How to Start a Spanking Photography Blog

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FROM PHOTOGRAPHER TO BLOGGER

Welcome photographer ninja, I hear that you want to know how to start a photography blog.

If so, be prepared for a serious brain damage very technical session.

Not.

Well, setting up a new blog is actually pretty easy these days, and technology has taken a lot of the difficult stuff away.

Hooray, you can rest easy, but there is still a pretty frustrating one time setup process.

Which is why I have written this guide. To walk you through the setup, plus a lot more.

I am sure everyone has different reasons to want a blog – Sell your stock photos, sell your services, or just for fun.

In any case, I shall pack in as much good tips as I can to help you make your blog great again.

 

OVERVIEW

What do you need to to get started with a photography blog?

  • A host. There are free and paid options, which I will go through later.
  • Interesting and useful content. It is a blog, and it means writing some stuff.
  • Some of your awesome photos.
  • Traffic, or people to visit your website. This is extremely important if you are running a photography business.

Finishing this guide will probably take some time, so I have divided it into 4 sections for easy digestion.

 

A) BLOG SETUP

This is probably the most technical part of the guide.

Plus, a major pain to run through. But hey, it’s a one time setup.

So let’s finish this and get going.

A1) THE TECHNICAL OVERVIEW

Run! It’s technical!

Nah. There are only 2 “technical” things that you need to know about the Internet world – that is domain name (more commonly known as website address) and server.

Yep, that’s it.

You will need a server to host your website, and register an awesome website address. There are 2 ways to go about doing this.

  • Paid hosting : For a small monthly subscription fee, a hosting company will provide you with a server plus domain name.
  • Free hosting : There are plenty of free blogging platforms, but limited in many ways.

A2) PAID HOSTING

If you are serious about building an online photography business, I will recommend joining a program called Wealthy Affiliate.

The premium membership does cost $47 a month (at time of writing), but it comes with everything you need – Domain name, hosting, support, tools, and most importantly, access to a community of like minded folks who wants to make money online.

Well, if your budget is restricted, you can still consider to join Wealthy Affiliate as a free member, and it still comes with 2 free websites.

Alternatively, there are hosting companies with very affordable hosting plans as well. I shall recommend the good old reliable Bluehost.

Oh. Before I get burnt on a stake, affiliate links alert – read me disclosure message if you want to.

A3) FREE HOSTING

For those of you who do not want to spend any money with hosting, there are plenty of free options.

Personally, I don’t recommend these free options for many reasons :

  • They are limited in design and customization.
  • Very little to no technical support.
  • Some free hosts may not allow you to profit with their free service.
  • Some of them may even freeze your account if they find you profiting from their free service. Just to force you to upgrade to their paid plans.
  • The free website address is absolutely noob. http://noob-photographer.wix.com/ Yep, does not look very professional when you are trying to run an online business.

Nonetheless, it’s your decision.

A4) WORDPRESS TUTORIAL

This small section is for you guys who are using WordPress (a popular blogging platform).

If you have subscribed to Wealthy Affiliate, the websites have Wordpress installed by default. If you are on Blue Host (or other paid hosting), you can install WordPress with “one click install” in the control panel.

P.S. Even if you don’t finish all the tutorial videos, you should be able to figure out WordPress in about 30 minutes.

A5) INSTALLING WORDPRESS PLUGINS

Alright, now that you have a fresh installation of WordPress, it’s time to install some plugins.

Note : you don’t have to install all these plugins, these are the ones that I use and recommend.

  • Plugins -> Add New. Ninja Forms, Super Socializer, W3 Total Cache, Wp-SpamShield, Envira Gallery, and Yoast SEO.
  • Settings -> Permalinks. I recommend setting this to “Post Name” for SEO purposes. But any one of them will work just fine.
  • Super Socializer. Personally, I disable social commenting to speed up loading (plus it’s very much useless). Also under social sharing, I disable the floating interface. Which I find very annoying on mobile.

 

B) CONTENT

A photography blog does not mean images only.

Sadly, search engines favor sites with more text.

Which is why it is a huge plus to think of interesting topics, and write some kick ass articles.

B1) THE IMPORTANT PAGES

These are not really “content”, but the important pages that you will need… if you are serious about blogging, or setting up an online business.

Note for the new WordPress users : It’s Pages -> Add New.

About : About your blog, or photography business.

Contact : Your contact information, phone, email or maybe messaging through a Facebook page.

Privacy Policy : Here is an online privacy policy generator that you can use.

Terms of Use : Here is an online terms generator that you can use.

Disclosure : If your blog is going to contain ads or affiliate links, it is best to create a disclosure page to state that you are making money from commissions and stuff. It is required by law in a few countries. Better to be on the safe of the law than sorry.

B2) CONTENT IDEAS

So where do we get started with contents?

If you use your blog as your portfolio, you can write a few articles to showcase how you work, as well as a gallery of your recent works.

Otherwise, if you are blogging contents to score on search engines (like I am), you need to have a content strategy.

