How to Start a Successful Photography Blog?
So many people are blogging today! I look up a recipe and find myself reading a blog page before even getting to the recipe. There are several reasons why blogs are becoming so popular. It is a way to draw people to your website. Some like the diary writing aspect of it. It is a chance to express yourself.
However a successful blog is not just about a bit of writing and a picture or two, especially not a successful photography blog. There are some things to think about to create it. Be prepared to do some homework and some all-important planning!
Whether you are a successful photographer already and want to start a blog, or are just starting out with photography, I can help guide you through the process. After reading my advice you will feel a lot more confident and have knowledge you need to get started on creating a photography blog.
So let’s get started!
Why Should You Start a Photography Blog?
So let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should get a blog started.
- If you are a professional photographer a blog is a great tool for prospective clients to look at.
- Being a photographer is a creative role, and people who use them are often bringing you in to personal and important times in their lives. Weddings, 16th Birthday parties, baby shoots, and so on. If a client is going to let you in, they need to know not just what your style is but also feel a connection with you so that they are comfortable with you photographing them.
- A good blog builds a relationship between the blogger and the reader. They get to know you and your value.
- It is also of course an additional way to show off your photography. Blogs are a great way not just to show off the pictures but also to show the journey you are on, and what inspires you.
- They are also a great way to show where you are now in terms of skill and development.
- As blogs have more frequent posts and photos posted they are better for SEO (search engine optimization) than just a site with a portfolio on.
- A good way to have your work shared to other people as clients share your pictures with their family and friends.
- Helps you establish your brand.
- Easy to get one started, run and post on.
- Usually blogs are cheaper to run than a dedicated website and bring in more sales
Things to Consider Before Starting Your Photo Blog
- Do not have too many blogs It means less time is spent on them and they become less successful because they are just not as good as they could be. One brilliant blog is better than having three boring blogs.
- Keep posting. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement and newness, and then stop posting after a while. You might do an apology blog about how busy you are, promise to yourself and them to do better, but then the same things happens. Readers will not stay loyal so keep posting.
Make sure you have the time to commit to regular posts and updates. For part time photographers once a week is acceptable, for a professional though there should be at least two posts a week. Personally I have found the best way to stay on stop of this is set a schedule for your posts. Decide what one or two days you are posting and stick to it, as part of your work schedule.
You could also take advantage of a very useful feature most blogs have, a scheduling option. You can put in 20 photographs on say Monday and then schedule it to post one of those new photos each day for example.
- Keep posts focused. Have a clear purpose and direction to your blog and make sure the content is suited to your audience. Within 5 seconds a new reader coming to your blog should see what it is about. Write a descriptive heading and a to the point tagline. If readers do not see straight away the direction of your blog, they will leave.
- Who is your audience? Are you writing this for yourself, friends, clients? It is important to have that clear in your mind.
- Have readers feeling like it was a waste of their time reading your post. Think about what experience you want your readers to have. Have a mix of things that makes people feel it was worth the time to read, funny, inspiring, entertaining, thought provoking and so on.
Key to a successful photography blog is having loyal readers, but that is not easy to achieve. At first you will find when it is all new people may comment less. But as they keep returning they will want to connect with you more and comment on the blog more. In certain cases it is worth spending some time responding to some comments from the especially loyal.
- Make sure your blog has all your information on it that clients will need, and that the information is easy to find. You are more likely to gain new clients that way.
- Take advantage of social media and tweet or post about your new blog post to attract more visitors. Have readers sign up for email updates. These are ways you can get your pictures and blog posts out to more people.
- Put in your best work, not all of it. Make your selections carefully and be think about what the images are meant to invoke. If there are too many pictures to look through viewers lose interest and leave.
- Share something of yourself but do not over share if this is meant to be a professional blog!
How to Get Started with Your Photography Blog?
There are a number of options when it comes to choosing a hosting platform for your blog, but the one I recommend is certainly BlueHost.
Start a Photography Blog at BlueHost
I recommend BlueHost as a hosting platform for people’s blogs all the time for very good reasons. It is super easy to use, anyone, even people not great with computers, can follow the steps to create a Blog there. It is also extremely affordable and has a variety of plans and hosting options to meet everyone’s needs.
While the focus here is on its Shared Hosting plans, I will just quickly mention there are also plans for Cloud Hosting, VPS Hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting.
