A new home for Anne Johnston Photography
Just over a month ago I embarked on a mission to create a brand new website and when I say “mission” I don’t say that lightly! Here’s the thing… I’m a bit of a geek and completely unashamed of it, I love to keep up-to-date with technology and while most people would hand over the design of their site to a team of expert web designers and builders, I’m all for getting stuck in to see what I’m capable of. So here we are! Hello!
Why the change?
I’m not afraid to say I started out with Zenfolio, a template based website designed specifically for photographers. In fact for the first few years I loved my old website. It was amazing at making my portfolio look, well, pretty awesome. The client galleries with their in-built password protection were just what I needed. It looked good and ran well and I managed to put it together in the course of a weekend. So what was so wrong? Well last summer I became a member of the Content Marketing Academy, the UK’s largest content marketing membership organisation full of all the best, kind and helpful people I know in business.
As I sat and wrote my goals for 2017 a new website was definitely a consideration and on my radar but I concluded I just wouldn’t have the time to learn a brand new website system as well as design and build it. But then I signed up to the CMA’s 90 day challenge. As part of the challenge over 90 days from 6th March 2017 I will be committing to blogging at least once a week (yes, you read that here people) and I didn’t want to put all that effort into a site that wouldn’t support my business as I move forward. I wanted more.
Out with the old
I wanted better blogging functionality, I wanted better Search Engine Optimisation (to the non-geeks being good at this is what makes you appear high up in Google searches) and I wanted to be able to add as many nice little widgets in my sidebars that I wanted without them looking strange or disappearing. Most of all I love technology and when I heard so many of my fellow CMA members chatting about WordPress this and WordPress that and all the good things it does with its plugins I wanted a piece of that. Bottom line, I wanted a better website.
In with the new
So now you’re reading this on my brand spanking new website designed and built by my own hands in around 5 weeks at the same time photographing a Valentine’s Day Wedding and delivering many Photography and Lightroom tuition sessions. I hope you’ll find this website looks better than my old one. I’m all for improving after all. Here are just a few of the new features you’ll find here:
- A home page that makes it clear what it is that I do and directs you to where you need to be on my website easily
- Dedicated pages for each of my one-to-one Photography and Lightroom tuition services with more information about what you’ll learn and lovely testimonials from my clients
- “Sharing is caring” links at the top and bottom of every blog so it’s super simple for you to share blogs you like with your friends on social media, by email, Buffer and so much more
- Related content blog previews at the bottom of each blog so if you enjoy a blog you’ll be able to carry on your reading with similar blogs I’ve written
For those that want the technical details this is a self-hosted WordPress site (the .org version) and I’m using Themeco’s X Theme. By the way, their Cornerstone site builder makes website building a breeze!
We’re just getting started!
I have so much planned for my business this year and this website is just the start of it. Over the next few months I’ll be transferring all my client’s galleries over to their new home here. Don’t worry, they’ll still be completely secure with passwords and I’ll be adding more to my product range for you to choose from too. Just imagine all of that beautiful art work that’s going to take pride of place on your living room walls! I’ll also be transferring over more blogs from my old website and adding lots more new blogs, especially lots more wedding content for you.
Watch out for new tuition packages coming soon too. I have many clients that book in for my Photography for Beginners or Lightroom for Beginners tuition and come back for more. So now I’m going to make it much easier for you to do that with package deals and I’ll be introducing online booking too.
Finally, and definitely not to be forgotten, my Scottish landscape photography work will also be joining us here.
Shout out to my fellow CMA-ers
As I get ready to start my 90 day challenge I want to give a shout out and special mention to just a few of the Content Marketing Academy members that have helped me with my new website mission.
First of all, thanks to Vicky Gunn that runs two amazing companies Millies Beach Huts and Millie’s Pet Services (coming to Carnoustie soon) for challenging me to get my site up and running before the start of the 90 day challenge. Yes, a challenge before a challenge!
Next up thank you to Martin Huntbach of Jammy Digital for putting on an awesome webinar for the CMA. What Martin doesn’t know about Search Engine Optimisation isn’t worth knowing. Seriously, he is the king of SEO.
Lastly but not least, thanks to the one and only branding guru Col Gray of Pixels Ink for going out of his way on a Sunday afternoon to record a video for me when I got stuck trying to add some content into my site. The beers are on me next Pecha Kucha night!
Over to you
I’d love to hear what you think of my new website. Do you like the transformation? Pop into the comments below and let me know.