Photographers are an odd bunch, in many ways. As a group we'll obsess over - and pay a lot of hard-earned money for - the latest gear. And yet, when it comes to putting our name out there, presenting ourselves to the world at large and asking, in effect, 'got any work for me?', many of us would rather gouge our own eyes out than pay for a decent website. Or so it would seem, anyway.
Back in 2004, when the current version of my website first went live, I had a simple goal: to build the best website of any UK-based bike photographer. That meant skipping anything with a template and going bespoke. And that, in turn, meant handing the job over to someone who knows what they're doing. Could I teach myself to do this stuff? Maybe. But I don't have the time or the inclination... and I might turn out to be hopeless at it. Plus, there's a lot to be said for bouncing ideas off another creative mind...
By the standards of the time the site was clean, fresh and (for the most part) easy to navigate. Some nifty Flash animation meant there was always something going on, even if you were waiting for a gallery to load. It's served its purpose well.
Seven years on, though, and it's overdue a change. So I'm starting completely from scratch, with a fresh-from-the-ground-up design that'll be bang up to date. I'm taking my time on this build - we're three months in with another three still to run before it's ready. It's not cheap, but it's not expensive considering the work that's going into it, either. And I'm getting pretty excited about what it'll do:
- in the background there'll be a custom content management system, enabling me to keep the image galleries fresh and add caption details where appropriate. I'll also be bringing the blog on-board (don't worry, the old one will be archived). There'll be more content and more information.
- the new site will make full use of the available monitor space, whether you're viewing it on an 11 inch netboook or a 30 inch Mac cinema display. Biiiiig pictures with room to breathe and no distractions.
- best of all, the whole thing will integrate seamlessly with iPad and iPhone displays. You'll see a different version of the site on each platform, tailored to the screen's characteristics. And (this is the geeky techy bit that's got me really excited) the iPad and iPhone's swipe functions will be fully supported, making it even easier to navigate the site without stabbing at tiny buttons on the screen.
I can't wait. But I'll have to (and so will you), at least until March 2012. Watch this space...