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WPP 101 - Understanding The Website Traffic Of Your Wedding Photography Business

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When chatting with other wedding photographers, I often hear that they don’t know anything about their website analytics and what they mean or that they can’t really be bothered trying to understand it all. But before you spend money on marketing or expensive gear trying to boost your wedding photography business, understanding your website traffic is an inexpensive but essential step in the right direction.

Your wedding photography website traffic can tell you so much about who is visiting your site, which pages they are visiting and where they are from. You’ll get information about how long they stay, if they are viewing it on a mobile or desktop platform and which pages lead to enquiries. This can tell you a lot about whether what you are posting is attracting the clientele you want and if it’s making them take the next step to get in touch with you.

Understanding your website traffic is actually much simpler than it first appears with easy-to-use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. In this episode we’ll chat about how you can use these tools and what kind of insight they will give you into your website. I’ll also explain a little about what I do to understand my website traffic and the kind of data I look for.

 

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Why are we talking about this?

Why are we talking about this? This isn’t a trick question and hopefully the answer is that we all need to know what our wedding photography traffic is. Even from the beginning of this podcast almost two years ago, we’ve talked about the importance of having a quality website. But this is not enough - we need to have visitors! If nobody is viewing your photos or going to your website, nothing else really matters. I hate to boil it down to something that simple, but if I have to…

Back in episode 87, nothing really matters if you’re not getting the inquiries. Even if you’re getting followers on social media or your family and friends are telling you how amazing your photos are, or you’re even doing things like networking and stylized shoots and working with other photographers - these are all great things. But if you’re not getting inquiries or bookings or making a living doing this, does all of that really matter? To some extent it does (I don’t want to be that extreme) but simplistically, it probably doesn’t.

Now I want to take it a step back (not further). Before you can get inquiries, you need to have visits to your website. It’s not rocket science!  We all know this. I’m sure that 99% of you listening to this have a website or some kind of an online presence. It might be a Facebook fan page or Instagram account. The thought of that not being enough - that’s for another time or story. But I’m going to make that assumption that we all have a quality website - that should be at the top of your priority list. Before anything else, you need to have some way to show your work online.

How many of us actually know what our traffic is. I’m not just talking about installing  Analytics or looking on Search Console to see what phrases people are typing. We’re going to get into that in greater detail in this episode. But how many of us are actually checking our web data, our stats on a periodic basis. I recommend at least once every two weeks, once a month is not often enough. If you can do once a week, even better.

 

If you don’t know what you’re doing, forget about getting any bookings.

Now why this is so important - not only because if you don’t know what you’re doing, forget about getting inquiries and bookings. That’s definitely true. But some of us might be spending way too much of our resources worrying about what camera gear to upgrade or where to advertise. Where to get more likes on our photos, possibly even networking or going to other types of events. These are all great things I mentioned earlier - but we have no idea how our website traffic is doing. There is a difference between how our website is looking - the brand, the feel, the aesthetics, the whole presentation of it - but there’s also the next level, the numbers.

How many visitors are we getting, how many actually stay for a minute or more, how many end up filling out your contact form or look through your portfolio and about page? A lot of questions. Do we know those kind of characteristics about our website or the potential couples who are inquiring? That’s something we need to ask ourselves - how many of us are paying attention to our website traffic and how many of us not only have a website but have Google Analytics installed?

When I asked this on my live Instagram feeds and Facebook or email, a lot of us say “No, not yet” or “Yes, but I don’t really know what to do with the numbers or where to go to look at it. I was told by someone else I should have this plug-in installed.” But we don’t know what to do with it. Some of us might have it installed and know what the numbers are but then we don’t know what to do. Okay, I can see last month that I got 300 visits to my website or hey, the split between desktop and mobile visitors are like 60% vs 40%. Or I see that visitors are spending about 45 seconds on my website. Okay - now what? What do I do with that kind of information?

 

Don’t be intimidated by the numbers.

