Having a professionally-looking website is important for any business, and particularly for a visual business like videography. In fact, visitors to your website will judge your company, and even your ability to do video, by the appearance of your website! If it looks amateurish, there is a risk that they will simply move on to the next website in their search for a videography company. This series of articles will explore a way for videographers with limited web design skills and limited budget, to get the necessary professional image and Internet presence by using WordPress.
While as videographers we have some artistic flair, most of us have no specific skills or training in graphic design. WordPress is a web design platform where the look and feel of the website has been separated from the content creation of the pages on the website. The appearance is determined by a theme. What that means is that you don’t have to worry about the appearance of the website, i.e. the layout, colours, font styles and sizes and so on – that has already been taken care of by the graphics professional who designed the theme. Which frees you as the owner to focus on the content of your website’s pages. In a follow up article we will discuss themes in more detail.
WordPress is Free
WordPress is free in the sense that it is available at no cost. It is also free in the sense of being open source, so not subject to the whims of a single corporation.
WordPress makes it easy for someone with no web design skills to have a beautiful website up and running in days. Then adding or updating your website content is equally fast and easy.
Control Over Content
With WordPress you have full control over the content of your site; you can add or change content any time you please. That means that the brainwave for a new promotion campaign that came to you in the middle of the night can go on immediately – you don’t have to wait until the next day to ask your web master to put it on.
Access to Resources
There are literally millions of WordPress users. What that means is that there is a ton of resource information on the Internet. If you have a question, simply “Google” it, somewhere someone will have the solution for you.
Over time you are bound to discover that you would like to add some additional functionality to your website, like eCommerce that we will discuss in a later article. Well, no problem. WordPress has developed a system of easily added plug-ins and there is an extensive library of available plug-ins. So expanding your website’s functionality is almost like building with Lego™, you simply add blocks as you need them.
What is WordPress
We have said above that it is a web design platform, which indeed it is. But more correctly, it is a content management system (CMS). In non-technical terms, it means that you do not create traditional HTML-based web pages. Rather you enter your page content into a form and it is then formatted using word processor-style tools as shown below:
When a visitor to your site requests a specific page, the web server will get the content for the page from the database. WordPress will then create a corresponding HTML page from the content and your website’s theme. So it is a regular HTML page that is returned and displayed by the visitor’s browser.
This could go under the section on Advantages but it is so important that we are devoting a separate section to it. Built into WordPress are many, many tools that will help you to promote your products or services. We have already mentioned plug-ins. Another valuable building block is Widgets. What if you would like to conduct a poll to see how many of your clients have flat panel TV’s. No problem, there's a widget for that. Or you want to create a discount coupon for a promotion – there's a widget for that too, and many more!
Perhaps one of the most exciting by-products of using WordPress, is that a powerful blog tool is included. That means that you can keep your clients informed about new projects you are working on, new products that you might be launching, and so on. It allows you to build a relationship with your clients and get their feedback.
Not a Magic Bullet
In spite of all the positive things we have said above, WordPress is complex and there is a learning curve! But the learning curve is not anywhere near what it would take to learn web design principles and the tools like Dreamweaver™ or Expression Web™. Furthermore, you don’t have to learn everything up front, or ever know all the technical magic that happens behind the scenes. As we will show in the next article, you can start very effectively with the basics, and add to your website as your knowledge expands.
In this article we have shown how WordPress is a tool that can make it possible for a videographer to have a professional web presence, at virtually no cost. In addition to the many advantages we mentioned, WordPress allows you to get up and running in a short time, allowing you to focus on the videography side of your business. In upcoming articles we will look at:
· The Process – so you have decided to go with WordPress, how do you get started?
· Using Video – one would expect to see video on a videography website, this will discuss the ins and outs of showcasing your video on your website.
· eCommerce – this article will look at adding ecommerce to the website for videographers who would like to sell products such as footage, how to videos, and more.
“WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.” – www.wordpress.org
H Mueller Design
# 206 - 56 Merrivale Street
New Westminster, BC V3L 2P6