A) I am looking to create my own website to showcase my photography. I have been doing a blog with Blogger but was thinking of going with WordPress.org and taking it one step further by actually setting up a website that I plan to use professionally. WordPress recommends BlueHost, DreamHost and LaughingSquid. On my research of the internet IPage comes up as the top webhosting site that also supports WordPress tools. The only reason I have been looking at anything that handles WordPress because is because of some of the photographers that I like do. I am new at this whole thing so I am very unsure of most things.
Q) I whole-heartedly recommend the bluehost/Wordpress combo! The following pulls together various posts I’ve made related to this.
WordPress for Photography
WordPress itself is a great platform for just about any type of site, including supporting your photography business. I’ve been using bluehost for years and they’ve served me well. I’ve received excellent customer service from them and my sites have been up and running without any unplanned downtime. One nice thing is that you have [b]unlimited[/b] storage space for images that support your site! (This means that you can’t use their site as a cloud-based archive service, that the images you upload have to be associated with your site.)
With your own hosted site, you are virtually unlimited as to how much customization you can do. You’ll have access to many more themes, plugins, and tools, as well as much more support. You’ll also be able to fine-tune your site for speed and SEO. Even though it may take a little more work, you can make your site stand out from the one-size-fits-all sites.
As with anything, it’s just a matter of becoming familiar with it. I’ll agree that its administrative dashboard leaves a lot to be desired. the one-size-fits-all, let’s-include-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach can be fairly overwhelming and intimidating. However, once you start to learn your way around, it really is the simplest place to set up a website.
You also have to learn the vocabulary (“themes”, “plugins”, “widgets”, etc). Fortunately, the platform is mature enough that there are a ton of books available; most notable would be “wordpress for dummies”.
From a business standpoint, the most important thing is to understand the difference between “pages” and “posts”. Quite simply, you create “pages” to hold your static information (contact info, about/bio, mission statement, etc). You use “posts” for your dynamic content, such as galleries, recent shoots, and the like.
One warning, though, is to be careful about how you invest in a wordpress site. There are many things you can do for free, and even more that you can do if you are inclined to poke around in the code. However, if you need help, there are even more companies out there willing to help you – but not for free. I don’t advise buying into any customization unless you have a clear understanding as to what you are going to get. Many, if not most, of the companies that sell templates do not offer refunds. It’s also hard to find companies that offer anything more than forum-based or email-based tech support. Depending on one’s level of self-sufficiency, it might be worth it to spend a little more for real one-on-one hand-holding in getting a site up and running.
I use a sweet little HTML5 gallery system that not just plays well just about anywhere, but also has a WordPress plugin! Produced by the same folks that brought us SimpleViewer, it is quick, light, configurable, and does not require flash! Through it, your galleries are viewable not only on desktop computers, but also just about any mobile device (phone or tablet) that can connect to the Internet!
You can find out everything you need to know at the juicebox website. While it’s probably not the be-all-end-all, it’s a lot better than most, and it’s a big step up from SimpleViewer. What I like the most about it is that it can give you a nearly full-screen slideshow that will not only run on just about any device, it automatically resizes for the device display. While they do have a free one, it’s not very customizable. On the other hand, $50 ain’t bad, and their customer service is pretty decent.
This will give you about the same gallery slideshow functionality you get with bigblackbag and similar sites, except that you embed this into your own site where you should be free from any of the limitations that come with subscription-based sites.
As a rule of thumb, 12-15 images per gallery is a minimum. You want to show enough unique imagery that your visitor will get a sense of versatility and range without becoming bored. If you don’t have enough good stuff in a particular portfolio, don’t highlight that. If you need more stuff and want to kick things off quicker, consider throwing a shootfest some weekend morning. No sitting fee, discounts on prints, all in return for model releases. do this a few times and you’ll quickly have your gallery images, as well as bucket load of contacts for future business and referrals. You’ll not just get images and exposure, but you’ll also get a lot of practice!
Along these lines, the upper limit on a gallery is in the 25-30 image range. Go for less if the images are very similar, use more if you have a lot of people involved and/or a bigger story to tell. Also, don’t try to make a client gallery do double duty as both a marketing gallery and a shoot preview gallery. Prospects and clients are different audiences with different needs.
Hope this helps. Just let me know if you need anything else.
Thank you so much for taking the time to give me your comments, suggestions and recommendations. This is exactly the info I am looking for and needing. I have been considering this for awhile and in the past few weeks have been becoming more serious about putting myself out there more professionally. I knew I need to have a website and/or blog to showcase my stuff. I was just unsure where to begin and who to begin it with. Again, thank you so much. You have made my day
A) You’re most welcome!
It really is about this simple:
1) bluehost is about $100/yr. Peanuts when you consider how much freedom you get. Unlimited storage and so much room to move.
2) WordPress is free. And SO MANY FREE themes. For a photo site, simpler is best and there are a lot of free clean and simple themes. [note: I absolutely HATE my current main site, mainly because I haven't had time to properly deal with a redesign. That is in the works, though. My site is a great example of being careful about what you buy...the guy I bought my theme from is not only out of business, but completely off the grid!] Just pick one of the free ones for starters.
3) JuiceBox is about $100. Sure, there are some free gallery tools (heck, juicebox has a free version), but I haven’t found one yet that has the simple elegance and functionality that jb has. And, it can only get better.
4) Keep it simple. IMHO, while I think my music site is a great example of a simple portfolio site, even it borders on being too wordy. In reality, you could get by with a home page, a bio page, a contact page, and then some galleries. Because WordPress has so much to offer, the temptation is to “use it all”. Don’t give in to temptation.
5) You can photoblog, but set some rules for yourself and then stick with your rules. Just because you shoot it doesn’t mean you have to share it (that is, if it isn’t going to help you get or keep clients, don’t post it!).
That’s about it. If you get into it and have any specific questions, just let me know.
ps: one thing you can do easily with bluehost/wordpress (once you get the hang of it) is to set up subdomains for specific purposes. the subdomains are free and can have their own separate wordpress installations. this is where you would put your personal family website that you can share with your family without mingling it in with your business site. this is also how, as your business develops, you can set up separate websites (if necessary) for different aspects of your work.
You must be logged in to post a comment.