MATTHEW NORDHAGEN :: PHOTOGRAPHY

A YEAR LATER

April 17th, 2019

It has been one year, and a couple days, since I started this website. Time flies. I have written 21 blog posts and featured 31 Recent Images. After countless attempts, this is the first website that I have started for myself where I have kept the content current. So what makes this attempt different from all of the others? I've distilled what I've learned over the past year into a list that will hopefully be of some guidance and help to others looking to start something similar.

MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS & KEEP IT CONSISTANT

Regardless of the kind of website you want to make, photography or otherwise, your expectations will dictate your success. It's often easy to set high goals for yourself. While not necessarily bad in and of itself, there is a difference between goals that are reasonable versus those that are not sustainable. Speaking of expectations, consistency is key. Whatever goal you set for yourself make sure you can achieve that goal consistently. It is all about keeping your website current. What's considered current is up to you. If you consider posting an image or writing a blog post once a month current then go with that, but try to do that consistently. Achieving that goal will then become your baseline. It is also likely that you will find yourself posting more. Anything above baseline is a bonus.

STICK TO YOUR INTERESTS

If you intend on building a blog style portfolio only write about the subjects that truly interest you, rather than writing about subjects for the sake of writing about them. Writing is a challenge already. There is no need to make it more difficult.

IGNORE THE METRICS

Ignore, or disable, website analytics. While analytics can be useful it also ends up being a metric that can work against you if you are not careful. Social media is lousy with examples of what happens when you begin to chase 'likes' rather than produce honest content. Starting out it's almost a guarantee that website engagement will be low to nonexistent anyways. While metrics can serve a purpose, don't make them the primary purpose.

MAYBE IGNORE THE COMMENTS

Similar to website analytics, carefully consider the utility of allowing reader comments. Reader comments can be useful but it is also a double-edged sword. On one hand it is a great way to connect and interact with potential readers and expand the reach of your website. A comment section can be valuable (Ming Thein's blog is a great example). On the other hand comment sections can, well, get out a hand. Carefully consider your options.

DO IT FOR YOURSELF

Finally, and above all else, make sure that your website is something you want to do for yourself first and others second. While I have no evidence to support this claim, I feel a lot of attempts fail because people end up doing it for the wrong reasons. It is safe to say that we as photographers have a common goal of getting more exposure for our work. However, don't let your quest for exposure take the fun out of building a niche for yourself online and through your work. A website can be an extremely valuable tool from a personal growth point of view. At the very least you will have a recorded timeline of your work, making it easier to measure improvement and locate places in need of improvement. Good work will eventually speak for itself. In the end, good work should be what matters most. Everything else is secondary.