Doctor Frankenmomtographer, Livebooks and the Monster


So.

I have this new project. Not really a project. Sort of a new project. New business things. They are in the works. It’s very exciting, but I’m preemptively annoyed because my original goal has already exploded into a mutant hulk and I know I’ll obsess about it until it’s all done with.

I can’t help it. I start with a thought. Thought turns into a goal. I brainstorm and diddle around here and there until the inevitable epiphany that usually hits me in the shower (really). I tear out of the shower, water still on, soap and boobs going every whichaway, body checking my kid in the living room, all so I can I scribble down my ingenious mental diarrhea all over whatever surface I can find before I forget. Then I work on it almost every waking moment I have muster, and probably think about it in my sleep, too.

It all started with a new website and a few altered business policies. They were supposed to make me more efficient and profitable (and eventually they will).

Anyway. I have a website for my business.  See below.

Image

lindycordell.com

My current website is through Livebooks.

The design made more sense when I was doing more commercial and editorial work and I needed a portfolio. Friends recommended them and that they handled everything was very appealing as I had a small baby and zero time to fart around building a website.

Now my business primarily portraits and weddings. I need a website that is not only a sleek portfolio but also one that is engaging and useful for both current and potential clients, versus just… there.

Also, it costs $45/month to host and maintain.

FORTY FIVE DOLLARS.

That’s over half of our weekly grocery budget.

The problem is that the functionality really isn’t there. It’s a pain in the ass.

A few examples to elaborate:

  1. Galleries? You can only have so many. I think it’s like 7. That might vary depending on your canned template of choice. Dunno. They can only go one or two places anyway.
  2. Want to change a font, font color or font size on a page? That’s $50, it’ll take two days and they’ll do it wrong.
  3. Want a new page for your drop down menu? That’s like $200, it’ll take four days and they’ll still do it wrong – twice.
  4. Blog that matches your website? They’ll charge you to design it even though it’s just a white page – and then they’ll probably do that wrong too.
  5. Discover the SEO “keywords” from your website the search engines are seeing are actually strings of code and not metadata, keywords or anything that might actually help your ranking? They’ll dodge the question and offer to sell you some time with an SEO consultant (who will presumably explain how to fill in keyword boxes that are apparently irrelevant).
  6. Want to install any of wide array of very basic, popular WordPress plug-ins for your blog? Nope. Can’t do it. Pick from their six.

And by “wrong” here I mean “pretty much the opposite what I asked/paid them to do.”

Something may have changed in the last six months, but I haven’t really been paying attention. I’m done with it.

Without going back and actually adding everything up, I’d estimate I’ve sunk $1,000 into that mostly-canned site in the past almost three years, not including the monthly $45.

Boo.

I got fed up and finally started exploring my options in January. Someone sent me to  ProPhoto blog sites.

Remember in Monty Python’s Holy Grail when the angles fly by and people play trumpets with their butts? It was like that.

Once I’m done I’ll have a better site and it’s going to cost me less than $5 a month.

FIVE DOLLARS.

Originally I was hoping to have something cranked out before bridal show season started. All I have to do really is just copy and paste everything over, right? Then add some stuff to make it better? Maybe switch a few thing around?

Gallery Selection

old school gallery selection process

HAHA. Riiiiiight.

So it’s the end of July now and mostly done. *sigh*

The entire ProPhoto/Worpress system is incredibly easy to figure out and use. It’s just a combination of me being incredibly anal and a lack of time.

So what started as a new website turned into a shower epiphany, which snowballed into a new website, almost entirely new branding, new marketing, new promo materials and a new business plan.

Crap.

For extra fun, my father-in-law has been sick and is having major surgery the 30th. That’s six days. He usually keeps Squirt during the week while I work. I’m sure you can see the problem here.

After the 30th, with the exception of the three half-days my son goes to preschool starting back mid-August, I have essentially no guaranteed weekday childcare for up to 3 months.

Obviously I’m taking a lighter load of clients than last year so I can keep up.

It’s gonna be great though. I’m rolling everything out at once, and it’ll be so awesome it’ll rock your bones into a thunderstorm of dust and skeletons. At this rate it’ll be Christmas before I’m done, but… whatever. Festive dust and skeletons.

Combine the new project monster with trying to run a regular business, to keep the house from falling in and trying to keep my 3 year old from destroying the place and/or breaking his neck, all 15 minutes at a time, by the end of October…

Holy shitballs.

Chances are that sleeping maybe five hours a night and living on energy drinks and raisins is going to catch up with me.

It’s Doctor Frankenstein sorta stuff, really, complete with Gene Wilder hair, if Doctor Frankenstein also got a period and had all the stereotypical responsibilities that came with being the only person in the house graced with a vag.

So basically Doctor Frankenmomtographer.

I’ve created a monster. It’s EXCITING. But I have to get it under control. I’d like to think this sort of thing happens all the time to small business owners and entrepreneurs of all kinds, so I’m going to tell myself that.

This isn’t all Livebooks’ fault. I’d say… it’s maybe half their fault. It started with them. So in the Young Frankenstein analogy, I think that makes them Marty Feldman.

Yeah.

I’m tired.

About Lindy.

I like things that kick ass and hate things that suck.
Aside | This entry was posted in Business Stuff, Mom Stuff, Photography Stuff, Things That Suck. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Doctor Frankenmomtographer, Livebooks and the Monster

  1. pabloconrad says:

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. But I can say this: I feel your pain.

    I hate websites, blogging, social networking, but unfortunately it is the way of the world.

    Have you thought about Photoshelter or SmugMug?

    My site is from Smugmug. Fully customizable. Unlimited galleries, unlimited photos ….. blah blah blah.

    I really hope you get it figured out. You’ll really appreciate when you do.

    Later Dr. Frankenmomtographer.

    • Lindy. says:

      Thanks Pablo.

      I’ve used PhotoShelter before when I was doing editorial work. Doesn’t really work for me now. Services like Zenfolio and SmugMug really annoy me (I was a Zenfolio user for a long time, though I never used it exclusively for my website, so that might contribute to that). I’m not entirely sure why. While convenient in some matters, as far as my experience goes, some of their sites (even the custom ones attached to your own domain) have a sort of a drag-and-drop look to them. Dunno. Works for some people, but I’m aiming for the fancy custom boutique wedding experience, so I need my site to look all… fancy custom and boutiquey. Branding stuff.

      For print fulfillment I use ShootProof, which I really really really like (monthly usage fee, no commission fees and money goes straight to your bank account so you avoid PayPal fees). I think WordPress blogsites more suit my style and need. It’s not that it’s hard to do, it’s just a matter of sitting down and getting it all done. In my situation this summer, it’s been all I can do just to keep up with basic business stuff – shooting, processing, emails, etc. It’s a work on it here and there thing.

      It’s gonna be cool.

    • Lindy. says:

      Also, not saying yours looks canned. You know what I mean.

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