How to prepare for your new website

We have a 3 part blog aimed at helping creatives prepare for a new website.  Part 1 will look at starting from scratch and getting everything organised such as your photos and copy.  Part 2 will look at your domain name, existing blogs, hosting and email. Part 3 will look at online marketing and setting up social media.

Part 1 – Creating a site map, preparing your photos and copy.

Every time we take on a new photographers website design project the longest and most pain staking task the photographer has to do is prepare all the content, photos and plan for the website.  There is no real easy or quick way to do this and when you have weddings at the weekends, editing in the week there often seems very little time to dedicate to this!

We therefore have devised this easy step by step guide to help you prepare all your photo galleries, gather your content and copy together.

1.  Create a site map

The site map is basically a list of all the pages you want for your website.  Most people will have a home page which is often referred to as the entry page or index page.  There will often be an about page, several galleries, services, a blog and contact page. For photographers, galleries will often list the services such as Weddings, Family Portraits, Engagements etc so its often worth thinking how you will want these pages to appear on the website and the structure you want them to follow.

Prepare a sitemap for your WordPress Website

The best way to create a site map is to grab some paper and a pen and sketch out the pages, connecting them with lines. Use other photographers website’s that you love as a guide and try to plan out the names and structure of all the pages.  From this you will be able to choose the photos for each page and start to think about the copy and final content.

2.  Preparing your photos

Photos that you see on screen are made up of pixels.  Pixels are what make up an image on your screen and that is the measurement value to use, ‘dpi’ stands for the number of pixels per inch or dots per inch.  All screens render at this value and therefore you should always save your photos nothing less than 72 pixels per inch.  It’s worth noting that saving photos over this value will make the file size larger than it needs to be, so always save at 72!

Sizes:  Most modern websites that have photos within a container viewed on your desktop computer screen will be using images that are 1200 pixels wide. If the website is full screen where the images meet up to the very edges of the browser the photos will need to be 1920 pixels wide.

Optimize your photography collection for WordPress websites

Some websites will obviously use smaller sized photos and photos of different proportions, we would advise you of this size during the website project.

3.  Choosing and organising your photos

This is often the toughest task of them all!  Having to wade through all your past photos and pick out the best ones you want to showcase.  Look at the best feedback you have had from certain photos on Facebook or Instagram.  Try to find an iconic photo that really represents what you do and want to provide your clients and use this on the home page for example.  Quality over quantity is always advised, no one wants to sift through 100s of ok photos, they want to see your best select few.

Choose the best photos for your WordPress website

Once you have picked out your best photos, look at the site map you have created in step one and create folders for each gallery.  So you may have a folder for ‘weddings’ in there you then may have sub folders such as ‘beach weddings’, ‘country weddings’ etc. Place all the photos within these folders and then when you come to supply them or upload them to your website they are all ready and organised.

4.  Preparing your copy

Arhhh! You cry!  This is often the hardest task for photographers mainly because of the amount of time it can take.  Never underestimate the power of great well written copy and the value in the time taken to get this right. Google loves unique and well written content and so will your clients.  Once the website site map is agreed you will have titles for each page.  Make a Word document with all the titles in and the photos associated with that page or service, then write bullet points about each service or page.  Expand on each bullet point and slowly refine it.

When you are writing think to include key-phrases, the phrases your target clients will be typing into Google to find your website. This will help with the position of your website on Google as well as help your clients identify exactly what you do.

Join us next week for part 2 where we look at domain names, existing blogs, hosting and email.

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