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Author Topic: 2017 Selling Direct, Personal Stores [updated]  (Read 10685 times)

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Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« on: December 27, 2016, 03:37 »
+7
Continued from here: http://www.microstockgroup.com/symbiostock-general/to-the-'legacy-users'/msg474259/?topicseen#new

I've had a few people nudging me on my past endeavors to create an ideal stock-image sell-direct solution.

[edit: thread has been aggressively trolled, so I've distilled the Q/A into this main post here:]



See the screenshots below. These are images of a working system I use for myself. Its a client-side website generator for your stock images. It removes the complexity of web design by pre-generating and pre-processing on your computer, then uploading the resulting website to your server.

This allows an artist to simply input FTP credentials (like any stock website) and the software manages everything else.

I created this system because I wanted to set up my website to stand the test of time, and require 0 maintenace -- forever. By reducing dynamic files and not using CMSs like Wordpress, there is no need for upgrades and maintenance. Hacking threats are reduced as well. Server resources are used only to serve html and images.

The main beauty in this is absolute simplicity and the speed resulting.

What it is:

-A simple static website generator.
-A way to simplify and save time in self-hosting your image store.
-A way to use "cheap hosting" without sacrificing performance.

What it isn't:

-A solution to microstock political/economic issues often spoken about.
-A guaranteed way to sell independently (this differs from person to person).
-A network or co-op.
-Complicated.

How can a static (html-only) site perform ecommerce functions?

All functionality is Javascript run (browser) and not server side.

Why not just use some other self-hosting solution.

You certainly can. Other solutions can be useful for people with some experience in web design. The purpose of this is ultimate simplicity and stability, not to mention SPEED. Most dynamic sites can be rather high maintenance or resource hogs. This removes all those burdens.

Will it generate AWESOME looking websites?

It will generate minimalistic and clean websites, devoid of a style-statement, with all focus on your product and a rapid-checkout scheme. The pages (much like my website) will be mobile-device compliant and standards compliant, besides having the basic SEO considerations.

Is it better than the other stuff everyone has tried?

It is far different, with different priorities (simplicity, speed, user-friendliness). If you want a super-feature-oriented, super-customizable site, it might be better to learn a bit of web-culture/design and use one of the common options. This is for people who, like me, don't want to be bothered with my site except to just add products occasionally.



Please note that I am currently refining and rewriting the systems for largescale use, but it works thus far. My website is Django-run, but the client-side page-generator works fine.

More information provided on previous thread.

Image explorer (not unlike Adobe Bridge)


Image search:


Meta data:


Previews/sales info:


Uploader:


Site monitor/viewer:


Speed, performance, and crystal-clean code is usually my objective. I'm not so concerned with boastful gloss in ecommerce sites -- I believe in functionality first and minimalism so as to keep focus on the product.

Currently I am pursuing other things, having left off from microstock a long time ago. But still, people may wish to find a "graveyard" or final resting place for their images that they can leave for 10 years without thinking about it. That is what I did, and I enjoy sales on my site too. Because my site runs so clean, it has absolutely no issues on minimal-charge hosting.

It is my honest opinion that for any continued survival in this business more changes will be needed in expectations as well as pursuits. Meanwhile I do enjoy building this stuff :)
 


« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 07:15 by Leo »


SpaceStockFootage

  • Space, Sci-Fi and Astronomy Related Stock Footage

« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2016, 03:55 »
+6
I didn't really understand most of the stuff above! Can you make it a bit clearer exactly what this is?


But still, people may wish to find a "graveyard" or final resting place for their images that they can leave for 10 years without thinking about it.

What, you mean like uploading them to DepositPhotos?

Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2016, 04:07 »
+4
I didn't really understand most of the stuff above! Can you make it a bit clearer exactly what this is?


But still, people may wish to find a "graveyard" or final resting place for their images that they can leave for 10 years without thinking about it.

What, you mean like uploading them to DepositPhotos?

