There is one thing that is guaranteed when you decide to start a business – you’re going to need a website. And if you want to have a successful business, you’ll most likely need a good website or one that doesn’t scare potential clients away. We all know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but first impressions are often accurate. There is no doubt that I linger on sites with a design aesthetic that appeals to me, while I type furiously to vacate a site that doesn’t live up to today’s expectations…regardless of the subject matter.
So, when I decided to begin Claire B Photography a little over a year ago I knew my first step was to create a website…and that’s about all I knew. Yes, I was comfortable on a computer and browsing the web. I spent my college days on AOL’s Instant Messenger and can type with the best of them. But building a site in a virtual world I knew nothing of was scary. I didn’t know where to start. I quickly learned that the only time Google becomes obsolete is when you don’t know what to type in the search field. Thankfully, like many other women of my generation, I was and am a blog stalker. So, I started to investigate how other people that I admired had created their sites. Often times this information can be found at the very bottom of a web page…you might see the words “Blogger” or “WordPress Theme”. If you’re on a really nice site you’ll see “website designed by” followed by some fancy designer’s name who I could not afford. In the end, I noticed that many of the successful photographers I followed utilized a particular WordPress theme called ProPhoto. If it was good enough for them, it was good enough for me.
Turns out ProPhoto was more than good enough. After an hour on their site I felt confident that I could build my own little niche on the web. I had access to hundreds of written and video tutorials walking me through the process before I committed a penny to purchasing anything. And if I couldn’t figure it out they could always install the WordPress theme for me for an additional charge, but I never needed the help. And don’t worry, I didn’t know what WordPress was either – it’s a free blogging software that is very user friendly and highly recommended.
Great, I found a template for building a website, but how do I get a web address?…and once I build this site how does it get on the internet? Figuring that out is kind of like explaining to me how planes fly…it’s a mystery and I’d prefer it stay that way. Enter ProPhoto’s handy tutorials.
Step 1 – I needed to purchase a domain name…what web address did I want to use? Thankfully www.clairebphotography.com was available and I purchased the rights to this name from Go Daddy! Just know that you’ll need to renew the rights to your domain name on an annual basis.
Step 2 – You’ll need someone to host your website…basically, where do you want your site to live? There are lots of hosting companies to choose from. Just make sure to use a reputable host. This will limit the issues you have with your blog being down, etc. ProPhoto recommends Blue Host for this service and that’s who I went with in the end.
Step 3 – Download WordPress for free and install the software with your hosting account.
Step 4 – Purchase and install the ProPhoto theme into your WordPress account and let the customizing begin. I think it’s important to note that there are many free WordPress templates available on the web. But, odds are that free equals no support or guidance along the way. I was someone who needed a ton of guidance and was willing to pay for a theme that wouldn’t leave me hanging.
I’m very proud of the fact that I was able to build a place for my business on the web. Proud and extremely thankful to the people at ProPhoto for leading the way. If you’re thinking about building a site, don’t doubt yourself! Just search for great resources to help you and watch what happens.
And stay tuned for more details on what is possible once you have ProPhoto installed. I recently upgraded to ProPhoto 4 and am anxious to share my experience!
Interested in purchasing the ProPhoto theme? Use this code to receive $10 off of your purchase - CBIR9392