- “Which WordPress themes do you recommend?”
- “Does it help SEO to leave blog comments on popular photography blogs?”
- “I have a huge backlog of images. On what platform/site should I start posting them?”
- “Can you share a few examples of WP integrated with PhotoShelter?”
- “How do I delete a WordPress page?”
- “How do I add Amazon associate ads in my site’s sidebar?”
- “Where can I find a good copywriter for my photography website?”
I’m answering your questions about photography websites, business, marketing, SEO and more. This time, I wanted to wait two months to gather enough useful questions for you, instead of forcing a monthly schedule.
You can ask me anything. I’ll try to answer within 24 hours, and the most useful questions get featured here on the newsletter too. Need any help with your website? Don’t hesitate to write, I’m all ears.
Thanks to Andrew, Barry, Seshu, George & Jeff for this month’s topics. Check out my answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts by sending me a message or leaving a comment below.
“Which WordPress themes do you recommend?”
The WP themes I recommend these days are:
I’ve written about the “The7” theme a while back here. All 4 are great, but I think “The7” has a slight edge ahead of the others, allowing you to customize a ton of things from there. But you can’t go wrong with either of them:
- They’re well-coded. All 4 themes have large user bases and their developers are active. New theme updates come out often. All 4 allow creating child themes if you really want to custom-code parts of them, though usually not needed.
- All compatible with the latest version of WP. In fact, they came out with WP4.5-compatible upgrades before WP 4.5 was even launched (because they pre-test the WP beta versions)
- All 4 are compatible with WPML for creating multi-language sites (proof about Divi here and here, proof about The7 here, proof about X-theme here, proof about Avada here)
- And most importantly, they have great page-builders (included with the theme), all different from one another:
So if you need one single recommendation, go with The7.
Here are some websites I built with it to show you the full range of what it can do:
- http://www.stevegreerphotography.com/ (this uses Armada, which is a sister theme of The7, same features)
“Does it help SEO to leave blog comments on popular photography blogs?”
Extra Question: Also does it help being active and engaging on popular photography blogs making comments and leaving your website details in the correct fields? Does this help SEO?
Let’s break this down into 2 separate things:
- Humans: depending on the site where you do post comments, you might get some people clicking that link and visiting your site. Usually, this traffic-getting technique works very slowly, and is not a good investment for your site, so I’d say don’t bother with it. Just write comments where you feel you can add something to the conversation and be helpful, instead of doing it to post a link back to your site.
“I have a huge backlog of images. On what platform/site should I start posting them?”
Full question: I started looking for appropriate software to show my pix, but couldn’t find anything appropriate. I finally had it down to Smugmug – studied their online presentations and then called them. After a detailed talk (and a tryout) they suggested that they couldn’t help me, as I didn’t have a public following to bring along and they then insisted then that I get it for family pictures – which is not my bag.
My other major problem I have is that I don’t have time to start another business and give it the time it would require to be successful.
The other day someone suggested that I have a look at 500px.com so I went through it and they seemed at first blush to be what I am looking for. Do you know anything about them that you could share with me on the subject, and advise accordingly? ………or is this something your services can appropriately provide for me?
I’m afraid I don’t have advanced experience with 500px, but it’s basically just another social platform (for photographers), you’re always better off building your own portfolio of some kind instead of relying on someone else’s site.
Anyway, this gets a little outside of my “jurisdiction”. I can help you with the website design and development aspects, and with using services like Smugmug or PhotoShelter as needed, but for marketing and advertising details I can only recommend you try Agency Access as I know they offer consulting services in this department too.
A marketing consultant like that could also give you ideas like how important web-promoting is, what images to focus on, how to better promote your images and where to do that. So I honestly recommend taking things in the right order, and first talking to a marketing consultant like that to get a clear understanding of your direction, what types of clients you’re after. Building a website should only be the implementation of an idea, a purpose, not the other way around.
Here’s a photographer’s detailed experience with Agency Access.
Another similar service is Wonderful Machine. If you browse their consulting services, you’ll see links to case studies, how they worked with photographers to improve things. One of their staff was also featured in this podcast episode talking about photography portfolios, worth a listen.
I sure can (I’ve been using PhotoShelter’s manual customization since 2009):
- http://www.alaskaphotographics.com/ (most areas are WordPress + WooCommerce, but if you dive into the stock galleries, they’re PhotoShelter, example)
- http://patitucciphoto.com/ (just the Stock page is PS)
- http://www.njphotographs.com/ (home and other pages are a custom WP theme, galleries are PhotoShelter)
- http://www.loopimages.com/ (gallery and custom search box on homepage lead to PS area)
- http://www.schultzphoto.com/ (PS powers the Iditarod, Stock & Print galleries, example)
- http://www.tikiwaka.com/en/ (this is one of the first websites I did, custom HTML pages with matching PS template)
- http://www.fineearthphotography.com/ (galleries = PS)
- http://www.wildscenics.com/ (another WP+PS site I did several years ago, notice the custom background image – client’s explicit request)
Please note that these websites are subject to change in the future, so they might no longer show the integration when you visit them.
“How do I delete a WordPress page?”
Deleting pages require 2 steps:
1. Trashing them in the Pages admin area, which I see you already did.
2. Removing the from the navigation menu. That can be done under Appearance > Menus. Here, you just expand the ones you want (using the small arrows on the right of each one), then click the “Remove” link:
Then click Save and you’re done.
And, just to be safe, also clear the site cache in whatever performance plugin you’re using.
This answer assumes that you’re an Amazon associate and that you want to display an image for the products, no just text.
Your Amazon Associates account allows you to generate an HTML embed code for any product:
You then just need to paste that HTML code into a Text widget in your sidebar (Appearance > Widgets).
And if you want it all to stay centered in the sidebar, you have to surround it with a <center> tag (like this <center> [code…] </center>).
If you want the ads to look better (like fancy banners you see on sites out there), you have to do it manually inside Photoshop. Amazon (or B&H and other stores with affiliate programs) do not generate such fancy graphics automatically, except for some generic product categories. Once you generate such a banner image, you can add it to the sidebar using the Image widget.
“Where can I find a good copywriter for my photography website?”
A revised list of professional copywriters can be found in this article: Copywriters for your photography website & 10 tips on improving your own writing
Your turn: ask me anything. I’d love for this to become a valuable “repository” of answers from the entire community of photographers.
You can help with that by getting involved:
1. Ask questions. Send them to me via email or on Twitter (@foreground).
2. Answer questions yourself. If you have anything to add to any of my answers (or can answer from a different perspective), jump right in! I’ll share relevant notes with other photographers so everyone can benefit.