This is the fourth post in a series about getting your photography business online. If you haven’t read Part 1, 2 and 3, scroll down and read them, then come back here.
OK, now you have a blog, a place to host your album showcases, and an e-commerce site. They only thing left, to get your photography business online, is to develop a website (this is the last step, but it is an important one). While the blog is an excellent ‘first-step’, it is most effective when it works, hand-in-hand, with your website.
Why do you need both a blog and a website? The answer is within the nature of each.
A blog is a very dynamic thing. You can add to it everyday (we suggest adding to your blog as often as possible, but at least, weekly) The last post goes on top and readers have to scroll down to see earlier posts. Of course, you can have a table of contents and archives.
A web site is more static. While you want to keep it up-to-date, it is a more permanent source of information about your services, prices, photo galleries, etc.
The two go hand-in-hand and you link from one to the other.
There are several ways to get a web site. First, you can hire a web designer to create a custom web site. These custom sites can be wonderful, but they can be very expensive to create, expensive to maintain, and very difficult for the owner to modify or add to, without paying a fee to the designer, each time you want to add something. If high quality is your goal, and money is not an object, this might be the way to go.
After the custom sites, you might want to consider buying a template site. These can be a good value and give professional results. Often, you can customize them to some degree, but they don't give the design flexibility of a custom site.
The third option is to design the site, yourself. This can give you the maximum flexibility, and lowest cost -- if you have the time to learn the skills. However, once you learn how to build a site, if is easy to make additions and changes.
Years ago, web builders had to learn a complicated series of "tags" to control what a site looked like and how it functioned. Over the years, a number of web design programs have been developed. Today, most of them are WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). You can place graphics elements and text anywhere yo want, and the program will generate the HTML code (or tags).
The web design program that I recommend -- and have been using since the mid-1990s --is Net Object Fusion. NOF comes with templates, which you can easily modify, or you can begin with a blank screen and add your own elements.
Finally, there is another solution. I will build a basic web site for you. This offer is for photographers only. It is not the fanciest site, but it is a clean design and has the functionality that a photographer needs -- at an affordable price. Go here for details.