Blogging and Photography are probably two of my favorite things that I enjoy sharing what I know the most when I get asked questions like like “How do you…” or “How can I do…”
I tend to light up when I start talking about either subject and on more than one occasion I’ve had the person I’m talking to tell me that they can hear the passion in my voice when I’m explaining the answer to their questions. I don’t make a living off blogging nor do I on photography but I’ll gladly share what I’ve learned and any knowledge I’ve gained just because it’s what I enjoy doing!
Now whether you plan on starting a photography blog such as this one or just a website to showcase your photos this little guide will help you get started in whatever route you choose to take.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. These are all products I use and trust.
Start With A Domain Name
A domain name for all purposes is nothing more than the web address you type in the URL bar at the top of your web browser to get you to a particular website.
When choosing a domain name there are a few key concepts you may want to consider and they are:
- Is it easy to remember?
- Does it have brand potential?
- Is it easy to spell?
- Does it work?
Is It Easy To Remember?
Your domain name NEEDS to be easy to remember. The internet is impatient whether we like it or not domains names that are easy to remember stand out more.
Does It Have Brand Potential?
This area is more of a personal choice and depending on if you plan on running a photo blog or creating a website to showcase your photography should help determine what you choose. I chose iHeartPhotos.com for this blogs name because I personally believe it has a great branding potential. Many people have mastered the art of combining their personal names with their signature brand.
Sarah Petty and Thomas Hawk immediately come to mind. Sarah has a mixture of her work and her blog all branded to her name. Thomas has a plethora of resources on his site using just his name but shares more of his work on Google+. (Slightly off topic but check out this great article on how to use Google+ once you’re up and running written by Jaime Swanson from The Modern Tog.)
Is It Easy To Spell
Remember when the domain name Del.ici.ous was a thing? Yea neither do they. Domain names with hyphens and numbers or exotically long domain names can be annoying and frustrating. I’m a personal believer that unless numbers are in your brand or business name avoid them at all costs. Hyphens get a slight pass but if you have more than one it may look tacky to your potential customers or readers.
Does It Work?
Does your domain name convey the message you are trying to get across? Plain and simple. JoeSmithPhotography.com tells me exactly who you are and what you’re about. You can find another great resource on choosing a name that was written by James Taylor at Part Time Photo on how to name your photography business where he goes into some really nice details of the do’s and don’ts of selecting a name.
Once you have settled on a name and the purpose of your online presence it’s time to get started!
Step 1 – Purchase A Hosting Package And Get A Free Domain Name
BlueHost simply offers the best domain and hosting package deals I’ve seen. Right now we are hosted on DreamHost but once the year is up I’ll be switching this website back over to BlueHost just because I’ve had more issues with our current host.
Click the sign up button then on the next page enter the domain name you would like to use. Since BlueHost allows you to have host an unlimited amount of domain names don’t worry if you aren’t 100% satisfied with your current domain as you can always add a new one later.
The next step is pretty straightforward as you just need to fill out your contact details and billing information. BlueHost bills on an annual basis so when you purchase a package you are paying for a year term or longer. The more years you go the cheaper the rate becomes.
Step 2 – Install WordPress
Once you have purchased your domain name and hosting package you will get access to a back end system known as cPanel. The back end section can feel a bit overwhelming but right now all you need to locate is the section labeled “Website” at the top and once there find this icon:
You will be directed to the WordPress configuration and install screen.
Enter your site name or title – This could your domain name, your name, or whatever name you decide to call it. You can always go back and change it later so don’t fret over this area.
Enter your admin username and password – Make sure to choose a good username and password.
Enter your admin email address – This is the email address that WordPress will use to send you any and all communications that happen on your blog.
Check the box and agree to the terms and conditions and click “Install Now”
BlueHost will start an automatic installation taking care of all the hard work and within a minute you’re all set.
Your blog is officially active and online!
Step 3 – Start Blogging With WordPress
Once the installation has completed you can now login into your new blog/website by going to:
The WordPress login page will look like this:
Enter the username and password you set earlier. You now have full access to your new WordPress blogs “Dashboard” and can change everything from its appearance all the way to the code itself.
WordPress is a great platform to work with and the beauty of it is that its tough as nails so play around and have your way with it as you aren’t likely to break it.
Step 4 – Change Your Theme
In the Dashboard select Appearance>Themes> in the left hand menu:
At the top of the page click the “Add New” button:
From there you can search all the free themes currently available and to install them all you have to do is click on the themes image and click “Install.”
The theme will install and you can either “Activate” it which will make it your current theme or keep browsing to add more themes. You are free to add as many themes as you like just try not going overboard. =)
Step 5 – Publish Your First Post
Ready to take the first big leap and publish your first post? Then you’ll love how easy this is going to be!
While in your Dashboard go to Posts>Add New>
Enter the title of your post and your main text in the big white area then once you are satisfied just click the “Publish” button in the upper right corner.
That’s all there is to it!
If this guide helped you out in any way possible please share it so others can benefit from it or you’d like to share your new website with me by all means please feel free to leave a link in the comments section below.