If you’re a photographer, you’re probably familiar with photoblogs. I can remember the first one I saw back in 2004, and I still follow it to this day, along with many others. They are fun to share with family and friends, good for business, and challenge you to take great pictures on a regular basis. A friend recently asked me how to go about setting up one, and soon he will be up and rolling, thus spawning this post. Here’s a step by step guide to setting up a photoblog…
1. Get a Hosting Plan
There are thousands of web hosts out there. How do you choose the right one? Go with something well known and reliable. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. One-click WordPress installs are common on many of these hosts, which is very convenient. After personal experience and plenty of research, I feel comfortable in making the following recommendations:
Blue Host for $7 a month – one of the most popular hosts on the net
2. Choose a Domain Name
Domain names are not as important as you think. For example, you can spell something outrageously wrong, but still be a successful blog. Good SEO (search engine optimization) practices matter more. Nevertheless, it still makes sense to choose a good, memorable domain name. Avoid ones that are too long, or have too many hyphens-, and try to make it unique. You can never go wrong with your name, as many great photoblogs do.
3. Decide your design and layout
Do you want your blog to feature just one image on the main page (like most)? Consider Pixelpost.
Do you want it to read more like a traditional blog? Consider WordPress.
Do you want it to display one image with thumbnails showing other images? Good luck!
Do you want to integrate a traditional portfolio along with your blog? Consider Graph Paper Press themes.
There is something out there for everyone.
4a. Set Up WordPress
WordPress seems to be a popular option these days. I run not only this blog, but several others using WordPress. One-click installation options are available for most hosting websites out there (including the ones I listed above). If not, you’ll have to first download WordPress, and then follow the “famous 5-minute installation guide. From there it should be pretty self explanatory.
4b. Choose a Theme
Thousands of themes abound. Many of them cost, but you don’t always have to pay. I’ve literally spent hours researching themes for photoblogs, and here are a few of my recommendations:
- Elegant Themes is probably the best and most popular collection of themes out there. It costs $40 for a one time subscription, giving you access to all 50+ themes they have created.
- Theme Forest is a great place to shop for themes. All kinds of styles and pricing options, but many are not WP and will require some coding knowledge.
- Graph Paper Press is built by photographers for photographers. They have a few free themes, but the best of what they offer comes at a price.
But what if you don’t want to run WordPress? There are other options out there…
5: Set Up Pixelpost
Pixelpost is another popular photoblog platform, one which my blog is currently using. However, I do plan to switch to WordPress as they are actually better for SEO and google searches. But Pixelpost is a good and easy solution for those wanting a photoblog. It’ll require a manual installation, which will require uploading via FTP. I recommend either Cyberduck or Filezilla for this purpose. They are both free, open-source, and easy to use.
6. Publish Content
What is the focus of your photoblog? Many are open-ended, leaving room for anything. Mine is a documentary perspective into the city where I live. Keeping it up every day of the year is a lofty task. If you can do that, congrats! I hope you gain many viewers, comments, appreciation, and business based off your photography!
Stay tuned for our next post on this topic: Free Photoblog Themes, coming soon…
Jesse Warren is a photo-blogging photographer based in Shenzhen, China, where he works for Aputure.