How important is a website?

In today’s digital world technology is an integral part of our daily lives. People can access the internet from almost anywhere, so how important is it to have a high quality website? For most businesses, especially a photographer, their website is their store front, it is their catalog, and the website is your display racks. So how important is it to have a high quality website; very important.

Let me give you some background on me, I am a photographer and a web developer. I am the person who writes all the code that makes the website look and work the way it does. Simply put is if you want a high quality photograph you need a professional photographer and if you want a high quality website you need a professional web developer; and yes they both are going to cost. I hear all of you out there; but there are a lot of tools where I can build a free website. Yes there are places where you can build a free site but these web sites are simple and don’t have a lot of features that a web developer can build.

For an example let me give you a rundown of my new web site,  On the first page is a slide show that gets a new set of random images each time the page is updated. Throughout the site the images are randomized, you don’t want potential customers getting bored looking at the same images all the time. This site is a complete custom build; it is built with HTML, CSS, ASP.Net, JavaScript, C#, and XML. Today’s websites require different programming languages working together. Just like a photographer need to work with a model and other people to get the shot they are looking for, a web developer needs to work with several programming languages.

I won’t go into a lot of details on the coding and the file structure behind the scenes, let’s just say that there is a lot of design work that needs to take place. Currently there are around 175 man hours that have gone into building my website.  What do you get when you work with a professional web developer; you get someone who knows the mechanics of a website, you get someone who can fix things when they are broken, and you get someone who can build the features that you can’t get from a free website such integrating your site to work with other sites.

For me a professional website looks clean, is easy to navigate, and is easy to read. I have seen some photography websites that are so hard to read because the text is a light color on top of a light color. I understand that not everyone can hire a professional to build them a custom website, one thing I suggest is to look at the websites of other professional photographer and find the features you like and them try and copy them on your website. A professional website takes a lot of work, but this site represents you, your photography, and your business so is to worth putting in the time and effort into making it the best website you can? Yes it is worth every hour you spend on making your website the best. One thing to remember is that just like your photography your website need to always be evolving, if your website is not growing and changing the viewer will be bored and move on, give the viewer a reason to stay and look. I have a master plan for my website which means my site will always be a work in progress.

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