Updated: Mar 19
I’ve finally updated my website.
That feels good to say. There, it’s done… if only life were that simple. It will always remain a work in progress, but at least I’ve now got it on a platform that makes me feel more inclined to tinker.
Having now done so, I can finally admit to myself that it’s long overdue. It’s easy to tell ourselves that we haven’t the time, but this winter that’s been a harder one to sell. Even to myself. I started at the end of November 2020. That’s not to say that it has taken all that time.
What helped me tiptoe over the start line was deciding to just chip away at it, and do the odd half hour, or sometimes an hour. But to keep doing that. It’s a valuable approach, and one I’m trying to adopt more widely.
One of the biggest hurdles is deciding what to plump for. For every WordPress lover, there’s someone who says it’s a steep learning curve. I also wasn’t convinced that I wanted to have to stay on top of plug-ins, or that overall costs would be in my favour to offset all of this. I spent many evenings looking at website builders and templates, and reading group threads about who had used what, and what their experience had been. It didn’t once occur to me to employ someone. For quite a while I thought I would be going with Squarespace, which seems to be many people’s preferred option. But a couple of Wix’s templates interested me, and I liked the idea of being able to explore fully and even build a site first before being forced to hand over money. There is a little bit of familiarization needed, but it was relatively straight forward to get started. I did decide before going too far to tiptoe into a Squarespace's 14 day trial, but mine must have been the shortest dip ever, as by comparison it felt limited and the templates seemed a little flat. To be fair, my decision was already half-made, as I wanted to maintain the option for print and book sales and really didn’t like the idea of either a 3% transaction fee on the Business plan or an unduly expensive Commerce one.
So having worked through it all, would I recommend giving Wix a go?
Yes. If you don’t mind their ads, or want a custom domain you can have a free site. And for everything else there’s a plan – and you’ll soon find there’s a weekly prompt with 50% off many of these for an annual sign up. You can build a very quick site from scratch; it takes longer to rebuild something that you’ve previously worked on over 12 years, depending of course on how much content you want to keep.
Choose a template based on function rather than look, as you can change anything and everything should that be your wish. There’s not a lot left of the one I started with. I found that having initially adapted the template, and concentrated on content, I then redid a lot of it to get it to look as I wanted.
It’s worth looking at items that at first sight seem intended for other users, as these can have good functionality.
You’ll also have to decide who – or what – you are. Much as I loathe being defined by my medium, search engines do like you to label yourself. On previous iterations I’ve dabbled with ‘Fine Art Photographer’ (too perjorative) and ‘Creative Photography’ (what exactly does that mean?). Some years back it would have been easy – photographer, or landscape photographer – but aside from
'it’s the medium not the message’
I’m now playing with paint as well as pixel, so even ‘Photographic Artist’ felt like it might have a limited life. As yet I don’t know how, or if, the two will fit together, and while I’d like to thinks some of my new explorations will end up on the website as they too revolve around my relationship with water, I don’t know if they will sit well together… but as a result, it’s now simply ‘Artist’. That, for now will do. It isn’t pretension, just a desire not to put myself into another box.
Thanks to everyone who has had a look; I’ve had some lovely comments, which I really hadn’t expected, and I’m looking forward to being able to introduce new content on a regular basis. Having distracted myself with acrylics last year, I have quite a few new images from the river to release from the hard drive.