Getting Started with Blogging For Photographers
Written by Anne Haile
Have you wondered about starting a blog for your photography? Afterall it sounds like a great way of publicising your photography. Perhaps you’ve heard its good for business or it will help get your website up the rankings in Google? Here’s my beginners guide to help get you going.
What’s a Blog and is it for you?
At its simplest level, a blog is a series of written articles and pictures. You can divide these into categories to help your readers find things they might be interested in.
For many photographers, a portfolio site is more appropriate as they just want somewhere to display photographs and advertise their work. You can use blogging technology to set up a portfolio site but there are more specialist offerings which would probably be easier.
To get your blog noticed you want to publish a lengthy article (at least 300 preferably 500 words) once a week or more if you can manage it. If this isn’t something you will enjoy, then maybe blogging is not for you.
What do I need to set up a blog and can I do it myself?
There are multiple options for setting up a blog and you can start for free. At the other end of the scale, you can have a bespoke blog tailored just for your needs but of course, this can prove expensive.
There are a few basics every blogger needs:
Domain name – What your blog is called
Hosting – Who runs the software
Theme – The way your blog looks
Posts – The articles on the blog
A way of getting your blog found
Whatever site you decide on, you will want a domain name. You can manage without buying one, but your site may look a bit cheap. A domain name is the bit that goes into a search bar after http.
Choose something that represents your business and is unique to you. No one else can be using it already. Choose carefully as changing it is not a good idea and can cost you a lot in terms of effort and Google rank.
If you are a wedding photographer something with weddings in the title would be good. You can also localise it. For example, something like LondonWeddings might suit if you are London-based. I chose AnnesPhotos for my domain as that’s exactly what my blog is about.
Next, there is the bit after the domain. For a commercial site then .com, .co.uk or the newer .uk work well
A host is the company that provides your space on the internet. There are lots of hosting companies out there as with all things some are great and some are to be avoided. They range from completely free to extremely expensive.
The free options include Google’s own Blogger and Wordpress.org. Both of these are perfectly adequate for a hobbyist who isn’t too fussy about how the site looks. I suggest you start with one of these unless you are sure that blogging is for you.
If you want a more customisable, more professional option, then Self-hosted Wordpress is my favoured option. Wordpress is often regarded as an industry standard and many websites run on it. You can add loads of features like photo galleries and even a shopping cart if you wish.
Over the years I’ve tried many hosts, these days I use Lyrical Host as they are simply brilliant and provide lots of help and resources for free. They are not the cheapest option at £9.99 a month but they are great value for money. Use the code Anne10 for a 10% discount off your purchase.
A blog theme is the way your blog looks. The prices range from free to a few thousands of pounds for something written just to you. Mine is a free one and works for what I want at the moment. If I were adding on a shop to my blog then I would probably move up to a paid theme.
Crafting your blog posts
Blog post are simply articles. They can be as long or as short as you like however if you want your site to do well in search engines then 300 words is a minimum and 500 is better. You need to be able to hold the reader's attention so it is recommended that anything over 1200 words is broken down into more than one post.
Posts are best broken down into paragraphs and split up with a few photos dotted through them. Another good idea is to have a couple of external and internal links within the post to help guide your readers around your site.
Publicising your blog
Your blog is useless without readers. Many years ago, you could just launch a blog and readers would come. This is no longer the case; you now need to work at getting your readers. If you have a social media account with loads of followers then you can share your posts with them. Most bloggers employ techniques knows as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO for short) to ensure their site is visible in the search engines. This too complex to cover here, just note it down as something you will need.
About Anne: I am an enthusiastic photographer who has been blogging since the term was invented. The first part of my career was spent in IT and more recently I’ve set up and run my own online antiques shop. Now I’m retired and concentrating solely on my photography and running my blog at annesphotos.uk