Tips on how to Begin a Pictures Weblog: The Definitive Information
Are you ready to take the world by storm and start your photography blog?
There is no better time than now.
This post is a step-by-step guide on how to start a photography blog.
You can also find tips on how to monetize and promote your blog. As well as additional resources to help you.
Here is a quick snapshot of the key steps to get your photoblog up and running:
- Register a domain name with Namecheap – This is the permanent address of your blog on the web.
- Buy web hosting with DreamHost – This is our recommended hosting for new bloggers. Once you're signed in, you'll need to connect to your domain.
- Log in to WordPress – This is the best platform for creating a photography blog (or any other type of blog) and with DreamHost pre-installed.
- Set up your blog and create content – The fun part begins!
Ready to start? Let's dive right in:
Step 1 – Narrow Your Photography Blog Niche
The niche you choose matters.
I know, I know, technically, a photography blog is considered a niche by some. But it's important to be more specific – what kind of photography blog are you going to create?
For example, are you going to do nature photography, wedding photography, product photography or something else? Or will you focus on teaching others how to take better photos? Or edit photos?
What about writing about photography equipment like reviews? Or would you combine equipment assessments with teaching content such as tutorials?
It's also worth thinking about in terms of a sales strategy. Even if you are a hobby blogger, some ways you can make money from your photography blog in the future should be considered.
You never know when you might want to turn your photography hobby blog into a business.
For example, you might want to build a personal brand to promote your offline photo business or sell photos online (such as stock photos), or you may want to monetize an educational photography blog with ads, affiliate links, courses, etc.
Step 2 – Choose a blogging platform
If you want to start a professional photography blog with the potential to make money, I recommend using self-hosted WordPress to build your blog.
It's the same platform that I created all of my websites and blogs on, including the ones I created for clients. And WordPress makes up over 33% of the web.
There are a few more reasons:
- property – Unlike other hosted blog platforms, you have complete ownership of your blog and content.
- freedom – You have the freedom to monetize as you wish. Some other platforms limit your options.
- Community – The community behind WordPress.org is huge. In fact, the software is completely open source and has been developed by a large team of volunteers.
- Functionality – Thanks to the wide availability of themes and plugins, you can do a lot more with self-hosted WordPress than with any other platform.
However, we do not recommend using WordPress.com.
Ok, here is the confusing part. There are two versions of WordPress.
The self-hosted version (WordPress.org) – this software is completely open source and we recommend it.
However, there is a commercial version (WordPress.com) – it's a nice free platform for hobby bloggers, but extremely limiting.
The main reason is that you technically don't own your blog. You have the right to close your blog without warning. And they limit how you can make money, etc.
The final result? Use self-hosted WordPress if you are serious about creating your photoblog.
Step 3 – Choose a blog name and register your domain name
The next step is to choose your blog name and register your domain.
Your domain name serves as the permanent address of your blog on the web and is a central part of your brand.
What makes a good domain name?
Usually, the best domain names have some relevance to the topic you want to cover. This could be photography or something more specific.
You have to be brandable and easy to remember. The catchier the better.
However, make sure that:
- Avoid hyphens and numbers – These only cause confusion and make it difficult to remember your domain name.
- Get the .com if you can – Other domain extensions are more popular than ever, but a .com is always the best. When people forget to extend your domain but remember your brand name, they usually try that first.
- Make your domain name as wide as possible – When you focus on a specific niche, e.g. B. Wedding photography or Photoshop tutorials, try not to use these words in your domain name. It is best to use a broader term such as "photography" or "visual" in your domain. This gives your brand more room to grow in the event that you decide to change the current focus of your blog at a later date.
- Avoid trademarked brand names in your domain name – Chances are this won't happen to you. But it's worth mentioning. Don't use a trademarked name in the domain name of your blog. For example, if I used "WordPress" in a domain name, they could legally force me to transfer ownership of them.
- Avoid registering your domain with your hosting company – For security reasons, it is best to keep your domain and hosting separate.
Make a list of domain ideas
If you are unsure of what to name your blog, we recommend reading this article on domain name ideas for inspiration.
