The purpose of this post is not to present the definitive reference on creating your own WordPress photo blog. There are certainly many existing references you can find online or in print. I did however want to give you the basic steps in setting up your website. Think of this as your quick start guide to getting your WordPress photo blog online.
Choose a Domain Name
This will be the URL or location on the web for your site (e.g. MyPhotos.com, etc.). First, you need to make sure your domain name is available. There are many sites on the internet that allow you to check for available names. I like to simply use the Go Daddy website for checking. You don’t have to purchase your domain name from Go Daddy once you’ve found the available domain you want. I usually buy and manage my domains from them, but you can purchase domain names from a lot of places. In fact, most web hosting plans give you a free domain name when you buy one of their hosting plans, so you could just get your domain from them. Which leads us to the next step…
Get Web Hosting
These days, there are more and more places selling web hosting that are popping up. The good news is that prices are more competitive and affordable because of this growth. Two web hosting companies I’ve used and would recommend you check out are iPage and Web Hosting Hub. Whichever hosting you choose, just make sure they give you the capacity to grow your photo blog as your content increases.
Once you have your domain name and web hosting set up, it’s time to install WordPress. There are several ways to install the program. WordPress is very easy to install. Depending on your web hosting company, there should be an icon that you click and simply follow the prompts. For example, iPage has a specific icon for installing WordPress. Web Hosting Hub uses the cPanel interface (which a lot of web hosts do) and a program installer called Softaculous. In this case, you’d just click on that first to get to the WP install icon.
Add Welcome Page and other Information
Now that you’ve got WordPress installed, it’s time to add some basic informational content. In WordPress you can create posts or pages. Blog posts usually appear on your home page when someone accesses your site via the main domain (e.g. MyPhotoBlog.com). They can appear one after the other on the same page. Pages in WordPress appear as separate web pages which can be accessed via your menus.
When starting up your photo blog, you’ll probably want to add a welcome post and an about page introducing yourself and your work—stuff like that. Other content you’ll need to add will be a contact page with your information, rates, etc.
Modify or Change your WP Theme
Wordpress uses themes to display your content. These themes contain the program code that determines how your site looks—the pages, header, footer, menus, etc. Again, there are many sources of WordPress themes or templates available online—many of them free. In the past, I preferred to create my own custom theme rather than use the one or two default themes WordPress provided. You can still create your own themes using tools like Artisteer. However, with WordPress version 3.5 you can now browse and import an extended selection of themes right from within WP itself. Many of these are also highly customizable, so I’d recommend you start out using this method. If you find that none of the available themes from within WordPress suit your needs, you can always choose to create your own later.
Upload your Photos
Okay, you’ve got some great pics you want to show off, so it’s time to upload those babies to your WordPress site. Uploading is very easy to do. Just click on the Media menu in WordPress and select Add New. Locate the images on your computer and start the upload process. Once your photos are uploaded, be sure to add some alt text descriptions. This will allow the search engines to more easily locate your images.
Add Plugins to Display your Work
Once your photos are uploaded, you could simply add them to your posts and pages. And, if you want to highlight or showcase a certain photo, that’s what you’d probably want to do. However, if there are a group of shots you want to show off, there are ways to display them on your site in a snazzier eye-catching way. That’s where plugins come in. Plugins are separate programs that allow WordPress to perform other functions or display your data in a different manner.
There are a ton of WordPress plugins that are available. If you go to the plugin section in WordPress, you can do a search on what kind you’re looking for. I’ll be posting a separate article on some photo plugin examples and recommendations soon.
Continue to Update and Refine your WordPress Photo Blog Site
The key to having a successful and popular photo blog (or any website for that matter) is to continually add and update your content. As your photography business or hobby progresses, this should not be a problem at all. Share your passion with others and you’ll be surprised how many of them respond.
Well, that’s my quick 8 step guide to creating your own photo blog in WordPress. Now it’s up to you. I look forward to seeing your work online soon!