In 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!
Beating the Time Limit
We both had time limits. I had to build the website outside of my current client work, which as a self employed web developer and business owner doesn’t leave much time.
Maureen had to select and to upload her first photographs and then add more on a regular basis while also working full time as a pupil support assistant for the deaf and living with a daughter and two cats.
To make this happen we had to make sure that:
- The building process was fast and efficient
- Managing the website was very easy to learn and quick to do
- Marketing the website by sharing it’s content had to be easy to do quickly
These three areas of work Building, Managing and Marketing are essentials for a successful website.
What Every Photographer Needs
If your time and resources for building and running your website are limited it is vital to be clear on what you need at the end of the day.
Taking into consideration my knowledge of as a web developer and Maureen’s needs as a photographer we did some brainstorming and came up with the following requirements which would help us achieve our goal.
Design and Construction
- Looks good and focuses on great presentation of individual photographs
- Easy to use and navigate for visitors
- Quick to set up
- Built on a reliable and well supported platform
- Mobile friendly
- Can be easily upgraded
- Easy to use for someone with limited technical knowledge
- New photographs can be quickly uploaded in bulk
- Watermarks can be easily applied to photographs to prevent unauthorized use
- Social Network profiles had to be set up to help people find the website and stay in touch by liking or following it. To start with we chose Facebook and Twitter for this as Facebook has great support for pictures and Twitter makes it easy to connect with people out side of your normal social circles.
- New content can be automatically posted to the MacPherson Landscape Photography Facebook and Twitter to save time for Maureen.
- Every photograph can be easily liked and shared on any Social Network
- The website is optimized so that search engines like Google can easily discover and index it so it will appear in the search results when people look for the places or topics covered in the posts.
The items above are not essential for every website, but knowing what we needed in advance helped us choose the right tools and strategies to make the launch a success.
To fulfil all Maureen’s requirements we needed not only a website but also social media profiles and a number of tools and components to help with our marketing.
To speed up the building process, MacPherson Landscape Photography uses WordPress as its Content Management System which in recent times has grown beyond it’s roots as a blogging engine and become the world’s most successful and well supported tool for running a website.
To save on design time I used a ready made theme which had the look we wanted with only minor customizations.
Our other requirements were met by setting up a combination of WordPress plug-ins which added extra functions to the website and a number of free web-based services to handle distribution of content for marketing purposes.
Covering all the tools and techniques we are using for this website will be too much for a single article so I will detailing them all in a series of future posts, including links and instructions on how to set them up.
Time To Start
I hope that this article and the ones that follow will save time for other talented creative people who have been holding off showcasing their work on the web due to time constraints.
If you are considering starting a photography website but have limited time or a tight budget the best thing you can do is plan ahead.
Make a list of everything you need your website to achieve. This process itself will make yourself setting up online less daunting.
Consider how your work will be best organized to make each page appeal to your visitors and think about the tasks you will need to perform on a regular basis to find and build your audience.
Once you have a clear picture in mind of how your website will operate you will be able to choose the right tools and features to make the process easy and fun.
Over the next month I will be publishing a series of articles detailing all the tools and techniques that we used for MacPherson Landscape Photography.
To receive the rest of this series and more free resources for setting up your photography website just sign up for free below the comments.