Its an attempt for the ideal level of simplicity and performance for running your own store. Its also an attempt at perfection, or at least to come as close to it as possible.

Regarding the graveyard bit -- yes -- self-hosting such as this is really the art of having your own vending machine. I build stock image vending machines.  The other guys do too, but I coined the term. 8) Put money in, image comes out.

« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2016, 04:59 »
+3
I think it will only be perfection when we have one site to upload to, instead of many people having their own site and wasting money paying for domains and hosting fees.  I still think the majority of people will find it hard to break even running their own site and what's the point of that?

Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2016, 05:17 »
+4
I think it will only be perfection when we have one site to upload to, instead of many people having their own site and wasting money paying for domains and hosting fees.  I still think the majority of people will find it hard to break even running their own site and what's the point of that?

It truly is a tough call. I really like having my own site to sell from, and given a choice I would never get rid of it. But others rightfully take your view as well. If there was a genuinely good and profitable agency that could be counted on indefinitely, it would certainly be worth shutting down my independent pursuits. But this world promises much and gives little, so I've developed my own strategies just to find a happy and productive medium.

I'll see if the idea takes, and if not I'll check in another year from now as things continue to evolve.


« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2016, 06:01 »
+6
For me the VAT stuff etc is very important, so I would rather sell through an official agency and give them a percentage. It makes my accountant happy and prevents some legal issues if I were selling directly.

So, I would love to have my own portfolio within a wider frame, but still an agency. I control what I upload and it is a self publishing site, I'll also accept all the copyright risk etc...I want to be ale to set my own prices.

But the payment stuff etc...I'll happily leave that to someone else.

I also need a well developped gallery solution for the clients and myself.

I am still looking for a good self publishing solution, haven t found one yet.

« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2016, 06:02 »
+1
Should exist all variants and possibiity to change at any time when owner of images thinks it is necessary. One site for all - ok, good, but after some time will start a usual life cycle of "agency" with all related problems, including search and exposure.

Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2016, 06:07 »
+6
Should exist all variants and possibiity to change at any time when owner of images thinks it is necessary. One site for all - ok, good, but after some time will start a usual life cycle of "agency" with all related problems, including search and exposure.

Just to be clear, this will not attempt to be an agency or connect users (no co-ops) but rather a perfected sell-direct solution that keeps things simple and productive for artists. There will likely be a community for support and fun available right through the software, but that will not be a primary focus.

For me the VAT stuff etc is very important, so I would rather sell through an official agency and give them a percentage. It makes my accountant happy and prevents some legal issues if I were selling directly.

So, I would love to have my own portfolio within a wider frame, but still an agency. I control what I upload and it is a self publishing site, I'll also accept all the copyright risk etc...I want to be ale to set my own prices.

But the payment stuff etc...I'll happily leave that to someone else.

I also need a well developped gallery solution for the clients and myself.

I am still looking for a good self publishing solution, haven t found one yet.

Lets let this conversation run for a while just to zero in on the real problems, needs, concerns, etc. This one I have heard alot. If there is a demand, this will be one targeted endeavor for the perfect solution. Meanwhile I've had several working prototypes many have seen or used. This is really a matter of distilling all experience and needs into one elegant solution.


« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2016, 17:34 »
+4
whatever you want to do will be very welcome.

the industry needs a good self publishing solution.

something specifically designed for stock artists.

« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2016, 18:05 »
+2
One is needed to work with video files as well, I am actively looking for the best solution. I think a great option is to be able to invite people to submit to your site so you could grow your business in the future if you wanted!

« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2016, 10:43 »
+1
One is needed to work with video files as well, I am actively looking for the best solution. I think a great option is to be able to invite people to submit to your site so you could grow your business in the future if you wanted!
i'd love a relatively small but smart video site for a loyal talented artists.   If i could, i'd set that up in a heartbeat.

« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2016, 13:37 »
+3
whatever you want to do will be very welcome.

the industry needs a good self publishing solution.

something specifically designed for stock artists.