Here are some blog name formulas you can use:
- Niche + place – E.g. "Photography Island"
- Niche + authoritative word – E.g. "Visual Professor"
- Transformation + niche – E.g. "Learn Photography Today"
- Inspirational word + niche – E.g. the happy photographer "
- Portmanteau (combining parts of two words) – E.g. "PhotoGrappy" (Photography + Happy)
These are just examples, and you can flip them as needed.
My typical approach is to start with how I want to help people and then write down two lists of words. One list of niche-related words, then another list of other words I can combine with it – this may include words related to the transformation people are receiving, etc.
Once you have the list, you can combine all of these words and see what they look like.
Use Word Mixer for more creative ideas. Words are combined for you so that you can generate contractions (e.g. Portmanteau) or anagrams.
Search for available domains
Now just go to Namecheap.com and use the domain availability checker to search for domains.
You can search or select individually for domain names Beast mode That way, you can search for as many as you need.
Next, make a list of all the domain names available for making a pick list.
Register your domain
As soon as you have decided on a domain for your photoblog, you have to register it.
This means that you are the owner and can connect it to your hosting later.
Complete the following steps to register your domain name:
- click Add to Cart To add the domain to your cart:
- click Check to access your shopping cart.
- click Automatic extension next to your domain (this prevents you from losing your domain. You can always deactivate this in your account later).
- click confirm order to complete your purchase.
Step 4 – Sign up for WordPress hosting and connect your domain
While your domain is your website's permanent address, your web host is what actually powers your website.
Why DreamHost is best for new photography blogs
DreamHost offers high quality hosting that is affordable. Solid performance and great support are also included.
That said, if you decide blogging isn't for you, it didn't cost you much.
What's more, it's the recommended hosting provider for big names like WordPress.org, CNET, and many more.
How to buy hosting from DreamHost
First, click here to go to the DreamHost website.
- Choose your DreamHost plan and click Join Now. Starter is the cheapest, but Unlimited is the best value.
- Choose I already have a domain.
- Enter your domain name on the next screen. This is the domain name that you previously purchased from Namecheap. Click the button labeled Assign.
On the final screen you need to:
- Add your payment information
- Tick that Pre-install WordPress box
- Choose a payment method
All done! You now have your own photography blog hosting account.
Connect your domain and hosting
Before you can log into WordPress, we need to connect your domain name to your web host.
Here are the final steps:
- Read this quick guide to find your DreamHost name servers.
- Go to your Namecheap.com account.
- Read this guide to use custom DNS with Namecheap.
Once these few steps are complete, the connection process (known as DNS forwarding) begins. It sounds technical, but it's all very simple.
The process can sometimes take up to 24 hours, but it usually runs much earlier. You can then log into WordPress.
Step 5 – Log into WordPress (pre-installed with DreamHost)
Now it's time to log into your WordPress dashboard. WordPress will be preinstalled if you selected this option when you signed up.
By now, DreamHost has sent you an email with your login information, etc.
You will need to log into your account at DreamHost.com. On the home page of your account you then have the option of logging into WordPress:
Just click Open the WordPress editor and it will open your blog and log you in.
Find your way around the WordPress dashboard
Your WordPress dashboard is the nerve center of your blog – it's your blog's control panel.
You can access your dashboard by visiting yourdomainname.com/wp-admin. Just take your domain name and add it / wp-admin until the end. Then use the credentials you set up with DreamHost.
You can use it to:
- Change the look of your blog by installing and customizing a theme.
- Install plugins to expand functionality.
- Moderate and reply to blog comments.
- Write and publish blog posts and pages.
And many other important things.
Once in your WordPress dashboard you will see a layout like this:
Let's quickly go over the important areas:
- Contributions (A) – Manage and write blog posts.
- Pages (B) – Create all the necessary pages like an info page, a contact page, etc.
- Appearance (C) – Install a theme and customize the look of your blog in this section.
- Plugins (D) – Install plugins to expand functionality.
Next, we're going to dig a little more into some of these areas.
Step 6 – Choose a WordPress theme
Every WordPress blog needs a theme. Each version of WordPress has an accompanying standard theme that is already installed.
The default theme changes from time to time. You could stick with it, but it wouldn't look very unique.
You may want to choose a new topic from one of these articles:
A good free option is the Kadence theme. It's light, loads quickly, and is highly customizable.
Install your WordPress theme
The process is simple:
- Go to Appearance → Themes in your WordPress dashboard.
