I've made the decision. I've finally given up on my ISP after about twenty-five years of hosting my website with them and about five years of having a blog on their servers. I'm switching to a SquareSpace hosted site instead. They are a little pricier but in the first few days of my free trial period I got faster tech support than I ever got from my previous ISP! Making a change like this is never easy and I don't yet know what I will miss by not having the flexibility of having a regular web hosting ISP account where I do all the file management. I know there will undoubtedly be some gotchas, but I have my old account until September, so I have time to figure out work-arounds for them.
Squarespace is a content management hosting service that I've been hearing about over the past several years through several podcasts to which I listen. They allow people with no web development skills to create beautiful and well laid out websites through the use of many different templates. Even the base account type, which allows for twenty pages, includes commerce support. Twenty pages doesn't sound like much, but when you consider that a blog is just one "page" by their metrics that can have an infinite number of posts, twenty pages can go a long way.
I have been experimenting with designs for my new site for about a week or so. My 14-day free trial was not to end until early next week, but I clicked on the "Sign Up" button last night after (1) an incredibly positive tech support experience with Squarespace personnel and (2) another day of not being able to post a new article to my existing blog along with no response from my ISP's support team. I have the main parts of my site organized and this blog working. I have even been able to import a large number of posts from my old blog into my new one! I like how the blog and the website are now one unit and I am now able to really focus my web site content on photography training, which is really my main interest and passion.
Structure of the Site
Home: Currently this includes two galleries with some text. Gallery one, Learning with Me, has images of students in my classes and tutoring sessions. Gallery two, Working with Students, has more images of students in classes I've taught or tutoring sessions I have had.
Learning Tools: This section has two pages. One is a list of my "Tutoring Blocks," 2-hour blocks of photography training content that can be combined to customize a learning experience. This section is a direct copy from my existing site, so I need to do some reformatting of the content. The second page has the introductory videos for my two YouTube series embedded on the page.
Photo Learning Blog: This is the blog you are reading right now.
About Me and Contact Sections: These are self-explanatory.
My Photo Life: This section consists currently of four pages on My Cameras, The Lenses I Use, Camera Bags, and Working with Video. These are works in progress.
I have another page of Images linked on the bottom of each page. This page pulls twenty images from my Flickr Stream.
I hope you will explore the site and I am always open to feedback and suggestions to improve it. Thanks for visiting!