Research – Website design and building
I will be researching various companies that provide website design and hosting. I am looking for an elegant looking website that can display my images at full resolution in galleries and also be able to display videos. It should also be straight forward to setup and maintain. There are many websites that now offer a template style where it is quite straight forward to put together a professional looking website just by drag and dropping images into ready made designs. The disadvantage of this is that you could end up with a similar website to another photographer. If I am going to go down this route I would need to have the option of being able to customize my design so that I could personalise my website enough to make it stand out from other users. Below is a list of companies that offer this kind of service.
My personal website – http://www.kierenwelch.net
www.format.com – Clean, professional, easy to navigate, not expensive, easy to set up, hosting included, optimized for mobile devices, includes blog, client proofing, online store, links to social media, title can be shown on image, images can be viewed full screen on blog, videos can be uploaded. Looked good on my ipad.
www.wix.com – Free to get started, huge selection of templates, blog, simple pricing structure, SEO, optimized for mobile devices, advanced design features like scroll effects and animation, unlimited fonts, media galleries. For some reason it didn’t work well on my ipad.
http://www.godaddy.com – Works well with WordPress blogs, bespoke Web design available, free start up, SEO, Web security, good selection of templates or use their website builder software, online marketing, mobile app, hosting and domain names supplied. They offer so much that their website can be a bit confusing.
http://www.squarespace.com – Impressive website (nice and clear), domains, online store, mobile optimized websites, marketing tools, websites have a blog feel (lots of scrolling), nice add on blog, email campaigns, social media integration, SEO. Not sure if I like all the scrolling?
http://www.weebly.com – Focused on selling, the websites have a less arts and more corporate feel about them, simple pricing, online store, blog, nice big image on home screen of websites. It’s more like an online shop. All the website themes look very similar.
Project specific website – http://www.conflictmemorylandscape.com
After researching various project based websites I was very impressed with The Sochi Project website which had a blog feel about it. It includes large clear high resolution images in galleries as well as videos and text.
I have previously used ProPhoto which creates plug in based websites that support WordPress blogs. I will have a look at what options ProPhoto can offer and see whether it could work well for my project based website.
ProPhoto requires you to pay an intial licence fee and then pay for a theme that can be anywhere between $99 and $600. There are some free themes available but these seem to be a bit limited in what they can do. ProPhoto is optimised for desktop computers as well as tablets and mobile phones. This is very useful in an age when the majority of people use mobile devices to access the Internet. Images can be displayed in various ways including slideshow, tiled, carousel and slider. I think the tiled format would be ideal for my images as it would allow my images to be viewed full screen. You can integrate Instagram to your site as well as including buttons that link to other social media sites. ProPhoto allows the viewer to go from website to blog seamlessly.
ProPhoto full licence $249
Premium design template – up to $600
Web hosting and domain – $108 each year.
Another option for creating a blog type website is by creating a WordPress blog from scratch and then upgrading to one of the more advanced plans that WordPress offer. A premium plan starts at £7 a month and includes advanced customisation options and access to premium themes. The only downside I see is that you do not get the website/blog combo, it is much more of a blog only site so it looks a bit one dimensional. It is quite a bit cheaper doing it this way though as it includes hosting and a domain name for the first year. You have a one off payment which is much simpler than having to pay a hosting and domain company separately, this is very appealing.
Some premium themes that interested me –