Rebecca Portsmouth is a wedding photographer who uses WordPress to showcase her photos and promote her business. She believes in craftsmanship and professionalism in her photography business, and it's clear that she approached building building her website with the same level of care.
Read on to learn more about Rebecca, her photography business, and learn which plugin she recommends for SEO.
When did you start your business and why?
I became a wedding photographer 14 years ago when I wanted to leave working for a US investment bank. I had always taken photographs, researched the market at the time and found there was a need for reportage or photojournalistic style wedding photography in a market which at the time was dominated by men, often quite a bit older than the couple, and medium format photography. I built my first website in Dreamweaver at a time when a website was a relative novelty.
What do you feel makes your target audience special?
Clients are often keen photographers themselves, who want flattering photographs of themselves that are natural. They all seem to be rather nice!
Why did you decide to build your WordPress yourself?
Budget and wanting to play with the structure myself, to steer visitors on the most useful website journey for them.
What was the most difficult thing about creating your WordPress site?
Learning a new theme – Divi by Elegant Themes, as it was so difficult to the previous themes I had used. It uses drag and drop modules, similar to SquareSpace which I had been using for about a year, on a break from WordPress.
What was the easiest thing about it?
Knowing that with WordPress, there is a plug-in for virtually anything.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
Get your finances together first and if necessary, have a day job while your new business gets going. Knowing your bills are paid – whether through working for others or savings – can allow you to be at your most creative and maintain focus on your target market while you build your business and get to know your market.
If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would you do and why?
I would like to have had a better handle on marketing and cash-flow from the beginning.
How long did it take you to launch your site?
The latest WP site was built in about a week. Most of the pages have been rewritten and the site structure changed to guide people through the relevant sections of weddings, portraits, events or training.
How do you promote your site?
Most traffic comes from SEO, which I actively work on, especially through my blog – the Yoast SEO plug-in is a gem for this! It also comes from my newsletter and recommendations from colleagues. I also have a FaceBook page, use Twitter and do face-to-face networking too.
Do you have an email list, and if so, what is the most effective way you have grown your email list?
I have an email list, mostly made of past clients. I don’t actively market it.
Who are your favourite bloggers or podcasts?
Artists Lisa Congdon and Geninne Zlatkis have wonderful blogs that they have used to build their followers and show their value. They are also clear about the boundaries of their online life: Lisa doesn’t have comments switched on her blog posts as that doesn’t work for her and from time to time Geninne goes on a social media holiday, as well as taking time out from her online life when moving house or other changes are taking place.
WordPress is fantastic for online businesses but it can also be a huge asset to brick and mortar and service-based businesses. You don't need to be an online entrepreneur to get all the benefits of WordPress. If there's something you need your website to do, you can pretty much guarantee there's a plugin out there for it.
You can find Rebecca at www.rebeccalouise.com, check out some of her gorgeous wedding photos and see how she laid out her WordPress site to support her photography business.