I strongly believe that any photographer, or any artist for that matter, will benefit from starting a blog. The era of photography websites are over as no one needs a static online presence. Every artist needs a fluid and evolving organism that can reflect his or her personality while simultaneously working to promote his or her talent.
Blogging evolved from online diaries into large self-publishing platform that can be customized and molded depending on one’s goals (i.e. self-promotion, sales, clients, etc.) or activities (i.e. travel photography, wedding photography, photography education).
Regardless if you are a professional photographer, an aspiring novice or an enthusiast with a big dream, blogging is the best tool to assist in growing as an artist as well as establishing and promoting your personal brand.
Here are the main reasons why, as an artist, you need a blog.
Blogging will help you get discovered
Photographers communicate through a visual medium – photography. However, visual language is not enough to market our talents in the online world. Even I strongly believe that a picture is worth a thousand words but somehow Google was not informed of this fact. The simple truth is that you need a thousand words in order for people to find your art online.
Blogging will help you develop your personal brand
Personal brand is what makes someone unique. It goes beyond your artistic style and is the sum of many things like your personality, your values, and your talent. Blogging will help you find your own unique voice and share it with the world. Although, you must remember that it takes time to figure it out and even longer to establish it.
Blogging will help you to grow as a photographer
Your blog is less rigid and restrictive than your portfolio. Your blog will let you experiment with your art, take risks and see what resonates with your audience.
Blogging can show your human side to the world
People connect with other people. What happens often in the online world is that personalities are lost behind faceless technologies. Through communication with your blog visitors, it is much easier to reveal the real human being, the face, behind your photography.
Blogging will help you learning by teaching others
My favorite quote about learning is, “The best way to learn is to teach others.” Even if you are just starting your journey as a photographer, you are already a few steps ahead of other people who are only considering taking the plunge. Your advice can be more valuable to them than the advice of the established artist who went through that phase over 20 years ago.
Blogging will keep you motivated and organized
The moment your blog starts accumulating followers, it gives you a purpose. You do not display your art for abstract internet users anymore; you create content for real human beings who actually like what you have to offer.
Blogging will teach you about the confusing world of online marketing
Online marketing is not rocket science but it takes time to figure out all of its components and how they fit together. By starting your blog early, you can naturally learn, as your blog grows, and at your own pace without any pressure.
Ideally, your photography blog should be the center of your self-promotional activities. Your blog will feed various content channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, guest posts, print publications, etc.) with unique content and, in return, content channels will bring you exposure.
Why You Should Use WordPress
There are multiple online solutions designed specifically for photographers (SmugMug, Zenfolio, Photoshelter) with blogging functionality built into them. Then, why choose WordPress? My position is that using somebody else’s platform for building a personal brand is like building a house on rented land.
There is nothing wrong with renting somebody else’s platforms (Facebook, Twitter, SmugMug) for promoting your brand but your brand itself (your blog) should reside on a platform that you actually own.
There are many advantages of WordPress, which I will list later, the primary advantage being the factor of CONTROL. You are in complete control of your blog content and its functionality.
- No one can tell you that, because of changes in service agreement, you no longer own your content.
- No one can tell you that you have to wait another year to get a new feature implemented.
- No one can tell you that if you are not happy with the service you cannot move your blog elsewhere because of the proprietary platform you are using. You and only you decide what is best for your blog.
Some of the advantages of running your photography blog on WordPress platform include:
- It is free. It is an open source project with thousands of professionals around the world working to improve it. It cannot be shut down or discontinued.
- It is easy to use. You can add a new page, a blog post, a photo or video in a few easy steps. No technical knowledge is necessary
- It is Google friendly. Search engines love WordPress because of its SEO (search engine optimization) friendliness. With WordPress, search engines have an easier time finding your blog.
- It is flexible. You can customize and extend its functionality by employing thousands of plugins. If you want to turn your blog into a membership site, there is plugin for that. If you want add the Facebook-like social component to your blog, there is plugin for that; or if you want to sell your photography directly from your blog, you guessed it right, there is plugin for that too. Actually, there is a WordPress plugin for pretty much everything.
In my case, I use WordPress to power my PhotoTraces.com blog. I host it at BlueHost to ensure that I own and control its content and decide what functionality I need. I also use StudioPress premium theme (Streamline Pro), which makes my blog mobile friendly (responsive) and completely compatible with future WordPress updates.
Related article: How to Start Photography Blog in Under 10 Minutes