Is your wedding business website doing it’s job, or is it a barrier to couples booking you? Today I’m chatting with wedding business website designer Emily Lee from By Emily Jane!
We talk about common mistakes you may be making with your wedding website, error 404 pages and quick fixes.
Emily: [00:00:00] So that’s one thing I wish I would’ve known earlier is like, don’t stop. Just see it through. It takes longer than people you know wanna make it out to.
Becca: I’m Becca Pountney, wedding business marketing expert, speaker and blogger, and you are listening to the Wedding Pros who are ready to grow podcasts. I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies, and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level.
If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business doing what you love, then you’re in the right place. Let’s get going with today’s episode. Today I’m talking to Emily Lee from Web Design Company by Emily Jane. Emily is based in Dallas in Texas, and specializes in creating custom websites for wedding Pros.
As a former photographer, she understands the wedding industry and also knows how hard it is to create a website that stands out and gets you potential couples. Emily, welcome to
Emily: the podcast. Thanks so much, Becca. I’m super happy to be.
Becca: [00:01:00] Emily. I love it when I have guests from the other side of the world because I just think it’s amazing when we can connect.
So you’re based in Dallas? Have you ever been to the uk?
Emily: I haven’t. I want to. So bad though.
Becca: I’ll come on over and if you come, come over and let’s go for a drink in London. That’ll be fun. Sounds
Becca: I have been to Texas, but only for one evening. So we flew into Texas when we were on our way to Alabama.
I stayed one night in a hotel and left the next morning. So all I experienced in Texas was one trip to
Emily: chilies. Mm. Well Chili’s is pretty iconic for, for this area, .
Becca: So hopefully I’ll make it back to Texas at another point. So, Emily, today we’re gonna be talking all things websites, which I know is a subject that some of my wedding pros really struggle with.
So we’re gonna cover all sorts of areas, but before we get into the detail, I would love to know how did you get into doing websites for Wedding Pros specifically, and tell us a bit more about that journey from being a photographer to where you.
Emily: So I would say that my [00:02:00] interest in the wedding industry probably stems back from my best friend since high school.
She always knew she wanted to be a wedding planner, so she was talking about it all the time. Her mom planned weddings too, so I learned a lot about the wedding industry from her and then around the time. I always knew I wanted to be a photographer, and around the time I started developing a photography business after high school, she actually ended up planning my wedding.
So all of these things just kind of combined and made me even more interested in the wedding industry. And so, I was dipping my toe into photographing weddings and I was learning so much about it. And then I realized that my body wasn’t gonna be able to handle it unfortunately. So I had to start thinking about what can I do that’s gonna be less physically demanding?
And so that’s when I pivoted into web design and I kind of just fell into that accidentally. because of, you know, having a photography business, you have to create your own website. So it was something I knew how to [00:03:00] do. From there, it just developed and I started really focusing on those services and the more that I worked with different types of businesses, I could clearly see that there was a difference in my energy level, my creativity.
How well I understood the businesses when I was working with someone in the wedding industry, like another photography business or a florist or something like that. I just, I did better work because I understood it so much more and it creatively fueled me a lot more. So that’s kind of what I decided to niche down on.
Becca: Awesome. So obviously over the years, I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of different Wedding Pro websites from a lot of different people. So what are the mistakes that you are seeing people making all of the
Emily: time? One of the big ones is that I can’t even find your website. So part of that has to do with, is it popping up on Google, which we can get into a little bit more later if we want.
Another thing is like, so probably all [00:04:00] wedding vendors at this point, or the vast majority of them are using Instagram. Right? But when I go to their Instagram profile, if there’s no link to their website, I, I find that mind blowing because to me, that’s the whole point of your website is that’s the, that’s the kind of like end goal that you, all of your marketing efforts should be leading them back to that.
That’s one thing I see a lot still, believe it or not, and even when you have a Link tree page, if you have all these different links that they can go to, there’s still a lot of times I don’t see anywhere where it says visit the website or see our homepage or something like that. So I would say that’s the first big mistake is that I can’t even find your website.
I would have to like go and search for it and hope that I can find it. When we get to the website itself, I would say a lot of times people aren’t giving any. Information or reason as to why someone should choose you over all the other people in your category. It’s more just like, Oh, I’m someone who can [00:05:00] take photos for you.
