I spent most of this weekend overhauling Vaultphotos.com in an attempt to make it appear simpler, cleaner and more professional. I think I succeeded, take a look yourself and let me know what you think!
(Note that I am having connection issues, so it may take a while to load. The homepage usually loads in under 5 seconds)
My original intent was to create the site using software. Naturally my first attempt was using the mac-native program iWeb. It comes standard on any mac and does pretty much everything I was looking for. Sure, there were a few formatting issues I wasn't thrilled with, but the site looked pretty good. Turns out, the site only looked good in Safari and Internet Explorer. Firefox, for whatever reason, decided to totally reject the code for my portfolio slideshows.
I looked around for a fix for a few hours, found that it was essentially un-fixable (without purchasing the new iLife program set, now only $80). I don't have two nickels to rub together, let alone $80, so I hunkered down and re-wrote the entire site using HTML. The rewrite took me between 5 and 9 hours (I wasn't really keeping track) due to several catastrophic failures, but I am very happy with the way it turned out. I have total control over the entire site, which makes making changes super-easy.
I know most photographers today are using huge (and expensive) flash-based websites. Scott Kelby's new portfolio is case in point. I couldn't find a free flash template that made my portfolio look good, so I also wrote that code in HTML. On the up-side, my site can be viewed on an iPhone, unlike the flash-based sites.
For the record, I realize my action stuff is weak, so my newest project is to get some better stuff in there, and kick out all the crud.
Enjoy life and don't forget to backup your hard drive once in a while!