When selling photos and artwork on your WordPress site or blog, designing the perfect image gallery is paramount. Choosing a beautiful WordPress theme, curating great content, and creating desirable products is only half the battle.
If your photo gallery is not optimized to sell, you’ll still struggle to make money.
On the other hand, if you can build galleries that are visually appealing, well-structured, and contain all the features you require, you’re much more likely to be financially successful. Fortunately, using the right WordPress gallery plugin can make it a lot easier to monetize your creativity.
In this article, we’ll discuss why your image galleries are the key to your online store’s success. Then we’ll explore how to protect and optimize your images, before covering some of the best ways to display and monetize an image or photo gallery. Let’s get started!
Why an Effective Image Gallery Is the Key to a Successful Online Store
Selling art and photography online has simultaneously never been easier and yet more difficult than it is right now. The proliferation of e-commerce services makes it simple for just about anybody to create an online store and sell their creative works. This has created a saturated market, however, where it’s increasingly hard to stand out from the crowd.
For this reason, you need to make sure your store is both attention-grabbing and fully-featured. Of course, you’ll want to use a WordPress theme that’s attractive and in step with the latest web design trends. But when it comes to selling art and photography, using an image gallery is almost always the most effective solution. This setup enables you to put the focus on your products and show them off in the best possible light. It also makes the browsing and purchasing process easy and enjoyable for your customers.
Fortunately, you can easily add e-commerce features to your image gallery by installing a WordPress plugin like NextGEN Gallery. This tool helps you display and sell your work effortlessly, and enables you to optimize your gallery with extensions that add even more functionality.
We’ll discuss how you can monetize your photo gallery later in this article. First, let’s take a look at some of the things you should do to prepare your image gallery for success.
How to Prepare and Optimize Your Image Gallery (3 Vital Tips)
Before you open your online store to the masses, you need to make sure that your images and gallery are ready to go. To help you out, we’re going to look at a few ways you can prepare your image gallery and make sure it’s secure and optimized for the best user experience possible.
1. Protect Your Images from Theft
The first thing you need to consider is to how to avoid image theft. This is a common problem for many online artists and involves images being saved from your site and republished or used without proper attribution. This is especially problematic if your website contains high-resolution images, as users can simply copy or print them rather than spending money on the originals.
Fortunately, there are ways you can get around this problem. One of the most common and effective techniques is adding a semi-transparent watermark, which partially obscures the image with a logo or text. This makes your images almost impossible to steal. What’s more, this method is particularly effective if you’ve added your own information to the watermark, such as your name or website URL.
You can also crack down on image theft by disabling right-clicking on your photos. This will make it much harder for users to save your images, or access their URLs to use them without attribution. This isn’t a perfect system, as it doesn’t stop users from taking a screenshot, but it will help stop impatient thieves. When combined with watermarks, you’ll have an effective system for safeguarding your work.
2. Create Backups of Your Images
You’re probably already aware of the importance of creating backups. This is not just true for your WordPress website as a whole but also for your images. You should always make sure that you have the original, unedited copies of every image you upload stored away somewhere safe. In addition, it’s also vital to use backups for your image or photo gallery.
For example, let’s say that you’ve added watermarks to all your images, or resized them. Keeping a backup of all images enables you to revert to the originals quickly, so you never lose anything. NextGEN Gallery contains an option to back up all your images automatically, which is activated by default. Make sure this setting stays on, and you won’t have to worry about losing images or getting stuck with irreversible edits.
3. Optimize Your Images to Speed Up Your Site
Image optimization means compressing the file size of your images without noticeably affecting their overall quality. This is something we recommend all WordPress site owners do to speed up their pages on all devices. However, it’s especially important if your website contains many high-resolution images (for instance, if you’re selling photography).
The more images your site contains, the slower it will typically load. This can cause people to lose patience and leave, which results in a high bounce rate and is disastrous for your bottom line. In fact, every extra second it takes to load your website translates into a 7% drop in conversions. In a nutshell, that means you’ll sell fewer images on a slow site.
Of course, you’ll still want to use high-quality images, so you need to find the right balance between quality and file size. There are plenty of tools available that you can use to optimize images while keeping them almost indistinguishable from the original files. One of these is Imagify, which is fully compatible with NextGEN Gallery. Imagify will automatically optimize all images you upload to your site, as well as your existing gallery. This takes one more important task off your hands.
