Help More People Find Your New Website With These 3 Strategies (Strategy 2 – Social Media)

Social Media for New Websites

Earlier this year I started writing up some simple guidelines to help new website owners start attracting visitors to their new website.

Strategy 1 was all about optimizing your website so that it will appear in the Google listings.

Strategy 2 is to help your target audience find your website on social media.

Sharing your websites content on social media is an essential part of any website marketing plan. Having a page or account for your website helps in two ways:

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Help More People Find Your New Website With These 3 Strategies (Strategy 1)

How do I get more people to visit my new website?

This is a question I have been asked on a number of occasions recently and is the main concern of most new website owners.

There are a lot of different things which affect the number of people that find your website. These include marketing, content creation, publishing schedule, social media and website construction to name a few.

As a web developer it’s my job to construct websites which are easy to find and share. In the past 6 years of doing this I have been learning as much as I can about the subject so I can build websites that will help my clients projects succeed.

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Bulk Upload and Watermark Your Photographs With WordPress

watermarked image

This article is part 4 of this Creative Transmissions guide to launching a professional photography website. You can find part 1 here: How To Launch A Professional Photography Website With No Free Time.

It has been a little while since the last post in this series which explained how to choose the best photography website theme for your new website. The main reason for this is that the next topic – WordPress plugins is a big one so I have decided to split it over a few posts.

Now that we have a theme in place to handle the look of the website the next step is to installing some plugins which will give WordPress some extra feature which will make updating and managing your photography website a breeze.

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How To Choose The Best Photography Website Theme (Including 6 Tips To Narrow Down Your Search)

This article is part 3 of this Creative Transmissions guide to launching a professional photography website. You can find part 1 here: How To Launch A Professional Photography Website With No Free Time.

A theme determines what your website will look like. Layout, fonts and colours and all other visual aspects of the website come from the theme. Choosing a theme for your website is one of the most fun parts of setting it up.

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The Building Blocks of Your Online Photography Showcase

This article is part 2 of this Creative Transmissions guide to launching a professional photography website. You can find part 1 here: How To Launch A Professional Photography Website With No Free Time.

The Building Blocks of Your Photography Website
A modern website is more than a static page or resource. It is constantly changing, growing and includes systems and connections to external networks to help it catch the eye of its intended audience.

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How To Launch A Professional Photography Website With No Free Time

MacPherson Landscape Photography Home PageIn January I had a lot of fun building the website for MacPherson Landscape Photography and seeing it successfully launch and attract over a thousand visitors in it’s first month.

The project had been delayed all year due to lack of time so Maureen and I took decisive action to build and launch the website for January 1st 2014.

To make this happen we used some specific tactics which I am going to share on the Creative Transmissions blog in the hope that they will inspire more creative individuals to break through the not-enough-time barrier and let their work out into the online world.

This project was different as Maureen is not one of my regular website development clients – but also my girlfriend. As the web developer this certainly made communication and goal setting easier but it also added its own set of requirements for success and of course for me the stakes were high!

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Learn from Everything

ZX Spectrum +2A (The A meant it was black..)

ZX Spectrum +2A (The A meant it was black..)

One of the best things about working for myself is how much I learn constantly.

As a web developer I’m already working in a field which is changing rapidly as Internet technologies evolve.

  • New techniques for building websites are invented every day
  • New phones and tablets with ever-better capabilities are released constantly
  • New programming languages and Frameworks are constantly being developed
  • Web browsers are constantly being updated with new features added

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Content – The Core of Your Website

Part 2/5 of A Simple Guide to Your First Website

What is Content?

Content refers to the information and media that your visitors come to your website to see. This could be articles or reference material you have published, music, photography, video, spoken work audio such as a podcast, a live audio or video stream or even online games.

Recent improvements in the technologies that make up the web have made all these different forms of media possible and relatively easy to publish on your website. While this opens up many exciting possibilities it is still important to do some planning before you start uploading.

How to Decide What Content to Publish

If you are thinking of setting up a website you most likely already have a main topic in mind. The most successful websites are usually focused around providing information about a single topic or theme. The more relevant your content is to the main topic the more useful it will be to your visitors.

A good place to start is with the purpose of your website. Are you trying to educate your audience about something with your website? If so each post or piece of content should increase your audiences knowledge of your topic. Trying to sell a product? The information you post should explain how your product will help your target audience.

What Your Audience Wants

Knowing your target audience is also a big consideration when deciding what type of content to post. Are you trying to reach academics and experts that need detailed reports? Perhaps you are reaching out to people with busy lifestyles who would prefer audio content they can listen to in their headphones while travelling or working.

If you can put yourself in your visitors shoes you have a better chance of creating content that they will enjoy, find useful and share.

