View Full Version : Need advice on website programs

Jim Becia
14-May-2013, 06:42
Hopefully you guys can help me out. While I would love to have someone design my site for me, the expense of doing that is just too great. I am currently using Visual Server for my website. They do an adequate job, their template software is easy to use. However, one of my complaints is that I don't have the ability to add much text to the images, their image size is limiting, and I think they are high with their pricing. I'm looking for a program that is simple to use as I am pretty much clueless with programing and software. So it has being simple to use is important. I want it to be clean. I need to be able to have galleries and within those galleries have the ability to have text with the image. I also need to be able to do things like list my art fairs for the year and maybe other info that I might find pertinent to my work. I am looking at Zenfolio. The pricing seems decent and from what I can see, it seems like it would work. Any help, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. My current site is www.spiritlightphotography.com. Hopefully that will give you an idea of what I want. Thanks in advance. Jim Becia

14-May-2013, 12:54
There are many low-cost or free options out there; I use Weebly for both my websites (see my signature below).
The basic service is free, you just need your own domain which can easily be transferred with the help of a local computer aficionado.
Said computer guy/family member can also go into HTML and make some changes to your site that only come with paid upgrades, like other options for background colours and removal of the Weebly logo from your home page.

I am a know-nothing in these matters, but I put together 98% of both of my websites on my own. The rest was fine-tuned by my tech-minded brother.

Otto Seaman
14-May-2013, 14:18
You're probably better off with something like Zenfolio or 500px, just follow their templates.

Ralph Barker
19-May-2013, 07:52
I'm late to the party, so to speak, but allow me to make a couple of suggestions.

First, straight HTML isn't all that complicated to learn - far less so, I'd say, than learning the nuances of photography, particularly LF photography. The design is simply a series of page displays, with an overlay of navigation options, and imbedded links to other display options.

A decent HTML editor is really all you need to get started. For that, I like the Coffee Cup (http://www.coffeecup.com/html-editor/) editor. They also provide other site-building tools that may, or may not be of interest. Naturally, it helps to have a plan for what the site will look like, and how you plan to interact with visitors, should they want to order a print, or ten. It is the visitor-interaction part that introduces some complexities.

Galleries, for example, can be simple "tables" in HTML-speak - rows and columns into which stuff (links to images, text, etc.) can be placed. Your list of art fairs can be simple HTML text on a separate page, accessible via the navigation menu, the same as an "about" page (your bio, etc.) and other similar "information" pages. For the galleries, you just need to decide on how large you want the "thumbnail" versions of images to be, and how many rows and columns you want on each display page (usually tailored to what screen size you anticipate your customers will be using). Although you can force a large image to display in a small space, having different versions of the image file, each at the desired display size, is far more efficient (and, quicker to display).

As I said, it is the visitor-interaction part that introduces some complexities. You'll need to decide how convenient you want to make ordering to be for your customers. Being able to accept credit cards is a big advantage, for example, in contrast to making them send a check via snail-mail. This is where design/hosting sites like Zenfolio may have an advantage, as they usually have "shopping-cart" features built in. How you decide to approach the customer convenience factor is a marketing/business decision. Being able to accept credit cards, for example, typically means having a "merchant" account at your bank, along with the associated monthly bank fees. You just need to think about these things, preferably before you jump in one direction or another.

19-May-2013, 09:53
Jim, I did take a look at your site, something I rarely do. I found it cumbersome to use. Your lovely work deserves better. I wrote this article (http://www.rangeoflightphotography.com/pages/webmarketing) a couple of years ago, aimed specifically at people like you. It may be a bit dated, but hopefully you can find something useful in it.

19-May-2013, 11:36
Jim - I shoot Black & Whte film only, exclusively, strictly. I haven't shot a frame of color in years. Looking at your gorgeous work is making me rethink my whole...everything. Absolutely beautiful! Inspirational!

Sorry, I don't know much about websites, except one of these days maybe I should put one together...

Jim Michael
19-May-2013, 11:54
Koken (http://koken.me/) looks like it might be a decent implementation platform.

21-May-2013, 22:26
nice sharing.