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How to Succeed on Wordpress.com Without Really Trying


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21 replies to this topic

#1 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 00:42

Two years ago I had 550 images hosted on flickr. One day I tried to log on and everything was gone. At the time flickr was deleting entire archives of images for relatively minor TOS violations. Around that time a lot of serious photographers left flickr. You probably hear more about them going to google+, but I found Wordpress.com as a solution that better fit my needs.

Wordpress.com claims they host over 58 million blogs. Not all of these are photography. The really popular topics are cooking, self help, travel and personal trials and tribulations. Many of these topics are illustrated with images too. Despite its vast size, I have found very few users of photo forums hosting their images at Wordpress.com.

Because I was completely without a host, I needed something that I could put together fast. I tried Tumblr, but did not like the format. Simultaneously, I hosted a group of images on Zenfolio and Wordpress.com and noticed that I was getting viewers on the later. Wordpress.com has a very strong community which if managed properly will produce a significant amount of traffic. I am not trying to make money off this, but I want my work to be seen. I did not try to tap into the community aspect of Wordpress.com until recently, and now wish I had earlier.

It was also very important that the site have a TOS that was friendly to my needs. There are some image hosts that prohibit any non consensual photographs and others that prohibit nudes. Although I don't ordinarily shoot nudes, generally that kind of prohibition leads to problems with any sort of racy image. As for a ban on non consensual photography, that is a total non starter for anyone who does street photography. Additional research revealed Wordpress.com would allow mature material, but they handled it by not indexing it so that it would not show up in their reader. In their support forums they make reference to “repeatedly” posting mature material which at least indicated they were not interested in occasional or minor violations.

The really good part is Wordpress.com offers a nice package for free. They provide 3 gigabytes of storage. That is over 12,000 web sized images. They have a large variety of themes to choose from. The user is not stuck with a single layout. The service has been reliable with very few outages or slowdowns.

The bad part is they do put advertisements on your site and it costs $30 per year to get rid of them. Persons signed in to Wordpress.com do not see these advertisements, nor does anyone using Adblock. Upgrades and extras are relatively expensive such as $30 per year for custom fonts and colors.

When using Wordpress themes the basic layout is that your work is presented chronologically, the most recent is first by default. Things can be organized by category using a menu that is built into most themes. If the user desires a gallery oriented layout, one may be purchased for a one time charge of $68. Very few of the photographers are using this layout. If that is what you need, there is always Zenfolio.

I also like the blogging concept. When you have a blog you can claim to be a journalist. That can come in handy at times.

If you decide to move to Wordpress.com I recommend that you do it gradually. Post relatively small (8 to 12) groups of related images with one large size, and some text to give it a bit of a story. Do one of these a day. Do not use more than 14 categories and tags combined or your work will not show up in the reader. Go through the reader and reach out to other users by pressing the like button. You should be up and running in a short time.

Any questions?
See my photography at http://ronscubadiver.wordpress.com/

#2 RC51

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:06

Interested Ron..... Just checked out your blog. It looks really good!

I did not see any adverts so I assume you pay for this option. What options did you end up paying for on your account?

Cheers
Bez

#3 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:32

Bez, if you are using a browser with Adblock installed the advertising is not visible. Also, I believe it only shows up if you click on a blog entry to see it. It does not usually show on the main page with 10 posts (the number is optional)
See my photography at http://ronscubadiver.wordpress.com/

#4 RC51

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:46

Ahh yes I have adblock I forgot..... So I take it you have managed to work within the free service?

Cheers
Bez

#5 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 02:04

Ahh yes I have adblock I forgot..... So I take it you have managed to work within the free service?

Cheers


Yes, no money paid out so far. What a lot of people do is get their own domain for $18 per year. Also, I want to make it clear that some TOS violations can get a blog suspended and serious ones like spamming might result in the equivalent of deletion.

Edited by Ron Scubadiver, 29 November 2012 - 03:38 .

See my photography at http://ronscubadiver.wordpress.com/

#6 the_traveler

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:48

Nice writeup, Ron

I chose Zenfolio because of the themes and the unlimited capacity.
I have a lot of client and event work hosted and, at times, go over 4000 images online.
They have lately introduced a very nice blog feature that is very flexible and a capacity for custom pages.
I am just writing an 8 part (approx) article on creating images that is being hosted as blog entries but will be indexed on a custom page.
(if you are interested in reading this, the first three parts are up at http://lewlortonphoto.com/blog
Lew

My latest photo oriented blog posts include "Getting to a Final Image - some words for a new photographer."

Pictures and the occasional blog posting about photography and travel at http://lewlortonphoto.com

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#7 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:58

Lew, I think Zenfolio is an excellent host. One of the things they have is the possibility of setting up an e-commerce site for about $130 per year. I only host web size images, so I don't ever expect to fill my 3 gigs. However, if one has a need for large size images then storage space matters. What I do know is Wordpress.com works for me, and it seems to get overlooked by many.

BTW, the content at your link looks good.

Edited by Ron Scubadiver, 29 November 2012 - 04:04 .

See my photography at http://ronscubadiver.wordpress.com/

#8 schwett

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:24

thanks for the writeup! what kind of tools do they provide to monitor traffic and so on?

