The Making Of JerryGrasso.com 3.0
Sometime ago, I ran across an article written by photographer Jay Patel called Are you mobile friendly? In it there is a discussion about the future of website visitation. Your website is your storefront, so it makes sense that if you want to maximize the visitation of your storefront, you have to make that visit an easy, enjoyable experience for your viewer. Afterall, your visitors may be potential customers. The point Jay makes is that mobile device access, like from smart phones and tablets, is rapidly increasing, so your site better be able to accommodate this trend or suffer potential loss of interest.
Think of the theme as my painted front door and curtains in the window. This is what my visitors will see. It provides all of the visitor interaction and layouts I need to make my site more attractive and easy to use. But the most critical decision to be made is the type of theme to use. Responsive themes automatically resize your site pages to the viewing size of the mobile device or even desktop. But, a word of caution, the theme you choose must say that it is a Responsive theme. Word Press does offer a plug-in called WP-Touch that will make the adjustment for whatever theme I select. I tried this plug-in, but for my tastes, I didn’t like the way my site looked with it running. You can try it out for yourself. It is free, easy to install, and can be deactivated and deleted if you are not happy.
After much searching, I found a theme I liked, but of course, it was not free. Although there are many free Word Press themes, I never found one that I completely liked. I finally selected one from Envato Pexeto called Expression for $45. Its theme is clean-looking (not a lot of clutter and overwhelming gadgetry), easy to use, and got rave reviews from a lot of happy people who installed this theme. I also viewed their support database to see what issues users were facing to ensure I wasn’t getting myself into a product that could not deliver a good-looking, great-working site.
Setup for Expression was easy and painless. The included documentation and videos made site building easy for me.
I designed my Home page to be more of a landing page, a splash page really. The reason I did not want to take the viewer directly into my galleries was the potential gallery images load time on some devices and networks. My page does offer, however, a featured gallery tease, a three-image continuous slideshow. This is usually my latest published project. The rest of the page can be used in the future to announce upcoming news or shows of my works.
The Galleries page offers project selection by category, either photography or allegory, that the viewer can pick to launch a particular grouping of images. Once into a gallery, each image can be easily viewed by using directional arrows, for desktop viewing for example, or swiping gestures typically used on handheld devices. This page also offers the user an additional navigation feature, a breadcrumb trail, to allow selecting of specific galleries by groupings or categories.
The other pages are pretty standard, Contact, Prices, etc. However, all pages allow users of social media, Facebook, Twitter, etc., the opportunity to interact with my social sites as well.
Finally, I installed several plugins to help with site maintenance and optimization. WP Super Cache works on your site to speed up page visitation of frequently accessed items. Yoast SEO helps configure your pages for search engine optimization. This becomes important when a potential customer or visitor tries to search for your site using any of the usual search screens, Like Google or Bing. BackupBuddy allows me to completely backup all of the pages, the database, and other website plumbing into one giant zip file which can be downloaded to my desktop for archival storage, or this file can be used to restore/migrate my site from my subdomain, where I did my initial building without disturbing my old site, over to my production domain.
Adding/removing more images from an existing gallery is as simple as drag and drop. That’s because both Word Press and Pexeto use an admin panel to access site building features like this, so it is a snap to use.