An impactful website, SEO friendly, is the backbone of business outreach for every small business, or in our case a micro business, with just two partners doing every conceivable task – and all that photo stuff in between.
“No, we’re not on vacation. You haven’t heard from me recently, because I’ve set myself a task that takes every bit of my attention, and then some. This series is the current story of my journey into the depths of WordPress. The on-going blog will detail my learning process right as it unfolds. I’ll name names, reveal pitfalls, tell you exactly what I’ve done, and in the end you can comment on the results.”
Before you blog or work the necessary social media angles for your business, you’ve got to have a great web presence. Since great images take the “institutional” feel out of any website, photographers should be stellar standouts. Not so much. Unfortunately, we’re one of those. Our site gets compliments, but it’s too complicated, a bit older looking and it might as well be invisible to search engines.
As quoted in today’s Denver Post by tech reporter Andy Vuong, store owner Matt Vagts states, “I’m getting 80 percent of the work because of my credibility on the web. You take a little mom-and-pop shop like mine, and I can now compete with the big shops.”
Hiring a website designer has been for us an expensive and unsatisfactory experience. We’ve been through five of them, all with ties to the photo & video industries. I won’t admit the scary amount of money and the unconscionable delays on the part of these people we trusted. Worse – it’s obvious our sites don’t garner the ranking we though we were promised. Other business people tell me their similar horror stories, so I know our situation is far from unique.
For about two years I’ve heard “everybody” saying that WordPress is “so easy”. I’ve finally gotten mad and decided to do it myself. How hard could it be? I got serious back in April.
I looked in depth at sites made by people who claimed WordPress experience with my eyes concentrated on structure, functionality and content. Warning lights flashed in my mind, because most sites I found were institutional, cluttered with too much copy (or skeleton-like in lack of info), uninteresting and some even tacky.
OK, so I’m a pretty tough shopper. My vision is that the effective website should offer an emotional connection as well as an entertaining experience. I want a sparkling website that will be easily found by search engines, have fascinating, functional content will hold viewer attention and finally motivate a call or inquiry resulting in business. I’ll bet you want the same.
I was quickly overwhelmed looking at the variety and quantity of WordPress templates available. My six criteria:
- simple, impactful, architecturally uncluttered appearance
- multiple interesting photo display functions
- great video portfolio as well as stills
- absence of flash-based type or image motion that jump all over the place
- easy to follow documentation understandable tot he beginner
Some photo or video studios need just one site, but we need five, because, like a growing number of commercial and portrait professionals, we’re offering both services: three photo and video oriented with portfolio functions, one for showing and selling Karl’s video hardware inventions, and one in the embryonic stage that will be a blog about design, living, architecture, remodeling and art. I need five distinctively different looks and reasonable costs that don’t put us under water.
Evaluating the options of all-in-one hosting/templating vs. self-hosting and DIY