I was talking with a photographer business blogger about what topics her readers ask about on a regular basis. One of those topics was on where to start for getting a website going. His first question was “How To Start A Photography Blog ?” Well i said let me explain.
More specifically, with WordPress and for photographers who arent necessarily tech savvy.
We recommend Fatcow Hosting for your website. They give you a free domain and massive tools and templates. Check our ad on the site.
Since Photocrati creates the perfect solution for any photographer to get a WordPress website going without any technical knowledge, I figured Id jump on this topic right away. So lets dig in, shall we?
How To Start A Photography Blog With WordPress
WordPress is a product of the company, Automattic. The software is technically a blogging tool, where you have the ability to customize the look of the blog with a theme, and the functionality of the website with a plugin. When looking at WordPress, many people get confused by the two variations on the free product. The first is WordPress.com where Automattic is hosting your website. The second is WordPress.org where you download the software and install it on your own hosts server. Already you might thinking, Host? Server? Install? Oh man!
Dont feel overwhelmed just yet, because installing WordPress takes 5 minutes to do it manually and seconds if your host can do it for you which most of them can.
The domain of your website is the part where you hear someone say .com. The most popular domain registrar, that you have surely heard of, is Fatcow 1# – Great company. However, there are so many out there. In fact, it is very possible that the host company that you will pick can register a domain for you.
A domain will cost you somewhere between $7 and $15 a year, depending on where you go. When deciding on a domain name, it is important to purchase one that compliments your brand. So as an example, if your company name is Jay S Photography, purchase the domain name jaysphotography.com. Branding is one of the most important elements of your website, so by starting with the domain name, youre already headed in the right direction.
When you hear the term hosting, it refers to the server (which you wont ever see) that exists in a secured server warehouse somewhere. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of hosting companies in the world. In addition, there are a variety of hosting types with prices ranging from $5 a month to hundreds. Here are some of your many choices.
As mentioned, there are so many others. Lets talk about hosting types. The most popular, and most affordable, hosting is called shared hosting. That is where many websites are all sitting on one server, using each others resources.
Resources are like the hard drive and RAM inside of a computer. The next type is called a VPS, or virtual private server. This is where the host company creates a software created server that is separated from other websites.
The advantage of this type is reliability of the server because you have the option to increase the RAM, which in turn holds up better with higher traffic websites. There are other hosting options, but instead of going into each of the others I want to talk about my favorite type of WordPress hosting for photographers.
Managed WordPress hosting are companies like WP Engine, Pagely and Synthesis. These hosting companies provide the highest security and servers configured specifically for WordPress. There are some disadvantage of managed WordPress hosting. For one, they do not offer email as a feature, and they are more expensive than others.
The beauty about each of the companies Ive mentioned so far, they all have what is called the 1-Click Install of WordPress. Within the host options panels, you will have the option to literally install WordPress on your server and be up and running in less than 5 minutes.
As mentioned, many hosts have a 1-click install option so you dont have to do any work at all. If your host does not, WordPress does have a 5-Minute Install guide because of how easy it is to do.
Here is a video that we provide to Photocrati customers looking to install WordPress on their own. In the video, we use Bluehost and their CPanel (software used by many hosting companies) to install WordPress. That means if your host is also using CPanel, the install process is very similar.
If your host does not offer a 1-click install solution, and you do not understand what FTP and a mySQL database is then I recommend one of the following.
Contact your hosts customer service and ask for them to install it for you. A good host would be delighted to help you.
Ask a trusted friend who understands the technical aspects to install it for you. I say trusted because you will have to give them your log-in credentials.
At the start of this article, I mentioned that a WordPress blog consists of a theme and plugins. If you do a Google search for WordPress photography themes, you will come across thousands of them. The key to finding the perfect photography theme is to make a list of the features you really want, and then narrow down your search.
Of course, Id love to recommend the Photocrati theme to you (since I do work there) but it may not be the best fit for your needs. It happens, and thats ok. However, know that the ideal theme to match your list may or may not be out there. Hopefully it is!
Here is another Photocrati video, but before you view it please keep in mind one thing. The video shows how you can install any theme to your WordPress website. So whether you decide on Photocrati or another theme, the video will be useful for any non-technical person.
Make sure when you start , you check to make sure it allows certain plugins for your website.
Plugins are amazing because they can add functions to your photography website that do not exist in the theme you are using. For example, the Photocrati theme has gallery management built-in.
If you decided to use a different theme, but want gallery management, we also have a WordPress gallery plugin available that you can install and utilize. Maybe you want booking functionality? There are plugins for that. Want SEO features? There are plugins for that. Need a way to accept leads on your website? There are plugins for that.
Booking: Booking Calendar (free) Appointments+ (paid)
SEO: WordPress SEO by Yoast (free & recommended)
Leads: Contact Form 7 (free) Gravity Forms (paid)
WordPress may sound intimidating at first. But rest assured, once you dive in you will see just how easy the content management system is. Combining WordPress with a theme creating by photographers for photographers adds one additional benefit that cant be overlooked.
Youre a photographer, not necessarily a writer or coder. That means the website system and theme you choose should keep you shooting and not fussing around trying to figure things out.
I am proud to say that the Photocrati theme is developed to get you shooting, with its extremely easy customization tools. At the same time, there is the ability for more advanced users to customize their site beyond the built-in tools using custom coding. At the end of the day, photography is personal and so are websites.
I am going to stop here because I have already thrown a lot at you in one shot. Read up, view the videos and take notes. Then comment here with your additional questions.
With approval, I will create additional articles here to answer your questions. You can also email me your WordPress photography questions by visiting the Photocrati website and clicking through to the contact form.
Thanks for reading, and link to this post about How To Start A Photography Blog, it helps everyone.