I’ve visited 20 Flash-based photographer’s websites this week. I’ve been subjected to long load times, terrible – loud music, poor animation and a serious lack of good imagery. Unfortunately for the photographers who owned these sites, I was visiting to look at their entry into our Emerging Photographer of the Year contest. None of these folks will win because their web sites are so bad, I couldn’t find the pictures and if I could find them, the pain and agony I had to go through to look at them was simply not worth it.
Why is it photographers (who are usually very smart and creative) are so ineffective when it comes to their websites?
I don’t know. But I DO know of a cure. Start fresh and start with a blog. Sure you can build a fancy website someday. But for now, just start a blog.
Here are five important reasons why you should use a blog rather than or in addition to building a website.
1. You can build a blog at NO cost. You can do it all by yourself. (Free blogs at WordPress.com and Blogger.com – I prefer WordPress)
2. Search engines LOVE blogs. Google really likes the first 100 words of any page. If you can write good content related to your target audience’s needs, blogs will get you more Google juice than the average Website.
3. Blogs can accomplish anything a static website can and more.
4. Blogs offer RSS – really simple syndication. People can subscribe (for free) to your blog and be automatically updated/informed every time you post a new blog article or picture.
5. You can use industry-standard tools and you can change and update the site at your leisure. With many websites, you have to pay a Web admin to update the content. With blogging tools like WordPress.com and Blogger.com you can do your own updates free of charge.
BONUS reason: If you use WordPress.com your blog is automatically formatted for iPhone use. WP detects when someone comes to the blog via an iPhone and serves up a mobile version automatically – pretty slick!
There are obviously lots of other reasons to build a blog over a website. If you don’t agree, I’d challenge you to at least try ADDING a blog in addition to your website. Watch how the blog evolves compared to the Website. I think you’ll see for yourself the advantage of blogs.