My photo sharing – web-page – blogging experience UPDATED

In 2013, I launched my PictureTrail site. I found it cathartic to retrace my steps then and now I wanted to update those.
Early computer use
In the late 1990’s my husband and I got our first home computer. It was second hand but it got on the web – using dial-up but still on the web. By 2000, we got another one – still second hand and this one got us Front Page – a web page editor. In between the two computers, I joined a miniature group via yahoo groups – that sparked a desire to share my photos online.

Free web space and using Front Page
Using Front Page, web space provided free via my ISP and my desire to share my photos – I learned just enough in order that I could create webpages to post them. I didn’t learn how to write html, just edit it enough to accomplish what I wanted.

Become a web designer?
Making my own webpages made me want to become a web designer. Computers and the programs for them have come a long way from what I knew in my prior education. In high school, I had a computer class that required us to write the code for a program line by line. In college in the late 80’s, I took a class in cobalt – again – still writing code. That all seems too tedious to me. Having experienced something like Front Page where one could use forms to add certain things I thought I could do the legwork as well. I did go back to college in 2001 (during a lay off), but soon discovered web publishing/design wasn’t for me. It was still too tedious for my taste. Instead I decided to stick with what I had being doing. It accomplished what I wanted.
What I wanted was to share my photos. I did that and more. I even made pages that allowed me to sell some things. Ok, that was basically the same thing – I shared photos of what I wanted to sell and interested persons could email me their order. It worked.

Photo sharing sites
As other people shared their photos using various services, I did some comparison shopping. One I liked was webshots. I opened my own webshots account and started adding my photos. As webshots improved their services, it got so easy to deal with them, I stopped adding anything to my webpages. I did of course link to the webshots for the latest stuff. I kept both of these going until in 2009 when I switched ISP’s. I upgraded from dial up to cable internet. Wow that was a big change. And the change also affected my free webpages hosted by my prior ISP. They offered to continue hosting the pages for a small monthly fee, but I decided I would just move everything to webshots. In hindsight, maybe I should have kept the webpages, but I wasn’t to know that until later. UPDATE: interesting to me is that when I browse Pinterest I run across my own photos from webshots. Sadly, they are rarely contributed to me. I blame my tagging on that. I considered using a watermark but even that probably wouldn’t tie to me now.

I’m going to blog as well
In 2008, I started a blog – my Small Packages blogspot. I started it because it was a way to share my photos in the way I had done on my webpages. I wanted to be able to talk about them. Webshots allowed me to include a description, but it wasn’t so obvious the description is of equal importance (to me) as the photos. The blog allowed me illustrate how I made something which is one thing I really enjoy sharing. It also allows me to share who made something that I am using in my project. I have done a large number of swaps and I love using those swaps. It is important to me to give credit to those swappers who swapped with me. I don’t always accomplish that as I wasn’t as good to record who made what. After I started blogging, I continued to post my photos to webshots but with the how-to’s on the blogspot and keeping webshots as the photo album.

Say it isn’t so – webshots to become smile, I’m not smiling
In 2012 – webshots became something else and stopped offering free space for sharing photos. I was thankful for the space all those years even when their ads became annoying. This new company was going to require both me and my viewer to have an account in order to view the photos. Oh and it isn’t free. Really – well that really is too bad as I am not going to stay. I don’t think they wanted me as a free user to stay anyway. I really felt bad for those who had upgraded their accounts to pay and now they want to move. UPDATE: smile by webshots didn’t last either.

What do I do now? Add more photos to my blog?
As much as I love blogging – I haven’t been using the blogspot all along to share my photos. I have many projects that pre-date my blogspot as my blogspot started in 2008 and I have projects from the 1990’s although have been a miniaturist from before that. Blogs being what they are – I don’t want to just start adding random projects to my blogspot in order to get them out there. It was easy to add older projects to webshots – it gave me the means to arrange the projects the way I want. I’m not saying I can’t make the blog work for sharing photos, even older ones, just a different format than a photo sharing site.
Now that webshots is gone, I am back to the decision – the one previously resolved of where to move my photos. It was relatively easy to make that decision – free space to free space. I liked the way the webshots was organized or at least the way I was able to organize it.

So looking for a replacement – I considered many options.
A website – cost was a huge factor. Having tried a free one once before I wasn’t interested in ultimately paying since my photos need space which the free one I tried wanted you to pay for.
A different photo-sharing site – gosh there are so many. Some are free and some are not. So the decision here is what do the paid ones offer that the free ones don’t. Do they provide the type of organizing I want.
I also considered using my blogspot but not really.
Which put me back to a photo sharing siteā€¦
Flickr? pisca? Free webspace via my ISP? Until I finally settled on PictureTrail.

PictureTrail it was a great option while it lasted. 2013-2021 was a good run.

I told my husband as I was working on PictureTrail in the last few hours before launching, that if PictureTrail goes away, I don’t know what I will do. I really don’t want to do this again.

But here I am again.

GoDaddy – why I choose it

I talked it over with my husband and he did some research as well. We agreed that for the support and cost that GoDaddy would be a good option. Along with Word Press it has been a good journey so far in the short time I have used it. There are things I had to learn as with any new software.

Here are my tips:

  • If serious about having a website with multiple pages – purchase a package. The free one IMHO is just to get you hooked. However I didn’t explore the free one much so I could be wrong.
  • Once started with Word Press just log in from there. Don’t need to go from GoDaddy to manage pages/posts.
  • Use tags – this helps search engines.
  • Use categories for pages – I added a plug-in (additional software for Word press) so I could add them to my pages. By default can add a category to a blogpost but not pages. Hence the need to add the plug-in.
  • Pick a theme that works how you want it to. There are a plethora of themes. Try them with your own pages and posts. You can create test ones and delete them later.
  • Experiment with the various designs/tools/settings. I decided after building about 20+ pages I wanted to allow comments on them. I went one by one and fixed this on most. Then realized I could use the Quick Edit. It’s available for both pages and posts.

Hindsight is 20/20

When I think about my journey, I wish I had stuck with a webpage all along. But I know that wouldn’t have worked as for awhile I was using space via my isp didn’t last long. I would have to have changed.

Secondly, I could have made it work with my blogspot. But I didn’t think it would really work like I wanted. Even today I could do that. Although I would have to research newer aspects I am currently not aware of.

Lastly, through my journey, I know that I really wanted my own domain name. After having paid for PictureTrail, I was ready to pay for that.

I’ve come full circle. I couldn’t have gotten here to mini-smallpackages.com without the other steps along the way.