The Clockwork Imaging website will be the primary vehicle for promoting its photography services. The primary goal could be summarised as “to create an attractive and engaging website that will encourage prospective clients to engage in a dialouge ultimately resulting in a commission”. As such the website has a few key requirements that need to be implemented to achieve this goal. There is a separate post here describing the look and feel aspects of the site, this post is about the functionality required to service the needs of Clockwork Imaging.
Firstly and Primarily;
- Showcase the photography work of Steve Edwards
This will be in the form of galleries by genre, initially it will have galleries for;
- Family Portraits
- Fantasy Portraits, work done with Media Make Up Artists.
- Travel, some of the travel images I have taken over the past few years. At least some of these will eventually be offered for sale as prints, see also e-commerce capability.
- Personal Projects, to be finalised but likely to be from my final year BA project – In-Step on discarded shoes and 2nd year portrait series featuring subjects with interesting hair.
These galleries will be accessible directly from the front page by showing a thumbnail for each of the galleries, clicking on the thumbnail will take the visitor directly to the gallery. The galleries will also be accessible from a drop down menu on the gallery page of the main menu on the website. The content and variety of the galleries will be regularly refreshed, I envisage on a 3-6 month cycle to ensure there is always fresh content for return visitors to see.
This functionality has been, at least partially, implemented on the live site and can be viewed at www.clockworkimaging.co.uk. Any missing content will be added in the coming weeks rather than months as I believe the ability to effectively showcase work is fundamental to a photography website. As otherwise I believe any visitors will swiftly become bored with the site.
Capture Contact details of prospective clients.
- Contact details / Email / Phone
This is a simple form that visitors can use to provide basic contact details of name, phone number and email address along with a free text box to ask questions. There is an automatic reply provided to confirm receipt of the query along with my contact details including phone number. I opted not to have this displayed publicly whilst I think what to do about a dedicated number. I was further dissuaded when within a day of implementing the contact form and no publicity for the site I started receiving spam email from web bots. To counter this I implemented a WordPress Plugin called CAPTCHA which is an anti-bot measure designed to ensure its a human at the other end. This does seemed to have halted the flow of spam.
This functionality is live and can be seen at http://clockworkimaging.co.uk/contact/
Social Media Links
- Email newsletter.
In 2017 its considered essential to have a good grasp of social media channels in order to address the domestic market of my target audience for my work. Sadly at this time I don’t have such knowledge as I am only a peripheral user of such technology, I do have a personal Facebook page but only because I realised it was the only way to communicate with classmates. This is an area I recognise I need to develop my expertise in, this, in order to market the services of Clockwork Imaging. Happily there are several channels to go about this – e.g. on line seminars, training films and ultimately paid consultancy. However I certainly don’t feel I am ready to employ a third party at the moment as I am not even sure what I would want to ask them. I do know some basic things to do such as regularly blogging to add fresh content, create a business Facebook page and post links to the website, build up an email contact list from enquirers and contact them regularly (without bombarding them with spam). I think these are steps I need to take steadily in order to measure the impact and decide what works for the business. This will be an ongoing process to build up the results from this activity.
I have listed what seem to be the major platforms to be active on, however this will need to be reviewed on an ongoing basis as in the world of the internet there is always “the next big thing” around the corner.
There is a specific post about the concept and meaning of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Here I am referring to the functionality required in order to be able to manage the content of the site in order to be able to positively affect the SEO ranking. Happily the WordPress platform provides this in spades, with inherent editing, review and publication capabilities for both text and images. This is further boosted by plugins such as the YOAST toolkit described in an earlier post which helps identify shortcomings and suggest resolutions to SEO issues.
This will be an ongoing process as new content both blog and pages is added and I will make it a standard practice to review and edit the SEO ranking of new content when its published. For the hand in on Wednesday 31st I intend to have the main pages of the site optimised and as many of the image galleries as time allows. However I do recognise both from the information provided during tutorials but also from my independent research on the topic that it is an ongoing process to maintain, review and adapt the site for optimal SEO results. This is both to address existing shortcomings in content but also the fact that SEO is a moving target as Google refines its ranking processes in response to audience behaviour then adjustments are required to maintain ranking.
Accordingly it will be necessary to regularly dedicate time and effort to addressing this issue, as per the business plan I would hope to outsource this task as and when finances allow.
- For selling general prints.
- Clients to book and review shoots, order prints.
E-commerce is a longer term goal as it is another potentially complex area to address requiring developing of accurate price-lists and payment methods. Ultimately I do want to be able to offer this sort of capability to site visitors as in this day and age I believe its expected to be there. There is some limited functionality available immediately in that clients can review a gallery of images taken by publishing them on a password protected page so that they are not available to the general web browsing public but only those in receipt of the password.
The Photocrati theme which is the basis of my site has extensive e-commerce capability but this needs careful testing which I will probably conduct on the 55red.co.uk domain first. However as stated this is a slightly longer term goal the immediate priorities for clockworkimaging.co.uk are;
- Create and upload basic content pages.
- Address SEO for these core pages
- Start to implement Social Media strategies for driving traffic to the site.