Okay, great, . Like, that’s not the, you’re not giving me much here because there are so many photographers and it’s the same for every, you know, vendor type. So that’s another. Big mistake that I see is like, just, you know, give me something else. Give me what’s your specialty? Do you have a niche? Is, is there a certain location that you’re.
That you’re servicing. I would say another one is that a lot of times we don’t see any instructions on how do I actually work with you and I don’t know about you, but whenever I’ve tried to hire someone in the past, if they don’t tell me how to, like what that step is to actually start the conversation with them, I just get annoyed and give up and go somewhere else.
So it may seem really obvious because you’re running the business and you’re like, Well, they just need to, you know, submit my contact form and then we’ll get the ball rolling. But if you don’t spell that out for people, a lot of the times they just, they won’t be sure [00:06:00] if you’re giving them a lot of different forms of contact, they may not know which one you prefer, and they may be a little bit too scared to take the next.
Or maybe you’re not giving them contact information, so they don’t know where to go from here. So it’s all about making things really, really, really like dumbed down and just as clear as possible.
Becca: And do you think you should be putting those call to actions on all pages of your site? Should you be telling people everywhere what they should do
Yes, absolutely. So a really easy way to implement this is just, Put it in the footer of your site, so at the bottom of every single page, there’s some kind of button that stands out and it. Reach out to get started or something like that, contact us today. And that can either be a direct link to open up an email that they can send or it could link to your contact page where you give them further detailed instructions like, Here’s what’s gonna happen after you reach out.
You can [00:07:00] expect a response within this time, Maybe we’re gonna have a consultation, something like that. But yes, on every page it’s great to have it if you. One at the very top, maybe somewhere in the middle of the page and then at the bottom.
Becca: Okay, so we know that people get confused. The other thing I see on loads of wedding business websites is that they all look the same.
So are there ways that we can get people to stand out from the crowd so they don’t just look like the same bland brand that every other wedding business.
Emily: Oh my goodness. I agree. , that is a big thing. Yeah, because the whole goal here is to stick in people’s minds because there is so much competition. And so one easy way I think, is to include a photo of yourself or your team again, on every page, not just your about page, because some people will never click on your about page.
So if we can see who you are, whether that’s, you know, headshot or behind the scenes photo. On, on [00:08:00] site, whatever it is, it really helps us feel more comfortable with you to start the conversation, but also psychologically, for whatever reason, it’s just more memorable than all of like being inundated with wedding photos constantly.
And so since we’re seeing wedding photos all the time, sometimes we can’t even remember, you know, whose photos is attached to whose brand. But having your face out there is such a huge part of your. Let’s get into like branding in general. Any way that you can start from a really good foundation and create a brand identity, then that’s gonna help you stand out.
So you wanna start by thinking about who exactly you’re trying to reach and be as specific as possible. You can think about the personality type that you. Well with, and then create visuals and words that, you know, will speak to that personality type. And that’s really a way to cut [00:09:00] through the noise.
Becca: bring yourself and your brand to the forefront of your website so that you’re not bland like everybody else. It’s much better to niche down, right? And to stand out from the crowd rather than just be one of everyone. Okay? So if people are listening to this and they’re thinking, Okay, my website’s a bit bland, or I don’t think my website’s doing.
What are some of the changes people could be making? Have you got simple changes people could be making over the next couple of weeks just to level up their website?
Emily: Yeah, A huge one is your photos. So if you haven’t updated your photos in a while, obviously that’s an easy thing to fix, but instead of just putting your most recent work out there, , take a look at what photos you’re presenting as a whole, and are they cohesive?
Are they telling the same story? Are they in line with the niche that you want to be into? The people that you want to attract? For example, if you want to be known for beach weddings or if that’s something that you have been doing a lot of and you think you [00:10:00] can keep going with that and, and, uh, stay fulfilled in that direction, then don’t show these.
Completely different style of weddings on your homepage and your services page. Make sure that it’s all consistent so that people, again, this is a really great way to, um, stand out from the crowd. If you’re showing a huge variety of work, people won’t really remember it that well and they won’t really know what exactly.
Becca: great at. Is there a simple way to make your website run
Emily: faster? Definitely. So you can reduce the size of your images. If you are using Photoshop, you can do it there, or there is tiny jpeg.com where you can do that for free. But not uploading these huge files to your website straight from the photographer that are like 10,000 pixels wide or something.