Organize Your Content

Organizing your website into a number of sub-topics will help your visitors find the information they are looking for more easily as the size of the website grows.

Deciding on the organisation and types of content you will provide on your website is something you should do before you start talking to a designer or start building yourself. The content will determine the structure of the website.

For example a simple website about a particular musician could be organised into the following sub-topics:

  • Biography
  • Songs / Releases
  • Gigs

The website can then be divided up into a number of sections for each sub-topic, which will form the basis of the website’s structure.

Once you have your sub-topics you will then find it helpful to decide what format you would like to prevent your information in. For our musician this could be:

  • Blog Posts announcing upcoming gigs or reporting on previous ones
  • Image galleries of events
  • Streaming or downloadable audio recordings of songs or concerts
  • Streaming or downloadable video of songs or concert footage
  • Audio or video interviews
  • A tutorial on how to play a particular songs
  • A shop for buying merchandise

Knowing the types of media and format of the content will help you or your designer come up with a structure and layout for your web pages.

Do I Really Need To Plan My Content?

If your website is going to be anything more than a personal journal then you should spend some time planning your content. It takes time to write articles, record audio and make videos so why not make sure it’s time well spent. If you want you website to be a useful resource that hits the spot for your target audience you should make sure everything you post is relevant to your core topic.

Planning your content in advance will help you to set up a website that is:

  • Useful to your visitors by providing material relevant to the website’s main topic
  • Well structured and easy for your visitors to navigate and find what they want
  • Constructed in a way that allows you to publish information and media in the most appropriate formats for your visitors

An added bonus is that the more relevant and well organised content your website is, the higher is will appear in search engine results when people search for your topic in Google and Bing.

Put Your Content Plan Into Action

Once you have a plan for the content you are going to publish you will find yourself coming with ideas for new content all the time. At this point its time to spring into action and get creating. It’s never to soon to start.

Don’t wait until you have the perfect design, the perfect name or even a website at all. If you are working with a web designer or developer then the more content you can provide them with have in advance the easier it will be for them to create a website that works for you.

When you launch your website the more relevant content you have the better it will look to your first visitors. With a good plane you can start creating now with the confidence that everything you produce will help you and your target audience achieve their goals.

Give Your Project A Head Start With A Great Domain Name

Part 1/5 of A Simple Guide to Your First Website

Setting up a website can appear to be daunting if you have never tried it before. There are so many options, tools, services and website builders that it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Understanding what you need to get started online boils down to the five essential building blocks which I will be explaining in a short series of articles. The first of these is the your domain name.

What Is A Domain Name?

Your domain name is the name that uniquely identifies your website on the Internet, such as “google.com”, “amazon.co.uk” or “wikepedia.org”. You can also use your domain name as part of your email address to give a consistent and professional impression to your contacts.

A good and meaningful domain name will help your visitors discover your website and will increase your chances of being displayed high up in the search results on Google or any of the other search engines. A good domain name means more visitors.

Registering a domain name is a good place to start with your new project. The process of choosing a name will help you clarify your ideas, the cost is minimal and taking your first definitive action towards making you idea a reality will give you the excitement and momentum to move forwards.

Choosing Your Domain Name

To be effective your domain name should be or contain the title of your website. For example Creative Transmissions has creativetransmissions.com as a domain name so it is obvious to both Google and anybody searching for the business that this is the requested website.

If you are providing a product or service from your website you should think about what your potential customers would be searching for online and try and include some of the words they might used in your domain name.

For example if you are a photographer specialising in landscape photography you should used the words “landscape photography” in your domain name such as: macphersonlandscapephotography.co.uk.

The Suffix

The part of the domain name at the end is called the suffix, for example “.com” “.org” or “.net”.

If you offer any kind of commercial service should choose .com (short for commercial). This is the easiest to remember domain suffix so will help your customers remember you. If you are running a non-profit organisation .org would be appropriate or if you are running a local company you might like to use a national level domain name suffix such as .co.uk.

Domain Name Pricing

New domain names are inexpensive to register as the only cost is administration – you are paying for the name to be reserved for your use. Top level domains such as .com are more expensive and are usually around £5 – £15 where as national level domains are usually cheaper and registration for two years is usually less than a .com name would cost for one year.

Sometimes companies will offer you a free domain name which includes their own business or organisation name, for example “yourbusinessname.blogger.com”. These are not true domain names and are not given a high priority by search engines. At the end of the day they just give more exposure to the website you register with instead of your own. In addition you are not usually able to use these in you email address. For maximum exposure, control and flexibility your domain name should include only the words you choose and nothing else.

