Monday, September 10, 2012
Costumes and a Blog about Blogs
I've been getting a lot of questions about blogs, so I thought I would answer them today.
For starters, my template. I use a simple template, available at blogger.com (the hosting site for my blog) and I "tweak" it a bit to include my bio, some links, comments for each post, etc. I also keep archives, since my blog goes back quite a ways. My philosophy for web design is very simple, actually it *is* very simple-I strive to keep things as simple and "uncluttered" as possible. No flashing "doo-dahs" no singing music, no fancy fonts, just me, typing, and a couple of links in case, you know, in case you want to get out (some days, frankly, I could see why you would want to get out. Some days, heck, I want to get out too!)
My biggest advice to fellow bloggers is to not fuss over your template. Use something simple, start posting up a bit, and then modify it if you need to, but don't let your template eat up your time! Instead, focus on crafting the best content you can (best photos, best writing, etc.) and the template "woes" will take care of themselves.
Also, I was asked the other day about keeping a blog and keeping a website. Some folks are starting to feel (maybe have felt all along?) you don't really need both. I feel like I do need both, I use both, and they are different. Allow me to explain.
The blog, you see, is sort of like my "kitchen table." It's the place you can come in, hang out, maybe read something funny, catch-up with me, etc. It's not as "polished" as HouseOfCarol.com (my "regular" website.) It's not as presentable. It's not a "store" it's more like just a meeting room.
HouseOfCarol.com, now that's my storefront. That's a "real" website" and that's where all of the selling takes place. You can read all of my artist statements there. You can see my C.V. and find out where exactly in 1996 I was showing my work (I don't actually remember that, mind you, but you can find it out, if you're so-inclined, over at HouseOfCarol. That and many other stuff too, I'm sure. If you find anything interesting, please let me know. Oh wait, never mind.) HouseOfCarol is a "formal" entry point into my work. This place? Why, it's just a little ole' blog.
As to why you (in particular) might need a blog vs. a "real" website, well, of course, only you can make that determination but I would suggest that most people do need both types of sites. One is more informal, it let's people catch-up, it shows the behind-the scenes view of yourself. It lets people vent and it's a place where you can tell (or share) dirty jokes. You would not expect to see dirty jokes over at HouseOfCarol now, would you? (Hint: no, you wouldn't. That sites too pretty for any of that!)
In short, one (the blog) is the kitchen table. It's the informal you. It's the "dance like nobody is watching" site, while the other is your "real" site. Every shop needs a front door, a storefront, right? Your "real" website? Yeah, that's your storefront. The blog? That's sort of like the backroom. You know the backroom, don't you? That's the place the UPS guy comes in to check up on you and you chat with the neighbors a bit.
As for making the case to have both, well it seems like everybody these days wants all of the behind-the-scenes of everything. Nothing is kept secret anymore, everything is out in the open. Everybody expects you to both maintain a blog and a website. The website to purchase your work, the blog to find out more about "the real you." Photography has always been personal, each and every image is "tainted" by the hand of the photographer, as it were, so you are selling a bit of yourself. When you take a photo, you are putting a bit of yourself out on the line, for others to see. The blog is really just a better way for people to get to know you, so that they can, in turn, get to know your work more.
Sure, they may look alike and, yes, there are times when it seems like you might not *need* both types of sites but, really, it's probably best if you can learn how to juggle and produce both a blog and a website (if you can.) You will be better off in the long run if you can manage to do both.
Until next time...