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Changes, Changes Everywhere…

…and not a drop to – wait, that sounded better in my head. Recently, my web presence has expanded beyond photography to also now include my music. At the time of each site’s launch, I chose titles and URLs specific to the individual site, such as nowlanjourneys.com and nowlanmusic.com. However, I soon found out that this decision made marketing and spreading the word about both of these sites surprisingly difficult and inefficient. So, I started working on a solution. Little did I know how big of a pain such a change could be.

First, I needed a central hub where I could easily direct visitors to my different sites. Naturally, http://christophernowlan.com/ was a perfect location for this hub. I tried out an about.me page and I liked that simple format, but the ads and prominent about.me branding really killed the professional feel of the page. The only problem standing in my way now was that I didn’t want to spend an additional $5.00 a month to host a single page.

christophernowlan.com

christophernowlan.com



UPDATE: And just like that, this page is gone. As you can see, I came up with an even better idea for christophernowlan.com.

Then an idea struck me: move my hosting account from nowlanmusic.com to christophernowlan.com and turn my music site into a subdomain like http://music.christophernowlan.com. This way, I can host multiple sites on one account. But now nowlanjourneys.com is inconsistent with my new organization. Bam!… http://photos.christophernowlan.com!

I had been contemplating changing the name of the photography site for some time and this was the perfect opportunity. As my photography has begun to expand beyond just images from my travels, “Photographic Journeys with Christopher Nowlan” no longer seemed appropriate and was just too long. Simple solution: “Christopher Nowlan Photography.”

Christopher Nowlan Photography

Christopher Nowlan Photography

First, I had to transfer my hosting account to christophernowlan.com, move my music site files to the music subdomain, and set up the photography site to work with the photos subdomain. Because of how these systems work, these changes took several hours to propagate out. Now that nowlanmusic.com and nowlanjourneys.com were no longer officially in use, I had to set up new email addresses for both sites.

With that finished, I now had to begin rebranding the photography site with the new name and logo. You never realize how many assets you have with your name/logo attached until you go changing them! For some reason, I failed to keep some of the original, editable files from when I designed the site, meaning that I had to recreate some of them from scratch. Then, the ones that I did keep, now seemed low-resolution compared to my new standards and I ended up recreating most of them while I was at it. As you can imagine, tracking down all the references to my previous URLs and site titles took some considerable time. Oh yeah, I also had to make a new watermark and apply it to all of my images (a pain in the rear, by the way). I tried to go with a design that would provide limited distraction but still serve its purpose. At 85% transparency, it’s sometimes not really even visible on some backgrounds, but any more opaque and it becomes a serious detractor.

Watermark Example

Ah, but what about this blog? WordPress does a great job of hosting blogs for free, but the customization is extremely limited and without paying an annual fee, your blog displays ads. This doesn’t bother me because I’m willing to make sacrifices for a free service, but now I have a perfectly good place to host this blog. WordPress’ self-hosted option allows for much greater customization and control, and by placing it under the christophernowlan.com domain I could now expand the blog’s subject matter. To read just the posts related to a certain subject (e.g. music or photography), just click on the category of your choice from the appropriate box on the right.

I truly hope these changes will be for the best. If you have any comments or suggestions, please share them in the comments below or email me!