4 Awesome Ways to Display and Monetize Your WordPress Image Gallery
So far, we’ve been discussing how to protect your images and optimize them effectively. When the above tasks are handled and your image gallery is ready, it’s time to start monetizing it! Here are four ways you can do that using the NextGEN Gallery plugin.
1. Add E-commerce Features to Your Image Gallery
To monetize your photo gallery, you must first implement an e-commerce solution. NextGEN Gallery makes this easy with Pro Ecommerce, which lets you sell products directly from your gallery.
When this extension is added to your WordPress site, you will be able to enable purchasing for your gallery. This will cause a shopping cart icon to appear next to your images. Plus, when you view the full-size version of an image, pricing options will display alongside it.
These prices are set by creating price lists. You can customize how much each image costs and determine your own shipping rates and taxes. Price lists can be applied to an entire gallery or specified for individual items. NextGEN Gallery enables you to create an unlimited number of price lists, so you have full control over the cost of your work:
To get started, you will first need to create an image gallery and upload your images to it (if you haven’t already). You can then customize the gallery as you please. NextGEN Gallery offers plenty of options for how to display your images, so it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the available settings.
When your gallery is ready, you’ll need to create a customized price list. You can then assign that price list to the gallery, and enable e-commerce on it. By default, this will apply the specified prices to all items. However, you can specify a different price list for each image in the gallery.
This process will enable you to sell images right from your gallery. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you can do. We recommend that you spend some time with NextGEN Gallery’s official documentation, to better understand how to optimize your e-commerce settings.
2. Create Licenses for Your Digital Products
Selling digital copies of your works is a smart way to earn money without having to produce and ship physical items. When you use NextGEN Gallery to sell digital products, your customers will be redirected to a page where they can download the file after they have completed their purchase.
Digital products are added using the same method as other products, but they do require some additional configuration. Namely, you will need to create a license agreement, which determines what the customer can and cannot do with your images:
This is important because this agreement is where you’ll outline exactly how customers are allowed to use your works. You can use different licenses for different products, or match licenses to pricing levels. For example, you might want to offer a lower price for a license that’s only valid for non-commercial uses. You could then offer a more expensive version of the same product, with a license that enables the customer to use the image commercially:
It’s always best to refer to a legal professional when drafting a license agreement. If you don’t have that option, however, you can take your cue from the official agreements provided by Imagify.
3. Offer Multiple Payment Options
If you want to succeed in your e-commerce venture, you need to make the purchasing process as easy as possible. One way you can do this is by offering multiple payment methods. You don’t want to lose a sale because the user finds the checkout process confusing or time-consuming since you’ve forced them to use a payment type they’re not familiar with.
By enabling the most common payment methods, such as PayPal, Stripe, checks, and credit cards, you will make completing a purchase much easier. Using NextGEN Gallery, you can easily implement all of these payment methods alongside your image gallery. All you need to do is sign up for the services you want to implement, and then configure your gallery with your payment information:
This WordPress plugin also enables you to create coupon codes that you can configure, to provide special deals for a limited time or to target a specific audience. You have full control over each coupon’s specifications, including how long it’s valid for, which products it includes, and how it will affect the final cost.
4. Create a Proofing Gallery
Finally, if you create commissioned works, you’re probably familiar with the concept of a proofing gallery. This is a gallery that is almost always private and designed for a particular client. The customer can select their favorite images from it, and submit their choices to the artist:
A common use for proofing galleries is in wedding photography. The photographer can upload all the images they took to the gallery, and send a private link to the client. The client then picks the images they like best and submits their choices. After that, the photographer can use those selections to create a photo album or similar product.
If this technique would be useful for your business, you can easily create a proofing gallery in NextGEN Gallery. This is done using largely the same method as creating a standard gallery, with some additional configuration options. For instance, you can create the page the client will see when they’ve submitted their choices, and design the confirmation email that will be sent out once a submission has been made. When you receive a submission, you can also view and manage it in the NextGEN Gallery admin area.
To the Auction Block
Just as a photographer needs the best equipment and a painter uses the finest brushes, a successful photography site needs to use the right tools. If your art is good enough to sell, you’ve got a solid foundation to work from. However, you still need to make sure your photo galleries are capable of selling your work effectively.
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