I Feel The Need For Speed!
Give Your Website's Page Speed, Responsiveness and Look a Huge Boost!
In our opinion, below are the best WordPress themes for photographers websites. If you want to beat your competition at their own game and get on the first page of Google results (or higher) for many search terms, read on. If you want to get the edge over your photographer competitors' websites and scoop up those enquiries for your business, this is for you.
Recommendations in this review: Thrive Themes and WPX Hosting
Thrive and WPX
Having used Thrive Themes and WPX Hosting for a number of years now, know this. they just keep getting better, and better. they add more features, speed and then some for the same cost. Try them out soon...
I genuinely almost gave top marks for the products that I use for building websites here. I gave a slight drop for value for money because these days, everything could be a little cheaper ; )
Note: This applies to all websites, not just for us photographers.
As photographers, we all want more work and there are a multitude of ways to get work in:
However, one of the most effective ways to get you and your work seen is with a website.
I have had my business website (www.nickstubbs.com) up and running for more than 17 years now (built 2004) and it has, to date, always been my imaging business website. It has brought me a ton of work over the years including some incredible projects I am currently involved in (more later).
It has only done that through my efforts with regards to SEO and choice of web building tools.
Note: The sooner you purchase and register your domain name, choose a template and build a website on it, the sooner you start ranking on Google, Bing etc.
It's Not As Simple as That
There are many ways to build a photography business website and these days you are hit with adverts from every angle by companies such as WIX and GoDaddy. These are great companies but fairly generic and limited in what they offer on a pro level.
Now many photographers or film makers will read this, think it doesn't matter and go with a company like those mentioned above and that's fine. Others will realise that, as in the world of imaging, you need to be more professional if you want better, faster and more consistent results.
SEO and Getting Found
Many factors affect how your website ranks and gets found in search engines and it is very important to learn certain techniques and use them. It is also important to use the right tools as I know only too well.
You also need to pay attention to what your website doesn't need and that isn't always obvious.
Image sliders and auto-loading videos or slideshows on your homepage can be the kiss of death for your website. This has been proven and stated by many experts so try not to use them. There are better alternative.
A "pretty" website with all the bells and whistles also won't necessarily cut it with the likes of Google and Bing as you will learn below.
My Own Experience
Back in 2014/5 the drone industry was poking its head above the horizon. There were a few options to learn this trade but the choices of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) weren't great. However, it was something I fully intended to become involved with.
Even before I had bought a drone, I built a page on my business website stating my intentions to any of my existing or future clients. I titled it "Aerial video in Dorset". If you Google "Aerial Video Dorset", you may well see (depending on your location) that I am ranked at the top of the results. I have been there since building that page.
As a result, I have received a ton of enquiries and work that allowed me to get trained, qualified and kitted out with some professional drone equipment.
For the past three years I have been doing aerial work for the BBC, Channel 4, commercial clients and for the past two years or so, something rather special.
In around 2015, I got a call from a director at Pinewood Studios enquiring about my drone business. To cut a long story short, I have spent two weeks on the south coast filming with them and two weeks in North Yorkshire doing the same.
I have visited their Pinewood offices near London and am now involved in a large production with them in conjunction with Netflix (edit September 2021: that job completed after 2 months solid work).
If I hadn't have built that page on a fully optimised website, this would never have happened.
WordPress Themes and Templates
I have bought and used many different themes for my WordPress websites in the past. Many of them have gone bad or the developers have stopped updating them at some point.
The danger of this is that a template or theme that is outdated could be in danger of being hacked or worse leaving you incredibly vulnerable.
The same applies to any plug ins that you incorporate into your WordPress website. If any of these go bad or the developers abandon them, it could open a "back door" for hackers and viruses.
I have built more than 100 websites in my time, some for myself and many for corporate clients. It was only last year that I happened upon what I see as the perfect solution. Both in terms of web hosting and the theme of my sites.
What the Web Wants
The Google gods must be appeased!
I have learned during my time studying SEO that the three main things to look out for are:
Let's cover those individually.
