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The Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Photoblog: Part 2

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Part two in a two part series, The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Photoblog will show you how to install Pixelpost, a leader in photoblogging software, how to promote your photoblog and some great examples that others have created.

If you'd like to find out more about the basics of Photoblogging, be sure to read Part 1, which offers a general introduction to the topic.

Setting up Pixelpost

Unlike Wordpress, Pixelpost was specifically developed for photographers and photoblogging. Like Wordpress, Pixelpost is a simple install and easy to configure.

Wordpress features a simple 5 minute install and will not be covered in detail here, many hosts also include it as a one-click installer. Wordpress photoblogs also vary greatly based on the template you decide to use as each one has its own variables and special fields. Pixelpost is meant for photobloggers and has none of the extra features to get in the way.

Step 1 - Download

Pixelpost Web site

Download the latest build of Pixelpost from their web site and decompress the files.

Step 2 - Upload via FTP

Upload the content of the Pixelpost folder to the desired directory on your server. Pixelpost is a very compact install and requires little space.

Step 3 - Check Requirements and Begin Install

Beginning installation

In your browser visit http://yoursite.com/installdirectory/admin

Visit the directory you uploaded Pixelpost to and go to the /admin directory. Now, Pixelpost will guide you through the installation. The first page of information checks your server settings to ensure your server meets the minimum requirements for running Pixelpost.

Pixelpost requires:

  • PHP version 4.3.3 or higher
  • GD graphics library
  • PHP function getimagesize() is available
  • PCRE UTF-8 support
  • Directories images/ and thumbnails/ writable. You may need to CHMOD these to 755 or 777

Step 4 - Database Setup

Setting up Pixelpost database settings

Pixelpost requires a database to work. Depending on your host, you will setup a database in your control panel, cPanel, admin area, etc. Once in your control panel, create a database, database username and password.

You will now enter the information you just created into the "database setup" screen.

The database prefix can be anything you wish, or just leave it as the default "pixelpost_".

Pixelpost will then check these settings to ensure everything is properly configured before it begins the database setup.

Step 5 - Create the Administrator

Creating Pixelpost administrator account

The next step in the install is very important. This is where you create the administrator username and password.

The system will e-mail the e-mail address you enter the information to ensure you don't misplace it if you select yes to the final question, "E-mail administrator credentials."

As with anything, make sure you use a secure password. Pixelpost is a very secure system, but it is only secure as your password.

Step 6 - Setup Photoblog Details

Now, you get to create your Photoblog. On this page enter your Photoblogs title, sub title and URL.

This information can all be changed later if you change your mind or can't think of a title while installing.

Step 7 - Finish Install

Finishing installation of Pixelpost

The final screens will confirm all your settings and then finalize the installation. Now, your Pixelpost photoblog is installed!

Step 8 - Post your First Photo

Admin panel in Pixelpost

Once you login, Pixelpost cuts straight to the chase. The first screen you see is the screen to post photos. Choose your picture, give it a title, tags and some details and you're ready to post.

Just like more complicated blogging platforms, Pixelpost allows you to delay posting in case you want to space out photos.

Digging Deeper into Pixelpost

Pixelpost has a large number of settings you can configure to customize your photoblog.

Themes

Default Pixelpost theme
Default Pixelpost theme

Out of the box, Pixelpost comes installed with two simple photoblog themes (seen above), they also have many themes available on their website.

Custom theming is also simple as Pixelpost uses HTML files with variables.

Categories

Category creation screen

After installing, make sure to setup categories for your posts. This will help make browsing through the archives easier for guests and can also help with SEO.

Options

Default thumbnail setup

Under the Options tab, you can change many of the site's details.

This is also where you control your template (or theme) and thumbnail layout. Each theme requires a different thumbnail layout. The default setup is rows of five thumbnails.

Recommended Add-ons

Pixelpost has a large developer base that has created some good add-ons. Here are a few I recommend:

Social Links - This add-on puts links on your post for friends to quickly share on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Muliphoto - This add-on allows you to have multiple photos displayed on the homepage. Most Pixelpost sites display only one picture at a time.

WYSIWYG Editor - This add-on turns the "description" field on the add image page into a WYSIWYG editor, so you can enter links, formatted text, etc.

Promoting Your Photoblog

Promotion is the key to generating traffic and a buzz. Here are a few ways you can promote yourself through social media.

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Every blog should have an RSS feed. RSS feeds allow people can subscribe to your blog to receive automatic updates. The following promotion tools will use your RSS feed to generate traffic and buzz. To find your RSS feed address, look for the RSS icon in your browser and click on it. This will be your address.

Also, it is a good idea to get a Google FeedBurner account so you can track exactly how many people subscribe to your feed and see what they're clicking on.

Twitter

Each time you post something on your Photoblog post it on Twitter. This may seem tedious, but online applications now exist to automatically post it for you.

Hootsuite RSS Feed screen

Hootsuite, along with other Twitter clients, can automatically post to Twitter from RSS feeds for easy promotion. Using Hootsuite, you enter your RSS feed link and tell it how often to update and where to post to, it does the rest.

Facebook

Much like Hootsuite, various applications exist on Facebook to automatically post your RSS feed to your profile as you post something new. Also, you can create a fan page for your photoblog to help generate fans.

Some Facebook applications that would be useful are:

  • Bloggeries RSS Feed Reader
  • Blog RSS Feed Reader

Site Showcase

Here are a handful of inspiring photoblogs that will give you a few ideas for your own site, and offer a selection of impressive images!

istoicaEVERYDAY

Pixelgrain

Sacramento Bee Photoblog

Joachimliedtke.com Photoblog

Photoblog of Uwe Eischens

Oculus Photography

Frisky Pics

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