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Every photographer in the modern world needs to have an active website that is stylish, up to date and presents their work to the world in the best way possible.
Your photography should look great on the page and the navigation, contact forms and any e-commerce facilities must be intuitive and easy to use for your site’s visitors.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a powerful tool which you can use to build a website without needing to know the ins and outs of complex coding and website design. The WordPress platform provides a place where you can create your own website using any one of a huge number of templates – or themes.
WordPress themes are either free or paid and each have their own unique look. Some themes are designed to accommodate portfolios and single page websites whereas others are purpose built to host larger e-commerce sites or multi paged blogs.
Originally created as a blog publishing platform that was free and open source; it has since developed to accommodate forums, galleries, membership websites and a great selection of themes. WordPress is extremely versatile and as a testament to this it has already been used to create more than 60 million websites to date.
WordPress is easy to use, requires no prior knowledge about coding or website design and is free to register today. To upgrade the themes or to use your own domain you will need to pay a subscription but the prices are very reasonable for the services you receive.
- It’s easy and intuitive to customize, modify and personalize the themes to fit your brand.
- WordPress websites are SEO optimized and will be picked up by all the major search engines.
- WordPress tools make it easy to manage your website, including mailing lists, e-commerce and updates.
- A wide range of Plugins means that WordPress has great functionality.
- Good security systems which keeps your customer’s information safe.
- WordPress can operate with many different types of media so it’s perfect for creatives and photographers.
What Features Do You Need In A Theme For Your Photography Website?
When you’re selecting a theme for your WordPress website you need to be mindful of the functionality and features that you want to incorporate. Each site will be unique with its own requirements however there are a few features and qualities that every photography website should be including to provide the best user experience and potential for development.
First and Foremost – Keep It Simple.
Selecting a theme that is simple is important. Before you get started with the building and design, you need to remember to keep your website fairly simple and avoid the temptation of over complicating it!
When you’re building a website, particularly if it’s your first one, it’s easy to get carried away and fill every square inch of the page with buttons, toggles, plugins, menus and features! This can work in some cases, but more often than not a clean and simple site will give your visitors a better experience.
If you’re planning to upload a lot of material to your website then you should take a moment to think about how you can present it in a clear and ordered way. Keeping it simple will also help you to prioritize the more important items and create an improved browsing experience for your visitors. When the site design is simple you can more easily guide your visitors around the site using graphics and text to indicate where things are.
Navigation and Menus.
According to research more than 80% of people will leave a website if they don’t find what they were looking for within a few clicks. This means that you need to create a clear, intuitive and easy to use navigation system in your theme. Your primary tool to help visitors navigate around the site will be the top menu so make sure it’s obvious and doesn’t contain too many options.
If you’re creating a photography website for your own work then you’re going to want your portfolio to be easy to find – ideally within 1 click, or two at the most.
Theme Navigation Should Be Simple:
- Keep the number of menus on your site low. Try not to use more than 5 menus although you can include subcategories if you have a lot of sections to incorporate.
- The main menu for the site should either be at the top of the Home page or on the left hand side.
- Be consistent – if your main drop down menu is in the top center on the Home page then it should also be there on all the other pages on your website.
- It needs to be easy to return to the Home page from any other page on the site. You can do this through the main menu and/or by clicking on the site’s logo or title.
- Browsing through your image galleries should be smooth with no glitches so your visitors can concentrate on the photos.
- Make sure it’s obvious for your visitors to get to the Contact page.
Theme Should Have E-commerce Functionality.
Many photographers create a website mainly to showcase their work to potential customers. But you can also use the website to generate income on it’s own (basically customers who you will never meet). When you’re running a photography website – whether you’re hosting a portfolio site or creating a photography blog or sales page – e-commerce can be a great source of income for you and provide excellent services for your customers. Remember, you can make money from selling prints and also other digital products and at the same time attract customers to your wedding photography business.
- WordPress e-commerce plugins are already popular and potential customers are already quite familiar with using them which helps to engender trust.
- It’s easy to install and has great functionality.
- The sections are well defined and intuitive to navigate for your site’s visitors.
