Attention Photographers Using WordPress: Are You Guilty of These Mistakes?
If you are a photographer using WordPress to display your portfolio, chances are you aren’t utilizing all the tools and best practices that you should be. There are certain things that could help your site, and certain other things that can actually hurt your site.
Below we go through some of the more common mistakes photographers make, and different ways to address them.
Using Flash on Your Website
This topic I mention first because I feel it is the most important. Do not use Flash on your website. In this industry, it’s very common to see Flash-based portfolio websites, and yes, it may look cool to have some dynamic interaction to your site, but in this day-and-age with mobile devices becoming more and more popular, you must get rid of Flash.
It is not readable on mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads, so why would you want to segment your readers and potential clients? Additionally, the Google search bots are unable to read Flash, so you lose out on reaching new potential clients again.
Not Using Img Alt Tags
Search engine can only read text (they cannot read images). As a photographer, most of the content on your website is images. Make sure the search engines can index this content, so that people who use the search engines (nearly everyone on the planet!) can find your site.
The img alt tag, or image alternative tag, is the part of HTML that provides some alternative text to describe the image if a browser or user cannot view the image.
Google stated back in 2007 that the alt tag is their primary point of focus when trying to understand the content of an image.
Here is an example of what the img alt tag can look like:
<img src="http://example.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/sunrise-downtown-ann-arbor.jpg" alt="Sunrise in Downtown Ann Arbor" />
Not Using Img Title Tags
Similar to the alt tag, the image title tag is equally important for many of the same reasons. It provides additional information to the website visitor and the search engines.
The title attribute is displayed when you hover your mouse over an image (the title pops up on top, also known as a tooltip).
Here is an example of the title tag:
<img title="Sunrise in Downtown Ann Arbor in October, 2012" src="http://example.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/sunrise-downtown-ann-arbor.jpg" alt="Sunrise in Downtown Ann Arbor">
Using Non-Indexable (or Non-Readable) File Names
Image filenames are another instance of where you can have good search engine optimization, or not.
Here are some examples of non-optimized filenames:
The filenames above tell no story about what is captured in the image, and as far as your site visitors (and search engines) are concerned, don’t mean anything. They might be discernible to you, and they might very well be easy to find in your archives or on your computer, but on the web, they are useless.
Alternatively, if you use descriptive text in your file names, not only will they be readable by the search bots, but you’ll also (in theory) show up higher in the search results when people search for those types of images or web pages.
Here are examples of properly optimized image filenames:
Don’t go overboard and try to stuff in a bunch of keywords, this will have a negative effect both in terms of SEO and for your visitors. Another quick tip: use “-“ instead of “_” or a space when naming image files.
Using Large, Original Sized Photos
If you are uploading your original, high-resolution images to WordPress, not only are you slowing down the speed of your website, but you are also effectively giving the entire world access to your digital negatives. Anything you upload to the internet can be downloaded, even if you’ve chosen not to display it on your website.
A better alternative is to edit and crop your images offline, and the only upload the sizes you need for your website. Usually you can just upload a large image, as WordPress automatically creates a thumbnail version of that picture.
Not Creating a Cached Version of Your Website
With large websites, especially image-heavy sites, the time it takes for a page to load can be the difference between a customer and someone who just clicks the back button.
As a photographer using WordPress, you need to consider having a cached version of your website. Basically, caching your site allows your content to load much, much faster, and as a result, less people will get frustrated with waiting times and click away.
There is a great, free plugin available called the W3 Total Cache plugin, which we highly recommend. It will improve the user experience of your website by increasing web server performance and caching every aspect of your site.
WordPress is a great platform to set up your photography website on, as long as it’s done properly. There are certain aspects of web design that should not be overlooked, and hiring a professional to get you started is always a good move.
Contact us here at Freshtight Designs, and start getting better results online.
Featured image by: rickz