Ten years ago this spring, in the city of Seattle, in the Wallingford neighborhood, I picked a name for a new little pet photography business, called Cowbelly Pet Photography. I can’t believe it has been a decade since I started up this business, and the fact that it hasn’t in any way felt like ten years is a testament to just how much I love this job. I’m more excited now about the next ten years than I was back when I started, and want to sincerely thank everyone who has participated in this journey with me!
I am beyond excited to announce the launch of a much-anticipated, long-overdue, almost-didn’t-happen NEW WEBSITE! My 10-year anniversary gift to Cowbelly Pet Photography.
New stuff and things on the new site:
- A products page and products gallery highlighting all of the fun products I offer
- An experience page that lays out the experience of working with me
- A travel rates page for folks who aren’t in Seattle
- A Palm Springs rates page
- More galleries that you can shake a stick at, including one for my Graffiti Dogs Project
- A Model Database page, which will take the place of my model’s wanted blog post from 2011, so people don’t have to email me anymore (whew)
- A beefier For Photographers page, with products and information on Beautiful Beasties
- A Beautiful Beasties book page
- A Giving Back page that outlines the services and products I donate annually to local rescue groups
Those of you who have displays that are at least 2000px wide, try making your browser full screen, and then look down in the lower left of my site at my footer. Hee hee.
What you can do to help me:
1. Go check out my fancy new website with big photos and lots of color on your desktop, iphone, android, tablet or ipad. The galleries are fully swipe-able, and you have access to every page on your mobile device.
2. Share the link to the new site with all of your friends. Post it to your Facebook wall, share it in your forums, tweet about it, leave it as a comment on a news article or page. This would mean the world to me, and I sincerely thank you in advance!
3. Leave a comment here letting me know if you find anything broken, or just what you like about the new site. Be gentle please. Lol.
4. Try and find the one image that’s totally out of place in the ‘Dogs on Location’ gallery. Hey, we all make mistakes. 😉
5. Give my web developer Zach a shout if you are needing web work yourself. He is unbelievably good at what he does.
6. Enjoy the site! I know I am! I couldn’t possibly be happier. YAY!
For those who are interested in the behind-the-scenes of this website, here’s the CRAZY back-story on the site, told in bullet points:
- Site design was done by me, started in September 2012, finished in October 2012.
- Interviewed and hired a developer in October, pre-paid for part of the project.
- Developer did some of the work, then disappeared. With my money.
- In the meantime, 2 of my deadlines for getting the new site online passed.
- I enacted a PayPal complaint to try and get my money back.
- Developer got scared, became responsive again, did more work, and nearly finished.
- I spent January + February culling and editing images and creating the galleries. The site was 90% complete when I was done with the galleries.
- When I finished the galleries I got one email from the developer, then he disappeared again, this time for good.
- The last week in March, desperate to get a new site online that I had been working on for over 6 months, that was over 3 months overdue on launching and was preventing me from starting new marketing and promotional projects, I went back to the drawing board and started interviewing new developers.
- That’s when I met (the amazing) Zach Nicodemous of ZDN Computers.
- He did the final 10% of the work for me on the site, and in so doing, confirmed my worst fears: the previous developer had screwed up the code so much that a) he took an originally responsive theme and massacred it to make it unresponsive, b) killed my ability to have the new site SEO’d, and c) created a whole bunch of janky code in the CSS files, which I had suspected before when I looked at them. The site would need to be rebuilt from scratch if I wanted it to be responsive, search engine optimized and play well with Google. $1250 to the previous developer down the drain.
- I decided to move forward with a new build, and eat the cost of the last one. #painful
- I told Zach about an important event I had coming up on April 6th, (the PAWS Wild Night event), and told him I really needed the site online before the event, because I really wanted to help them raise as much money as possible, and I thought getting people jazzed about my work might help. I said “I can’t reasonably ask you to build me a new site from the ground up in a week, but if there is any chance you can do it, I’m begging you”. Like any smart small business owner he said “I’m happy to do it, for extra cash”. (Smart man). We agreed.
- On Monday April 1st I passed off my psd files to Zach, after spending the weekend completely redesigning them, including creating half of the 27 pages from scratch. (If I was MIA March 29th through 31st now you know why).
- In 5 days, Zach had a new, fully functional, all broken parts fixed, all tweaks completed, all plugins functioning, all search engine optimized, responsive website online for me. ASTONISHING.
- We launched it last Friday- April 5th, just in time for the PAWS Wild Night event. At the event the next night, the calendar I am shooting auctioned off for over $54,000. Coincidence? Possibly. But I like to think it’s because of Zach and my hard work, and people visiting the site from the auction page during the two days preceding the event. 😉 (I’ll do another blog post soon with details on the wildly successful PAWS calendar auction and event).
Thank you so much to those of you who follow me on Facebook who have been empathic during my long saga, who probably got sick of hearing about ‘my new website’ that was nowhere to be seen, and who helped me determine what needed to be changed in the old build, for the new build. Your feedback a couple of weeks ago was invaluable, and in retrospect, I’m kind of glad I had another ‘new’ website online that I could totally change/fix/modify for the ‘new’ new website. Most people don’t get that chance, and although it cost me $1200 to have that chance, now I have a site I’m incredibly happy with. My old site was built in 2007, and most of my work on it was that old as well, so it was high time I replaced it with something newer and fresher.
I LOVE my new website and hope you do too!! YIPPEE!