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How To Design A Website That Makes You Happy

I know how you feel.

No, I’m not saying that like some overbearing aunt offering unsolicited advice.  I know because I asked, and you told me.

You told me that you are excited about creating a website, but actually getting it going is just…..ugh.

Frustrating.  Exhausting.  Head-banging-on-the-desk, curse-you-HTML, what-the-heck-I’m-not-a-webmaster irritation.  Makes you wonder why you’re bothering to do it at all.  But here’s the good news:  We’re gonna fight back.  Starting today.

I’m working furiously to create something that will address the #1 website problem you guys brought up.  When it’s done, I’ll send it to anyone who wants it for f-r-e-e.

(And while you’re at it, you can nab 13 Things No One Tells You About Photographing Children right now, in one fell swoop.  Oh, how I love efficiency.)

All you have to do is tell me where to send it:

(Don’t worry, your email will stay safe.  It won’t be shared.)



**Oh, and if by chance you’ve already signed up to get the 13 Things e-book, it’ll just say “hey, you’re already on this list, but you can update your email preferences.”  And you just clickity-click to update your preferences.  That way I can make sure the only people who get the new e-book are the ones who want it.**

While I’m working away at creating some problem-solving awesomeness, I thought I’d give out some Official Survey Awards to my brilliant responders, high school style:

Words that cracked me up the most:

“BLERGH is how I feel right now. Blergh.”

Words that choked me up the most: 

“Thank you (in anticipation) for your advice… feels like its a big scary world out there and all I want is to take beautiful pictures.”

The response that was in the biggest minority:

Only ONE person said “I’m actually pretty happy with my website.”  Bouquet and a gold cup to that person!  Free e-book for the rest of us….  🙂

Responder who I thought was crazy until I realized they were absolutely right:

“One thing that has been bugging me about it though is your name is nowhere obvious, but think I saw it once buried in a post or comment somewhere? I’ve looked and looked…. Minor minor concern, it’s otherwise A++++”

I was all “Dude, did you even check the “About” page?”  But then I went and realized that yeah, my name actually isn’t there.  Ha!  Sorry!  I linked to my photography website and reply to almost all comments as Jenika, but…..just so everyone knows, my name is JENIKA.  Pronounced Jen – ih – kah.  The “i” sounds like the “i” in the word “sit.”  I’m not Jeneeeeeeka!

Most unexpected, frequently-mentioned issue: 

SEO.  Did that send shudders through your spine?  Never fear.  Right now I’m wrangling us up an SEO expert to come guest post on this blog – you’ll be SEOing away very soon.

The only voiced objection to the questions:

Some of you jokingly grumbled about the age categories.  Trust me, there’s no way to group people by age without upsetting someone.  😉  In case you’re wondering, here are percentages in each age group:

Oh, and darn near everyone who responded was female.  What’s up with that, guys?  😉

Most unanticipated side effect of this survey:

I felt GREAT after reading hundreds – yes, hundreds – of very kind, positive comments about the blog.  Thanks guys.  I spend about 10-15 hours a week working on this blog, writing posts, doing admin stuff, replying to emails, etc – all on top of my regular work and responsibilities.  I worried when I launched this that people wouldn’t appreciate the time I put into it (let’s face it – people can be ridiculous where the internet is concerned).  I didn’t expect to be met with such an overwhelmingly supportive, happy, solidarity-filled response.  I’m making friends all over the world, and I love it.

Other big news:

I’m hosting a live Q&A session tomorrow, Thursday February 16th, at 1:00pm Central Standard Time, USA.  Come introduce yourself and hang out with me for a bit!  You will find me here:




Keep reading:


  1. Ryan on February 15, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I must have been one of the few guys! Good stuff Jenika!

    • Jenika on February 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      Thanks Ryan!! I appreciate it 🙂

  2. Dharmesh @ db Fotografy on February 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Me too :). One of those few guys who enjoyed your few posts. I am also a new reader of your blog. Have you heard the saying “Being In the right place at the right time”? I am about to redesign my website, which is WordPress based (self-hosted). The current design is designed by me but after few months of it I am not very happy. Not sure if it’s the design or the SEO part but looking forward to your posts to figure out the real issue.

    • Jenika on February 15, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Dharmesh, I’m so glad you found me! We’re gonna make a great team, I can feel it 🙂 Thanks for responding to the survey. I know I have a lot of guy *readers*, I just don’t know why the survey scared ’em all off! haha.

  3. Marcie on February 15, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    my hubby is an SEO guru if you are looking for a guest blogger. It’s kinda what he does for a living and THANK HEAVENS for that because that stuff makes me break out in sweat, tears and head-banging frustration. We make a great team 😉

    • Jenika on February 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      I did get someone lined up, but I’ll shoot you an email!

  4. Jennifer on February 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    So very thankful to have come across your blog and informational way of chatting with us!!
    Thanks so much and keep it coming, I am hooked!

  5. Dharmesh @ db Fotografy on February 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks Jenika. Oh! and I was amused at how you taught to pronounce your name. 🙂 I liked it.

  6. Dharmesh @ db Fotografy on February 16, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    @Marcie I loved your website..

  7. Peggy/ on February 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I am very much looking forward to your information. I was one of the few who is very happy with my site, but I’m always open to improvements – whether little tweaks or major redesigns. I enjoy visiting other photographers’ sites from around the country/world. But I do have to say that one of my pet peeves is: having to SEARCH to find out where this photographer is located! The average client isn’t going to do this – MAYBE 2 clicks of searching, then they are gone. While a lot of us drive traffic to our site by handing out hundreds of business cards, we are loosing the on-line photographer shopper (or loosing converting the web-surfer into a client) by not having our location easy to see. SEO is one of my strong points, but I am always learning more in that respect, too!

  8. Kimberly {aige on May 24, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Hello! I’ve never been hooked to a blog before but whoa, girl! You know how to speak to me! Where can I get this e-book about being happy with my website?
    Right now, I am absolutely lost when it comes to creating a website. L-O-S-T. I would love to read your thoughts on the subject.
    Thanks for the wonderful blog and keeping me up past my bedtime!

    • Jenika on May 24, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Why thank you! I’m in between mailing lists setups right now, so the signup forms have been taken down. Do stay tuned, there’s a LOT of good stuff coming your way on this topic though, including a free resource and also an opportunity to get a seat in a course for advanced study. Take care Kimberly!

  9. Jordan Young on March 14, 2014 at 6:55 am

    I will be graduating with my BA in Psychology from the University of Illinois in May. I really only started indulging in photography about a year ago (but from what I hear I’m a quick study). This blog is a fusion of two fields I’m very passionate about and I’m really ecstatic that I stumbled upon it. I should probably get back to my studies, but one more article shouldn’t hurt… 🙂 Honestly though, this is impressive. The only real issue I have with it is… that I didn’t think of it first 🙂

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