How to start a photography blog that gets you more work
If you haven’t yet dipped your toes into the blogging world, you might be losing out on some great business opportunities. Don’t know how to start a photography blog? Don’t worry because I’ve put together all the steps and tips necessary to start up a blog — and in doing so, generate more work for your business.
Apart from being incredibly rewarding, a photography blog can be a highly effective tool for your photography business. An attractive, well-maintained blog will not only help you become a better-known artist among fellow photographers, but it can also bring in leads and clients, as you demonstrate your skills, knowledge and personality.
How to start a photography blog in 7 steps
Clarify why you want to start a blog.
Zoom in on your target reader.
Choose a blogging platform.
Build your photography home.
Identify photography post topics.
Create a posting schedule.
Make sure search engines index your posts.
Below you will find the details on how to start a photography blog — and it’s pretty straightforward, too!
Step 1: Clarify why you want to start a blog
Knowing why you want to start a blog — and what you hope to achieve with it — is key to a successful blog.
Before setting off on your adventure into the blogging world, it’s vital to identify the reason why you want to start a photography blog. A few of the most popular reasons photographers start blogs are to:
- Showcase their work and grow their businesses.
- Interact with and learn from other photographers.
- Exchange tips and tricks with the photography community.
Once you’ve established your goal, this will serve as a guideline for what content to post. If you’re unable to pinpoint a blogging goal, it will be harder to maintain your blog over time.
Step 2: Zoom in on your target reader
It starts with choosing a niche … because if you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll appeal to no one. Before you delve into how to start a photography blog, try to identify your specific target audience.
The more targeted your blog is, the easier it will be to attract customers and make money from it.
Are you a master wedding photographer? Or is travel photography more your style? The more focused your niche, the more targeted your blog will be and the higher the chance that you’ll become known as an expert in your field, whether through your unique photography style or tutorials designed for beginners or experts.
Learn to build trust
One of the advantages of having a blog is that it helps you build trust with your potential customers and clients. Trust is an important part of growing a business in this day and age. Most of your future clients will research your business before deciding whether or not to contact you. A blog that features helpful tips, previous projects and a personal touch will help build trust.
A blog helps to increase your reach
The most important part of marketing a business is reach. While only a small percentage of the general public will use your services, you can increase this number by getting your business in front of more people. The way to get more eyes onto your work is to write engaging content visitors will share. People are more likely to share a unique blog post over a simple portfolio site.
Step 3: Choose a blogging platform
There are a ridiculous number of blog builders out there, such as Blogger, Tumblr and Medium, just to name a few. WordPress is an option that photographers really love because it’s highly customizable, thanks to thousands of available themes and plugins.
I use WordPress myself for my travel photography blog. I went the self-hosted WordPress route, but you need some technical skills to do this yourself.
Want to sidestep the technical details altogether? GoDaddy has a managed version of WordPress that features quick setup. It gives you all the fun of WordPress without the hassle of installing WordPress core software and security updates or making daily backups (they do all that for you). So you can focus on creating great blog posts.
Step 4: Build your photography home
Once you’ve mastered the basic elements of how to start a photography blog, it’s time to bring your blog to life.
Choose a domain name
Whenever someone asks me how to start a photography blog, I tell them to focus first on getting a good domain name for it.
Your domain name is your identity on the web. The domain name I use for my travel photography blog is NonstopDestination.com, for example. Because it serves as your web address — the name your readers will type into their browsers whenever they want to see what you’re up to — it merits thorough consideration. Here are a few tips:
- Keep it short and sweet; people need to be able to remember your blog name.
- Check to see if your preferred domain name is still available and also if it has negative connotations in other countries.
- Check if the name is already taken on all the major social media channels. Social media is essential when it comes to promoting your blog and its posts. Keep your social media names/handles consistent with your blog name, so it’s easy for your audience to remember.
Tell readers what your blog’s all about — register your own .photos or .photography domain name.
Need help naming your blog? Read more about how to choose a memorable blog name here.
Select a hosting service
Hosting is what make it possible for people to read your blog posts online, no matter where in the world they are. Here are a few things to look out for when choosing a host:
- Excellent customer service. You don’t want to be left on your own when your website suddenly goes offline.
