Earlier in the month I started a new project with my younger brother, it’s a photography blog. He currently works as a sound engineer at festivals and concerts but has a real passion for photography. Recently he started a personal blog for his photography and had published a couple good posts. Content is the most important thing when it comes to a blog, without great content, your website is dead.
As he is very new to blogging, I noticed he was doing quite a few things wrong. I also use to be in the web design industry which is very similar to photography so I know how to grow a website real fast. I suggested to him that we team up, new domain, I’ll bring money and blogging talent and he can bring the content. Of course he was up for it but not before a lot of negotiating, my terms were real simple but because he hasn’t done much online, he wanted more then I would of expect. I decided to include in the agreement that he get’s the first $1000 of every month. This would give him enough security to quit his job and go full time with the blog which would mean we could grow the site quicker and make us more money. The basic’s of our agreement is that we own the business 50/50, he has to write so many posts a month and after we hit a curtain amount of earnings per month, I no longer have to invest my own money, it will be taken out of the business. I highly recommend you think long term when teaming up with someone on a project. I have teamed up several times before and didn’t think it out to well.
Buying a Premium Domain Name
I wanted to have a really good domain for this project so that we had the best possible chance of growing it quickly and also for branding purposes. I decided to just type any domain I thought sounded good into NameCheap and see what came up. None were available, no surprise really. I came up with the domain ExpertPhotography.com and typed it into my browser and it redirected me to a sales page on BuyDomains. I rang them up to find out the price and they asked for $3750.00. I told him to email me his best price and any other photography domains that they had.
He emailed over a 100 or so domains, some were really good but also very expensive. We negotiated over 3 or 4 emails and in the end I told him, $2000.00, that’s my top price, no further negotiation and I would purchase today. He went to the owner, discussed the price and agreed on it quite quickly. The domain is really good and has two keywords in it. Although it’s a great domain, it was a large expensive, before this I had only bought 3 premium domains and those were:
- TalkDev.com – $450.
- IncomeDiary.com – $100.
- GetRichNetwork.com – $650.
Since buying the domain from BuyDomains, I have gone on to buy another for just over $1900.00. This is my favorite domain yet and will be used for a new Popup Domination product.
Building The Blog
Most of you who read this know the basics to building a blog so I won’t discuss in much detail setting it up, but I’m happy to share with you how I got it to look so good for so cheap and any customizations I did.
I began by adding it to my server that I have at HostGator. I then got Clement who runs Blog Creation Domination with me to install WordPress, all the plugins required and the Headlines theme from Woothemes. As soon as the blog was online, my brother published a few posts that he had saved up. I went and talked to my business partner from Popup Domination who is an incredible designer. On Thursday evening he spent a few hours designing a header and a navigation bar for the website so that it looked unique. Once designed, I handed over the Photoshop documents over to Clement and he coded it up.
Most of you probably don’t have these two guys instantly available to you. If this is the case, I recommend you use Blog Creation Domination for creating blogs and 99designs for website design.
We further customized the website by doing the following things:
- Removed the spaces between the blog posts on the homepage and category pages.
- Changed the font to a more readable one.
- My brother wanted a slider on the homepage to show off his favorite posts. We found a great plugin on CodeCanyon called RoyalSlider.
- We don’t intend to really make money for the first month or so but we have added Google Adsense to the website.
- I moved the Read more buttons on the homepage from the left to the right.
- Removed the borders on the post images in the blog posts.
- Finally we installed a contact form plugin, so that we can invite readers to submit photos.
We still have a few thing we intend to add such as a subscribe box and a favicon. It’s a work in progress but I see great potential in the website.
Growing The Photography Website
I teach people all the time how to create content that will drive traffic, not many people actually listen and apply it, however my brother has.
My brother started by creating photography tutorials, these are great but alone, they are not enough. I told him the usual post headlines that are successful, those are:
- 10 Reasons Why Your Photos Suck
- 20 Top Photography Websites
- 30 Most Influential People In Photography
These types of posts are shared like crazy on social networks and by blog owners as well.
I was originally first in the web design industry over 5 years ago and back then it was so easy to drive a lot of traffic. My first month I had over 200,000 visitors and owned one of the main websites in the industry. This was before PSDtuts existed and about 10,000 copycats. This was even before social bookmarking websites were used so much. There were these websites that indexed all the best tutorials on the internet, you would submit tutorials to them and if the editor liked them, he would accept them and it would appear on the homepage and slowly move down the website. Everyone used these websites in the industry, so if you were accepted, it was likely another website owner would see your tutorial and link to you. Every tutorial you got accepted was likely to get over 2000 visitors in a very short period of time. There were 3 main websites to submit tutorials to, they still exist today and they are:
Some of my tutorials are still online and have had tens of thousands of views. One had over 50,000.
These websites use to get a lot more traffic and advertising was cheap. I remember working at a local supermarket earning $5 a hour and paying the owner of Pixel2Life $550 for a months advertising. At the time I was earning as much as $200 a day from the website and quickly quit my job.
Two of these websites accept photography tutorials and so every blog post we publish on our blog, my brother submits them to these sites.
I think this will be a main traffic source long term for us. The other two traffic sources I expect that will do well for us are search engines and working with other bloggers. We intend to do a lot of top lists and interviews. Hopeful this will get us featured on some of their blogs which will be great exposure!
One thing your notice is that I have had 1 visitor from Google, if it wasn’t for Facebook and Good-Tutorials I wouldn’t have had any traffic yet. Traffic takes time, it can take two or three weeks to see any visitors at all. DON’T GIVE UP YET! That’s why so many fail, they give up before seeing results.
As for earnings, we have already earned $4.00 – which is nothing really but considering it’s new and we haven’t really tapped into traffic yet, I recon with in a week or two we can be at $10.00 a day from Adsense alone. Then we will sell affiliate products and sell advertising.
If you are using Woothemes like I am, I suggest you submit your site to their showcase, this can be an easy source of traffic and exposure.
What We Intend To Do Next
Grow, grow and grow! It’s important that we build momentum and keep building the website. My brother is constantly adding to the list of customizations he wants, so we will continue to make it look and run better.
Once we hit 30,000 visitors a month which I hope to do within two more months, we will start selling adverts via BuySellAds, this works well in this industry. We will also start to review photography products such as cameras and lenses.
If you have any suggestions for our website or if you can help us in anyway, let us know in the comments!