Is your photography website fast enough?
Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression with investors, with customers, with PR.
What Natalie Massenet said about first impression is so true even for photography websites.
There have always been a of lot of discussions and debates around what matters most for your photography website — number of photos you should show, the kind of galleries you should make, the layout and theme you should choose, the importance of design vs content (i.e. photos), and so on.
The most critical point which however is generally missed, or is not given enough importance most of the times is website performance.
Does the home page of your website load fast enough? How much time does it take to load the full screen slide show? Or what’s the gap between loading of galleries when you click through them?
Slow websites end up getting low rankings by Google Search, thereby affecting your business. More importantly, people who end up visiting your website (because, say, you sent them the link) drop out much sooner if the website is not responsive enough.
Not having visitors going through their photography content is the last thing photographers want.
For your clients to stay on your photography website, focus on performance much before thinking about the design or even the content.
Making a photography website fast is never easy, and the primary reason behind that is, of course, the sheer size of photos. Numerous techniques and optimizations go in to ensure that downloading of the last possible byte can be optimized, giving a butter smooth experience to the clients and viewers of the website.
We did a small experiment to see how some of the popular photography website creation platforms fare against each other, and found some interesting results.
Clearly, PhotoFolio and Squarespace are heavily optimized for the number of requests they make to the server to fetch the initial content, and that’s terrific.
If we talk about the loading times, it was great to see that most of the platforms can load their websites in less than 2 seconds, which is the maximum acceptable threshold on Internet these days.
It was very pleasant to see that Siftr showed up a loading time of less than half a second, becoming the fastest photography website platform. All the thinking and effort put in by the Siftr engineering team over the last few months around building a robust and efficient platform are paying off. The good news is that they will soon be cutting down on the number of server requests being made, thereby reducing the loading time even further.
Keep doing great photography, and have a good time showing your work to the world.