26.4 to be exact, as of writing this. And it’s still growing fast as the preferred content management system (CMS):
What makes WordPress great?
My specialty is photography websites, so…
What makes WordPress great for photographers in particular?
With all the various plugins out there, with a WP-based site you can:
1. Sell image licenses, prints and image-based products
While you can’t get the advanced fulfillment features tied automatically with photo labs as dedicated tools (like PhotoShelter) can do, WordPress is rapidly gaining up. Here are a few emerging solutions:
In certain scenarios, dedicated photography platforms are still the better choice for selling images, but I envision it’s just a matter of time before WordPress will overtake them.
2. Create advanced galleries and slideshows
A few years ago, there weren’t too many WordPress themes designed specifically for photographers, or they simply weren’t very good.
These days, you’d be amazed how far they’ve come. Let me give you a taste of how powerful WP themes can be.
One of the best themes I’ve seen in recent times is “The7 – Responsive Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme”.
In the theme demo, you can browse some of its menu dropdowns to see what it’s capable of. It’s got a crazy amount of layouts for galleries & slideshows, image walls, landing pages, blog pages, online shops etc:
Basically, it has a large set of highly-customizable building blocks (which you can find in the “Shortcodes” menu dropdown in the theme demo), so it can be turned into almost anything you need it to.
Here’s what other people have been building with this theme to see the range it’s capable of. And it’s all done via this powerful Visual Composer plugin(included in the theme) which I think is the best page-builder out there.
I’ve made sure that all of them are mobile-friendly, and compatible with WooCommerce (the market-leading eCommerce plugin).
3. Have an advanced blogging platform
This is obvious, so why mention it?
Because photo management solutions usually only have very basic blogging features (if any). If you want to become a serious photography blogger, WordPress gives you the power and flexibility you need.
4. Create advanced layouts and landing pages
Using powerful page builders (like Visual Composer), you get a large selection of “building blocks” (like I exemplified above) that you can put together into strong pages on your site.
5. Customize the way your pages look when shared on social media(Facebook Open Graph, Twitter Cards, Pinterest Rich Pins)
Other platforms usually don’t allow this level of control. With the help of the Yoast SEO plugin, social media snippets will look great.
When editing a WordPress page or post, check out the “Social” tab in the “Yoast SEO” section. There you can define custom titles, descriptions and even custom images for social media sites, here’s an example from one of my own blog posts:
And when someone shares the post, Facebook automatically picks up those custom values I entered above (including the custom image, instead of using the first image inside the article):
Possible WordPress downsides and how to overcome them
1. WordPress can be difficult to learn
If you’re not experienced, it can be a learning curve, I agree. A powerful tool does require some learning, but what you can get out of it in the end is worth it.
2. It’s sometimes hard to edit pages
If using WordPress’ default post/page editor, you run into various limitations along the way. Using a page builder (like Visual Composer) makes it a joy. Columns, sliders, modal windows, advanced graphics etc, are all at your disposal, visually editable.
3. You need hosting
This is the right time to make a distinction: you want to use software from https://wordpress.org (which gets installed on your own hosting space), and not a free blog account from https://wordpress.com
4. You need to know how to install things
That’s true. Once again, if you want more power, you need to do more work. A simple plug-and-play solution is always easier, but it offers fewer options.
Hiring a developer eliminates the hassle. But if you have the tiniest bit of technical knowledge, most hosting providers these days have quick WordPress installers, it’s not that hard. And once you install WP, you have to follow a few simple steps and you’re off and running.