So whether you’re at the very beginning, just getting into Analytics or you’re already following your traffic, maybe even making some changes. We can all spend a little more time and a bit more focus on this. This is something that so many of us overlook and it’s mainly because we’re not sure where to go with this, it’s not fun and it’s looking at numbers. Perhaps we’re not sure that the conclusion we’re looking at is accurate.

Okay - I think this is what the numbers are telling me but how do I know if that is actually true? How do I know I’m not misinterpreting it? Or we’re just not interested - I don’t want to learn about Google Analytics, it looks really intimidating. All these numbers and charts and graphs and all these various links that we have to click around and data we need to analyze. It is very overwhelming.

I’m here to say that you don’t have to feel that way. It’s not the be all and end all to learn every aspect of it. I would even consider myself a beginner/intermediate at understanding all of this. But I understand enough in order to make the necessary changes to my website in order to see the improvements. I don’t need to know everything. I don’t need to know the A-Z of Google Analytics or the fancy phrases like SEO or installing this plug-in or the Search Console Webmaster tools. All these phrases and other resources out there...I just know the essentials in order to get by. I recommend for any of us who could be feeling that way to take a deep breath and take it slowly, one step at a time.

 

Understanding your website traffic is worth the rewards.

I want to get back to the main focus, which is if you know what your traffic is on your website, why is it important? To give you that sense of urgency why we should be paying closer attention to this and to not brush it off. Honestly, understanding this and monitoring this. Keeping track on a periodic basis. Once a week or every other week. Making sure your website is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. This could really be the difference between, who know, 4-5 bookings per year. It could be like getting 20-25 more inquiries each year.

Maybe you tweak a little bit here and there, which I’ll talk about in a minute, and that leads to 4-5 more bookings and that leads to $12-15,000 a year. I’m pretty sure if you tell any conventional working in any job “Hey, you could get a raise of $15,000 a year if you do a few of these things.", that most of them will.

So, not to say it’s all about the numbers and finances, but money always talks and matters. We’re doing this in order to make a living, so we should never feel guilty of thinking that way. It’s not to say the passionate side of photography, artistic side is not important. Yes, it is. But I really want us to have this analytic process - why are these numbers important? If I invest a bit more time in this and make these changes, what could happen afterwards? If you see that kind of reward, maybe we could be a bit more motivated and encouraged to do this.

So this is also something we shouldn’t wait until things get really bad. Say, OMG I haven’t booked a wedding in two months or I’m barely meeting my minimum quota per month. Whatever your goals are, you shouldn’t wait until it’s too late to start looking at your website traffic. Naturally, that’s what many of us do, wait until it’s too late. I hope none of us get to that point. We should be doing this from the very beginning. If you’re a seasoned pro already, I hope this is something you’ve been looking at for many months, even years. Even when things go really well, don’t wait until things go bad.

Okay, this past month I got 5 bookings. I shouldn’t be like “I don’t need to look at my website traffic, I'm sure it’s all good. I’m just going to focus on the next month, I had a great previous month”. No, I should look at what worked this past month, did I see an increase in the number of visitors, more people spent time on these pages. Was something going on this month that allowed me to get more inquiries or were the quality of inquiries better? What was the source of that traffic? Was it from a wedding resource site or social media? Was it a link from a vendor’s website? Those are the kind of insights and information you can gather. So even if things are going really well, I want us to pay extra attention to this kind of information.

 

Questions you should be asking yourself about your website traffic.

I went over some of the questions we could answer by looking at your analytics, but mainly:

How many visitors are you getting to your website in three months? Try to do this in blocks of three months (at the very least a month). You don’t want to do it every week - that’s too volatile. But say, how many visitors did you get in three months and maybe you can compare that to three months in the previous year around the same time frame.

So that tells you a really specific idea that you had 573 visitors to your website in the last three months. Good to know. How did that compare to the previous three months? Did I see an increase. Now that’s only part of the answer but it’s good to know if you’re looking to get three bookings per month and you know you probably get one booking every 10 inquiries or 15 - that’s the way the numbers work.

