WordPress for Photographers
If you’re not using WordPress or Squarespace, we highly recommend switching over. If you had asked us which we preferred, WordPress or Squarespace just one year ago, we would have undoubtedly said WordPress. However, Squarespace has been making a strong play with recent releases, coming out with great templates and most SEO-friendly features. At this point, there is no clear winner. Both have strong Pros and Cons, as we’ll cover in this article and the next.
WordPress gives you ultimate flexibility, customization. Here are the primary reasons for using WordPress:
1) Easy to Use & Free
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 (more on choosing the right hosting plans at www.slrlounge.com/hosting).
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.
3) Thousands of Themes
You can choose from thousands of customizable themes. Some are free while others require a one-time fee. We recommend the SLR Lounge theme. It’s free, optimized for SEO, and made for photographers. 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.
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!
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.