That’s the biggest culprit of a slow. Having a slow website is bad for [00:11:00] user experience, but also bad for, you know, your points with Google, because they’re gonna pick up on that as well.
Becca: Okay? So images are an important one, so we could be changing out our images, but we could also be making sure our images are smaller.
So there’s definitely some work that you guys can be doing around images on your website. Now Emily, I heard you on another podcast and you gave some really. Tech tips, especially around, um, what to do about broken links and error pages. Would you share that with my wedding pros?
Emily: Yeah, for sure. So the thing about broken links is they’re kind of unavoidable, especially the longer that your website is on online, you know, if you’re using Pinterest or getting PR out there, and if you ever change the URL to one of your.
Then one of those links on maybe a publication you’ve been featured on or on Pinterest or something may no longer be the correct link. So a safe backup here is to have a custom error page, which is called an [00:12:00] error 4 0 4 page. You’ve, we’ve all seen them. It’s the really ugly page that comes up when you click on a broken link and everyone has one by default.
But it really just looks like, you know, there’s no brand to it. It, it looks like a mistake. So there’s something you can do about that to control the experience that people have. When they click on a broken link to your website, you can create a custom error page, which it’s gonna be different for every platform, but I would just Google how to do that and every platform has that capability.
Um, and then you can, you know, add your personality to it. You can give cute little greeting. It can be something really clever, like, whoops, this page has eloped, for example, so that it at least gives people a little chuckle. And then you can give them, you can direct them to more content on your site. You can give them a search bar to find what they were looking for, and then you could say like, Here’s some blog posts that you can check out or view our services.
stuff like that. [00:13:00] So that way you’re still giving an elevated experience even when there’s a mistake that’s been
Becca: made. I think that’s a really cool tip. It’s something I didn’t know about. I just assumed you had to have the standard error 4 0 4 page. That’s really ugly. So can you change the colors of that?
Can you literally make it a webpage like you would any
Emily: other webpage? Absolutely. Yeah. It’s totally custom, so you can make it as big or as small as you. Add all of your colors and you can add a photo of yourself if you want to.
Becca: Yeah, amazing. That’s definitely a tip that I’m gonna be taking away and going to change because inevitably with both my wedding blog and my website, I definitely have got broken links out there somewhere.
And as a big lover of Pinterest, I’ve got a lot of stuff on Pinterest as well. So I’m gonna be changing my era 4 0 4 page, and if you’re listening to this, there’s one task for you to add to your to-do list as well. Now talk to me as well about these browser
Emily: icons. Every website platform I’m talking about WordPress show it Squarespace.
They typically have a, an a default little [00:14:00] icon that shows up at the top of the browser tab when you’re on someone’s website. And if you don’t go in and replace that, then it can just look like. It’s not as custom. And so again, this is something that, it’s gonna be different for every platform, but you can totally go in and replace that with like a little sub mark version of your logo or something like that.
It’s good to have, make sure that it’s like a square, so like 50 pixels by 50 pixels is perfect. And that’s just another way to add a nice little custom touch because again, we really want. Branding to be in the forefront here to make your business look more credible. And also, you know, the, the more expensive you can look, the more you can command high prices, which we all want
Becca: I think as well, trust is such an important element of the buying process. So for someone to find us online and then buy from us, they really do need to trust us. And sometimes it is those little things like seeing the little icon, or my worst one is if I go on someone’s website, Says like on the top, made by Wix or [00:15:00] something like that, where they just got the free website version, or their email address is their email@example.com.
All of those things to me are signals that maybe this business isn’t legitimate, maybe I can’t trust these people as much. So those small changes make a big difference to how much people will trust.
Emily: Yeah, and you know, another big part of that that I haven’t mentioned is how your website looks across different devices.
So if you’ve only ever focused on designing your website on desktop, then you may not be aware of how poor it’s performing on mobile, on your phone. So, you know, just, you always wanna check that it looks good across different devices because you may have created this great experience in one place that isn’t translating across other devices.
Becca: most web platforms let you look at what it looks like on website and mobile, don’t they?
Emily: Yes. And nowadays, I think all of them are letting you edit them completely [00:16:00] separately. So if you need to make minor adjustments, you can. So that one is a little bit different than the other, but again, that’s just really important for all of us who are using Instagram.
