Whether you’re a professional or an amateur photographer, it’s important that you learn how to start a photography blog and create your own website. Community sites like 500px, Flickr and Instagram are great, but having your own dedicated photography website as well is always best.
There are many website platforms that cater especially for photographers. These can be attractive since they offer quick and simple set up of a blog, site and portfolio all in one place.
Photographers aren’t necessarily tech savvy, so it’s easy to understand why they gravitate towards these website platforms such as SquareSpace when wanting to know how to start a photography blog or website. These platforms offer idiot-proof, all in one solutions.
However, I’d recommend you to choose WordPress instead, and invest in your own dedicated hosting.
WordPress is a blogging software, but that doesn’t mean it’s only for a blog – you can easily set up your photography site, blog, portfolio, and have the flexibility to easily add additional functionality, like shopping carts, forums, slideshows and much more.
WordPress is also a flexible option if you’re interested in getting as much traffic to your photography site via SEO – this post on SEO for Photographers should help once you’ve followed the steps below.
You can have your very own custom WordPress photography blog and hosting in under 15 minutes! I’m going to show you how to start a photography blog in just 3 simple steps.
How to start a Photography blog or website
Just 3 Steps to your own custom blog!
1. Domain Name and Hosting (10 mins)
2. Installing WordPress (5 mins)
3. Making it look awesome! (as long as you want!)
1. How to Make a Blog – Domain Name and Hosting
This is the fun part – choose what name you’d like for your photography site! Most people use their own name plus ‘photography’, or you can be original and come up with something more memorable.
It’s good if you have a story behind the name too, whatever it is, like my site Gold Hat Photography!
Where possible, I recommend using a .com domain for your photography website as it suggests that you’re international rather than country specific.
Don’t bother purchasing it just yet though, as you’ll be able to get it for free when you set up your Hosting.’Hosting’ is basically your own private space on the Internet where your website will live. There are hundreds of Hosting options, and one day if you start getting millions of hits (fingers crossed) you may even need to change to a larger host, but for the time being just go with Bluehost.
Trust me, I’ve researched how to make a blog and tried many hosting providers over 10 years+ of work online, but time and time again I keep recommending Bluehost, especially for first time users of WordPress.
(If you’re willing to pay a premium to have the fastest, most robust WordPress host available, check out my WP Engine Review.)
Here are 7 reasons why Bluehost is awesome:
- Unlimited domain hosting (multiple sites on one account)
- Unlimited hosting space (never run out of room for photos)
- Unlimited file transfer (upload/download as much as you like)
- Unlimited email accounts (if you have a second shooter/helper etc)
- Free domain name (saves you money!)
- Free WordPress site builder (this is REALLY useful as you’ll soon see)
- $50 Google AdWords and Facebook Ads credit! (for your first ad campaign!)
But the main reason I love Bluehost is their service. The support is available 24/7 (important if you live outside the US) and is super fast.
OK, so let’s get started! Click here for the Bluehost homepage, then click the Get Started Now button.
Then choose your Plan. I’d recommend going for the Starter plan for the time being since it’s great value for money and allows plenty of room to grow.
If you plan on hosting a lot of images, you can always upgrade in the future to the Plus plan if necessary.
Hosting terms are billed up front, and each plan features an anytime money-back guarantee, which gives you the freedom to cancel at any time for a prorated refund.
After you’ve selected the plan, you’ll be taken to the next page where you’ll need to enter whatever domain name (site name) you want to use.
On the next page you’ll need to enter your details, and then choose some options – the ‘package information’.
Here’s a screenshot of what I use for package information settings and I recommend you do the same:
The ‘Starter 36 Month Price‘ option is the cheapest in the long run which is why I always choose it, and it also means you won’t need to remember to renew your site after only 1 year.
The ‘Domain Privacy Protection’ hides your home address and phone number from the public, so I’d recommend adding this option too. Leave the other options for now.
Why choose WordPress to make a photography blog?
Before I go on to tell you how to install WordPress, I feel I should explain why I think you should be using WordPress for your Photography site. Or rather, why I think that you shouldn’t go with an all-in-one service like Squarespace when deciding how to make a photography blog.
Well firstly, the price. At time of writing, Squarespace costs $16/month for its pro package and Profoto costs $199 for a license.
WordPress on the other hand is free :-)
Then there’s customization. All-in-one website platforms for photographers do offer some great features, but the problem is that they are limited.
If you want your site to do something particular (and trust me, you will!), it either involves some hardcore coding or it just simply isn’t possible.
