In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly popular for photographers to have a blog in addition to or instead of a traditional “static” website. Blogs are essentially online journals that can be updated and adjusted quickly and easily. Photographers can easily post photographs to their blog and can also make permanent pages for galleries, pricing, and contact information. With a blog, your opportunities are endless.
Blogger or Wordpress?
Although a number of other options exist, Blogger and Wordpress are the two most popular blogging platforms on the market today. Each has their own pros and cons for photographers, but one platform really stands out above the other.
Owned by Google, Blogger is completely free and very easy to use. Users can easily manipulate the design of their site to adjust colors and layout, and creating new posts could not be easier. The design of bloggers sites is dictated by “themes” developed by Google and other third parties. Thankfully, these themes can be easily adjusted to suit just about any design need. “Widgets” can be also be added to Blogger sites to expand the site’s capabilities, but finding helpful widgets is the hard part. Users also have the option to either utilize their own unique domain name or a free blogspot.com URL.
The Blogger platform is probably the easiest and quickest way to get a blog online, but its themes and widgets pail in comparison to what is available on Wordpress.
Photographers have two options on the Wordpress platform—wordpress.org and wordpress.com. The .org extension is completely free, but wordpress.com requires a purchased domain. All wordpress.org users will have wordpress.org at the end of their URL, and for that reason alone, it is recommended that photographers purchase a domain and use wordpress.com.
Wordpress has all the capabilities of the Blogger platform and much, much more. The user interface is slightly more complicated than on Blogger, but this varies depending on your chosen theme. Wordpress has a variety of good free themes to choose from, but none of them are very well suited for photography. It is highly recommended that you download a theme to get the most out of Wordpress.
As alluded to above, Wordpress has a depth of themes and widgets that are just not available on Blogger. In fact, many themes in Blogger are based on themes that have been created in Wordpress—not the other way around. Wordpress themes are simply better, more versatile, and better looking than those on Blogger. Many third-party developers produce widgets that are free and others that will cost you some money. These widgets will improve the capabilities of your site and will help set your blog apart from the competition.
Find a Good Theme—Remember Good Themes Cost Money
Wordpress has quite a few very good free themes that will work depending on how you intend to use your blog. If you simply want to use your blog to upload pictures into posts, then a free theme should work just fine. However, if you want to create photo galleries and have better control over your site’s design, you should purchase an upgraded theme.
Some themes can be used to create a site that will function both as a blog and an information page. This will help keep things simple for both you and your potential clients. Look for a photographer’s theme like ProPhotoBlog. Their theme will cost you almost $200, but it is well worth the cost. Five different templates are packaged with the theme, but you can adjust the design as you see fit. This puts you in full control of your online blogging presence.
Premium themes such as ProPhotoBlog, also include flash slideshows to showcase your pictures. These can be added into other themes, but you must have a working knowledge of CSS or adequately adjust your theme. For this reason alone, you should strongly consider the purchase of a premium Wordpress theme.
Regularly Create New Posts
Try to maintain a regular posting schedule to increase your site’s content. By doing this, your blog will rank higher since Google likes websites that are constantly updated. Try promoting each of your new posts on Facebook or other social networking sites to further increase the visibility of your posts.
Each post has an associated category that will better organize your blog for you and your possible clients. These categories could include engagement portraits, babies, senior photos—whatever it is that you photograph. With these categories associated with your posts, potential clients can click on the category to view all of your other related posts.
Create a New Page
On both Blogger and Wordpress, your permanent pages within your website are called pages. The advantage of creating a page is that you can directly link to them through your blog’s navigation menus. Pages also generally have better visibility to search engines, thus making your website rank higher.
As a photographer, you should, at the very least, include an “about me” page on your blog. If you want your blog to function more as your main webpage, you should also create a page for pricing, contact information, and photo galleries.
Creating a page is simple and very similar to creating a post. Add text, photos, and graphics to your Blogger or Wordpress admin area and hit “publish.”
Create a Photo Gallery
Probably the most important element to any photographer’s website is the photo galleries. This is your one and probably only chance to show your work off to potential clients. Once you get someone onto your blog, you will want him or her to view your galleries since that is where you are supposed to sell yourself.
These photo galleries are considered “pages” by Wordpress and can thus be added to your on-site navigation bar. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to create good-looking galleries using a free theme. Premium themes like ProPhotoBlog have built in features to automatically create beautiful flash or html based galleries. Again, premium themes are strongly recommended because it means you work less on your website and you work more on your photography. After all, that is why you are a photographer.