- Cloud hosting costs starter plan starts at $9.99 a month going up to $25.99 for the Pro.
- VPS starts at $29.99 a month for the standard and goes up to $119.99 for the enhanced.
- Dedicated Hosting standard starts at $119.99 a month then goes up to $209.99 for the premium plan.
Setup Your Photography Blog on BlueHost’s Shared Hosting Plan
Due to its focus on being user friendly and affordable I am not the only one that prefers BlueHost when needing a hosting platform. There are actually 4 packages offered to users.
- Basic plan – $3.95 a month with the special introductory offer or $7.99 a month otherwise.
- Plus plan – $5.95 a month with the special introductory offer or $10.99 a month otherwise.
- Choice Plus plan – $5.95 a month with the special introductory offer or $14.99 a month otherwise. Recommended by BlueHost.
- Pro plan – $13.95 a month with the special introductory offer or $23.99 a month otherwise.
So what is the difference between the plans other than the prices?
Basic Plan – The basic plan comes with more limitations than the other options, which is why it is priced lower. Storage is set at 50GB, whereas the other options are unmetered. Users can only have 1 website and also limited are the number of domains and email accounts. You can have 5 parked domains and 25 sub domains and 5 email accounts. It does not include a backup to the site or any marketing or spam experts. I would recommend this one if you only need one website and are just starting out, you can always upgrade.
Plus Plan – The next up in expense brings no limits to the websites, domains or storage you can have. However there is still no backup to the site or domain privacy. I would recommend this one if you have a few websites you are running and if you are using WordPress which many bloggers do.
Choice Plus Plan – BlueHost recommend this option and I would too. With this option while the price is a little more you get less limits as with the Plus Plan but also get spam experts, domain privacy and with this one comes the site back up. If you have several websites and you want the extra security and better spam prevention this is the best option.
Pro Plan – All the advantages of the Choice Plus plan but for more money you can also get the top features BlueHost offers like a dedicated IP, high performance and more. The best option if you are going to be running an online shop along with blogging.
BlueHost have over 15 years of experience and are a very popular option especially for new bloggers. Their prices are certainly the more competitive ones and the affiliate program they offer means you can make money from recommending new users. Whatever your knowledge, ability or confidence, BlueHost is a great place to start a photography blog.
Choose a Blogging Platform for Your Photo Blog
Once you have the hosting platform sorted out you will want to decide on what blogging platform you want to use. There are a lot out there nowadays, with blogging being such a popular thing. Here are three of those.
- WordPress – one of the most popular options, and it too recommends BlueHost as a hosting platform so they already work well together. It is one of the blogging services that as been around the longest and allows for a lot of customization with a lot of different themes and plug-ins.
- Tumblr – More of a casual blogging service, has multimedia options and could be good for semi-professionals or those completely new to it all.
- FotoJournal – A blog service designed and directed more towards photographers and their blogs. Very easy to post lots of pictures and it does so quickly too.
Just as a general guide professional photographer will use a blogging service that allows them to buy their own domain name, as it makes them look more professional and reputable. Most major services will allow that, but some of the smaller ones might not. Semi-professionals or recreational photographers tend to lean towards sites that allow for lots of photo sharing that are easy to set up and free.
Install WordPress to BlueHost
When you go BlueHost if you already have a domain name, when there select new domain and type it in and click next. You can also get a domain name there. Chose a plan, I have outlined the differences in price and content above.
Once you have completed registering with them, you can then install WordPress with your new account. To do this when you are logged into BlueHost go to the cPanel and find MOJO Marketplace. Then find ‘one click installs’ and click on it. WordPress comes up as an option next so install after accepting terms and conditions.
When you can see the link ‘view credentials’ at the top of the screen, the installation is finished. This is what your log in information is for WordPress. Save them somewhere in case you cannot remember them. Once you have logged in you can also choose to change them to something you will remember.
Now you have a photography blog, it is time to think about the theme and decide on the style and structure of your blog. Just look through the free themes WordPress has to offer, or if nothing there gets your attention there are different and more customizable options for a fee.
Things to Do After Launching Your Photo Blog
Once you have the technical parts done with setting up using BlueHost and you have chosen a blogging service, you need to think about not just what you are writing about, but other details too such as,
- Remember that people tend to skim read online, especially new blogs, to see if it is anything they are interested in. So be sure to catch their attention even when they are not reading every word you have written.
