WordPress has always provided an above-average ability to manage high quality images and videos. In fact, better than many other more costly websites using Joomla, Zeald etc. Wedding photographers, art galleries, travel sites, model websites and fashion salons are but a few markets to display or sell images online.
WordPress gallery extensions are already superb, some mimicing the look and feel of galleries on social media. NextGEN gallery has been around for years, but my favorites are Justified Image Grid with the little-known Social Gallery. All for around US$50. (Configuring them correctly is the key though).
There’s also good slider tools like SliderPro or Soliloquy. (Others like Revolution slider are usually way too complex and should be avoided). But take care using sliders, since research tells us these ever-popular visual tools actually annoy most visitors, reducing engagement and even site ranking…
I prefer the Flickr image gallery look with a Facebook social popup, but there’s countless other combos and special effects possible. But most of these tools cannot be used to sell photos. They just make the gallery pages look pretty. Here’s my simple example below.
Selling photos or pictures online?
The free WooCommerce cart can be used to sell photos, with each photo added as a separate ‘product’. It has all the features you’re likely to need to sell photos to the public, including shipping options, variable products (ideal for selling different picture sizes and framing options) and downloadable products (ideal for selling digital photos).
WooCommerce can easily be extended to provide private access to galleries. For example, you might want to sell photos to specific clients in a hidden part of your store. WordPress has a feature to password protect individual pages, for example your gallery pages. However, you will need one of the plugins listed below to securely sell photos in WooCommerce.
- WooCommerce Photography – An official extension to help photographers display and sell their photos online, in a totally controlled manner, with photos divided into collections. It has an option to restrict collections to specific logged in users.
- WooCommerce Password Protected Categories – A simple plugin to password protect categories of WooCommerce product. Unlike WooCommerce Photography, you don’t need a separate user account for each client. You just give the password to your client and they can access the hidden photos and buy them online. There’s a tutorial on how to set this up for a WordPress photography site here.
WordPress + WooCommerce + Gallery tools allows easy sharing of activity, interacting and even extracting images from Facebook and other social media channels, to further boost traffic and online profiles. We also add in extra coding to auto-optimise all images for size and quality.
There are dozens of other gallery add-ons. Much depends upon what you think more important – Pretty visuals or conducting a sales transaction. Different visitors also have their own preferences in what they want from a site.
Two options that work with WooCommerce cart are Envira gallery for existing sites and Photocrati that comes bundled with a theme. Both fulfil different needs and markets – The trick with all the dozens of theme/plugin options is getting the one that suits and have them setup correctly, which is where we can help. Give us a call and we’ll chat, then make a recommendation on what works best for you.
Safer, faster payments direct to NZ accounts, not US banks or Paypal
Unlike other online options for Photographers to sell their work (e.g. Photoshelter.com, which wouldn’t be difficult to replicate using WordPress), an optimised WooCommerce cart also means NZ Photographers can finally dispense with US banks or Paypal and use NZ payment gateways to more quickly take in orders and monies. Local payment gateways we recommend include Paystation (best value), Paymate, Payment Express (high volume), eWay (flexible) and the amazing internet banking via Polipay, for those that don’t like credit cards, but still like the automated transactions of a credit card. Note Stripe has recently entered the NZ market which is a really nice option.
These sales options are important, since many buyers and sellers here don’t like Paypal. There’s delays and transactions can be easily reversed, without due notice or warning. And the simple fact Paypal charges a higher commission than most others, as well as taking several days to transfer money to local banking accounts. We’ve seen one client almost double their transaction numbers just by removing Paypal, replacing it with NZ banking payment options instead.
Speed or Security not included
One of the common problems we see with gallery sites is performance issues. Most are slow, even the demo sites they buy their plugins/themes from. The visual look often works against site performance, killing user engagement as well as Google search traffic. Theme and plugin developers sell on looks and features, not performance, security or how many sales you will make. Additional coding work is always required to ensure the site is fast, stable, secure and SEO-optimised. Often a new host is needed. Performance optimisation can only be done on a site-by-site basis and can’t be included in any theme or plugin.
SEO for Photographers
This is typically forgotten about in the drive for visual perfection. In fact due to the desire to run large, non-compressed images everywhere, home-built or even those websites built by design agencies are often incredibly slow, especially when viewed on mobile devices – Not good for visitors or Google ranking.
Special care is required when coding the site and when adding images. You must ensure that Google ‘likes’ the site structure, the content, load times and will therefore rank it highly. Yoast recently wrote and special article on SEO for Photographers that covered the special tricks and work needed. If all this seems difficult, since it often means getting into the site coding, we are happy to assist.
A totally cost-effective photography selling package
This can complement existing galleries on social media sites like Flickr, Facebook etc. The key thing with using WordPress with these newer add-ons, is that you can now display your photos on a website you have total control over in terms of design, content, branding, visitor access, security, speed, payment options, costs and search engine optimisation.. In the meantime, here’s an intro tutorial on the simple WooCommerce photography system.