5 Reasons Photographers Should Use WordPress

Oh how I love thee WordPress. I’ve been building websites for over 10 years now, and as satisfying as it is to handcode a site from scratch, nothing beats the convenience and sheer customisability of a WordPress installation. Heck, this site you’re looking at now is built using the WordPress platform, and modified by me (Dan Biggins, Wedding Photographer and Chief Code Monkey at your service). If you’re a photographer and your website isn’t powered by this fantastic Content Management System (or you don’t have a website yet), then here are five reasons why you should definitely consider WordPress:

Popularity & support

As I write this, there are over 71 million websites powered by WordPress. That’s pretty darned impressive, and means there’s a massive support community out there as well. Whether your site isn’t behaving as you expect, you’d like some advice regarding a plugin or you’re looking for someone to help install WordPress on your server, you’ll definitely find someone out there in the community willing to help (like, ahem, me for example).

Highly customisable

There are literally thousands of themes available for WordPress, which means that however you’d like your site to look and behave, there’s bound to be a theme out there that caters to your needs. The beauty of this is that you can transform your site into whatever you want, from a simple photography portfolio through to a full blown ecommerce site.

WordPress Photography Themes:

As well as themes, there are also plugins to consider. Plugins are small snippets of code that you literally “plug in” / upload to your site to enhance functionality. One of the plugins I’ve recently installed places the Google+ box you see in the right hand column of this site, allowing people to connect easily with me (there are plugins for Twitter and Facebook too). Another plugin I’ve installed places a sliding panel at the top of my site, allowing me to easily customise it as I wish. The possibilities are endless, especially if you know a little bit of code.

WordPress Photography Plugins:

Easy to use and update

The real beauty of WordPress is that you don’t need to know any code whatsoever to keep your site up to date. Let’s say you own a traditional static HTML website, and you pay your web developer a lot of money to update it every time you want to add a new photo / blog post etc. One morning at 3am you wake up with a fantastic idea for a blog post – if your site is driven by WordPress, you can login and thrash out your article to your heart’s content. I’m sure your web developer will be grateful not to be disturbed at 3am by a deranged photographer asking him or her to update their website.

Search Engine / SEO friendly

This is perhaps the most important reason to adopt a WordPress site, and one that most photographers ignore (more of that in a bit). It requires a bit of tweaking out of the box, but there are certain things you can do such as changing the structure of your links to ensure they’re full of keywords (for example, from something like www.danbiggins.com/p=6039 to www.danbiggins.com/5-reasons-photographers-use-wordpress). A plugin that’s absolutely essential to SEO success is Yoast – it won’t transform your site on it’s own, but with a bit of tweaking you can make your site sexy and more visible in the eyes of search engines.

A small sidenote regarding SEO, and it’s something that photographer’s the world over are guilty of (myself included). A lot of photographers seem to think that “a pretty picture wins the day” – if they pack their site with loads of fabulous images and little else, search engines will push the site up the rankings because Google et al will know that people will want to visit that site to witness and marvel at the beautiful photography.

Search engines won’t, believe me.

A site without SEO-friendly URL’s, headings, keywords and (most importantly of all) written content will be as good as invisible to Google. As will Flash sites, incidentally – there’s absolutely no excuse in the 21st Century for any photographer to have a Flash-based portfolio. Two reasons – Flash is pretty much invisible to search engines (meaning your site will be invisible), and Steve Jobs and Apple have pretty much killed off Flash with the introduction of the iPad (whether that’s a good or bad thing is for another debate at another time).

And finally…

If you’d like more help regarding SEO please feel free to drop me a line. If you’d like help switching from a static / flash site to a WordPress site, again, I’d love to help!


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