When I started my journey into developing my photography skills I didn't consider becoming a blogger. What I wanted was a place to share my photos and my learning, a kind of online diary, although I knew that would be essentially a blog of sorts. Given that I had a specific idea in mind for what I wanted, the first thing I had to do was some research into blogging platforms on which to host my site. I had some limited experience with writing a work related blog and had worked on the dashboard of a Wordpress site, but I had limited knowledge of the workings of the site and felt that to become proficient in using Wordpress might be a steep learning curve. So I had to ask myself a few questions and face a few realities, such as my lack of technical expertise, before I chose the site that would best suit my blogging needs.
1. What is my priority?
This had to be my first question. If building a website had been a priority, and a challenge which I would relish, then Wordpress would be the most obvious choice. But I realised that my priority would be creating content on my blog and having a space to showcase my photographs as I progressed on my journey. For this reason, I required a website or blogging site that would be easy to set up and intuitive to use in terms of adding new content, and I wanted a simple theme that would suit my purpose – to upload my photos and share my learning, my challenges and my discoveries in the study of photography.
2. What were the options?
A Google search brought up a number of options, chiefly a range of website builders such as Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and Blogger, which offered a user friendly experience to get a blog up and running and required no maintenance or worries about securities or technical updates. They each, albeit with different main features, provided an easy platform on which to start my blogging journey.
The alternative to one of these website builders was what is arguably the most popular blogging platform, Wordpress.org. My previous experience in using Wordpress was through writing a blog as a channel of communication with a school community on a school website, but I was not involved in setting up or maintaining the website. I was interested in checking out Wordpress as I believed it offered the most in terms of flexibility, ownership of data and overall control over my website. However, this came at the price of having to do a lot of research into setting up and running the blog since it was not as user friendly as the drag and drop system which the website builders had to offer, particularly for someone with no experience in website design. In the end, after much research and deliberation, I opted for Wix. Some of the extra features that helped me make my decision were the large choice of templates, which have specific layouts for different ‘niches’ (for example, there was a good selection of photography related templates) as well as thcreate a photo gallery on the blog. Having a good range of templates meant that I could pick the one I liked and simply add my own text and images. Using the Free Trial revealed how easy it was to create and upload content and images, and a comment from one reviewer in WebsiteToolTester https://www.websitetooltester.com/en/best-website-builder/ recommended Wix, ‘if you are a photographer and want to showcase your images in stunning galleries’. It seemed to be the platform that might best cater for what I wanted, namely, a blog and a place to showcase my photography.
I have a lot of images, particularly since I became interested in phone photography, so I needed somewhere to share these images and to show my progress as I learn more about photography
3. Am I happy with my choice?
Ultimately, this platform does what it says it does. It is a drag and drop site builder which is easy to update with new content, is mobile friendly and is largely intuitive to use. There is a good bank of information and advice on which to draw if I run into difficulties, and so far I have had no technical issues to speak of. My needs have changed slightly over the two years since I started my blog. I still need a space in which to display my photography and an outlet to consider what I am learning as I progress. However, I have developed a strong interest in blogging itself and have found myself branching out into related topics that spark my interest. I want to continue to do this and see where it leads me. Time will tell whether this blogging platform will provide all that I want and need. The fact that it doesn’t offer the flexibility that Wordpress offers and that I don’t have full ownership of my site may prove to be drawbacks in the future but for now I am happy to continue as I am.
One of the advantages of my Wix site is the gallery option. I can vary the contents and keep the gallery updated. See some of my current gallery photos here