And then linking back to our website, people are gonna be on their phones and nowadays it’s like over half of website traffic is on it. Is people on their phones at any given time, so super important to pay attention to that too.
Becca: I think sometimes when it’s our own business, we end up not being able to see the wood from the trees because we’re in it all of the time.
We’re on our websites all of the time, and we don’t see what other people are seeing. Do you recommend people get other people to look at their websites? Is that a service you provide or you just recommend people get their friends and family to look over their website and their customer?
Emily: Yeah, so right now I’m actually doing website reviews on Instagram.
I’ll probably continue to do that, so if you want to have me look at your website, I totally can, but it is definitely a good idea to have different people look at it because I remember. [00:17:00] Before I really got into website design and I was just trying to make my photography website look decent back in the day, I messed with that thing for hours and hours and hours and still could not figure out why it didn’t look quite right.
So it’s exactly what you said. Sometimes we’re just too close to it and. We’ve been staring at it for too long, so if you have a another creative friend, that can be super helpful to have them look it over. Yeah, and if
Becca: you are listening to this and you’re in my Wedding pro members lounge, then just share the link in there because people will give you some feedback as well, some peer to peer feedback too.
I. Okay. Right at the beginning of this episode, we very slightly started talking a little bit about SEO and being found on Google. Now, we could do a whole episode on SEO alone, but I know that some wedding pros are struggling with the fact that they’ve got these beautiful websites, they’ve got these great Instagram pages, and yet they’re just nowhere to be seen on Google.
So do you have any simple, actionable things they could be doing to try and get found on Google, even just for [00:18:00] what they do and the location where?
Emily: I will say there’s like two phases of seo. So one is like laying the foundation, which probably won’t get you very far on its own, but it’s still very important and pretty easy to to get right.
So the next phase is like the ongoing stuff, and that’s where something like blogging is golden. Um, so I will say that you wanna get the foundation right and we can talk about some really easy ways to do that real quick, but just keep in mind. Blog whenever you can about relevant things that you think your ideal clients would find useful and that’s gonna propel you forward a lot farther.
Even if it’s like once every other month, just go ahead and do it. But, so as far as that foundation goes, there are about four keywords that I often see missing a lot. And it’s just basic information that Google and humans need to know about your business, um, in order for them to be able to find your website on Google.
So one is [00:19:00] your business name because you may think, Well, I don’t need to actually write my business name because it’s in my logo, but Google can’t read your logo. They just see it as an image file. So you definitely wanna have your business name written out and that goes the same for your personal. Some people aren’t gonna know your business name if it’s not the same as your personal name, but they’re gonna be searching under your name on Google for your business.
So that’s another thing. You wanna put your whole name on every page if you can, but at least on your about page. Another one is of course, your location because most, you know, wedding businesses are very location based and if you’re not just servicing one location, it’s still helpful to get more clients.
If you can go ahead and put your, where you’re located. And then you can go ahead and say like, and beyond, or also, you know, we travel or whatever. Just to let people know that you do that. But let’s see. So the last one would be what you do seems, again, really obvious, right? But there are, [00:20:00] I cannot tell you how many of these website reviews like, That I mentioned that I do, where all, all of these things are missing because we, it, again, we’re too close to it.
We don’t notice that it’s missing. And so just tell people, tell Google on your website the service you offer, and that’s a really easy way to, um, help yourself show up on Google more. And then, let’s see, so another thing that you can do. , like I mentioned earlier, checking on your mobile website. So part of that is for user friendliness, right?
Because of course we want people to have a great experience on the site, but part of that is for. Google because they can also kind of, they can, They’re getting smarter and smarter of being able to tell if a website is functioning properly on mobile. Like for example, if there are elements that are too close together or overlapping, or if there’s a popup that you can’t quite exit out of, they can pick up on these things now.
So you can [00:21:00] actually Google mobile friendly test and Google will just have this little bar here where you type in your website and then it tells. , it gives you a score on your mobile friendliness, and then it tells you what mistakes they picked up, and that’ll tell you quickly some things that you can go in and fix, which is really cool.
Becca: awesome. I will put a link to that tool in the show notes as well. Now you talked a little bit about blogging. If anyone needs some help with blogging, go back and listen to episode eight of this podcast where I did a whole podcast episode on blogging. Any other things people should be doing ongoing to try and build on their SEO.
