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Author Topic: Personal site or Smugsmug or none?  (Read 6950 times)

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Xalanx

« on: December 19, 2009, 11:53 »
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Hi all,

I have a personal website which is under eternal construction, since I created it. Of course, it didn't bring any money at all, only 2-3 referals at Fotolia. However, I spent zero time for developing or promoting it, creating a selective portfolio with my best work, put it in categories - nothing.
However, in february I am to renew the hosting if I still want to have the site.
Also, I looked at Smugsmug. For somewhere around $150 one can have a full pro account with a lot of goodies, shopping cart, portfolio, the lot.
Bluehost is asking me some $150 too for renewing the contract.
So for the same money I can get faster a reasonable good looking site on smugsmug.

Now my questions are: do you use smugsmug? Have you sold directly from there images? Anything bad I should know about them?

I am also considering to simply not renew my contract with bluehost and forget about doing anything with a personal site. But I still think it's good to have a portfolio with selected images split in categories rather than have someone interested trying to figure out the best stuff from thousands of images in my microstock portfolio.


eyeCatchLight

  • Imagination is more important than knowledge.
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2009, 12:07 »
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I don't use smugmug but I am tempted to do so. I am in front of the same decision as I want to start such a service, although I have a personal website and all capabilities for selling like shopping cart and so on.
Why not doing both? The webhosting is not that expensive - at least mine...

Xalanx

« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2009, 12:24 »
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Why not doing both? The webhosting is not that expensive - at least mine...

I just want to use the website for photography. I am kinda reluctant to believe that I'll make some time to build the website I currently have if I haven't done it already in the last year ;D

And it costs 150$, as much as smugsmug.

« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2009, 13:53 »
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You are overpaying for hosting! I have a reseller account at HostGator and and am currently hosting 113 domains there with plenty or room for more for only $34.95/month. Since you would only need the one domain, you can host it there for $4.95/month and get unlimited space, unlimited bandwidth and shared SSL. Not a bad deal for less than half of what you are paying now.

I also recently had a $200 RF sale through my personal site. The buyer found my image on DT, but since there was no face, there was no model release and they needed one. They visited my personal site from the link in my profile and called me directly.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2009, 13:55 by elvinstar »

Xalanx

« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2009, 14:20 »
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I just looked at the price in my account - would be 107$ for 12 months to renew. I have the platinum package which means is pretty much loaded with everything. Of which I am using... somewhere around 1% I guess.

Anyway, the point was - would smugsmug be a viable alternative? I need to build the website fast, to have it promoted, to have a shopping cart based on paypal and to do all these without wasting too much time or programming it myself (I'm having enough of this at my main job).

« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2009, 15:34 »
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I have a Zenfolio pro account which is 100.00/ year and it hosts my images and allows me to sell them as prints or digital downloads.  My htp://www.eppicphotography.com website homepage though is hosted on a very basic 1.00/ month hosting service which allows me alot more flexibility for homepage design and then linking my inidividual portfolios from there over to my Zenfolio ports.  Total cost is 112.00/ year.
Should you choose to go with Zenfolio, here's my referral number:
7S6-YBH-4UR

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2009, 15:38 »
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Haven't tried Smugmug but I'm evaluating Photoshelter. Full buyer self-service stock RM, RF, and print purchasing just like a stock agency site.

The features are excellent but the most important thing for me is Search Engine Optimization and the results aren't so good so far.  They have good SEO tools but seem to have poor indexing with search engines. It's only been a week but the images should have been indexed within a couple of days.

I also evaluated LicenseStream/ImageSpan and while it shows potential the website integration, SEO, and buyer experience is pretty clunky. Maybe they'll get it right in version 3.

« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2009, 17:14 »
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I use Smugmug since May 09, like it thus far, I have the Power Package, good user interface, uploading a breeze, unlimited photos/galleries etc. You should definitely go with the Pro package that comes with yr own watermark, and allow you to set pricing, plus admin/assistant access, and a host of other useful pro features. For the price, you can have a professional portfolio showcase up and running in no time, as soon as you finished uploading images (with meta data) literally. If you enable external links, your images will be searchable on google image which adds to visibility, always a good thing.

