These days, people work longer hours and have more hectic schedules than ever. So if you want to build a photography business, you need to find a way to take advantage of the few spare moments that you do have.
Whether that’s on the train en route to a client meeting or when you have just a few minutes to kill between shoots, a mobile website builder can help you make good use of that time.
Building a stellar portfolio and keeping it up-to-date is one of the best things you can do to promote your business and attract new clients. A mobile website builder helps by making that process as simple and convenient as possible. It will enable you to update your site wherever and whenever!
This guide will explain how to find the best mobile website builder for your online photography portfolio and how to get the most out of it.
What to Look for
A wide variety of mobile website builders are available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. They include general mobile web design apps, as well as ones tailored to building very specific types of websites.
With all the choices out there, it can be hard to make a decision. Here are some tips on what to look for in a mobile website maker.
Choose a Builder Designed for You
It’s best to work with one that’s aimed at your needs. So seek out a mobile web design app that’s designed specifically for building portfolio sites. Even better, find one that’s made for photography portfolios.
These mobile site builders are the best choice because they keep things simple. They provide the features that will be important to you without the ones you don’t need. They also offer a better selection of themes that are suited to showing off photos as opposed to text.
Make Sure the Price is Right
Another thing to take into consideration is the cost. There are many free mobile website builders available. On the App Store, for example, most of the mobile site creators are free, and there are a few that cost between $3 and $15.
You might think those paid apps must be the best since “you get what you pay for.” But this is one instance where that old adage doesn’t hold up.
In fact, some of the best mobile website builders out there are completely free, and they don’t even try to force in-app purchases on you! So don’t get distracted by the apps with price tags. There’s no need to pay for a mobile website maker.
Features for Photographers
Once you choose a mobile website builder that’s designed for photography portfolios, you’ll get access to a variety of features that are helpful for photographers. The Format iOS app is a great example.
Here are some of the best mobile site builders features tailored to photographers and how they can benefit you.
Ease of Use
When you’re trying to build a website on your phone, you’re going to want to keep things simple. In order to take advantage of those fleeting moments of spare time, you don’t want to have to struggle to learn out how to use your mobile website builder.
You shouldn’t have to scroll through long lists of options or have your screen crowded with too many unnecessary buttons and links. So look for a free mobile site builder that keeps things simple.
The Format iOS app makes it easy to get your online portfolio started quickly. You simply choose a theme to get your site up and running. It will throw in some placeholder photos so you can see the layout right away; then, you can start uploading your work or customizing the site layout right away.
It also has a clear and uncluttered interface. There’s a navbar along the bottom with four easy-to-understand buttons for managing your pages, blog, site menu, and settings.
Easy Blog Posting
A blog can make a great addition to any photographer’s portfolio. It helps increase your site’s search ranking and draw in new visitors. It can be used as a way to show off your knowledge with photography tutorials or behind-the-scenes posts. It also helps you forge a connection with potential clients. (Take a look at this list for more ideas on what to blog about!)
Since blogs can be so beneficial, you should choose a free mobile site builder that makes it easy to include a blog on your site. For example, on the Format iOS app, you can start a blog or add a new post at the push of a button, and it gets seamlessly integrated with your site. This makes it easy as possible to start your blog and keep it up to date.
Good Selection of Themes
Website builders like the Format iOS app offer a selection of portfolio templates that are ideal for showing off photography. This lets you create an attractive website design that will wow visitors.
Another benefit of these portfolio themes is that they are automatically formatted for the device folks are viewing them on—so your site will work well and display correctly whether your visitors are on their phone, tablet, or desktop.
Best Practices for Mobile Web Design
Now that you know more about how to find the best mobile website builder for you, here are a few tips on mobile web design that can help guide how you build your site.
Wow Visitors with the First Page
The concept of including attention-grabbing content “above the fold” dates back to the origin of newspapers, but it is still applicable to mobile web design. It means you should pay close attention to exactly what visitors will see when they first land on your site.
For instance, if your portfolio’s homepage has a vertical scrolling design with a large photo followed by some text and more images below, you should make sure visitors have a way to know that the extra content is there. For example, you could ensure the image has a small enough height that mobile users will see a portion of the content below.
Use Dynamic Formatting
The traditional way to create mobile websites involved setting up a new site from scratch designed specifically for mobile users. These are known as m-Dot sites, as that is how the URL is typically set up, with an “m.” at the beginning.
But there are a couple of problems with m-dot sites. They involve a decent amount of extra work to set up, and they are prone to issues. When you have to deal with two separate sites for mobile and desktop users, it’s easy to get confused and end up with some broken links or duplicated pages.
Using a website builder that has dynamic formatting avoids these problems.
Don’t Waste Space
On mobile devices, screen space is always at a premium, so it’s important you don’t waste it. Choose a website design that doesn’t leave a lot of empty white space. Instead, make sure your great content will fill the screen.
Also, don’t take up too much space with a navigation bar. While it might look good on desktops, a large banner that includes links to all of the pages of your site can be cumbersome when viewed on a phone.
Luckily, website builders like Format can dynamically convert the navbar into a “hamburger menu” that takes up less space when viewing on mobile.
Make your Phone Number Clickable
Some mobile devices will automatically recognize a phone number and make it a clickable link that places a call. That’s a good thing because when visitors get to your contact page, you want it to be as easy for them to get in touch.
However, if you want it to work consistently across all devices, you’ll have to make sure it’s actually coded as a phone number link in your site’s HTML.
The way to do it yourself is to go into the HTML coding, (some website builders include built-in editors to make that easier) and wrap the phone number in hyperlinks with the “tel:” tag. Take a look at this guide to see exactly how it’s done.
How to Curate your Portfolio for Mobile
It’s always a good idea to curate your portfolio carefully. You want to make sure only your best work is featured, and avoid overwhelming visitors with so much content that it’s difficult to navigate.
This is super important when it comes to mobile website design. For one, any difficulty with navigating your site is more apparent. People just don’t want to scroll through jillions of images on their phone.
Secondly, if someone is checking out your portfolio on their phone, you should assume they don’t have a lot of time to spend. They may be making use of a free moment between appointments.
To help you keep it short and sweet for your visitors, check out our tips on how to select photos for your portfolio:
Aim to showcase less than 10 percent of your body of work.
Begin by organizing all of your photos and weeding out images that clearly won’t make the cut.
Go to a friend with a good eye, fellow photographer, or another colleague in your field to get a second opinion on what to cut.
Keep your target audience in mind as you choose photos to feature on your portfolio.
According to one study, potential employers decide whether to hire you in as little as six seconds. So make sure the photos you are most proud of are featured front and center. For more curation guidance, read our how-to on choosing portfolio images.
Now, you can work on your photography site, wherever you may be, and your clients can enjoy it, wherever they are.
Interested in tackling more photography projects with your phone?
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