A Step by Step Guide to Making a Landscape Photography Website
Creating a website is a daunting task for many amateur photographers. However, building a website is something that all aspiring photographers must do at some point. Whether you want to create your whole website in just a couple of days, or if you just want to spend a short amount of time building it each night, this guide will help you create a website to show off your landscape photography.
Step 1: What is the purpose of your website?
Decide what the purpose of your website will be. Do you want to sell prints? Attract commercial clients? Encourage someone to license your images?
It's important that you approach building a website with a purpose, not just because everyone else has a website. Different photographers find different website building platforms helpful for certain purposes, so I suggest you figure out what the main goal of your website will be before you start.
Step 2: Figure out the look and feel of your website.
Figure out what you want your website to look like. You can change things on the fly, but it's nice to have a rough idea of what you'd like it to look like before you start to build it. Decide what pages the website will have, and how you want to display your images.
I recommend going online and looking at the websites of photographers you like in order to get some inspiration for your website.
Step 3: Decide who you will Host Your Website.
If you know how to read and write code, Wordpress is by far the best option for a website. However, most photographers don't know how to write code for a website, so going through a website building company is the way to go. Most photographers use Squarespace, Wix, or SmugMug for their online portfolios. I'd recommend evaluating the price of all three, and deciding which one suits your needs the best.
Check out all three options and their plans and decide which is the best for you. Most website builders will allow you to make a free website with their ads on the page, and a paid plan will allow you to remove ads and connect your own domain (for example: austinjamesjackson.com is my own domain, where as austinjamesjacksonDOTwixsiteDOTcom would not be).
Step 4: Build Your Website!
Spend a few days building out the pages of your website. Most website builders allow for responsive design, meaning that your website will look great on a computer, as well as on a mobile phone. Be sure to check out my blog post on 7 Common Mistakes Landscape Photographers Make on Their Websites, in order to avoid these common mistakes.
Be sure to carefully select only your best photos for your portfolio. Don't put anything on your online website that you wouldn't say is your absolute best work!
Step 5: Connect Your Domain
If your goal is to get any sort of professional work, it's essential that you have your own domain with a simple website name. I've always liked just using my name (austinjamesjackson.com) as my domain rather than something like austinjamesjacksonphotographyDOTcom, because it allows me to have the flexibility to expand the scope of my work without needing a new domain. Also, it is easy for my clients to remember since it is just my name.
I recommend getting a domain through GoDaddy. You can pay by the year, or multiple years at once for a reduced rate. Once you select and purchase a domain, you'll need to head back to your website host (SmugMug, Wix, Squarespace, etc.) and read the instructions on connecting a domain.
Step 6: Link to the website on social media
Your website is done, and your domain is connected. Now, it's time to add the link to all of your social media channels so that your followers can reach you! Make sure the website has a "Contact" spot somewhere obvious, so that someone interested in your services can reach you!
Building a website takes time and patience, but as a creative, it's crucial that you have an online portfolio to show your work. Be sure to spend time every so often updating the website with new images in order to keep it current. Once you start to build your website, I think you'll realize that it's easier than you thought!