- Use links to add not just value to the content of the blog post but also to help with your SEO rank. This is basically optimizing the search when someone Googles photography blog, professional photographer in … so that your page is one of the ones on ideally the first page, but the higher the page the better.
- Make sure the photos you put on your blog are actually yours, do not steal another people’s work.
- Put in an RSS feed so that your readers can subscribe. That way they can be notified when you make a new blog post and not forget about you.
- Keep your titles interesting, descriptive and relevant. Done well your subheadings can be part of your SEO. Done poorly they can have no value at all and be distracting and even annoying.
- Put in Google Analytics into your site so that you can learn about your visitors and use that information to make improvements.
- Do not get over focused on the numbers. Sometimes it is exciting to see those visitor numbers go up but really unless those numbers become regular readers, and even clients, they are not the most important thing. Be happy about an image that gets more views but do not assume that is an indicator of complete success! Do not pin all your hopes and dreams on the visitor numbers as you will end up disappointed.
What Type of Content to Publish on Your Photography Blog?
The theme you follow for your blog is very personal and depends on a lot of factors but just to get you thinking some ideas might include;
- Work you completed most recently for clients, weddings, portraits, family shoots and such.
- Best of the best from previous clients.
- Travel images if you are into travel photography and landscape images.
- What you love, your motivations and inspirations.
- Various adventures such as rock climbing, mountain climbing, parachuting for example.
- Your origins and how you got started taking pictures.
- Personal blogging, linking your photography with your way of life.
- Promotional offers and discounts.
Hopefully some of this may have jogged some ideas for your own blog. Make sure your ideas will connect with your blog readers.
Things to Consider Before Uploading Photos to Your Blog
Now you know how to start a photography blog and where to do it, I will give you a few tips on what to think about when it comes to the actual photos you post there.
- At the time you create your site put in between 5 to 10 photos straight away so there is content from the start, just in case you get early visitors. This is also a good way of seeing how things look, whether the style and theme works with the pictures, and good practice to learn how to do it!
- This is a photography blog, not a diary, lifestyle or recipe blog. Make sure your photos are the main part of your blog post. There are several ways to do this. You can do this by having a slide show featuring 4 or 5 favorite pictures, having your most recent image the center of the page or have a tiled collection of photos on your home page.
- Have a Create Commons license so you decide what people can do with your photos. Different options range from free to use for everyone to need permission to use.
- Add some background, story or personality to photos that you post.
- Group your photos into collections on different technical ability or themes so a page on landscapes, one on black and white images and so on.
- Avoid posting photos that are just because it is of personal value i.e. a bad photo of your child, if this is a professional blog. You should not be posting photos that are poorly exposed, blurry, commonplace or boring.
- Think about the size of the images. Photographs that are larger get more focus because the size makes it stand out from the rest and the writing. There is not a specific magic size that all blog photos should be, but avoid the temptation of doing lots of clipping and editing before you post.
- Think also about posting on online photo communities like VSCO, Flickr, Instagram and 500px. You can not only bring more viewers to your blog but also get feedback from the photographer community and interact with others who have your interests.
Conclusion – Ready to Start Your Photo Blog?
Whether you are a part time photographer or a professional one, having a blog is an excellent idea. In this modern age if you do not have an online presence some clients will look elsewhere. Having a blog allows them to see how good you are and your style, and lets them connect with you. It is also your opportunity to express yourself and generate interest and hopefully more clients.
There is no doubt if you have not already done it, you should be starting a photography blog online. But sometimes when we do not know how to do something we will put it off. Sometimes too people assume it is going to be a lot more complicated than it really is.
Thankfully I can tell it is not hard. It is very easy. Anyone can do it.
So here is a roundup of my tips on how to start a photography blog today;
- Sign up to BlueHost where you can either enter your existing domain name or be given one.
- Follow the steps to get WordPress going.
- Plan and design the look of your blog.
- Put on some photos straight away.
- Be a regular poster.
- Connect with your readers.
- Make sure your information is on the blog so clients can reach you.
- Make sure you post your best work.
- Think about the size and theme of your posts.
- Link with social network platforms, as well as with other online photographer communities.
You can have a successful photography blog but expect it to be some work and be ready to put in the effort and time.
I bought my camera with some graduation money, I was lucky to have my parents and my grandma to help me out with paying for college and taking some photography courses.