A Clean Slate.

I just deleted 110 blog posts from this website.
 
But don’t worry, it won’t ruin my business.
 
Can’t say it was the first time I’ve started over.
 
This site has been through alot. lol.
 
I’m fortunate enough to have my own name as a domain. I’ve got the Twitter handle and Facebook URL too. Didn’t get there in time to get the gmail address or Instagram, but hey… can’t win them all. I mean, I am competing with an NHL player and who knows how many British dudes. But I mean, having the domain, that does make me THE real Corey Potter, right? I mean who actually cares about NHL, eh? Anyway.
 
I looked back and the first thing I can find on my website is from 2007. Looks like I just used it as a test for setting up WordPress and had a few blog posts. Kinda interesting to see that 9 years ago, I was already interested in blogging, SEO and making money online.
 
The first blog post ever on this domain was a movie review of 3:10 to Yuma. Lol. Seriously? I even mentioned that there was 1 “f-word.” LOL. Cute little Corey.
 
Then I posted about Permalinks and .htaccess. Ah, now that is more like it. Getting my nerd on. In fact, it is really similar to a post I’ll be making here soon about what I did with all the content I deleted from this blog. Still working with my buddy the .htaccess file today! I forgot how long we’ve been friends.
 
I followed that up with a roundup of interesting resources about SEO, and blogging. Then a random post about Super Crazy Guitar Maniac Deluxe 2. LOL. I want to talk about how silly it was that I posted movie reviews, online flash games, and SEO articles on the same blog… but then I’d be quite the hypocrite, because you might be seeing that kind of thing coming to this blog soon lol. Hopefully I’ll make it a little more interesting though.
 
Then came this…
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Sigh. So many thoughts here. I’ll get into that in a minute.

In early 2008, I turned the site into a web design service website.

In early 2008, I turned the site into a web design service website.

That didn’t last long though because 2008 is when I fell into Photography. Everything changed. I found something I loved and I could make money doing, and decided to pursue it with full force. So in late 2008, coreypotter.com became my photography website.

Pretty humbling looking back at where I started.

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I went through several designs over the next few years. I’ve got screenshots somewhere, if I find them I’ll come back and add them here. Some were bad, and some were not too terrible.

2012 was the first year the website actually started to look pretty good. We were finally settling into the photography brand and about to hit the peak of our photography careers (right before having our first child and starting to slow back down). I modified the theme ever so slightly again in late 2014, and that is how it would remain for the rest of its time as Corey Potter Photographer.

In 2015, I started teaching photographers about online marketing, and my website was not responsive. Yikes. Couldn’t have that. I also decided to start a separate brand for the photography business so that I could free up my domain to be used again one day for all the random things that make me Corey Potter.

But I already had great SEO for Photographers in Columbia with CoreyPotter.com and I didn’t want to wreck that, so I decided to just put up a cover page and leave everything else as it was behind the scenes. As I write this post, that cover page still exists.

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It has been sitting there saying “website coming soon” for about a year now but I haven’t really had time to mess with it.

I’ve been thinking for a few months now that I need to get my website back up and functional again so I can have a place to put all my random things.

This week, I found some new WordPress tools I want to test, and I was like… hey, now is a good time to get CoreyPotter.com back in the game. Lets do this.

First step, move all the photography stuff.

Easy enough. Just moved all the photography blog posts over to Ablaze and did some 301 redirects. Just like nothing ever happened. Still have a little cleaning to do, but on the front end, and to search engines, things seem to be fine.

Well… I do have one big search engine problem.

My site got hacked a couple months ago. I let it sit for too long unattended and didn’t update my theme/plugins. I didn’t dig deep enough to figure out the exact source of the problem, but there was poor security all around so it doesn’t surprise me.

The hackers managed to get like 20,000 pages up on my domain and the crazy thing is most of them were indexed in Google. WTF? I couldn’t get 15,000 URLS indexed if I WANTED to, and the hackers got it done in a few days. I need to learn their black hat ways. lol.

