One of the most powerful gifts of using WordPress is the vast amount of Plugins and tools that are developed for it. These tools help you increase your productivity and interactivity without having to learn how to code.
Simply push a button and install very powerful software that integrates instantly into your website.
I want to share with you some of the ones that I use, and why I use them.
Professional photographers are a special breed, and we need our site to do more than just be a platform for our images. We need to create a sense of excitement about our work and out clients. Keeping visitors coming back to our site is one of the more important goals.
The default Gallery plugin that comes with most premium (and most free) themes is a great way to simply get your images online. WordPress automatically makes your thumbnails for you, and you choose how many columns you want to use to show them. The more columns you use, the smaller the thumbnails appear.
See the previous post for more info on gallery tools.
We may also want to be more involved with our SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I use “All In One SEO Pack” for my additional SEO. Website. (You do not have to download plugins from the builders websites, simply use your plugin page and search for the titles of the plugins for a quick installation tool.)
This plugin gives me the ability to create more SE friendly titles and descriptions that live in meta. This is a very powerful tool, and I suggest you learn all about it as you go about using it. The more you learn about SEO, the easier it becomes to drive traffic to your site.
I use “Easy Social” for my social bookmarking tool. Easy to use, you can place it at different places on the page depending on your layout. Website. There are a plethora of social bookmarking plugins out there, if you don’t like the one I use, you can find one you will like easily.
There are times when I have to go in and do some heavy lifting on the site. On those occasions I do not want people to see the site while I am changing it up. I use “Under Construction” to keep a clean home page up while I am working on the site. Website. This plugin is also invaluable while you are building out your site. Install it first.
“WordPress Editorial Calendar” keeps getting better and better. A visual, graphical view of the next four weeks allows me to create posts and place them for posting in the future. Very similar to a magazine’s editorial calendar, you can see where and when to make your posts. Website.
Keeping my WordPress Database clean is important, so I use WP-DBManager. Website. It makes backing up and cleaning up a breeze.
“Simple Trackback Validation with Topsy Blocker” keeps comment spam to a minimum. It really got bad after the re-design, with 10 – 50 comment spams a day coming in. Installed this plugin and they are gone… virtually gone. Website.
“Smart ’404′” keeps my ‘page not found’ pages interesting and full of suggested links. I don’t want to lose a visitor because they got lost on a search. Website.
“Facebook Comments for WordPress” is the one I use to allow people to comment straight to Facebook from my pages. Easy and fast, a visitor can share, like or comment on my post with Facebook. Website.
I want visitors to see that there are more related posts to the one they are reading, so I use “Efficient Related Posts” to show them additional posts that they may be interested in. Website.
Tracking visitors is easy with Google Analytics, and I use “Google Analytics for WordPress” for an easy method for adding in my Analytics code. Website.
You will find additional plugins that will work for what you want to do. You can keep up on WordPress by following their blog, and also Smashing Magazine who will occasionally present roundups of new and cool plugins.
I will be keeping you apprised of any new WP Themes I see out there. If you see something you like, you can always hire someone to get it setup for you if you are hesitant. Some are very easy, but some will need a lot of work to get them designed especially for you.
Occasionally you may need to weight time versus assets… hiring someone to flesh out a great site can be half or more less than having a website designed from scratch. With even more features on the WP site.
Immersion has some very nice features and would be very good for a photographer with a very active blog.
OH! has very strong features and, like all the themes featured here, is fully responsive.
DEEP FOCUS AND CHAMELEON from Elegant Themes.
Visit Elegant Themes to see these two, responsive, themes.
THEME TRUST HAS THREE:
Visit Theme Trust for a look at these designs. I think all three would make outstanding themes for a photographer or designer.
I hope to see some of your websites when you get them setup. Send me a link, and I will post them here on LE.
Let me know if there is anything else you would like to know about setting up your WordPress website.
I was recently on creativeLIVE and have received some rave reviews of the workshop. If you are interested in taking a look at the workshop, you can find it on creativeLIVE’s web site here. I think it is a tremendous value and if you are unable to attend any of my workshops, this may give you a ton of information you will want to have to push your photography to the next level.
Here is the video for the new workshop: