** Simply roll your mouse over the image to reveal the old website (left) and the new website (right). **
I am delighted to introduce to you to my new website today; 9 months in development not only is it a completely new design but a brand new home too, at www.johndunne.ie. This represents a root and branch revamp with domain change, new host, new site design, new galleries, and new secure eCommerce solution for my Fine Art Print Sales (see my special launch announcement discount code at the bottom of this post!).
First things first, a new domain. I’ve held johndunnephotography.com since 2009, and I still own it with no intention of letting it go, however as a photographer that specialises in landscape images of Ireland I felt my countries top-level domain the right home for me. My original domain now points here, so there should be no broken links though (hopefully)!
In terms of site redesign, the last time I made such a radical change was July 2010, followed by a smaller revamp in June 2011; 6 years with the same site design is pretty good, and I’ve generally been happy with it. However in internet years it was a dinosaur. In 2010 mobile readiness was a nice to have, in 2016 it is a must have, for instance.
There were 3 core areas at the forefront of my mind when I set about considering the revamp. I needed a new host, I needed a new eCommerce solution, and I wanted to stay within the WordPress ecosystem.
Bluehost was my first and, up until very recently, my only web host, I was with them for nearly a decade. In the early days I found Bluehost to be fast and responsive, and always quick to resolve any issues I raised with them. However I have, in the last several years, experienced an erosion of that service, in particular their responsiveness and helpfulness. A decade is a long time, and the hosting landscape has changed. I did my research, reading reviews of various offerings and decided upon SiteGround as my new host. SiteGround is a relatively new company but very quickly rising in the ranks, with a great deal of community generated positive opinion, and my experience to date can only echo that. I moved everything over to them late last year and the transfer went relatively smoothly. I have found them very responsive and helpful, in general. So far so good SiteGround, thank you.
Another decision I made quickly was to leave PhotoShelter. PhotoShelter has been my image host and eCommerce solution for 6 years, and they have been a great partner. However PhotoShelter and I have changed over the years, and they have taken a direction that no longer fits me. PhotoShelter made significant site design changes which I imagine met the needs of many but limited me too much. And, to be frank, I could no longer justify the $360 annually, nor their 9% fees on every sale. And with that decision I needed to find an alternate eCommerce solution, one that would integrate seamlessly with my chosen platform – WordPress. After extensive research I decided upon WooCommerce as my eCommerce solution to sell my Signed Fine Art Prints. As part of the WooCommerce solution I acquired an AlphaSSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate and have switched it on site-wide, which ensures my customers absolute security (notice the https in all my site links).
When I set about considering a site redesign there were several must-haves that immediately came to mind – simple, fast, modern, minimal, mobile friendly, and easy to maintain; and it was with these tenants I set about my research. I knew from the start I would continue to use WordPress as my platform; it is an amazing tool, free, under constant development, with tons of third-party development, and I have invested literally years in learning how to leverage it. During my 2010/11 revamp I chose a theme I really liked but ended up writing 850 lines of custom CSS/HTML code to wrangle it into the look I wanted. I absolutely did not want to do that again; apart from the pain of writing that much code, as I am not a coder, it caused my site to become bloated as it was not optimised, and could play havoc with updates. So with all that in mind I started my research into a new WordPress Theme, and after a lot.lot of research and experimentation I chose one by Dream-Themes called TheSeven. The7 is one of the best selling themes on Envato Market with nearly 40k sales, and is rated 4.81 from 4,149 ratings; so I knew I was buying in to something stable. And after working with it for nearly 9 months I can see why it is such a popular theme. The folks at Dream-Theme are constantly updating it with bug fixes, refinements and new functionality. In addition their support has been stellar, via their own forum. I am also really happy to say that I had to write just 19 lines of CSS, and one custom PHP file; a far cry from the 850 lines I needed before. In addition to the theme I am utilising a number of WordPress plugins but I’ll hold off talking about those until a future post.
So there you have it, a new domain, a new web host, a new site design, and new eCommerce solution, oh and I nearly forgot a refreshed Logo to boot. I encourage you to peruse my new site and (hopefully) enjoy my Landscape Photographs of Ireland. To mark the launch I am offering a 15% discount on all Signed Fine Art Print Sales, please use the code below.
To celebrate the launch of all this newness I am offering a 15% discount on all Signed Fine Art Print sales. Simply use the code NEWSITE when checking out. The code will remain live for 30 days and is limited to 1 use per customer. You can find out more about my Signed Fine Art Giclée Prints here.Visit My Galleries