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My New Project, Creating a Photography Blog With My Brother

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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 GoDaddy 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:

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:

  1. Good-Tutorials
  2. Pixel2Life
  3. Tutorialized

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!

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Comments

  1. You are so inspiring!! Thanks for providing such great information.

  2. Wow Micheal, what a great post. You seem to already have everything outlined and planned. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Eric D. Greene says:

    Michael, thanks for sharing – the new blog looks great and as I do a bit of photography myself I have subscribed to the RSS feed.
    You mentioned “all the plugins required” – would you mind to give a bit of insight as to what plugins you have started out with?

  4. It’s really great to see these fast results in this small time period. Wish you luck, you and your brother.

  5. metal pig says:

    Good luck to you and to your new project, Michael! 🙂
    Your brother is so lucky, he had one of the best mentor on his side… =)

  6. Physician Assistant Programs says:

    Wow! Awesome new blog guys! Congrats and I wish you both a wild success with this one.

  7. Hey Michael – If your brother is up to guest blogging on my wholly “for-photographers” blog called Tiffinbox, I would be honored. Feel free to check it out – http://www.tiffinbox.org. Will soon be deploying a new design with Popup Domination. Working on the offers now. But the site has seen a huge boost in traffic thanks to all the guest bloggers. If your brother wants to be seen as an “expert” there is no better blog than Tiffinbox to start that journey. I look forward to hearing from him. Thank you for your very informational blog posts!

  8. metal pig says:

    Michael, good luck to you and your brother on this new project! 🙂
    Your brother is so lucky, he had one of the best mentor on his side… =)

  9. Great job. I am in the process of starting my own blog as well. I hope you will be able to assist if I run into any problem. I sent you an email yesterday. Did you get it?

  10. I saw the photography site. It’s simply amazing, beautiful design and very nice flow. For sure will be another successful venture. Thank you for sharing all the valuable knowledge. Congratulations and best wishes !!!

  11. Joshua Zamora says:

    Great post Michael! I love tutorial sites for driving traffic. Some do take about a week or more to approve just incase someone start to use it for traffic.

    Great plan though and it definitely seems like you have it down to a science.

  12. marvincspw says:

    Great post Michael, good luck….

  13. Homes In Maryland For Sale says:

    A lot of great tips for building blogs. Thanks.

  14. Excellent work and very to the point and focussed on how to get the blog working professionally and earning money!

    Well done!
    Sean

  15. Steve Watson says:

    Fantastic looking site with an awesome domain name. It is really interesting & inspiring to read the process you went through while building it.

    Regarding traffic – do you get involved with the more traditional SEO stuff? I imaging you set WordPress up fully optimised for your keywords but do you follow any other link building strategies like article marketing, blog commenting etc or just rely on what you have mentioned in the post?

    Looking forward to seeing the progress over the coming months. I bet your brother is really excited about it!

    Excellent stuff as always

    • Michael Dunlop says:

      Hey Steve,

      Glad you like the new site. As for SEO, I don’t do anything special. I just focus on great content so that people link to it.

      Will keep everyone updated with how the site goes.

      Michael

      • Pete Moring says:

        “Glad you like the new site. As for SEO, I don’t do anything special. I just focus on great content so that people link to it.”
        And you’ve certainly got some great content there 🙂

  16. TrafficColeman says:

    I see some good things coming from this project..just stay consistence and motivated..

  17. Its very inspiring and detailed post to build a successful website. Thanks for sharing. Your new site is really cool.

  18. Kristi Hines says:

    Awesome! I just started a photography blog not too long ago myself so I’m immersing myself in anything and everything photography related! 🙂

    • Eric D. Greene says:

      Kristi – you’re starting a photography blog? Cool! That will make one more for me to follow! 🙂

  19. Estevan Montoya says:

    It is great to see that your information is the “real deal”! I have looked into other internet marketers, and their stuff is good, but I see your content, stories, and experiments as GREAT! It is a great to see someone who is real in an industry of wanna-be’s.

  20. Computer and Technology Blog says:

    Thanks and good luck. But Michael, is the adsense placement on your new blog, good? Is it a good idea to copy that style?

  21. Thanks for this blog reveal Michael. I’m looking forward to learn more how you build traffic and the idea of monetization. Seriously, your new photography blog design really amazed me. Good luck for your new project.

    😉

  22. Great to follow you in your new project. Hope to learn a few things from you guys along the way. I am off to check out the new site 😉

  23. John Litton says:

    Great and informative post! Thanks! Clever in placing links to the firms you have affiliate codes with, and useful to us at the same time. This is a great example of how to write a good post.

    QUESTION: Are you aware of any theme or photography site that has the ability to post low-rez and ‘water marked’ shots taken at random events and offered for DOWNLOAD purchase online? Back in the old days, photog’s would go to the beach, take pics and hand a card with a number and name to call. With internet, there must be a way for same people to go online and see a photo and buy it right there. Please let me know if any of you know of such a theme, website or whatever I could purchase for our use.

    Check out our blog as well:

  24. Francisco CAmpoy says:

    Hey Man!!!

    A Premium domain is a great idea and i believe it is going to work for you but i have a question. Why didn’t you buy an “expiring domain”? Usually Go daddy transfers you the domain as if it has never expired (because you bought it before it actually does), so it preserves all the quality.

    Thanks man
    P.S. I am tryin the pop up domination on 2 little blogs I have and im getting a very interesting amount of leads. Thank you for that plugin.

    • Michael Dunlop says:

      Expiring domains means a limited choice. I wanted to choose my domain, not take what ever is going.

      Glad you are enjoying Popup Domination, it rocks!

      Michael

  25. Fazal Mayar says:

    That is a good idea micheal as it looks like good niche. When I started like everyone, i wanted to be in the make money online niche but right now I discovered blogging can be profitable for many niches. Will try a cars blog.

