WordPress For Photographers, By A Photographer
What exactly is WordPress for Photographers? First the basics… A website should work for you in several ways. Primarily it should help you get found by the people that need your services. If your potential clients can’t find you any other function of your website is worthless. I must also explain what getting found means. It is not typing in your website address or a search for your business name and up pops your website. Those clients already know you. This is a small part of your potential new business! What you need are the potential clients that don’t know you, but are looking for your product or service! This is the primary job of your website, find those clients, show them what you can do, and then get them to hire you to do the job.
This is an article specifically on WordPress for photographers, if you need help optimizing your website of WordPress site, see the DIY Ranking Services Page. The services listed there are designed to help photographers get ranked by the search engine so clients can find you
Wordpress is one of the best and least expensive website solutions for photographers. WordPress is the “engine” that drives the website. A WordPress Theme is added to give the website its look and additional functionality. Plugins are also added to provide additional functionality like SEO or an Image Slideshow. The most important of these three pieces is the Theme. If the Theme isn’t up to the task, your website will almost certainly fail at increasing your business.
Photographers have special needs when it comes to websites and WordPress Themes. I know this becaus I am a Photographer that has had his share of frustration when it comes to WordPress. I was so frustrated that at one time I had abandonded it a started writing my own HTML5 Websites. Soon after I found that I could integrate the best of the two worlds by creating my own themes. Themes that did everything a photographer needs them to do… WordPress For Photographers!
Here are just a few of the special requirements that photographers need in a WordPress website.
Image Handling: Photographers are all about images, so much so that they often think that is all this is needed from a website or WordPress Theme. Just toss up your best work and the business will come roaring in. This is not the case as I will explain later, but first, let me discuss images. Most portrait photographers shoot in portrait orientation, landscape photographers shoot in landscape orientation. WordPress Themes are almost always designed for landscape photographers, the screen on computers is wider than it is tall. This presents an issue for portrait photographers, they have to hack up their best portraits to make them fit a landscape slideshow on the home page of their website.
A WordPress Theme designed specifically for portrait photographers should come standard with options for image display other than just a landscape oriented home page slideshow. Options available are masonary (pinterest) style pages, or slideshows that can show both portrait and landscape images. One of the most important things for a photographer is to be able to show their best images, make sure you choose a WordPress Theme that will allow you to do that.
Search Optimization (SEO): Many photographers don’t even know what the term SEO stands for, let alone what to look for in a WordPress Theme that will provide them the best ability to be found on the Internet. Some of the items that are important for a Theme to be search engine friendly are properly placed tags, W3C error free code, loading speed, the ability to properly accept plugins for SEO, Caching, Spam Protection, and Image Presentation. There are a lot of WordPress Themes out there that do little or nothing about SEO, and even worse, some actually hinder your chances of being ranked! Bloated themes with lots of errors and poorly placed tags will not do you any good.
Ease Of Use: This is a big one when choosing WordPress for photographers! A Theme that is designed for multi-purpose use has so many options available that they are sometime difficult and time consuming to setup. You see this amazing looking demo site that can do everything on the planet, but for the average photographer to set it up and make it look that good is next to impossible. The other thing about Multi-purpose themes with lots of options is that they are normally bloated. Tons of extra code to support all of the cool features that you may or may not even use. This makes the site slow and sluggish. Choose a theme that is designed for the business you are in. The closer the Theme matches what you actually need, the better of you will be in terms of size, speed, and ease of setup.
Site Or Page Builders: Lots of the newer WordPress Themes are now packaged with Page Builders or Site Builders. While these popular plugins sometimes make it easier for new users to design custom WordPress pages, the code produced is usually large and cumbersome. This leads to a slow and sluggish website. With six seconds to impress your potential client before they leave your site, I look for a site that loads as fast as possible. This is made even worse with mobile devices when they have to load over the cellular network.
Mobile Compatibility: I made this a separate section from Responsive design for a reason. Many would say responsive design is mobile compatibility, I disagree. Mobile compatibility is much more than just formatting the site to look good on mobile devices. It is serving appropriately sized images, reducing load times as much as possible, and limiting code that mobile browsers have trouble running. It is also about making things readable on mobile devices that are used in a variety of lighting conditions, and making it easy to dial phone numbers and sending emails. Limiting the amount of typing that is needed and making sure that the menus work correctly are also very important. Most of your potential clients will be accessing your site from a mobile device!
Responsive Design: Responsive Design is the ability for the Theme to adapt to the size of the display it will be presented on. Today this is pretty much standard and allows your website to present correctly on phones, a variety of tablets, and of course a huge variety of computer displays. There are different ways to accomplish a responsive design, one of the major issues is handling image sizes. Many improperly crop images making them look odd when presenting on certain devices. Images should be fluid and should look the same across all platforms so your images retain the original impact. Text should remain readable across all devices and not get so small on mobile devices that your potential clients can’t read your message. Test all Themes on as many different devices as you can before committing to purchasing. You can change your Theme if you find out that you aren’t happy with it, but there will always be some work involved in the switch.
Hope you enjoyed this article on WordPress For Photographers!If you have questions or comments feel free to email me and let me know.