It makes me happy to launch my new homepage stuffed with the latest photo homepage technology and features in a minimalist design.
If you want to reach out to people and implement an international market strategy, the logical center of it is a professional homepage – a place that really shows what you do and why.
After considerable market research I settled for PhotoShelter.com and would like to recommend it to anyone with needs like mine. They have excellent themes on which you build you own site; although it does require some knowledge to build it, the instructions are well-written, the support is quick and very helpful and it offers you – for a very reasonable monthly price – a series of options to achieve what you want.
So, what was it I wanted? Here’s the list:
• A minimalist design that permits my photos to speak for themselves and also provides easy navigability for the visitor.
• Superb presentation on computers, i.e. galleries, thumbnails, enlargement, slideshow option and captions – and all easy to change and add new works; and with alternative presentations you can play with over time.
• Superb presentation on devices such as iPads and mobile phones because that’s what many will use in the future.
• High-level integration with search engines (SEO – Search Engine Optimization built into the site); remember that Flash-based websites don’t go well with search engines, so static manual presentation is far the best – and all this because you want to get found!
• Integration with an on-line shop so visitors can buy a print right away.
• Efficient handling – we all want to save time on routine work while also offer personal service – of customers, emails and inquiries through PhotoShelter.
• Solid integration with social media and your blog.
• Manuals and instructions about the building of the homepage so that you can manage on your own and a professional, prompt support if you can’t.
• Help with sales promotion and good manuals for professionals.
• High image security (that visitors cannot steel your photos).
• Easy-to-read statistics – you want to know who visits your homepage, when, etc. and how to improve the experience they have.
I’m writing this short post because I have learned a lot from other photographers and their homepages and I have read much about these things. Should there be just one photographer who reads this and can benefit from some of it, I shall be happy. After all, we are all part of a community.
Does it take a long time? Yes! I have spent, I guess, some 200 hours to make it appear the way I really want it to. I’ve learned new stuff at every step, but never got stuck at any point. I believe that that time is a good investment. It’s good to know its technological infrastructure, so to speak, so you’ll not face problems you can’t solve when you work with it, make changes, add new galleries and single images in the future. It is your style, your captions and your personality that comes through – for good or for bad – rather than a standard business solution. But of course if you have too much money and don’t want to take the time and the learning experience, you may pay in the vicinity of US $ 5,000-7,000 for something like this.
Finally, a number of new galleries have been added since the old site – reflecting my latest efforts and experiments. There are for example “Iran”, “Black and White Studies” and “Nature”. Other galleries have been re-organized and single images added as well as some taken down. And the internet address is basically the same, but no longer .com but .biz.
And what a pity one cannot yet invite people for a glass and some tapas on-line…I would have liked to on this occasion!