If you’ve got an artistic eye and how to use a camera, you may have considered developing your photography hobby. How about starting a photography blog or photography website? Not only can this be a great way to share your images and your talent with the world, but it can be a method of finding potential clients and launching your photography business.
Many photographers run their own successful blogs and websites as an important part of their income. You may be wondering exactly how to make a photography website. It can certainly seem like a daunting task, particularly if you don’t even know where to begin. Luckily, our step by step guide is here to help you start (and grow) your photography site.
Step One: Decide Your Niche
Before you start on any technical aspects of building your site, you first need to decide exactly what your website is for.
Do you want it to be an online portfolio, to showcase your work and find potential clients for future jobs? Do you want it to be an e-commerce store, where you can sell your work in prints or other forms of merchandise? Or do you want to produce instructional content to help teach budding photographers or equipment reviews?
Within the broad category of photography site, there are many different types of business. Deciding exactly what your aims are, and what makes your particular site unique, will help you massively when it comes to actually build your website.
Step Two: Choose And Register Your Domain
Once you have made some decisions on the content of your site, you can start trying to brand it. The first step in this process is naming your blog. You want your name to be catchy, to sum up, what your site is about, and to stand out for other photography sites out there.
For more information on choosing a name, check out this post.
Ideally, the name of your site will be the same as it’s a domain or its internet address. If you want to check availability and then register your domain, go to GoDaddy. Search around to get the best deal.
Step Three: Pick A Hosting Provider
The hosting platform plays the role of keeping the site live. If your site were a physical business, the host would be your office building. You can find free hosting services, but they tend to better suited to blogs. For a professional website, you’ll probably want to find a paid hosting plan.
There are many different web hosting platforms to choose from, all with different pros and cons. There will be one which is the best suited to you, so do your research before making a decision. Read our review of two popular hosting platforms here.
Put simply, in order to keep a website online, you need both a hosting service and the software to design and edit your site. If you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea to try to combine both of these services together, which keeps things simple.
However, if you’re well versed in web design and desire more customization, you may prefer to choose a hosting provider and then install your own software. Having more customizable features can make your site seem unique and attract a bigger audience.
Step Four: Start The Design Process
It should go without saying that for a photography website, the images are incredibly important. They should be the focus of your page, as your web presence exists to draw attention to them. Keeping images at the forefront of your mind should help you a lot when it comes to your website design. Choose your highest quality images to depict you in the best possible light.
Unless you’re something of an expert, you’ll likely need to work with a web designer to get your site looking as professional, as high-quality and as appealing as possible. You can purchase unique web design templates online, which can make the process easier.
Step Five: Get Building
Alongside the (undeniably important) aesthetic aspects of your photography website, you also need to consider its structure. A poorly structured and difficult to navigate site is a poor-quality one.
What pages do you want on your site? Write a list of the main sections that need to be easy to access via your menu. You’ll likely need a homepage, a gallery or portfolio section, an “about me” page and a contact page – these apply to pretty much every photography site.
On top of this, you may wish to consider an online store section, a testimonials page, and a blog.
Once you have this basic structure mapped out, you need to think about the different subsections for each of these pages. This is fairly personal to everyone, but as you map out the different content you want on your site, the organization process should become clear.
Step Six: Up Your Social Media Game
Good use of social media can make a huge difference in terms of your photography business’s success. Social media is an invaluable tool for finding potential customers for your goods or services, so you really can’t afford to neglect it.
Make accounts for your business on all the major social networks – at the very least. You should be on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Make sure these accounts link to your site, and also make sure your website has links to all these accounts.
It’s no use just to have social pages sitting stagnant, either – they need to be active. Make sure you’re checking your social media every day and posting at least a couple of times a week.
Nowadays, many business requests may actually come in through social media rather than more traditional means of contact. A well-designed website won’t advance your business unless people can actually get in touch with you, after all.
