Photography Websites Made Simple: Where to Get One

Photography Websites Made Simple: Where to Get OneNow that you have your portfolio together, you’ll need an online presence to showcase them. It’s always nice to have actual prints to show, but these days a website gallery is more important. There are lots of companies that put together websites for photographers for a very reasonable price. The focus is now on websites that you can control yourself, so as your portfolio changes, you can easily adapt your website to showcase your most recent work. One thing to be careful of is flash sites. Despite the promises that these sites are SEO friendly, they are NOT. You will not get search traffic through a flash site, period. So if you have the choice, avoid flash sites at all costs.  Here are some companies to check out:

Photocrati

Photocrati is designed to be a photographer’s website, and it is actually built on top of WordPress, which is a blogging platform. This is ideal, because a blog allows you to post new work as frequently as you like, and it’s very easy for non-techies to handle. So it’s basically a blog but with added features such as a landing page, galleries and a shopping cart. For under $100, I think this is one of the best deals out there. You can have your website up in less than a day, even if you know very little about blogging & websites. This would be my top choice.

Blu Domain

Blu Domain is a template website company, meaning that you can choose from different styles and then drag and drop your images into the framework. Again, very simple to use and a lot of professional photographers use this company due to the ease of use. However, due to their extreme popularity, sometimes the customer service is not very strong.

LiveBooks

This company designs gorgeous, simple sites using both templates and custom design. However, I cannot recommend them due to the fact that they are entirely built on flash. Flash sites have little to no SEO and for a website, that is very important if you want anyone to ever be able to find your site in a google search. The other disadvantage of a Livebooks site is the expense. Why pay thousands when you can get something that is easier to use, faster to load, and findable by search engines for under $100?  Doesn’t make sense to me…the other thing to consider is that LiveBooks has a history of struggling to provide customer service. They do not offer a phone number and can take days and weeks to respond to emails. So if you need a service you can get in touch with, you'll want to consider this.


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Nick October 22, 2012 at 9:22 am

May I suggest also http://www.wix.com? I’m not on commission either, but as a free site builder, I found it worked quite well. Drag and drop page objects, quite easy to edit and keep updated. They allow both Flash and HTML5 sites, and you can save more than one site under the same username, which is handy. I had a load of business cards printed with the flash version address on, as the HTML5 facility was added later, and then redid the site in HTML5, problem being the cards were now out of date. 5 minutes resaving the old site under a third site name, and then resaving the new (HTML5) site under the old name, and bingo, cards still useful!

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Steve Rubin November 23, 2011 at 8:19 am

A good website is so important. I’m a relatively new part time professional officially starting my wedding and portrait business officially this year but have been doing serious photography since high school (I’m 54 :). I tried a flash web site but gave up on it quickly due to both search issues and mobile issues especially as iPads became more popular ( in fact using one to make this post). I personally like Intuit’s web site builder. Easy to use and update but the one thing that is great are the statistics that they give me. They can give me almost everything about a viewer except for their name. I can see the path that they come into the site, how they found it (google, Facebook, direct, craigslist, etc…). I know that google analytic
Gives you some of the same but don’t thing it gives you all that intuit gives. It’s $20 a month hosting fee. Not sure if that’s high or low. Curious of others opinion.

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Ken October 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Lara,

I don’t pretend to know all there is to know about SEO and web design (I’m a photographer not a web designer haha), but I’ve got some incredible (accidental) search traffic from my Flash based sites without even trying (few keywords and not much actual page content which is an SEO no-no). In the early days of Flash sites, I agree, they weren’t designed with SEO in mind but site design software like http://showitfast.com give you the best of both worlds because they also write HTML files for your site content in the back-end that is SEO friendly and can be crawled easily.

In my opinion, the real worry with Flash design today is mobile device compatibility. I believe that mobile browsing is taking strong market share these days and more and more brides are using mobile devices as they search and plan their wedding. Having a site that works with mobile devices is important and Flash sites aren’t currently compatible with Apple’s iOS mobile devices (sadly). Not to come off as the Showit fanboy here but they allow you to build iOS compatible HTML5 sites to compliment your main Flash site so it’s really the best of both worlds.

Anyway, just another option to throw out there. Showit has been a great tool for me to take control of my own content and was easy enough for me in the beginning too. It’s Flash but it’s totally searchable and works well.

Ken

(disclaimer: I do not work for ShowitFast, and I’m not being compensated to share their info unless someone is looking at this, feel free to send me a check ha! I’m just a happy paying customer that enjoys helping other photographers)

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Julie October 13, 2011 at 6:50 am

I’m so glad I found your site. I found you on fb. One of the photogos I “like” posted about you all. I quickly went to the link and here we are! THANKS.

I don’t have a website, yet. This seems to be my biggest hurdle. I’ve got two in mind: CMD Creative Motion Design or ProPhoto and … maybe a third Photocrafi; ugh!

I really want a website that will help me secure a domain name and one that will allow me to have password protect for client viewing. This is a hard process when you are totally GREEN to starting a business.

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Lara White October 13, 2011 at 9:48 am

Hi Julie,

I’m so glad you found us! You might also consider a smugmug site, they are great for beginners and fairly easy to set up. If you have the ability to set up a ‘temporary’ site for now (perhaps for 6 months or so), that will really help you understand what you want and need a site to do. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to avoid flash sites (they have zero ability to bring you any traffic) and try not to let the site be a roadblock for you. I love the Photocrati sites as well because you can update them as you grow.

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