The fact I had four web sites spread across three different host providers, with domain names and passwords scattered to the wind, pretty-well guaranteed building my new web site was never going to be a walk in the park.
It turns out I would have been more comfortable spending two months in a dentist‘s chair.
By the end of it, all three providers had sent me e-mails abusing the other for their shortfalls, and explaining – in terms well beyond my comprehension – why they’d been unable to deliver a functioning web site.
Today – possibly in testament to the success I’ve had reconciling them – my business now sits with a forth, entirely new host.
Still, it’s finally done so I thought I’d share a few helpful points for those who are thinking about building their own site.
Message: Distill what you want your web site to say into three key messages. For example, in my case, I wanted it to say that, as a tourism photographer, I was capable, professional and experienced. And I wanted to stress that my competitive strength is that I do a pretty good job of shooting people enjoying themselves (you’re right, that’s four).
Audience: Know who you’re pitching to: The temptation was to try and be all things to all people but, in the end, I’ve pitched to my three main client bases – tourism authorities, resorts and cruise companies who each have separate portals to head down. Beyond that, there’s avenues to sell my photographs through my library or to my books and prints.
Budget and Planning: Whatever you think you’re going to pay, double it. And, like cooking a recipe, lay all your ingredients out (ie the photos you want included and the text) before you start or you’ll drive yourself and everyone else crazy.
Flow and Functionality: Keep it simple. Basically, it takes two clicks to get my potential clients to where I want them to be.
Time: Allow the duration of a global pandemic to do the work, (‘cause, I’m telling ya, no one will deliver what’s needed when they say they will).
Template: Buy a template, don’t try and build it yourself (or believe others who say they can). What you can buy off the shelf nowadays is way-more sophisticated in design and functionality than what you’d want to spend the time or money building. I bought mine from Prophoto as an extension of my WordPress blog site, for which I pay an annual subscription.
Domain Name and Details: you need a domain name to have a site which will require a username and password to access down the track. Store the details in a readily accessible folder (or prepare to suffer a slow and excruciating death trying to retrieve it).
Become a Stoic. Since I began building this site, I’ve taken to reading Stoic philosophy and the words of Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus. Their discovery was purely co-incidental, though it has proved to be a timely confluence of interests that has prevented me from going the full Roman and casting everyone involved in this process to the lions.
You can view the fruits of this labor at www.kirklandphotos.com.