Lately I have become obsessed with the page speed and load times of my websites and All Things Photography is no exception. At the time of writing this review/article, I have just finished:
...all 1000+ pages to a new web-host and the Thrive Themes WordPress layout.
This took a long time as I am quite meticulous but the results are outstanding. When I couple the sheer power of my new web host (WPX hosting*) along with Thrive Themes, the results I am getting are incredible.
*I am not going into WPX Hosting here but may do a review another day. All I will say is that in 13 years I have not found a better, faster or more reliable host. They have a guaranteed 30 second response time for support which I have tested many times (see video below)!
Edit 7 months later (September 2021): Firstly, the site is now done as you can see. Secondly, I have hammered their support people on numerous occasions. At times I have been speaking with them for over two hours and one issue took two days. At no point did they get flustered and were always able (and willing) to help within 30 seconds. Amazing company...recommended 100%!
I used to use Blue Host and a generic WordPress theme but check out these initial results as I build the new website.
This test is based upon a page that I built on ATP for the Panasonic GH5S. Here are the results for that page on the ATP website at GTMetrix before the major update:
Really poor and that was affecting everything with ATP and search results.
These results were a lot worse before I moved over to WPX Hosting.
Now look at the results for the new site, built on Thrive Themes and WPX, at GTMetrix (updated version of GT Metrix):
Lastly, these are the results at GT Metrix for the new ATP homepage built on a Thrive Themes WordPress template and WPX Hosting:
The increase in page speed, appearance and overall "health" of ATP will help the site in so many ways. Speeding up the load times will make for a better experience for our readers and everything else will help with SEO massively.
Check your own website with GTMetrix for yourself and see if you could do with switching to Thrive Themes and WPX Hosting.
This is huge and something you MUST pay attention to. A large amount of web users are now using Smartphones and tablets to browse the internet. If your website isn't fully responsive, it could cause you to fall out of the search results quicker than a 300lb skydiver.
Thrive Themes have this covered and then some.
Once you have built a page using their fully functional WYSIWYG Architect builder, you can check the responsiveness for that page. This is for both tablets and Smartphones.
You start with the tablet view and make any necessary changes to the layout, font size, headings etc so that it fits well. You then do the same in Smartphone view.
The beauty is that by doing things this way, any changes you make to mobile views do not alter the tablet view. Any changes to the tablet view do not affect the original, full size version. Genius. All three views are separate so you can have all three layouts looking perfect with absolute ease.
Full Editor View of This Web Page
Tablet Editor View
Smartphone (Mobile) Editor View
You might think these results mean nothing as long as your website looks good right? Well, Google penalise websites for poor speed and performance which will lose you business.
There is no point in having a great looking site if no-one can find it. Even if you don't need free traffic from search engines right now, you are still leading potential visitors and customers to your competitors.
Thrive Themes Features
There are far too many additional features included with Thrive Themes to go into detail about here but the main feature or benefit is this.
When you install Thrive Theme Builder onto your WordPress website, you don't just get the theme. You also get a ton of incredible, made-for-seo and compatible plug ins.
This minimises the threat of any plug ins going out of date as you only need to install one or two additional plug ins to what Thrive gives you. Thrive plug-ins include:
Other features or benefits include:
Trust me when I say that if you build your professional or hobbyist photographers website using Thrive Themes and WPX Hosting, not only should your site soar through the rankings but it will look great too.
I am not going to say much more other than don't take my word for it. Visit Thrive Themes and WPX Hosting below today. Check out the features and benefits you can get as well as reading all the positive customer reviews.
Edit September 2021: For the record, I am now using the Elite hosting paid annually at WPX. This allows me to build up to 35 websites on their super fast hosting. This means I can now start to build websites for clients like the one below.
NV Salon Website
Note: Here is the latest website I built for a Nail Salon in Bridgewater (built in August 2021). Check to see how fast each page loads and see how effective the Thrive Ovation testimonial feature is working here.
I also have the full suite of features at Thrive Themes including the incredible Thrive Theme Builder. My nickstubbs.com website has now been moved over along with all the others...exclusively to these companies.
I hope this proves useful to you but please ask any questions below if you are unsure or need advice.