Having a Professional build my New Web Site
Over the last few weeks I have been working with Rik James of Creative Fabrik to build and relaunch my new web site. My old web site was built for me just over 10 years ago by my good friend David Robinson, and he made a great job of it. Thanks David. Although it was a great web site, both my photography and web design have moved on in that time, so rather than having my existing web site updated, I decided it was time for a completely new site.
I could have opted for one of the `web site builder packages` like Clikpic, Wix etc. but I decided against that option. These type of sites are supposedly easy to build using templates, but my IT/ computer skills are very limited, so I decided the easiest option was to have someone who was a professional to build a bespoke web site for me.
Because I needed the web site to showcase my photography, it needed to look clean, professional, unique and be easy to navigate. It also needed to look good on both a PC /laptop as well as on a Smartphone.
I have known Rik James of Creative Fabrik for a number of years through table tennis, and I knew that he ran his own IT web building business, so the decision to use him was an easy one to make.
When I first contacted Rik he suggested that I send him links to four web sites that I liked so he could then get an idea of how I wanted my web site to look. I duly did this and his comments were that although the pictures in these web site were very good, as web sites, only one of them was both PC and Smartphone friendly. What this means is that when viewing a web site on a PC/laptop you are looking at it in a horizontal format. When you look at a web site on a Smartphone you are looking at it in a vertical format. It was important to have a web site that would be both PC and mobile `friendly`. This was something I had not even thought about until Rik explained it to me.
Because am I paying monthly for Adobe CC and Lightroom, Rik suggested that he could build the web site using Adobe Portfolio. This seemed the sensible option.
Rik then asked me if I had a `logo` that I wanted to use for the new web site. I didn`t, so he designed four different logos and sent them through to me to see which one I liked. Of the four options, I chose the logo where the `O` on Roger is replaced with a camera lens diaphragm. I think it works well.
I then had to decide what sections/pages I would like. I needed a `Home page`, `About me`, `Galleries`, `Talks`, `Equipment` `Testimonials`, `Blog`, `Links`, and a `Contact page`.
Also on the Opening `home page` there are links to my Facebook, Instagram and YouTube posts, as well as OMD Digital Solutions and Permajet `logos`
The `About Me ` section was a just a few paragraphs that explained my approach to photography and how my photography has developed over the years. I needed an image of myself to accompany this section, so I used a more recent shot I had taken with my Olympus camera.
The next section to consider was the Galleries. We decided to have this divided into 24 individual galleries to showcase the range of subject matter that I photograph.
. From my point of view, choosing which images to include in which gallery proved to be my biggest problem. Initially, I wanted to include far too many images. Whilst I could have had as many images as I would have liked, I decided that each gallery would look best if to be limited to 40 images, with two of the galleries having 50 images. Because Rik was going to use Adobe Portfolio to build the web site, we decided that the best way to display each individual gallery was as a `lightbox`. This enables you to see all the images in each gallery as `thumbnails` displayed in a lightbox format. If you click into an image it comes up full screen with the image title at the bottom. You can then use either the arrow keys on a PC keyboard to scroll through the images , or use your finger to scroll through the images on a Smartphone.
Because I enjoy giving talks/presentations to various groups and societies, Rik suggested that it would be a good idea to have a couple of short introduction paragraphs for each talk, and also to display a small selection of images from each talk. This idea worked really well and we divided the `talks` into two sections. The first section of eight talks are more camera club/photographic society orientated. The second seven talks are more natural history, landscape orientated, so are more suitable for RSPB and Wildlife groups, U3A`s, Probus and WI groups.
I was really pleased with how the talk section has turned out and it has resulted in quite a few new clubs /societies booking me for zoom presentations.
The next section was `Equipment`. Being an Olympus Mentor, it was important that I listed all the camera equipment that I use. I laid out all the Olympus cameras, lenses, flashguns and photographed them. This section also lists things like tripods, hides, landscape filters, and other useful items that I carry in my camera rucksack.
The `Testimonial` , `Blog` and `Links ` sections were quite easy to formulate. Finally there is a `Contact page` where people can either email me or ring me if they want to book me for a talk or ask me about any of the images.
I am really pleased with how the new web site has tuned out. It was probably not the cheapest option, but you are paying the extra for someone's expertise. I would certainly advise anyone who is thinking of having a new web site to give Creative Fabrik a look.