April 22, 2011

Making the Switch to a Non-Flash Website

Let me start by saying that I still love my former website provider Portfoliositez, but it was time for a change. I've been with them since the beginning of my business and I have raved about them on here many times, if you're looking for a Flash website template then I still highly recommend them. But with the ever-growing amount of photographers popping up in my area and the news that I was going to be laid off from my full time job, it was time to really boost my Google rankings.

As my regular readers know, I'm mildly obsessed with SEO and with having another job, I haven't had as much time as I would like to get out and build my business. I have had to rely on website searches to get a large portion of my business. Last year I came across Zach Prez and over have purchased a few of his ebooks about not only ranking on Google, but also how to turn those leads into business. With all the changes on how users view websites I think Flash is becoming a dinosaur. I had added an iPhone and iPad version of my Portfoliositez website for those users, but I was still talking to people who had Flash sites blocked from their work computers. We all know a lot of potential clients do their searching at work and the fact that some people weren't going to be able to see my site was becoming a problem. Even though I have a blog as well, I wondered how many people I lost once they realized they were at a Flash website.

I would have loved to been able to design my site working with a web designer, but I couldn't justify the cost to do that just yet. I started researching html templates and realized there were not a lot of options out there. A web designer I am friends with suggested I do a Wordpress site and purchase a theme I liked for the right look. I found dozens of themes that worked perfectly for a photographer's portfolio site! In the end, I decided to go with a Photocrati theme for my site. Photocrati offers portfolio galleries that are protected to deter copying, allows iPhone and iPad viewing, music and multiple themes you can customize. The theme is only $79 and they even let you try it out for 30-days to make sure you like it. With that I was sold and ready to change. The next task on my list was finding new web hosting. There's tons of choices out there but I quickly decided to go with Kimtown. I've worked with Kim in the past and I knew that using her hosting would be perfect for me.

I played around with my Photocrati theme for a few weeks on the back end of my old website to figure out exactly what I wanted the site to look like when it went live. By the time I was ready to go, Kimtown switched all my files (new site, email, blog, client planner, etc.) over to their hosting and within two days I was ready to go with my new site.

I was already ranking well for certain phrases on my old website, so I can't wait to see what the changes I've implemented can do for my SEO in the upcoming months. Yes, I said months, because no matter how great your SEO is, it takes time for it to be reflected in the search engines.

The support with both Kimtown and Photocrati have been fantastic. Both companies respond quickly to any questions I had and through the whole process the only issues I had were user errors on my end. If you're looking for new hosting or a non-Flash option for your photography website, I think both these companies have great things to offer!

Full Disclosure: commission on sale via my link.