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Fast WordPress Photography Websites Without Blogging
Practically Free, But Professional
Having a website is paramount for photographers today and the easiest form is using the WordPress blogging software as it’s not only free, but battle-hardened by an amazing developer community and deployed by over 71 million websites. Some of the big names that use WordPress, and not only as a blogging platform, but for more customized uses. are Wired, People, Katy Perry, Kobe Bryant, CNN, Time, TechCrunch and the list goes on.
WordPress is free, used by over 71 million websites, and an excellent choice for photographers.
If you’re one of those that’s saying, “I already spend too much time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social communities, I don’t have time to blog,” I can fully understand as I put in at least 12 hours per day on all my social networks and blogs. However, you don’t have to run a blog to use WordPress—the idea is to use this FREE software program to run your own photography website and with the thousand of premade templates out there, you don’t even have to run it in a blog format. Blogging is never a requirement for using WordPress, though it’s highly utilized by bloggers. It’s a simple, but hardened software code easily used for many purposes other than blogging, thanks to thousands of free plugins plus tons of free and premium themes.
LensDiaries.com utilizes WordPress software, customized to our photography community needs.
If the free or premium themes don’t suit your needs, customization is an option and fairly easy for any Webmaster, not to mention there are many WordPress support forums and communities found on the Internet with people always there to help you. I’ve utilized WordPress on my websites now for over ten years, so as the sole webmaster for practically 12 websites, I’ve learned a few things just by searching WordPress forums. It’s really hard to break a WordPress website and if you do some trial and error, just make sure you have a back-up file and reload it if needed. Most wordpress customizations are simple html code and WordPress even provides a helpful “Codex” section with examples on “how-to” customize WordPress. According to WordPress, Codex is “the online manual for WordPress and a living repository for WordPress information and documentation.” I would agree.
LensDiaries.com uses several social networking plugins that includes one that posts automatically on Facebook from our community.
Much of the customization of the WordPress theme here on Lens Diaries™ I’ve done myself, but I’ve also easily hired a coder (programmer) to make modifications I didn’t understand and almost every coder I’ve encountered are very reasonably priced should you need outside help. Though the average photographer shouldn’t need to hire a coder, in fact you can find many themes designed specifically for photographers without having to make any further modifications to the code—just do a Google search for “Wordpress premium themes for photographers.”
Hostgator Discount For LensDiaries
Use the lensdiaries25 as for a 25-percent discount.
Hostgator is offering a special coupon for LensDiaries.com photography community members. Use the discount code, lensdiaries25 to garner a 25-percent discount. Offer expires 3/31/2012.
A word of caution, it’s always best to use “premium” themes, not free themes, though there are some legit free themes out there, because with premium themes you get many options, the ability to not link back to the theme designer (sometimes you pay extra for this) and some free themes may include malware or viruses. One of the best premium themes, designed by photographers for photographers is the Photocrati theme
. It’s like a theme with built-in themes.
They offer at least 60 theme styles built exclusively for photographers “right out of the box,” and you only pay for it once with lifetime upgrades. That’s hard to beat especially since they come complete with WordPress galleries designed to showcase your photos—even without running a blog on your site. The themes are extremely easy to install, configure, and come iPhone and iPad compatible—mobile ready websites are a must today. WordPress itself is easy to install and claims a “5-minute installation,” but if you stumble or want to make sure you do it right from the get go, Photocrati has helpful “how-to” videos online.
WordPress is designed to be either “self-hosted,” where you have your own shared, virtual, or dedicated server, or you can get a free WordPress ready website at WordPress.com. Unfortunately, with premium themes like Photocrati you have to self-host your website, but don’t worry, self-hosting starts for under ten dollars with most providers including my favorite, Hostgator, and they have WordPress ready hosting plans that include WordPress already installed, again, under ten dollars per month!
Here are some simple steps to get your photography WordPress website going:
Find a domain name, preferably one that includes photography related terms like photography, photos, photo, studio, plus your brand. For example, yournamephotos.com or yournamestudios.com You can register your domain with many domain registrars, however, if you choose Hostgator for hosting your website, they will allow you to register a domain after you choose the hosting plan.
