I bought my domain name off of GoDaddy for a decade for $80. I was going to keep Captured By Tree forever!
I used the website builder that came with Go Daddy.
It was crude, amateur and boring.
I went on to try Wordpress, Big Black Bag, SquareSpace and several others to varying degrees of success.
When my business rebranded to TreeSnap I had a custom site designed and built for me.
Yes I did love it but anytime a problem arose I had to pay someone to fix it and I had to add on the shopping cart feature and order prints.
When my business changed again several years later I shut down the site and moved to Zenfolio.
Easy to design a simple site and photos could easily be ordered through several professional labs without me having to do the extra step of ordering.
Make sure that the website you choose is easily navigable.
Have friends try it out and try out test markets like Peek by UserTesting which will send you a 5 minute narrated clip of someone going through your site and what they think. I believe you get three free uses.
Peek Link: http://peek.usertesting.com
Do not add music.
It makes it load slower and you probably don’t have the copyright permission to use it.
Lots of people do it but if someone was using your images for free without your permission you would be p***ed off.
Don’t do that to another artist that worked hard to make that song.
Plus quite a few of my brides check me out when they are bored at work. Don’t make them get caught by the startup of cheesy music.
Don’t overdo how many photos you have in your portfolio galleries, more is not better! Just keep the stunning ones.
Don’t have enough to fill a portfolio?
Borrow a friend and her dress. Take her out to shoot. Shoot your own wedding ring. Put your kid in their Easter clothes and go to town.
If you love church weddings show photos with churches.
Love the serious romantic couple shots? Post that and those are the clients you will attract.
People see your photos as a love story. They want to look at your photos and be the person in it.
So you want vintage tattooed brides? Post that. You are going to get the kind of bride that you show case.
I post a lot of funny outtakes and reception shots so I don’t get as many serious brides. I get ones that want a fun night to remember!
Make sure it has links to your blog, Facebook, Instagram and all of your other informative links.
About You Tab, Portfolio, Pricing, What to Expect, etc etc etc.
Do your homework! Emulate the sites you love!
Last but not least is it your brand style? Remember your brand is everywhere from website boarder to business cards!
PS- As I write this post my website is in serious need of an update, but that is what the winter is for!