I’m a numbers guy - I was a former engineer and love maths, love engineering and physics. So I always go by the numbers. I would encourage us to look at that to some extent. So if you’re looking to get three bookings and currently you’re getting maybe one a month, ask yourself, “How can i triple that?” How can you go from one to three - it’s not as easy as getting three times more inquiries. You need to get more traffic, perhaps it’s three times.

I don’t know yet, I have to understand a bit more of where you’re at and how your website is going. But let’s just say to simplify things that you need to get three times more visitors. How is that going to happen overnight or in a month or so. How are you going to go from getting 200 visitors in a given month to 600 visitors. Naturally, as you get more visitors, you’re going to get more eyes and more prospective couples to see your website and inquire.

So for some of us, we’re looking to get more inquiries, more bookings, but not really thinking about how we need to get more visitors to our website. I’m not saying you have to triple it or this exact number but you’re going to need more eyes to your website…and quality eyes. Quality and quantity.

Another question you might have (this is a really important one) you might have a decent amount of visitors to your website but they’re not staying very long on it. Maybe what’s called your “bounce rate”. That’s the number of visitors who leave the page they landed on right away, so mostly it’s your home page. They land and they “bounce”, they leave. Well, you have a very high bounce rate, that’s not very good. You want to have a lower one, which means they are visiting other pages of your site.

Now I should probably take a side note from this - I’m throwing terms like “bounce rate” and Google Analytics and Search Console - for now, don’t worry too much, we’re going to talk about that in a bit. But basically, I want you to start getting a pretty good idea of some of the information, the insights that you can gather from understanding how your website traffic is doing. In due time, I do recommend you learn a bit more about these things if you haven’t already, there’s going to be free tutorials on Youtube or just do a web search for it. Know the basics and maybe a little bit of the intermediate. You don’t need to go into the advanced.

So getting back on track. How long are they staying on your website. That could be a time, on average, that could be a minute, a minute and a half. That’s not too bad. But if you’re having a bounce rate of 80% (out of 100, 80 are leaving right away), that’s not very good. You want to try and get that as low as possible. For example, my bounce rate is about 36-37% for the past two years and unfortunately because this is an audio podcast, I can’t really show you visually these things. But those are the numbers for me.

So you want to make sure that it’s as low as possible. If you have a high bounce rate, that could mean your cover image is not very good or the headline. Something about the initial aspect, the upper half of your website needs a bit of work. People are basically going to your website, not really enjoying  it and they’re leaving right away.

Now related to that will be the time on your website. Chances are the less your “bounce rate”, the more time they’re spending looking at other pages, which is a good thing. Nobody is going to come to your wedding photography website, only visit your homepage and book you or at least inquire. That just doesn’t happen.

They’re going to probably have to visit the contact page, before looking at your wedding portfolio, your images of course. Maybe read a bit more about yourself. If there’s an FAQ and all. So there’s a bit of visiting other pages that your visitors are going to do before they even contact you. So naturally, you hope that the average number of pages per visit is, who knows, 5-6 somewhere around there. If it’s one or two, that’s another red flag.

And then of course, the time they spend on your site. If it’s only 20 seconds or so, that’s not very long. Just time yourself. Go to your website for 20 seconds and you’re going to find that you can hardly see anything. Maybe see a few photos here are there but definitely not enough time to fill out the contact form and all.

My average time is…let me have a look, I’m looking here at my analytics, I’m going to go to my behavior - I know I’m talking about all these pages (I’ll talk about them in a second). In the last year, from end of August to this month, my average time on the page...and I should mention I have a lot of pages that it’s the whole purpose to look at it and leave, like a blog post you sent out to a past client. They’re not really going to look at your portfolio).

