Alongside services like SquareSpace, Wix, and more, WordPress is a fantastic website creation platform. When it comes to your photography business, WordPress makes a great option for launching your portfolio. It’s easy to use and you can create a gorgeous online gallery to show off your work.
WordPress has a great reputation for its flexibility, countless plugins, and thousands of themes. You can make a functional and beautiful website without having any sort of coding knowledge. Cover photo by Kristin Hardwick.
WordPress for Photographers: The Basics
Before you can create your awesome website, you’ll need to purchase a domain name and hosting services. A domain name is going to be the website URL, like filtergrade.com. Hosting services involve storing and running your website on a remote computer/server, and you pay for a company to do that for you. Most services that offer one of these, will offer both. BlueHost and HostGator are two popular options. You’ll pick your hosting plan based on what features you need, choose and purchase an available domain name, and then be on your way to going live with a new website!
Why WordPress over another option? WordPress is incredibly flexible with all of its templates. You can also choose your hosting provider and shop around for the best features. It’s also easy to export your data if you ever need to migrate the website to a new platform. And on top of everything else, WordPress is so common that you’ll have no trouble finding guides, support, and of course templates.
Choose a Theme that Compliments Photography
There are a lot of WordPress themes to choose from, and the decision can be overwhelming. You’ll want to choose a theme that works great for showing off photography. Some themes are specifically set up to display portfolios and focus on graphics more than text. They may have dedicated gallery pages and a visual-focused home page, for example.
With enough work, you can customize your website so that it doesn’t even look like a template anymore! It all depends on how much time you want to spend crafting your perfect website. It’s likely that the template will serve all of our needs perfectly right out of the box.
We have a list of our favorite WordPress themes for photographers, in case you’re still shopping around.
If you really want to, you can commission a custom website that is tailored to your exact needs. This can be especially useful if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for with a template, but it will require a larger upfront investment.
Add in Extra Information
Before uploading all of your wonderful photos, you should add some other information. Fill your homepage with introductory details, put some good stories in an About page, and include contact information so that someone can reach out with questions. Using the Menu settings, you can create new pages and arrange those pages however you want.
You can also easily start a blog to share photo stories, tutorials, or more. It’s an excellent way to diversify your income as a photographer!
Your photography deserves to be seen, and the best way to display it to the world is through an awesome gallery. WordPress themes tailored toward photography will likely have a great gallery plugin. If not, there are plenty to choose from that may offer additional customization including animated slideshows. A simple search for “gallery” on the WordPress plugin library shows a lot of fantastic options. They are often customizable, allowing you to array your photos in a clean grid, popup view, mosaics, and more.
Search Engine Optimization
Like any website, your WordPress website should be optimized for your audience. A photography website will likely be highly image-based, which means that you can use a lot of alt tags. Alt tags are text descriptions that you add to images that will replace it for when the image doesn’t load, and for vision-impaired users. Ordinarily, this text will not show up, but the backend information tells search engines what your images are about.
Loading times are important, and large images can really slow down your website. WordPress does give some resizing options, but you should try your best to upload lower-resolution images to your website. Do you really need a 4000 by 3000 pixel image for each photo in your online gallery? (the answer is no).
You should work on regular SEO as well, writing plenty of content using the keywords that you want to rank for. You can work with local SEO to get noticed by potential local clients, and general blogging SEO to attract readers from around the world. At FilterGrade (and many other websites), we use Yoast SEO, a free plugin with premium options. It helps to make sure that each blog post is well-optimized. Other website platforms don’t support plugins, which is why WordPress works so well and is so widely used.
Sell Your Photography
A big advantage to having a WordPress website is the easy-to-use ecommerce features. Ideally, you will be able to find a WordPress theme that features gallery pages as well as a store page and ecommerce plugin compatibility. An ideal plugin will allow for images, custom prices, layout options, discount codes, online payments, and any other features you may need for your use case. This is how you’re going to make money and sell prints, which is the ultimate goal of running your business.
Having a website with an always-on online store means you can make money around the clock and show off all of your work in one cheap place.