I have a blog but on a blog one can only post a few images and even that search engines do not always index older blog entries and ppls expect a story with each image post (takes too much time). With Smugmug, the possibilities are endless: one gallery per client, tailor made, style, theme, as many photos as you like...

If you need a referral code for Smugmug, here it is ElJRFqKD8LPhA

jc

Fotonaut

« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2009, 17:36 »
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2009, 17:49 »
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You can get a pro account at fotki for about 25.00U$ with unlimited photo storage and selling features. It's not as fancy as smugsmug but has FTP upload.

« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2009, 17:54 »
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Zenfolio pricelist and feature comparison:
http://www.zenfolio.com/zf/pricing.aspx

eyeCatchLight

  • Imagination is more important than knowledge.
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2009, 19:25 »
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150$ is definitely too much. i don't know where you are from, but in the US you can have this for 4-5$ per month or even cheaper if you go quite basic.
I am on an Austrian webhosting, and it costs 4 euros per month.

That's why I said have both. You can try the other one, maybe try a basic version just to see.

To all others: do smugmug and others have their advantages in terms of visibility, i mean do i have to make less advertising for them?

« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2009, 06:00 »
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I just looked at the price in my account - would be 107$ for 12 months to renew. I have the platinum package which means is pretty much loaded with everything. Of which I am using... somewhere around 1% I guess.

Anyway, the point was - would smugsmug be a viable alternative? I need to build the website fast, to have it promoted, to have a shopping cart based on paypal and to do all these without wasting too much time or programming it myself (I'm having enough of this at my main job).


Only you have the answer, what type of website do you need, how much marketing are you prepared to do, can you transfer your old domain name to SmugMug, how much non photographer traffic can you send to your website?

It is not just a matter of setting up SmugMug and the buyers will come, you said "to have it promoted" who is doing the promotion, SmugMug only provide the software they do not market your images for you, I read that they add 700000 images a month and have over 7bn images stored, in 2006 they were uploading 10tb of images a month, so they cannot promote portfolios, their SEO prefixes with SmugMug/Photographer name.

If you have images that may sell as prints and you can market them then SmugMug might work for you, to get any value from SmugMug you need to drive the traffic yourself and not rely on casual browsers or search results for general images, if you have a niche market, cover events or local interest subjects and will market the website then it is a good move, if you just want a portfolio website then there are many cheaper options like ClickPic and many other Portfolio websites.

As already said shared hosting is very cheap, a bit of space, a portfolio template, upload and online, many ISP will have self installing software like gallery2, Joomla, wordpress etc: so you are paying to much, the key is what do you really need and how will you market your portfolio.

Have a read of this Microsock Insider post, and some of the links there might help you.

Regards

David
« Last Edit: December 20, 2009, 06:16 by Adeptris »

« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2009, 06:56 »
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I am going to try and start selling prints and other products from my website next year.  I think I will use links from my site to redbubble, photobox and zazzle.  They are all free and giving people different options seems like a good idea.

« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2010, 21:00 »
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like others have said you are way over paying for your hosting.

but I think you have already made the most important point:

I spent zero time for developing or promoting it, creating a selective portfolio with my best work, put it in categories - nothing.

Why?

if you had no time or motivation to run your own site before then renewing is probably not a good idea. but neither is spending all that money on smugmug or photoshelter. If you don't have 'time' to sort, upload AND also promote your port, the it's does not matter where it might be. perhaps stick to letting an agency do the selling for you or make a proper plan and set some realistic goals. smugmug and those like it will take care of the technical aspects but either self hosted or paid service you need to do that marketing/promotion work - or pay someone to do it - that marketing strategy will define the requirements of your chosen hosting solution


 

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