A new website with a blog and a compilation of images uploaded to the site 5 days a week, in short, this is how I want to communicate my art practice online together in one central hub. The new web presence started as an idea a long time ago and during that time it has become something that has eaten away at me I would plan and think almost daily and I have even had dreams about where I want to be online.
Up until now my web presence had evolved over a 20 year period I had a website that was built using HTML it looked good, did a job but, was limited, for example adding or changing content often meant I had to get my head around lines of code again, it took time to make changes and therefore in recent times the site never got updated.
Of course during this 20 year period technology and the way we use it has moved on and today a website is accessed more by smart phone than a desktop PC and therefore the site must be optimised to load quicker and be responsive. New affordable software enables more beautiful website design which you must have to keep pace with your peers, and I wanted to tap into this.
I had a blog with a good following but it was hosted on Google’s Blogspot which again is limiting, it is free so I’m not complaining, but I could not connect the blog with the website. Moving forward I wanted to bring the website and blog seamlessly together because as we know it is best for SEO and it provides a consistent interface and therefore a better experience for the reader (so more SEO brownie points).
A few years ago I stopped updating my website and writing blog posts, the plan was to tear it down and start from scratch with flow charts and project management software (not quite that extreme) and I thought it will take me about 3 weeks, but, life and procrastination got in the way.
I went off in a different direction I started posting my photographs on Flickr and became something of a “power user’. Each image posted on Flickr was becoming a separate blog post and because Flickr is an application program there was no designing and programming I spent more time producing the images and expanding my projects and these included.
Year one continued for about 8 years, it was great fun and because I carried a camera with me all the time I would get those one off images. The intensity of the project taught me to look and see and source those images that come and go in a flash.
Taking a one off 365 photograph began to open doors to new projects, for 100 Strangers I approach random people in the street and ask to take a portrait photo they get a nice photo and I get a nice edgy pic, you know nobody objected to their photo being taken. I noticed that a few people had the names of Famous People so a new project branched. There was endless cricket and football related themes and I will go into detail with the next blog post.
Most important I envisage my site having lots of content that illustrates not just the finished artwork but the process and stories along the way. Every time I photograph a burnt wreck someone will come and talk and add information (what time, day it was torched and any story around why). I have spent a long time perfecting this process and I will explain how it evolved from the days I just took photos of rust and tweaked them in Photoshop to my current images that are specifically sourced to convey a landscape from above(or even below).
Creating this site with the destructive wrip it up and start again approach gave me the license to really be adventurous, for example: my old email address was a product of the days before we had email accounts stored in the cloud, so I have taken the opportunity to start again with a service that is right for the present
My technical research sent me through many software products and programs, I tried the many “photographer” platforms and I will in future blog posts be reviewing my experiences with SmugMug and Squarespace but, for the time being I will say that the applications are great for wedding and event photographers but I found their functionality and customisation too limiting for my requirements.
Eventually I chose the WordPress route, why? Because It gives me total control of the design, the SEO, website Analytics, content and sales format, that I was unable to achieve with the other options.
It is my intention in the future to record a YouTube tutorial showing how I produced this site. If you are a fellow artist, look out for that post and learn the fast way from my mistakes and experience I’m sure it will be of value.