  26. This is inspiring.I will follow your progress on this new site.I will be interested in the strategies you use to drive traffic and rank higher on the search engines.

  27. Dr. Rick Vogel says:

    Hi Michael, you are truly a blogging inspiration, especially at such a young age. I’m 42 and trying to get more traffic to my rant blog. Also, my Adsense account was disabled by Google a couple of months ago, so it’s been tough trying to monetize my blog as a newbie blogger! Any suggestions would be of great help, in addition to the daily newsletters I receive from you.

    Keep up the excellent work!

    Dr. Rick

  28. Hi Michael. You are an inspiration in the field of blogs. I have modeled your success and have opened a blog myself on energy info. I have more than 1000 followers in twitter yet the no. of visitors are not more than 30 in a day. By your convenience, I would be highly grateful to you if you take a look into my blog and give me some advice.
    Thanks a lot!!!

  29. Shane Hudson says:

    Good luck with this venture. The domain is actually fantastic, though I swear it used to be a photography magazine!

  30. I have been reading your posts from several months; all I can say is: You have online marketing in your blood…

  31. Awesome post. I’ll be borrowing some of your ideas immediately. Thanks man!

  32. Tyronne Ratcliff says:

    Awesome post as always, good luck with the venture.

  33. Very impressive project. I haven’t expected such rapid pace of development on the page. Your tips are very inspiring, I think that for all people with blogs, not only for those with photography ones. Very nice article, thanks for posting it.

  34. nice blog michael, good luck for your new blog

  35. Allan Urizar says:

    Great Job, Michael

    i have a sister that loves photography and i will share your new website with her i know she will like it.

    congrats.. as always i learn lot’s from you thanks for your effort.

  36. Jimmy Fuentes says:

    Weird you mentioned the domain being important for its keywords which in reality dont get much search querys at all. Less than 100.

    Now i do see how the domain is “good”, simple and it tells the user what it is about. But as far as SEO dont think its much help.

    I did run a basic SEO analizis and pretty much came to the conclusion that with a decent strategy you could be ranking for the top terms related to “expert photography” in a couple of months (months for the broader terms like “photography sites” which is the keyword from one of your post) si i think you should really pay attention to that.

    “photography sites” alone gets 30k searches a month which is your goal. I think your better just following the SEO way or atleast implementing it to your traffic strategy period.

  37. Aaron T. Andrews says:

    Lol Michael, you are a genius.. This is a great post and it contains a lot of great tips. Thank you for sharing and best of luck of the new venture..

  38. Bali Photographer says:

    This info are really simple and easy to try. I believe all to be happy with this. You shared information that is valuable to me and some other readers. Keep posting as I will be visiting this page from now on. Thank you for sharing with us the information

  39. Pete Moring says:

    That’s an excellent website Michael. So clear and readable.

    I dabble with photography myself and I’ve bookmarked the Expert Photography site right next to Yours in my Firefox favourites. I’ve a feeling I’ll be spending a good bit of time there….. Well done both of you.

    Cheers, Pete.

  40. Great looking, and excellent information. The only design thing I think you might tweak is the labels or subjects in the right sidebar, they look a little jammed together, would like them to be as tidy as the rest of the site!
    Good work though.

  41. Deepak yadav says:

    Nice Idea michael, i think if your bro doen’t able to make the website high you surely gonna make it a huge one.

    I am too planning to start a blog on hip hop music…

    I am sure the new blog will help us because we will get to know what you are doing to promote the blog…

  42. Dwight Anthony says:

    Great thing your doing Michael to inspire your brother to succeed online. Not much of us started with a good mentor as yourself. I’m curious on how you will build your traffic to 30K within two months, what is the PR of your site right now? I’m sure it’s possible though

    Dwight Anthony
    Financially Elite Blog dot Com

  43. Awesome post Michael and good luck in your new venture. Cheers 🙂

  44. Allan Steinberg says:

    Great ideas and a good effort which has given me some ideas about my site. Thanks.

  45. I went to the site and I was hoping to get an optin setup. I really would love to learn more about photography and if he is offering any training then that would be nice. Soon I think people will start offering courses on setting a blog on a particular topic.
    I will check on this often and see how it goes.
    Thanks

  46. Rune Ellingsen says:

    Hey Michael. This comment is here ONLY to show that I have readh through the whole article… Which means IT WAS GOOD. Love your posts dude. Always top notch. 🙂

  47. Name (required) says:

    Hi, Michael Sir. Good staff keep up the good work. Question for you today: i am 17 years old in grade 12 and i would like to ask if would it be a wise decision to take my univesity money which is $3000, and start a full time internet business? Thanks!

  48. Zach Crawley says:

    Wow, you know how to get a website running fast! Hoping to see some traffic like that to my site soon .. 🙂

  49. Straightforward, simple and right-on! Thanks for the inspiring post man.

  50. Eunus Hosen says:

    Very inspiring Michael! Good Luck 🙂

  51. George Tee says:

    Great post, Michael. I am happy for your new project photography blog. You listed different tools on creating a website which is really valuable. I’m looking forward to a new post regarding the reports of the project and how well it is going.

  52. Virtual Assistant Experience says:

    One of the most hard to monetize in the blogging world is “Photography Blog”. We are building website and honestly say that most of us blog because we are looking for more money, right? Can you give some tip on how we can get more money with photography blog aside of adsense placing??

  53. Hi,
    I love the way you write. Even I started my blog like the way you do and I do get loads of visitors now and Its true. All new bloggers should have the “NEVER GIVE UP” attitude. Usually many bloggers actually start getting traffic after a year or even more than that. But the content should be consistent and quality till you could get traffic.