Lately I’ve been realizing how much of a great investment my new website I launched in January has become. A reader asked why, so I thought it may be a few cents to throw into a post. By investment, I mean a large chunk of change(5 figures worth), countless hours of work, and the thoughts and strategy behind the functionality of the site. Each piece of the site from the loading, to navigation and overall experience were carefully planned out. Obviously costs vary depending on what features you want integrated into your site and who creates it. When I launched the site, I wrote an indepth post breaking down each feature. Here is that post if you haven’t read it yet. Here’s another post by FolioRevolution.com reviewing my site’s features.
I worked with Knowawall, and in my opinion the agencies that specialize in photographer websites at this level, they are the best that I’ve seen. They have a clean graphic tight aesthetic and integrate flash programming seamlessly with the design. Since I have a design background, this is very important to me. Why flash you may be asking? There are still features that HTML 5 just can’t handle quite yet. Transitions, full screen images, preloading. It’s getting there, but for the me those subtle things just aren’t quite there yet. I also don’t care about being searchable because the clientele that I work with don’t find me through google.
The digital revolution of the world wide web has changed and drastically evolved how our world operates, and my goal was to adapt to it. The world of printed books still exists, but is dwindling. My physical portfolio is getting called in less and less for jobs as Art Directors are primarily pitching photographers through our websites. I believe the older generation of art buyers and art directors still are wanting to see books when considering photographers for jobs, while the younger gen Art Directors are sticking to the web. That’s why it’s still important to have a strong print portfolio in conjunction with your website. I’m in the process of a big ad campaign, and after talking with the creatives this weekend, I found out they selected me completely off of my website. It’s so much easier to send a client a URL link than a physical book.
A few other features that have really been beneficial are the lightbox and custom gallery features. The site is keyword searchable for the 2500 images in the database It allows me to create custom lightboxes for clients that request to see a certain type of image that may not be on the front end of the site. The custom galleries on the back end I can create specifically for clients with images that aren’t on the front end of the site. (example). The navigation is simple, and the preloading makes it so the impatient people(such as myself) don’t have to wait for the images to come up in between each click. Most Art Directors and Art Buyers, leave sites fast if they have any load time between photos.
Your website is now becoming your first contact to a potential client, and what you’re judged by. Most people filter you based on your website, the content and design of it. Through talks with Art Directors, if your design and branding isn’t as strong as your imagery, it’s points against you as it doesn’t give them confidence you know what you’re doing business wise. A well designed brand helps tell your audience that they can be confident in hiring you to help them build the brand that they’re working on.
The business world is moving to an electronic experience. Invest in your website and give the people hiring you great and simple interactive experience. I feel my website was a great investment in to my business’ future. Will the printed book be gone in 3 years? 5 years? Maybe.. we’ll see. Will Print work be gone? I hope not.