WordPress on the other hand is infinitely customizeable. If you don’t feel confident enough to delve into the code, it’s fine. WordPress offers things called ‘plugins’ which allow you to add a feature onto your site quickly and simply, and 95% of the time for free.
WordPress has around 29,000 plugins, so it’s very unlikely you’ll need something that isn’t already available.
Another reason why I think you should choose WordPress over a photography website platform is uniqueness.
Profoto and the like offer templates to make your blog look pretty, then you can tweak a few things here and there, but at the end of the day, there’s a high chance your site will look identical to every other photographers.
A few years ago, 9/10 wedding photography sites I came across were running the same Profoto minimalist theme. The only way I could tell them apart was their logo…
With WordPress, there are over 10,000 themes to choose from!
I won’t list all the amazing stats about WordPress, but believe me when I say that building a WordPress site is a lot easier than you imagine, and there’s a lot of very good reasons why over 23% of the Internet is powered by WordPress today.
You’ll be surprised at how many big sites use WordPress. Ok, rant over! I think you can tell I’m a huge fan of WordPress, and in 15 minutes time when you have your own custom photography site running WordPress, you’ll be one too!
2. How to Make a Blog – Installing WordPress
After you’ve signed up with Bluehost, log in, then look for the ‘website’ section. Click the ‘Install WordPress’ button.
On the next page, click the ‘Install’ button.
On the next page, if your domain name isn’t already highlighted in the dropdown menu, click it and select your domain. Then click the Check Domain button.
Check the terms and conditions box and then click the ‘Install Now’ button.
Who would think how to make a blog would be so easy?! Now just make a note of your Admin URL, Username and Password. WordPress will also email this to you.
You can change this later, but you’ll need it initially to log in to your site. Next you’ll have to type your Admin URL into your web browser.
You’ll see a login screen like the one below, so enter your Username and Password you copied down from the previous step.
That’s it! You’ve officially learnt how to make a blog and logged in to your first WordPress site! Congratulations!!
Have a click around inside WordPress – you’ll find that it’s pretty simple to pick up.
I recommend that you join the WordPress Support forum where there are loads of helpful guides and users who can help you out in a pickle.
If there’s something you’re really stuck on, you can always hire someone on Fiverr to help you.
3. How to Make a Blog – Make your site look Awesome!
Every WordPress site has a theme. Think of WordPress ‘themes’ as the outer skin which makes your site look pretty and displays the content.
By default, your new WordPress site will have the Twenty Seventeen theme installed. It looks nice, but it probably isn’t suitable for your photography site.
Here’s a great list of WordPress photography themes that’ll make your site look very professional in a few clicks.
You can also choose a free theme by searching within your WordPress blog.
…then clicking the Add New button and browsing the available themes.
…or by looking on ThemeForest which occasionally has some good free themes:
Sometimes you can get lucky with Free themes, but in my experience they’re a bit limited. Also, like the photography website platforms I mentioned earlier, you’re limiting yourself to what many other people already have.
It’s tempting to go for a free WordPress theme, but I’d recommend spending a few bucks on a Premium WordPress Theme. Why? Well apart from the fact you’re less likely to have a similar site to someone else (there are thousands of paid themes), you also open the door to free, unlimited support, and this is extremely useful!
I’m constantly contacting the poor guy who built the theme I use on my site!
With Free themes you’ll usually be left on your own, wasting hours trying to figure out how to make a change, so take my advice – spend a few bucks on a premium one.
I’d also recommend you take a look at Flothemes photography themes for your new WordPress blog. The designs are excellent, their customer service is top notch and they offer a useful Lightroom plugin that allows you to upload photos direct to your blog from inside Lightroom! I wrote a review on Flothemes here.
Finally, make sure you have a read of this post I wrote on the best WordPress themes for photographers. It only features 4 themes, so will really save you some time in choosing something that looks and functions great.
So there you have it! Now you have an infinitely customisable WordPress blog!
4. How to Make a Blog – Recommended Plugins
So officially, there were only 3 steps to this tutorial. Step 4 is just something extra for when you’ve had a poke around WordPress and you feel comfortable with it.
A ‘plugin’ is a way to extend and add to the functionality that already exists in WordPress. Using plugins can make your WordPress site more manageable, faster and just better overall.
Some of them I consider absolutely essential to rank well in Google (ie. to make sure your photography site comes up when someone searches ‘Wedding Photographer‘ etc).
I don’t want to make this post too long, but if you’d like to get a list of my Essential WordPress Plugins for Photography Blogs, sign up to the free Shotkit Newsletter, or click the box below.
So there you have it – a fully functional WordPress site to showcase your photography portfolio and show off your blog. I hope you found this guide on how to make a photography blog useful!
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