But my average time is about one minute and 52 seconds. If I were to remove some of the other pages, filter it out a bit (now I’m getting into some of the advanced stuff), it probably would be 2.5 to 3 minutes. That, I dare say it, is not too bad. They’re spending a few minutes on my site, my bounce rate is now 43%. If I removed some of these pages where I know the bounce rate is going to be very high, it’s sort of an anomaly, it probably drops a bit to 30% of so. But those are some of the things - the number of visitors, how long they are staying on your website, what percentage are leaving right away and so forth.

Just as important is the percentage of exits. How many are staying on this website or this page. But let’s say you have a page on your website and look at your percentage of exits and it’s like 90%. 90% of visitors to that page leave right away. Could it be your about page and they don’t even want to fill out the contact form or look at other parts of your website. They didn’t like something on your about page and 90% of the visitors leave from there. That is very much valuable information from all the other ones I’ve talked about.

 

Understand how visitors are accessing your website.

Now another really important question you can answer from understanding your website traffic is, for example, where people are coming from and visiting your website. That’s something that Google Analytics can help you track. For example, there are four main different types of acquisition when it comes to Google Analytics and they are: Number 1 - Organic Search; Number 2 - A direct; Number 3 - Social (which is important if you’re on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest) and Number 4 - Referral, maybe it’s a link from a wedding referral website like The Knot or WeddingWire, Yelp etc. So those are the four different types of acquisition or traffic that can lead to visitors visiting your site.

So say you had 1,000 visitors at your site in the last month (which is pretty good). I get around 2,000 a month. But if you get around 1,000 visitors, you like to know where they came from, especially if you’re spending a lot of time, money, and energy on some of these types of places, these resources. For example, let’s say you’re very big on social media, you’re trying to grow your following, get likes and comments.

That’s great and all, however, you look at your website traffic and it’s only 2 or 5% of all the traffic you’re getting, less than 5% comes from Instagram and the far majority is an Organic Search like on Google with a keyword search and finding your website. However, you’re spending all this energy and time building up your social media profile. Not to say you shouldn’t do that but at least you know about that. Okay, do I want to put all my eggs in this basket? Or should I spend a bit more time on something else that’s working.

Another example could be referrals, as in links from a place that you’re advertising. Maybe it’s WeddingWire or Yelp, wherever you’re advertising, you’re spending your hard earned money on that and hoping to get a return. Now for some of us, we look at, let’s say in the contact form or when we get an inquiry, where the person checked. Okay, they checked the Yelp box or the WeddingWire box or Instagram, social media etc. and that tells us how they found us. That tells us a lot as it’s coming straight from that bride or groom letting you know.

But let’s say for some of us, example, we advertise on The Knot and it’s been 4 or 5 months and we haven’t got an inquiry where the bride checked The Knot box that that’s how she found us. And we’re thinking “Oh, The Knot doesn’t work.” And it doesn’t have to be them, it could be any advertising or even Instagram or Yelp or Facebook or maybe it’s a vendor referral.

We assume that just because we’re getting the inquiries that we’re specifically stating that it’s from this particular source that it’s not working. But then we look at our website traffic, we go into Analytics, we go into Acquisitions under Overview and we see under, say, number 4: Referral that “Hey, I am getting traffic from The Knot”.

So just because I didn’t get inquiries stating that doesn’t mean that that advertising option or referral is not working. So that’s another thing you can conclude. Don’t jump the gun and get mad that “Oh, I’m spending all this money on this and I'm not getting a single inquiry or booking.” When in fact, you look at your website traffic and you are. What that means is that it’s your website that has issues. It’s not the referrer, the other sources, it’s your website that needs some work.

 

What are your most visited pages?

Now another aspect of understanding your website traffic that could be really helpful is that the most frequently visited pages of your website (this is so important and something that I look at every single time I go into my Analytics). It’s under the Behavior tab - there’s basically five main sections which I’ll get to soon, as we are already 30 minutes into this episode. Under Behavior you’ll see there’s a tab called Site Content and All Pages - these are the most visited pages on your website. As simple as that.

