your website and there’s no sense in excluding anyone from potentially hiring you. And secondly, using gendered words is a thing of the past. Also, discrimination is extremely unappealing. This is 2020, the wedding industry is a loving, safe place for all. Everybody should feel like they’re safe — like they belong when they’re on your website.
Before you hit that publish button, don’t forget to check your website for phone optimization! This is wildly important.
Eighty-five percent of adults think that a company’s website, when viewed on a mobile device, should be as good or better than its desktop website.
Most website builders have the option to switch the editing mode from desktop to mobile. All of your information and design elements are automatically on there. It usually looks funky and needs some help. Users will leave a website if they have to pinch zoom to view something.
In every aspect of this process, go with your gut. Do what feels right and what you feel best represents who you are and what you want your business to be. When it’s right, you’ll feel it. When it’s wrong, you’ll feel it even more. Don’t be afraid of change and growth. It’s more than okay to change your mind on your website design or change your color palette halfway through your season. That means you’re learning more about your brand and your target client.
It’s also okay to switch website builders after your year subscription is up. It’s okay to revamp and rebuild. Those are just growing pains and growing pains are great!
Go build that website! There are people out there just waiting to hire you!
Cover image via korobskyph.
How to Master the PC to Instagram Workflow for PostsBranding Your Photography Business in Four Simple Steps5 Queer Photographers on the Importance of RepresentationHow to Attract Wedding Video Clients – A Demo Reel Won’t Cut ItThe Shirley Card: Racial Photographic Bias through Skin Tone
The post Building a Website for Your Wedding Video Business appeared first on The Shutterstock Blog.
Read more: shutterstock.com