Photography is a popular and useful hobby, especially with the variety and convenience of advanced camera options we have now. Whether you’re into dark rooms and film or high-end digital lenses, turning your photography hobby into a business might be on your radar. Figuring out how best to get your work online, however, can be a full-time job.
That’s where WordPress and the time-saving functionality of website builders come in. When you combine the content management options of WordPress with drag-and-drop site design capability, it’s easy to turn your big ideas into a professional photography site.
In this article, we’ll cover four steps for creating a photography website with WordPress. We’ll also discuss why this platform is the best option and share the best website builder tools for WordPress to help you attain your dream photography blogging site.
Take that lens cap off your camera, friend, and let’s get started!
Why You Should Consider a WordPress Website for Your Photography Blog
When it comes to Content Management Systems (CMSs), we make no bones about it — WordPress is the best. You don’t have to take our word for it, though. WordPress owns 50–60% of the global CMS market. Additionally, it’s the first choice for 14.7% of the top 100 sites on the web.
Outside of those numbers, WordPress’s practical, open-source platform is another reason we suggest it for a photography blog. A nearly endless array of custom themes and plugins are available to help you eliminate distractions and create a truly unique website for your photography.
One more plus? WordPress software is free. That means that even as a brand new blogger, you can afford a self-hosted website.
Related: Why Should I Use WordPress? 12 Reasons We Recommend the World’s Most Popular CMS
How to Start a Photography Blog With WordPress (In 4 Steps)
One of the first steps in designing a photography website is to determine your own style or niche. Whatever your blogging focus might be, knowing this ahead of time will help you design your site and target your specific audience. Take a few minutes to set some goals for your site and then write them down.
Once you have your blogging goals, the following four steps should help to guide you through setting up and designing a site with WordPress.
Step 1: Choose Your Domain Name and Web Host
Picking out a domain name can be a fun but frustrating process. One of the best ways to stand out as a blogger is with a unique and brand-oriented name. You might find, however, that many of the names you want are already taken.
Fortunately, while choosing a .com is still popular, there are quite a few new Top-Level Domains (TLDs) available that might be just right for your photography site if the domain you wanted is unavailable.
As for selecting a hosting provider, this step might seem overwhelming at first. However, there are a few things to keep in mind as you shop that should help. For instance, if you plan on setting up an e-commerce page as part of your blogging strategy, you’ll want to look into what each host provides for that use case.
Regardless of your goals as a blogger, other significant features to look out for include:
- Storage. If you plan on using the same host for your website and your photos, you’ll want to investigate the amount of storage that’s available. There may be several options, or even additional storage available as an add-on to handle your larger, high-quality images.
- Software. You’ll also want to consider whether you’ll need a one-click solution to get started with WordPress. This is an excellent option for anyone who is not hiring a developer and isn’t a programming expert.
- Support. The last thing you want is for your clients to run into downtime while trying to view your photos. Make sure your web host has 24/7 support, and read up on its site backup and restoration options in case something happens.
- Extras. Some hosts come with extra features you might want to consider. These can include premium themes or plugins, staging sites, or site builders.
No matter what type of hosting you ultimately decide you need, here at DreamHost we offer a wide range of WordPress plans.
You Take Great Photos, We’ll Handle the Hosting
Our automatic updates and strong security defenses take server management off your hands so you can stay behind the camera.
Step 2: Install a Dedicated Photography Theme
Installing a theme enables you to customize the look of your WordPress site. What’s more, it’s as easy as uploading a file or clicking a button. There are a lot of photography themes out there, however, so deciding which one is best for you might be the hardest part.
If you’re using DreamHost as your WordPress hosting service, you’ll have access to WP Website Builder. As a photographer, this means you can drag-and-drop your site elements in a front-end view of your website. You can choose from photography-specific custom templates and view your changes live as you make them.
Getting started is easy. You simply need to select “WP Website Builder” as an option when purchasing your DreamHost plan.
