Here at ShootDotEdit, we know how important it is to build and maintain a strong wedding photo website. Although it can be time-consuming to keep up with, your website is one of the most valuable ways for you to communicate your brand with ideal clients. In past blog posts, Scott Wyden Kivowitz from Imagely, a leading provider of WordPress products and services for professional photographers, has shared the top visual and lead generating plugins to use for wedding photographer websites. Today, he will share the best plugins for websites that are made to protect and optimize your site.
Plugins for Your Wedding Photo Website
In the last article about the best 4 lead generating WordPress plugins for wedding photographers, I mentioned the article was part 2 of series. So here is part 3, on utility plugins. A utility plugin is one that performs ongoing tasks that are vital to the functions of your photography website. They protect, they optimize, and they do so much more.
Like before, I want to make sure you understand that almost all the photography website plugins I’m recommending are free but have paid counterparts and services.
Wordfence is my go-to security plugin, and for a very good reason. Most security plugins actually change the code in the WordPress software and other files and folders on your server. While that is a good way to secure a website, it can cause some major problems for plugins and themes. If something goes wrong during the “hardening” process then it’s a guessing game to figure out what broke what and reverse it.
So Wordfence takes a very different approach to security. They dynamically protect your entire website, with optional real-time scanning of every user on your site. I don’t recommend real-time scanning as it can reduce the performance of your site. But their standard, free, scans are fantastic. And for those who want additional features, the premium version is affordable.
This is the diamond of all SEO plugins. Since the dawn of time, or WordPress, Yoast SEO has been the cornerstone (pun intended) of the SEO plugin community. It’s what all its competitors have based their plugins off of. Yoast’s team actually works closely with Google to ensure best practices for its analysis tools and code for HTML metadata.
Yoast SEO can do a lot of things, including:
- Open Graph
- Meta Titles
- Meta Descriptions
- Page/Post keyword analysis
- Content analysis
- Indexing options
It can also do a lot more, but think of Yoast SEO as the Swiss army knife for your on-site SEO efforts. It does so much, and the premium version adds to its capabilities.
- Caching plugins were extremely complex
- Caching plugins were breaking sites
- Caching plugins didn’t do enough for site speed
- Caching plugins were far too simple
So they built WP Rocket Cache to fill the needs of the WordPress community. The WordPress photography plugin configures itself during install, based on your server’s environment. It can autodetect many server types, caching layers and implement what it needs to speed up your site. You can then add advanced features with simple clicks of buttons.
One of the most important utility plugins you can have on your website is a contact form. They come in so many varieties, some with few options and some with many.
For those who prefer simple and effective, I recommend Custom Contact Forms. It’s free, has a drag and drop interface and it’s simple to use. The plugin is also so simple that its intent is solely contact forms.
I mention that because the powerhouse of all WordPress contact form plugins is Gravity Forms. It’s also one of the most popular WordPress plugins ever. It can do practically anything you need it to do, including ecommerce (if you really want). I use Gravity Forms for contact forms, booking forms, and custom questionnaires. We even put together a photography website checkup system at Imagely using Gravity Forms. With Gravity Forms you can have leads be sent to a CRM, and even to email marketing services, like MailChimp.
Next up is backing up your photography website. Many hosting companies offer backups. But as a photographer you’re hopefully a believer of redundancy. So, having another backup that you have more control over is a beautiful thing. The problem with most backup plugins is the resources they use. So many hosts ban the use of a variety of backup plugins. That’s why I recommend WP Time Capsule.
It’s a freemium plugin which uses Dropbox, Google Drive, or Amazon S3 to back up to your site. It’s also a format like Apple’s Time Machine, backing up your site incrementally. If 1 file changes, 1 file will be backed up. If 2 change, 2 get backed up. The same thing happens if data and files are removed. And depending on the plan you’re level you’re on, you get 30 days or more of backups.
Google Analytics is free, and it’s how you can see what people are doing on your site, track conversions, and much more. There are multiple ways to implement Google Analytics on your photography website.
The first method I want to share is using Simple Universal Google Analytics. It’s a simple plugin that asks for your Google Analytics tracking ID. Once entered and saved, Google will begin tracking your site.
The other method, and my preferred method, is Google Tag Manager. It’s a system Google made to make it easy for any website manager or owner to add new scripts to their website in a visual way. For example, if you want Facebook Ad Tracking, you can do that easily using Tag Manager. The only thing you need to do is add the GTM script to your site. And you can do that using one of the many Google Tag Manager plugins.
The last utility plugin I want to share is the ability to control widgets further than the default capabilities in WordPress. There are two plugins that offer control, like showing widgets on specific pages, or to users versus users. If you want a simple plugin, and don’t mind using a bit of PHP logic, then Widget Logic is the best choice. But if you want simple, visual and with a ton of options then check out Widget Options.
The past 3 articles have shared some of the best WordPress plugins for photographers. But now, we want to hear from you. What would you like to learn about WordPress? Comment and let us know, so we can prepare additional educational content on the subject.
As an essential part of helping your clients learn more about you and book your services, it is essential to keep up with your wedding photo website. The more plugins and tools you utilize, the easier it will be to do so. Learn additional ways to maintain your website, as well as other tips for your photography business, with our free Guide: How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business!