Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Perils of free web sites

I've been thinking about adding a page to this blog to show case my favourite photos that I've taken since getting my DSLR camera.  Simply adding a page in Blogger maintains the same layout as the rest of the blog, complete with the search, archive, labels and adds that appear in the right column, but I'd like my best photos to be shown using the full available width of the blog.  
I could pay to make some really nice pages using SmugMug or SquareSpace, but so far my hobby of an online presence only costs me a nominal amount for domain names and a Pro Flickr subscription, so I'd rather not throw money into the cloud when there are free options available.
Free options?  Yes, there are still plenty of ways to maintain an online presence without costing a cent (and I'm not thinking about social media at all);
  • As my photos are already on Flickr, the easiest for me would be to simply add a link to a Flickr set or slideshow.  However this is hard to incorporate into my blog, as I cant link back to my homepage.
  • I tried starting another blog using Blogger, but a blog format would make a new dated post whenever I wanted to add more photos.  So I added a page to that blog (formatted without the extra column) for my best photos, but that gets awkward because even though I can link back to my homepage, I cant remove the link to the homepage of that blog.
  • I thought I'd give WordPress a try, this is a very popular platform, but ran into similar problems of dated posts in a blog format or a page with links to it's own homepage that I couldn't remove.
  • The next option to try was Google Sites.  I originally tried Google’s free web site building service a few years ago to a make a family page, but found it very hard to work out and far from user friendly. I ended up going to Blogger for our family site.  (I now use Blogger for the site you’re reading now and my Web Links site.)  Having another look at Google Sites recently I still found it difficult to work out, but they have made some improvements from a few years back.  The advantage this time for me was that it doesn’t have to be a blog format, so I was able to create a photo page that linked back to my homepage.
Sure it took some trial and error with cursing and head scratching, and it’s not as pretty as a paid site, but I got there in the end.  That’s why I enjoy my online hobby.

MyGoogleSitesPhotoPage https://sites.google.com/site/simonyeophotos/
BloggerPhotoPage FlickrSlideshow WordPressPhotoPage


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