I moved my photography website to WordPress.com coming up to one year ago now. On the whole I have been fairly pleased with my decision. There are a few foibles that WordPress has (customising can be a bit of a pain and switching between the ‘WP Admin’ and more basic editor is a bit clunky) but on the whole these have not been show stoppers for me. The main thing I like about WordPress.com is that I can keep my blog and portfolio site together in one place. I know most portfolio website providers allow you to have blog pages as well but I really like the blogging features that WordPress provides, after all that is really its key strength and what it is known for.
My main gripe with the WordPress platform is that when it comes to curating images you are restricted to either having a portfolio or a blog. The former gives you a permanent exhibition space for your (hopefully) best work whilst the latter gives you a time ordered stream of entries which soon become lost and forgotten. What I want is something in between these two things. To clarify I see a website as having four primary functions for a photographer.
- A portfolio.
- A blog.
- A project space.
- A client only area.
WordPress handles the first two of these very well however the second two are a bit more problematic. If you want somewhere in between the permanent portfolio and time sensitive blog then all you are really left with are pages. Pages have the same characteristic as a blog entry (i.e. you can add text and images) but must be linked to either from a blog post or portfolio page or via a menu item. If, like me, you want to keep your site uncluttered the last thing you want is a menu with lots of sub menus directing people to different pages. Ideally what is needed is another portfolio that provides a landing page that allows visitors to click on an image then go off and view that project or set of client images. In other words I want the ability to have multiple portfolios that look like this, my home page.
In the absence of having this facility I have developed my own pseudo-portfolio, a WordPress ‘page’ which has a HTML5 table providing the necessary links off to sub pages. Rather it is linked to from my ‘About’ page. In case you missed it from there here is the direct link.
In order to create this type of page you need to switch to the HTML editor and add the table HTML5 directly. It would be nice if WordPress supported the creation of tables directly but it doesn’t. That said the HTML5 for table is fairly intuitive and you can find examples of it for example here.
At the time of writing this post I don’t have this psuedo-portfolio as a menu item. Truth is I’m still trying to decide how best to locate it in my website because, like I said before, I don’t want a proliferation of menu items. Hopefully soon however you’ll see it appear and be able to link to it directly from my landing page.