You are reading my mind. I want it Leo, looks good, and I don't care about uploading to DP. Just need a good self publishing site, raster and vector. Also yes to selling video would be a good match for most of us.

Make the basic good working site first, add the tricks and fancy parts later.

« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2016, 13:45 »
0
The more turn key the better, you can have add on's for $$ and charge for setting up the hosting. I would be happy for
a more turn key solution.

Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2016, 15:21 »
+4
Regarding video, I've done a few animations. If I had to make a system for myself including video this is what I would do:

Interface with Youtube somehow (either directly or API) and have all of my previews there. Then I would simply have a youtube preview on the given product, included in as seemless a way as possible.

I would do this for myself for these reasons:

1: Youtube is a promotional area anyways, and I can passively acquire a fan base there.
2: Youtube has a perfected system and I wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel.
3: No load on my personal site.
4: Far easier, less error prone. This is not laziness, but practicality.

[edit, I just realized not everyone has access to youtube, but the same reasoning applies in using a complementing service, but I will look into the on-site option as well]

The system is more concerned with selling products unspecifically, unconcerned with types, so that your limitations are removed. I believe this approach takes away one's constraints as the years force them to have to adapt.

I'd like feedback on the video thing. Including video streamers on-site seems like an unecessary use of resources with unecessary complexities...but if its otherwise please let me know.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 15:50 by Leo »

Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2016, 15:33 »
+4
The more turn key the better, you can have add on's for $$ and charge for setting up the hosting. I would be happy for
a more turn key solution.

Speed and simplicity are my main concerns with this.

I think everyone would benefit if I designed for seniors who have put their investment into their skills and not so much web/software. In short, if those people don't have to learn a new skill, then the people who are practiced in this stuff with get a big break too.

Again, feedback wanted. Perhaps, as you say, upgrades can be available for more specific and complex needs.


Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2016, 15:39 »
+2
You are reading my mind. I want it Leo, looks good, and I don't care about uploading to DP. Just need a good self publishing site, raster and vector. Also yes to selling video would be a good match for most of us.

Make the basic good working site first, add the tricks and fancy parts later.

Thanks Yada. It appears by the comments and views on this thread there is interest, so I might get official in eventually releasing what I've shown above.

I am currently rewriting it, and will post updates.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 15:41 by Leo »

« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2016, 15:40 »
0
What about the wordpress sell direct website for $25 a month. Is that an alternative? I am also looking for a sell direct site for prints. But I am not the most technical savvy guy on this stuff.

Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2016, 15:44 »
0
What about the wordpress sell direct website for $25 a month. Is that an alternative? I am also looking for a sell direct site for prints. But I am not the most technical savvy guy on this stuff.

I'm getting away from wordpress altogether, but that will not stop people interested in blogging from putting wordpress into a directory, allowing other things. Its largely a performance and complexity thing for most.

Do many people sell physical products here? If so, I can make some alterations to allow it, but I want to ensure it is a demand.

« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2016, 16:29 »
+7
The problem with selling direct is not finding a platform to sell from; Leo is here trying to rake in business again, and there are other alternatives to selling direct already out there.

The problem is marketing yourself and getting people to buy directly from you. There are likely a few people who have been successful at this, but it's because they already know about building websites, SEO, marketing, social media, blogging, and spending the time to do all of those things. Most photographers are, well, photographers. Until that happens, having the most excellent, awesome website in the world isn't going to help.

Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2016, 17:04 »
+14
The problem with selling direct is not finding a platform to sell from; Leo is here trying to rake in business again, and there are other alternatives to selling direct already out there.

The problem is marketing yourself and getting people to buy directly from you. There are likely a few people who have been successful at this, but it's because they already know about building websites, SEO, marketing, social media, blogging, and spending the time to do all of those things. Most photographers are, well, photographers. Until that happens, having the most excellent, awesome website in the world isn't going to help.