- Press the Add new Button.
- You can use the search function to search for free topics. Then click To install.
- If you have a premium theme, you have to click Upload topic to upload a zip file of the topic,
Whether you are uploading a theme or looking for a theme and installing it from the themes menu, you have to click activate Click the button before the new topic appears on your website.
Customize your theme
Now is the time to personalize your blog.
Most of the themes support the so-called WordPress Customizer. This is a great way to make changes to the look of your theme.
You can access the customizer by going to Appearance → Customize.
Simply work your way through the menu options. Any changes you make will be shown in a live preview on the right side of your screen.
Once you are done, you need to click Publish Click the button to see these changes appear on your blog.
Now there are two specific areas that deserve special attention:
- Widgets – Use these to add functionality to your sidebar and other widget areas. For example, you can add your latest blog posts or links to social profiles. Different themes can have slightly different widget areas, such as: B. Footer Widgets.
- Menus – How to set up your website's navigation menu. This is important to ensure that users find their way around your blog.
Step 7 – Install Essential Plugins
Plugins control how your WordPress blog works.
There are plenty of free plugins on WordPress.org. Or you can search in your WordPress dashboard.
First, let's take a quick look at how plugins are installed. Then we'll take a look at some important plugins and additional recommendations for your photography blog.
How to install WordPress plugins
First you have to go Plugins → Add New.
From here you can use the search box to find free plugins to install. Once you find one that you want to install. Press the Install button. Click the button again to enable it.
You can also do a manual plugin installation. This is ideal if you download plugins directly from WordPress.org or have a premium plugin.
To install a plugin manually, click on Upload plugin Button to the top of the screen. Then install the plugin's zip file.
Important WordPress plugins
Hosting resources are limited, so it's important to limit the number of plugins you install on your photoblog (or any other type of blog).
However, there are a few types of plugins that you should install. In fact, I would consider all of this essential.
And to be very clear, while I give specific recommendations for plugins below, the task that the plugin does is essential – not the specific plugin.
- Caching plugin – This will help speed up your website. Some hosts have their own, but DreamHost does not. WP Fastest Cache is a good free plugin to try out.
- Security plugin – Hackers are always trying to do their thing. Usually via brute force attacks. While WordPress security is a big topic in itself, there are a few free plugins that come in handy. In particular, Sucuri's security scanner and Login No Captcha reCAPTCHA.
- Backup plugin – Most web hosts create their own backups. However, it is important that you make additional backups that you are in control of. UpdraftPlus is a solid free option.
- SEO plugin – If you want to rank better on Google, you need an SEO plugin. We use SEOPress. It strikes a good balance between functionality and simplicity. While there is a premium version, the free version will do just fine.
There are a few additional plugins and tools at this stage that you might want to consider.
- Analytics platforms – You need to monitor where your traffic is coming from and what content they are checking out. This is important if you want to increase your blog traffic. I recommend Clicky for new bloggers because it's easy to use and has a solid free plan. They have a WordPress plugin that is easy for you to add your analytics code to.
- Social sharing plugins – Do you want to add social share buttons? There are many opportunities. We use Social Snap and they have a free version.
- Contact form plugins – If you want to make it easier for other people to get in touch with you without making your e-mail address visible, you need a contact form. Kali Forms have a great free plugin.
- Plugins for registration forms – If you want to build your email list, you need a way to display subscription forms for your content. However, some email providers like ConvertKit have this built-in functionality (it's just not that customizable).
- Landing page plugins – If you want to create conversion-oriented pages like sales pages or landing pages, you need one of these plugins.
Step 8 – Set up an image gallery to display your photo work
Depending on the type of photography blog you are creating, this may not be necessary. Therefore, consider this step optional.
However, if you want to attract customers, an image gallery is essential.
By default, WordPress includes basic features that can be used to create a somewhat limited image gallery.
This can be a viable option. However, if you want to protect your photos from nasty marks and have more precise control over how your photos are displayed, an image gallery plugin is the way to go.
There are now a number of WordPress image gallery plugins out there, but my favorite is Modula.
Here are some reasons why:
- Automatically watermark your pictures as you upload them to protect them from theft.
- Right-click protection prevents people from saving your pictures.
- Password protection allows you to upload photos for a specific customer.
