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Kicking Things Up A Notch

I don’t usually talk about the mechanics of running a travel blog while on the road. Most of the people who visit here are more interested in seeing photos and hearing stories of the the places I visit. Nonetheless, it is occasionally necessary to delve into the dirty underside of the business of running this site.

Sometime in the next week you should see a brand new version 3.0 of my website. It has taken a lot of time and but it is almost ready to go. I’ve never been satisfied with my website, so I got some professional help. I think the new site looks great and will be something I can live with for quite a while. It will be more visual, easier to navigate, and should really show off my photography much better.

Organizing my photography has been a real sore spot for me. Back in May I tried to self host my photos with a Galley2, which is open source photo management software. While it works, it has proven difficult to manage by myself. It has also failed spectacularly in my main objective of getting my photos indexed by Google Images. Less than 10% of my photos have been indexed in almost a year.

I also am now taking up 20gb of storage on my webserver which is waaay more than what I’m paying for. I am going to move to Smugmug.com as my photography solution. Not only is it cheaper than trying to self host 20gb of photos, but they have everything which Flickr doesn’t. I can map my own domain name to my Smugmug site, which means I can point photography.Everything-Everywhere.com to them and no one need know they are at another site…except for the fact that I just told everyone. I can protect images by blocking download of images larger than a set size, which Flickr cannot do. I’m pretty confident that Smugmug will be my long term photo solution. So far, the support they’ve given has been fantastic.

Going back and fixing the links to all my images is going to take a bunch of work. Going back and changing the links doesn’t bother so much as trying to do it with Egyptian bandwidth. I’m guessing it is a process which will take about 2 months, working on it on and off. I have also not been able to upload most of my photos since I’ve arrived in the Middle East. I’m sitting on almost 300 photos from the last 2 months which I can’t upload because the connection is too slow. One photo can take 10-20 minutes and the connection will usually time out before it is finished.

When the dust settles, everything should be working like I want it to. If anyone has any comments or suggestions, please feel free to let me know. Managing a website from the middle of nowhere can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but overall I really enjoy it.

  • 9 Comments... What's your take?

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Comments

  1. eileen says:

    Wow. Color me impressed. It's a tremendous body of work you've got here!

  2. Neil uckett says:

    Looking forward to seeing 3.0 Gary, its been a long time coming since you first mentioned it was happening …… good luck with it.

  3. ryan says:

    Gary,

    Why not write a script to fix all the links in one fell swoop? Hell, you could hire me to do it if you want to. I'd work for souvenirs.

    • Gary Arndt says:

      The links have no algorithm you can use to map one to another. The ones on my self hosted site use normal words “Sydney-Harbor-Bridge-Australia.jpg” where as the Smugmug ones have random strings of characters. You'd still have to go back and find them by hand.

      Also, I've made changes to how I display images when WordPress 2.7 came out. Now I'm using CSS, but I was originally using HTML tables. I'd like to go back and clean those up.

      Furthermore, the new design will allow for 600px wide images in the main body of the page, where I currently use 500px wide images for daily photos.

      I want to have all my daily photos display with a consistent format because I eventually want to have a calendar type page where people can browse past daily photos. That wont be a part of this release, but I'd like to do it in the future.

  4. Kjrstin says:

    Gary, I've been enjoying your site as I'm preparing for my own travels. My husband and I are leaving sometime in March and headed off to India, then other countries in central Asia and then down to Southeast Asia, for at least a year. We are photographers and are planning on posting photos on our blogs, etc. I have been pretty concerned about internet availability and bandwidth. Do you have any more thoughts on the subject? Thanks for the info about Egypt.

  5. ohh site relaunch. very exciting!

  6. Mouse says:

    You've been working hard, Gary, I look forward to seeing the results.

    I missed your contest – nor could I find mention in previous entries, altho I did go back about 6 pages. Would you mind telling me about it? I'm just being curious.

  7. Glad to see you went with Smugmug.com. I've been with them for five years and they are AWESOME! LOVE LOVE LOVE them. You won't be disappointed. I like the fact you can also use CSS to customize your page, change themes on every page and at $99 a year for unlimited uploads – wow. I'm not a salesperson for them – just a very pleased user. Support from Chris and everyone is incredible….they rock. I'm a photojournalist (22 years) turned freelancer and I can't say enough good about them – for real.

  8. SammyK says:

    Excited to see the new site! You're filling me with so much antici…… pation. :)

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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