June 01, 2011 — If you are a photographer who is serious about utilizing the power of blogging, you are likely using the major blogging platform Wordpress.org. This platform allows you to completely customize every aspect of your blog to better serve your professional requirements. To make the most out of your blog’s capabilities, you should be familiar with a variety of blogging plugins.
Plugins help to extend the functionality of a blog, and there is a plugin for almost anything you can imagine. A plugin can be anything from helping reduce spam to adding an extensive shopping cart to your blog. Nearly all Wordpress plugins are completely free and most are installed with a single click of the mouse, no coding or technical knowledge required.
Below are a various areas where plugins can help improve the performance and capabilities of any blog.
Note: Every day new plugins are introduced to meet the needs of bloggers. The ‘recommended plugins’ in each section are current plugins that successfully meet certain criteria. More effective plugins may be released as time passes.
Photography Plugins: There are thousands of photography-related plugins that allow you to add customized galleries, pull in images from other sites or even sell images on your blog. These are non-essential but there are a few you should be aware of.
WP-Copy Protect prevents people from right clicking and save an image from your blog. When someone right clicks you can create a custom warning informing the viewer of the copyright status of the images on your blog. NextGen Galleries are a way to add more sophisticated images viewing galleries to your blog, and there are numerous appearances and capabilities to choose from.
Spam Reduction: Spam reducing plugins help to block and prevent spam from slowing down or bombarding your blog. Recommended plugins: “Akismet”, “Bad Behavior”
SEO improvements: One of the greatest benefits of blogging is how it helps with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). By using certain tags and writing about certain content, you can help your name and business become associated with target keywords. SEO plugins help optimize your blog for search engines. Recommended plugins: “All-in-One SEO”, “HeadSpace 2”
Blogging Backup: A blog is a piece of information (a database) that can be corrupted or lost. Just like your images, you want to back up on a regular basis. Database backup plugins allow you to backup on command, or to set specific intervals of time to regularly back up your blog posts and content. Recommended plugins: “Wordpress Database Backup”
Analytics: Google Analytics allows you to learn a great deal about the performance of and traffic to your blog. You can learn which posts or pages are most popular and which sites are referring the most traffic to your blog. An analytics plugin will automatically add code to each blog post and page in order to track its performance and you can easily connect this plugin to your Google Analytics account. Recommended plugins: Google Analyticator
Social Sharing Tools: By using social media sharing plugins your viewers will be a click away from sharing your blog content with others through any social network of their choice. These plugins allow people to easily share your blog content through Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and dozens of other social networking sites. Recommended plugins: “Add to Any”, “Sociable”
Mobile Considerations: It is extremely important that your blog be accessible via mobile devices including phones and tablets. Many Wordpress themes already include a mobile friendly version. If your blog is not mobile friendly, you may need to install a mobile conversion plugin. Recommended plugins: “Wordpress Mobile Pack”, “WPtouch iPhone Theme." If your blog is loading too slowly, you may consider plugins that make the site ‘lighter’ and less difficult to load. Recommended plugins: “WP Super Cache," “WP Minify." New mobile plugins are created regularly to meet new technological needs.
Lindsay Adler is a professional portrait and fashion photographer based in New York. Her portrait and wedding studio is distinguished by its ‘fashion flair’ approach to imagery. Author of “A Linked Photographers' Guide to Online Marketing and Social Media," Adler teaches thousands of photographers annually through workshops and conferences as well as through her educational videos and blog content. www.lindsayadlerphotography.com; firstname.lastname@example.org