18 February 2017

Website Optimization Tips For Photographers

If you are a photographer using WordPress for your blog or portfolio website, chances are you’ve been looking for a way to help your website stand out. We got to meet Matt Thomas and he shared with us some tips on how you can optimize your website if you are a photographer.

Let’s Meet Matt!

Matt is a freelance photographer based in Gloucester in the United Kingdom. His work is centered around fitness, commercial and 360 virtual tour photography. He enjoys creative photographs using a mixture of flash photography and hi-sync shooting techniques.

His style is characterized by dynamic and vivid imagery.

Photography Website Needs

Matt needed a website to showcase his personal and work photography and a platform on which to share his blog articles. Most photographers in his immediate network had website so he thought he would give it a go.

In 2009, Matt set up his first website to showcase his skateboarding photos. The original site was very basic and made in Dreamweaver. There were 5 pages: About, Blog, Skateboarding, Gallery, Portrait Gallery, Contact. The blog was powered by WordPress.com.

Tip 1: WordPress.com is a great starter kit

Matt migrated his entire website to WordPress.com. It allowed him to create a photography website to promote and showcase his work without having to learn CSS and HTML The WordPress experience doesn’t have to require a dedicated host, a domain name or any other time of investment. You can always get started with the WordPress experience via WordPress.com.

Tip 2: Don’t Limit Yourself

Guy lifting massive weights in the gym in the UK

Here is a powerful fitness photograph taken by Matt Thomas.

As Matt’s photography work started to grow in the 360 virtual tours field, it became apparent that his original choice of platform wasn’t going to be flexible enough. While he could upload the files online somewhere and give a link for customers to visit them, he wanted to go one step further. Embedding his work in his website became a need. Using WordPress.com didn’t allow for plugins or too much website customization.

It was time to change for something else. As Matt looked to expand more and more on showcasing his work, he switched over to a self hosted WordPress site and never looked back!

Tip 3: Determine What You Want & Need

For Matt, having a gallery was big must to promote his work. However, his website was also going to be a tool to develop his business as a photographer. It needed to be much more than an online gallery of his work.

My website is one of the most powerful selling tools I have!

The main reasons why WordPress was a solution for Matt were:

  1. It’s easy to set up
  2. It allows users to create a professional looking website
  3. It offers great community support
  4. And there is a wide range of plugins, themes and services available

These points ensured that Matt would be able to create his ideal website. He required a website that could showcase his photos and allow him to produce online content via a blog. The idea for the site was to create a clean and simple user friendly site.

He also took the time to research what other photographers and media companies were doing online. This allowed him to create a list of things he wanted and then to find a theme that matched his requirements. As Matt sees it, finding a theme that meets your own requirements is a vital part of creating a WordPress website:

A theme is what can make or break a website I believe.

Find a theme that offers good customer service. The support will be key to helping you build the website you want.

Tip 4: Go Mobile Or Go Home!

Matt wanted to ensure that his website would offer the same feel and performance across all platforms. Tablet, desktop, mobile: Matt’s website doesn’t change. It adapts to the screen sizes and the various requirements of each type of device without losing its look and feel.

A lot more people tend to visit a website via a mobile device than 2 or 3 years ago.

That’s a trend for many websites across the web. Mobile traffic has drastically increased over the past 5 years in many countries. Make sure the theme you pick offers a responsive design.

Tip 4: WordPress Plugins For Photographers

If you’re a photographer, Matt recommends using various plugins to improve user experience and performance. Websites that rely on high quality images are often slow to load because of the sheer weight of the images.

If you’re a photographer like myself then a plugin I couldn’t live without is Imagify.

Now that’s some great customer feedback! It’s also the reason why we wanted to know more about Matt’s website. We learned that the key element for him is that he is not always able to remember to optimize his images when he exports his files. As result, some pictures end up being a little big. It helps to compress them down without losing quality with a click of a button.

Don’t let plugins slow down your website

Refrain from installing every single plugin you come across as it will slow down your website. When choosing your plugins, make sure that they do not slow your website down! Read the guides or any type of documentation that is provided by the plugin makers to really understand how to get the most our of your plugins.

Premium plugins can be worth it

Free plugins are good but sometimes it’s worth investing in paid plugins. Premium support and extended functionalities really do make a different.

Hope these tips have helped. If you’d like to see Matt’s portfolio, you can do so right here!

Imagify, decrease the size of your images, increase the speed of your website: try it for free
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