Here is the truth about photography template websites: whether you're a startup, or a seasoned pro who wants to level up your online presence, you might want to consider avoiding them altogether.
Why are photography templates potentially hurting your biz? Well, five reasons, for starters.
1. Templates make you look like a beginner.
Every photographer out there remembers the very exciting moment when they launched their first website. It was probably a very adequate template site, in hindsight. You probably spent hundreds of hours DIYing the heck out of it, but it worked reasonably well back when you were:
- On a budget
- Underpricing and undervaluing your work
- Competing with all the other similar photographers in your area
- Still trying to figure out what your business stood for
But then, one day, you realized:
- You care about your business and want your website and brand to reflect that care
- You want your website and brand to stand out
- You can't transform your business while sticking to your old ways
- Your needs have grown--you are no longer a beginner
2. Templates are basically Pinterest boards.
We all dread that moment when a well-meaning client shows us a Pinterest board of "inspiration" for their photo shoot or wedding. We all know that, if it's on a board, it's been done ad nauseum already. Do you want your website to evoke something that's been "done" already?
I once saw a lovely little template that was used for 1,085 photographers' sites. One Thousand Eighty-Five. That company is out of business now for better or for worse.
Just like it's not possible to create authentic, original images based on a Pinterest board, it's not possible for that pretty little template to convert your niche, ideal, high-paying client.
3. Templates are "one size fits all".
Whereas a custom site is designed and built with YOU and your business in mind, templates come with built-in issues and limitations.
This is especially true with home pages and blog pages.
Templates are literally "one size fits all". They are like those insanely popular jeans that somehow never seem to fit you just right. As pretty and tempting as they might be, templates are never going to take your business where you want it to go (especially you reading this - I know you want something more).
4. Templates are unintelligent.
Templates don't know your customer.
They know "a customer". Who is this mystery customer? Who knows?!
That's why, even if it gives your business a boost at first--eventually, a template website won't work.
Our ENTIRE point here at 16 Hoops is to get you, talented photographer, thinking about your very unique area of expertise. A template undoes all this work entirely.
These days, clients quite literally cannot tell photographers apart--and part of the problem is that everyone is using the same templates. So the race to the bottom continues.
5. Templates emphasize bells and whistles over important functions.
Bells and whistles like 13 pages of "info," slideshows, client logins, and endless contact form fields are, by design, meant to distract.
They distract your client from the single job of hiring you. You do not need to pour the entire contents of your business into your website. Your ideal high-paying client doesn't care at this point (or ever, frankly) about all this stuff. Your website is meant to convert that visitor into a client. PERIOD.
Bells and whistles can also create a catch-22 of sorts--because not only do you not need the stuff on those site templates, but those very bells and whistles are taking up space where actual useful, delightful things, such as compelling, action-oriented copy, could live.
OK, now you know why you shouldn't use a template website.
But what does a custom site or brand really *REALLY* do for you and your bottom line?
It helps your visitors transform from a casual, "stumbling upon you" audience to your dedicated fans, to premium-paying clients willing to throw wads of cash at your business. A custom site and brand is not an expense--it's an investment. (DOH! There's that verboten word, "investment". In a business-to-business context (B2B), the word is perfectly justified. In a business-to-customer (B2C) context--like portrait and wedding photography--it's misused and has lost all meaning.)
Whether you are a super-duper savvy beginner (yay for you!!!!) or a seasoned pro ready to transform your existing business (exciting!), now is the time to stand out.
Actually, 12 months ago was the time. Don't wait. We have a 16-week business transformation program, designed specifically for togs in your position, starting in January of every year.
Take the first step toward transforming your business. Stop tinkering and reserve your spot now.