- The SpeedUp function optimizes your images and delivers them from a content delivery network for much faster loading times.
If you simply want a more customizable image gallery solution for your photography blog, we recommend trying the free version of Modula available on WordPress.org.
If you want to take advantage of the advanced features I mentioned, you need the premium version of the plugin, which is quite affordable.
Instructions for installing the plugin (and further information) can be found in our Modula test.
Step 9 – Publish your first blog post and relevant pages
Now it's time for the fun part of starting your photography blog – posting some content.
In WordPress, you can publish content in two forms:
- pages – This is where you add your static content. Usually your About page, Contact page, and Legal page.
- Contributions – This is where you add your blog posts, articles or news.
Adding a new page in WordPress
First we go to Pages → Add New. Then we see the Gutenberg editor that comes with WordPress.
Gutenberg is a block editor. The idea is that you add blocks for each element you want to add. For example, if you want to add an image, add an image block.
If you want to add text or a heading, just add a relevant block. When you hover over the block, a bar will appear with a few additional options. You can also save blocks for reuse later.
You can add a new block by clicking blue + button above. When you press Enter to move to a new line, a black + button is displayed on the side of the editor.
There are Gutenberg block plugins that offer additional block types, but you should be fine with the blocks that come with WordPress for the time being.
On the right side of the editor you'll see your page options like permalink, selected image, etc. When you select a block, additional options will appear there.
And if you have an SEO plugin or some kind of social sharing plugin, additional options will appear here or under the editor.
When you're ready to add your content to the page, all you need to do is:
- Add a page title
- Add your content
- Save your page
- Customize your permalink (this is the URL for the page / post. Example: domain.com/about/)
You can then preview your page or click the "Publish" button in the top right corner.
And that's it!
Adding a new post in WordPress
This process is similar to adding a page, but to which you would go Posts → Add new instead.
The editor for your posts works very similarly to the page editor. Just with a couple of additional options on the right.
So just go through similar steps as before. Add your title, content, save your progress, customize your permalink, etc.
You may also want to add a selected image, add some categories, and so on. Then you can publish your post or schedule it to be published at a later time.
If you're struggling to come up with blog post ideas, we have a list of 60 blog post ideas to get you started.
Note: You can view your blog posts on your homepage, or by creating a new page called Blog and setting this as yours Posts page. You can find these settings under Settings → Read.
Step 10 – Monetize Your Blog
After you start your photography blog, you may want to monetize it so that you can make some cash for your endeavors.
This is a big topic on its own, so I'll give you a few quick suggestions to get you started.
There are a few common ways to monetize a blog:
- Physical products
- Digital products
- Show advertisements
- Affiliate programs
I can't tell you exactly how best to monetize your photography blog. It ultimately depends on the type of blog you want to start.
However, if you're down the educational path, courses and e-books are great options. There are of course many platforms you can use for this.
Promoting affiliate programs would be well suited for this type of blog as well. And they would be the ideal monetization strategy if you were to review camera equipment.
Check out our article on Affiliate Platforms and Networks for some programs that can be promoted.
Once your traffic increases, display ads are a viable option for you. If so, check these ad networks. For new blogs, I recommend Media.net as you don't need a lot of traffic to sign up.
Another option is to conduct online training courses and webinars. Alternatively, you can offer brand coaching / advice.
There are many options out there. Hopefully this is enough to get you started monetizing your photography blog right away.
Step 11 – Promote Your Blog
Building an audience is one of the hardest parts of starting a blog.
The exact tactic you would use will depend on the type of content being published and your end goals.
Ultimately, the rule of thumb is to find out exactly who your audience is and then find ways to get your content in front of those people.
For certain types of photography blogs, e.g. For example, those dealing with equipment or teaching photography techniques, SEO will be of great help. For more information, see our Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization.
Building an email list and developing your presence on social networks like Instagram are also important.
For a complete look at how to promote your blog, we have a complete guide on the topic. Click here to read our Beginner's Guide to Blog Promotion.
Congratulations on starting your photography blog. It is now ready to be unleashed on the world. The next step is creating your content.
Remember that the content you create should be created not only for your audience but also for your sales strategy. Think of your content as the top of a funnel that leads people to the products you sell or the products you are promoting.
And be sure to check out my article on Photography Blogging Tips Every Photographer Should Know.
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