They’ve got the foundations in place. Are backlinks still
Emily: important? Absolutely. Yeah, so any time that you, I almost think like getting PR or getting featured in publications online is more about the SEO than it is the actual like, You know, visibility factor, those are so powerful. If you can get featured [00:22:00] somewhere, Google already, you know, knows that the, Oh, this is a, a website that has to do with the wedding industry, and then they’re gonna, there’s gonna be a link back to your website.
They’re gonna be like, Oh, okay, this is kind of like proof that this business is. and authority in the wedding industry and you know, it starts to build this web. So the more of those links that you can get, the more authority you have on Google, and they’re gonna start recommending you to people who are looking for wedding services.
Becca: feels like such a mindfield, doesn’t it? When it comes to websites, they’re, people get overwhelmed because they’re thinking, I just wanna be making flowers, or making cakes, or taking photos. I don’t wanna be doing all of this other stuff. Out of all of those things, is there any one that’s more of a priority or does they just need to be doing a little bit of everything?
Emily: My opinion on this is do a little bit of everything, do all the easy stuff, so that way you are, you know, you have your SEO foundation, you have your website, looks pretty nice. Your, your photos are up [00:23:00] to date. You know, it doesn’t have to be perfect at all, but you do need to bring people to your website, somehow.
And then when they get there, you need to hold their attention somehow and then you need to send them over so that they can turn to your contact page so that they can actually turn into a lead. So all of those things are equally important. Unfortunately, one without the other just doesn’t work for your business.
So that’s why I say just focus on the easy stuff and then you know, you can build from there does not have to be perfect.
Becca: That’s a good reminder. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Build and build and do a little bit all of the time to keep improving that customer journey. Now, I know that you’ve prepared or you’ve got a bit of a freebie that we are gonna give away to listeners of the podcast, so do you wanna just tell people a little bit about what that is and how
Emily: they can get it?
Yeah, so I have a resources page on my website and hopefully there’s something there for everyone, but I do have. Website floor plan for Wedding Pros, which is basically a blueprint that I recommend for, it works for most [00:24:00] wedding service providers. This is what I do when I’m building websites for people.
So it has an outline of the exact pages that you need and what needs to go on each page, as well as like what happens if you, you know, if you need more pages than that, like. Where do you put all this information that needs to go on your website so that it’s really easy for people to consume and go down that buying path?
Becca: if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, Yeah, I need to work on my website, I need to look into those things, then do go and grab that resource, I will put the link to it underneath. In the show notes, or if you can’t find it, just drop me a message or Emily a message on Instagram. I’m sure we’ll be happy to send you the link to that.
Now, Emily, I always end all of my podcast episodes with the same question, which I’m gonna put to you now, which is, what one thing do you wish you’d known sooner in
Emily: business? Okay, so this is a tough pill to swallow, but I wish I had known how long it takes to get the ball rolling. Like don’t expect [00:25:00] results right away, and don’t let that make you give up.
So basically it’s like the marketing and networking thing. For so long I would just like try it for a while and then I wouldn’t get the results I would want, and then I would stop or completely switch gears and it’s like, no, I should have just kept going, kept going, kept going. And then the results. In due time.
So that’s one thing I wish I would’ve known earlier is like, don’t stop, just see it through. It takes longer than people, you know wanna make it out to. Yes. That’s
Becca: such a good reminder. And I’m saying that to people all of the time because they come to me and they’re like, I’m doing all the things and it’s not working.
And I say, Just keep doing all the things because if you keep doing all the things, It will start working. So that’s a really great tip, Emily. Thank you for sharing. Emily, it’s been a pleasure to have you on the podcast. If people wanna find out more about your services or more about you, where’s the best place for them to go?
Emily: So I’m always hanging out on Instagram at by Emily Jane, if you wanna hang out with me there. And my website is by emily jane.com where you can learn all about me and my services and get some of those free [00:26:00] goodies. Fabulous.
Becca: Thank you for your time. And if you’re ever in the UK, let me know and we’ll go for a drink.
Awesome. Thanks. Such a great chat with Emily. Always helpful to get advice around your website and hopefully you’ve got some good things to take away from today’s episode. If you need help with any of those things, do reach out to me and do take a look in the show notes where I link to everything that we talked about in today’s episode.
I’ll be back next week.