If you’ve visited the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) website this year, chances are you noticed things are a little different.
The whole website has been redesigned as part of a shift to a new membership management system, which executive officer Peter Myers explained to Pro Counter will make life easier for everyone involved.
‘The website is delivered via a content management system which is part of our new membership management system. So that gave us a whole raft of new functionality, ease of use, and ease of maintenance that we didn’t have with the old system,’ he said. ‘I mean visibly you can tell – the new one is much cleaner, easier to navigate and less confusing.
The old system and website, which was four years old, was outdated, confusing and expensive to run. There were bugs in the system and the website struggled to keep up with certain web browsers and updates.
For AIPP members, the most exiting change has to do with the new ‘Search for a Pro’ function.
Members can now create a number of profiles – one ‘generic’ profile as well as ‘category’ profiles.
For those unfamiliar with the site, the generic profile includes a short bio outlining the photographers background and other important details such as preferred shooting style and genres. There’s also an option to upload an image, a website URL, and set up some keywords. When someone wants to ‘Search for a Pro’, but doesn’t specify a category, this profile will be listed. When a search is refined with a location or a name, but without a category, this profile will still be listed.
When a search selects one of the 23 categories, ranging from Pet, to Aerial, to Wedding, specific ‘category profiles’ will appear, based on the search criteria the individual entered.
While it may seem confusing to set up more than one profile, it will make more sense to those searching.
‘When a member of the public uses the site, and wants to find an architectural photographer, all they will see is information about architectural photographers,’ Peter said. ‘It doesn’t confuse them by saying they also do weddings, portraits, babies and pets and things of that nature. It’s a very targeted method for getting the interest of people who are looking for specific types of photographers in specific genres.’
It’s worth mentioning that members can make more than one category profile – provided of course they offer a service in more than one category.
Anyone searching can reduce the search results further if they have a very particular idea in mind. For instance, architectural photographers that specialise in brochure-making can list that as a keyword on their category profile – ultimately presenting their specialities in a broad category to a potential client. If you make the best damned architectural brochure in town and someone is searching for just that, then they will certainly find you!
But Peter said that while the functions only been live since early this year, it’s up to the members to embrace the new system to garner the best results possible for themselves.
‘We’ve had great feedback, not just from the photographers but really importantly from the people actually using it, as they are the customers,’ he said. ‘It’s going to be a long process to try and get the members to understand what we’re trying to do, and buy into it, but once they do they’ll think it’s fabulous.’