Plugins are readily available for WordPress and other software as in this plugin we use in our community side of LenDiaries.com which allows photographers to post directly to their Facebook. This becomes a marketing multiplier for any photographer’s talent as the Facebook comment will display in the commenter’s “followers” news feed, thus providing even greater exposure. Social networking is a must for photographer’s websites today.
Choose your hosting plan, again, we recommend Hostgator. Just navigate to their WordPress hosting plans that start under $10. I recommend their “Hatching Plan” for first-timers. You can always upgrade. After purchasing your hosting plan, if you do not have WordPress pre-installed, create a support ticket as most web hosts will install it for you.
Purchase a premium theme, Photocrati or another premium theme if you prefer, then upload it via FTP or via the Admin section of WordPress; very easy to do and installation instructions should come with all premium themes. Again, reference the videos on Photocrati’s website.
Install WordPress plugins to fit your WordPress site. There are thousands of them found at WordPress.org or via your Admin panel plugin search, but a minimum for photographers are the popular free plugins, Akismet (spam protection), All in One SEO Pack (search engine optimization), WordPress-Facebook-Like (social networking with Facebook), WP-reCAPTCHA (spam protection for comments and contact form), and WP Super Cache (speeds up your website).
Secure your website as hackers and spammers are abundant and with WordPress popularity, they search for weaknesses. I personally have paid for two premium addons, both under $40 where you gain extreme security and spam protection. I use Spam Trawler (a program for both your WordPress installation and your server) and Bullet Proof Security Pro (a WordPress plugin that also protects your entire server) here on LensDiaries.com and on all my blogs. These are my top choices for security and spam protection. There is a free version of Bullet Proof Security, though I recommend the paid version with installation for both software products. It’s an inexpensive investment, well worth it, and helps stop spammers and hackers plus both companies offer superior, quick turn-around, timely support. Support is paramount and they set the example.
We use both Bullet Proof Security Pro and Spam Trawler for all our WordPress blogs.
While the steps above are enough to provide you a professional operating photography website, stay up to date on all software updates (WordPress notifies you automatically when you login to the admin panel of any updates) as this not only keeps your software current, but it’s an important requirement for bug and security fixes. When it’s all said and done, you’ll be a proud owner of a WordPress photography website that should showcase your talents and professionalism—and you don’t even have to blog if you don’t want too, but blogging is a great way to keep visitors coming back to your website, worse case, just keep your photo galleries current with new photos. Make sure to also join the popular social networking and photography communities so you can link back to your WordPress photography website.
True, there are many photography communities like Lens Diaries™ where you can upload a profile, a short biography, photos, etc., but these are “social” communities that enable “back linking” to your WordPress photography website which brings you free traffic. Back links from social sites like Twitter (when you tweet a link and in your profile), Facebook (always post links back to your website and in your profile), Lens Diaries™ (we allow you to link back in your profile), and many others also help with SEO, or search engine optimization. These social networking sites and communities help move your website up in search engine rankings, not to mention you’re tapping into over a billion (combined) of potential prospects, especially if our status updates become viral.
Often I will comment on our community member’s photos or albums using the social networking plugin, thus exposing the photographer to all my follwers on my Facebook Fan Page.
In addition to these back links from social networks and photography communities, it’s important, especially if you want people to know you’re a photographer available for hire, that you create all these social network profiles, plus keep your profile and photos current. This helps establish not only your photographic style, but branding of your work and these actions are a marketing multiplier—in today’s economy we need all the help we can get and obviously the Internet is better than the phone book when it comes to locating new clients and potential customers. Plus it’s a very cost effective investment as these websites are free to join.
There is a reason big name stars and companies utilize WordPress, it’s called cost-effective branding and marketing so they can stay the big names that they are. WordPress itself is free, easy to use, battle-hardened, and field tested by over 71 million websites, including LensDiaries.com, RolandoGomez.net, EditorialNudes.com, plus many more websites I have created—today it’s not just about being a photographer, but staying diversified and WordPress definitely helps!
As always, I close by saying don’t forget our men and women in the military along with their families and friends, for it’s they who help ensure our freedoms, even running free WordPress websites. God Bless, Rolando