Monday, 27 February 2017

Reflections on a presentation by Daniel Ainsworth who shared his experiences with the creation of his website "the pupil sphere"

Something that I picked up almost immediately in Daniel's lecture that I thought was particularly poignant was that he said: "it is not really ever been about money". It is evident from this statement alone that it is Daniel's love for photography that has given him success is a good lesson for anybody that passion drives success more than money!

The website is intended for student photos and is a portfolio of their work. In setting the site up, then asked a stock set of questions from each of the image providers and in response, he provides a shop window for them to establish themselves as photographers in their own rights. There is also space so that image providers can place their own web links to the site as well.

A great inspiration for Daniel in this work was a piece written by Harry Rose, founder of "Darwin" magazine. He found this to be an excellent resource. (See http://www.darwin-magazine.com - offline at the moment, being rebuilt!)  or http://darwinmagazine.tumblr.com/

Through the use of the new website that then created, he offered free publication to students and felt that he had found a niche in the market. His pupil sphere site has allowed him to mix with other microcosms of students from other universities all over the UK.

His slides consisted mainly of single lines of text on a white background with simple text font. I found this to be very practical and very elegant way of expressing himself.

Daniel made the recommendation that when choosing a website URL, one should always consider the whole range of social media as this should also link and be the same name as the site. It is vital that it all connects together.

Another excellent resource to look at is ASX, or  AmericansuburbX.com. See http://www.americansuburbx.com/

Dan is clearly very good at network marketing by making contacts at other universities and then getting referrals from users at those locations. Ultimately this is free marketing.

Using a small on-line application called "Hootsuite" allows for scheduled postings in the future, but it comes at a price.  See http://signuptoday.hootsuite.com

Dan admits that he soon ran out of content for his website, so innovatively he started searching for "photographic societies" at other universities. He joined all of them through their Facebook sites and posted a link of advertising to all of them. The result was a tremendous response from all over the UK with a variety of skills coming back and asking to be included on to his site.

Another really useful resource that Dan has used throughout the development of his website originates from the company "Redeye" (). Joe Slack, really helped from that organisation, by providing a really useful critique of Daniel's work through an interview. See https://www.redeye.org.uk/
The Redeye magazine can also help you become "verified" by Twitter, and such references make you a much more credible provider.

On the subject further of social media, Twitter is now becoming seen as a professional platform and is a massive reference for artistic practice according to our tutor Richard M.

With regards to Instagram, there are niche tags that can help you with social media and increase your presence. There is also "Free Range" show which is a postgraduate photographic show. Here there as a huge amount of content which also provides email addresses that can be used in a marketing campaign.

The original website was built on Wix, but then switched from this provider to "square space" quite recently, as they do not have the size limitations

The way that Dan gets new contributors is to visit the universities and making pitches and distributing flyers. Money is earned through these visits. Where possible.

Google AdSense provides an income as does the Amazon Associates affiliate program (which is much easier to establish yourself within than Google). On the Amazon Associates platform, you are able to find niche affiliate's to make your work extend to a further audience.

However avoid advertising on the website as much as possible, because on a clean website they become distractions and take the viewer away from the content of your site.

Google Analytics provides a method to track viewer usage and records each of the mouse clicks that they make. Therefore sidebars are splendid for getting users to make those extra clicks.

Through the proper use of Google analytics and SCO's, it's possible to get very efficient targeting. For example, this can be from specific gender and age demographics. This allows you to make campaigns that are much more productive.

Words are also a key element that you need to understand if your website will be successful.

The importance of "self-promotion". In this regard, Stephen Shaw is a fantastic reference who regularly posts to Instagram. However, good self-promotion means that one should try to use all the digital platforms.

What seems to be key to Daniel's success is that he has separated himself from the product. By doing this, Dan has learned that if his website succeeds or fails he personally should not be affected with regards to reputation.

Part of the Master's study has given Dan space to create his own ideas for the next stage of development. He has learned to recognise his own weaknesses and is able to ask others to support him in these areas. His strings are then able to be focused upon and used to maximum effect. He has just recently got a "plug in" with "village" and also apply to do some curating work and marketing with the website "format".

Conclusions

  • Any good kickstart a campaign for a website should start at least three or four months before a launch. This was one of the main lessons that Daniel learned and regrets not taking time away in the production of the platform before he learnt he launched it.
  • With regards to social media, Dan advised against ever cutting and pasting content. It is not interchangeable, and you should tailor your social media specifically to your message.

Dan also recognises the need to ask customers what they actually want!
In summary,

  • the website production was quite easy!
  • It helps an individual to network with peers.
  • It creates portfolios of other people's work which can be adopted within your own scope.
  • This is a vehicle for duration and productivity.
  • It is an excellent way of self-promotion.


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