WordPress for Photographers | Is It Still the Best CMS for Your Website?
A website is a critical asset and marketing tool for any photography studio. Before the rise of social media, the website was the first place a potential client would visit to find out more information, to browse a portfolio, and to contact the photographer. Nowadays, Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok and other social media platforms has assumed some of those roles, however a website is still a critical marketing tool for photographers. When it comes to creating a website, photographers have many options, including WordPress, Squarespace, Format and others. We outline all of your options in our article of the best website builders for photographers. But in this article, I want to dive into one of the OGs in the blogging space, WordPress and explain why WordPress is still the best platform for a photography website.
The Pros of Using WordPress for Photographers
1) Easy to Use & Free
Photography can be a lucrative business, an expensive hobby, or it may lie somewhere in between. Regardless, it’s a good idea to consider affordable options when creating your website. Luckily, there are literally thousands of WordPress themes available for download. Some are free while others require a one-time fee. If you’re rebranding or just want a new look, you can either switch themes entirely within a few clicks or find someone to code something custom for a few thousand dollars. WordPress themes provide you with the ultimate flexibility.
These prices are far below the average cost of a custom website. And some premium theme providers like Template Monster and Flothemes offer setup and support, just in case you have trouble getting started. Posting and editing content is as simple as writing something in familiar programs like Microsoft Word. It’s also free, though it requires a hosting plan.
2) Full Control
With WordPress, you have full ability to tweak every aspect of the site. As a webmaster, you need the ability to do more than just create pages on your website. You might need the ability to insert scripts for services like Google Analytics. You might need the ability to add a newsletter sign up from services like Mailchimp or AWeber. Or maybe you need a custom contact form that syncs with your studio management system like ShootQ. You might need to set up 301 redirect rules or gain access to your RSS feeds. Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with these terms. The point is, with WordPress, you have full access and control of all of these elements and more.
4) Thousands of Free Plugins
Let’s say that an option or feature isn’t available within your chosen theme. You are likely able to find the desired functionality in one of the thousands of free WordPress plugins. For example, ShootQ, a popular client management software for photographers, has a WordPress plugin that integrates their system with WordPress sites. “Social Sidebar” Plugins, “Right Click Disable” Plugins, Slideshow Plugins and much more are all available in the free directory. See our list of favorite WordPress plugins.
5) Documentation & Development
If you need to make a change or add functionality, there is thorough documentation on almost anything WordPress related. Also, the WordPress community is huge. Updates are consistently released, fixing security issues, improving functionality, and moving forward as technology and standards change.
6) SEO Ready
The main reason to love WordPress is that it’s SEO ready. The natural site structure, navigation, Meta tags, and more already follow best SEO practices. If you add a couple of SEO plugins (which we’ll discuss later), you have a site ready to take off in terms of search rankings!
You won’t get far without a little love from Google. And while it’s up to you to come up with a decent keyword strategy, nearly all WP themes are built with the SEO architecture to make ranking easier. With easy access to metatags, an SEO checklist, and free plugins to help you on your way, it’s a relative breeze to get noticed in local search rankings.
1) (Somewhat) Complicated
The first downside is that WordPress is more complicated than some website builders like Squarespace. It requires that you select a theme, some of which costs money. While you can run WordPress sites without Plugins, you’ll most likely need a few to get all of the features you want and need. We try to make things simple, so we have offered a free WordPress theme for Photographers. Also, in later articles, we’ll guide you on the best WordPress Plugins for Photographers.
2) May Require Upkeep
WordPress releases updates with patches and improvements. While updating is as simple as clicking a couple of buttons, there is no guarantee that the update won’t break one of your plugins or features in your theme.
3) No Support
While your Domain Registration and your Hosting will cost money, WordPress is developed by the community and is offered at no cost. While free is great, it also means that there is no customer service. So any issues you encounter will need to be solved via digging through forums or hiring a professional.
If you’re willing to put in the work and you’ve found the perfect WordPress theme for your photography studio, we still recommend using WordPress. You’ll have full control and great customization for your website. Furthermore, depending on your hosting company, you’ll likely be able to host multiple websites on your account. This makes it convenient to launch other businesses or websites later down the line. How do you think SLR Lounge started?
However, if you’re new to web programming and overall website creation; and you don’t have the time or abilities to learn a new skill set, then you might want to go with a website builder like Squarespace. In the next article, we will get into the pros and cons of Squarespace.
Professional photographers rely on a quality web presence to display their work to the world. Therefore it’s incredibly important for them to be able to quickly, easily, and cheaply upload their pictures to their website and position them as needed. For all intents and purposes, there’s no better platform for these processes than WordPress.