I am very sure there are 101 things to write about photography – reviews, rumors, tips, guides, landscape, portraits, black and white, Photoshop, interviews, etc…

All you need to do, is to write down all the topics and structure them nicely.

B3) ADD VALUE TO YOUR CONTENT

Yeah, it’s a blog.

But the posts are public. Instead of writing causal things like “I took a picture of a cute dog”, add more value to it.

Make casual posts great again.

Instead of just putting up photos of dogs, why not create a post on how you shoot? Let your readers know how you roll and give them some tips.

Oh. If you want some ninja writing tips, keep this for your further reading.

Ninja Tips for Writing SEO Friendly Content That Rock

B4) I NEED FREE IMAGES!

Yes, photographers sometimes need some help too.

I personally haunt Pixabay and Pexels for free stock images, but if you need more, here is a long list of sites.

Websites To Download Free Stock Photos That Don’t Suck

P.S. Just don’t claim the stock photos to be yours.

B5) FEED THE CONTENT MONSTER

Once you have a blog, you will always have a monster that is always hungry for more content.

Even if you are just using your blog as a portfolio, what will people think when they see your page is not updated for a year?

The reaction will most likely be – are you still alive or has your business failed?

So you have to come up with some fresh content from time to time.

You can feed the content monster on a daily basis, weekly, even monthly. Just don’t starve the monster.

I personally prefer to write on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. While I don’t post very often, I make sure each one of my post is long and informative.

 

C) MONETIZE

Money money.

They don’t grow on trees.

But there are ways to make money from a blog, and here are a few ways.

C1) OFFER YOUR SERVICES

The most traditional way to make money.

Simply offer your photography skills in exchange for money.

Formulate your own packages, and price them accordingly.

C2) AFFILIATE SALES

Affiliate sales are simply selling products on behalf of someone else and getting a commission.

The best place to start will probably be the two big boys – eBay and Amazon.

Join them as a partner, pick your products, and recommend them in your blog posts.

C3) SPONSORSHIP AND DONATIONS

Got some crazy awesome photography skills?

Show the world, show them to the companies, and you just might land yourself a sponsorship.

If you cannot wait, you can think of something else, and start your own Patreon.

C4) ADVERTISEMENT NETWORKS

Sign up with an advertisement network, and put a code fragment into your blog.

That will serve advertisements on your blog, in return for some cash.

  • Big boss Google Adsense pays the best, but is very fussy on approval these days.
  • Infolinks is probably a good place to get started with a new blog, but they don’t pay as much.

Advertisement networks are kind of like a 2 sided sword for blogs though.

It will bring in some cash, but ads are probably annoying to some people. It may drive people away from your blog instead.

C5) BLOG SHOP / DROP SHIPPING

Another age old method.

If you have products to sell on your own, turn your blog into a shop! With WordPress, it is as simple as installing Woocommerce in the plugins page.

If you do not have products to sell, try looking for some on Aliexpress and the Chinese TaoBao.

If the suppliers are kind enough to work with you, you can ask them to ship directly to your customers.

But personally, I am not a fan of this method.

Be very careful when customers receive products with the address of your supplier though… because they will know where to go the next time.

 

D) TRAFFIC

So now you have a new blog.

But we have a huge problem. Nobody is visiting it.

The time has come for some marketing, and drive people to your website.

D1) WORD OF MOUTH

The power of old school, and don’t underestimate it.

Let your family and friends know your new blog. Let your friend’s friend know and visit your blog. Who knows your friend’s friend’s cats and dogs might start to notice your blog as well.

Plus, all it takes is a few words.

D2) SOCIAL MEDIA

This is by far the easiest traffic source to score.

It does require some effort, but it’s free.

Just start your own Facebook Page and Twitter account. Share all your crazy posts in groups and watch it grow. Just abide to group rules, and don’t spam.

If you are hardworking like me, there are a lot others – Google Plus, Reddit, Pinterest, Scoop.it, Digg, Diigo, Medium, Delicious, and Filpboard.

D3) SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

This is the slow and steady way.

SEO is a difficult skill to master. But when you do it right, your blog will score on the first page of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and that will give you free traffic.

Sadly, I shall not include SEO in this guide – this will take a few long tutorials to go through.

But for now, at least register your blog in both Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.

D4) PAID ADVERTISEMENTS

If you have some money to spare, you can advertise your blog on Facebook, Google or Bing.

This is the fastest guaranteed way to bring potential customers to your blog.

But will they convert into sales for you? I do not know. That is pretty much up to your marketing skills.

But for now, this is the end of the guide.

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

Congratulations, you have finished this long guide.

If you have went through all the above steps, you should pretty much already have a fully functional blog.

But my word of advice – If your purpose is to make money with the blog, don’t stop here.

A new blog will probably not earn you any money.

Continue to blog, write more interesting and useful content. Promote, and build up your readership. Money will eventually come if you keep improving.

So please again, don’t stop, and don’t give up – You will waste all the good effort.

If you need help, come join us in Wealthy Affiliate. It’s free, and no credit card is required to join.


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