- WordPress e-commerce plugins work with a wide range of payment systems including Debit and Credit Cards, PayPal and more.
Contact Page and Details Should Be Easy To Find.
You want to make it as effortless as possible for people to contact you so your Contact page should be clear and well thought out. Using a WordPress in-site contact form that links directly to your email account is the traditional way to go.
Another good tip is to include a link to your Contact page at the bottom of every page on the website so once a visitor has scrolled to the bottom of the page they have the option of getting to the contact form in 1 click.
Theme Should Be Visually Appealing.
When you’re creating a photography website it should always be aesthetically appealing to say the least. As a photographer, or someone who is interested in the creative fields, you’ll already be used to expressing yourself in visual ways and so allow your personality to shine through while designing your site.
You want to make sure that your photos are displayed beautifully and are enjoyable to navigate through. It can be a good idea to split up your photos into sections if you have a lot to show and if you’re selling prints then make it trouble-free for your visitors to click and buy. Good photography themes should allow you to show featured images and thumbnail images clearly and beautifully.
Good Themes Should Have A Clean Blogging Page.
When creating a photography website you might want to think about including a blog to write about your work, give your visitors further insights into your interests and personality as well as to attract more organic visitors from the search engine algorithms.
Blog posts are the perfect place to put product reviews, exhibition notes and to promote other services you may be offering. You can also create posts in your blog about your latest photos and prints as well as using it to promote your site on social media and in forums across the web.
Posting regularly on your blog helps to keep your site SEO optimized, builds up a good relationship with your site’s more frequent visitors and allows you to monetize your site in a whole variety of ways.
Analytics To Track Website Performance Should Be Included.
Analytics are for your own use but they help you to find out how many people are visiting your site and from where they are arriving. This lets you optimize your marketing strategy, develop the site’s SEO and measure your site’s traffic with real time tools. You can use this data to improve your website in a few main ways:
- Is the ‘Bounce Rate’ on your site very high? This means that people are leaving your site very quickly. If so, this could indicate that you need to improve the navigation or the Home page to keep new visitors on the site.
- Are you noticing spikes in the visitors traffic? Are you seeing spikes on certain days or at certain times of the year? If so, you can use this to try to repeat or further develop the kind of content that attracted the larger volumes of traffic to your site.
- Find out about your visitors demographics to help you tailor your site to the kinds of things they might be wanting to see.
An Interesting and Informative About Page.
It might come as a surprise but the second most viewed page on any website is the About page. This gives visitors an insight into who you are and why you set up your website. This is a great way to build up trust with your site’s visitors and can be used to grow a loyal customer base.
You can include your biography, an artist statement and any other information that is pertinent to your site in the About section. There’s a lot of scope for personalizing this part of the website and it’s also a good place to include links to any social media or other galleries that you have online.
Themes Should Be Mobile Friendly.
As mobile phones have become ubiquitous in the modern world you need to be 100% sure that your site is mobile phone friendly. In fact, the degree to which your site is mobile phone friendly actually plays a role in how high it will rank on Google searches so getting it right is essential!
To make your site easier to use on a phone you should have a responsive design that doesn’t require the user to constantly ‘pinch and zoom’ to find things. WordPress themes are built with mobile phones in mind but you can always test how well it is working on a phone by looking at it yourself on your own phone. If you identify any issues then you can go back to your WordPress dashboard and make the necessary changes!
WordPress is a Powerful Tool You Can Use To Create a Thriving Photography Website.
When you’re building a website it’s essential to use the best software that’s available. It’s hard to beat WordPress for its intuitive dashboards, versatile themes and the wide range of plugins and tools that are at your disposal. You can pay for upgrades and specialized plugins however for the most part you can use it entirely for free!
You can focus your photography website on selling prints and other products, blogging or e-commerce; but whatever route you choose to take make sure that you let your personality shine through!
There’s a reason why it’s one of the most popular site builders out there and as long as you have a stylish and easy to navigate site design, a good marketing strategy and a bit of patience, your site can quickly attract a large audience.
Do you use WordPress for your photography website?