Do you want to create a Photography Website using WordPress? Great, in this tutorial series I’m going to show you how to do just that. Of course, your site doesn’t have to be a photography website. It can be anything but I’m going to cover a lot of extra things specifically geared toward photographers or sites with a focus on imagery.
Here’s what I will cover. Note: For this tutorial, I am referring to the self-hosted version of WordPress (wordpress.org) and (NOT wordpress.com) – more info below.
Current Blog Post – Why Create a Photography Website using WordPress? Why WordPress and what are the advantages over sites like Photoshelter, Smugmug, Squarespace, and Zenfolio?
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
Again, in this tutorial, I am referring to the self-hosted version of WordPress (wordpress.org). Don’t know the difference? Here it is really quick. WordPress.org provides free software that you download and install on your own server. WordPress.com takes cares of the hosting for you.
This may sound great but it’s really not and if you are serious about setting up a great photography website save yourself some time and start with the self-hosted version of WordPress. Otherwise, you will probably join the slew of others eventually searching “How do I move my site from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.”
Is WordPress complicated, I’m a beginner?
Listen, WordPress is not that complicated. You can do it! No, you don’t have to know how to code. In WordPress 5.0 they introduced, Gutenberg, a new block-based drag and drop editor. This streamlines the editing experience site-wide and makes it friendly for beginners. Plus, the WordPress community is so big that there are tons of helpful resources available. If you can Google, you can WordPress!
Amazing WordPress Recommendations
|SiteGround||WordPress Recommended Host|
|NameCheap||Recommended Domain Registrar|
|WP Rocket||The One Plugin I Purchased – Speed Matters!|
|Online WordPress Classes||CreativeLive WordPress Training Classes|
Why WordPress and not Photoshelter, Smugmug, Squarespace, Zenfolio or some other service?
Sure, Photoshelter, Smugmug, Squarespace, and Zenfolio are all feasible options with their unique strengths. I’m not saying don’t use these platforms. However, this particular series of posts will cover how to build a photography website using WordPress.
Perhaps one day I will cover the others in detail but I wanted to start with the option that I would pick, the option I have picked over and over again. I like WordPress.
See, my biggest issue with the other sites is that I feel they are similar to wordpress.com, you lack true ownership. You are building in someone else’s sandbox so to speak. If they decide to shut down or raise prices to a level you are uncomfortable with you really have no options.
Sure, you can download your images and copy and paste all your text but the framework you built to house all this content is gone. Imagine you had over 200 pages of content. You’re basically starting over and that is significant time wasted.
Create a Photography Website with WordPress and never worry about any of that!
If you are using WordPress and you need to switch hosts for whatever reason you can simply download your whole site to your home computer and then upload it to a new hosting provider. Nothing changes, clients won’t even realize you moved your site.
What if you needed a break or life happened and you no longer have the time to commit to building? Maybe, you launched before you were actually ready? You’re paying monthly fees for a website you’re not even ready to share with the public.
With WordPress, you can create a local server on your computer using Wamp, Xamp or Mamp to simulate a real server. This way you can work and develop your website at your own speed completely offline. This is a great way to test and experiment before publishing live.
When you are ready to publish you just find a new hosting provider and bring your website onto a live server. Web Hosting companies are a dime a dozen. They all want your business. They all want to give you that great deal!
But I’ve heard that WordPress is too complex and these beginner-friendly website builders like Squarespace and Smugmug are much simpler?
Seriously, it’s not hard and I promise you can do it! Sure, the learning curve might be slightly steeper but if you are serious about growing your business, building a unique brand and attracting more clients then WordPress is your friend.
WordPress will allow you to build a site that ranks in google, interact with clients, attract new clients, facilitates building an email list, and displays your work in a unique yet professional manner. Plus, when it comes to blogging WordPress beats all these sites hands down.
You may think, but I don’t want to blog but trust me, you do. Blogging is going to allow you to reach new people and these people are possible clients. I will cover this more in a future post along with ideas about what you should blog about.
Finally, your website is going to grow with you. Sure, it may be a simple gallery at first but you have big ideas. Embedded Instagram feeds, videos, an interactive map of your travel blog photography?
With WordPress, you can create a Photography Website that grows with you.
Maybe you will want to start selling prints or provide a way for clients to pay you. Maybe you need complex booking forms or special promotional event pages that automatically publish when it’s time.
What if you wanted to let people vote on your images, participate in polls, and promote a more interactive atmosphere? Heck, you could even allow your readers to share your images to their social media networks.
You see, WordPress is so flexible that if you can think it, it can probably be done. WordPress is open source software that means the community is free to expand and grow the platform as they see fit. Many third-party developers have made great contributions in the form of Plugins.
Plugins add new features to your WordPress site. These can be small changes but they can also be drastic site-altering changes. Of course, I recommend you stick with plugins that have plenty of reviews, current users, and is updated regularly.
How much will WordPress Cost me?
WordPress is Free! Seriously, I’m not kidding. The only thing you have to buy is your domain name and a web hosting package to host your domain on a server.
Expect to pay around $8-12 a year for your domain name. Expect to pay around $2.75 – $11.95 per month for starter web hosting packages. SiteGround is by far my favorite.
Usually, they attract you with the cheaper price to sign up, say $2.75/month for the first year. After the year it will then go up to say $11.95. The thing is a lot of places will allow you to buy up to 3 years in advance. So you could buy three years at a cheaper price and just be done with it for a good amount of time. I recommend this.
Additional fees you could incur are optional but include the purchase of premium WordPress themes and/or plugins. At this stage, it’s not necessary but depending on your needs you may find some of them helpful down the road.
Are you ready to start building your new Photography WordPress site?
Great, let’s go!
Best Books on WordPress and Blogging
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