Now why that’s so important is that you see where people are visiting, where they’re going and more often than not, number one is going to be your home page. The next one is (for me) my blog, wedding photography blog. The third one is my galleries from moments and the fourth one is contact. I should mention this is data from last year, I went from August 22nd 2016 to August 28th 2017. But I see here that in the last 360+ days, about 4.85% of my traffic comes to my contact page. That’s pretty good dare I say it. That means that people are clicking on my contact page. If you’re finding that your most visited pages are not your contact page or not your about page, not your blog or something - that’s a red flag. What are the most visited pages?

On the flip side, maybe you have pages that are not in the top say 5 or 10 and you’re spending all this energy and time working on that. This was something that I was doing on my wedding venues pages and wedding types. They’re still up but they’re not even in the top 10 pages that people visit, so that tells me that I shouldn’t spend all my time on that and should focus more on my homepage my blog, my contact page and my about. Those are the most visited pages on my site. So that allows you to see what to put your resources into.

Then, of course, when you’re there you can see other things, like your bounce rate. Maybe for example, my home page bounce rate is 70%, that’s not very good (that means 70 out of 100 people are leaving my home page as soon as they land on it) or perhaps it’s my contact page and I see that it’s the third most visited page on my website, but I’m not getting any inquiries. How can that be the case. How is it that people are going to my contact page but they’re not filling it out? It just doesn’t make sense.

If you’re getting, say 300 visits to your contact page every single month and you’re only getting 5-10 inquiries that are filling it out, what’s going on here? What’s the disconnect? Do they not like the many forms you have there, are you not asking the right questions, are you not presenting the pricing and that’s what they want to see. So that’s the kind of discussion and analysis you can do once you understand the traffic you are getting and the types, the qualities, the characteristics, how to go about handling that.

 

Mobile vs. desktop traffic.

And then there’s other types of things you can determine. One that’s really important in this day and age is the mobile vs. desktop traffic which is under Audience, there’s a tab for that. So you can see what the split is - do you get most of your traffic from a computer, a desktop, a laptop or is it from an iPad, an iPhone, a mobile device. In my case, I’m getting almost 50/50 (let me check here under Audience, Mobile, Overview in my Analytics). This is for the last year. I take that back, it’s not 50/50, it’s 56% is from desktop, 40% is from mobile and 4% is from tablet.

But that tells me that a lot of visitors are from a mobile device. So I want to make sure my website is not only mobile-friendly but also optimized for viewing on a phone and iPad - the buttons, the forms, the links to various galleries and so forth. I can’t have this over-the-top, fancy website, looks beautiful on a desktop, but then on a mobile device is not accessible, is not useable. Because my traffic is showing me I’m getting 40% of visitors coming from a mobile device.

 

What keywords/phrases are visitors using to find my site?

Then the last type of thing (by no means is this an extensive list - it’s what I came up with). Another question you want to ask yourself, especially if you’re getting a good amount of web traffic (once again you can go under Acquisition, go to All Traffic and you’ll see the four types). So in the last year or so, a little bit less than 40-45%, a decent amount of my traffic comes from organic searches. That’s a huge factor - I have these four different ways of getting access to my website and one dominates above the other three and that’s organic searches, which means people searching on Google or Yahoo.

Keywords - what phrases are people typing in to find my website? This is free traffic, you don’t have to pay for it, it’s not advertising, this is not Google Adwords. It’s simply people, hopefully brides and grooms typing in, say “Los Angeles wedding photographer” or “wedding photos at this venue” or a certain type of wedding. When I see that number, I want to ask myself, “What phrases are these visitors typing in to find my site?” That’s where something like what’s called Search Console, which is also under Google, comes in.

There are really two main tools that I highly recommend you use after listening to this, if you haven’t already. Number 1 is Google Analytics and number 2 is Google Search Console. Both are free, both are under the Google umbrella. There’s tons of tutorials and information that will help you. I basically looked on YouTube, which is also owned by Google.

