Leaving our home online: Switching website providers
For a while now I’ve noticed diminishing clicks on my website vbphoto.co and it wasn’t easy at first to understand why? Nothing has really changed I still add new and updated photos of new clients and updated projects but the metrics were just not there anymore when studying my Google Analytics sheets.
So I started to do an investigation on why this may be. I have always been good at my keywords, SEO and Metadata but still could not understand why when I Googled my company I was way, way, waaayyy at the back of the list if you typed in Milwaukee or Greater Milwaukee Senior Portrait, Family Portrait or Corporate Events Photographer/photography.
Currently for my website I use a host company called Zenfolio and I think they are great, for photographers. Also my clients have told me they like the ease of use of the website when using a computer. In addition, if you are just starting out they offer many different package levels from beginner to seasoned veteran. Also, they have basic templates so if you do not understand a lot about website design it is relatively easy to set up. There are a few pit falls with them but, hey, no company is perfect and these small things will probably get resolved in time. These few pit fall are in relation to their blog design and mobile site.
After going through a few web tutorials about SEO on Youtube and a few other blog pages I learn that Zenfoilio as great as they are, are terrible at SEO. I spent a slow afternoon trying to figure out if this is something that could be easily fixed. Unfortunately, it is not. I can add more keywords to my photos, and on my text based pages. Though this only goes so far.
The real problem stems from URL’s on my website. For most web sites you want your URL to read as simply as possible.
For example, one would ideally like their gallery too ready like this:
The problem with Zenfolio is your links tend to look like this:
I learned the second link is horrible for spider bots on the web to be able to index your site properly. The reason behind this is there is no words that would indicate to the bot this is either a gallery, a photo or a page with text. It also does not help to promote your brand online using your keywords that these bots probe the web for. If I understand it correctly. Also Al Anderson Photography blog post explains Zenfolio use a # instead of / which also causes some problem with bot crawling because it considers them as page markers not URLs. If I understood his blog post correctly.
So that right, there is the major problem for why my website does not appear sooner in the results when searched by Google or Bing or Yahoo as I would hope for. Because potential clients tend only to look at the first two pages it does not help that I am back on the fourth to tenth pages.
The plan now is to find a new web hosting venue and say a sad goodbye to my long term host at Zenfolio.com. Vagabond Photography will still remain the same but we will just have a new website provider. The URL will remain the same so my clients will not have to worry about looking for us under a new website address.
Currently we are looking at a move to Squarespace or WordPress. Both seem to have their ups and downs. I currently use WordPress for my company’s blogging needs which is great. I really like both of their mobile phone site capabilities they are both easy to use and navigate around. Over the next couple of weeks we plan to make this change and we will let your our readers and customers know what we choose and how we like the new platform.
If you our valued readers and clients had recently made a switch I would greatly like to hear about your experience and why you chose your current provider?