I’ve wanted to consolidate my sites for some time now, particularly as I’m running my photographic endeavours as a business. When I bought this domain, thelightmatters.com, last year my intention then was to use that as my business name. I may well do this in the future but for the moment, leaving it just as my blog fits better with my longer term strategy and branding.
This afternoon I bought the domains http://gavinthorn.com and http://gavinthorn.co.uk with the intention of trading under the name Gavin Thorn Photography. When I checked, I could have bought gavinthornphotography.[com|co.uk ] but as I’m a lazy typist I considered that as far too long for anyone to type into their browser. I also locks me in to photography which isn’t compatible with my longer terms plans, or some of my existing branding. I also checked a few websites for famous and well established photographers and not many of them actually used the suffix “photography” in their domain names. Of course, if anyone looks they’ll see that there are millions of photographers that use it, just to prove me wrong. But like I said, I’m a lazy typist which probably stems from my days as a software engineer so I’ve chosen not to include it.
Now that we’ve established the name of the business, where does the rest of it fit?
I’m keeping everything else as-is but regarding them as brands – one for each style of photography or product. This site will still remain as my blog for the time being. The definition of each is given in the following sections.
Gavin Thorn Photography – http://gavinthorn.com, http://gavinthorn.co.uk
Trading name for the business. Everything else is a component and integral part of the business. I’ve only just bought the domain so at the moment it simply points to this site.
ExecHeadshots – http://ExecHeadshots.co.uk
This is the name of my dedicated headshot service. The website is devoted solely to providing corporate headshots, social media headshots, actor headshots and nothing else. Why? Because I want a site that is completely work safe that will attract corporate clients.
GTPCommercial – http://GTPCommercial.com
As the name suggests, GTPCommercial offers dedicated commercial photography services. Architecture, food, product and a myriad of other commercial photography packages that businesses can use to promote their goods and services. As with ExecHeadshots, GTPCommercial is guaranteed work safe so business visitors will not be caught with embarrassing images on their screen.
HerBoudoirDreams – http://HerBoudoirDreams.com
HerBoudoirDreams offers boudoir and intimate portrait photography services throughout Surrey and Berkshire. Shooting a range of levels from nude/implied nude through to lingerie. Makeup is included with every package and a female makeup artist will be on set for every shoot.
QTSoftware – http://qtsoftware.co.uk
This is where is all started, back in 1998 when I first started using QTSoftware for Windows based C++ software development. I registered the domain in late 1999/early 2000 and have been using it ever since. I’m now only using it for legacy email and the site is dormant. I had thought about using it to front website development but as a brand, the name doesn’t fit. An alternative, as suggested by Mrs. theLightMatters, is to use this for recruitment purposes. I’m not too keen on that – it doesn’t mesh with the direction I’m heading now so I may just sell the site if I get a good offer.
theLightMatters – http://theLightMatters.com
This site. My blog. The short term plan is to continue to use theLightMatters mainly as a blog but to start to develop it as more of an arty/fashion brand. This is a genre I enjoy but doesn’t really fit with QTPortraits or QTWeddings. I also wanted a brand that was completely unrelated to anything else mainly as a vehicle to become better known throughout the industry. I want to push into fashion, editorial and commercial photography and the other branding I have doesn’t “sound” right
By now you’re probably thinking why on earth has he made this so complex? There are a lot of driving forces behind this…
Organic growth – this is the way it grew up around me. In the last couple of years though I’ve been conscious of the direction I’ve been heading and have chosen brand and domain names accordingly
I really wanted to separate things out and avoid cluttering my website. For example, if I just had the one website it would contain portraiture, weddings, fine-art, t-shirts, women’s underwear, greeting cards, fashion images and a blog. If you were a client looking for someone to take photos of your baby or a bride-to-be looking for a wedding photographer you would be bombarded with images and onformation that was not relevent to your enquiry. You would probably leave and go elsewhere.
Separating the different styles and genres into different brands in this way significantly simplifies things in the mind of hte prospect. Now, the bride-to-be just sees information about wedding photography. That’s what she wants after all. She isn’t interested in t-shirts, greeting cards or pictures of trains. Removing the clutter simplifies the site and helps to create and define the brand in the mind of the prospect and also myself.
Another advantage is that is allows me to offer a different pricing model for each. For example, the portrait client may very well only order a single image when compared to the Bride and Groom so the price needs to be higher to make it worthwhile. Imagine the confusion for the client if it were all lumped together and I had lots of different prices for apparently the same product.
This model is also scaleable too, within reason. I can add and remove brands to the portfolio by adding and removing websites. If they were all interlinked it would be significantly more complex.
The downside to all this is maintenance – it takes time to maintain this number of sites and to grow, develop and market each brand. Thanks heavens for CMS.