Why WordPress makes sense for photographers

using wordpress for a photography blog

 

[I]f you have been thinking about creating a blog for your photography, here are some reasons and tips to use WordPress.

 

Getting your stuff out there

Normally you should do photography to please yourself, but more than likely you want to share your photographs. If you put your photos on photo sharing sites, more than likely you will be lost in a sea of cats, dogs, bokeh plants, etc. The problem is that all photos in those sharing sites are all equal, nothing will differentiate your photography to another's because you are all in the same place. Make a blog for yourself because you will not go to the viewer, the viewer will come to you. I did not even attempt to conquer Flickr, because I saw that there was too many photographs and mine will be one in a million. If you really want to get your stuff out there, get your own little space for yourself instead of being allocated a cubicle in a large building. You are more free in your little space than in the building, plus everything is more rewarding.

 

Just do it

Your blog does not need to be anything more than a series of photographs, a little text if you want. Don't feel that you NEED to update it daily like mine, or spend countless hours like mine, you can update it any way you want, how often you want. The only thing is, you must decide to do it. Some folks use it as their outlet for street photography, others for their thoughts of photography, others more like a visual diary. Your blog does not need to be a groundbreaking blog, it can be very modest and enjoy high degree of success, provided that you stay true to yourself. Setting up a blog and getting it running is easy, and you can publish your first post within the first 10 minutes. What are you waiting for? It's easy and does not require much work and the return will be great relationships with people who truly enjoy your work (Not those “Nice pic, comment on mine!”). I have some great projects that came along only because I had a blog and was willing to go at it. It's the best thing I have ever done for my photography and only wonder why I didn't start sooner.

 

WordPress

There are many blogging platform out there for you to blog, so why WordPress? The answer is simple, Google really likes WordPress and WordPress is sexy. WordPress blogs for some reason have very high visibility on Google and if you apply the little tips later in the article, the traffic will flow. WordPress is a joy to use, the interface is great and very customizable with themes (to a point if it's the free version). WordPress is simply very streamlined and makes blogging a joy, and let's not forget tablet and phone clients so you can blog on the go. Importing images and wrapping text is very easy and does not require looking at the manual.

If you go wordpress and create relevant content for your type of photography, you are pretty much guaranteed eyeballs. So if you are for example a street photographer and start giving some thoughts about the streets, tag your images correctly, you will start noticing traffic from Google with people searching your camera or your type of photography.One of the best features of WordPress is the dashboard, it's clear and will give you all kinds of great info at a glance. You can know who linked to you, how many hits you had for the day, how many clicked on your links, etc.  Also you have a great selection of pretty cool themes that can really show off your photography.

 

Self Hosted vs WordPress hosted

WordPress is the platform of choice for  high visibility, ease of use, and great customisation. A choice must be made if you will self host your WordPress or have it on WordPress.com. My blog you see here was build from the ground up, I installed WordPress, created my own theme, customized my widgets, etc, it is a self hosted blog using WordPress on a 1and1 server. As you can see if have complete control over everything, I can install plugins to make my work faster, or make a shirtless store within my blog, I can customize my widget area with custom html, etc.

But that comes at a price, I have to do everything myself, including bringing in traffic (worked harder because it's self hosted). A blog on WordPress.com has limited customization, no custom theme (but you can change some theme settings for a fee) but you will very very visible by Google. WordPress.com blogs will be more visible than self hosted ones. WordPress.com spills traffic with the blog interconnectedness, Featured blog, killer SEO, etc. It's easy, less hassle, no frills and good visibility but limited customization.

If you are after a modest blog with no hassle, I recommend wordpress.com; if you really want a more serious blog with all the bells and whistles I recommend self hosted.

 

Getting noticed

i saw a list of requirements to have a successful blog. The list was about being nice, cool, patient, etc. That's nice but that has noting to do with getting noticed. There is two parts of blogging, getting noticed and keeping readers. Getting noticed is cold and has nothing to do with the blogger and everything about how he/she manages their website and what content they have. Keeping readers is all about the blogger, how cool he/she is and nice. So I can come from Google searching for Ricoh GRD IV and really do not like the reviewer, I am traffic but won't be a reader. But if I like the blogger's work and how he/she things, I will stay and become a reader. The tips below are cold, cold, cold, and nothing to do with the blogger, it's simply stacking your cards right to streamline people you want to attract but it does not mean they will stay, only you can manage that.

 

Choose domain name wisely

When you will order your domain name (your .com) you must do it wisely because Google will see it and read it. So Google will prime the domain www.africastreetphotography.com than www.joeMasilk.com for someone searching Africa Street Photography

 

Name your site wisely

In WordPress go to Settings>General and set your site title, and here is the way to do it: You say what your website is about and divide it with an “|” and put the name of the photographer afterwards. So if I had a street photography in Taiwan blog with the name Tai Tai Shoot, I would title the site: “Taiwan Street Photography | Tai Tai Shoot”. The title is very visible and if you have a niche photography, you will rank up really high in no time.