Once you complete your purchase with the website builder selected, WordPress and premium plugins built by our friends at BoldGrid will be installed. The Page and Post Builder and Inspirations will appear in your menu options once you visit your WordPress dashboard.
Once you’re logged into WordPress for the first time, you’ll be immediately taken to a setup page. When you’re ready, select Let’s Get Started!.
Next, you’ll be able to choose from a menu of theme categories. Inspirations includes 20 stunning photography-friendly themes.
Once you select the theme you want, you’ll be guided through choosing some custom content options. You can use preset page layouts and create menus. You’ll also be able to test your theme’s responsiveness to mobile devices.
You might notice additional content on your WordPress dashboard now as well. There are some tutorial videos, for example, in case you need extra support along the way. Plus, if you want to spice things up later and change your theme, the Inspirations menu will lead you through that process.
Step 3: Select Plugins to Enhance Your Site
Now that you’ve selected a theme, you might want to look at some plugins as well. WordPress plugins are add-on packages of code that can enhance and extend the functionality of the platform. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the best way to manage them, in order to make sure you’re keeping your site safe and secure.
Photography blogs and websites have some unique needs, such as the ability to display and watermark high-quality images. You may also need to create image galleries with password protection or tie your e-commerce options to a file download manager. All of these tasks can be tackled with plugins.
One tool to check out is Photography Management.
This plugin is a client management solution for photographers who need to provide images and galleries to their customers. It can help you create a login portal for clients and provides notifications when your clients complete an action.
Another reliable photography plugin is Envira Gallery.
The Envira feature list is extensive. It includes options for watermarking your images, which may be an important part of your security strategy. You can also set up a storefront, create video galleries, and import content from Instagram. Combining this kind of tool with our website builder makes displaying your work dynamically online a cinch.
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Step 4: Create Compelling Content
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), there is more to think about than just keywords. What other pages say about you is just one other element that is vital for securing better page rankings.
Gaining backlinks or having your pages shared on social media are both effective ways to build page rank and clients. One way to garner more backlinks is to create compelling content. This could come in the form of tutorials, downloads, infographics, videos, or podcasts.
A beautiful example of these options can be seen on the Julia & Gil photography site.
Adding a blog to your page is also a great way to build a following and establish yourself as a trusted name in the industry.
How to Promote Your Photography Business
Now that your photography has a home on the web, you might be wondering how to get more eyeballs on your work. Self-promotion can be a challenge at times, but with WordPress and your professional theme, you have plenty to showcase!
There are a few ways to approach promoting your new site, including:
- Social Media. Sharing your work on social media can reap significant benefits. One way to get into the habit is to stay on a posting schedule, so interested viewers know they can regularly expect new content. Here’s how we recommend promoting your blog on social.
- Testimonials. Research shows that 82% of consumers seek recommendations from family and friends before making a purchase. This makes customer testimonials a powerful tool on your website.
- Call to Action. If your goal is to gain clients or fill up your email subscriber list, you might want to study up on the art of writing a good Call to Action (CTA). This will clearly guide your site’s visitors towards the action you want them to take.
- Portfolios. Creating a portfolio can give you a portion of your site that is specifically geared toward promoting your skills. While your entire website might function as an advertisement, a portfolio allows you to pick and choose your best work to highlight.
However you decide to promote your new website, it’s a proven best practice that keeping your site information up-to-date and accurate is crucial when it comes to improving SEO and gaining a following.
Related: How to Write Meta Descriptions That Get Clicks
Whether it’s nature, weddings, family portraits, or street photography, you can personally display your images with a professional photography theme and WP Website Builder. WordPress’ niche photography plugins can also help you add unique elements to set your site apart.
Here at DreamHost, we want you to be focused on the next shot — not whether your site might crash. Our complete WordPress hosting solutions come with easy built-in solutions for backing up your website and maintaining top-notch performance. Additionally, WordPress setup is fast and easy, so you can get up and running and share your amazing images with the world!