Day 4: Creating Your First Website

It is day four of 100 days of photography! I’ve had quite a bit of experience with website building and wanted to share a bit of what I’ve learned here today. My first website was built from scratch in Adobe Flash. I learned action script, dragged every keyframe and got my first gray hair from the process. The biggest reason I did this was to save money. Later I learned that as a business owner, you either save time or you save money. Time is the only thing you can’t make more of, so 10 out of 10 times, choose to save your time. I don’t recommend becoming a website developer to save money. So today is going to be a “Good, better, best” type of post.

Good: Blogger This is the free option; the shoestring budget option. The truth is, you can do some beautiful things with Blogger but you may quickly outgrow it. This is a good thing! Some giant sites got their start on Blogger; including The Pioneer Woman, Strobist, and our very own Jasmine Star. Simply put, it’s a good starter option to get your work up and running, just don’t stay there too long. Another alternative to Blogger is Wix. Wix is a drag and drop template-based site build and while they do make some pretty beautiful sites, they will run their ads on your site while you’re in a free status. Again, this phase is to get you going but please don’t stay in this phase too long. The goal is growth, you feel me?

Better: WordPress. WordPress is one of the biggest open source site builders available. With that comes tons of design ability and thousands of plugins and themes. There is a slight learning curve, but not to worry because WordPress is so huge, there is a video for how to do almost anything on Youtube. To start, head to this link to get a hosting plan and domain for $12 for the first year! Be careful though, after the first year you’re looking at around $100/year.

Best: Showit.  Showit was a big leap for me in the beginning. I hadn’t learned my lesson yet about saving time over money and my site was always “Good enough” to deter me from the $29/month. I finally decided to take the leap when I realized every time I handed out a business card I would say “My site is a work in progress!” or “Don’t judge me on my website, it’s not finished.”  My site wasn’t stellar, it wasn’t beautiful, it wasn’t truly reflective of who I was and what I did so what was the point? If all it was doing was repelling clients, why have it? So I dove into Showit and I never looked back. The platform is easy to use and creates the most beautiful websites. You can also get absolutely gorgeous templates to start with from Foil & Ink, GoLive, and Tonic Sites.

If there was a point in my business where I really had to scale back on my spending, Showit would be one of the very last things I would choose to move away from. Along with their amazing software with a special focus on photographers and creative professionals, they have a wonderful community online and hold a yearly conference in Phoenix. The cost might be slightly high if you’re just starting out but it is truly a tool that will bring in much more revenue than it costs.

If you can’t tell, I am a Showit evangelist through and through. I will ride with them until the wheels fall off. Click here to start your very own Showit Site, I PROMISE it’s the best site builder there is!  I’ll see you tomorrow for Day 5: Why Consistency in Photography is So Important!

Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the next 100 days. To submit a question, please click here!  If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

denise karis photography blog 100 posts in 100 days for photographers