 

Title your posts wisely

Your post title is like newspaper headers, it sets the mood for Google to look at it, so think about them wisely. I have two big keywords in this article, WordPress and Photographers, so that Google knows what to expect in it. It's going to apply the magic algorithm to actually see if the article is genuine or not.

 

Images, Images

Here is the big one, and it will relate to your content: Image title and image alt tags are crucial. If you had a shot of Parisian kids playing in a street photograph taken with a GRD IV, you would name it “Paris_kids_playing.jpg” and could alt tag it “Street Photograph with a GRD IV of French kids playing in Paris”. The alt tag MUST sound natural and do not put random keywords on it. The alt must flow as if you were explaining it to someone blind. Do this for each image (if you self host get “Faster image insert” plugin) and see people getting in from Google image search and Google search. I found some great blogs by searching Ricoh GRD IV in image search and stuck with them.

 

Tags

Google indexes using post tags, use them and make sure you use them consistently and do not hoard them (Try to stay around 7 per post)

 

Closing comments

Use WordPress to put your work out there, it's all about you and how much you want to put in it. Traffic will flow because of WordPress, and even more if you stack your cards correctly. One word of warning though, nothing guarantees that Google won't change their algorithm overnight, so stay up to date! Be yourself and put yourself out there, I have grown exponentially because of my blog, and you are missing out by not having one, all it takes is a decision.

Thanks to Gurbz for the push to write this article. This article is a small part of a section an ebook I am writing, I hope you found it useful and would appreciate feedback.

 

About The Author

10 thoughts on “Why WordPress makes sense for photographers”

  1. i actually just started working on my wordpress 😀 i havent figured everything out yet, and its taking awhile to catch up adding old photos. whew! long work!

    great read, looking fwd to the ebook!

    1. Yeah you need to find a workflow. I recommend first thing in the morning to knock it out. Do have a timer, time flies when blogging.

      1. currently im just going 1 day at a time for each time i sit down to work on it
        so ill upload and organize, say… august 16th 2011 photos.
        however, im using.. what was it called… Autofocus theme, and i love the general idea of how it puts up posts(or pages, im not sure what its calling them) but i wish i could select which part of an image to show on the home page… it kinda just chooses the top left corner, so sometimes, what i wanted to be a “oooh that looks interesting! ill click it!” turns into a “whats that black n gray rectangle???”

        lol

        still learning!

  2. This really is a helpful post! Thanks for sharing. I did it all wrong so far …. It made me think about the title of my blog and also about titling my pictures while downsizing them. May be its a silly question: While downsizing I can rename the pictures, yes, but where do I write alt tags? Hm… And: How important is a clever permalink?

    1. Alt is “Alternate text” in WordPress, it’s normally for folks who have special browsers who need special accessibility, but it’s primed by search engines to know what the image is about.

      Permalinks should be POSTNAME. It has to do with domain name title. So google will prime http://www.streetog.wordpress.com/four-nights-paris-street-photography than http://www.streetog.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/.

      Some folks found out post name only works better than postname and date

      I used to mourn the fact that I could not change my permalink structure (I already linked to my blog when I realized I goofed) but there are plugins out there 🙂

      Cheers!

  3. Couldn’t agree more with your advice about using WordPress… and I also noticed yesterday that most of the “streetshooter” links you provided were hosted by WordPress. I switched to them earlier this year from Google’s own (still dated despite the recent update) “Blogger” system, and loved everything about the ease of use, the dashboard, the widgets, and much more.

    Ed Buziak at… http://darkroomuser.wordpress.com/

    1. That’s a wonderful blog you have there, very interesting. Very nice monochromes. I have to stay away from it, might make me panic to switch to film 🙂

  4. You said, “…jump in for some thoughts” so I will. The composition you chose bothers me because I can’t ‘visually’ accept that darn metal post! I had to check the native format of the GXR 50 and see it is APS-C or 3:2… but your repro is more like 4:3, so you have cropped the original. Personally, and I admit the result would be more like ‘posed environmental portrait’ rather than ‘candid streetshot’, I would use a square crop and get rid of that obtrusive post and distracting gate-post just inside the right frame. The funny thing is, I used Hasselblads for quite a few years and hardly ever printed square… just used 10×8 or 16×12 paper to the fullest available border of it’s valuable silver surface. Now I only shoot Nikon APS-C (for the Alamy image agency) and nearly always crop the image sides to give me a 4/3rds format image… they just seem to “hold the content” better. However, I’m sure others will differ… which is individually quite a good thing!

    1. Wrong post!
      Man I completely forgot about cropping this! Will update to reflect the mistake.
      I guess Alamy is pretty relaxed in the camera department, there is one of the big boys that do not accept anything smaller than FF or very few APSC one, in an attempt to root out most of the population :/

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