Step Seven: Search Engine Optimize
Another absolutely essential way to make your photography website a success is through clever use of search engines. The majority of people looking for photographers (whether to buy prints or to photograph a special event) will use a search engine to find one.
If you introduce special keywords to your website, you’ll ensure it appears higher up on the list of search results, and therefore be easier for prospective clients to find.
Use an SEO tool like Google Analytics to determine what the keywords are for your particular photography niche, and then include them in your website copy. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer based in Austin, these keywords should appear in website headers, which will make your business easier to find.
Step Eight: Don’t Neglect Mobile Usage
One of the biggest and most common mistakes people make when launching a website is to forget about mobile devices. An enormous amount of online activity today is done via a smartphone, rather than a computer. If your website isn’t accessible via mobile, you’re massively limiting the number of people who will be able to find you and use your services.
Most website building services offer methods of optimizing for smaller screens. While it can seem like just another obstacle to tackle, it’s actually one of the most important aspects of a successful online presence.
Step Nine: Stock Your Site
You want your photography site to be a definitive compendium of all of your work and business ventures. There’s no point in building a high-quality and visually appealing web presence if the site is lacking content.
Your photography portfolio should be well-stocked, up to date and organized for easy access. This is where your web audience and potential future customers will see what exactly you can do, so make sure it’s as complete and as wide-ranging as possible.
There’s nothing that looks worse on a website than a page that just says “coming soon” – particularly if the content has been “coming soon” for a good while. If you don’t have testimonials ready for that particular section, for example, it’s better not to have the section at all. But if you do have the relevant information, then get it onto your site – and sooner, rather than later.
Step Ten: Get Fresh Eyes On Your Work
When you’re in the midst of the website creation process, it can be difficult to get perspective. You’ll likely be deeply entrenched in the intricacies of your work, and could end up missing something big and obvious because of this.
Before you launch your site, it’s a great idea to ask a close friend or family member to take a look over it. This is important because of two things – how attractive your blog looks, and how it performs in terms of experience for site users. You want your site to be intuitive and easy to move around on.
Also, you want people to be able to easily access the information they need. You want people to finish one page of content and be able to find another that they’ll also be interested in. You want your site to be a destination people enjoy visiting and staying at.
Therefore, having someone close to your doing a sort of “dummy run” on your site can be a great help. Ask them to try to perform tasks a client may wish to – for example, view a gallery, then fill in an email form, or read a blog post, then follow you on twitter. Client experience is really the number one indicator of any website’s success.
Step Eleven: Stay Up To Date
The other common mistake in small business websites is thinking they can just run themselves. While good web design and high-quality client experience are incredibly important, they won’t work alone in terms of growing your business. Maintaining and updating your site is as much a part of your work as taking on photography jobs and creating art.
Having a blog section on your site allows clients to see exactly what you’re up to, plus it makes you feel like more of a real person. Most website building software will have a blogging option.
Create a schedule for your blog and your website updates, then stick to it. As your blog is just a facet of your site, you don’t necessarily need to be updating particularly often, just with some regularity. Twice per month is a good aim. Remember that your blog posts can be a little more casual in appearance and tone than the rest of your site. Don’t agonize over making them as perfect as your portfolio and home page.
If you’re struggling for inspiration for blog posts, we’ve got a whole article to help you out, here.
Conclusion: Starting A Photography Website
While starting a photography website can seem very difficult, breaking it down into more manageable steps can make the process much easier. Firstly, defining what your blog is about, then naming it accordingly will help brand your business and make your website easier to find.
Registering your domain, choosing your hosting provider and building your website is all made easier with the correct tools – or even by collaborating with a designer. After you’ve created your site’s structure and appearance, you need to fill it with relevant content.
Make sure there are lots of images, plus keywords and contact information. Finally, staying up to date both with your site through a blog and with your relevant social media accounts will help you grow your audience and thus your clients.
What do you think of our guide? Do you have any tips for creating a photography website? Let us know in the comments below!