But just go into YouTube and type in “Google Analytics”, “Basics Google Analytics tutorial”. Make sure you type in 2017 so you get the most recent one or if you’re listening to this in 2018 - there’s always a few changes here and there and you want to make sure you’re learning from the most recent ones. Same thing with Search Console, which I’ll talk about in a minute. But there’s great tutorials out there, all free which I highly recommend you watch. That’s what I did many years ago when I got started. Every now and then I will take a refresher course and make sure I’m up to date and not missing anything.

I mentioned many times in this episode, you don’t need to be a full on expert in the A-Z of all of this. You just need to know the basics and a little bit more. That’s honestly all I know, so I’m by no means an expert or know all the ins and outs of analytics. But I know that I know enough in order to understand the numbers I'm looking at, the data that’s showing to me here on my website and most importantly, know what I need to do. What changes do I need to make to my website?

 

Understanding Google Search Console.

So far, a lot of the questions I’ve asked, like how many visitors, how long they’re staying, what pages they’re visiting and leaving - you can find all that information under Google Analytics. But something with keywords, phrases - this is so important as we all use Google to search for things, we do this all the time. It’s the most visited website in the world.

Couples are searching for wedding photographers on Google and looking at the first page or two to find them. That’s more SEO (search engine optimization) - how to optimize your website to be found on search result pages like on Google. So for the sake of trying to keep it concise, I’m not going to talk about SEO in this episode but more so the traffic of your website in general.

That being said, one huge portion of that traffic is organic searches and that’s where SEO and especially all these other tools, like Search Console, come in. Search Console, under Google, is actually part of what’s called their Webmaster tools. Now we won’t go down that rabbit hole, but there’s tons of tools that Google provides for web designers and developers, one of which is Search Console. It’s completely free. Just go to google.com/webmasters or just search “Search Console”.

The great thing is that if you have a Google account, you’re good to go. Your Analytics account, your Search Console account, that’s all going to be tied to your Google account. And for that matter, you should have a Google My Business account, which is another story for another time. But all of this under Google is super duper straight forward. You sign-up with Google, get an account if you haven’t already.

We all have a Gmail address I’m sure. Once you sign up, follow the prompts, set it up, you’re going to have to copy and paste a little code on your website. When it comes to Analytics, I highly recommend this tool, particularly if you use Wordpress, if your website is built on this. I’m sure SquareSpace and a few others have this plug-in. But I use a Google Analytics plug-in from Monster Insight - it’s completely free, you connect it all up. If you guys have questions about setting this all up and you look at tutorials and still stuck, send me an email, I’ll be happy to help you out. But it should be pretty straight forward, making sure that everything is all connected.

So what this all really means is that with Google Analytics and Search Console, it’s “talking to your website” through a plugin or something through your site that tells Google, “Hey, this is my website - all the data, all the visits, all the information that’s coming to my website, I want you to show it to me.” That’s basically it. So when I go to my analytics account, I see all the data specifically for my wedding photography website. Each of these analytics accounts gives a certain code and you just paste that code over to the plugin and you should be good to go. Of course, you don’t want to share this code with anyone, this is data for your website.

Similar with Search Console, there’s going to be a certain code you copy and paste and what that does is anytime someone is using Google to search a certain phrase, let’s just say “Los Angeles wedding photographer” and they click on your website, Google is going to capture that and tell you that kind of information. Even if they don’t click on your website, for example, it will tell you your website turned up on the first page or page number three. That’s called an impression but the person didn’t click on it. So your impression will be 1 but nobody clicked on it so that will be a 0. So you can see that information.

“Oh, wow - my website showed up this many times for this keyword, this search phrase, but nobody clicked on it.” 100 impressions but only two clicked on it. Why didn’t they click on my website for this phrase? That’s when you need to maybe modify what’s called your meta description, your meta title. It’s the information that Google shows about your site, like a snippet, a title, the phrases. Maybe it’s not engaging, it doesn’t quite encapsulate the website so they didn’t click on your site. So there’s a lot of reasons but that’s the level of analysis you can do if you have these free tools.

