Best ‘must have’ WordPress plugins for Wedding photography sites

There are many reasons why you would want to use plugins to add features to your WordPress site – especially for SEO reasons.

Here are the best WordPress plugins for a wedding photographer (or wedding photography business):

1. Autoptimize

Research shows that 53% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Therefore it is in your best interest to ensure that your site loads as quickly as possible.

fix speed optimisation issues with these best wordpress plugins for wedding photographers

Autoptimize is a free plugin with the specific purpose of improving your site’s page load times. It does this by optimising HTML, JavaScript and/or CSS code. =

From my experience, there is no one single plugin that can address speed issues. I use a number of them in conjunction with each other making sure that each plugin addresses a specific issue. For example, I use Autoptimize to concatenate, minify and compress CSS only. I leave JavaScript optimisation to another plugin.

Before you apply any changes, always make a backup.

2. Childify Me

If you use Divi like me, you will want to be using a child theme so that updates to the theme do not override the customisations you may have made in funcitons.php and style.css files.

3. Custom 404 Pro

Every time someone mistypes a site’s URL or lands on a page that has been deleted, they will arrive at an error page. For example, if someone where to enter angusporter.com/weeding-photographer-sydney into their browser, they will be greeted with this.

use custom 404 page to improve visitor bounce rate as seen on angusporter.com

They will see this page because they have misspelt the word ‘wedding’ and as a result, the URL they have searched for does not exist. But this rarely exists. In fact, most of the time a visitor sees a 404 error is because the link that they have clicked on has been mistyped (i.e., usually it is your fault, not the user’s).

By default, WordPress will serve a 404 page according to your chosen theme’s style.

Every website should have a custom 404 page because it reduces visitor bounce rate.

In the example above, I provide the user with five options: four opportunities to explore our website and an implied option to exit the site. Without the custom 404, the user would have only one choice – to exit.

Custom 404 Pro by Kunal Nagar does what the name implies. It lets you create a custom 404 page.

4. Lazy Load by WP Rocket

As a wedding photographer, your website will feature a lot of bandwidth-consuming images.

One of the first things you should be doing is resizing your images AND compressing them before you upload them to your WordPress website.

If you must serve 2x retina-ready images, then use a plugin that can serve these large file sizes to the right audience.

Loading images is one of the biggest causes for slow page load speeds.

This is where something like Lazy Load by WP Rocket comes in. The plugin will display images only when they are visible to a user. It is not uncommon for wedding photographers to have blog posts with 50+ images, each weighing in at over 200kb.

Without implementing lazy load, you will be requiring your website visitors to download a 10MB page. I wouldn’t be surprised if this took over 15-seconds to fully load on mobile.

By implementing lazy load, only the first 3-5 images will need to be rendered, thus allowing the user to interact with your site quicker. As they scroll, subsequent resources (i.e., images) will load.

5. Remove Query Strings From Static Resources

This plugin will remove query strings from static resources like CSS & JS files inside the HTML <head> element to improve your speed scores in services like Pingdom, GTmetrix, PageSpeed and YSlow.

I’m not entirely sure how important this is to achieving faster page loading times in the real world but this plugin does get rid of those annoying warnings generated from Pingdom and GTmetrix.

6. Schema Pro

Talking about structured data and how Google uses schema to interpret web pages deserves its own blog post.

Most wedding photographers do not implement any structured data on their website and if they do, it has been implemented in a spammy way. But you’re not alone. Less than 1% of all sites online use schema.

In short, implement schema to beat your competition in the SERPs!

If you’re reading this, I think it is safe to say that you’re not a technical SEO by profession. Therefore, hardcoding scheme into your site is probably not something you can do easily. This is where the Schema Pro plugin comes in handy.

Whilst there are free plugins that will markup your website, Schema Pro (79 USD) was one of the few plugins that didn’t add an ugly box to the frontend of my website. As a wedding photography business, you are probably going to feel the same way about aesthetics.

7. UpdraftPlus

I don’t really care if your camera has dual memory card slots or whether you even write to both slots simultaneously – everyone has their own risk profile. But when it comes to backing up your wedding photography business’ website, surprisingly many do not practice what they preach.

If your website is the main source of getting leads, you need to protect it.

One way to doing this is by doing regular and periodic backups of your site. How frequent you backup the contents of your site will depend on how regularly you add content to your website. As you will see in the below screenshot, I make changes quite frequently to our website and as such, I will do manual backups just before I make any significant changes.

how frequent should i backup my website

UpdraftPlus is a free WordPress plugin that will backup your entire WordPress library. All you will need is an active Dropbox or Google Drive account to store the backups in. If you’re making coding modifications using the plugins suggested in this article, I recommend that you make a backup of your website before implementing any of the changes as plugins react differently with each site/theme and may break it completely.

8. W3 Total Cache

Take a look on WordPress and you will discover that there is no shortage of cache plugins. This is because everyone who has a website should be striving to have it load as quickly as possible.

best wordpress plugin for cache

As previously mentioned, I run more than one speed-optimisation-related plugins. Normally this is not recommended as you may run into conflicting errors. But if you know what features to enable and disable for each plugin, you’ll be fine.

W3 Total Cache is probably the most popular cache plugin with over 1 million active installs. However, it does require a lot of tweaking to get the optimal results. That is, W3 Total Cache is not a one-click solution.

For angusporter.com, we use W3 Total Cache specifically database, object and browser caching and nothing else.

9. Yoast SEO

Here’s the thing – no SEO plugin can actually help you rank on Google (despite what they say). This is because there is a lot more to the discipline of SEO than ticking off a technical SEO checklist.

Whilst on-page SEO is extremely important, the other side of SEO that is often neglected is the practice of building citations to your site – that is, backlinks.

No SEO plugin can help you with your link acquisition.

yoast-seo-features

What Yoast can do, however, is help you pick the best page title to facilitate click-through-rate (CTR), generate an XML sitemap, ensure that you’re following on-page SEO fundamentals such as using appropriate H1-H3 tags throughout your copy, and customise a page description to help visitors understand what your page is about. And this is why I recommend using Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO is a free WordPress plugin. There is a paid (premium) version that supports more than one keyword per page/post. I have not found the need for the premium version.

Other SEO-related plugins you may wish to consider are Rank Math and All in One SEO Pack.

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