A startup photographer wants to market his business on the Web. But he’s got a limited budget, and would prefer to create a web presence as cheaply as possible (free even better). So he’s looking at the option of creating an account with the free Blogger.com.
His main question is: Will potential clients take his business seriously if his main Web presence is just a blog?
Blogs have come a long way, and are now an accepted format on the Web. However, whether a blog is the right platform for selling his photography service is the big question mark.
I told him that the first step should be to determine the purpose of having a Web presence. He said he wanted to be on the Web to help him market his business, get leads for his business, and use the Web site as a showcase of his photography style and quality.
Blogs are good for narrative, opinion-driven and information-type web sites. However, I do believe that it cannot properly showcase a photography business.
As a photographer, an important decision factor for potential clients is the quality of work, and that is often achieved by having a clean, easy-to-access presentation of the pictures. What I imagine — and often see in photographers’ websites — is a gallery style layout of picture thumbnails categorized by topic or style. This is something a properly designed website can easily do, allowing for quick navigation where users can click from one photo to the next easily.
Blogs may be cheap, but it is much more difficult to navigate. You can’t do a gallery style with 20 pictures on the page. Instead, you’ll have 1 photo per blog post, or 20 photos lined down. Blogs are good if you are narrating stories behind the photo, but not really to present a big portfolio.
Then of course, there’s the issue of long domain names. I told him that if he will go with Blogger, make sure that he buys a domain name as he can use that domain to redirect his blog. Instead of thisismyblog.blogspot.com, which doesn’t look as professional as he’d hope to be and hard to remember, he can publish his blog into that domain name without getting a web host through the custom domain feature.
Still feeling conflicted, I told him that his web site or blog will be the “face” of his business on the Web. He needs to think of his customers and what can make them patronize his services. He doesn’t need to make it so high tech and pay $100,000 to develop his Web presence, but it needs to be easy to use and can properly showcase his work. For me, a Web site is more professional, better usability and allows for more functionality such as order forms and running of scripts for payment acceptance.
How about you: do you think he should go for just a blog or have a Web site? Let me know your thoughts.