- One-click WordPress installation: this will make your life a lot easier if you’re not familiar with databases and the more technical side of websites.
- Is the domain name registration included? I like to register my domain name through my web host.
- What is the uptime of the host? 99.9-percent is pretty good; however, check customer reviews for a more accurate number.
Choose a theme
If you’re building your photography blog on WordPress, you’ll want to find the perfect theme. For your first theme, choose a simple one that showcases your work in a visually appealing manner. Later, you can expand into more complex themes where you can, for example, sell your photography.
Most premium (paid) themes come with customer support and regular updates, so your blog will always work with the latest version of WordPress and be compatible with all browsers.
There are free themes available. However, I would suggest buying a premium theme — my favorite place to buy them is ThemeForest. Apart from the higher quality, most premium themes come with support and regular updates, so your website will always work with the latest version of WordPress and be compatible with all browsers.
Step 5: Identify photography post topics
It’s now time to list a few photography topics based on the niche you’ve chosen. Here are a few ideas to help get you started:
- Photo essays are perfect for showcasing your skill on a certain topic.
- Tutorials are helpful posts. You could for example elaborate on a certain technique you employ that you know might be beneficial to other photographers.
- FAQ: Answer questions that are frequently asked by your audience.
- Personal stories: How did you get into photography? What has been your most challenging shoot to date? Who is your main influence?
Try to identify gaps in the market, solve a problem not many have written about, or come up with another view for a well-known subject.
When learning how to start a photography blog, it’s important to define what makes your photography unique. Try to incorporate your uniqueness into every blog post, while still keeping your target audience in mind.
Step 6: Create a posting schedule
Consistency is key in the blogging world. You don’t need to publish a post every day, because, if you do, the quality of those posts might not be high. And you won’t have time to focus on what truly matters: Your photography.
Instead, try to find a posting schedule that works for you and that you know you’ll be able to maintain, rather than a schedule from hell that will just stress you out. Even if it means posting only once a week or once a month.
Step 7: Make sure search engines find your posts
Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is an important part of blogging because it helps your posts rank higher in Google search results. After all, this is how readers will find you. For best results, you’ll want to add the keywords potential clients are searching for to your blog posts.
But keywords are just the tip of the SEO iceberg. It’s worth the time to learn more about search engine optimization from resources like the GoDaddy blog, Moz.com and Kissmetrics. In the meantime, there are some basic steps you can take to help improve your blog’s search ranking, including:
Create content that provides value to your target readers. Take the time to research the topics they’re searching for so you can create posts that meet a real demand.
Write compelling headlines. The headline can mean the difference between 10 people and 10,000 people reading your blog post.
Earn backlinks and social shares. “Backlinks and social media activity act as votes of confidence from external sources praising your content,” says Garth O’Brien, GoDaddy’s head of SEO. “They heavily influence a web page’s ability to rank for a target keyword.”
Include keywords in meta tags and the head section of each web page.
Optimize images. Include your target keyword(s) in image file names and Image Alt tags.
Make sure your blog loads quickly, especially on mobile devices. Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to check your site speed.
Pro tip: Install the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin. It will walk you through some of the basics needed to optimize each post on your photography blog. After you install Yoast SEO, read this post for must-do next steps.
Build an engaged following
Once your blog is online and you’ve published a few blog posts, the moment has finally come to introduce the world to your new blog!
There are a few ways to get the word out, but the best and most effective way when you start out is through social media. By using Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn, you can reach new audiences quickly and efficiently. Don’t forget to update your personal info on 500px and Flickr.
You scratch my back …
Use your blog to network with fellow photographers, offer tips and tricks and share each other’s content. This way, you not only grow as a photographer, but can gain new leads through your photography friends (and their friends).
Start collecting email addresses
Make sure to add a newsletter sign-up form on your website to grow your email list. This enables you to instantly reach anyone who’s signed up to receive news/updates directly from you.
Whether you’re a novice or pro photographer with years of experience under your belt, starting a photography blog can be a highly useful marketing tool for your business. Start brainstorming now, then follow the above steps on how to start a photography blog to create your own personal space on the world wide web!