I truly believe that every photographer, be it professional or amateur, should have their own blog or website. It’s just too easy to make one nowadays. By the time you finish reading this post you could have made your very own blog. A blog that looks great, is Google indexed and can potentially even make you some money one day. It’s so easy a caveman can do it… I bet my dog could make one if he had thumbs.
The hardest part is thinking of a domain name that’s not already taken.
What’s a website and what’s a blog? A blog is simply a website that gets updated frequently and its contents is displayed in reverse chronological order. That’s it. I bet you didn’t know that http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ is actually a blog. In fact, it’s the most successful blog on the net. A website on the other hand is designed to be static with links to various sections with information.
This guide is intended for photographers mostly because epicmirrorless.com is all about photography and cameras, but it really can be used for any subject from interior design, to Car reviews and guides, to fashion. It applies to any topic.
The benefits of having a blog are:
Promote your business.
It’s obvious. If you’re a pro photographer, you most likely already have a site or a blog at this point or you’re probably be out of business.
But what if you’re an amateur? Well, it’s a great way to get your photography discovered and promote other aspects of your life, like your actual work or your travels. You’d be surprised at how many people actually care to see your photography and read stories about it.
Become a better writer
Practice makes perfect. Obviously, I’m not the best, so I’m still in the practice phase.
Your creativity will increase
Since for a blog you need to post pretty frequently to keep your readers coming back, you’ll have to be creative and think of new and fresh ideas both in photography and blogging. It’s pretty fun.
Build a network
Once you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ll meet and get to talk to a lot of interesting people. This can benefit you socially as well as professionally.
Build additional income
Some bloggers love to write and do it just for fun or exposure. Most people however would like the opportunity to gain some extra income.
Where should I start?
The most popular blogging software is WordPress. In fact, this blog is built on WordPress.
There are 2 different types of ways to use WordPress:
wordpress.com is completely free. It’s a great service for people that are getting started with blogging. However, there are 4 catches:
1. You can’t show ads or use affiliate links, that means you won’t make money.
2. You can still promote your current business but the domain name will have wordpress.com in it; for example this site would be called epicmirrorless.wordpress.com Let’s be honest, no one will take you seriously with that. Not even your cat.
3.Technically your blog is not yours; they can shut you down at any time.
4. You can’t install useful WordPress plugins
You can buy a domain name from them. But then it’s not free anymore is it? So might as well go with the second option. I don’t recommend the first option simply because you can’t monetize it… you are wasting time and effort when you could be getting paid for your hard work.
wordpress.org is also free. However, it needs to be hosted by a domain host. This is where bluehost comes into play. There are many domain hosts out there to choose from… I like bluehost the best due to their price, reliability, speed and customer service. It’s what hosts this website you’re on right now, and a large number WordPress blogs. I’m not sponsored by them, but I did decide to become a bluehost affiliate, because of their great customer service.
When I tried to move my blog from wordpress.com to here, I ran into some issues and they helped me out every step of the way. I was very impressed with their service.
I would never recommend a product or a camera unless:
- I’ve actually used it for an extended period of time.
- I love it enough to recommend it to my own family members.
- I know the product well.
Once on bluehost, just choose the cheapest option. You won’t need all the bells and whistles. 3.95$ option is just fine.
Here comes the hard part… choosing a domain name. It’s really tough to find one that’s not already taken and has “.com” at the end. If all else fails just use your name (there are many famous blogs that do)… I would recommend that you stick to “.com” rather than something like “.org” or “.net”. It’s just easier for people to remember and gains more respect.
Once you’ve chosen a “.com” domain, enter all you data and payment info. Make sure to uncheck all the other options during checkout unless you think you’ll need them, but I honestly don’t think you do. Let’s make this as inexpensive as possible.
Congratulations! You now have your very own domain.
Once inside the bluehost panel, click on hosting and scroll down to the website group.
Here you will select Install WordPress.
The process will take a few minutes to install and you are ready to go!
Now simply go to you domain name and log in. (tip: username and password should be in your email by now).
Welcome to your WordPress Dashboard.
From here we can make posts, pages, install plugins, and customize your site.
The first thing we need to do is install a theme.
Go to Appearance > Themes and then click on add new theme.
Here you’ll find thousands of blog designs. It will take some time to figure out which one you prefer. There are paid and unpaid ones. It’s totally up to you if you want to spend the extra cash. Don’t worry about it too much because you can always change the theme later, if you don’t like it. That’s the beauty of WordPress. Once you find a theme you like, hit install and you’ll see a publish website link appear on the page. You can go ahead and do that.
Voila! You have your very own blog!!
You can visit it by clicking your site’s name at the top left corner.
Now it’s time to customize it and add some basic info. Go to appearance > customize in your WordPress admin area. Here you can change colors, add a header image, background, title, etc… It all depends on the theme here on what exactly you can do. Feel free to play around with it. You can always change it later.
To publish your first article simply go to “posts” and “add new.”
Make sure to fill in all the data on the right side. Select or create a category and add tags. This is where you’ll select the Blog photo that will appear for the post on your main page. Then Fill in the SEO data under the post. This optimizes the post for Google.
I would highly recommend you download and activate the following plugins:
Akismet – stops spam comments on your site
WordPress SEO – This allows you to optimize your site for SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Helping you get seen by Google and other search engine.
There are many plugins to choose from but you don’t really need any of them.
After you write a few posts with images, you should share your blog with everyone on social media to start getting some page views. It will take some time for Google to notice you, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t have many views. It takes time.
I highly recommend you implement Google analytics into your blog. You can find out how here:
I really hope this guide was useful to a few. I would love to see some of your sites in the comments below if you decided to make one.
I’ll write an article on how to monetize your site and make money through ads, affiliates, etc if this post gets some traction.
You can view the site i used as an example here: www.epictechbits.com It’s empty for now. It’s only an example of how easy it is to get started.