It is becoming increasingly important for professional photographers to create a competitive online presence.
Online is the number one go-to for all consumers, private and corporate. So for any photographer looking for bookings, sales, and brand growth, it’s a must. One of the most popular choices for websites for photographers is WordPress. That is why we created a special guide: WordPress for Photographers. Below you will find tips on how to showcase and optimize your pictures to rank high in Google Images. We also dedicate attention to picture protection.
Though some photographers are concerned about publishing copyright images, most now have websites and social media pages. WordPress has grown to a stratospheric level of popularity in its 15 years of existence. Once the favourite of amateur bloggers, it is now used by multinational corporations, eCommerce businesses, and everyone in between. Consequently, it is also among one of the most popular websites for photographers. They favour it mostly for its ease of use and affordability.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE USING WORDPRESS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
In case you’re new to all things websites and WordPress, let us preface with a quick WordPress for Photographers introduction. Firstly, WordPress is an open-source (everyone can use it for free) CMS (content management system). Secondly, anyone can set up and publish a website using WordPress. Thirdly, it’s relatively easy to use, and there is a plethora of online tutorials to help you out.
There are two versions of WordPress – wordpress.org and wordpress.com. So wordpress.com is perfect for people just starting out with websites and a limited budget. It includes free hosting and security, taking these things off your to-do list. Meanwhile, WordPress.org is a downloadable version that can be used with your choice of hosting. For anyone starting out, it is advisable to use Wordrpess.com. You can migrate to WordPress.org, which offers greater flexibility and control, later.
THE PROS AND CONS OF WORDPRESS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
- Design Choices – there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of WordPress themes for photographers to choose from. Including a large selection of gallery and portfolio themes. Meaning you will most definitely find the one that suits your website goals.
- Independence – the ease of use with WordPress for photographers means you are less likely to need to involve a third party. You can choose when and how to work with designers and developers intermittently at a later date if required.
- Plugins – these little snippets of code allow you to tweak your site in multiple ways. This includes adaptations like SEO tools, contact forms, and social media plugins.
- Intuitive CMS – WordPress is purposefully designed to be easy to use. If you can find yourself around a social media site, you can use WordPress.
- Cost – WordPress is free to use. If you want upgrades and particular themes or plugins, you may need to pay for those.
- Another thing to manage – You’re already busy; managing your own website content, security, hosting, etc., will only add to this.
- Can look generic – If you are new to WordPress and choose everything ‘off the shelf,’ your website can end up looking unoriginal.
WORDPRESS PLUGINS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
Think of Plugins as enhancers. After choosing your beautiful theme and getting started with adding content, you can tweak things with plugins. You might add a more responsive gallery using the Envira Gallery plugin, for example.
Popular plugins for WordPress for photographers include:
- WooCommerce Photography isn’t a free plugin, but it is worth the investment if you plan to sell your images. Avoid losing precious hours uploading multiple photos to your site and let this plugin batch upload on your behalf. WooCommerce says your customers will enjoy an ‘intuitive photograph browsing and purchasing experience.’
- EWWW Image Optimizer is a photography site’s secret weapon. Don’t let lots of large images slow your site down. Instead, use this plugin that will optimize the images on your site and prevent slow loading. A slow loading site can fall foul of the SEO rankings, so beware.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast is a plugin that has fast become the go-to choice for better ranking. The free version gives you free access to training courses, checks there is no duplicated content, runs readability checks, and warns you about an outdated text. The paid version does a whole lot more. Yoast SEO will suggest internal links, redirect out of date links, and keep your site ad-free.
- The Enriva plugin mentioned earlier also has features that protect pictures. The protection addon prevents you from having photos stolen by disabling the right-click option. Envira also has a watermark addon option for paid users, a helpful tool for tracking stolen pictures.
USE YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE AS A DETERRENT FOR THIVES
Include a page on your website about how to request image use. Ensure you add your contact details for making requests. WordPress for photographers allows for that. Don’t be afraid to include how much the fee would be for stolen pics.
Your website is an opportunity to educate people about copyright images. So many people believe that it is ok to use a photo they ‘found online.’ Take this opportunity to explain what legally counts as copyright infringement and how to run a copyright image search.
It would be beneficial also to include information about the image protection steps you have taken to protect pictures. Deter potential thieves by letting them know that you track and charge for every stolen photo.
Include a blog on your site to help boost your credibility and written content. Posts about how to copyright an image and image copyright checkers could be good themes for your visitors. If you want to find out more about these subjects have a look here.
SEO TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
- Don’t rely on imagery alone.
This may seem like counterintuitive advice to give to photographers, but here’s why.
Understandably, photographers want a website that lets their photographs take front and centre stage. This is perfectly acceptable and doable. However, having a site that is image focussed only harms your SEO.
