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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Gone Live

I have posted a few times in the past month or two about my plans to code a new website using Dreamweaver, and my reasons for doing so. Though my original self-imposed deadline was April, I have managed to already complete enough of the project to put the site up.....IT'S LIVE! And it is HERE at www.howardgrill.com

Well, it isn't totally 100% the way I would like it to be yet, but it is well along. I do have several more articles from my old site to convert to .pdf format and post. In addition, one of the big things I have left to do is to get this blog integrated into the website either by a) integrating the current Blogger structure into the new site with a subdomain or b) ditching Blogger and going with WordPress, which is apparently far easier to integrate into a website and has a function that allows you to migrate old Blogger posts into the new Wordpress site (yikes, 4 years worth of posts....will that really work correctly and without a hitch?), though doing that apparently leads to a loss of Google ranking and SEO gains that have occurred over the years.

Anytime one undertakes a project such as this, there is a huge amount of consideration given to the viewer experience. However, it is sometimes easy to be surprised at the fact that viewers don't necessarily agree with your opinion, and in the end it is only the viewer/visitors opinion that counts. People with different backgrounds and interests will surely have different ways of looking at a site.

With that in mind I would like to invite any readers over to my new site to have a look. It would REALLY be appreciated if you could make helpful and constructive comments about it on the blog or e-mail me directly. Nice comments are good but constructive criticism is even better.

Some of the questions I had in mind were:

1)Is the navigation bar and site navigation in general easy and intuitive?

2) Are the images to big to comfortably view/enjoy?

3) Does the color scheme seem too bland or does it need to be spiced up in some way?

4) Are the gallery slideshows taking too long to load and are they of a good size for viewing? Are the instructions for the slideshow buttons clear? Is using and viewing the slideshows intuitive?

5) I put a fair amount of effort into making "Story Behind The Image" pages for each image that viewers can get to by clicking on any picture in the slideshow. Once one of these "Story" pages are pulled up, you can either return to the slideshow or navigate the gallery from these pages. Is that clear from the website? Are these pages easy to get to? Are the "Story" pages worthwhile?

6) Given that a webmaster, graphics non-professional (me) coded it, does the site have a generally professional feel to it.....or does it scream amateur? (I still have the old site available if folks feel the current site is lacking).

7) Any comments or experiences to relay on achieving blog integration within a website?

I know I still have some further proofing to do for spelling etc, but I did want to get it up live and get some feedback. I am hoping it will be a good starting point to function as a site that I can personalize and grow, with continued new offerings, artwork, articles, media etc

While you are there, if you have an interest in signing up for the Newsletter I am planning for two or three times a year you can sign up from the site directly at this page.

As an aside, when one is ready to make a website live there is always the question of what company should host it. After some research, I chose HostGator and couldn't be happier thus far. Their tech support has been superlative with rapid and knowledgeable responses that helped me both get the site up properly and also get my contact and newsletter forms working correctly (getting website forms to function correctly can sometimes be a bit tricky!)