Working directly on a photographer’s website, I always want to spend quite some time on the performance side of things, especially since you could argue that the website is so vital to the photographer getting any business.
Unfortunately, many photographers neglect performance when building their own sites in WordPress, so this post is for you guys. Simple instructions on what you should do to speed up your site (if you are running WordPress that is…).
How long will this take you? Probably under 15 minutes!
Install the WP Super Cache Plugin
If you are only going to do one thing, log into the dashboard and go and search for WP Super Cache. This plugin is super simple to set up, all you need to do is to activate it and enable the caching and it will have improved your performance by a lot.
However, you can easily make the site even faster. By going into the advanced tab of the plugin setting, you will see a bunch of checkboxes that at the end of their description say “(recommended)”. Simply check these!
To see how much faster the site loads, log out and reload the page (or use another browser). Isn’t it wonderful?
Install the WP Smush.it Plugin
Another plugin you should install is the WP Smush.it plugin. It doesn’t come with a lot of options, in fact, it doesn’t come with any options. What it will do is run the images you upload through the Smush.it optimizer to scale the images down in size dramatically while retaining the quality.
I know you are a photographer and you must have the best possible image quality and save images at the best quality but give this a try will you. You will likely notice very little degrading in image quality from a before and after. What little you may loose in quality here, you gain in business.
Why Should I Care About Loading Time?
I could start by making the point that Google now uses loading time as part of their algorithm, but I’m not going to (oops, I guess I just did). Regardless of any search engine algorithms, the most important reason here is sheer human behavior.
Visitors are impatient. Don’t be fooled by your love of your own work. If someone goes to your site to see your photos, they want it to load fast. If it doesn’t, they will move on. As a direct result of them moving on, you loose a possible sale or client.
Sure, it might be okay when it happens to your best friend, but is it really as okay when the manager of the big company that is looking to hire you can’t get your site to load in good time? I’ll let you decide for yourself!