Of course I got it all cleaned up, and I’ve taken all the necessary steps to get Google to clean up the index, but now I just have to wait. It has already dropped about 6k results, but I’m still up at 10,600 indexed with a site:search. Search console is showing that everything has been fixed. 114 pages indexed and over 10k 404 errors. That is what I would expect. I guess maybe the index is showing me some cached pages and I just have to wait for them to clear out.

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Anyway, no big deal right now. It’ll get fixed eventually and hopefully won’t have any lasting impact on my domain trust/authority. The problem was resolved quickly so I’m sure it’ll bounce back.
 
I mentioned I was going to come back to my thoughts when looking at that really old blog post.
 
It is interesting to me to see a “career” come and go. I found photography, loved it, started a business, grew it into a successful business, made good money, got tired of it, stopped loving it as much as I once did, and decided to move on to a different source of income.
 
What’s even more interesting is that as I move away from being a full time wedding photographer (I’m not completely quitting photography, just transitioning into a part time photographer), I’m moving back into what I was doing in 2007.
 
I think I’ve known since highschool that this is what I want to do. I want to build something that utilizes the internet to scale my income and optimize my time. I don’t want to work as a craftsman. I don’t want a trade or a job. I want to build a system that works for me. I want to come up with ideas, build them, scale the ones that work, and then start again with a new idea. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and my slant is toward online marketing.
 
Photography has been great to me. I’ve loved it. I wasn’t faking that part. I’ve met amazing people, captured priceless moment, and documented a piece of history. It has taught me so much about myself, and love, and happiness, and what makes a marriage great (hint: its not the wedding day).
 
So I don’t regret my years as a full time photographer. They’ve been some of the best years of my life.
 
But as I look forward at the things I’d like to do, and I look back at the dreams I had before photography came into the picture, I realize that I gave up my dreams to pursue photography.
 
I think that is how it goes in life. It is one of the reasons that the brevity of life is so unsettling. Sometimes to do something good, we have to give up our dreams of doing something great. I don’t have the chance now to go back 9 years and tell 19 year old Corey to hang in there and keep pushing hard toward those dreams. I can’t go back and say “hey, bud, you’re really on to something here and you’re actually pretty close.”
 
Thankfully I didn’t give it up for something I hated. Again… my life is better for being a photographer. I wouldn’t go back and trade those years even if I could have accomplished my other dreams by now. But that won’t be the case every time. I want to live boldly, but also be wise about the time I’ll never be able to re-live.
 
So now it is time to look ahead once more with a clean slate. I have no idea what exactly I want to do with my life. I’ll probably do lots of random things, and I’m ok with that. I want to embrace the part of myself that longs for wonder and adventure. I’m ok with being random. I don’t want to pin a label on myself.
 
This is why I needed to move the photography business. Corey Potter is not JUST a photographer.
 
I’m a husband.
I’m a father.
I’m a thinker.
I’m an SEO expert.
I’m an entrepreneur.
I’m a futurist.
I’m a traveler.
I’m a photographer.
I’m a writer.
I’m a teacher.
I’m a designer.
I’m a nerd.
I’m a marketer.
I’m a human being.
 
And that is just the start. Who knows what else I’ll be by the end of this year, let alone the end of my life (hopefullly that is later than the end of this year ;))
 
I don’t really have a plan for this website. Well… I kinda do.
 
It is a place for me to be myself, and to experiment with what and who I want to be. It is a place to document that journey and share it with others.
 
No specific agenda. No posting schedule. No ideal audience. No monetization strategy (although that might come into the equation at some point).
 
If you enjoy reading my posts, awesome. If not, that is ok too.
 
One thing I can promise is that from now on, this website will be a reflection of Corey Potter.
 
I will write things that I believe, things that I discover, things that I experience.
 
It will probably be really random. I may find a way to tie it all together someday. I may not. I’m not sure how you tie WordPress tutorials and Religion together on the same blog. lol. But whatever, I don’t care. I’ll make other websites for specific topics if I care about them enough.
 
I have a couple of those already.
 
My Photography Website: www.ablazephoto.com
 
Fuel Your Photos (Online Marketing Education for Photographers): www.fuelyourphotos.com