Getting started with your new Website
Comments of a novice website owner over the first six weeks
I decided to order my website from PhotoGalaxy since my knowledge of website design made the alternative of developing my own look like a life time experience. I was very pleased that PhotoGalaxy had my site up and running within 24 hrs of placing my order.
It is fairly easy to configure your website by using the member control panel in the PhotoGalaxy site. Most of the menu choices are straight forward and if you make a mistake it is easy to backtrack.
First decide what template you want by trial and error. Upload your logo and decide upon its position. After first loading a square logo, it created a lot of wasted space so I changed it to a panoramic header.
The Home Page is very important; it is where visitors will usually form an opinion of your site. The initial set up by PhotoGalaxy is a bit sparse; however you can edit the Home Page by clicking on the Custom pages and typing in your new text.
The colour scheme I found tricky, for a website virgin, and initially stuck to the pre-made schemes. But, by a bit of experimentation with the edit colour tab, you have total control of all background and text colours by selecting colours from the grid.
Again under the Custom pages menu, create tab, you can add as many pages as you want and add text. It is better to keep the same font for all your pages.
If you plan to sell your prints, the Seller control menu is simple to use, by opening a PayPal account and adding products and prices.
I circulated my website around some friends and family and did receive some constructive comments and I amended my site.
I was a bit cheeky and asked for feedback from one of the recent Website winners and he did reply and gave me some very valuable advice.
Only when I was reasonably satisfied with the Website design and I had uploaded a fair number of images through the PhotoGalaxy site, did I progress to the harder part of promoting my site. I had decided that I would try to sell prints from my website. There are 1000ís of photography sites selling prints and the initial problem is that nobody knows you exist.
I printed off a copy of the PhotoGalaxy article, Promoting your Photography Website and developed links with the recommended link sites, ProsPhotos.com, PhotographySites.com, Photolinks.com, PhotoLinks.co.uk and PhotoDir.net. It is very important to use the link code supplied by the site and paste it into the box after clicking on the Links page in the Configure your website in PhotoGalaxy.
After about 3 weeks I revised some of these links and removed PhotoLinks.co.uk as I did not like their two tier listing 1-50 and 51-100.I paid a small fee of $1 to ProsPhotos.com to obtain a listing in two categories. I also paid $6 for a featured site on ProsPhotos.com for which they add a thumbnail to your details and promote your site by rotating it on their Home page for 6 months. This is a good site as you can log in and view traffic stats and edit your details. With PhotoDir.net you can also log in and view traffic stats and edit your details.
Following the advice of the PhotoGalaxy article I submitted my site to the free large directories of Yahoo UK, DMOZ and Google and expect a long wait.
PhotoGalaxy also list your site in their directory.
After the first month I searched Google for photography search engines and in addition to those listed above I recommend freephotogallery which displays a thumbnail of your site for free. I also registered on photographers.com for free.
I also decided to join Profotos.com for my largest outlay of $60/year. Membership is subject to a review of your photography and your website. If successful, membership includes a personal portfolio of 10 images, a biography and a link to your website. Profotos.com is one of the top listed sites by Google and even if you decide not to join, you can still register your website free.
Through a communication in my guestbook, I joined a forum Passion for Pixels, a digital section of the Melbourne Camera Club, Australia. Members share photographic and photo editing skills and techniques. There is an active forum, photo competitions and much technical support.
After the first 6 weeks I am pleased by the progress in promoting my site. I am currently seeing an improvement in my listing in the main search engines. I have one contact that has seen my site and is interested in purchasing my prints to frame for sale. Apart from that, by promoting my website, my knowledge of the Internet has grown very rapidly from a very low base.
Bob Richardson, 25 July, 2006