A guest post by Daron Shade, Photographer and Web Designer.

I never really thought that a mobile site was important for photographers until recently. My studio has a great address, 302 S. Park Ave. Unfortunately, the streets of Tucson were not so much designed as just haphazardly built then named… There are three park Avenues and they all change and overlap in my neighborhood. The numbers don’t overlap, but it’s a bit of a mess to navigate if you aren’t familiar with the area. To make matters worse, one of the SATNAV systems directs everyone to another street. I’ve had about a third of the people coming to my studio for the first time get misguided and call for directions.

This got me thinking about having a mobile device site with a simple landing page and link to a Google map. I put together a landing page and as a second thought decided to put a very simple gallery on the mobile site.

There are a number of ways to drive traffic to this mobile site, but keeping it simple, I used m.daronshade.com as the subdomain and used Javascript to set my main site to forward visitors if the screen resolution width was less than 768px (768 pixels is the width of an iPad held vertically).

I dropped this code in the header of my pages:

<SCRIPT language="JavaScript">
if (screen.width<768)

This forwards visitors to the mobile device site that was designed to provide my phone number, address, and a map…

Every time I receive a call from a new prospect, I make sure to ask how they found me. This keeps me in the know of how my marketing is working. (This is how I know that working for free for ‘exposure’ is about the worst thing that we can do with our time! – I’ve never had a freebie turn into a referral for a paying gig.) I never thought that anyone would find and book me with their hand-held device, but in the last month, I received two phone calls from people who found me via Google on their phones.

One of them was an individual in need of a portfolio. She was a backup dancer preparing for an audition… The other was a frantic art buyer in an airport that had a deal with another photographer fall through while she was on her way to town. They had some mis-communication on the date of the shoot. She found me on her iPhone during a layover and booked me on the spot. Acquiring work through my mobile site has been a total surprise to me, and something that I hope continues.

When talking with your web designer or setting out to build your own website, keep the mobile browser in mind and at least make sure your site is navigable on an iPhone. The extra investment may pay for itself in a single phone call.

A note on flash: It’s no secret that Don and I both campaign against flash and for content managed html-based websites. With the huge following of the iPhone and the new iPad, there are even more reasons to stay away from a flash-based site. iPhones and iPads do not support Flash.

I am averaging 2-3 visits on the mobile site per day, which is much more than I had expected. This trend can only increase.

— — Daron

That is pretty cool, Daron. Thanks. Please visit Daron’s site and leave a comment if this helped you. I know I am working on my mobile site now, and this really helped.

I will have some news for everyone, as well as announcing a couple of contests that I am working on. One for LE and another for a third party.

The Columbus workshop is filled, and there is talk about someone showing up to do an informal discussion on lighting at MPEX on the Wednesday night before the workshop. I guess you will just have to keep checking MPEX’s site for more information on that.

I have openings in the Denver workshop. It is the only workshop I am doing outside of the one-on-one’s I am doing in the Phoenix studio for the month of July. It will be a really fun workshop, so check it out at Learn to Light. Coming up in August is Calgary and Toronto… so don’t miss those workshops if you are in the area.

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