So you want to sell your photos online.
And you have a WordPress website.
And if you’re like my client Wendy, you’re going to start out focusing on the wrong thing. It turns out the challenging part of selling photos online isn’t the technical aspect of how to sell a photo online.
Thankfully we’re at a point where the process of selling photos with WordPress has gotten a lot simpler thanks to some pretty solid photo gallery plugins. If you go back a few years, the biggest barrier to being able to successfully sell photos online was that it was difficult to put together a gallery that was both visually pleasing and also handled the ordering and commerce side of things.
There are a few good gallery plugins that’ll handle things if you want to manually fulfill your orders. And as of a few months ago, NextGEN Gallery now offers the ability to integrate with a professional print lab for automated print fulfillment where folks can order on your website, you get paid, and the high-quality print is shipped directly to them.
Let’s talk about where you should focus.
Focus on the Business, not the Gallery
Over the past ten years, I’ve worked with several photographers who thought the reason they weren’t selling images with WordPress galleries was because they needed better technology. Turns out their technology was fine. What they had was a marketing problem. The gallery problem is solved technically. Whether you use NextGEN Gallery or something else, getting your images into a gallery is simple. Your efforts for your online photo sales should be focused on the business and marketing side of your venture.
The Field of Dreams mantra of “if you build it, they will come” is definitely not applicable to an online photo gallery. Unfortunately if you build an online gallery, nobody’s going to come. Unless you tell them.
This should be your focus. NextGEN can take care of displaying, selling, and fulfilling your print orders, so you can focus on the marketing. With as many photographers as there are now, and easy technical solutions to put a gallery of photos online for sale, the challenge is in standing out and becoming known.
Who is your ideal client? Where do they congregate (online or offline)? What social networks do they use? Are there private forums? Who are they reading?
Get yourself there. Become part of their world. Make them aware of your presence. This marketing could be organic networking-style efforts to help spread the word by mouth, or you could engage in more formal paid marketing efforts.
Once your crowd knows you and appreciatse your work, it’ll be trivial for them to place an order through your website, get it fulfilled (the NextGEN-to-WHCC workflow is slick), and have a nice piece of your artwork hanging in their home or business.
Imagely is an affiliate partner and they’re compensating me for this article