So when it comes to finding which keywords and phrases people type in to find your site, you’re going to have to use Google Search Console. If you were to just use Analytics, let’s say you go under Acquisition and you click on All Traffic, Channels and I see, okay Organic Search, there’s been this many visits. I want to see which words people typed in to find my website. You click on Organic Search and it will tell you some of them, if you look at that list, it’s not very helpful at all.

I don’t want to say it’s useless, but it’s useless! You’ll see that number 1 is “not provided”. What do you mean? I see other keywords that are not very helpful, like they’re not even related to wedding photography at all, but with “not provided”, how do I get that information. 96-97% - I want to see what type of keywords people typed in.

Well the good news is that that’s where Search Console comes it. It comes up as an option on the left side under Acquisition, there’s Search Console, you click on that. There’s all these things, one of which is Queries. What I recommend, instead of Search Console separately, once you have that, just go under Webmaster Tools specifically for Search Console (you’ll see it right there) and set it up under Search Traffic.

Click on Search Analytics (I know for some of us listening in the car and not at a computer, it’s not helpful and even if you are, I’m not really giving a good tutorial). But basically what it’s going to show me is that in, let’s say the last 30 days, I saw there’s been 470 clicks with the search phrases “pasadena city hall”, “griffith house wedding”, “the last bookstore wedding”, “wedding photographer”, “wedding at aquarium of the pacific”, “calamigos ranch”, “villa del sol wedding”. I see the number of clicks. Not surprisingly, number one is still “Henry Chen photography”, number 2 is “Aevitas weddings”.

So what this tells me is these are the phrases that people are typing in to find my website. This is what’s making up that 40% of my Acquisition traffic from search phrases, search engines and I can see exactly what people type in. This is great! I can see what phrases are coming up for the keywords and what position I’m in. For this certain phrase, I’m on page three and in the last month, I got this many impressions (how many times it was shown) and this many clicks. I can see that for the last 6 months, a year - however long you can go with this data.

So you can see, the sooner you set this up, the more information you’re going to have. And on the flip side, if you’re not showing up for a certain keyword...maybe you really want to show up for a certain venue, venue photos, a type of wedding and you’re like “Wait a minute...nobody is finding me for this keyword”. That means you need to do a bit of work on that, the images are not optimized, the wording, you need to write a bit more, use the keyword more often, get that post shared. That kind of thing. Kind of putting a bow on everything.

You can see this is a lot of information so no doubt at this point if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or maybe just a bit discouraged like, “I don’t have time for this, I’m too busy with (fill in the blank). I barely understand Analytics and now I have to understand this Search Console thing. What’s next?” Well, the good/bad news is that there are more things, but for simplicity I’m not going to get into other tools.

I use three other ones but the main ones by far are Google Analytics and Search Console. I visit them every week/week and a half/two weeks, especially when things are going really well or really bad. I want to go in there and see what’s working and what’s not working. “Hey, this page has been doing really well. I noticed that after I changed the homepage image or I changed my contact page.”

Whatever it might be, people are spending a little bit more time on my website. Sometimes it’s a very negligible increase. Maybe you’re just going from 200 visitors a month to 250 - to big companies and businesses that’s nothing. But for us as small businesses, sole proprietorships, getting that kind of an increase or having someone spending another 10 seconds on your website or reducing your bounce rate by 5-10%.

Maybe the most visited pages are what you want them to be. That can add up. That can be the difference between getting, who knows, 3-4 more inquiries a month and one of them worked out. So something so small can have the impact of another booking, making $3-4,000. So that’s absolutely huge. That’s why I recommend, do not discredit these numbers.

 

Spend your time where it matters.

It might seem small compared to other photographers. I look at my numbers - okay, I get around 2,000 visitors a month, I have people spending this much time on my site, these are the numbers. I’m sure, I would love to increase them and over the last two years, I haven’t been able to increase them that much.