Search engine bots can’t understand a site that only has a tiny amount of text. This includes writing inside or overlaid on images -it can not be read. Search engine bots crawl your site deciding how Google should rank you in search results. Bots do this by searching your site for information that helps them understand your relevance to search questions. At this moment in time, bots can understand the written text but not images, video, or sound. When they come to your site, they only look at the text and HTML content.
The importance of text descriptions
As a photographer, you will want your site to be image focussed. Have some flexibility to allow your site to be found. Make sure that you give every image a text description (and include information about the image’s copyright) and ensure that you name your images with SEO in mind.
WordPress for photographers offers an intuitive blog section. You could post there your loose thoughts on photography, impressions from travels or share some tips for particular shots. All of those can be loaded with keywords that will make your website rank higher in google. Such written content can be added without taking the attention from your images.
- Optimise Headers
To help your site rank better in both search results and Google image results, use the header title tags. These ‘ H1, H2, H3 tags, etc.’ help the search bots understand the purpose of your site.
Avoid the temptation of a funny or pun-filled page title. You should use an H1 header to state what the page is about clearly. H2, H3 headers, and so on are just as necessary as H1 and should not be overlooked. Use them to tell the bots (and your readers) what each part of the page is about. Do use keywords to explain content importance but not to cheat the Google Bots into ranking you higher.
- Meta Descriptions Should Be Original
Within the HTML of your site are little snippets of text that tell visitors and search engines what a page is about. The title tags that we covered above are one element of metadata. The other is a short paragraph about the page. When you see websites listed in search results, the meta description is the text you see below the page name.
In your WordPress site, there are generally two ways to update the meta descriptions. Either you will have an option to add a meta description as part of the page template or within the HTML. The latter is not as daunting as it sounds, even if you have no HTML experience. WordPress was designed for photographers and other creators who do not need to be tech-savvy.
Always use original text for your meta descriptions and never copy and paste a section used on the page already. Remember to include, but not stuff, your keywords.
- Have A Testimonials Page
A great way to include written text on your photography website is to include client testimonials. This is to say: have a page dedicated to the feedback you receive. Consequently, resist the urge to overlay the testimonial onto a photograph.
Not sure how to get testimonials. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask a client if they could leave or send you a testimonial after a project. You could include a polite request as a personalized message from you or as part of your automated emails. Certainly, you can also copy reviews that are left for you on social media or Google Business Reviews onto your website.
WORDPRESS THEMES FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
WordPress Themes are ready-made website designs that you can choose from for free (therefore you may need to pay for some). They dictate how your site will look and function, right down to the font and colour scheme. Choosing a website theme should be straight forward. Once you start perusing the many, many choices, it gets much more challenging, though.
To avoid wasting time flitting from one choice to the next, get clear on what you want. Firstly, look at other sites and write a definitive like and dislike plan. This way, you can search for a WordPress theme that fits your needs exactly.
In the next step, we want you to have a look at some of the popular WordPress themes for photographers.
CHOSE YOUR AESTHETIC
- Aera by Nayra Themes is a fast and bold looking site that promises to be ‘perfect for any type of business’. It’s less gallery themed, and more business-themed so the right choice for the photographer with commercial spirit.
- Signify Dark by WEN Themes is a dark and sultry theme that is responsive and dynamic. This theme has photography friendly features like a slider and portfolio.
- Simple Grid by ThemesDNA is the right choice for the prolific photographer. Its homepage is, as you would expect from the name, a grid layout akin to Instagram. In short – this is a good option for portrait photographers. You can play around with the ratio of the grid layout and style of the pages.
- MiNNaK by tamermancar has a very cool and zen, like look. So if you want to present your work in a case study format, then this is a great choice. The post format options are a nice mix of video, audio, quote, or image. While the minimalist styling will let your photos do the talking.
- Hello Fashion by Blossom Themes is touted for fashion bloggers but would suit fashion photographers likewise. This theme comes with newsletter integration, a useful advantage for anyone who is serious about marketing their business.
WordPress has a lot to offer photographers. Whatever theme you choose and plugins you opt for, set aside time in your diary to manage your site. Having a plan for your website will ensure that it not only looks great but that it functions well too. Regular maintenance windows in your diary will keep you focused and your site looking sharp.
Take as many measures as you can to protect your images when you publish online. Photo theft is rife. You deserve the compensation when people take and use your copyrighted image. In case you do not have time for conducting research, we will do it for you (and there are no hidden costs!). Avoid letting your photos be stolen and find an easier way to protect your rights by signing up here for free.
When you come across one of your photos and are unsure of your rights, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org rather than letting the thieves get away with stealing from you.