Get Your Photography on the Web: Adding Content to Your Website
- A Photo Blog Can Solve Many Problems
- Working with Posts in WordPress
- Adding an Image to Your Post
- Adding Categories & Tags, and Changing Your Publishing Status
- Adding a Gallery of Images to Your Post
- Adding an Animoto Slide Show
- Some Housekeeping Notes on Categories, Tags & Images
- Working with Pages Inside of WordPress
- “No matter what kind of website you decide to make, the most important part is that you add content consistently.”
The Content You Put on Your Website Will Make or Break It
It’s probably no surprise to you now that the hardest part about setting up a website is not all of the technical stuff that comes along with it. I’ve seen websites that look incredible (reflecting hours upon hours of programming for some Web designer) and that make me stop and check them out immediately. I can’t name any of them for you, however, because as soon as I was over the design (and believe me, that can happen pretty quickly), I got tired of looking at the content on the site. But on the other hand, I can think of many sites that don’t have the best design, but the content just makes me come back over and over.
This does not mean that you should design a bad site. It just means that it’s what you put into it that makes it memorable. As a photographer, it’s going to be your images (and descriptions) that are going to leave the lasting impression.
Setting up a WordPress site has helped us by giving us a structure to place content in, and it’s probably a good idea for us to talk a little about what kinds of content we can place in there, and how we are going to make sense of it. WordPress divides content up as posts and pages—posts are the entries that individuals associate with blogging, while pages are the static pieces of content that websites normally have.
Every Photographer Should Blog—Just Not About What They Had for Breakfast
I believe that nothing but good can come from you having a website that incorporates both static content and some form of blogging. If you’re a photographer that is trying to make an extra couple of bucks with your craft, it becomes even more important. That does not mean that you should immediately create a blog telling everyone what you did all day and how it made you feel. While you may find that, in some cases, this will add a level of variety to your blog, I don’t think it should be a functional component of your website. Pick a day and post a picture. Tell your viewers about it. The next day, post another picture. Tell them about that one. This uses the blog mechanic without it actually being a blog.
WordPress Will Create a Static Website for You
One of the great things about WordPress is that it can be used as a basis for the traditional website. Don’t think the blogging thing is for you? That’s okay—simply create the pages that you want to have on your website and arrange them as you see fit. The structure is in place for you to do so and you don’t have to do any of the code. The goal is to free you from having to do coding, so you can do the thing that you are best at—taking pictures.
Some of the Best Photography Websites Out There Use WordPress
It would surprise you to know just how many websites are designed on the WordPress platform. Let me give you a couple of examples:
- Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider: www.scottkelby.com
- Layers magazine: www.layersmagazine.com
- Team Coco (Conan O’Brien): www.teamcoco.com
- Kate Rusby (English folk singer): www.katerusby.com
- Jay-Z (rap star and media mogul): www.jay-z.com
- XXL magazine (music magazine): www.xxlmag.com
Add Content Consistently
No matter what kind of website you decide to make, the most important part is that you add content consistently. This could be a page showcasing some of the images that you’ve made, or a page about specials that you may be running for your customers. The hardest person to get to your website is a repeat visitor. If a person does not have a reason to come back, they won’t. Make sure you avoid that by giving them something to come back to. If you set yourself up with a schedule for when you will be posting content and stick with it, your visitors will come to expect when you will be posting content and return, increasing your viewership.
Categorize and Organize Your Website
Nothing will frustrate a viewer more than being unable to find the content that they are looking for. Make sure that you place the content your viewers want to see in a place that’s easy for them to get to. At most, the content should be no more than four clicks away. Any more than that, and they’ll lose interest.
In this chapter, I’m going to give you a few reasons to consider blogging on your website, then I’m going to go into detail on how to use posts and pages to create content. We’ll add images, galleries, categorize content, and change the organizational structure of the site. We’ll also do all of this without tackling any code. Let’s go fill that website!
A Photo Blog Can Solve Many Problems
With so many photography websites out there, making yourself stand out above the others can prove to be very challenging. This is why I feel that giving your readers a chance to come back and learn more about you is the key to solving credibility, trust, and search problems.
Problem #1: Portfolios Are So Yesterday
It’s often said that the best photographer is the best picture editor. We’ve become so used to this, that the portfolio has started to lose its effectiveness. Deep down, when I am looking at a portfolio, I’m thinking to myself “Great, these 20 shots are beautiful, but they’re 20 out of how many? Is this photographer consistent? Does this show enough variety? What’s this photographer going to be like under the gun? Does this reflect 80% of their work, or am I just seeing 20 ‘happy accidents’?”
Solution #1: Continuity and Consistency
If you have a blog, you can create a post one day that shows a specific photographic project you’re working on. The next day? Another project. The third day? Post a random picture. Now, when someone visits your site, they’ll see that you are shooting continuously—establishing your reputation for “being out there.” As they get to see your work over time, they’ll see the consistency of it. This will also draw attention to your skill, and make that person more likely to call you for a specific assignment.
Problem #2: You Must Get to the Top of the Search Engines
You’ve set up your website and now you want to attract customers. This will start the frantic race to Google to see where your website ranks. For example, typing “Tampa Photographer” in the search field will currently result in 1,630,000 entries to sort through. “But I want to be number 1! How do I do this?” you ask. This will start a long search for SEO (search engine optimization) kits, the weeding through websites to find the best combination of tags, titles, links, and so forth to uncork the magical combination of stuff that will make Google increase your rank and get you higher on the list.
Solution #2: Tell People What You’re Doing & Worry About SEO Later
Remember that you started all of this because you wanted to be a photographer, not an SEO engineer. Now, this book doesn’t go into SEO strategies and techniques, because frankly, there are tons of other places where you can get the most up-to-date info on this. There’s plenty of time to worry about that later. Right now, focus on getting your images online and adding the appropriate information to them.
Basically, search engines (like Google and Yahoo) follow certain rules to try to figure out which sites have more “information” about a search term—in our case, photography. The more information you have on photography, the more “relevant” you are to a consumer, and up in the directory list you’ll go. So, if you’re consistently writing stuff on your website about the photography you’re doing in Tampa, with the photographers you’re working with in Tampa, your website will be more relevant than others. The more you do this, the more you will go up in the list. The best way to get noticed is to keep that content coming, and keep it fresh—two things you get automatically with blogging.
Problem #3: No One Knows Me as a Photographer
Another problem in attracting customers is when no one knows you as a photographer. How are you supposed to attract more business if no one knows you’re in business to begin with?
Solution #3: Blog Your Projects and Others Will Follow
Let’s say you work on a photo shoot for someone. After the shoot is finished, you edit the pictures, and you give them to the client. Once that’s done (and you’ve gotten the okay from them to do so), make a post talking about your experience and share some images. This solves your consistency and quality issue (first problem), but also lets your customer’s photos be published online. Your customer will, more than likely, let other people know to check your website to see some pictures—bringing lots of fresh sets of eyes to your website and its content.