Selecting a theme that gets you most of the way to your desired look and feel is wise. Try them all...Then push the easy customizer as far as you can to modify the layout. Add navigation, change fonts and all that good stuff. Don't be afraid to change your mind as you go along.
- Next step is to publish some site content in galleries. Don't try to build the whole site at once. Create content in phases. The organization of your galleries may change. Mine did as I worked through the content groupings. The site hierarchy I expect will continue to evolve. I know it will. I started off with no categories and then later created them. So I would say this part of the site is fluid and easy to change using the Smartmug interface.
- Install the Adobe Lightroom addin and configure it to upload content. Test it. Define a set of default settings for the creation of new galleries. This will save you time each time a gallery is created.
- Adding a custom URL and Google analytics key came next. Do this through the account pages.
- The following step was using the advanced customizer to add CSS to change what layout you want. There are many web sites with complete code samples or code snippets. Google search is your friend here.
- Build some more galleries....tweak the CSS once again.
- Add some non image content pages such as an About page. Link them into the navigation.
- Adding content for SEO is a good thing to do. Pay attention to image keywords. Mine are a mess and I will need to work on this next as I publish more images. My mess comes from not using Lightroom keywords well. Now I will have to fix and enhance a lot of Adobe Lightroom keywords.
- The homepage has undergone several revisions. I started with a static single image and a bio section. Now it has a slideshow, a bio section full of text about the site and not me, and a keyword section for search engines.
- Keep evolving your CSS as your site progresses. CSS its not a once done thing with this type of iterative build. Mine has changed many times. Remember less is more here. Keep your CSS to the minimum.
- Check your custom pages for markup errors and fix them. This could be things like mismatched tags.
- Review how your site looks on a tablet and adjust layout as necessary again. IOS and Android would be wise. The Android slide show needs work by Smugmug. The theme that I had chosen for the site had a broken layout when using Chrome on the Android Nexus 7. I changed the theme at this point to one that rendered better.
- Create a blog and link it to your Smugmug site. The blog will be useful for frequently updated and current content publishing. Such as this :-)
- Publish more image content with good relevant keywords.
- Smugmug was a wise choice for me. I needed the easy publishing features mostly. I got them. Customization has been easy. Perfect enough!
My site is at: www.artfulimages.ca