However, I know that for the most part, what I’m doing is working because I'm getting the inquiries and the bookings. So I like to understand what is working and, for that matter, what’s not working. Not spending time on the pages that hardly anybody is visiting. On the flip side, spending enough to get the traffic.

When I mentioned earlier with wedding venues pages, wedding types, I tried to put together a page for every single venue I’ve shot. It’s a very simple page. It’s kind of like what’s called a landing page. The point of that page is to be found on search engines. That’s it. The point of that page is not to get inquiries and contact form fill-outs. The whole point of that is so if someone types in a certain venue and a keyword, I’m going to be on page one or page two at the worst. They’re going to see “What is this page, I’m going to click on it.” and they go to aevitasweddings.com/venues. Whatever the venue might be, I’ll show up and they’ll see the venue and go to the homepage or other parts of my website and I will get the opportunity to get an inquiry.

Also, knowing the split between, let’s say, web searches vs referrals, social platforms like Instagram, Facebook. Knowing where my traffic is coming from. Should I spend more time on social media because I see the traffic is working. So if I spend more time, it’s going to work even more. Or do I need to spend more time because it’s not working very well. That’s the decision you need to make.

Okay, referrals - if I'm spending money on WeddingWire, maybe I’m not getting the inquiries directly but I see with my web traffic that every month, let’s say I get 30 clicks from WeddingWire storefront to my website. But, hypothetically, I’m not getting any inquiries. There’s a huge disconnect there. It’s not WeddingWire’s fault. It’s my fault, it’s my website. I need to change something up.

There’s something going on where I’m getting the traffic but people aren’t filling out the contact page. How is it that only 2% of visitors to my contact page fill out - what about the other 98%? Are they other wedding photographers (who aren’t going to fill it out)? Are they wedding vendors, so they have no reason to? You like to know how many are brides and grooms looking for a wedding photographer, they visit your site but they didn’t fill out the contact page. Maybe they never saw this, maybe they were looking for something else. You have to decide what some of those things are and go from there.

 

Summary.

On that note, I’m going to slowly say goodbye to this episode and head out to a meeting. I hope this was of help to you and you see the value of understanding your website traffic. I highly recommend if you’re a coaching student or anyone that talks to me personally, that you have Analytics installed and Search Console. Even better, share that information with me.

I can see your data on my end and make suggestions. If I can see you need to spend more time on this, if you’re not putting enough energy into that. Change your images, move this around, what’s going on. Then of course, this is sort of the pink elephant in the room. Yes, you see the traffic, the data and all. But what if you’re not getting enough of it.

You’re trying to get this many weddings but you’re struggling to get 300 visits to your website. Unless somehow you have this high quality of visits that lead directly to bookings, if you’re only getting 300-400 visits to your website, you’re not going to be able to book 30/40 weddings a year. The math doesn’t add up that way. Prove me wrong!

I looked at probably 50/60 different analytics and the numbers are very much telling. I have to get around 2,000 visits. Now not all of them are going to be prospective couples (that would be awesome!) But I know I need to get somewhere around there to get 40ish inquiries a month and from the 40 (for a million plus reasons), I’ll probably get 4 bookings. That’s sort of my rough number. 2,000 visits to my website, 40 inquiries a month, 4 bookings.

Now sometimes it’s 5, sometimes it’s 6, sometimes it’s 2. Sometimes it’s 1,500-2,300 visits. Perhaps it’s 60 inquiries, other times it’s only 22/23. But those are the rough averages. My 2,000/40/4 rule. I just made that up, by the way. But what are your metrics? That’s something you want to determine. How many visits, what number of inquiries, number of bookings from there and I highly recommend you start keeping track of that. Start by installing Analytics, Search Consoles and go from there.

So I hope that was of help to you. Let me know if you have any questions and if you even want me to take a look at your data. Send me an email at [email protected]. Good luck with all of this.

 

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