Many photographers have their own websites to showcase their works and interact with clients. These websites are very sophisticated and robust, and serve as a great instrument that photographers may integrate into their marketing strategies. As a photographer, having your own website can help you establish your status as a professional, provide a medium for potential customers to reach you, and demonstrate how passionate you are about what you do. If you are serious about photography, I strongly suggest that you setup your own website, and I will explain to you how to get one up and running in just a few steps. I’m not going to discuss how to get a website for free, and will instead focus on the steps of getting a website like this one.
Purchase a Domain Name
The first step towards setting up a website is to get a domain name. As part of the marketing strategy, your domain name should say something about you or the service you provide. The most common domain name scheme is either your name only or your name with a word that alludes to the photography service. For example, the domain name www.kevinkchanphotography.com tells you that this website is about the photography of a photographer named Kevin K. Chan. Very self-explanatory, isn’t it? Alternatively, you can use just part of your name in the domain name. My friend Adil, who is an accomplished professional photographer, uses just his first name for his website, www.adilphotography.com, and it actually sounds pretty great.
To purchase a domain name, just go to Whois and run a search for the domain name you like. If it is available, you can purchase it right away with just a few clicks. Most hosting service providers also have similar features on their websites, and sometimes may offer discounts if you choose to subscribe for their services. If the domain name you choose is already taken, Whois will tell you who this domain name is registered to, when will it expire and become available, and gives you the option to acquire or back order it.
Subscribe for Hosting Service
As stated above, most hosting service providers offer discounted or free domain name if you sign up for their service, which makes the whole process easy and smooth. However, if you acquired your domain name from a different source, you will have to find a hosting service provider to host your website. I personally find the service of Bluehost very satisfactory, but there are other companies like GoDaddy and HostGator that are quite popular as well. Once you have purchased the hosting service from a provider, you will have to transfer the domain name to that provider so it will point to the space they allocated for you. There should be detailed instruction for transferring a domain name to the hosting service providers on their websites, and the process normally involves you replacing the name servers of your domain name to the new provider’s servers.
Once you have transferred your domain name to the service provider, the next step is to setup your website. I usually use WordPress, which is one of the most popular blogging platforms available online. It is easy to use, has a lot of plug-ins, and is highly customizable. Although its content management system is just barely adequately for photographers, it is free to use and many hosting service providers gives you the option to install it with one click. If your service provider does not have that feature available, you may also download the installation package from WordPress, upload it to your domain’s main directory, and run the installation using the instruction from WordPress.
All WordPress sites use a basic template, or theme, by default. This theme is usually very plain and uninteresting, and you should substitute it with something more suitable for photographers. There are several photography themes available for free from WordPress, and they all fulfill the basic needs for photographers, including the ability to browse through images like a gallery. You may also purchase more sophisticated themes either from WordPress or another online marketplace. I purchased my theme from ThemeForest, which has thousands of themes grouped into categories based on their features. Take some time to look through the themes and find one that you like the most.
Setup Your Website
Because each WordPress theme is developed by different individuals or groups, they sometimes have very different advanced control mechanism. However, their basic controls should be the same. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the theme, learn the differences between different types of page, and understand how to create galleries to showcase your photos. Generally, you will want to have a blog section, an about me page, a contact page, and one or more photo galleries depending on whether you want to separate your photos based on subjects. You may also want a password-protected section where only specific clients with permissions may visit, and this can be accomplished using either the theme’s feature or plug-ins.
Finally, when you finish setting up your website, you should think about how to get people to visit it. You will want to perform some search engine optimization, or SEO, to make your website easier to find on search engines. Since I’m no expert on SEO, I will leave you to do your own research on it and find ways to drive traffics to your website. I hope you found the information here useful, and I look forward to seeing your websites.