What’s the value of having a wordpress blog for my photography business?
I get that question a lot and my answer varies. I’ve had my own WordPress blog for about a decade and can vouch for the value of having one. The obvious answer is this … more search traffic.
Let’s face it, Google gives a higher priority to words than images. When you look at best practices for SEO, most revolve around the words on a site, rather than images. So the question becomes, what’s the best way to get text on your photography site?
SmugMug is a great platform for sharing and selling photography. Posting images, building galleries, how the images are displayed, the selling features – all this combines to give SmugMug advantages over WordPress when it comes to images.
But when it comes to words, SmugMug is a bit clunky. There is also quite a bit of debate over how well SmugMug’s SEO tools work. As both sides of that argument have valid points, I refuse to weigh in on that. But what I can say is that it can’t compete with WordPress when it comes to search engine optimization.
When I started my WordPress blog, I found that an image posted on WordPress with a bit of text tended to get about five times the traffic as the same image and similar text of SmugMug. Now the difference is more than ten times the traffic. Images posted on SmugMug fall far behind the same image posted on WordPress in Google’s image search.
Simply put, there is no comparison.
- A WordPress blog also allows you to sell products not offered for sale through SmugMug, such as fine art books through vendors such as Blurb.
Also, WordPress makes it easy to create blog posts and keep them organized, while SmugMug is a bit clunky in this. This is extremely important, as there is no more valuable asset than your time.
So the bottom line is this. If search engine results and the ability to add extended text to images is important, yes, a WordPress blog is in invaluable.
Not everyone is dependent on search engines though. You might drive enough traffic to your images in other ways so that the value of increasing your SEO isn’t worth the effort or cost of a WordPress photography blog. In that case your SmugMug photography site could be enough.
Let’s turn the question on its head now. Do you need a SmugMug site if you have a WordPress photography site? After all, a SmugMug site for professional photographers tends to be a bigger investment.
- It’s possible to create a photo blog on WordPress which is both striking and much simpler to create posts focusing on text, as well as images. This is great for increasing the SEO value of your site.
I would argue that if all you need is a portfolio site, then maybe not. Most people viewing photos online today are doing it from smartphones and tablets, rather than desktops and laptops. So the elegance of a SmugMug site with all the options for displaying images becomes less important. With that in mind, WordPress becomes a viable option.
That said, for portfolio users only, not using SmugMug’s selling tools lowers the cost to where it’s as cheap or cheaper than a WordPress site. It’s also more secure, as hacking is one of the big hassles of WordPress. Also, there are no software updates with SmugMug, and your template isn’t likely to be abandoned or broken, so there is less maintenance to the site.
And of course, there’s storage, as a self hosted WordPress blog usually costs in proportion to the amount of storage, as well as traffic. What can be a value when you start out, can turn into a major expense over time.
But once again, if your business is dependent on search engine traffic, WordPress is likely a better investment, even if it is a bit more expensive and requires a bit more maintenance.
If you do use SmugMug’s pro selling tools, then yes, it’s the right investment, even if you have a WordPress blog. You can set up various ways of selling your images on WordPress, but it’s not as streamlined and requires more work on your part. The exception here is if you fulfill the orders yourself.
I prefer to let SmugMug handle all that. Their printers, in particular Bay Photo do outstanding work, they provide fast service and everything is covered by SmugMug’s guarantee.
So the bottom line, for pros who use several of SmugMug’s features, particularly their selling tools, and need effective search engine optimization, the best solution is to have both. You can integrate SmugMug and WordPress very closely, so a visitor may not even know they’ve moved from one site to another.
And of course you then have the flexibility that comes from having two different platforms, and two different sites to pull in leads. Two separate homepages can mean two different focuses for the same business. Two different solutions to every problem.
At times, versatility and flexibility can be a very good thing. And so can a WordPress blog for photographers.
How does all this apply to your photography business? Contact us and let’s figure it out together.
Call Todd at 631-935-4726 or click here