So this is my first new blog post on my shiny new WordPress blog – yay! I thought I’d just do a quick post to explain why all the changes, as I think there are a couple of useful nuggets of information here.
Essentially I became pretty frustrated with Zenfolio as a platform for my website. It started with annoyance at the fact I couldn’t change the gallery pages to get them how I wanted – they have these annoying side bar arrows (see below) and there’s no acceptable way to get rid of them without adding equally ugly thumbnails. The available layouts just started to feel very dated to me and I couldn’t find a way around it. Call me fussy but that one fact drove me so nuts that I started looking around for another hosting option.
As I was shopping around for other options I started thinking about the blog and realised that there was no way to export or back-up the blog in Zenfolio. So basically if I wanted to keep my blog content I had to stay put with Zenfolio or copy and paste everything into a Word file as a back-up. As an information professional this annoyed me no end – it’s a basic tenet of information product selection to ensure you can always get your data out and I was vexed that I’d overlooked the lack of this when selecting my own website platform. I’d been sucked in by the integrated blogging capability and hadn’t given any though to what I’d do if I wanted to move platforms – stupid really! So I decided it would be better to have my blog and website separate – so that moving the website between hosts wouldn’t screw with the blog.
It’s taken weeks to manually copy and paste and then pre-date all my posts into WordPress! I decided not to move everything and have a bit of a cull, so I’ve just moved the reviews as this was what people pre-dominantly wanted access to – but even with just that it’s been a total pain! You can easily copy and paste the text but the formatting goes all squiffy and you can’t do the same with the images which have to be re-uploaded into WordPress and then added to each post in the right place. However, I think it’s worth it as I can now play the field with website hosts as I want without worrying about the blog. I’m not convinced that integrated blog functionality is really that big a deal anyway as you can very easily link to a WordPress (or other provider) blog from your website menu and if you style it consistently with your site the user experience remains very good. Plus by being part of a blog provider you get some gains on search engine visibility.
So – if you’re thinking about moving away from Zenfolio, or about using integrated blogs these are some things to bear in mind!
Also – check out the new website at www.siantphoto.com. It’s on Smugmug now – more about why I chose it and what else I considered in a future blog post.