I like Flickr - and don't have any issues with their TOS - but i use it primarily to share images with people I already know. I've been contemplating a more general purpose site (I have my own domain and have for a long time, but it's too much trouble really.)
http://photo.sfmthd.org/ [under construction]

#9 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:36

Wordpress.com does give you stats including where referrals come from and which images or pages were viewed. Long term stats are a bit lacking. If I ask for the hits from the last quarter it will only give me something like the top 200 items. There is no way to replace an image and carry over its stats. They just rolled out a new media editor today, and I don't know what it's capabilities are.

The problem with flickr's TOS is its vagueness. A very good Indian photographer's site was deleted because (it is my belief) she had a few street shots with children in them. Some user complained it was creepy, and boom, she was gone. The gal was lucky because some blogger took up her cause,s people flocked back to her when she recreated the site. flickr never exactly told her what was wrong.

A free account on flickr is limited to 200 visible images, which is hardly anything.

Edited by Ron Scubadiver, 29 November 2012 - 04:40 .

See my photography at http://ronscubadiver.wordpress.com/

#10 schwett

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:22

...The problem with flickr's TOS is its vagueness. A very good Indian photographer's site was deleted because (it is my belief) she had a few street shots with children in them. Some user complained it was creepy, and boom, she was gone. The gal was lucky because some blogger took up her cause,s people flocked back to her when she recreated the site. flickr never exactly told her what was wrong.

A free account on flickr is limited to 200 visible images, which is hardly anything.


i wonder what causes them to crack down on someone? most likely a complaint, and it seems they had or have a sort of wipe first ask questions later (or never) approach. the free account is useless, but the pro account is very cheap. i've had one for ages with a few thousand pictures on it. useful for sharing with friends and very easy to use.
http://photo.sfmthd.org/ [under construction]

#11 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 14:16

Flickr is an alternative. I think it is $28 per year. I just wanted to show an alternative that has not been used much by the NG members.
See my photography at http://ronscubadiver.wordpress.com/

#12 schwett

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 15:39

i think the nicest thing about wordpress is the ability to make it more blog like. flickr is really just about seeing pictures. the context provided by the little introductory paragraphs you write makes a difference.
http://photo.sfmthd.org/ [under construction]

#13 Shac

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 17:18

Thanks for this Ron - v. useful and interesting

#14 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 21:42

Thank you Shac.
See my photography at http://ronscubadiver.wordpress.com/

#15 Tersn

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 22:07

Thanks for the reminder. I have been registered at worldpress.com for quite a while, but never did anything about it. Will reconsider it now (look into the possibilities of worldpress).

Edited by tersn, 30 November 2012 - 07:44 .

tersn
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On flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsnd09/


#16 Dallas

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 12:14

Seriously folks, you spend thousands and thousands of Dollars on camera equipment and then you go looking for free hosting to display your stuff, sometimes for professional purposes? I can't fathom the thinking behind that when there are website hosting services that cost less than the price of a couple of beers a month.

Clicking on an ad just once a day will help me tremendously with financing this site. 

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#17 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 12:21

Come on Dallas - I dont drink beer !!!

:) I use a wordpress template and host thru Dallas - and I am veeery happy :)
"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#18 Dallas

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 12:31

OK, less than the price of a couple of packs of smokes...

It takes about three or four clicks to install WordPress on a cPanel based web host. I don't go chasing web hosting business as it's not really my thing, but I do host websites for photographers who turn to me for assistance. Nearly all the people I have helped with WP sites and hosting are at the top of search engine results for their chosen keywords and the content strategy I share with them.

Clicking on an ad just once a day will help me tremendously with financing this site. 

You can also support the site by buying your gear from the affiliate advertisers below (use these links):

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#19 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 14:23

Dallas, I don't attempt to earn income from photography, so the free aspect is nice. With a domain for $18 per year, $30 per year for no advertising, and a custom theme for a one time charge of $68, the package looks very slick. What is nice about it is the community aspect which generates traffic. I have visited peoples sites on various "professional" hosting platforms and when they have a visible hit counter they get less traffic in a year than I get in a day. Based on some of the sites I have seen, I am certain some photographers are making money off their Wordpress.com blogs.

This is something that can be used in addition to a service like Zenfolio. The pro services allow for separate password protected galleries which are very useful. There is a way to do that on Wordpress, but it is clumsy.
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#20 Dallas

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 06:00

You can use a plug in called NextGEN Gallery for WordPress which is great. To protect a gallery you simply put a password on the page that gallery code appears on. I do this quite often on my site when I send up samples to my clients. See http://www.dallasdah...-in-mpumalanga/ for an example. This is a free plugin.

You can probably still get private hosting and a domain name cheaper than $48 a year from some service providers. $18 is pretty high when GoDaddy only charge $12. And remember, when you have private hosting you also get a private mail server, so you can add as many email addresses on your own domain name as you'd like, plus of course the myriad of other features (including AWStats) available on cPanel.

Clicking on an ad just once a day will help me tremendously with financing this site. 

You can also support the site by buying your gear from the affiliate advertisers below (use these links):

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Adorama | B&HThinkTankPhoto | Digital REV | OWC 

Alternatively you can DONATE via PayPal (donor list)

 

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