Cathy I'm flattered how determined you are to keep me in your social sniper-scope throughout the years. I come and go months apart, but you are always here waiting. You are welcome to stand back at a safe distance until the outcome is complete, then resume trolling on something tangible.

Meanwhile, as mentioned, I am only here due to prodding. You wanna troll a genuine huckster I got just the guy for you. Otherwise building flight simulator controllers and doing other things is more my concern, and certainly not dealing with frazzle-haired dysfunctional women.

« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2016, 18:05 »
+1
The problem with selling direct is not finding a platform to sell from; Leo is here trying to rake in business again, and there are other alternatives to selling direct already out there.

The problem is marketing yourself and getting people to buy directly from you. There are likely a few people who have been successful at this, but it's because they already know about building websites, SEO, marketing, social media, blogging, and spending the time to do all of those things. Most photographers are, well, photographers. Until that happens, having the most excellent, awesome website in the world isn't going to help.

Cathy I'm flattered how determined you are to keep me in your social sniper-scope throughout the years. I come and go months apart, but you are always here waiting. You are welcome to stand back at a safe distance until the outcome is complete, then resume trolling on something tangible.

Meanwhile, as mentioned, I am only here due to prodding. You wanna troll a genuine huckster I got just the guy for you. Otherwise building flight simulator controllers and doing other things is more my concern, and certainly not dealing with frazzle-haired dysfunctional women.


Ah, there you are. You missed the whole point of my post...by the way, my hair is absolutely straight.  ;)

Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2016, 18:09 »
+4
The problem with selling direct is not finding a platform to sell from; Leo is here trying to rake in business again, and there are other alternatives to selling direct already out there.

The problem is marketing yourself and getting people to buy directly from you. There are likely a few people who have been successful at this, but it's because they already know about building websites, SEO, marketing, social media, blogging, and spending the time to do all of those things. Most photographers are, well, photographers. Until that happens, having the most excellent, awesome website in the world isn't going to help.

Cathy I'm flattered how determined you are to keep me in your social sniper-scope throughout the years. I come and go months apart, but you are always here waiting. You are welcome to stand back at a safe distance until the outcome is complete, then resume trolling on something tangible.

Meanwhile, as mentioned, I am only here due to prodding. You wanna troll a genuine huckster I got just the guy for you. Otherwise building flight simulator controllers and doing other things is more my concern, and certainly not dealing with frazzle-haired dysfunctional women.


Ah, there you are. You missed the whole point of my post...by the way, my hair is absolutely straight.  ;)

I didn't miss the point. The point is to troll, so that is what is addressed.

Also when I speak of a masterpiece system that can potentially create a beautiful graveyard for your images, I don't think I'm boasting of merchantability am I? So perhaps you missed a few things?

I'm requesting some intervention that the moderator delete this part of the conversation  (from Cathy to this point) so as to keep it pointed.

« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2016, 18:14 »
+3
My comment was on point...you want it deleted just because you dont like what i said. Looks to me like you are the one that should be deleted, since all you did was call me names.

cascoly

  • Photography, travel & online games at cascoly.com

« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2016, 18:21 »
+7
My comment was on point...you want it deleted just because you dont like what i said. Looks to me like you are the one that should be deleted, since all you did was call me names.

I disagree with the need to delete, but your knock against leo was gratuitous (besides being incorrect) 

your other comments were redundant and served no positive purpose other than trying to re-ignite old flames

Leo

  • http://www.clipartillustration.com

« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2016, 18:30 »
+1
My comment was on point...you want it deleted just because you dont like what i said. Looks to me like you are the one that should be deleted, since all you did was call me names.

I disagree with the need to delete, but your knock against leo was gratuitous (besides being incorrect) 

your other comments were redundant and served no positive purpose other than trying to re-ignite old flames


She could have had her say at the outset, but she showed up when the thread got popular.  Cathy, you will not be receiving any more replies from me for the duration of this.


 

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