As you might have guessed, having a website is essential to a photography business, so it is important to take necessary steps for photography website success. In this article, you are going to read five for photographers to achieve such a goal.
The first step to achieve success, is to seek the best possible hosting for a photography business. There are many reason why WP Engine is a great choice for any photographer. First, is the expertise from every WP Engine employee. Another is their guaranteed uptime. At Photocrati, we pride ourselves on having the best possible support and understand how valuable it is to customers. So of course, I have to mention that their support is some of the best out there. Other awesome features from WP Engine are their time machine style backups, hack recovery and free migration services if you are transferring from another host.
I was originally hosted on Dreamhost, and then Liquid Web. Both were VPS servers which means that they're already more advanced and resourceful than shared hosting. However, my site kept going down when traffic spikes. Now on WP Engine my site really hasn't been down aside from a major power outage that was out of their control. With that said, WP Engine is my WordPress host of course.
If you're using a service that hosts your website for you, reach out to the company and find our about their downtime policy, website speeds and security measures.
The next thing to consider is the platform for which the website is built on. There are many content management systems available, but with over 16% percent of all websites on the Internet using WordPress, which is over 78 million WordPress installs, it is obvious what the best choice is. Now, some photographers do not want “the hassle” of managing a website host or WordPress application. Fortunately, WP Engine specializes in WordPress and customers do not have to worry about managing anything but three things:
- Update your WordPress theme
- Update your WordPress plugins
- Create your content
WordPress has its many advantages like having complete control over every aspect of your website. There is a massive community of other WordPress users willing to lend a hand and answer questions. There are tons of resources on the Internet to learn WordPress and find answers. WordPress is extremely flexible and can be a blog, a marketing page, a lead capturing tool, a full website, a CRM and many other things.
There are thousands of photo specific WordPress themes out there, and while we love our theme we also know that not everyone wants the same theme. With that, we have no problem recommending potential customers (or non customers) to theme's that are more of their personal taste. There are so many websites that list photo themes, so do so Google searching to find one that you like. Use keywords like full screen or grid layout.
Some things to consider for your photography WordPress theme are:
- Gallery management
- Image protection
- Mobile friendly
The Photocrati theme is each of these and responsive capability is also coming in a future update.
Just like themes, there are thousands of plugins out there for photographers to use. They cover the full gamut of options, features and so on. Whether you are looking for an appointment plugin or a gallery plugin, there are many options. At Photocrati, we develop one of the most popular plugins called NextGEN Gallery (approaching 8 million downloads). We recently launched NextGEN Pro which includes enhanced gallery styles a Pro Lightbox with individual photo social sharing and commenting. Coming in future updates are eCommerce, proofing and lab integration. All of these amazing features can be used on any WordPress site running any WordPress theme.
However, we know some people prefer other gallery styles we currently do not offer. So with that, we have no problem recommending plugins like SlideDeck or FooBox which both integrate with NextGEN Gallery.
Also like themes, do Google searching for relevant keywords and WordPress listings will usually come up first. If you're looking for SEO or contact form plugins, check out WordPress SEO by Yoast and Gravity Forms.
Of course, without content anything you do is practically useless. Content can be photographs, documents like a PDF guide for customers, blog articles or podcasts. Content is what attracts visits to your website. Spend some time and brainstorm ideas to create. If you are not a great writer, then hire someone who is. Make sure it is optimized for search engines, and see the traffic start to come in.
Don't be afraid to blog. Find your voice, be creative and write write write. Spend some time with your laptop or tablet outside or in a coffee shop. Different locations inspire creative writing. See what your competition is doing and then do it better.
Of course, there is much more to website success than this basic overview. Feel free to comment or contact me and I will do my best to answer your questions.