One of the key elements of an online photography journal is telling the story. This site is my photo journal—although right now I use it to share my knowledge of technology & creativity—in the near future I intend to put up more of the work and the behind the scenes process.

As you take photos year after year, you want to eventually share the stories behind those special moments. Here are 3 tools you can use to share those stories.

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Choose the Platform

Choosing the right platform for you journal is crucial. Most any web platform can work but the platform should be suitable for  you. Are you looking to post a photos, then write a few lines of text? If that’s the case, then maybe instagram would be ideal for you. If your looking to post more details, then one of these platforms below are for you.

Web Site Builders

Below are a list of web apps that create your site based on specific themes. These tools work  to create the look and feel but many of them lack additional functionality or customization. They do offer you the ability to change the look of your site but they do no offer you the ability to change it’s capabilities. For example if you wanted to create a section where only clients have access, you’d either have to hire a programmer or switch platforms. Or if you wanted to add a particular method of payment (Square or Stripe)  you would only have the option to choose what that builder has built in.

These tools are used to  build a site but they do not create systems behind that site such as: Members only section, user log in, a forum, or any add ons you you would like to add down the road.

Advantages

  1. Quick setup
  2. Simple
  3. Affordable
  4. Fee option available

Disadvantages

  1. Lacks scalability
  2. Takes control from user
  3. Cannot Migration
  4. When your needs change upgrading it can be costly

Content Management Systems

CMS as they are typically called help you create a site but they also help manage content. Think of them as a massive database that keeps track of your photos, videos, text, users, etc…

These Content Management Systems provide a huge advantage over a standard builder. They provide a more complete system compared to builders. However WordPress gives more of a full featured set than Squarespace. A quick way to compare the 2 would be to compare Android Phones to iPhones. Android gives you more control over your phone than the Apple’s mobile platform. Of course every user is different — Some might require more tools than others — the best method is to write down your needs and look for the tool that comes the closet to those needs.

Advantages

  1. Options
  2. Plugins
  3. Scaleable (wordpress)
  4. Fee option available (wordpress)

Disadvantages

  1. Learning Curve
  2. Time Consuming

Blogging Platform

A standard blog can work as a journal, keep in mind however that you want to create a story for your readers not a note. These platforms though simple can help you focus and just write.  Of course you can also sprinkle your photos in between your copy to help give color and appeal to your readers. As you start to blog it can be tempting to take your site — journal in this case — to the next level, this is where blogging platforms become limiting, other than that they work perfectly fine.

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Verdict

If I had to choose one platform for a person who has photography skills and stories but lacks the time and skills to build a website, I would choose Squarespace. For those who are on a tight budget Wix and Weebly is a good place to start but I would recommend moving to Squarespace after you have enough content and an audience to view it.