Most photographers know they should be promoting their work online, but sorting through the vast number of options to f ind the right one is daunting. The idea for writing an article on this came out of my own need to find a good, editable Web site (where you can change photos and content anytime and from any computer). For me that meant finding a Web site vendor that would allow me to showcase the retail side of my wedding and portrait business.
I soon realized I needed to be more specif ic about my objectives and narrowed my list to f ive objectives. I also asked advice from my peers on the social network LinkedIn in its groups Photography Industry Professional and Professional Photography. Some photographers hired Web designers, some designed and wrote their codes, but the majority purchased an editable Web package. This article will address the last option.
My five objectives for finding the right Web site were:
3. Shopping cart
4. Print fulfillment
These objectives were specific to my needs and might not be what you need. You may just want to share your images with family and friends and give them a way to purchase prints. Therefore I will begin by discussing the basic sites you can subscribe to, then progress to the more extensive and expensive editable Web sites. The primary question you want to ask yourself is: “What I am going to use the Web site for?”
• To show and share my images.
• To show, organize, share, and print my images.
• To show, organize, share, print, and promote my images.
• To show, organize, share, print, promote, and sell my images.
Notice that as the list grows, another requirement was added: the “promote” and “sell” requirements transform your consumer Web site into a retail/commercial Web site. By promoting your Web site you are looking to a target audience, whether it is brides or art directors. You want a Web interface that caters to that audience through the use ofdesign,keywords,andtheabilitytofluidlyshowcaseyour work. The ability to sell or license your work with your Web site involves an interface that can perform e-commerce. Whether it is through a shopping cart or the use of drop- down lists of pricing for the rights and usage of the purchase or licensing of your images, this adds a layer of complexity to your Web needs.