How to Start a Fantastic Photography Blog

You can pick the best shutter speed and aperture settings without even looking at your light meter, you know how to compose a perfect shot, and you’ve mastered Photoshop and Lightroom. Why not share your passion for photography with the world by creating your very own photo blog? Here are some simple tips to help you get started.

If you’re looking to start your own photography blog, take a look at our guide below to get started on the path to success.

Choose Your Niche

how-to-start-a-photography-blogIn order to stand out from the many photography blogs already out there, it’s a good idea to focus on a niche. When choosing your niche area, consider the following:

  • Does this topic excite me?
    • If the subject matter you’ve chosen doesn’t excite you, it probably won’t excite your audience
  • Do I know about this topic?
    • You can’t expect people to respect your authority on a subject if you aren’t actually an authority
  • Are other people interested in this topic?
    • If your focus is too narrow, you might not have a large enough audience
  • What makes you different?
    • You’re unique and your blog should be too
    • Capitalize on your strengths, whether that’s your composition, writing style, or technical skills

There are plenty of photography niches to consider:

Food, Fashion, Nature, Animals, Weather, Sports, Urban, Travel, Portraits, Panoramas, Black & white, Editing or digital darkroom, Events in your own life…

What’s in a Name?

  • Your blog’s domain name should be short, catchy and memorable.
  • Be creative, use these ideas to create a unique blog name:
    • Make a list of keywords related to your blog then look for synonyms and etymologies of those words.
    • Compound two words (Facebook)
    • Add a prefix or suffix to a word (Friendster)
    • Blend parts of two words together (Netscape, Microsoft)
    • Make up something completely new and unique (Squidoo, Etsy)
    • Use a phrase (StumbleUpon)
    • Misspell a word (Digg, Topix)
  • Make sure your name is unique.
    • Check social media networks to make sure the name is available there as well.
    • Use knowem.com to check hundreds of social media sites.
  • Avoid hyphens, they can diminish your credibility.
    • Arguably, they indicate spam and can make it more difficult for you to earn links.

Set Up Your Site

Once you know what you’re going to call your blog, it’s time to create it. You’ll need a hosting company, a domain name, and a blogging platform to begin.

cloud hosting 1

Hosting Company

  • These companies provide you with:
    • Bandwidth (so people can visit your site)
    • Storage space (pictures take up a lot of space)
    • Tools and plugins for your website
  • We have been using DigitalOcean for one year for this website. This professional cloud hosting with our own settings is more-more safety than others before:

Tip: Use promo code: “DROPLET10” to get $10 free here!

Domain Names

  • Typically, you can purchase your domain name from your hosting company, allowing you to bundle domain registration and hosting all in one place.
  • Many hosts offer a free domain name with purchase of a hosting plan.
  • You can use a domain registrar to register and manage your domain names such as:
    • NameCheap.com
    • Domain.com
    • GoDaddy.com

Pick a Platform

  • You not only do need a place for your website, you also need a blogging platform to run it. A platform is software that runs your website on a hosting server.
  • WordPress is a good choice for a number of reasons:
    • 3% of all websites use WordPress
    • WordPress powers nearly 75 million websites worldwide
    • You can use WordPress in 40 different languages
    • It has a large support community and numerous of 3rd-party resources, in addition to the dedicated support team at Automattic (the company behind WordPress)
    • There are 35,777 plugins for WordPress (and new one gets added almost every hour).
  • WordPress Alternatives:
    • MovableType.org
    • Koken.me
    • Exposure.so

    Focus on the Visual

    Photography is all about what you see, and people coming to a photo blog expect to see a nice-looking website. High-quality images are important, but the way those images appear on the page is vital.

    Themes to Customize WordPress

    • Themes are the way you present and control information on your blog.
    • Pick a theme that showcases the main focus of your photo blog: the photos.
    • A great theme will be clean and simple, without a lot of visual clutter to distract from your pictures, and one that gives you a lot of room.
    • Example themes:
      • Nishita
      • Duotone
      • Modularity Lite
      • Anthem
    • You can find themes directly on the WordPress site under the “Themes” tab, or from sites like Theme Forest and Elegant Themes.
    • While you can find themes for free, expect to pay around $50 for one that looks professional.

    Plugins

    • Plugins add widgets to your blog, giving your website greater flexibility.
    • Plugins to help with photo blogs:
      • Lazy Load
        • Large pictures can slow things down on your server, especially if you post a lot of them on a single page.
        • Lazy Load will cause images to load only as users scroll to them on a page.
        • This saves your readers load time and saves you bandwidth.
      • Flickr Feed Gallery
        • If you already have a presence on Flickr, you can connect your account to your website, making it even easier for people to check out your photos.
      • NextGEN Gallery
        • One of the most popular WordPress photo gallery plugins, NextGen Gallery makes arranging your images quick and easy.
      • Soliloquy
        • This plugin lets you create responsive sliders that you can embed on pages and blogs.

    cloud hosting 2Blogging Essentials

    • Disqus Comment System
      • Part of the fun of creating a blog is interacting with your audience.
      • The Disqus comment system makes commenting easier and replaces the standard WordPress comment system.
    • Akismet
      • Any website receives its share of spam, but Akismet compares any comments it finds on your site to its library of robo-content.
      • If a comment looks like it was made by a bot, Akismet filters it.
    • AddThis.com Share/Follow buttons
      • Make it easy for your readers to follow your website and share it with others by adding social media buttons.
      • AddThis.com’s plugin even lets you track which social media platform your audience uses most.
    • WordPress SEO
      • This plugin makes creating searchable content even easier by letting you examine keyword density, write your own meta-descriptions, and check for alt-tags on your images.

    Uploading Pictures: Dos and Don’ts

    Don’t:

    • Upload your originals to your blog
    • Forget to save your original files before editing them

    Do:

    • Upload your pictures as JPEG files (the best format for viewing photos on the web)
    • Edit your pictures before uploading them
      • Make sure to resize images so that they’ll fit the page
        • Blogs have different content area sizes
        • Use photo-editing software to resize photos so that they’ll fit comfortably on the page
          • Some options for photo-editing programs include:
            • GIMP
            • Photo Pos Pro
            • Pixlr

    Don’t Forget the Content

    Remember: Search engines like Bing and Google consider the words on your page in order to determine what your website is about.

    Use heading, title, meta-description and alt tags in a logical, descriptive way.

    • Don’t forget about WordPress SEO (mentioned above).
      • The plugin helps bloggers implement these tags and gives suggestions on best practices.

    To increase your rankings in search engines (and image searches especially) be sure to assign alt-text to your photographs.

    • Alt-text
      • Stands for “Alternate text”
      • Shows up when a cursor hovers over an image.
      • Add this information by clicking on the image in WordPress and then filling in the “Alt” field
      • Don’t use too many keywords, or the value of each one will be diluted.

    In general, text relevant to your niche can help boost rankings in search results, and complementary content can increase readership.

    Examples of content:

    • Camera/equipment reviews
    • The story behind each photograph
    • Photography tutorials
    • Photographers you admire
    • Be creative:
      • Brainstorm ideas you would enjoy writing

    Blogs are a great way to share your passion with the world, and if your passion is photography, blogging has made it easier than ever to show off your art.

    Good Luck!