Getting Started

Registering your domain name is usually your first step to setting up your first website. The main points to consider are:

  • A domain name should clearly describe what your website is about
  • You will be more likely to get more visitors if your domain name contains the words your visitors are likely to search for in Google.
  • Domain names which include another companies name should be avoided

If you have an idea for a website you can use the Creative Transmissions domain name checker to see if your domain name is available for registration. You can visit the domain names page here to try it out.

Showcasing Art and Photography Online

Since this article was written serveral years ago some technology has changed and I now recommend WordPress as the content management system of choice for photographers. This article is still useful for understanding some terms and technologies you will encounter. To read about the latest developments in websites for photographers please visit the new Photographers Resource Page.

There are many ways to display photography or other images on the web. This article as a brief guide to some of the options that are available and some to the important factors to consider when setting up a website to showcase your work.

All the solutions here are open source, use technologies based on open standards and are free to use, customise and build on.

Most websites that display photography use a gallery, a slide show or a combination of the two.

Galleries

Galleries consist of a page or a number of pages of small thumbnail images which the user can click on to see a larger version at a higher resolution.

These are useful for visitors who are looking for a specific image or two and do not wish to have to browse the whole gallery to find them.

Common features of galleries include:

  • Displaying a caption for each image
  • Display additional information about each image, for example resolution, camera specifications etc
  • Organise the collection of images into albums, grouping them by subject or other category
  • Visitor comments

Galleries, like most web-based software consist of a collection of web pages and scripts. Most can be set up by copying the files to a particular folder on your website and uploading your images to a subfolder using FTP or an online file manager. Some galleries will run from a web page on your site which you can then customise, whereas others can be inserted into a page you have created yourself, giving you more control over the layout.

The more advanced gallery programs store all the photograph, album and related information in a database, such as MySQL Not every hosting account will include this so it is important to check that a database is available when choosing your hosting package.

Galleries which use a database are much easier to maintain and allow you to update and organise your gallery using an online administration tool instead of having to copy files to the server, edit text files and resize your images manually.

Many galleries include slide-shows, however you do not need a fully featured gallery if all you need is a slideshow.

Slide Shows

There are also a large number of different kinds of solutions for displaying your images in a slide show. These range from the simplest technique of moving through a list of images every few seconds, to visually impressive special effects and transitions.

The most popular techniques are Javascript and Flash slideshows.

Both of these solutions involve adding some kind of code to your website and uploading your photos to a source directory on your host server.

Using the Flash option also requires that any visitors to your site have the Adobe Flashplayer installed in their web browser. As any delay in a website loading can put off potential viewers it is important to ensure this is done properly and that if the user is unable to install the flashplayer, a fallback method is available so the images can still be viewed.

This has become even more of an issue recently due to the widely publicised arguments between Apple and Adobe. Apple have banned the use of the Flashplayer plugin on their iPads, iPhones and the iPod touch, claiming that it’s heavy use of the devices processing power will spoil the users experience due to slow loading and crashing. Considering the increasing popularity of Apple’s devices world wide, especially in the design and creative industries, it is a wise move to ensure that users of these devices are not excluded from viewing your work.

Unlike the other options, Flash is not open source but is owned by adobe. As such it is hard to customise one of these slideshows as once the author releases the Flash file it cannot be edited, so usually you only have the option of changing the photos which are displayed.

The most widely accessible method of creating a slide-show is to use a Javascript solution. This involves uploading some script files to a particular location on your server and including a link to the main Javascript file in your web page’s HTML code.

There is plenty of choice in Javascript based solutions out there offering different transition effects and levels of customisation. If you are familiar with Javascript you will find you can generally customise these to your heart’s content.

Recommendation

I would recommend that if you are serious about making a professional looking site with your art or photography that you choose a combination of these two methods. A gallery program which allows you to easily upload, tag and share your images to keep things fresh, and a slide-show which will run without the need for 3rd party plugins to ensure you or your web developer can fully customise the viewers experience.

Below are a selection of links for gallerys and slide-shows. All of these are open source and free to use. Gallery and Coppermine are one – click installs with all Creative Transmissions accounts. All of the slideshows can be used with pretty much any web hosting account as they do not rely on any particular server – side technologies. I would suggest checking them all out to see which suits your needs. There are of course many more out there and new solutions are being developed all the time.

Gallery Links

Please note that most of these galleries can be previewed using a number of themes, look for a drop down box at the top of the page to change them.

CoppermineDemo Page

GalleryDemo Page

PloggerDemo Page

Zen PhotoDemo Page

Slideshow Links

Leigeber Animated SlideshowDemo Page

Barack SlideshowDemo Page

Space GalleryDemo Page

PikachooseDemo Page

NoobSlideDemo Page