So I've finally got round to sorting my website out!
I've been toying with trying various website solutions over the past few years. Whilst I was happy with the design of my old site, it wasn't easy to manage. All the standard pages were hard coded html, with the blog built in Wordpress. The complicated process of updating my site meant it rarely happened, and it wasn't a true reflection of the work I was doing.
I'd considered several options - bespoke Wordpress solutions, DPG, 500px, Smugmug. All were totally viable, but were either too expensive or not flexible enough. I wanted something that I host with my existing provider, and something I could easily customise to really make it my own. Then, I stumbled across Koken.
What is Koken? It's awesome, that's what it is. It's a Content Management System developed specifically for photographers/artists that is currently at beta, and was near enough the perfect solution for me:
Customisable - one of the key drivers behind my choice of solution was the need to make it my own. I didn't want it to just look like another Wordpress/SmugMug website. Whilst it does come with a selection of off-the-shelf templates to get you started, their is also a wealth of documentation online to help you develop your own themes.
Responsive - One area in particular that really let my old site down was the experience for mobile device users. In other words, it was pretty crap on iPhone. All the off-the-shelf Koken templates render differently on different devices to ensure your visitors have the best possible experience, as well as providing super high-res images for your visitors who are fortunate enough to own a device with a Retina display.
Extendable - Koken comes with a load of plugins to make live easier. Social media integration, watermarking, right-protection, and Lightroom link-up all make life so much easier.
FREE - yeah. For now, anyways.
So once settled upon a solution, I spent MONTHS going back through my catalogue and reprocessing my old shots to build up my archive - Thankfully my web host have a generous allowance with no traffic restrictions, so I was free to upload my images in high quality!
I've also gone back through my old Wordpress blog posts and transferred them across (which also took ages). However, with the introduction of the 'archive', I'm no longer going to be blogging about every gig I shoot. There are several reasons behind this, mainly
- I'm not convinced many folk actually read them, and
- they were getting a bit repetitive and boring. "I shot [x] and the lighting was good/crap/indifferent"
So, from now on my blog is going to focus on other stuff. Interesting, relevant stuff. Not sure what yet, though.
Anyway, feel free to have a look around :)